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Top 15 Athletes Who Are Atheist

While the main focus on any athlete should be their athletic skill, let’s face it – athletes are public personas to a certain extent, and at a much more basic level, they’re people. While they might be superstars on the court, field, or whatever terrain their sport calls for, people are often interested in their daily lives. This encompasses everything from their marital status (as proven by countless list of the hottest single athletes) to their often impressive homes to their diet and fitness choices. Fans want to know how they live their lives, from what they eat when they wake up in the morning to what they do to unwind every day.

One significant aspect of an athlete’s personal life is his or her religious choices. Religion and sports have been a discussion for awhile. Just as some athletes have noteworthy celebration dances or pre-game rituals, many athletes give thanks to God or whatever religious entity they believe in, either to bring their focus to the task at hand or to show gratitude for a goal or point. The question came into even sharper focus when a certain ultra-religious quarterback by the name of Tim Tebow entered the NFL and took to on field prayers and introduced the world to “Tebowing.” Tebow was outspoken about his faith, but in a league where some teams even have team chaplains, his religion is certainly not the minority. Particularly in team sports where athletes may pray together in the locker room or have access to something such as a team chaplain, atheist athletes seem to make up the minority.

There are a scattering of atheist athletes across the athletic world, in sports from football to soccer to rock-climbing. Some have won immense athletic honors in the shape of cups or medals. Some are a bit more outspoken about their beliefs while others may keep them largely to themselves. Here is a list of fifteen athletes who identify as atheist.

15 Johan Cruyff

via egpwallace.wordpress.com

14 Diana Nyad

via athletepromotions.com

13 Rafael Nadal

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

12 Lance Armstrong

via vosizneias.com

11 Robert Smith

via nfl.com

10 Riccardo Montolivo

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

9 Frank Mir

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

8 Jason Miller

via mmanuts.com

7 Bruce Lee

via dumblittleman.com

6 Alex Honnold

via sierraclub.typepad.com

5 Jonathan Edwards

via nufc.co.uk

4 Fausto Coppi

via ardscc.co.uk

3 CM Punk

via boxofficemoviez.com

2 Fernando Alonso

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

1 Chris Kluwe

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

In an organization that is comprised of players and managers with predominantly Christian beliefs, former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe stands out like a sore thumb because of how outspoken he is about his religious beliefs – or lack of, to be more accurate. Kluwe caused quite a controversy and garnered a lot of public attention when it became known that he was to be one of the speakers at an American Atheists event in Salt Lake City, Utah. Even NBC Sports acknowledged the religiosity of the NFL and stated that the decision meant Kluwe was placing himself “pretty far outside the NFL mainstream.” Though it seems easy to align him with atheism if he’s agreed to speak at an atheist convention, religion isn’t quite that simple for Kluwe – he calls himself “cheerfully agnostic” and states in his book Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies that doubt is his religion.

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Top 15 Athletes Who Are Atheist