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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. Diane

    George Carlin and Bill Maher are an obvious omission from this list. I consider them anti-theist.

    July 16, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • AAAAHHHHhhhhhhh

      So then they weren't omitted from the list. Did you notice #4?

      July 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  2. SoCal Reggae

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TZuD-18vAY&w=640&h=390]

    July 16, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • JAM

      I and I am conveted to Prince Tafari!

      July 16, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
  3. tony

    My score is 4 out of the author's 6.

    July 16, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  4. Will

    Or, there's the Buddhists who make up like 1/5th of the planet.

    July 16, 2013 at 11:53 am |
  5. Alex Povolotski

    Gods over millenia killed so many people or contributed to killing so many people that it's hard to forget and forgive what they did. People killed and prosecuted other people in the name of God / Gods. This is hard to forget and forgive either.

    If some of the holy books are right about the coming of God to this world again, then He will find many people greatly dissatisfied with his past doings or neglect to do / intervene.

    In fact, there is so much pain that he caused, directly or indirectly, that I won't be surprised many people would want to kill God the first minutes he steps on this Earth and proclaims himself as God.

    God is evil in so many ways, with no morality and plenty of vengeance that it's hard not to hate Him. He is a disgrace for humanity and is a disgust.

    July 16, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • AAAAHHHHhhhhhhh

      I suppose; if you believe in god in the first place, and assume he has any role in our lives what so ever. But that's all conjecture, isn't it?

      July 16, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • What is going on? FREEDOM

      Shhhhhhhhhhhh. Don't make the crazy religious extremists go on and on about how religion never committed those crimes and go on and on about how Communist countries some how relate to Atheism.

      July 16, 2013 at 11:57 am |
      • lol??

        God has revealed Himself as a father. Any attack on fathers is an attack on Him. If the shoe fits you must not throw a fit.

        July 16, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
        • What is going on? FREEDOM

          lol?? God has never revealed himself. You seem to be ignorant of how the Bible was created by man not some supernatural being who acts like a Dictator (at least you extremists make it out like he is).

          July 16, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Mathews

      Have you seen that movie, I think its batman , where this guy finds out the Bruce Wayne is actually Batman and then wants to go out and prove it. Then he tries to blackmail Batman and the Chauffeur is speaking to him "So you think Bruce Wayne, the multi-billionaire, all powerful, well connected, is batman and you want to black mail him" ?? – the conversation is something like this. But then the man who wants to blackmail Batman begins to realize his folly.

      You Mr. Povolotski are like this stupid man. You want to challenge and Justify and find faults and Kil* your creator ???!!!!!! You want God, to answer to you? Have you looked in the mirror? Even an Atheist will not make such a foolish argument.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
      • JAM

        Whoa! Slow down! I didn't know there was a new MARVEL philosophy out there! What are the tenets? Do we meet at the Hall of Justice?

        July 16, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
      • fintastic

        Like Batman, god is a fictional character.

        July 16, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
      • Jim

        You are either a special kind of troll, or you are off you meds

        July 16, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @Alex Povolotski : Gods over millenia killed so many people or contributed to killing so many people that it's hard to forget and forgive

      Yes, God gave you a free will able to hurt other people, but is God responsible for your decisions?

      July 16, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
      • Observer

        Live4Him

        The Bible says it was God who killed every child, baby and fetus on the face of the earth.

        July 16, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
        • Mathews

          This He will do, to protect His people. His people do not need to take revenge or avenge anything. In His last message to us, He says never to take up any weapons and to Love everyone. Including Muslims and Atheists. Its hard, but we will try.

          July 16, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
        • WASP

          @matthews: "This He will do, to protect His people."

          then which group of "his people" will he be doing the ki11ing for?
          last count somewhere around 30,000 sects of "christians"

          hmmm seeing the bible states that jews are god's choosen people i guess you are just "wheat for the reaper". 🙂

          July 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Wasp is confused between "chosen" and "favored"

          July 16, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
        • OTOH

          Mathews,
          " He says never to take up any weapons and to Love everyone."

          And yet "his" "enemies", i.e. those who cannot believe the shoddy evidence supposedly given, get the eternal torture chamber that "he" created...

