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July 15th, 2013
02:50 PM ET

Behold, the six types of atheists

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) - How many ways are there to disbelieve in God?

At least six, according to a new study.

Two researchers at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga found that atheists and agnostics run the range from vocally anti-religious activists to nonbelievers who still observe some religious traditions.

“The main observation is that nonbelief is an ontologically diverse community,” write doctoral student Christopher Silver and undergraduate student Thomas Coleman.

“These categories are a first stab at this," Silver told the website Raw Story. "In 30 years, we may be looking at a typology of 32 types.”

Silver and Coleman derived their six types of nonbelievers from 59 interviews. We're pretty sure we've spotted all six in our comments section.

1) Intellectual atheist/agnostic

This type of nonbeliever seeks information and intellectual stimulation about atheism.

They like debating and arguing, particularly on popular Internet sites.

(Ahem.)

They're also well-versed in books and articles about religion and atheism, and prone to citing those works frequently.

2) Activist

These kinds of atheists and agnostics are not content with just disbelieving in God; they want to tell others why they reject religion and why society would be better off if we all did likewise.

They tend to be vocal about political causes like gay rights, feminism, the environment and the care of animals.

3) Seeker-agnostic

This group is made up of people who are unsure about the existence of a God but keep an open mind and recognize the limits of human knowledge and experience.

Silver and Coleman describe this group as people who regularly question their own beliefs and “do not hold a firm ideological position.”

That doesn't mean this group is confused, the researchers say. They just embrace uncertainty.

4) Anti-theist

This group regularly speaks out against religion and religious beliefs, usually by positioning themselves as “diametrically opposed to religious ideology,” Silver and Coleman wrote.

“Anti-theists view religion as ignorance and see any individual or institution associated with it as backward and socially detrimental,” the researchers wrote. “The Anti-Theist has a clear and – in their view, superior – understanding of the limitations and danger of religions.”

Anti-theists are outspoken, devoted and – at times – confrontational about their disbelief. They believe that "obvious fallacies in religion and belief should be aggressively addressed in some form or another.”

5) Non-theist

The smallest group among the six are the non-theists, people who do not involve themselves with either religion or anti-religion.

In many cases, this comes across as apathy or disinterest.

“A Non-Theist simply does not concern him or herself with religion,” Silver and Coleman wrote. “Religion plays no role or issue in one’s consciousness or worldview; nor does a Non- Theist have concern for the atheist or agnostic movement.”

They continue: “They simply do not believe, and in the same right, their absence of faith means the absence of anything religion in any form from their mental space.”

6) Ritual atheist

They don't believe in God, they don’t associate with religion, and they tend to believe there is no afterlife, but the sixth type of nonbeliever still finds useful the teachings of some religious traditions.

“They see these as more or less philosophical teachings of how to live life and achieve happiness than a path to transcendental liberation,” Silver and Coleman wrote. “For example, these individuals may participate in specific rituals, ceremonies, musical opportunities, meditation, yoga classes, or holiday traditions.”

For many of these nonbelievers, their adherence to ritual may stem from family traditions. For others, its a personal connection to, or respect for, the "profound symbolism" inherent within religious rituals, beliefs and ceremonies, according the researchers.

-

The authors of this study have graciously agreed to field questions from our commenters. If you're interested, please post your question below or tweet it to us at @CNNBelief. 

We'll take the best questions to the authors and the Q&A will be posted in a follow-up article. 

Please try to keep your questions related to the study itself.

Thanks,
Daniel Burke

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Holidays • Lost faith • Nones • Spirituality • Trends • United States

soundoff (9,518 Responses)
  1. Michelle

    I'll take the number 5, please.

    Humans spend so much time, money, and energy arguing who's right and who's wrong on every insignificant bullsheet detail that they fail to see that both views are perfectly acceptable when chosen by free will. Instead of selfishly trying to persuade the other side of your own views, wouldn't it be more fruitful to work to resolve the issues that are immediately relevant to you, your family, and your community? Why does it matter what someone else chooses to believe or not believe–have enough respect for yourself and your fellow man to just keep it to yourself; the entire world will be a much more peaceful and productive place for it.

