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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. lionlylamb2013

    Most freedom lovers know the quip!

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfDmu4f8l8I&w=640&h=390]

    July 15, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
  2. Belindas

    In the same way that I am an A-theist, I am also an A-palm reader, an A-alchemist, and an A-astrologer......get it? Alchemy isn't real, palm reading isn't real, astrology isn't real, deities aren't real. YAY! class dismissed, now go help someone and stop being christian or jew or muslim, you do more harm than good and you spout lies.

    July 15, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
  3. Scott Fawkse

    I suppose I fall under the non-theist crowd. I've always had trouble reconciling my own personal set of morals and that of religion. My mother told me as an adult that she would never let me near our Catholic church without an adult because she didn't trust Father Tom and married into a devout Baptist family who, behind closed doors, will admit racism and bigotry. Two isolated examples, but how can I put my faith in these people? Child predators on one side and bigots on the other? Thank you, I'll pass.

    July 15, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
  4. Jim

    Im not implying violence in any way, but put a gun to someone's head and most will suddenly realize they believe in God. It's easy to think whatever you want in comfortable, cozy conditions. Get pressed with tremendous hardship, you will seek and find. It's a blessing to be weak, because the truth is we all are, we're all mortal. We can't even survive without external things, like oxygen or food! We are all weak. But those who realize that and TRULY seek truth, will find it.

    July 15, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • Johnny Noir

      Aside from being totally untrue, that's a good point.

      The truth is that when faced with serious peril, atheists actually do not convert. Well-studied, well-proven. The "atheists in foxholes" thing is pure myth, a lie Christians who know no atheists tell each other.

      July 15, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • chubby rain

      We may be weak beings but isn't a God who depends on the worship of weak beings even weaker?

      July 15, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
  5. Belinda

    If there are gods, they are not the ones invented by mankind. Pathetic 'self' absorbed human deities. The universe will eat your holy ones in the epochs to come!! wait, I digress..

    July 15, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
  6. devin

    As much as a small part of me wishes to embrace agnosticism, the Christian narrative will not allow it.

    July 15, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Polonius

      The Christian narrative does support slavery and abandoning your family and children to follow Jesus, so you can always do those instead.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
      • devin

        Your misunderstanding of the biblical text is significant.

        July 15, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
        • Polonius

          Ephesians 6:5

          Matthew 19:29

          July 15, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
        • Steve

          Yeah, to leave wife and children to become a follower of Jesus means to never marry and have your own children. Most Catholic priest do this.

          July 15, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Umm, Devin – it's you who decides what to believe, and why. Claiming that the narrative won't allow it is a silly cop-out. Think for yourself.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
      • devin

        You do not comprehend my inference of the phrase "will not allow it" in this context.

        July 15, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Good narratives are very good at convincing you not to ignore them. A good story isn't necessarily true.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
      • devin

        Nor is it necessarily false.

        July 15, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        It is illogical to believe in stories with a large degree of myth. Sure, Beowulf is probably based on some sort of guy that did a few things, but just because it makes the story better doesn't mean he actually raced and killed sea monsters.

        July 15, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
        • devin

          The fact that you equate Beowulf with that of the biblical text, is telling.

          July 15, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
        • G to the T

          Devin – the fact that you cannot is also telling.

          What's wrong with researching out how the bible was written, translated and compiled? What wrong with treating it like a book to see if it's actually any different from any other book BEFORE acribing it to a supernatural origin (god breathed as some might say)?

          July 17, 2013 at 8:22 am |
    • Candiano

      Devin is faith/Austin. Beware.

      July 15, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
      • devin

        Actually, you're wrong. You can apply that to your world view or your delusion that I am those other chaps. Either would be appropriate.

        July 15, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
  7. Categories

    As if categorizing humanity in segments of different religions vs atheism vs agnosticism isn't enough. As if denominations isn't enough. We now have different flavors of atheism. We all love to find our special category too. "Behold!" ..and we all go "oooooh! I get a label."

