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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. John Luke

    I am an atheist. I subscribe to the Humanist ideology and find the rituals and teachings of the worlds ancient religions a good moral guides to live a decent life. it is all about historical context and the development of the Human society and consciousness. Raised a protestant Christian I find the potential of religion profound but I will simply not subscribe to a supernatural god. The true faith to me is in life and its unending potential of all that consists of it. The greatest teacher and moral compass of life that has influenced me is Jesus but life dose not begin and end with the life of one man and neither should ones understanding of life. I certainly am not an atheist that recruits or is overtly judgmental of religion as I see great things in the religion but sadly the inadequacies' of most of its followers.

    July 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
  2. Sadie

    Most of the Christians I know fit #3 to a tee. But then, most of the Christians I know are Quakers, and we're a strange lot.

    July 15, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • agnostic seeker?

      That's interesting I didn't know anything about Quaker beliefs.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  3. Jrad

    There is no difference between agnostic and atheist. If you consider yourself agnostic, then you are, actually, atheist. Stop lying to yourself.

    July 15, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • agnostic seeker?

      I think the article is pointing out that there are even differences between atheists. There are differences between agnostics too. They are not the same thing. An atheist says there is definately nothing an agnostic says they definately do not know.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
      • G to the T

        A slight refinement if I may – an agnostic with either act as if there is a god or not (it's not really possible to sit the fence). If they claim to not know, but act as if there was a god – they are an agnostic theist. If they claim not to know, but act as if there is no god – they are an agnostic atheist. Someone who claims to KNOW there is a god and acts like one is a gnostic theist. Someone who claims to KNOW there is NO god and actts like one is gnostic atheist. 2 different aspects of knowledge and not mutually exclusive.

        July 16, 2013 at 9:38 am |
        • Politely thoughtful

          That is an interesting observation, G to the T, but not a mandatory refinement. Since the definition of agnostic relates to a belief system, the "acting" component is not a requirement to define agnostic. Even if you insist on a behavioral component, your refinement is not mandatory; if an agnostic maintains that the existence of God or Gods is an open or unanswerable question, then they can "act" in accord with that belief. Your refinement is only valid from the binary "theist or atheist" frame of reference, which the agnostic is not embracing.

          July 16, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
      • Seeking Enlightenment

        "definitely" contains no "a". Thanks.

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

      He's right. There aren't "real" atheists that say they know. They say "I don't know, but let's find out". Not knowing is agnostic and not believing is atheistic. I don't believe(Atheist) and I don't truly know the answers to the biggest questions(agnostic). They pretty much go hand in hand.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
      • crackwalker

        I know the answers to the big questions.

        Q: Why was the universe created?
        A: For no reason.

        It works for any 'big' question that starts with 'Why?'

        July 15, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • Politely thoughtful

      Jrad, please don't presume to force others to accept your label for their beliefs. These is certainly a difference between the commonly understood definitions of atheist and agnostic. Per Webster, the relevant definition for atheism is a) : a disbelief in the existence of deity, or b) : the doctrine that there is no deity. Agnosticism maintains that the existence of a deity or deities is unproven and possibly unprovable. In other words, the first claims it is a closed question; the second considers it an open question. They are definitely not the same thing. Frankly, the article does a huge disservice to the public understanding of the issue by placing atheists and agnostics in the same category.

      July 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
  4. BIG SHIZ

    No one cares what you believe in

    July 15, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • hee hee

      Little old me? You don't care about my opinion? Sniff....

      July 15, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • agnostic seeker?

      Well really that's a valid point. Belief does not alter outcome. Atleast in no way we've proven yet.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  5. How to spot a ritual atheist

    “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.”

    –Add to the above the obsessive compulsive atheist ritual that includes posting at least 10 "comments" daily on the CNN belief blog

    July 15, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • hee hee

      I just type fast

      July 15, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  6. Jehovah

    Sinners repent.

    July 15, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Jehovah should apologize to the sinners for making such a fragile universe that one decision by one woman put the whole thing into radioactive meltdown. What a stupid god.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
      • Jehovah

        God is holy and righteous. Man is depraved. The only escape is Jesus Christ.

        July 15, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
        • John Luke

          Is it not more in the living of Jesus's lessons than just saying it over and over again?

          July 15, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
        • crackwalker

          Apparently God created some people to sit at their computer and recite verses of the bible like they were automatons. Freewill? Reason? Who needs 'em? I am a human religio-spambot, all part of God's plan.

          July 15, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • Dave

      Atheisism is worse than religous beliefs for causing conflict and repression. Simply look at any communist government, their atheist beliefs are not to be challeged without fear of death to their citizens. They fear what someone believing in a higher power than the state could lead to. That is the fear of all atheists they cannot stand up to the challenge of their beliefs and so they to ridicule those that don't conform or try to force the religious beliefs from public view for fear the govennment may be t seen as not the ultimate power over people.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
      • G to the T

        What you are describing is a politically motivated action, not a philosophically motivated one (i.e. atheism). They didn't do it in the name of atheism, they did it because they didn't want to share any political power with the church.

        Now the crusades and inquisition are a slightly different story...

        July 16, 2013 at 9:42 am |
        • Thinker...

