Very few entrepreneurs are atheists

August 9, 2022

If you’re like most readers of this blog, you’re a business owner – an entrepreneur. And chances are, even if you’re not “religious” or a church-goer, you believe at least in some higher power… the Universe… whatever, and that life has a definite purpose and meaning.

I was prompted to think about this today after meeting with a client. He’s a true entrepreneur, with a clear vision of what he wants to achieve… and a real rough diamond, with tattoos etc. You’d never pick him as a spiritually-minded man, let alone a committed Christian. (The subject came up when he noticed a newsletter from my church, which I had accidentally left lying around in my office.)

The more I think about it, it’s very unusual to find a hard-core atheist in the entrepreneurial world. Of course, there are plenty who are agnostic or “not sure” – but the realities of being an entrepreneur make it virtually impossible not to believe (at least privately) in a higher power.

Entrepreneurs, more than most people, know what it’s like to have their backs against the wall… to lie awake at night… and ask for insight. “Please God, don’t let me get wiped out. Give me wisdom instead.”

I know from personal experience there is no request more likely to get answered if it’s offered with sincerity. Often, you’ll find the answer staring you in the face shortly after your prayer of desperation.

If you look at the most strident atheists, you’ll find they tend to be academics (with a comfortable salary paid for by the taxpayer) or in the news media (which makes its living mainly from peddling negativity and bad news).

Those who are at the forefront of driving the economy and generating wealth, are a bit like soldiers in the trenches. As the old saying goes, there are no atheists in foxholes.

5 thoughts on “Very few entrepreneurs are atheists”

  1. I think the reason is that most entrepreneurs and business people have to ‘believe’ in their product and/or themselves to be successful.

    They talk the right talk and walk the right walk because of what they believe inwardly .. and so whatever they say is exactly what they’ll get.

    Examples of great sportsmen and entrepreneurs abound, and as that famous scripture says, “If you don’t doubt …you’ll have exactly what you say.”

    Prayer was obviously connected as it is included in that maxim, but prayer is like taking your beliefs and putting it on steroids. The reason being that trusting God is always far easier than trusting in yourself! Yet the other works too if you persevere.

    On the other hand disbelief is at the very core of atheism. Even then it is a distorted form of ‘belief’ i.e, dissing or putting down other people’s beliefs.

    Good post Chris.

  2. Hi Chris- i came across your site while searching for atheists in the art world –

    I am actually an entrepreneur and worked as a finance person earlier; I feel the opposite of what you write in your post and spend time thinking a lot. I think that most people who believe in the status quo and in a huge amount of structure, cannot be entrepreneurial in nature. Religion and Entreprenurship dont really work accoording to me. And definately not aritists and religion. Art & Entrepreneurship need personality types who are very open minded and religion almost entirely contradicts that. But then go to India and China- very religious countries and tons of business people and cunning traders everywhere! Thats not entrepreneurship, really- most of those traders are indulging in boring family business passed down from one generation to the next and so havent undertaken any venture that required entrepreneurial thought! Anyway much rambling… but thanks for your post, just wanted to write my thoughts-

    • Hi AK,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I actually agree with you if you are talking about organised religion specifically, whereas I was referring to belief in God at an individual level – which is somewhat different.

      In terms of creativity, God is the creator of the universe, so is in fact the source of all creativity. Genuine faith in God will lead to a lot of creativity, given that is God’s nature.

      When you referred to religion you mentioned “status quo” and “structure” – and those a based essentially on fear, which is what a lot of religion is based around. On the other hand, God is love, which really is the opposite of fear, because when you are loved you feel great freedom.

      So to recap, faith in God is faith in love and creativity, which are the two main driving forces of the true entrepreneur also.

  3. Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Andrew Carnegie… off the top of my head. Atheists can make great entrepreneurs. It’s frustrating to hear people say you need a higher power to make it. Belief in a higher power is not necessary to become a financially successful entrepreneur.

    • Jesse,

      Those three guys you name have rejected religion (as opposed to God per se) because they have been appalled by what they’ve seen and some of the crazy, narrow minded beliefs – and that’s understandable. I’ve read Bill Gates in a ‘Rolling Stone’ interview where he says science can’t explain everything and leaves the door open to the possibility of a higher power.

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