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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. tony

    Atheists don't believe in foxholes.

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

      Tony,
      I get it, somewhat cute.

      But do you know what is sad? Many Christians don't believe in evolution. I'm not talking about the Theory of Evolution, I'm talking about the actual, directly observable phenomenon. Not cute.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
      • Richard

        I’m a Christian and I believe in evolution and foxholes.

        July 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Antigone

      Lol. That is putting a different spin on a tired cliché.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      No, Foxholes don't believe in Atheists. Most Christians I meet are total "Fox"holes which is why I don't hang around them anymore.

      July 16, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      When receiving enemy fire any foxhole will do... whether that foxhole believes in you or not...

      July 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Stephen Jones

      Atheists have an absence of belief in foxholes and will dig one if needed. A believer has faith in foxholes and will be S.O.L. when he needs one and it isn't there.

      July 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  2. SurelyUjest

    I embrace atheists as the only religious group who have MOST of the answers based on known facts. You cannot argue with facts and science unless you think that making claims of a higher power should include speculation, lies, myths, a contracticting set of books thrown in to one book so EVERYONE's angle gets covered at some point. I am not an Atheist but I wouldnt be caught dead believing the crap written in the major monotheistic holy books.

    July 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • What?

      "I embrace atheists as the only religious group"

      The fact you don't know that atheism isn't a religion discredit's your post entirely.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
      • Dippy

        discredits, not discredit's.

        July 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Soup-Du-Jour

      I am a science-oriented person, as I love math and biology, and I liked you comment; though I have one problem. To say that having the most answers based on fact I believe is a very poor statement. Nothing in science is fact, it cannot be. Once something fact it becomes a tautology. Science is the pursuit of knowledge of the natural world, hypotheses are falsified, so the scientific method continues. While I agree that the line in the sand must be drawn, meaning that things need to be taught as "fact, " that is not really the case. Old hypotheses must be retested because technology (the application of science) advances and old "facts" may be "proven" false.
      You can always argue science, because it can never be "settled."

      July 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
      • Mark

        You are confused, you are not a science oriented person if you don't think facts exist.

        July 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
        • Soup-Du-Jour

          When you have a degree (rather than a HS diploma), think again

          July 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
      • WASP

        @SOUP: hmmmmmm ok arugue this one.

        energy CAN NOT be created nor destroyed.
        scienctific FACT.
        accepted by all intelligent minds, because even when you detonate a nuclear device it is merely taking atoms, that are comprised of energy and ripping them apart, thus releasing that stored up energy. "potential energy" inside each atom.

        July 16, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
  3. Soup-Du-Jour

    Honestly, who cares? Let the elites do what they do, let us do what we do. I don't care what people believe or do, that is their personal life.
    Fundamentalist Christians (whom I do not like...I had a bad experience with them when I was younger, and they pervert The Bible) and Radical Atheists are both bad. Religion is human and it is needed.
    When religion is taken away, it is always replaced with something else. These Radical Atheists want to remove religion and put their religion in its place, Marxism. Call me an idiot, and God-Fearing buffoon, a heathen, whatever; however, I am right. If you spend enough time around Actors, you realize that they have no real opinions of their own, they just go with the trends. If you spend enough time in Academia, you realize that they all have a Marxist agenda. Marxism is the opiate of the intellectuals, the same goes for Atheism.
    I am ready for angry replies, but to add fuel to the fire...I am a catechumenate (I am converting to Catholicism).

    July 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • AAAAHHHHhhhhhhh

      I'll take your advice and call you an idiot.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      The whole point to this study was not these silly labels – they are an artifice.

      The point to the study should you have bothered to look is to demonstrate that your so-called radical atheists (the militant anti-theists) are a minority of atheists.

      The study demonstrates that about 15% of the non-believers surveyed self-identified as 'anti-theist'.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • AAAAHHHHhhhhhhh

      The bible is the opiate of the weak.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Welcome to the body of Christ. A heavenly banquet is being prepared.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
      • Over It

        Mutton and fish?... from all of the Good Shepherd's sheep and the haul from the "fishers of men"...

