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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. highplainsparson

    There is an Atheist vs. Christian debate raging right now on the highplainsparson blog.

    October 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • zampaz

      I find no debate or comments on the highplainsparson blog and my comment awaits moderation.

      October 19, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
  2. Manchester United fan

    Sorry, don`t know the man

    October 18, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      But you've heard of Chris Smalling?

      October 18, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  3. Manchester United fan

    You forgot the seventh type. The seventh type belongs to the Fakawi tribe. This i a very close knit tribe, always travelling together in the forest. They don`t know their way and keep asking each "Where the Kakawi?"

    October 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Another Roy Hodgson joke?

      October 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  4. PPLRWRD

    What I don't get is the big bang theory. Here is what baffles me about it. First the part about THEORY people don't get. Second, the part where the big bang was a sudden outrush of energy out of nothing. This is in complete contradiction with the laws of physics which states that no energy can be formed out of nothing. But people embrace that so readily but mock God so easily. Finally, I can't see how people don't seem to understand that most "science" is speculation. Oh, there are proven aspects here and there, but heck there are proven aspects of religion here and there too. But science will say the egg yoke is good, no bad, no good, no bad again and no one sees the uncertainty of science? Now, I think religion is uncertainty too. How many contradictions, just like science, are out there in those realms too. But why are people so willing to dismiss an undeniable spiritual aspect of the human being yet so ready to embrace scientific THEORIES as fact. Is science wrong, not saying that. Is if NOT fact, absolutely not. They have some facts, but many educated and uneducated guesses. I am not saying cast of science. I am saying don't so readily cast of religion.

    October 18, 2013 at 2:33 am |
    • Bob

      You clearly have no idea what the word "theory" means in a scientific context or even what "science" itself means. It is a predictive model and requires EVIDENCE. It is not speculation or guess work.

      Strident, emotional assertions do not an argument valid

      October 18, 2013 at 7:06 am |
    • zampaz

      Of course you don't understand BB theory. The theory is a mathematical abstraction of a singularity, perhaps initiated by vacuum energy -the likely suspect of the cause. Most science is NOT speculation. You are scientifically illiterate. Bust a neuron, read a book but start with learning about the scientific method.

      October 18, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Felix

      Can you name any of those proven aspects of religion?

      October 18, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
  5. Christina

    Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

    October 17, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
  6. zimmy

    0-religion.blogs.cnn.com.library.ccbcmd.edu

    i would if i could but i can't so i shan't

    October 17, 2013 at 12:57 am |
  7. Dan

    Wow. Everyone's made so much progress convincing the other side of their convictions. 104 pages of enlightened dialogue right here. Well done.

    October 16, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
  8. Harvey the giant rabbit

    I have a good friend who is invisible.

    I can see him only in my mind's eye. No one else can see him or know he is there. If I talk to him it is in my thoughts. No one is aware of this because I don't talk about it. Once or twice I've gone for medical attention and was informed that this experience is similar to what some others experience with their religions. I was informed by medical professionals that as I was otherwise normal there was nothing to be done.

    As this person in my mind's eye is not Allah, YHVH, Jesus, Krishna, Zeus or any sort of deity I've read up on before I never thought of him as my religion. Apparently he is. I turned to atheism for help.

    What I've learned is that no one is in control of my thoughts, but me so turning to anything or anyone for help is mostly pointless.

    I've also learned that just because my friend doesn't exist doesn't mean I'm not able to enjoy his company.

    I've learned that as I'm still functional my opinions on the nature of the universe including any origins of my invisible friend are probably just as valid as anyone else's.

    Lastly I've realized the experience of seeing my invisible friend in my mind's eye is actually quite pleasant and I would miss the momentary distraction. I would miss seeing him from time to time in my dreams.

    When I look back at my life knowing I've been in the closet about my experience for over thirty years I can only give you the following advice....

    If someone wants to think on an invisible person, you can't stop them.

    October 16, 2013 at 5:26 am |
    • timmy

      what are the names, addresses and phone numbers of the medical professionals who informed you that you were otherwise normal?