    September 19, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • CommonSensePrevails

      Michelle, I could not agree with you more!
      I'm an Atheist, and I just want to be left alone. Social justice should be the number one concern of all, religious or not, and the ones receiving the help should not have to listen to the teachings of Jesus/God or any other religion in order to receive help.
      Non-believers were not the ones starting the propaganda about ostracizing because of believes; we just want to continue with our common sense life styles. Growing up in my house, the discussions about religion and who is right and wrong were never really discussed at all. The hatred I've encountered over the years when I've said I'm not religious saddened me deeply.

      September 22, 2013 at 11:28 am |
  2. SKIP

    Remember: WWSD! What would Scooby do?

    September 19, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  3. Bobby Dias

    I thought the six types of aethists were: 1. Screw you I AM GOD. 2. Screw you I AM GOD. 3. Screw you I AM GOD. 4. Screw you I AM GOD. 5. Screw you I AM GOD. 6. Screw you I AM GOD. Moral of this post is that aethists say that your god does not exist because they want to rule you- when you are broken they take you over.

    September 19, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Joe S

      Speaking frankly, your remark seems oddly detached from reality. History is filled with thousands of obvious examples in which those filled with religious zeal feel justified in attempting to persuade ( or compel ) those who do not share their beliefs into conforming to their religions dogma. There seems to be precious few atheists, and virtually no agnostics, that attempt to convert "true believers". I'll apologize in advance if you were trying to be sarcastic.

      September 19, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • sam stone

      Hey, pen-day-ho, isn't the point of your post to identify yourself as an imbecile?

      September 19, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • CommonSensePrevails

      Bobby, your post shows how ignorant and afraid of Truth you are...
      Either your intelligence level is so low that you cannot even have an intelligent conversation or you're just so afraid your bubble of having an imaginary friend is to breaking by science and progress.
      If you're so sure of your believes, why don't you try to debate it instead of acting like a child?

      September 22, 2013 at 11:32 am |
  4. rschoales

    You forgot the apatheist. Not that we much care..

    September 19, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
  5. flambeauxfire

    Im a litte bit of all of these.
    You see, Deus does not exist, but if he does..........we're cool with each other. Cos I love life with an ecstacy, I see spirit in many things – including 'inanimate objects' – I revel in existence and try to empathize with living things and be good to them. I stare at the stars and see the face of God.....or not. I hate the 'sheep effect' of organized religion but love what it does for somepeople I know and I regularly work to help the Catholic Church, even while I find much of what it does farcical! I know life is precious and that my part of it is tiny, yet God-like at the same time. I am nothing. But I am God and I have to say I do believe that I exist! These two ways of looking at it are not a contradiction. When you believe in all of creation as a whole, you can embrace what limited viewpoints see as 'opposites'..........
    Does God exist? I'm so peacefully nestled in the answer = I don't care.

    September 19, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • Jose

      You beautifully presented your thoughts. Ditto to all, Jose

      September 19, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
  6. t2vodka

    I use to love talking about religion, now I cannot stand it. It's just debating which fiction is real, in the end, it is still fiction, it's a waste of time. I don't care about the athiest movement either, I have my reasons for why I believe what I believe, and since there is no after life, I'm not wasting my tiny blip of existance on these stupid debates. I want to have fun, I want to enjoy the small amount of time I have.

    September 19, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • CommonSensePrevails

      Agree with you... we should enjoy the little time we have on this earth. I used to think just like you.
      Here's the problem of not caring about the non-believing movement: religious will impose their believes on your lifestyle, and that is the tragedy.
      The religious have NO RIGHT to tell you what to do, who to marry, who to have intimacy with and so on.
      If they want to live like that, fine with me, but don't drag the rest of us into it.
      Also, would you want to have a president who starts a war because "god" told him to? There's a lot to loose by not caring.

      September 22, 2013 at 11:38 am |
  7. Heatproof

    If I wrote a book that claimed if you cut in line at the DMV, you will be awarded free money, would you believe it? How am I more or less credible than the cave men who wrote the bible thousands of years ago?? More people have died in the name of GOD than for any other reason, EVER. "Thou shalt not kill"*
    *Unless of course they believe in a different invisible, flying spaghetti monster than you.