          July 16, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
      • WASP

        @him: ", God gave you a free will"

        been through this before, but ok once again.

        how can "god" have a plan for everyone every created or that ever will be created, YET you are allowed to have free will that would totally throw whatever "god" planned right out the window?

        😄
        chaos is free will, it's the ability to choose your path
        order is a plan, it guides things to a set point.

        July 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
        • Mathews

          Free Will and Plan :

          Are like many paths to the same goal. All paths lead to the second coming of Christ. At the end of your journey, will Christ find you on His side of the path? Of out of free will, would you have take the evil path?

          July 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
        • WASP

          @matthews: danger danger will robinson!
          does not compute, logic based plan can not coincide with chaotic free will.

          errror, error.
          matthewsbot please report to mantainence bay for repairs your logic center is malfunctioning. 😄

          July 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
      • WASP

        @him: i have another question.

        if i decided to punch you in the face, which would it be "free will" or "god's plan"?
        with either one god allowed me to punch you in the face seeing he is right there and already knew i was going to punch you in the face; but just didn't care to stop me even though he is "all-powerful"

        July 16, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
        • Mathews

          you would punch once, then the maybe twice. Then you would look foolish for punching a man for nothing. Once sent in motion, God will intervene only in the end. He is Master and Lord. He makes only ONE decision. That is final. Its perfect in all ways. Only a selfish person thinks that God should intervene and protect everyone every time and show off His power. That is not what God does. That would be a joke if God answered you and came to you every time you asked for proof. "Hey God, can I have this? Hey can I have that? Hey God !!! this guy beat me up, why dont you rain fire on his house? " – in this situation, if God answered to you, He would no longer be God. Foolish and Selfish man you are.

          July 16, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
        • WASP

          @matthews: who said i would only punch once or twice. 🙂

          i'm going to keep punching until god stops me. 😄
          if he doesn't then:
          1) he is either not all-powerful because he couldn't stop me.
          2) he isn't all knowing because he couldn't predict i was going to.
          3) isn't all-present because he wasn't there to stop me
          4) just doesn't care

          July 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Christianity would say "Wasp punched Matthew into oblivion and God, permitted it so that we might know the depravity to which Wasp and those who follow him can sink and so that we might also know the lengths which Matthew and those who follow him will endure to show the world a better way.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
        • WASP

          @BILL: "the meek shall inherit the earth"....................................yeah only after the guys kicking their asses are done with it.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  6. Alabama Liberal

    I'm some sort of non-practicing Buddhist/Christian/Taoist/humanist hybrid with the knowledge that no one–no priest,no minister, no pope, no monk, no prophet and no scientist–has come the slightest bit close to explaining the fullness of all that is. Most of my good friends are atheist or agnostic and we're tolerant of each others' beliefs for the most part. We all must find our own paths. That being said, the individuals described above as Anti-Theists and Activists often are intolerant, pushy, overzealous and disrespectful and do the many superb atheists a tremendous diservice.

    July 16, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Live4Him

      Alabama Liberal : come the slightest bit close to explaining the fullness of all that is.

      To come close to explaining it all would take an infinite amount of time – which you don't have. Yet, you've made your choice.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • fintastic

      Someone who confuses mythology with reality doesn't deserve any respect.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
      • Mathews

        after 2000 years, anything can be labeled and called a myth. But if you dig out the truth you will see it is true.

        July 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
        • WASP

          @matthews: hmmmm so which truth? your god's truth?

          what about the truth shiva, ra, odin, zues or the other millions of gods we have created through time?

          how about this for truth, "energy CAN NOT be created nor destroyed"
          that makes energy what?

          E T E R N A L. 🙂

          July 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
  7. John

    It makes me sad to think of the finality of death as an abyss of non-eistence. It's mortifying even. Panic inducing. And as a Christian I seem incapable of removing those thoughts. I suppose that would make me some cross between agnostic and Christian. I can never rule out the endless possibilities of that we don't understand, as unsettling as it may be. It seems as though true atheists have the same fatal flaw as their bitter foes: frequently arrogant overconfidence in the total truth of what they believe.