      "Once or twice I've gone for medical attention and was informed that this experience is similar to what some others experience with their religions. I was informed by medical professionals that as I was otherwise normal there was nothing to be done. As this person in my mind's eye is not Allah, YHVH, Jesus, Krishna, Zeus or any sort of deity I've read up on before I never thought of him as my religion. Apparently he is. I turned to atheism for help. What I've learned is that no one is in control of my thoughts, but me so turning to anything or anyone for help is mostly pointless."

      u turned to atheism for help. to whom did u speak? they taught u not to let ur brain be controlled. and, "I've also learned that just because my friend doesn't exist doesn't mean I'm not able to enjoy his company." how do u no he doesn't exist?

      October 17, 2013 at 1:31 am |
      • rufus

        do you think it is trendy to be ungrammatical or are you just too lazy?

        October 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
      • Harvey the giant rabbit

        I do not want to give the information of my care providers via the blog, though if I did the file wouldn't be noted under Harvey the giant rabbit anyway.

        We are all in control of our own minds. Sometimes it takes two with an opposing viewpoint meeting one another to come to that realization.

        I know my invisible friend does not exist only to the marginal extent that I am able to verify the existence or non existence of anything else. That of course is not a vast extent.

        I must agree with Rufus on the typos, but I assume you are probably using a mobile phone.

        Thanks for asking, I appreciate your interest.

        October 17, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
        • Edward

          He's a Pooka don't you know!

          October 18, 2013 at 10:26 am |
  9. GOOD NEWS

    Atheism is a dead end. For GOD is absolutely Real.
    Here is the Ultimate Proof:

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com
    UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES

    October 16, 2013 at 4:07 am |
    • Edward

      You have that backwards my friend. God is just a delusion for he does not, cannot and will never be.

      October 18, 2013 at 10:28 am |
  10. Techrat3D

    Does God exist? I don't know. I can't prove it, nor refute it.
    People say that the Bible is the proof, but it was written by man, not God. Because if you check where it was printed, it don't say heaven.
    People look for something to believe in. Some need the tribal feeling of belonging, and that makes religions easy to accept. Others look for their faith elsewhere, be it people, drugs, objects, or even themselves. To find faith is Ok, but it must NEVER give you permisiion to hurt others because they don't believe in what you do.
    They say that the "Holy" Crusades are a thing of the past, but unfortunately it has only gained a new guise in this day and age, that is not limited to Christianity.
    So what do I believe in? I guess I would place myself under "Seeker-agnostic".
    And if anyone here reading my comments can't accept my choice of belief, then go F#(K yourself! 😉

    October 16, 2013 at 3:02 am |
    • mickeym1313

      absence of evidence is evidence of absence. There is no evidence of god where their should be abundant evidence, therefore, no sky fairy. All theism is just the minds know attempt to make order and patterns out of nothing. All theism is self-delusion and harms all of humanity for every single follower.

      October 16, 2013 at 10:22 am |
      • Melody

        Actually there is evidence of God but you are unwilling to allow yourself to see or believe. I'm quite sure you will retort with some sort of sarcastic remark, however in order to believe you actually have to be willing. Until there is no will to allow God to show himself to you, well you just won't ever see the evidence of him.

        October 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
        • Seanymcnasty

          What specifically is this evidence? Please explain in detail. I am absolutely willing to accept identifiable evidence. Take your time.

          October 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
        • Nate

          Sean, have you ever heard of the Leibnizian Cosmological Argument? Here it is, in my words:

          P1 The universe (meaning all of physical existence) exists contingently.
          P2 Something that exists contingently must be caused.
          P3 If the universe has a cause of its existence, that cause is a nonphysical, personal being, which we call God.
          C1 Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence (from P1 and P2).
          C2 Therefore, the cause of the universe is God (from P3 and C1).

          Of course, this proof does not have the force of mathematics; based on our reasoning and experience, premises 2 and 3 seem logical, but it's possible that they don't hold.

          October 17, 2013 at 12:10 am |
        • Felix

          You know other people say similar things about their gods, too, right?