    I am simply a sack of meat born with the gift of cognition, nothing else. I prefer to not waste my time talking to myself in a room full of strangers each Sunday.

    September 19, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • anchorite

      You are type 2, I've settled on type 6. People have been killed in the name of God, but at least an equal number of people have been treated in hospitals, educated in schools, or eaten food from storehouses founded and run by religions. All of the heroes of peace and human rights, all of them, from Jesus to St. Francis to St. Maximilian to Ghandi, MLK, Oscar Romero, Bert Sacks, Kathy Kelly, John Dear, and even the new Pope Francis, were very religious people, even many cases clergy themselves. We atheists have a long way to go before we can claim such credit.

      September 19, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
      • CommonSensePrevails

        No one can argue with you on that.
        However, you also have to look at the context of time. During the past, it was popular to believe because of sheer number. It was also really popular once to believe the earth was flat, even intelligent people believed that. As we move forward, science keeps showing us what's out there, and the case for a god and the supernatural becomes less and less viable and necessary.

        September 22, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  8. Ron

    All of us become fertilizer in the end because our bodies are just vessels for our immortal souls! We are just a few dollars worth of chemicals! But within us we carry a soul that is linked to the beliefs of our father in heaven! Yes, you can become an atheist , God gave you that right and said he would never interfere with your right to choose! One thing that I have noticed, Those who do not believe are easier to anger, easier to frighten, and when confronted about their choice, become very agitated and confrontational! Belief in God carries with it a peace in the heart and a warmth within that I consider a happy soul! Belief your way! Don't try to convince me that God doesn't exist!!

    September 19, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • CommonSensePrevails

      Who's angry? I'm an Atheist, and I'm not angry... Sounds like you are though.
      Had you been born in India, most likely you would be a Hindu, and if you were born in Iraq, most likely you would be a Muslim. You have as much proof for a Christian god as they do – none.
      Also, just so you know; you were also once an Atheist – when you were born. No one is born a specific religion. You become one after indoctrination by your parents or others, or often, something tragic happens in your life and a way to cope is to find a god. If that works for you, great; I'm glad you are happy, but please do not force the rest of us to live by your rules. We don't need an imaginary friend or the promise of hell (if don't follow strange rules like stoning) to live moral lives.

      September 22, 2013 at 11:52 am |
  9. TimmyTwoTimes

    Atheists will never understand the joy of speaking with deities by mumbling into their clasped hands every Sunday.

    September 19, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • CommonSensePrevails

      Talking to your hair dryer – you're deemed crazy.
      Talking to your god – you're a christian.
      So logic follows...

      September 22, 2013 at 11:54 am |
  10. dontbefooleed

    Atheist – In the end we are all the same fertilizer

    Believers – Well, Atheist burn for eternity and believers get to enjoy perfection.

    Humm...which to put my belief into....tough choice being that while were alive the only difference is who we attribute our effort to better ourselves to. 😀

    September 19, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  11. Roman

    Athiests will not get into heaven, unless they turn to Jesus Christ for salvation. Period.

    September 19, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • TimmyTwoTimes

      You're a buffoon.

      September 19, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • TH

      Ahh! So, ikinda like an insurance policy?

      September 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • jeffision

      Capitalizm at it's finest, eh?

      September 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • CommonSensePrevails

      Roman, if you only knew that there's no such place... The only "heaven" is what you make it here on earth; you get once chance to do it right. Living with your imaginary friend will do nothing but making you sound looney.

      September 22, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  12. Edward

    I really like the following tale. It makes better reading than the official version.

    I know some of you didn't make it to church on Sunday so I thought I would give you a sixth grader's report on what you missed.... any questions should be forwareded to Dr. Rev. Rus Jeffrey, Al Baker, or Michael Hillier... (I have no doubt it my mind that you will used some/all of this at some time Reverend)

    In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas. The Bible says,"The Lord thy God is one," but I think He must be a lot older than that.

    Anyway, God said, "Give me a light!" and someone did. Then God made the world.

    He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren't embarrassed because mirrors hadn't been invented yet.

    Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden ... Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn't have cars.

    Adam and Eve had a son,Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel. Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something.

    One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check.

    After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat.

    Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh's people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable.

    God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them His Top Ten Commandments. These include: don't lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor's stuff.

    Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humor thy father and thy mother.

    One of Moses' best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies. Joshua fought the battle of Geritol and the fence fell over on the town.

    After Joshua came David. He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn't sound very wise to me.

    After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets. One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed up on the shore.

    There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don't have to worry about them.

    After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of The New Testa-ment. He was born in
    Bethlehem in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn too, because my mom is always saying to me, "Close the door! Were you born in a barn?" It would be nice to say, "As a matter of fact, I was.")

    During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Republicans. Jesus also had twelve opossums.The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him.

    Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount. But the Democrats and all those other bad guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn't stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead.

    Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminum. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.

    Peace out!

    September 19, 2013 at 8:43 am |
  13. jeffision

    “A Non-Theist simply does not concern him or herself with religion,” Silver and Coleman wrote. “Religion plays no role or issue in one’s consciousness or worldview; nor does a Non- Theist have concern for the atheist or agnostic movement.”

    They continue: “They simply do not believe, and in the same right, their absence of faith means the absence of anything religion in any form from their mental space.”

    -

    I'm a full on 5. Thankfully, I came from a non-religious family so it's just not on my inner radar, never has been. And I don't have any use for any emotional crutches, so religion has never held any appeal to me at all. When believers ask me what I think of religion, I reply "I don't". When they want to talk about it, I say "not interested". When they get passive-aggressive, condescending, angry, fear-mongering, badgering, abusive, self-righteous, delusional, etc...then I excuse myself and leave...or I ask them what charities they're involved in. That shuts up most of the religio-zombies. You'd be surprised at the number of believers who do no charity work at all. What it boils down to for me is that I really don't care to be around fundamentally weak and confused people who need that kind of emotional crutch and that need everyone else to be similarly handicapped. Same goes for atheists that need to talk about religion, prove it wrong, need others to agree with them, etc...

    September 19, 2013 at 12:11 am |
    • ready1923

      Then why are you reading and commenting on an article about religion?

      September 19, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
      • jeffision

        You're mistaken. I commented on an article about Atheism (the _absence_ of religion). Ur not the sharpest tool in the drawer, are ya?

        September 19, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • devewi43

      What do you call a person that is pretty sure their is a higher power, but totally does not do religious organizations?

      September 19, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  14. krussell2010

    I thought I could be judged by god alone, amazing when god allows man to judge.

    September 18, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
  15. krussell2010

    why would a person disbelieve god,,,,,,, I know a stupid person

    September 18, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Please give us your three best factual, objective, independent and verifiable reasons for believing in any god.

      September 18, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • sam stone

      Why, other than unbridled arrogance, would a person purport to speak for god?

      Check out the posts from the pious......"god wants this", "god thinks that"

      For a group who are so blasted sure they are going to heaven, none of them are in a hurry to get there

      September 19, 2013 at 5:59 am |
    • George

      To which of the many gods are you referring? Do you believe in them all, or have you somehow figured out a way to actually choose just one from among all of them?

      September 19, 2013 at 10:02 am |
      • Edward

        Don't be silly. A person told him which one was real. And a person told him to worship that one. And a person....oh wait. You see what happened there?

        September 19, 2013 at 10:08 am |
  16. krussell2010

    ya you are correct, when we die there will be nothing,

    September 18, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
  17. It is true

    There really are six types of Atheist:
    1. Stupid
    2. Arrogant
    3. Ignorant
    4. Uninformed
    5. Pushy
    6. Chronically unhappy

    September 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • modestypress

      I take pride in being There really are six types of Atheist:
      1. Stupid
      2. Arrogant
      3. Ignorant
      4. Uninformed
      5. Pushy
      6. Chronically unhappy.

      In fact, I am stupider than you, more arrogant than you, more ignorant than you, less informed than you, pushier than you, though not nearly as unhappy as you. Well probably. I don't want to brag or anything.

