Etienne Vermeersch (born May 2, 1934 in Sint-Michiels (nowadays part of Bruges)) is a Belgian (moral) philosopher, skeptic, opinion maker and debater. He is one of the founding fathers of the abortion and euthanasia law in Belgium. He is also former Vice-Rector of the Ghent University.Vermeersch became an atheist after five years with the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). He broke with his belief when he was 25, like most of his colleagues at the time. Later he became a philosophical materialist. In the 1990s there was some commotion in the Belgian media when Vermeersch wrote a rational-scientific article entitled 'Why the Christian God cannot exist'.In January 2008, Vermeersch was chosen by hundred prominent Flemings as the most influential intellectual of Flanders.