Atheist Symbols and Their Meanings

As it literally means the lack of faith in any kind of god, religion or a holy book, atheism does not have representatives like prophets and saints or involve any kind of text. Now, that makes it lack a certain amount of wow factor and get less limelight, but be sure atheism is represented just as well, all around the world.  For those who would like to know how, here are the most prominent atheist symbols and their meanings:

The Darwin Fish, the Atheist Symbol

Most people instantly recognize the “Jesus fish” as a Christian symbol. Atheists have their own version of this symbol, known as the Darwin Fish, which is a play on the Christian symbol.

The atheist version has a couple of alterations, including the addition of legs and the word “Darwin” inside the body of the fish.

On an interesting side note, this is a public domain image that was once at the center of a lawsuit between its creators, Al Shekel and John Edwards, and Chris Gilman, manufacturer of car ornaments that had a similar design.

Variations on this design include a fish with the words “evolve” or “science” instead of “Darwin”, a fish made of bones, and having a tool in its hand. It is not only associated with atheists, but also with those who believe in Darwinism.

Another version has legs and the word “Atheist” in the middle. In response to the Darwin Fish, Christians came up with a new version, which is a combination of the Christian version and the Atheist version, with the Christian fish eating the Darwin fish.

Ring of Fire as an Atheist Symbol

Atheists could not let Christians one-up them, so they came up with their own response to the Christian mockery of their beliefs: the Ring of Fire.

The Ring of Fire is a dinosaur that is eating the Jesus fish. There is another version that has a Darwin fish and a Jesus fish copulating. What is ironically humorous about this is that it not only shows a disbelief in Christianity and other religions, but also the fact that many fundamentalist religious sects refuse to acknowledge the existence of dinosaurs.

American Atheists Symbol

American Atheists symbol, created by Madalyn O’Hare in 1963, is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, symbols used to represent atheism.

It is comprised of an “atomic whirl” that surrounds the letter “A”. This symbol has been copyrighted by the group, which is made up of only 3,000 members, but has a strong voice in the country. It is also recognized by Atheist Alliance International.

You might think the A in the middle of the symbol represents “atheism”, but it does not. It represents (United States of) America, as in the country where the organization has its headquarters.

The actual part of the symbol that represents atheism is the vertical electron orbit in the middle that looks like an A lacking its bottom part.

The Letter “A” as an Atheist Symbol

A simple “A” letter is often used to represent atheism, since the word for atheist in many languages begins with an “A”. This symbol is used by the Atheist Alliance International, the organization that awarded it the first place of the symbol design competition held for that very purpose.

There are many variations of “A” as an atheist symbol, including one that looks like the Star Trek symbol, and an “A” that is part of a five-pointed star. The most recognized version, maybe, is the one that looks like the “A” mentioned in The Scarlet Letter, the 1850 novel about an adulterous woman (often a required reading material for many high school and college students) by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne. In the book the woman carries the letter “A” on her chest as a symbol for her sin, adultery.

Empty Circle

Many people who do not believe in an all-knowing god or gods use an empty circle as their symbol. There are many variations of the empty circle, including a mathematical “null set” ({ }), and a zero that has a line running through it.

Another design includes the words “agnostic”, “humanist”, “rationalist”, “freethinker”, “secular”, “infidel”, “non-believer”, “atheist”, “heretic”, and “godless” printed in a way that they are either outside or inside the circle, or make up the circle itself.

The Happy Humanist as an Atheist Symbol

The Happy Humanist is a symbol that is used by humanists all over the world. It was designed in 1965 by Dennis Barrington, winner of the symbol design contest held by The British Humanist Association, which still holds the trademark for this symbol.

This symbol features a standing person with their arms stretched towards the sky, representing humans and all that they have accomplished. While the Happy Humanist symbol is popular among both humanists and atheists, you might say that many people outside these groups will probably not even recognize it.

The Invisible Pink Unicorn

The Invisible Pink Unicorn is a combination of a unicorn and the mathematical void symbol (empty set). It basically means, “nothingness”, and in the case of atheists, it represents having no faith or believing in no god or goddess.

Many atheists reference the unicorn as a symbol in itself representing their beliefs and use the fictional animal to make their point about supernatural beliefs. The Invisible Pink Unicorn is also considered the “goddess of a satiric parody religion” that takes aims at traditional religions.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster

In 2005, the world was introduced to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, through a letter to the Kansas School Board from Bobby Henderson. This letter suggested that in addition to creationism, that they should also teach “pastafarianism”, as to them, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is about as believable as any god or goddess.

While this is a spoof religion, many people actually do take it quite seriously. In fact, it has been recognized in some areas as an actual religion, and members can be ordained. Some members have even insisted that they be allowed to wear the religion’s headgear, a colander, for their driver’s license photos.

These are the most common atheist symbols used throughout the world. Hope we could satisfy curiosity about them. Please share the content on social media by clicking below if you liked it, many thanks!