      September 19, 2013 at 12:33 am |
    • sam stone

      place the business end of your shotgun in your mouth and go see god, if you have the nerve

      September 19, 2013 at 6:04 am |
      • modestypress

        Thank you for your suggestion. I don't own a shotgun. If you have one to contribute to me, I suppose that might be helpful, though law enforcement officials might consider your action with disfavor. Also, my wife is a very neat, tidy, and respectable person, and cleaning up the brains scattered around our house would be an uncomfortable and embarrassing experience for her. Seriously, I am an animal. (Albeit, an animal with a very complex brain, self awareness, and a knowledge of my own mortality. By and large animals tend to stay alive as long as they can. There is little or no evolutionary advantage to committing suicide. Thus my business card says CHEERFUL DESPAIR. If I live too long, I may decide to commit suicide, but I will do so as neatly and legally as possible. In the meantime, I get too much enjoyment by provoking people such as you, to kick the bucket.

        September 19, 2013 at 8:03 am |
    • JAMES OLIVER

      Well actually I am none of the following:
      1. Stupid
      2. Arrogant
      3. Ignorant
      4. Uninformed
      5. Pushy
      6. Chronically unhappy.

      However, I don't believe God does exists. If he does, I am fine with it. I rather doubt he'd want for me to burn in hell as I suspect I treat others much better than the majority of Christians.
      It always amazes me that some Christians say that atheists are arrogant. I say there is not enough proof for me to believe and pretty much leave it at that. Christians not only believe but also know exactly what God wants. I suspect those same people don't know what their spouse wants and they sleep next to them every night but have never met God or anyone who has met God.
      I do shout "Praise Ulhr" on occasion but fairly confident he is just a tale made up by the ancients
      Anyway, be happy.

      September 19, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
  18. Rosemary

    You should read the book A Case for Christ by Lee Strobel, who by the way was an atheist.

    September 18, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • ME II

      Cherry-picking and quote-mining. Lee Strobel is a journalist who uncritically interviewed a bunch of Christian apologists. Hardly convincing stuff.

      September 18, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • George

      His main argument boiled down to "Lots of people believed it was true at the time, so that means it must have been true". Hardly persuasive stuff, especially since there's no evidence the people he's using as examples even existed.

      September 19, 2013 at 10:04 am |
      • DC

        [QUOTE]
        George
        His main argument boiled down to "Lots of people believed it was true at the time, so that means it must have been true". Hardly persuasive stuff, especially since there's no evidence the people he's using as examples even existed.
        [END QUOTE]

        This is invalid.
        Lack of evidence of something's existence does not prove that the something does not exist.
        Someone shows you a picture, they tell you its' from WWII. either you believe it's from WWII or you don't, but there is not "absolute proof" ...
        therefore, your comment about having no proof .... is invalid.
        A tree falls in the forest, just cuz YOU aren't there to hear it, does not mean the tree did not make a sound.

        September 19, 2013 at 10:26 am |
        • George

          I'm presuming you don't believe in Zeus, Odin, Rama... but why not? Do you have any evidence they don't exist?

          September 19, 2013 at 10:50 am |
        • DC

          what i believe or not believe is not the point. i am trying to point out, that BELIEF lies beyond empirical evidence, and that all the arguments that try to use "proof" (or lack thereof) in this whole thread is invalid. This goes for both the believers and non-believers and all shades of gray in between. you try to point out that there is lack of evidence in some text that someone else claims on some text that some "event(s)" happened and just cuz you do not believe, you dismiss it as a lie. which is invalid. And this type of bad argument should not be so rampantly prevalent as it is here if this was indeed to start some real discussion, or just plain jumble-mumble atheists and agnostics together ... i guess researchers in Tennessee must be baptist.

          September 19, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
        • Sean Sohacki

          I stopped reading after the second sentence as it is downright wrong. Belief, by definition, lies WITHOUT empirical evidence. Words mean things.

          September 20, 2013 at 7:40 am |
        • DC

          to Sean's reply:
          wrong. You have conversation with a person, you turn around to get your beverage off the table behind you and you continue your chat, you turn around to find that other person you are talking to gone. They were in a hurry to go to the restroom, you thought they were there, but they are not. At the moment you were still talking while turned around, you "believed" they are there and listening to you. There was no empirical evidence that they were there at that point (as you were turned around and not looking at them) yet you still believed they were there. "EVIDENCE/PROOF" is on it's own and even though it may influence what we believe, it is not the core/essence of "belief". You either Believe something exists/happened/is happening or you do NOT. The empirical can sway one's belief but it is not the belief itself. Often times people's belief is consumed by having to be fed by the empirical data and then often times other people need not so much empirical data to believe in something. So then comes other really big questions . . . what do we choose to believe (or not believe) and why ... and again, the "why's" should not be purely based on empirical data, as that fails the moment something is "missing" from the senses.