          October 17, 2013 at 7:53 am |
        • DfiantWolfe

          You do know that with Premise 3 needs to be supported by it's own evidence right? We don't have the slightest evidence suggesting anything about what caused the universe. It *could* be a God, it *could* also be explained any number of ways as well. Premise 2 needs to be supported too – We only assume that the Universe needs a cause, it's a very good assumption that just about everyone would accept. but you don't prove conclusions to a logical argument on assumed premises without supporting evidence. Quantum Theory is highly supported . And can *allow* a loophole to P2. Somethings might not have *causes*. String theory and Multiverse theories outright contradict P2. It hasn't proven it wrong though, and even I accept that the Universe still has a cause, but nothing has *proven* that it *needs* one.

          but even if you accept premise 2, Without it's own supporting evidence, Premise 3 requires the assumption that Conclusion 2 is correct- That's because P3 rules out all other causes and asserts that "God" is the cause- It's circular... Basically, the argument is not evidence, it's a proposed logical explanation that works backwards from the assumption of it's own conclusion. It's unsound logic.

          October 17, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
  11. bananas

    Jesus said he was god and he did many miracles proving he was

    October 15, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • bananas

      Observer is a case in point. She says many things she has never substantiated. She doesn't even try. Embellished? Edited?
      Lol. You can only do so much for people.

      Just remember, she has never criticized snake stone

      October 15, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
      • bananas

        No one disputes the overwhelming proof the books and letters written thousands of years ago accurately portray the life of a man, Jesus Christ. Those folks were murdered not only for the content but their refusal to deny the factual basis for everything they wrote.

        No atheist will volunteer to attempt to create such a "story." Makes no difference. In reality, they know who Jesus was/is and they are terrified of him and what awaits them.

        I really don't mind them. In fact, they are hilarious. The only thing I don't care for is the way they ram this garbage down our throats and that the one or two posting here may actually vote. Well, they might even be working with children, but that is too terrifying to contemplate.

        October 15, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
        • George

          "No one disputes the overwhelming proof the books and letters written thousands of years ago accurately portray the life of a man, Jesus Christ. Those folks were murdered not only for the content but their refusal to deny the factual basis for everything they wrote. "

          This is plainly not true since most of the world's population does dispute what is portrayed in the Bible, and by no means consider it to contain "proof" of anything.

          October 16, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • archivedd

      If I go to a remote Amazonian tribe and tell them I'm god, then amaze them with some magic tricks, does that make me god too? Surely there is more to it than that. Or is it just that god is in the eye of the beholder?

      October 18, 2013 at 9:52 am |
  12. Undecided

    Does existence exit?

    October 15, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
  13. dm murdock

    U must be kidding

    October 15, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
  14. Bro. Tim

    There is no such thing as an atheist. They are simply people who do not want to retain the idea of a God in their minds. There are many reasons for doing so, usually it's because if they acknowledged that there is a God, there are afraid He would put a restriction on some activity they are involved in, be it their vocation, lifestyle, goals, plans, philosophy, etc. No one can honestly look in a mirror and not KNOW they were wonderfully DESIGNED.

    "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;" – Romans 1:28

    "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." – Psalm 14:1

    October 14, 2013 at 6:46 am |
    • Seanymcnasty

      "But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca,’ shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall say, ‘Thou fool,’ shall be in danger of hell fire." Matthew 5:22

      Know your bible, you fool.

      October 14, 2013 at 9:10 am |
      • LLLFD

        Atheist do not believe in God. Therefore they are not our brothers since they are not God's children. Mark 3: 35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother." Atheist are our neighbors and we must love them. Bro. Tim did not show any anger in his comment but you did Seanymcnasty. Don't call anyone a fool if you really don't know the scriptures.

        October 14, 2013 at 9:46 am |
        • Albert

          He didn't show anger, but he did show ignorance. What's wrong with educating him?

          October 14, 2013 at 10:12 am |
        • Seanymcnasty

          What ignorance did I show specifically?