    July 16, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • AAAAHHHHhhhhhhh

      Talk about arrogant. Why are you assuming atheists don't fear their mortality or are at least saddened by the thought of it? And it's not about "overconfidence in the total truth of what they believe"; it's about not seeing any evidence what so ever to the "total truth" of what religious people believe.

      July 16, 2013 at 11:54 am |
      • John

        That's agnostic, not atheist. Which James Cameron called "cowardly atheism".

        July 16, 2013 at 11:56 am |
        • AAAAHHHHhhhhhhh

          That's not correct. The lack of any evidence or sound argument is what forces some people to say there is no supernatural being that created us. Agnostics simply choose to also say that the lack of evidence doesn't mean it's impossible.

          July 16, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Christianity and the fear of death as an eternal non-existence are mutually exclusive philosophies. You should either become a better troll or find a spiritual director to sort out your catechism.

      July 16, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • Antigone

      How sad that you cannot accept another's viewpoint because you are scared of dying. What's arrogant is thinking your small fears trump everyone else's serenity.

      July 16, 2013 at 11:59 am |
      • John

        I don't think anything of the sort. I was merely thinking out loud. I have an insanely difficult time accepting Christianity because it cannot be proven so I don't get atheists doing the same thing on the other end of the spectrum.

        July 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
        • AAAAHHHHhhhhhhh

          There are infinite things that can not be proven. For instance, no one can prove there isn't a teapot inside of the sun right now, but all scientific knowledge would lead you to say it's impossible.

          July 16, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • lionlylamb2013

      Good day John...

      Many folks tend to be flip floppers switching from Christ's words and the séances of no God infidelities... Why one might ask. Maybe due to they way our brains are made...meaning its being split into two hemispheres?

      July 16, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      John, from the little you've posted, it sounds to my like you are describing a very common process. In the prayer of St. Francis, he tells us that it is "in dying that we are born to eternal life". A basic interpretation of this phrase is that one must die to their self, die to the lust of the flesh, in order to be born again in the spirit. And guess what? The flesh doesn't want to die. But the flesh must die because it is corruptible and temporal. It cannot last. Our mind plays a little trick on us that says "The only thing that is real is what I can see" So, in response to this men build empires and dynasties in an effort to create the eternal from the temporary. But the truth is that we must die in order to be born to eternal life. I recommend you pray and meditate on the question "What is it that I am afraid to die to?"

      July 16, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
      • WASP

        @bill: "The flesh doesn't want to die. But the flesh must die."

        *hands bill a revolver*

        then please do as you wish and ki11 your evil flesh. 😄

        i like my flesh right where it is, above ground and alive for as long as nature allows. 🙂

        July 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        Thanks Wasp, you perfectly illustrate my point that for materialistic atheists the only perception of reality is what can be seen. Therefore, when I use the expression "die to the flesh" you have no other reference than mortal death. How sad to be so limited to the material.

        July 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
        • WASP

          @billy boy: then be so kind to show us a "spirit"

          i would love to know where it is located and how it can control this "flesh sack" from "living" inside me.
          how do you explain amnesia? did the "soul" get hit so hard that it lost connection to the body?
          how about "step in/step outs?" do souls really just leave their bodies like old cloths and a new soul desided to "rent the space"?

          😄 you christians are so fun, when i'm bored at work.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
        • WASP

          @billy boy: then be so kind to show us a "spirit"

          i would love to know where it is located and how it can control this "flesh bag" from "living" inside me.
          how do you explain amnesia? did the "soul" get hit so hard that it lost connection to the body?
          how about "step in/step outs?" do souls really just leave their bodies like old cloths and a new soul desided to "rent the space"?

          😄 you christians are so fun, when i'm bored at work.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Solitaire

      I think people find it nearly impossible to imagine the absence of themselves from the universe. You say you find it "mortifying", basically meaning it makes you feel mortal, and you are mortal. We all are mortal. Religions turn believers into little fake gods, promising immortality and power derived from the main diety. Don't worry. Whatever happens after death happens to us all. You really don't have to be special. There may not be a "special" to be had.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
  8. Martoon77

    Can Dr. Hawking explain his theory of "Spontaneous Creation"? I thought not.