        July 16, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Justin

      How much time do you spend with "Actors" and "Academia" to make the statement you just made? It's pretty laughable that you brought up Marxism, as well. I will second the person above who called you an idiot.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
      • Soup-Du-Jour

        K

        July 16, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Ironies Soup that you are becoming Catholic, yet know so little of your imaginary savior that you don't recognize Christ as a Marxist?

      Before you make the leap, I suggest you read a whole lot more.

      In truth, Catholics prefer to blame the Jews for his death, but if he ever were to return and actually do what he claimed he would, the RCC would wage war against him.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Over It

      Soup,
      "I am a catechumenate (I am converting to Catholicism)."

      Yeah, Catholics have some really cool fantasies and superst'itions. No evidence that they are fact, but you might get a charge out of them...

      July 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Stephen Jones

      Don't disparage "elites" and intellectuals. My oncologist is elite and way smarter than me. I'm very grateful for that, she saved my life.

      Is subpar and ignorant somehow better than elite and intellectual.

      Don't fear knowledge or people smarter than yourself.

      July 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "Religion is human and it is needed." If religion is human and not divine in origin then it is not only not needed, it is a blight on mankind. If it is divine in origin then it is still a blight on mankind but one that a deity will make itself known and show it's far more powerful than we are and so it can do with us what it likes, blight or bless.

      July 16, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I'll take you up on the idiot thing too. Do you even know what Marxism is? Wow.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  4. Matt

    I find that in my own life, the two types of atheists I encounter are the educated philosophical type and those who are simply not religious. One might say the latter type is apatheist. I personally tend to be a deist, one who believes in a supreme being as a passive observer, not one who intervenes. However, on the internet, I find a large number of atheists are unintellectual internet trolls that seem to want to latch on to a person's theistic beliefs, kick metaphorical sand in the person's eyes and taunt. I actually find these people more annoying than the occasional poster that throws out scripture to make a point.

    July 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Soup-Du-Jour

      Good comment!

      July 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
      • AAAAHHHHhhhhhhh

        It's funny how you say this, suporting the comment about atheists being unintellectual taunting internet trolls, and then turn around seconds later and say this: "When religion is taken away, it is always replaced with something else. These Radical Atheists want to remove religion and put their religion in its place, Marxism. Call me an idiot, and God-Fearing buffoon, a heathen, whatever; however, I am right. If you spend enough time around Actors, you realize that they have no real opinions of their own, they just go with the trends. If you spend enough time in Academia, you realize that they all have a Marxist agenda. Marxism is the opiate of the intellectuals, the same goes for Atheism."

        July 16, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
        • Soup-Du-Jour

          I'm not getting in an argument on a CNN message board. I tried to make my point, I may have not made it clear, as I tend to ramble.
          I have work to do, have a good day,

          July 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "However, on the internet, I find a large number of atheists are unintellectual internet trolls that seem to want to latch on to a person's theistic beliefs, kick metaphorical sand in the person's eyes and taunt."

      It's more likely they are just trolls and don't care about religion at all. They will say anything to get a response because it's an addiction.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      So you've actually defined three types and they all map pretty well into archetypes defined for this study.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
      • Matt

        I suppose you could call the troll group anti-theist, but the trolls seem to be bigger jerks than that. For instance, there could be a tragedy reported on CNN, one person offers prayers to the families of the victim and the troll starts beating up the poster for offering prayers. Beating up on a person offering personal prayers to the families of a victim isn't a support of atheism, it is obnoxious taunting.

        July 16, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Matt you presume much with your hypothetical example and I won't say it doesn't happen. Context is important.

          You should also know that a staggering number of the "angry" atheists posts are in fact provoked by holier than thou pronouncements by believers.

          Were you to look with a critical eye, you will see plenty of evidence of both.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  5. Barney

    Atheists hang their hats on the idea that God can't be proven therefore it is ridiculous. Humans have an innate fear of the unknown and therefore it is very difficult to believe something with faith. But with faith in Christ comes change in your life. You cannot explain it, you can only tell others what a relationship with Jesus Christ and God has done for your life. Can you prove you love your mother (or someone else close to you)? I'll leave that to simmer a bit. It is sad, however, that folks don't even give a genuine effort towards learning about Christ and Christian theology. You really have to have more background in parts of the Bible and read it in the context of the end-game with the coming of Christ. It is easy to discredit any Christian organization...how is that hard to do? We are human and therefore flawed sinners. Don't put your faith in man. Put your faith in Christ. Read about him. He was the biggest rebel against the religious powers and Roman powers of the time. I find it ironic that now (and sadly so) Christ has become ridiculed as being the source of the problems we have today. He predicted this of himself and all Christians because it is easy to criticize, but it isn't easy to think critically with an informed mind. Many are called, few are chosen. Most take the wide road rather than the narrow. The point is: You will never find the peace, love, and joy in your life by being like water and taking the easiest path. The hardest thing you will do is be a Christian, but it's the most rewarding as well.

