This is what an atheist looks like

This week was “A Week” on Facebook – a campaign for atheists to make their profile picture an A to show that we do, in fact, exist. Except that…well, no one except atheists know what the “A” symbol means – heck, many atheists don’t even know what it is.

The UNI Freethinkers and Inquirers have a much better idea, in my opinion:

No one outside of our movement knows what the “A” means. Yes, some people will look up what’s going on. Most won’t.

Want to actually help help with the movement? Grab a sheet of paper, write that you’re an atheist, and make that your profile picture. Hell, give us a link to it. Lets put these pictures around campus! Lets make a video! Lets actually out ourselves and show this campus how many atheists they know. A symbol is nice. A face is better.

Why is this so important? A recent study showed that anti-atheist prejudice decreases not only when our numbers go up, but also when our perceived numbers go up. Coming out is good for all atheists. And linking a smiling face to “atheist” is much more helpful than a cryptic scarlet A.


  1. MGuerin says

    I already have “atheist” on my Facebook where it says religious views. I don’t think atheists are looked down upon much here in Australia (our primeminister is atheist after all) but it would be nice to see more people professing their unbelief to counterbalance the strong Christian community here.

  2. says

    Err, isn’t that kindof the idea, to explain to people what the A means if they don’t know, and if and only if they want to know ? This is facebook, full identifying information, work collegues, family et cetera. Seems to me to be a retarded and rather naive suggestion, for people to just write down their religious affiliations or the lack thereof, and post it in a public forum. It might work on a Uni campus, I don’t know, but the context here was FB, remember.

  3. Noelley B says

    Have you tried googling “A week?” Because you’re not gonna get anything about atheists.

  4. says

    Heya, Jen! It also doesn’t help that our symbol has changed several times over the years. I like your idea. Personally, I’ve had the word “ATHEIST” across the entire bottom of my FB profile pic for quite some time now. Nothing says “atheist” like a-t-h-e-i-s-t. Lmao.

  5. WhatPaleBlueDot says

    Some of us use complex privacy settings and many of our friends, much less the public, don’t see our more sensitive information.

  6. says

    I don’t know the full story, and I can see reasons for the choice – powerful allusion and metaphor regarding social disapproval. I think it ends up as a bad choice because it’s too subtle to achieve the stated aim.If the aim were to enhance solidarity, then it’s great, and the choice of symbol works (to whatever extent the community is aware of the allusion). The aim, AIUI, was to increase awareness. That only works if, when considering the typical audience not in the community in question, the symbol used isn’t cryptic.

  7. Christoph says

    Depends. Are you an atheist? (i.e. are there any gods in which you would say you believe? If yes, then no.)

  8. says

    I don’t believe in any gods. I just don’t believe in the impossibility of any higher being or power. Of course, from the evidence, any higher power would be a lazy, apathetic douchebag, but still…

  9. atheist16 says

    My cousin asked me why I had a scarlet ‘A’ as my profile pic and on being told why..Cousin: Don’t say that in public. People will laugh at you.Me: lol.. I’ll laugh back! (Thinking Flying Spaghetti Monster) !! ;)

  10. Skwerl says

    Agnostic means “without knowledge.” Atheist means “without belief.” Since nobody can “know,” we’re all technically agnostic. However, since I don’t “believe” that gods exist, I’m also an atheist. Agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive.

Leave a Reply