According to a Pew survey, there has been a huge spike in the number of Millennials — those Americans under 30 — who doubt the existence in God. According to the longitudinal study, 68 percent of Millennials in 2012 agree with the statement “I never doubt the existence of God.” That’s down from 83 percent in 2007.
So what is causing this 15 percent change? Could it be a change in the economic fortunes of young people? That’s a difficult argument to make. Or, on the other hand, could this change be due to the influence of influential atheist role models who have made it more intellectually fashionable to be an atheist today? Thinkers like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins have certainly had an impact, and to that end we have compiled a list of prominent atheists — both contemporary and historical — from various backgrounds, who deserve a place in the pantheon of Atheists.