    July 15, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
  8. India Andrews

    All they have are the opinions of a bunch of silly celebrities. I'd rather have the opinions of modern day philosophers and theologians on this issues than the opinions of mental giants like Keira Knightley and Daniel Radcliffe. Seriously, the worship of celebrity has reached ridiculous proportions when we ask them the ultimate questions like, "Is there a God(s)?" How would they know any more than Joe or Jane Blow on the street? Have they studied the issue any more than any of the rest of us? Have they gone to school any more than any of the rest of us?

    (Before some random knuckle dragger behind a keyboard makes a snarky comment, I have a bachelors degree and a masters degree in religious studies. I've probably studied the issue of the existence of the divine more than every celebrity on that silly slideshow. I just don't have a publicist and worldwide fame, so CNN isn't calling me.)

    July 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      Have you heard of marketing? This is why CNN uses these people. The same reason this blog features the Pope.

      But I agree that in both cases these people know next to nothing.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Rollo Tomasi

      If you have studied the existence of god so much, why don't you share the credible evidence you studied? I mean, you wouldn't be so foolish as to say you have studied a subject that has no credible evidence in support of it, would you?

      July 15, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
      • Agnes

        you missed the point Sir, there is no evidence of Thor (Atman[Indira{Zeus}])

        July 15, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
    • snowboarder

      the study of religion is only legitimate for anthropology.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        And history.

        July 15, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Did you read the article or just look at the unrelated pictures?

      I presume your religious instruction consisted mostly of coloring books.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Esaias

      Just b/c you have a Master's in religious studies doesn't necessarily indicate you are wise. There are many self-proclaimed intellectual elites (e.g. Dawkins, Hitchens) who are as dumb as hell.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
      • cedar rapids

        oh you only call them dumb because you dont agree with what they are saying. Thats hardly an intellectual argument.

        July 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • ThatGuy

      Snarky Commenter here:

      Why would a masters in religious studies make you an expert? Wouldn't science, physics, and mathematics make you better able to interpret the surrounding world? Come on friend, put the kool-aid down and join us in the 21st century.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • liveinpeace7

      Honey, you obviously didn't read the article, you only read the photo captions, and then made a foolish comment that doesn't make any sense to anyone who actually READ THE ARTICLE.... Try reading the article. You'll probably find it interesting.

      July 15, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Crossxcheck

      It seems to me one who has a Master's degree in comic book folklore studies could make just as valid an argument for the existence of Spiderman as you could for the existence of any god. The evidence for both are equally empirical.

      July 15, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
  9. are122

    I've yet to meet a #1. All I ever see are the one's that deny everything but put forth no theory of their own. Where did the universe and the laws (physics) therein come from? Many physicists point to a God so how does one say "science disproves it?" As for evolution, how did that happen? What came first, a male or a female gob...and how did that gob know to derive a design to fit the other if there was no other? Did male and female simultaneously evolve? And what of the millions of other species of plants and animals? Did it rain various gobs? Did some decide to be cats, dogs and some roses? Without a brain how would they decide? Why is it species cannot cross breed? I have about a hundred more but that's enough for now.

    July 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Rollo Tomasi

      So you are saying that the education system where you grew up totally sucked? Or are you saying that you dropped out before the fifth grade?

      July 15, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • snowboarder

      holy cow. you call those arguments? I've heard better from 3rd graders.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • TAK

      Holy crap. At least now I understand. When someone is so utterly lost as are122 it's easy to see how they can fall for the magic man in the sky story. I cannot even begin to educate you because we simply don't have the same vocabulary. No sense trying to teach you multiplication tables if you're going to ask "uh, what are numbers and what if they don't want to be multiplied?"

      July 15, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      sorry, you actually think those are valid questions? seriously?

      July 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
  10. Incognito

    I'm agnostic.. I don't like seeing agnostic associated with atheist in any way.. I think it's wrong of you to do so..

    July 15, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Quite right. I'm an agnostic atheist. The two are related, but separate terms.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:49 pm |

    • But you don't know it's wrong.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Which of these do you feel is more accurate:

      A – I think God exists.
      B – I don't think God exists.

      July 15, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
      • liveinpeace7

        Agnostic = I don't know whether a "god" exists.

        July 15, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Are you afraid of the question?

          A or B?

          July 15, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          The answer does not require a proof to be submitted.