          October 14, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
        • Seanymcnasty

          I showed zero anger. Just an FYI, when the bible is ever referring to brothers or sisters, they are referring to Jewish brothers and sisters. You need to read other sources instead of just the one book. And by sources I mean the ones invested in factual history, and not embellishments and fabrications. Mark never met Jesus and, thus, never knew him. Everything written by him is from hearsay and built up myths by illiterate and uneducated peasants of the time.

          And didn't god create everything and everyone? Why did god create atheists? It seems you only know the scriptures by reading...the scriptures.

          October 14, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
        • Albert

          Seanymcnasty – Not you showing ignorance, I was responding to LLLFD about Bro. Tim.

          October 14, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
        • sam stone

          really? calling people stupid is not showing anger?

          October 14, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
        • Seanymcnasty

          Sam, who called anybody stupid?

          October 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
      • morelikehim

        Guy- Do you have anything to prove God doesnt exist? I mean something solid and not hearsay? Point me in the direction that proves his non existance and I will follow up with it. It doesnt matter if Mark knew Jesus. He was a scribe. He knew Paul and spent time with him. Have you read the Synoptic Gospels to learn more about how they were written and the writers of each? You should do that its very interesting. I wont quote any scripture to you. You seamed to have spent allot of time with it and know the history of it very well. Secular history aknowledges that Jesus did exist and walk on this earth. Its up to you whether you believe he died for you. Its up to you whether you believe in God. I just hate to see others do your thinking for you. Have a good day!

        October 15, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
        • Observer

          morelikehim

          "I just hate to see others do your thinking for you."

          But it's fine for a book to do your thinking for you. Especially one that supports belief in unicorns, talking non-humans, and dragons. "Gone With the Wind" has far more "verifiable" stories than that.

          October 15, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
        • Seanymcnasty

          First of all, you are never called upon to prove a negative. Can you prove unicorns don't exist? Leprechauns? Any other god? Do you believe in any of those? Why or why not? Prove to me that there isn't an invisible, one-eyed flying gnome right next to you.

          Secondly, a scribe is just that: a writer. He/she can make up literally anything that they wish. What you may not know about Paul was that he was completely against Jesus and his following at first. Only after Jesus was killed and Paul claims that Jesus spoke to him on a rode (seriously?) did he start to proselytize for Jesus. In fact, everything written by Paul was in spite of all the other apostles (who did not agree with anything that he was teaching about Jesus) and the Jewish council. Nothing that Paul preaches was every spoken of before (by Jesus or by the apostles). This makes Mark's writings of Jesus complete hearsay and fabrications.

          If Jesus did exist (and he probably did) he was no different from the hundreds to thousands of other "prophets" and "messiahs" who were also executed for sedition. You've just admitted to trusting in something based on faith which is, by definition, trusting in something without evidence. This is irrational. After Jesus was executed by the Roman empire, everyone went on living their lives.

          I suggest you read some unbiased material and give some thought to what it is you think is real.

          October 15, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • George

      What an idiotic idea. You're aware of the existence of lots and lots of religions besides your own, right? Just as you reject the existence of the gods represented in those religions, the followers of those religions reject the existence of your god, and atheists just go one step further than everyone else and reject the existence of them all. It's really pretty simple.

      October 14, 2013 at 9:55 am |
      • Albert

        Well said. Too many Christians make it out like the only choices available are to believe in their god or to be an atheist, ignoring all the many other religions. In some of their minds, everyone really believes in their god but some are just choosing to reject him. How ignorant.

        October 14, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Observer

      Bro. Tim,

      You are in a world of fantasy if you don't think most atheists have given a lot of thought to their position. In many cases they are atheists because they HAVE read the Bible and find too much nonsense in it to believe it.

      October 14, 2013 at 10:02 am |
      • ErinNoone

        I fully realized I was an atheist when I was 14 and attending a friends church. All of a sudden I realized that it was all crap and they were all nuts and there was no God. So believe us when we say we "did our research" before declaring what we believe is true.

        October 17, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • tallulah13

      What arrogant stupidity, Bro. Tim. I am an athiest because there isn't a single shred of evidence that you god or any god exists. All your proud, ignorant declarations do not make your god real. They just show that you are proud and ignorant. And possibly terrified of reality.