    July 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Madtown

      You talk as though christianity is the only way to live. It is not.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Matt

      You seem to not understand why someone would not accept Christ. As an exercise, I would suggest you speak with intellectual atheists and perhaps read up on some literature. It can be beneficial to the understanding of the way other people think. For example, I am pro choice, but I took a biomedical ethics class where I always researched and argued the pro life position. While I do not agree with it, I understand the position better having studied it.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
      • lionlylamb2013

        The "conjuring of the written wordage usages" is tantamount to verbalizing séances of meditative variegations "omnisciously" as debonair as the spoken kinds rallying the crowded masses into either laughter or clapping...

        July 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
        • .

          Just ignore LL they are 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 1:08 pm |
    • Colin

      Barney, you said, "Atheists hang their hats on the idea that God can't be proven therefore it is ridiculous."

      Not so. It goes much, much further than that. There is not a single shred of evidence for your god. Secondly, everything in the Bible is so obviousyl nothing more than late Bronze Age or Greco-Roman mythology that it is absurd to give it any factual credibility.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • AAAAHHHHhhhhhhh

      It's not about proof, it's about the complete lack of evidence or even a sound argument. Christ is not being ridiculed as the source of problems, the source of probems is people, rather than simply conveying what Christ taught, instead believe in a supernatural being that's watching you, thinks you're special (and denounce all those non believers and false idol worshipers), and gets awfully jealous and angry (for an all powerfull supernatural being, anyway), and what a bunch of dudes wrote down in a book and what everyone MUST obey.

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

      You ask if I can prove if I love my mother?

      Your insane.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • William Demuth

      For some ignorance is truly bliss.

      The thing that makes being a Christian so difficult is the inherent knowledge that it is false.

      Otherwise why the challenge?

      In truth some faiths have elements that attract intellectuals, but few if any exist within Christianity, It is a faith designed for, marketed to, and perpetuated by the weak, Effectively nothing more than a mental venereal disease spread in intellectual slums, akin to an inner city street gang where one pays a dear price if he expresses ANY doubt about joining

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

      Barney,
      Your argument is founded on a false premise, that God can't be proven therefore it is ridiculous. I can't prove god doesn't exist and i don't consider that notion ridiculous. So lack of proof doesn't lead to a conclusion that the subject is ridiculous. The hypothesis that there is no god is consistent with mountains of scientific evidence. Religious scripture is filled with items that in conflict with science and many moral precepts. That doesn't make the existence of god ridiculous, it makes many religions (including Christianity) wrong.

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

      I have never heard of a Type 1 Atheist killing at Type 6 Atheist. Leave it to the religious folks to try to create sectarian branches of atheism. Now we can have wars between us like the Shia and Sunni.

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

        Great point. They may kill them, but not for what they believe.

        July 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • SurelyUjest

      Thanks for sharing your views on Jesus. I find your view of "his end game" to have been determined by other author's other than Jesus himself. Every book written about Jesus Christ was written between 30 and 120 yrs after his death and NONE by eyewitnesses and after all this how many words are even attributed to have been spoken by Jesus in the bible? My research says 2026......not a whole heck of alot to say we KNOW anything about his intention for an end game, his beliefs, his life before 33 yrs old, what he learned, and how many of these words are someone elses interrpetation? There are way too many holes....but for the sake of it. I think Jesus might have been cool......does that count for anything?