          July 15, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
        • liveinpeace7

          There is no evidence one way or the other. Do you think my brother has brown hair? Yes or No? Are you afraid of the question, or just it just seem kind of dumb to answer a question when you have no idea, and no way to KNOW either way.

          July 15, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          The third option is plausible for people who genuinely don't have an opinion either way.

          I submit that most people who don't answer that question do so out of intellectual dishonesty because they don't want to face the question and deal with the societal stigma attached to atheism. I'm not talking about "knowing" for sure – the answer is unknowable.

          July 15, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
      • Steve

        You left out choice C...
        I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of all things visible and invisible.

        July 15, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
        • TAK

          Or choice D while you're at it.
          I believe in Santa Claus, maker and distributor of toys for good kids all over the world (as long as they have a chimney).

          July 15, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
        • Steve

          Actually St. Nick started the idea of bring gifts during Christmas to demonstrate to people how God brings good thing. Maybe you never thought of why Santa Claus comes during Christmas time and connected the two.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        For myself, I don't believe in God, but can't (and don't have to) prove it's non-existence.

        The label agnostic atheist works for me.

        July 15, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
        • G to the T

          +1 on that front.

          July 17, 2013 at 7:56 am |
  11. crappygovernment

    How would demons act if they were given bodies? They would probably hate Jesus and try to lure suckers and the pretentious away from Him. That's what atheists do. Maybe atheists are the demons?

    July 15, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Usually not.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      So Jews, Muslims, really anyone that isn't a Christian is a demon. And you wonder why people wouldn't want to be part of your hate group?

      July 15, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • Rollo Tomasi

      Whenever I hear a Christian frothing at the mouth about demons, I always remember Austin and his demon visions and run-over cats, and his amateur midnight drive-in installations.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      They would dress up as Catholic Priests and molest little boys? Or dress up as Southern Baptists and stir up hatred against people who are gay? Dress up as 17th Century Colonialists and burn women they accused of being witches? Dress up as Jihadists and fly planes into buildings?

      July 15, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • snowboarder

      demons are imaginary.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
      • Steve

        That's your opinion. Do you have proof exorcisms are no longer needed or used?

        July 15, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • G to the T

      Oh! You must be referring to when Paul was possessed by a demon and thought Jesus told him to go start a religion about him to the gentiles... thereby damning everyone by taking away the possiblity of them becoming good jews like god wanted... makes sense...

      July 17, 2013 at 7:58 am |
      • crappygovernment

        Tebow showed that the Lord now prefers Christian Goyim, comrade!

        July 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
  12. Vic

    From my personal experience of CNN Belief Blog, I find that most atheists here are of type 2 of the following article:

    http://atheism.wikia.com/wiki/Types_of_atheists

    July 15, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
  13. K Dub

    Didn't think I'd find this useful, but I kinda like it. I guess I'm a #6; I cannot believe in a rational, just God after working in a children's cancer ward, but I also miss the ritualism of Christmas mass at the Catholic church I attended as a child. I do not understand the militancy of some atheists – I think religions have done great harms but have also moved us forward as a species.

    July 15, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • Thank you

      Thank you for your work. That is a difficult line to work in for sure.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • Johnny Noir

      How do you think religion has moved us forward as a species?

      July 15, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
  14. bostontola

    Do any atheists on this board think they know there is no god(s)?

    July 15, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      I don't know of course but I think it very unlikely. Certainly it's not any god of any religion.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
      • bostontola

        I agree. I'm curious if anyone thinks they know for a fact. If not, then atheists need to get comfortable with being believers in no god(s) with faith in that. I am.

        July 15, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
        • Steve

          No person can say for a 100% certainty that there is no god. This is because he can't be proven or disproven. If you tell me god can not be seen, heard, or touched because he is outside our realm then we have no way to know whether he's there or not. So I, as an atheist, think it's highly unlikely he exists the same way I don't think Allah, Thor, or Santa Claus don't exist.

          July 15, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
        • bostontola

          Steve,
          I agree no one today can prove that given our intelligence, state of knowledge and technology. I've not seen any proof that it is not provable.

          July 15, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
        • Johnny

          You can certainly claim that individual gods don't exist based on the qualities that believers have given them.