    July 16, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • AAAAHHHHhhhhhhh

      Can you explain what difference it makes? Also, spontaneous creation is not his theory. Further, anyone's lack of ability to explain a THEORY does not prove or disprove anything.

      July 16, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • sandalista

      That means there must be a deity in the clouds that we have to worship.

      July 16, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Fish Finger

      True, you thought not.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • WASP

      @martoon: "Spontaneous Creation" would fit better with religion than with science.

      nothing in nature is spontaneous, it takes time for all things in nature to happen.
      now if you're wanting an explaination as to how the universe could have been without using magic; then research energy coupled with the laws of physics. 🙂

      July 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Hungry Hungry Hippos

      Can team space ghost explain where god came from? I thought not. God has always been there? Then why not the matter that created universe? Silly muppet.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
  9. lionlylamb2013

    Atheist renegades of youthfulness seem to take foolish pride in their abusing natures of buttoning villainies...

    July 16, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • .

      LL is the belief blog pseudo intellect, don't bother reading their posts, just laugh and move on.

      A pseudo intellect is someone who acts pretentiously and wishes to impress, rather than modestly trying to communicate effectively uses rhetoric over content.

      July 16, 2013 at 11:49 am |
      • lionlylamb2013

        Good ol' jot-A-dot...

        Give him their just treats and they are happy. Nice dot, nice dot. Your posty pasties get kinda old but alas give him a C+ for his tenacity...

        July 16, 2013 at 11:54 am |
        • Antigone

          Dot is correct. An ineffectual communication is one that is ignored.

          July 16, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
      • Observer

        dot,

        Yes, LL's hugely pompous statements are here for him to entertain and applaud himself.

        July 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  10. Believer

    But the one common thread of all types of atheists is ignorance. Sad really.

    July 16, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • want2believe

      How ironic...

      July 16, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Madtown

      Your opinion. Based on nothing factual = ignorance.

      July 16, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • joe3eagles

      Ignorance of what, exactly?

      July 16, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • JAM

      You're your own elephant in the room! I love it!

      July 16, 2013 at 11:54 am |
    • Envisioner

      Ignorance means that you don't know. Faith is also a concept devoted to not knowing and yet still maintaining a belief without reason. Faith is ignorance in practice.

      July 16, 2013 at 11:54 am |
    • Kerry

      Ignorance of what? I'm sorry that you are sad.

      July 16, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Non-Believer

      You believe in something with no evidence…. And we’re the ignorant ones…

      ig·no·rant

      1: Lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated.
      2:Lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular: "ignorant of astronomy".

      try reading more then one book!

      July 16, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • ronk

      Your so right! Most atheists don't know ALL of fairy tales found in religious writing composed by humans over the years.
      But most have heard of the easter bunny and santa!

      July 16, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Luggage1974

      "Believer"
      "But the one common thread of all types of atheists is ignorance. Sad really."
      You litterally just exploded the irony meter. So atheists, not blind followers of verifiable false docturine are ignorant? Seriously this is why so many people are leaving the church, they actually use common sense, research in stead of saying Jesus dunnit.Which is as lazy as it is crazy

      July 16, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Observer

      Believer,

      The common thread of believers seems to be hypocrisy. They tell others they will go to hell for not believing all of a book that they don't believe all of themselves.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • Tom

      Oh the irony!

      July 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Believer?

      I know God exists because my preacher showed me a book of stories handed down thousands of years ago. Then God told me that it's ok to kill "heathens" that didn't believe the same. I am so glad that I'm not ignorant.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
  11. lol??

    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Antimatter is far out there in negativity. How 'bout proantimatter?? Would that matter to science?? Plenty of bigotry in science.

    July 16, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • meifumado

      Do you read what you write?

      July 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  12. JAM

    Anyone that knows the history of the word "agnostic" and how it was coined should understand that it was more of a joke created on the fly when Huxley was cornered by journalists! Had Huxley been alive today, he would be a staunch athiest standing side-by-side with Dawkins!

