Although the term atheism originated in the 16th century—based on Ancient Greek ἄθεος “godless, denying the gods, ungodly”[1]and open admission to positive atheism in modern times was not made earlier than in the late 18th century, atheistic ideas and beliefs, as well as their political influence, have a more expansive history.

The spontaneous proposition that there may be no gods after all is logically as old as theism itself (and the proposition that there may be no God as old as the beginnings of monotheism orhenotheism). Philosophical atheist thought appears in Europe and Asia from the 6th or 5th century BCE.

Will Durant explains that certain Pygmy tribes found in Africa were observed to have no identifiable cults or rites. There were no totems, no gods, no spirits. Their dead were buried without special ceremonies or accompanying items and received no further attention. They even appeared to lack simple superstitions, according to travelers’ reports. The Vedahs of Ceylon, only admitted the possibility that gods might exist, but went no further. Neither prayers nor sacrifices were suggested in any way.