          July 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Johnny Noir

      Know? Well there is a degree of absolutism there that is denied by the inability to disprove a negative, but all the same, the probability is so infinitesimally low and the claims of religion so absurd and contradictory that I put it in the "know" department along with unicorns and Bertrand's teapot.

      But if anyone actually were to bring credible evidence (and ancient ridiculous books of early Iron Age Middle Eastern peasant superstitions are not evidence), I would give it fair consideration. That hasn't been a problem yet in the entirety of history, so my expectations are low on that.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
      • bostontola

        Who says you can't prove a negative? Godel proved there is no finite arithmetic system that is both consistent and complete. You have to be quite smart to do it, true.

        July 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
      • Johnny Noir

        Then go ahead and do it.

        July 15, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
        • bostontola

          I can't, I believe there is no god(s). I just said non-existence proofs are possible, not that I can.

          July 15, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
        • Johnny Noir

          Too bad. That would have been interesting. I would hope that such a discussion would end the matter, but the nincompoops would just brand it a trick of the devil and go on believing.

          July 15, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
        • bostontola

          Agreed, most religions are irrational and breed poor thinking.

          July 15, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @bostonola,

      you can't satisfactorily prove non-existence.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
      • bostontola

        I didn't say I could. I said there is no principle that makes proving non-existence impossible. I gave a concrete example (an existence proof, sorry for the pun).

        July 15, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Is our universe finite?

          July 15, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
        • bostontola

          Is universe finite?

          How is that relevant?

          July 15, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
        • bostontola

          Oh, and no one knows if the universe is finite.

          July 15, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          In an infinite universe we could argue that infinite possibilities exist.

          So those flying pink unicorns and leprechauns might be out there somewhere along with a deity or two.

          It doesn't mean we think they are, but it does suggest we can't prove their non-existence with simple logic.

          July 15, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
        • bostontola

          I'm not a...,
          You may be right, but that plausible argument is far Fromm a proof itself.

          July 15, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          I don't offer a proof.

          I am satisfied with the label 'agnostic atheist'.

          It is pragmatic and sufficiently rigorous for an academic interpretation.

          July 15, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          Maybe we cant prove nonexistence ... but we can sure rack up hard and very real alternate explanations for the universe we see and do so completely independent of a creator.

          July 15, 2013 at 11:41 pm |
    • liveinpeace7

      There is no way to KNOW either way. Thus "faith". And if you have faith, good for you. For those of us that can't or won't pretend to believe in something with zero evidence, something that could just as easily be a historical tool devised to control the masses, we don't have faith. We are not believers. I do believe that if there is a compassionate and just God, he is the one who gave me this brain which does not believe. I didn't chose to "not believe". I just don't believe things that have no evidence by definition, and require blind belief. It seems foolish and ridiculous. That's the brain I have, and I cannot change it. If there is a God, he (she?) has a responsibility to have compassion on those of us that he/she created without the ability to blindly "believe", and those of us who aren't willing to pretend to believe.

      July 15, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
      • bostontola

        liveinpeace,
        I am similar. I don't have blind faith, I have faith there is no god based on a lot of evidence (not proof).

        July 15, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
        • liveinpeace7

          Yes, I would have to agree that the overwhelming evidence supports the "no God" theory. Good point.

          July 15, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
  15. skb8721

    As an agnostic, I don't understand why we are also lumped with atheists, as in this article and in the study about which it was written. To me, agnosticism is as far from atheism as it is from theism; thus, it makes as much sense (or as little sense) to lump agnostics with theists. In short: Agnostics are a distinct group and should be treated as such, not lumped in with either theists nor atheists.

    July 15, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      Most atheists are also agnostics. They do not purport to know the truth, but discount most religions as impossible nonsense.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
      • bostontola

        I agree. I'd go so far as to say all intelligent atheists are agnostic.

        July 15, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
      • skb8721

        I don't see how that's possible.

        Atheists = God does not exist
        Agnostics = Don't know if God exists are not

        I don't see how someone can hold these too mutually exclusive ideas at the same time. Yes, some will say I'm being simplistic by making such an assertion, but by God (no pun intended) I believe words have specific meanings, and if someone who purports to be an "atheists" yet says "I don't know if God exists or not," then to me it appears they are not actually an atheists. This being said, I would never tell someone what they are or aren't.