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

      Awesome Barney. I find it equally interesting that many non-believers dismiss Christianity out of hand without looking deeper. Of course they are afraid to look deeper. The easiest answer is to ridicule as you say, and be dismissive. What many non-believers fail to realize is that, if you wanted to found a "religion," you certainly wouldn't craft it like Christianity. Christ was a peasant; He was a lower-class citizen. How in the world could this individual be the savior of the world? A fabricated believe system would certainly not rest on someone from such meager roots, would it? 99.9% of the non-believers will never pick up the bible and read it. Too bad. Reading the Gospels is so insightful - what the non-believers don't realize is that the people around Jesus didn't even understand His life. They were constantly confused and misinterpreting Jesus' message and role on earth. If I were going to make up a religion, I certainly wouldn't surround the Savior with people who just didn't get it.. Yet, these people laid down their lives for Jesus and His message. I challenge the non-believers to read one Gospel, like Luke or Matthew, with a truly open mind. If you come away with an equal amount of doubt, so be it. At least give yourself and your soul a chance.

      July 17, 2013 at 1:46 am |
      • Johnny

        Actually most of the atheists I know are not Christians because they have read the bible.

        July 17, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
      • patricia

        Upon what do you base your claim that "many non-believers dismiss xianity out of hand without looking deeper?" The majority of atheists that I know were xians at one time, and then, after a lot of searching and reading and studying what is real and what isn't and what evidence there is for belief, came to the conclusion that there is no evidence for belief in nothing. We've looked deep and hard and, knowing how despised atheists are in this country, made the decision to go with the truth rather than live a false life of a somewhat xistian.

        July 17, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  6. Colin

    10 Commandments that every child should be taught.

    1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a parent, priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must.

    2. DO NOT think that claims about magic, miracles and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.

    3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.

    4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is. Only those selling junk cars want to prohibit you from looking under the hood.

    5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and ghouls and believing in any of them does not make one moral.

    6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should you believe them in what they say? How many translations has it gone through? Do we have originals, or only edited copies of copies of copies– the latter is certainly true for every single book in the Bible.

    7. DO realize that you are only a Christian (or Hindu or Jew) because of where you were born. Were you lucky enough to be born in the one part of the World that “got it right”?

    8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of God,” “God is outside the Universe” or “God moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered fool.

    9. DO understand where your religion came from and how it evolved from earlier beliefs to the point you were taught it. Are you lucky enough to be living at that one point in history where we “got it right”?

    10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.

    I sometimes think that, if we first taught our children these simple guidelines, religion and any other supernatural belief would be quickly dismissed by them as quaint nostalgia from a bygone era. I hope we get there as a species.

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

      Beautifully said!

      July 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • SurelyUjest

      Bravo.....I might just keep these for my son.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • King chaz

      Great commandments. But your assumption that one will move away from religion if they practice your commandments is not entirely correct. Many people follow your commandments and then arrive at different conclusions. And one cannot assume that just because they have different conclusions, then they must be wrong. We can all walk down the same path on a journey, but come to different destinations based on our perceptions along the path.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Tucker Jones

      As a Christian, I agree. Although I question number 7, the whole got it right part. Right for whom?

      July 16, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  7. fred

    There are two categories of people saved and unsaved. That is what is important as God created out of eternal goodness a never ending wonder that even captures the awe of the atheist. You can continue in the image of God to experience that creation or reject that which was created as a blessing.
    We are not clear about the categories after death with the exception that the saved continue in the love of God while the rest no longer experience the blessing.

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

      What a fantastic story.

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

      the 2 categories are those who behave and those who misbehave: . . . check Matthew 5 and Matthew 19, Jesus' comments about heaven

      July 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Madtown

      There are many more categories of people than 2.

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

        There are 10 kinds of people in this world. Those who understand binary and those who don't.

        July 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
        • fred

          How right you are as the hexagram 10 has two possibilities (天) heaven or (澤) swamp in its trigram. It's beginnings were revealed supernaturally to the first of the Three Sovereigns (三皇 Sānhuáng) of ancient China (2900BC)
          The Christians have their trinity as well so regardless of how religion morphs over time binary rules and the answer is yes or no to God. That's it.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
      • fred

        There either is God or there is not.
        If there is no God the states of existence are the same after death which is non existence. Given enough time your current organic state will have no record of existence thus you never did exist to begin with.

        God is therefor you exist for a purpose onto God eternal. The predominate religions reflect you have choice as to accepting or rejecting a purpose onto God. You can accept or reject that purpose but you cannot change the purpose.