    July 16, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      My favorite Huxley quote:

      “A democracy which makes or even effectively prepares for modern, scientific war must necessarily cease to be democratic. No country can be really well prepared for modern war unless it is governed by a tyrant, at the head of a highly trained and perfectly obedient bureaucracy.”

      July 16, 2013 at 11:48 am |
      • lol??

        Was that written before or after the National Security Act of 1947?? Now the citizens no longer control the wars they pay for, right??

        July 16, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • lol??

      Well, tell us the story. M-W sayz, "First Known Use: 1869", and Huxley was born in 1894. Was it written on his teddy bear?? OOOps- NOT!

      July 16, 2013 at 11:55 am |
  13. Which direction?

    Not an atheist. However, to those who wonder what a similar categorization of theist would look like - it is exactly the same! Nice work, we have now categorized the way people think about god - BOTH theist and atheist. Now, I wonder whether any atheist can see how they are equivalent to theist?

    July 16, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      More than anything, many Atheist fear that in the end, they are no different than the Faithful.

      July 16, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • Madtown

      Grouping people together is one of the most unfortunate consequences of organized religion. It divides us, separates us from each other, creates rift between us and those we are told are "different".

      July 16, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  14. Don in Ohio

    Why do i feel like I'm trying to be categorized into some subhuman classification or added to a watch list for believers of a particular faith? First off a study of 59 individuals is not an in depth study, it's a high school midterm paper. And was all the different religions taken into account as to why atheists don't believe or was Christianity the only basis to the study. I am an atheist in the sense that I don't believe in any supernatural beings, that there is an explanation for everything whether we are able to understand it yet or not. There was no one instance that made me loose that faith but more of a buildup of things that made me stop and think an take a look at religions and life in general. Many people blindly believe in a religion because that's the way they were brought up and don't question it- why they believe, what they believe, who they believe, how to believe. And many those pick and choose the parts they want to believe depending how it suits them at the moment. They are tought to look down on, covert, or even kill those who don't believe as them. History is full of this instances. And telling me I'm going to Hell for not believing has no effect on my way of thinking or living. No one knows what happens after we die other than the fact that our bodies have ceased to function. Without getting too in depth as to why I'm an atheist or argue many many points, my views are simple. 2000 years ago man believed in many gods for many reasons and we look back today and laugh and tell them as bedtime stories. But this is how they believed and they laid the basis for our society today- government, science, culture, language, math. Many of our traditions have pagan origins whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. I just hope man is around in another 2000 years to look back and laugh as well. Showing me a book and telling me everything in it is real without having physical evidence is not going to sway or convert me.

    July 16, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • Bill D.

      TLDR

      July 16, 2013 at 11:56 am |
  15. Lawrence

    I am a strong anti-theist. But I find myself to have a mix of many of these 6 categories except for #5 non-theist. Religion is %99.8 of the time harmful, and or ignorant of facts and science. Faith is strong belief without evidence, and therefore by definition a celebration of ignorance, which I find to be destructive of each individual's intelligent mind, and to the evolution of our species as a whole. Religion is the most devisive thing in every human society. It justifies an us versus them mentality, and it is very often used to justify the killing of others. Throughout all of history most of our wars have either been directly caused by religion, or religion has been used as a tool by people in power to help in justifying the killing of "others". What type of world leader would a logical person rather have in power, holding their finger over the nuclear war button: one with a scientific mind who hopes for the continuation of our species (and knows that this life is only one we have so we better make the best of it), or a person with beliefs without evidence, who thinks that they will go to their magical reward place in the sky?

    July 16, 2013 at 11:41 am |
  16. judgex

    University of Tennessee at Chattanooga should be embarrassed by this "study". There aren't "6 types" of atheists. The random activities that are undertaken by a few atheists here and a few atheists there do not make a new "type" of atheist.

    There's virtually no difference between "Anti-Theist" and "Intellectual" and "Activist". Not to mention "Intellectual" includes agnostics as a "type of atheist".

    If this is what qualifies as "research" from Tennessee, it's time to go ahead and take a break.

