“Intelligent men do not decide any subject until they have carefully examined both or all sides of it. Fools, cowards, and those too lazy to think, accept blindly, without examination, dogmas and doctrines imposed upon them in childhood by their parents, priests, and teachers, when their minds were immature and they could not reason.”


James Hervey Johnson was a twentieth century atheist, author, editor, and freethinker, an anti-religion activist who proclaimed “religion is against all reason” based upon his belief that religion is based on ancient superstition instead of scientific evidence. He was a successful businessman and investor who also advocated “Natural Hygiene”, a system of diet, exercise, and fasting, as the best approach to promote and maintain good health.  

As a freethinker, Johnson held that beliefs and opinions should be formed solely on the basis of reason and available evidence rather than faith, tradition, authority, or other dogmas. He made it his life’s work to educate others on the beliefs he so strongly held and was confident that a critical review of the evidence regarding religion and health by an intelligent individual would invariably lead to his own conclusions. He sincerely felt that the human race would benefit greatly if these views were widely embraced and spent his lifetime educating others in the hope of improving the welfare and happiness of mankind.


RELIGION -  Mr. Johnson believed that the world’s religions were nothing more than superstitions of primitive man, perpetuated by religious leaders to protect their positions of power and comfort, and that their followers had blindly accepted religious doctrines without any critical examination of the scientific evidence. He considered religion to be a hindrance to mankind’s development and felt that the resources devoted to religion could be better utilized to a greater benefit for the human race. He could see no evidence of God’s existence and held that the universe operated in accordance with natural law, without the need for a supernatural being to guide and control its destiny or to watch over the doings of men and their nations.

HEALTH – Mr. Johnson advocated a system of natural health known as Natural Hygiene, which is based on the premise that the human body is governed by natural laws and following these promotes good health. His views were unconventional at the time – he followed a vegetarian diet void of processed foods, fasted regularly, exercised daily, and used no drugs, including alcohol, tobacco, and coffee. In concert with his free thinking approach, Mr. Johnson became a Natural Hygiene proponent only after a one year personal experiment which he felt greatly improved his health and mental acuity.

INVESTING – Mr. Johnson was a successful businessman who was able to amass a huge fortune by investing his profits in the stock market. His investment strategies were presented in a booklet he published in 1984 which summarizes his investment approach.

More information is provided in each of these areas in the pages that follow and in the many writings of Mr. Johnson presented here. We hope visitors find this material to be thought provoking and worthy of careful consideration.

About James Hervey Johnson

Born in 1901, James Hervey Johnson became interested in religious issues at an early age after reading The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine. By the age of 16, Johnson had become an atheist and was very successful in business as a young man. As a result, he was able to spend most of his life developing and promoting his then unorthodox viewpoints on religion and natural health. He became a regular contributor to The Truth Seeker magazine, one of the country’s oldest freethought periodicals originally founded by the freethinking pioneer D.M. Bennett in 1873 and was instrumental in moving the publication along with its editor, Charles Lee Smith, from New York to San Diego, California in 1964. Following Smith's death a few months later, Johnson then served as its editor and publisher until his own death in 1988. He was considered a leader of the freethought community in the San Diego area for many years, tirelessly promoting his ideas on religion and health.

James Hervey Johnson is part of a long historical line of freethought advocates including Thomas Paine, Luther Burbank, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Edison, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Henry L. Mencken, Charles Smith, Joseph Lewis, Bertrand Russell, H.G. Wells, Mark Twain, Thomas Huxley, Clarence Darrow, George Bernard Shaw, and, more recently, Stephen Hawkings, to name only a few. Like many great thinkers before him, Johnson adamantly questioned religious dogmas, god's existence, the effects of religion on mankind, and the true meaning of man’s place in the universe.

The James Hervey Johnson Charitable Educational Trust was created by Mr. Johnson’s will, funded by his sizable estate, and continues his lifelong efforts to expose religion as against reason and to publicize his views on religion and health.


James Hervey Johnson authored the following books:

       • The Case Against Religion (1949)
       • There Is No God (1952)
       • Successful Stock Investing (2nd Ed., 1984)

He is also credited with many articles written as a contributor to and editor of The Truth Seeker magazine.


Each year the James Hervey Johnson Charitable Educational Trust awards a number of grants to qualified organizations for activities that promote Mr. Johnson’s desire to expose religion as against reason and publicize his views on religion and health. Grants are limited to 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organizations and no grants are made to individuals. To get more information on grant guidelines or to directly apply online please visit the following page...



. . . is dedicated to fulfilling Mr. Johnson’s wish to expose religion as against reason and publicize his views on religion and health, hoping that the material presented helps to educate our visitors and motivate them to question many conventional ideas previously taken for granted. We have attempted to accurately characterize Mr. Johnson's perspectives and provide direct access to many of his writings and related material. In line with his rationalistic freethinking approach, Mr. Johnson would wish that each visitor here draw their own conclusions after carefully reviewing all the available evidence and we hope the information presented on this website contributes to that process.




@2019 - The James Hervey Johnson Charitable Educational Trust