        July 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
        • WASP

          @fred: "God is therefor you exist for a purpose onto God eternal"

          so basicaly long story short, you are afraid of death................well welcome to the club pal. we all have a fear of the unknown, yet i prefer to look to today, because ther is no "eternal tomorrow" if i die tonight. 🙂

          July 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Closet Atheist

      Do you ever stop and listen to how insane you sound..?? I'm always curious how much honest intellectual "work" you and those who share your beliefs have put into your belief system. It just screams of brainwashing and indoctrination.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Pete

      "God created out of eternal goodness a never ending wonder that even captures the awe of the atheist. "

      You can't be in awe of something that doesn't exist.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
      • fred

        Sorry the wonder of creation regardless of your belief or non belief cannot escape notice.

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

          There is NO proof a god created this earth, so you can't be in awe of something that doesn't exist.

          July 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
        • Richard

          Personally, I believe in the subatomic particle that was before the big bang.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
        • 0u812

          @ Fred
          It was a HUGE explosion ( which came from nothing) and formed the galaxy and all the planets, but only one planet that could sustain life. What a joke!!!!! This is what the atheist claim is.

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

          You got it wrong, here let me fix it for you.

          "It was a god (which came from nothing) and formed the galaxy and all the planets, but only one planet that could sustain life. What a joke!!!!! This is what the Christian claim is."

          The problem with your original statement is they've found at least 3 planets so far that have a similar composition to earth, can sustain life, closely related to size like earth and about the same distance from their suns. There are probably more but we just don't know yet.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
        • Richard

          "I is difficult enough to imagine a time, roughly 13.7 billion years ago, when the entire universe existed as a singularity. According to the big bang theory, one of the main contenders vying to explain how the universe came to be, all the matter in the cosmos - all of space itself - existed in a form smaller than a subatomic particle."

          http://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/astronomy-terms/before-big-bang.htm

          July 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
        • 0u812

          Ted- No need to fix, I had it right the first time. And there are no other planets that can sustain life the way the earth can. Which 3 planets do you claim could?

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

          "And there are no other planets that can sustain life the way the earth can."

          NASA's Kepler space telescope, astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have found that six percent of red dwarf stars have habitable, Earth-sized planets. Since red dwarfs are the most common stars in our galaxy, the closest Earth-like planet could be just 13 light-years away.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
      • Frank

        "Which 3 planets do you claim could?"

        Kepler Object of Interest (KOI) 1422.02, which is 90 percent the size of Earth in a 20-day orbit; KOI 2626.01, 1.4 times the size of Earth in a 38-day orbit; and KOI 854.01, 1.7 times the size of Earth in a 56-day orbit. All three are located about 300 to 600 light-years away and orbit stars with temperatures between 5700° and 5900° Fahrenheit (3100° and 3300° Celsius). For comparison, our Sun’s surface is 10000° F (5500° C).

        The point is there is more evidence coming to suggest that our planet is not unique and life could exist in other parts of the universe.

        July 16, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
        • ou812

          Frank- That is exactly my point. Why haven't scientist been able to find any form of life on other planets? Answer is there isn't any. How could a " Big Bang " create only ONE planet with so many life forms and yet no other? Not logical.

          July 16, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • meifumado

      Stay away from children and seek help for your delusions.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  8. sweebach

    there were 2 references made about good behavior getting people through . . . this concept would be consistent to Jesus' teachings about heaven in Matthew 5 and Matthew 19 (search "heaven") . . .

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

      Good behaviour getting people through what?

      July 16, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
      • Stephen Jones

        A longer stint in prison maybe?

        July 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
  9. Jose Sixpack

    "If there were no God, there would be no atheists" - G.K. Chesterton

    July 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Colin

      If there were no Easter Bunny, there would be no people who didn't believe in the Easter Bunny.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
      • lol??

        Why did the serpent cross the road??

        July 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
        • midwest rail

          In search of your sanity.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • AAAAHHHHhhhhhhh

      That must make unicorns and elves real, then, correct?