    July 16, 2013 at 11:40 am |
  17. JAM

    After learning about the Council of Carthage in CE 397 and how they decided which books would make up the Bible and which books would be left out (a fact no Christian can dispute or has), how can anyone still think that what they are reading has anything to with a god? Just because a marketing genius decided to use God instead of the proper name YHWH or JHVH, doesn't mean that christians have a monopoly on its use. You have to ask yourself, "Why does the Jewish faith not believe in Christianity?" Especially the ones that were actually there. unlike most of the Bible's authors?

    Just scratching the paint of the Christian religion reveals it to be nothing more than archaic BS! If the Koran or Qu'ran or whatever ensued from Christianity, what does that tell you? Then the LDS? what a joke!

    July 16, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • Tremolo

      The Christian faith (in my experience growing up in an Evangelist church) hinges on believing that everything has gone the way that God intended. "A council decided which texts would actually make up the bible after they were written? God guided their hands and hearts." In my experience, the ability to devoutly believe things that are rejected by society or are unlikely is seen as a sign of strength and something to be respected among Christians. These are just the ones that I've spent the most time with, mind you, not all Christians are like this.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • Shank

      Good point Jam. One I've repeatedly tried to get across to the 'god-fearers' in my social group. In that context I also bring up the First Council of Nicaea where religious leaders voted on the 'divinity' of Jesus. This group, called together by Constantine who brilliantly realized he could control the masses if they all were given direction from one central 'church', decided what Jesus' relationship to god was and then went on their way to tell everyone what to believe. Divine Inspiration and populas manipulation at it's finest I would say

      July 16, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • lol??

      lol??
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      The Christians knew what was scripture long before any council showed up.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
  18. Mathews

    Also, that lady in the pictures, Kiera, talks about forgiveness. She finds comfort in sarcasm. Looks like she has a lot of sins and sorrows and sadness that she hides behind that sarcasm.

    To know what Christian forgiveness means take a look at this bit of news.

    In India, some men kill a girl. The men were local thugs and apparently this ring leader wanted the girl to marry him. She refused and he killed her. The thug goes to prison. The case comes to court and the thug cannot afford a lawyer. There are no "State Lawyers" in India. Guess who pays for a lawyer for the thug? The slain Girl's father. He already forgave the thug and also paid for the lawyer for the thug.

    This is Christian love and forgiveness.

    In today's world , where there are no ethics, where there is no common sense, and where being politically correct is what its all about, – this story stands out.

    July 16, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • meifumado

      Are you sure that was not Hindu love and forgiveness?

      LOL

      July 16, 2013 at 11:38 am |
      • Mathews

        evidently you dont know much about the world. Christianity is one of the 3 major religions in India.

        Hinduism is the largest. But it looks like it will soon be Islam like everywhere else in the world.

        July 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • Edward

      You are confusing 'Samaritans' with 'Christians' there.

      September 2, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  19. us_1776

    The Sky Fairy does not exist.

    GET OVER IT !!

    .

    July 16, 2013 at 11:28 am |
  20. amber

    There is a God..how do you explain our mortal existence???how do you explain the creation of trees and animals and other non man made things.God put us here...not man, not a falling star. Use your
    God given logic and wake up.

    July 16, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Lisa

      Logic would dictate that no being could be eternal, without an origin. Therefore, God is illogical.

      July 16, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • meifumado

      Have you ever been to school?

      July 16, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      NASA feeds are just Hollywood garbage....its all just a thin set of kaleidoscope facades up there with a REALLY bright stage light spinning around the Earth right?

      You are buying into ancient philosophies thousands of years old..with their grasp on time, their grasp on geography, their take on how we got here. Their rules, their fears.

      July 16, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • Charles Darwin

      Making up stories is not how to solve the question of our "mortal existence"
      Scientists are working on the answer but unless we destroy ourselves first, it could be a very long time before the answer to the question presents itself.
      Even then, some people will prefer to make up their own stories instead of accepting the truth.

      July 16, 2013 at 11:40 am |
      • Maani

        Uh...WHOSE "truth?"

        July 31, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • Joe Redner

      Hey Amber, You can't explain where we came from with something/someone you can't explain where it came from.