        July 15, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
        • skb8721

          P.S. Penn Gilette is a good example of someone whose view confuses me: He purports (very loudly) to be an atheists, and yet his mantra is "I don't know if God exists." To me, that's an agnostic, not an atheists. But I'm not going to tell him that!

          July 15, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
        • skb8721

          Sorry, I meant "two mutually exclusive ideas at the same time"!

          July 15, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
        • bostontola

          No. Agnostics and atheists don't know. Atheists go further, they believe there is no god(s). Agnostics stop at don't know.

          July 15, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Here's a quote borrowed from a poster here:

          To quote an ex-pentecostal minister and one of the heads of the Clergy Project...
          "Skepticism is my nature.
          Freethought is my methodology.
          Agnosticism is my conclusion.
          Atheism is my opinion.
          Humanitarianism is my motivation."
          —Jerry DeWitt

          July 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
        • Michael

          Those aren't mutually exclusive. One concerns disbelief and the other concerns knowledge. You can disbelieve in something without knowing whether it exists or not. Almost everyone disbelieves in leprechauns, but it wouldn't be impossible for them to exist, just extremely unlikely.

          July 15, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
        • nek8

          you can BELIEVE that god doesn't exist (atheist) yet be UNCERTAIN of his existence (agnostic). I'm pretty sure this is what the authors intend when grouping atheist and agnostics together.

          July 15, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
      • SpikedLemon

        Atheist = no theism
        Agnostic = from the greek word "agnost" meaning "do not know"

        There's a clear separation between Atheism and Agnosticism.
        Agnostics either don't know or don't care if there is/are god(s)
        Atheists don't believe in theism (belief of god(s))

        July 15, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
        • liveinpeace7

          There's a difference between "doesn't believe in God" and "believes that God does not exist".
          A-theism could be either. It could also be – doesn't believe in the forms of Theism (religion) that are available.
          a-theism = non religious.
          There isn't just one clear definition of atheism...

          July 15, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Atheism is at best an opinion and not a statement based on established fact – so is belief in God.

          In the absence of established fact one cannot know (agnostic) but one can still hold an opinion.

          July 15, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I suspect there are very few people who truly cannot answer the question "do you think God exists?" with a yes or no answer.

      If the answer is 'no' then you are an atheist.

      I don't believe in God(s), but can't (and don't have to prove) the non-existence of God. Which makes me an agnostic atheist, but not someone who can't answer the question I posed earlier.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
  16. Danny

    CNN always promotes anti-God beliefs but will not publish anything pro-God. CNN should have an unbiased news view and report on pro Christianity issues occasionally.

    July 15, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      The point of news reporting is that it is based in reality. That's why you perceive a bias. You believe in things that don't exist in reality.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
      • Esaias

        There are no atheists in hell (they all believe in God now).

        July 15, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • Johnny Noir

      You're joking, right?

      July 15, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • Brandon

      Go to Fox News Danny.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • skb8721

      CNN published op-ed pieces frequently by Christian preachers.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • Candiano

      Your persectution/paranoia level is high today.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • Michael

      CNN tries to represent more perspectives than other news organizations (*cough*FAUX*cough*). Yes, they have a lot of atheist articles, but that's because atheists are a growing number of the population. If you're trying to claim that they don't have a lot of Christian-related articles, then you're either being willfully ignorant/blind or you hardly ever visit the site. They have religious articles on every Christmas and Easter, and they recently had several of them concerning the gay marriage debate.

      Actually, all anyone needs to do to realize the folly of your post is to look at the very top of the page where articles of that nature are linked to. It's very tiring when people like you feign persecution just because someone ELSE'S point of view is being represented *for once*.

      July 15, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      sorry danny but what you just claimed is a lie, as can be seen by the other articles available on this religious blog.
      dont go bearing false witness now.

