2006-04-19

A Symbol for Atheism

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I would like to indicate my support of the null set symbol as the unofficial symbol of atheism. I don't know the origins of this idea, but the symbol possesses the following features which make it eminently appropriate:
  • Simple and clear: Simplicity and clarity contribute to aesthetic value and to ease of recognition and mental association.
  • Connected to concept: Atheism, the negation of theism, is inherently a negative concept and as such requires a negative symbol. Religious symbols indicate a positive religious belief, and the null set indicates a lack of religious belief.
  • Devoid of unnecessary conceptual baggage: Other proposed symbols often seek to attact certain values, such as rationality, skepticism, science, or tolerance, which are not essential to the concept of atheism.
  • Culturally neutral: Due to its mathematical origin, the symbol is familiar to all cultures. Additionally it makes no specific religious reference.
  • In the public domain: As a pre-existing symbol, it cannot be copyrighted or controlled by any private or government party.
  • Easily reproducible: By virtue of being a part of the standard character set, one can create computer graphics of any size, color and style by simply adjusting the font.
Additionally, the symbol could be interpreted as a representation of the spherical earth with a tilted axis, which makes it the perfect symbol for a secular planet!

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2 comments:

Zachary Moore said...

What about the Greek letter Phi? It's just like the null set, but perfectly vertical. It also represents the Golden mean, which is important in mathematics, physics, and biology. I think it's a great mixture of the value of science and the rejection of belief.

Secular Planet said...

It shares some similarities being the same shape, but at a different angle. It has some good points most certainly. Unfortunately, it lacks a clear connection to atheism, it has conceptual baggage (science <> atheism), it's part of a western alphabet, and it's not in the standard character set. Of course, if there were no specified angle, it would be one of the many possible variations on the null set symbol and vice versa.