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

      G.K. Chesterton must not have ever taken a logic class.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      His quote sounds clever on the surface, but an accurate statement would be more like:

      If there were no belief in god, and no imposition of that belief into schools, government, and society at large, then there would be no atheists.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • OTOH

      Jose,

      1. Chesterton said that as a kind of a joke.
      2. Without the IDEA of a god, even "God", there would be no disbelievers in said IDEA.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • HarryPotterisReal!!!

      If there were no wizards, there would be no muggles?

      July 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Athy

      If there were no fools, there would be no god.

      July 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
  10. Joe

    Religion is a man made device for controling the masses and making money. What religion do you kill for? Those who feel they need a higher power to believe in can send me a check or cash for whatever amount they feel will guarantee them a passage into the ground, I mean heaven. For the weak and illogical.

    July 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Tucker Jones

      So is TV.

      Most, not all wars are fought for money, land, power. Religion is just a useful tool to get a lot people on your side in a hurry to make the war. More honest fighters that way. I could pay an army, but a richer government could pay them more to attack me. People who believe as I do are more willing to follow me.

      Get rid of religion and you will still have wars and killing.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  11. Seriously

    Why does there always have to be a fight/argument? So I believe in God and you don't... I have faith in Jesus and you choose otherwise... It does not make you or I any less or greater of a human being. Maybe we should try having compassion for one another, accept each other, be kind to one another instead of this constant "I am right, you are wrong" conversations. I am not going to change who I am and what I believe, as I am sure you won't either. Lets agree to disagree and quit bashing each other. You're all the prettiest, let's move on.

    July 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      If we took your advice... this blog wouldn't be fun anymore...

      July 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • lionlylamb2013

      Hello Seriously...

      We all need to bicker and banter...for without such things, Life would be an unworthy proposition...

      July 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
      • Antigone

        You think life isn't worthy unless you're verbally jousting with somebody? I find that sad. I am sorry for you.

        July 16, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      Because people like you tend to force your ideas on others such as by passing laws on abortion. Keep your religion to yourself and there will be no fight.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
      • lol??

        People like you like forcing abortion on children in the womb.

        July 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Ridnhigh

      Tell that to the christians that are bullying my daughter. Grown adults bullying a 12 year old, telling others not to let their kids play with her cause shes a devil worshipper. I wonder if christians even bother reading the bible or just listen to the highlights from thier preacher. IF only christians would follow the bible so many people like me would not be so negative toward religion.. Here is a good lesson for you to teach at bible school. DONT JUDGE... Thats Gods job.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
      • lol??

        Does the devil protect her?? He's capable under certain circu*mstances.

        July 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        if people don't want their kids to play with yours, that isn't bullying, it's freedom of association.

        July 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        if people don't want their kids to play with yours, that isn't bullying, it's freedom of as sociation.

        July 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Right...but up until about a year ago the majority of US christians wanted to keep my partner and I from marrying. You want me to have warm fuzzy feelings? You want the kids who are told they are going to hell and try to kill themselves at 16? Sure, you can point out your version of Christianity doesn't hurt things, but religion can not only ruin lives but kill. Women forced to carry the fetus of their rapist father? Really, it's not all warm and fuzzy all getting along. What people believe has real policy issues and people, especially those who have been hurt or know people who have, shouldn't be expected to be filled with feelings of peace and love.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  12. Corrado

    Well they forgot one!!!
    I am a Dyslexic atheist and I dont believe in DOG!!!

    July 16, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • D_G

      That joke is biblical, or at least as old as the bible, anyway.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  13. bibledoctor

    all atheists believe in a god but not the God of the bible.

    July 16, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      what... your first lame troll attempt didn't pan out?

      July 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Observer

      Factless nonsense.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Antigone

      Incorrect. They do not believe in ANY gods at all.

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

      There are online dictionaries available now, doc.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      To quote one of my favorite movies:

      "I'm a scientist – I don't believe in anything!"

      July 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Mike

      [citation needed]

      July 16, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  14. Justin

    Non-theist (I guess). Frankly, I don't like talking religion b/c I always get yelled at. I don't understand why people even care if there's a god.