      October 14, 2013 at 10:14 am |
      • Metalshaper

        You don't get to have a tangible albeit still supernatural proof of GOD unless you are a strong believer. On your knees in abject humility is when you get your proof. Faith is belief in things unseen. You can't see the wind but you can see the effect of the wind.

        October 14, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
        • Observer

          Metalshaper

          "You can't see the wind but you can see the effect of the wind."

          Wind is measurable. It can be proven to exist. It obeys consistent laws of science. It is not like God.

          October 14, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
        • gary

          "tangible-supernatural proof", T13? my bible makes it pretty clear that we don't get proof, not in this lifetime. I think you're making a common mistake, confusing Conviction with Knowledge. We can become convinced, that is faith. When u talk about God from a position of knowledge, proof, etc, u only turn ppl off to what u are saying. u loose respect as soon as u say u know what u cannot know, it's a self-defeating premise.

          the story of jesus' death and resurrection is strongly supported by the historical evidence. there is no historical evidence contradicting his resurrection. strange as it seems, it is true, and anyone that wants to can check it out. doing so has changed the minds of many a skeptic. Peace

          October 15, 2013 at 3:29 am |
        • sam stone

          faith is gullibility

          October 15, 2013 at 5:42 am |
        • sam stone

          gary: aren't you making the same mistake of confusing faith with knowledge?

          October 15, 2013 at 5:45 am |
        • George

          gary: "the story of jesus' death and resurrection is strongly supported by the historical evidence."

          Care to share any extra-Biblical historical evidence you've come across?

          October 15, 2013 at 8:35 am |
        • tallulah13

          Why in the world would you believe in something for which there is not a single shred of proof, only folk tales supported by a multi-million dollar propaganda industry? Are you a child, or do you simply fear death so much that you will believe any story that allows you to believe you will live forever?

          October 15, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • sam stone

      you do realize timbro, that quotes from an iron age comic book are only valid to those who accept the validity of that iron age comic book, don't you?

      that being said, the fools are not the ones who do not believe in god

      the true fools are those who feel they speak for this god

      lots of people believe in gods other than yours

      do you consider them all fools, too?

      October 14, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Your delusion is more severe than normal if you rationalize that atheists pretend to not believe in a god to commit some nefarious act(s).

      October 14, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • Barcs

      You were right in the first sentence, but after that it goes from bad to worse. If somebody doesn't believe in god, why would they be afraid of the consequences of non belief? That doesn't make any sense at all. It's funny how people constantly mock atheists when their view is more logical than any of these ridiculous religions, and say that they are afraid of believing. Why would they be afraid? Theists have no right to mention fear, because most religions are based on fear. If you believe the wrong god, or don't follow their exact teachings, you suffer for eternity. Who's afraid again?

      Everybody is an atheist, it just depends which god you are referring to. I would bet that 99% of people reading this do not believe in Zeus. That would make them atheists in that respect. You don't have to reject every single god ever to be an atheist. Also, atheist is not a proper noun, nor is it a belief system. It is simply lack of a belief.

      October 15, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Brandi Couse

      Bro Tom, I chose to respond to you because of something you said that spoke to me.

      "They are simply people who do not want to retain the idea of a God in their minds. There are many reasons for doing so, usually it's because if they acknowledged that there is a God, there are afraid."

      I have two requests. First, please do not assume the intent of all (or even most) atheists, Christians, Muslims, etc. judge them by their deeds, where their words meet their actions. Second, hear me, not believe or trust but at least hear... I am an atheist who has often wished I believed in a God because the God I would believe in honors kindness over cruelty, generosity over greed, truthfulness over deceit, patience over persecution, thoughtfulness over intolerance or dogma. I want there to be a God because I (at least BELIEVE) I live an honorable life and want that to be conclusively rewarded. I am not afraid. I just don't believe in a God. I still live a life of honor because what I DO believe is that those aforementioned ideals are good and just.

      Bro Tom, I can not, nor do I want the change your belief in God. I have no desire in my heart for that endeavor. My simple hope is that you will hear me when I say, "I do not believe in a God and that is not because I am afraid."