          September 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
        • Chris

          Ah, the old "you can't prove a negative" argument. As intellectually dishonest now as it ever was.

          I don't have to prove unicorns don't exist; a believer in unicorns must prove they do. Same goes for Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and God.

          September 19, 2013 at 11:47 am |
        • DC

          you can't prove unicorns do not exist ... because they do NOT exist. there is NOTHING that needs to be proven. my point is that what one believes really has no bearing on empirical evidence. a person may choose to believe (or not believe) but that choice in and of itself is not based on evidence, it is merely the act itself. All claims of proof or lack of proof to believe something is invalid in this whole thread.

          September 19, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
        • JR

          People often incorrectly interchange the words "proof" and "evidence". No, nobody can "prove" that a particular god does or does not exist, but that doesn't mean there is no "evidence" to support one belief or another. But despite the attempts of creationists to manufacture additional evidence to augment their own meager collection, I think it's clear the the vast preponderance of the evidence is against the existence of ANY gods, let alone a particular one.

          September 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
        • DC

          Wrong. if there is absolute possibility that something exists.. then you it DOES exist/it IS/it BE and thus there would be no doubt and there would be no dis-belief and in such a case there is no belief either. All "evidence"/proof is either believed or not – period. This existence, is based on belief. trying to "got evidence" or "don't got evidence" fails because anything can believed or not believed. Plz don't stop half-way or re-define an act half way (kinda like the whole bit of jumbling agnosticism with atheism which is the other end of the spectrum and trying to include too much together) – researchers in the Bible belt doing not-so-demographically pc research.

          September 19, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
        • JR

          DC – I honestly can't tell if you are agreeing or disagreeing with my point.

          September 20, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Darryl

      Had a near death experience where i could see my self fallen on the road but my friends say i was in coma. i then saw a white tunnel next thing i can see is my friends pouring water on my face. All these experiences are hard to explain and most of you would not believe. But there is something more to life than what we already know and see.

      September 19, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
  19. B Mead

    I wouldn't give christians the satisfaction of even calling myself an atheist. That would give christians a chance to argue their side. There is no side, only delusion. Humanist is the only real perspective, and thats only if you find a need to label ones self.

    September 18, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Edward

      I like this train of thought. Count me in...anti-delusional!

      September 18, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Anti-delusional Antediluvian...

      Since geologists have proven there was no global biblical flood, doesn't that make us all antediluvian?...

      September 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • CommonSensePrevails

      That's what I call myself, and christians do find it difficult to argue with that because who does not care about the human race.

      September 22, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
  20. EdL

    I don't understand why atheists are so defensive, defending their atheism. Maybe I am the strange one, but I could not care less if one is an atheist or if one is not an atheist. Same with Christianity, I could not care less if one is a Christian or one is not a Christian. Besides this I could not care less if one is a vegetarian or is not, or if one is a Democrat or is not. I feel alone.

    September 18, 2013 at 11:38 am |
    • Edward

      We humanists have been severely persecuted for thousands of years. It is now possible to say it out loud with little or no consequence. Why, even the Pope said we can enter heaven if we live moral lives. We have absolutely nothing to loose by voicing our opinion and in doing so we hope to strip some of the insanity and delusion from this ancient belief system.

      September 18, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
      • George

        Well said.

        September 19, 2013 at 10:06 am |
        • CAts

          Right, none of us really care what each other think, to each his own.

          BUT. This changes when your beliefs can potentially cause me to DIE or be harmed. I don't care if you believe in a Walrus god, but if you think you'll get 72 seal virgins if you kill me, then we have a problem of belief. It's safer to be around people who do not believe in such dangerous tangents.

          October 1, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • CommonSensePrevails

      We're defensive because we're told we're going to hell and have no morals. I don't care about being told that I'm going to hell because it does not exist. But when I'm told I have no morals because I'm an Atheist, I get upset.

      September 22, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.