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

      Same. I was raised in a religious home and always found church incredibly boring. I have no interest in searching for spiritual answers or in confirming/denying the existence of a god, despite the fact that loved ones have passed and I think about the physical process of death regularly.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  15. Sweenbass

    In matters regarding all the books that people consider holy (
    Bible,Koran, Gita , etc)

    There are interesting stories in all of those books &more. The ones you think are interestiing may not be the ones I think are but that's my personal taste

    There are philosophical things that one can use to help improve your life & the lives of others. That is true of all of those aforementioned books & more

    However, on the subject of spiritual matters (a deity, a life force, life after natural death,etc...) The best these books can do is speculate. This is because they were written by people. Some choose to hang their spiritual hat on one of those speculations that those books offer. I do not

    Is there a spiritual component to the universe? I do not claim to know.

    I have not read anything in any of those books that convinces me that the speculations offered in them are anything more than that.

    I do not close my mind to the possibility of a spiritual side of existence, it's just that those matters seem bigger than one single explaination based on a ancient book written on one planet by one or more people.

    That is why, if I have to be called something, I am an agnostic

    July 16, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  16. bibledoctor

    all atheists believe in god but not the God of the bible.

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

      Do you have a dictionary handy?

      July 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • lionlylamb2013

      Many intellectually wholesome believers of and doubters of Godliness virtues remain as celibate spiritualists whose souls dare not constrain their anomalous verbally distinguishable reactionaries...

      July 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
      • .

        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 12:57 pm |
    • Which God?

      bible doctor needs to get some faith healing...he is brain dead. Ignorant troll.

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

      Yes, we worship an older and more powerful god then yours.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
  17. JAM

    lol??– you need to het your History correct as in there is a difference between Aldous Huxley and Thomas Henry Huxley, grandfather and one of the most fervent scientists and lecturers of his time.

    July 16, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Antigone

      Lol?? doesn't appear to be a person is concerned about facts; just making sarcastic intelligible comments.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • lol??

      Dude, you didn't say which one, but that's OK... I can see the typical absent minded professor brushing off a reporter.

      Reporter, "Are you a Gnostic??"
      Hux, "Yes, yes, yes, now quit bothering me."

      July 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
      • JAM

        You will love T.H. Huxley! GIve it a go and learn more about him! You'll wonder why he is not as famous as his grandson. Mind you, he didn't write 'Brave New World," but he did as much to promote Darwin/Wallace's theory as much as any other person since. Like Tesla, he seems to be a forgotten figure in recent History!

        July 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
  18. Joe S

    I'm more of a 5 than anything else, but with a hint of 6. Where I think this article gets it wrong is that it doesn't reference the need for tangible motivations. I think more would all believe in God, if we could feel, taste, smell, and breath in the essence of a supreme being. I do find it hilarious, the references to being mad at God made by some of the comments.

    Not that it matters, but the ultimate hypocrisy in my opinion is that we are given "free will" by God, but yet we are required to go down the correct paths, and follow God, etc. In addition, we are always looking for signs and being tested, but by who? What do the signs lead us to. This is what I liken organized religion to: mice are placed in a maze at the beginning of their life, and must follow the signs, pass the tests, to get to the cheese at the end of the maze, along the way they learn new skills to help master the maze and make poor choices sometimes over and over again until they get it right and make it to the end of a predetermined path and earn the cheese. There isn't any "free will" involved in this, but at least at the end you'll get the cheese.

    That's religion to me.

    Joe

    July 16, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Which God?

      Well, Joe S, let me ask you this. Who cut the cheese?

      July 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Tucker Jones

      God to me is like dad. He has rules, guidelines, things he wants me to do, become, etc. But I also have free will right. At age 18 I became an adult to do things my way. Dad, just has to say I taught him what I felt was needed to be done to be successful. I still have free will to screw it up. I realize that no two dads are the same, but face it in our small life until we reach adulthood he was the supreme being. I mean, how many of you got the old adage "wait until your father gets home".

      I do not believe in tests or half the stuff most people would say there is. I adhere to the believe that Godly man or Ungodly man crap is going to happen in your life and regardless of your personal belief system you will handle it well or handle it poorly. There are no tests. We are not Job. We live in a world where crap happens because we all have free will and sometimes someone else's free will spills over into our personal space.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  19. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    1,2 & 4... and fraction of 6, since I am of German descent and it is a stolen pagan holiday... My family celebrates Yule/Weihnachten.

    July 16, 2013 at 12:21 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.