      October 17, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
      • Edward

        I think Bro Tom has it all backwards with this statement. The true reason for people to believe in the divine is because they are afraid to live their lives without the thought that there will be some "place" to go after death.

        Also, fear is central to the dogma and indoctrination within these delusional concepts.

        Call me an alarmist, but without this fear I truly believe mankind would have no need of deities at all.

        October 18, 2013 at 10:16 am |
  15. bonnie dilger

    If belief in Christ depended on the intellect, few there would be professing Christ. A babe born of a virgin, a great creator will became savior -"- turn the other cheek"," Not me! If someone does something awful to me, I'll pay that person doubly. No one gets away with anything with me. No siree!" ." I am not of this world" –" There are three of Us, but We at the same time are one!" Come on!! This is surely a fairy tale to keep the poor in line and ensure that little Catholics are born daily. No, no,no! There would be no "believers." if we were to look for God through a tactile search. As God is a Triune Being, so are we. Father, Son and Holy Spirit in those He made in His Likeness, become Body, Soul and Spirit. It is only when we stop ignoring the most important faction of our being, which is Spirit, that we become aware we are one with Christ. He knows you already. Get reacquainted with Him. You've nothing to lose and everything to gain. I find it not only comforting, but also appealing, that I'm friends with a King!

    October 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Felix

      Um, let me guess... you were born into a family that believes the same way you do, right?

      October 13, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Your first sentence really says it all.

      October 14, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  16. H. E. Baber

    I would have guessed that "non-theists"–those for whom religion is simply "absent from their mental space" were by far the largest group. But in this study it's the smallest. I wonder if you'd get different results in places where secularism was more long-standing and more entrenched, e.g. in secular European countries. Or among academics, or other populations where atheism is the norm–just something taken for granted.

    October 13, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
  17. Glenn

    Talk about the blind leading the blind. The bible says in the last days.wars & rumors of war- Luke 21:19
    Unrest, fear & upheaval- Luke 21:25,26
    Increase in knowledge- Daniel 12:14
    Scoffers & religious skeptics who turn away from bible truth- 2 peter 3:3, 2 Timothy 4:3,4. It's not difficult to find scoffers today
    Moral degeneracy- decline in spirituality- 2 Timothy 3:1-5
    Craze for pleasure- 2Timothy 3:1-4 the world has gone pleasure mad
    Increase in lawlessness, bloody crimes, & violence Matthew 24:12,Ezekiel 7:23. Crime and lawlessness are increasing rapidly ever day.
    Destructive earthquakes & storms, famines- Luke 21:11
    Turning to spiritism- 1Timothy 4:1. Revelation 6:14
    Read for yourself. Don't trust any man, because all man are liars, and liars are of the devil
    If that doesn't convince you, YouTube last day events of bible prophecy by Dough Batchaler

    October 12, 2013 at 11:44 pm |
    • watchman

      Jesus Christ is king..God told us it would be like this in the end..a great falling away every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is lord..YeshuahaMachiach..youtube harbingers...isaiah 9 10 judgement..jonathan cahn..restored church of God

      October 13, 2013 at 4:22 am |
      • weismonger

        Really? Jesus is a king that I must now obey or you will do what? What total, pure, paranoid schizophrenic craziness...that I now must worship an imaginary god who committed suicide, from a bible that says there are talking snakes.

        Gee, if Jesus is king, he really has a hard time reigning in his subjects. Poor Jesus.

        October 13, 2013 at 4:25 am |
      • sam stone

        snivelling coward

        October 14, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
      • sam stone

        that comment was directed to watchman

        so, watchman....you want someone else to take the punishment you feel you deserve? how is that a desirable moral stance?

        or, is it all about subservience to you?

        you probably believe your god to be a just god

        if that is the case, why do you try to avoid justice by desiring mercy?

        i suspect these questions are too much for you

        get back on your knees before god thinks you are getting a bit uppity

        why do you want salvation?

        October 14, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • Observer

      News from THOUSANDS of years ago. Nothing new.

      October 13, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
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About this blog

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.