      July 16, 2013 at 11:43 am |
      • Maani

        I'll bet you would agree that, ultimately, "we" come from the Big Bang. But you don't know where THAT came from, do you?

        July 31, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • scottdc24

      Science...

      July 16, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • RL

      Amber, the trees, and everything else on this planet and in this universe are here now because they won over the prototypes that failed. It's trial and error, not magical mystery.

      July 16, 2013 at 11:46 am |
      • Maani

        True. But having said that, "only God can make a tree." That is, despite the incredible advancements in science, particularly in the last 50-100 years, scientists are no closer to being able to "create" (from scratch) a tree – or anything "alive" – than they were 1000 years ago.

        July 31, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
        • Edward

          This statement is false as it is now possible to create a brain in a petri dish.

          September 2, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
        • photografr7

          A tree is not "made from nothing." Is grows from a seed, much as you were. If you talking about the FIRST TREE, then I would say the first tree evolved from moss or some other lower form of life. Where in this process does God fit in, exactly?

          September 2, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Dan H

      Not understanding a thing does not mean that "God put it there" is an answer unto itself. Scientific discovery is about challenging our preconceptions. Belief should, in my opinion, be the same, in that it allows for your beliefs in God to be challenged without causing anger or a baseless argument. Evolution is an answer to your question, there is sufficient evidence within the time we've been studying it to support the theory. There is "no proof" of God, but I for one do believe in one, even if our poor attempts to explain God in our man made religions falls short. Your "argument" needs refinement. My argument against Atheism: It is ok not to believe in God, but that does not mean there is sufficient data either way to prove otherwise. Far too much is unexplained in the universe as to deny the option.

      July 16, 2013 at 11:49 am |
      • R.M. Goodswell

        You might want to catch up on a couple decades of scientific research, we have some very good theories on what is happening out there. Science hasn't been sitting on its hands. Most people that say we don't know haven't bothered to stay current OR they have something at stake ...a job based on theism.

        July 16, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Frank

      amber is a nice name

      July 16, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Beth

      This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever read in my life.

      July 16, 2013 at 11:55 am |
      • Alex Povolotski

        Read Darwin more.

        July 16, 2013 at 11:57 am |
      • Frank

        Do you mean the comments or the article?

        July 16, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • Ted

      "how do you explain the creation of trees and animals and other non man made things.God put us here…not man, not a falling star. Use your God given logic and wake up."

      Amber – All the plants and animals have evolved over time into what we have today. This is a fact. The Pope has stated that evolution is a fact.
      Now if you must believe that we are too complex and 'special' that we must have been created by a creator, then our creator must be more complex and intelligent than ourselves. If complex designs require a creator, then the creator would also be required to have been created. God would require to be created by another creator, and that creator by another creator, and so forth.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
      • Maani

        Two comments. First, yes, the Catholic church has accepted evolution – with "first cause." (Exactly as Darwin did, BTW.) Second, the theory that a "Creator" would have to be MORE complex than the creation was advanced by Dawkins, Stenger and a few of their close "fundamentalist" pals. It is NOT accepted by the broader scientific community. Don't rely so much on the so-called "New Atheists," since a great deal of the scientific community has distanced itself from them.

        July 31, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • Matt

      Amber - have you even cracked a book other than the Bible? Your questions have been answered a long time ago and are things you should have learned by junior high.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • eeenok

      how do you explain someone who hasn't heard of the fallacy of "argument from ignorance" having the cheek to launch themselves into intellectual battle on the internet?

      July 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • Mathews

      To an atheist, trees in their million kinds, plants in their million kinds, humans, animals , bugs, birds all originated from one single cell, that was created when certain chemicals were mixed together during a thunderstorm !! BWAHAHAHAHAHHAHA . Billions and Trillions of DNA for every living organism, all from one single celled organism.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
      • Realist

        As opposed to making up someone to explain what don't understand ?

        July 16, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Realist

      Evolution. Its based on facts and not belief.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
      • Maani

        Not quite. Evolution, like any theory, is based on "evidence." But "evidence" is not always "facts." And while the supporting evidence for evolution is strong, it is not nearly complete.

        July 31, 2013 at 8:34 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.