Biography in German
with more details


German writer.
Please don't expect flawless English.



Biography of

Irene Nickel

Data and Facts:





Abitur (German school-leaving examination
and university entrance qualification)


Diploma in mathematics



1979, 1982:

Birth of my children


Political Biography:

In 1968 I began my studies at the university - just in time for getting in touch with the political movement of 1968, and thus learning much. In 1970 I joined "amnesty international", later the SPD (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, the German Social Democratic Party). 1982 I left the SPD because I didn't want to support the politics of Chancellor Helmut Schmidt who didn't want to stop the development of nuclear energy. I am independent since then.

I am still interested in politics. Some of my political activities take place in "IBKA", the "International League of Non-Religious and Atheists", and occasionally in "DGHS", the "German Society for Dying with Dignity".

It is a wider range of topics I write about, in texts which are intended for publication. Most of them as letters to the editor; only a few times I managed to get a real article into a magazine having a considerable number of readers.

From Religion to Criticism of Religion

My parents were members of the Protestant Lutheran Church of Germany, but they were not very pious. We went to Church on Christmas Eve, but not on ordinary Sundays.

It was in school, in my lessons of religion, that I was introduced to the Christian religion more intensely. These lessons had a strong impact on me. My belief meant a lot to me.

So it was an important day in my life, when, at the age of 18, I came to the conclusion that I should take seriously my doubts about religion. I began to ask: "Where does my belief come from? What is it based on?"

At first I was looking for reasons to believe. But after a while my search led me into a differnt direction. After two years I found a new point of view: I didn't believe any longer, neither in the God of the Christians nor in any other god.

More than ten years later, I began my career as a critic of religion. I wrote an article for the journal "spielen und lernen" (that is: "play and learn"; it is a journal for parents). I received about 30 letters to the editor. I answered all of them, except the one that had no address.  I noticed that I had found a topic that suited me very well. I wrote many letters to the editors of several newspapers, and I began to cooperate in "IBKA", the International League of Non-Religious and Atheists.

In Philosophy,

there are fields I am interested in very much, and other fields I am interested in only incidentally.

At school in my philosophy lessons I learnt about Descartes: how he got to his famous conclusion: "Cogito ergo sum".

During my studies of mathematics I listened with interest to lessons of Professor Dr. Erhard Scheibe about "Problems of the conception of probability".

Some fields of philosophy are related to other objects I am interested in. A good deal of books about criticism of religion are written by philosophers, like Bertrand Russell, John Leslie Mackie or Hans Albert. Some interesting questions in politics are related to ethics: abortion for example, dealing with embryos, and help to die.

Moreover, I am interested in questions of the theory of cognition: How can we find a rational foundation of ethics? What do ethics have to be like in order to be helpful? And: what on earth is "knowledge"? How do we get knowledge, and how can we decide what we can take for granted?

I found interesting answers in the books of Karl Popper and Hans Albert, in their idea of "critical rationalism".

Braunschweig (= Brunswick), 11 May 2003

Irene Nickel





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