Over the past several centuries, an increasing number of philosophers, scientists, and other writers have been making a strong case for the validity of atheism as a worldview. In addition, these and other thinkers have been making trenchant criticisms of the deficiencies of religion (especially Christianity) as a metaphysical, ethical, and social system. This volume seeks to present some of the noteworthy documents of atheism, agnosticism, and freethought during the last 300 years. Voltaire, Edward Gibbon, and Thomas Paine in the 18th century; a wide array of thinkers in the 19th century, including W. E. H. Lecky, Leslie Stephen, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Herbert Spencer, Thomas Henry Huxley, and Robert G. Ingersoll; and 20th-century writer ssuch as Bertrand Russell, George Santayana, Anatole France, Emma Goldman, and H. L. Mencken have all put forward vital arguments in support of a secular worldview. This volume features a sampling of some of the greatest minds in Western thought as they advocate an outlook shorn of religious dogma.