      July 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  17. Seyedibar

    Everyone I've ever met is an atheist. If they believed in a god, it was only ever one. Since there are a few thousand.gods, each of these true believers are atheistic to thousands of other gods, hundreds of religions. They each somehow believe that their own god is the only real one and that the only miracles that occurred are from their own holy book (which coincidentally is almost always the first religion they were exposed to).
    Show me a human being who isn't an atheist, who in complete foolishness and against all rationality believes in every single god, legend, folk hero, and alien ever dreamed up. I want to meet that guy.

    July 15, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • Not always

      I'm an agnostic theist and I think all of them are pretty much a symbol pertaining to Wantantanka so to speak. Provided there is one.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • I believe in God!

      I believe in God. Once you are saved and develop a relationship with God you will be shown that there is a God. Try going to a Christian church and you will feel the presence of God.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
      • Seyedibar

        Which god? Can I go to a christian church and feel the presence of Thor?

        July 15, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        They all say that though.

        July 15, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
      • I believe in peanut butter

        So you have to develop a relationship first BEFORE you get to find out if he is even there?

        You know, that's true of leprechauns too. You have to develop that relationship first, then they will show themselves to you. Okay, they don't show themselves visually; you have to imagine it all, just like Jesus.

        July 15, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
        • noone@gmail.com

          I just wanna know where da gold at! Gimme da gold!

          July 15, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
      • Feel the Presence of God

        Once I went to a Christian church, and I really did feel the presence of God.... But it turned out just to be the priest. 😦

        July 15, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
      • fanofseyedlbar

        When I go to a Christian church, all I feel is a little creeped out by how much it all seems like cult-like behavior. Mindless rantings.

        July 15, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
        • liveinpeace7

          Agreed! Very creepy, and sort of embarrassing for the people that are blindly following. After being raised in a Christian home, church, high school, and college, I finally stepped back and realized how creepy it is. They see how creepy other religions seem (LDS, etc.) but they don't see that theirs seems just as creepy once someone steps back and looks at it from the outside.

          July 15, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
      • Athy

        I went to a church once and thought I felt the presence of god. Turned out it was just a bad organ player.

        July 15, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
      • tallulah13

        I've always found church to be dreadfully boring, even back when I did believe in god. The highlight of the whole experience was those felt boards they had in Sunday School, where the teacher put up figures of Jesus and the Apostles to illustrate their stories. I still want one of those boards.

        But no thank you on the religion. As I grew up, I realized that my religion was nothing more than cultural indoctrination and that my belief was based on emotions created by really, really wanting to believe in god. When you take into account the utter lack of evidence to support the existence of the christian god, or any god really, it becomes apparent that religion has no place in a rational society.

        July 15, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
    • Dan

      You really should cite the work you borrow when you post it. This is far from an original thought by you.

      A theist is someone who believes in God or gods. An atheist does not. To say that someone is "atheist to other religions" is just fatuous pseudo-philosophical ranting. Theism and atheism have never been defined by who or how many gods one believes in.

      July 15, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
  18. nonPCrealist

    #5 is alive!

    It's about all I've got on the subject, but according to the article I'm apathetic soo... meh.

    July 15, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
  19. Liz the First

    I think what atheists are rejecting is the Judeo-Christian image of some old goat on a throne micromanaging the universe and everyone's lives. i am a very spiritual person with a wholehearted belief in God and i reject that image myself. there are some belief systems out there that can explain God and our relationship with it without insulting one's intelligence. a friend of mine said one time he didn't believe in God but he did think there was something like the Force in Star Wars, and i told him he had a better grasp of the true nature of God than most folks who go to mainstream churches every sunday! God isn't a delusion or a danger, but what we have turned religion into sure is.

    July 15, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • Danny Boy

      Aside from the complete and utter lack of evidence for everything you claim, that's pretty, uh, unbelievable.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      There's plenty of non-Christian Gods not to believe in too.

      If you want to believe in something like Spinoza's God that's fine.

      July 15, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • lionlylamb2013

      Good evening Liz the 1st,

      The Star Wars anthology where these "midichlorians" being the forces inside the Jedi's physical being is where I lay down my views and temporal beliefs. Lucas is right on!

      July 15, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
      • lionlylamb2013

        [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfDmu4f8l8I&w=640&h=390]

        July 15, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
      • G to the T

        NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO – friggin' midichlorians RUINED STAR WARS!

        July 16, 2013 at 4:28 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.