          Actually the crusades and the inquisition were very political. The first crusade was the result of the pope flexing his political power in an attempt to make the kings of Europe stop fighting each other (didn't work). The subsequent crusades were attempts to hold the ground gained in the first (also didn't work). The inquisition was used as a tool to exert the secular power of the bishops of the church. Many 'heretics' were business and political opponents of the bishops in charge of the operation. Many of the rest were used as scapegoats for the problems of the time and to cement the fear and power of the church in the minds of the common man.

          When I look at history I find very few atrocities caused by ideology. Most seem to be caused by someone/s using ideology as a tool to obtain greater wealth and power. The ideology is just the tool to make the atrocities seem justified at the time.

          July 16, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  7. asdrel

    Aren't #2 "Activist" and #4 "Anti-thiest" pretty much the same thing? They both sound people who, like religious evangelicals, want to inflict thier beliefs on others.

    July 15, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      There is way too much overlap in all six of these labels for them to be of much use.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      They are more descriptive of behaviors than they are descriptors of disbelief.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Sadie

      I thought the same thing. Evangelical Christians and Evangelical Atheists are both high on my list of People With Whom I Don't Want To Talk About Religion.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
      • hee hee

        Yes, I can't stand all those atheists who knock on my door every Saturday morning.

        July 15, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
        • LinCA

          Me neither

          July 15, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
        • TADA

          I have mormons on Saturday and Jehova Witnesses on Wednesday....double whammy

          July 16, 2013 at 1:30 am |
  8. JB

    Well, I will be glad when the hatred that is disguised under religious doctrine no longer exists.

    July 15, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
  9. Atheis5150

    Divisions in humanity are the main driving forces of prejudice misconceptions the foster hate and bigotry. I wonder, will atheists (or people that claim to be atheists) become fractionalized and war against one another? We have witnessed this in all religious groups. An on going example would be to look at Christians and Muslims, or Catholics and Mormons. Will Atheists war against each other based on their ideas of science and mathematics, will there be future decades that will become known to future historians as "The String Theory Wars" period?
    I am an atheist and do not feel that I personally fit any one of the 6 categories described. As a species, we need to come together and recognize our commonalities and work together toward a sustainable future.

    July 15, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • James

      I don't think there will be. Mainly my thought process is this. Religious folk even in the same type will have different beliefs. They constantly try to get others to follow them. Atheists on the other hand constantly look at science...science is just that so I don't see how there could be an issue. I know you're thinking about the south park episode(s) with the otters, but of course that's just satire.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
  10. daedliam

    There is ample evidence for ideas greater than what human existance can concieve. Our being is a mystery and anyone with average intelligence can conclude this. Just a few simple questions can exceed the limits of science and reason... for example...

    Where is the universe? If you ever figure that out, you'll need to define where that place is and from there the same question will apply to the answer. It's an ultimate question and only something greater than the continuim we call existance can begin to answer it.

    What set the universe in motion? Since nothing moves that isn't moved, what moved first? whether it's the intricate movement of the inner workings of a cell or atom or the vast motions of galaxies fillng our universe, everything is moving and something else is causing that motion. What set it all in motion? What moved first? Again, it's an ultimate question because any answer you come up with will have the same question staring you in the face. What moved first?

    Where did matter come from? From nothing, nothing comes. Unless you redefine the meaning of "nothing" you're stuck with another ultimate question that only "something" that self-exists can answer. What came first?

    There are a few more of these obvious questions that athiest love to ignore but they stand just as obvious and immutable as ever no matter what you choose to believe.

    I'm a believer in God, a Christian to be more precise and while I can't offer definitive proof that Jesus was and is the Son of God, I can however, see the evidence of something greater than this existance we find ourselves bound within. Whatever you want to call this enigma, this that must be, I call it God and I am persuaded that He hasn't abandoned us.

    July 15, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Your questions are good for use in explaining why a person might be a deist or believe in some higher state of being than we can observe in our current spot in the universe. But the Christian god is just too irrational and hateful and silly to be taken seriously. Either the god of the bible does not exist or he is an incredibly evil trickster god.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • Get Realist

      These are small minded questions. Our human brains may not be capable of comprehending the true nature of the universe, but science is the best tool we have to attempt it. Our lack of understanding is NOT proof of the existence of an intelligent designer.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
      • Stephen Jones

        Yup, The God Of The Gaps is a silly answer to the big questions and gets smaller every day.

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

        Get Realist said, "These are small minded questions. Our human brains may not be capable of comprehending the true nature of the universe, but science is the best tool we have to attempt it. Our lack of understanding is NOT proof of the existence of an intelligent designer."

        Really? Small-minded? Yet these are questions which have been asked by some of the greatest minds our world has ever known. Using the derogatory term "small-minded" is truly a weak response. To belittle is the response of someone who doesn't have an answer and doesn't want to admit it, therefore the question isn't of importance.

        I agree that science is the best tool we have for explaing the nature of the universe. I also agree that lack of an answer to these questions is not proof of the existence of one or more gods. But the reverse is also true. Just because you can answer some questions does not mean you've answered (or can answer) them all. Have you read Antony Flew's last book, "There is a god".

        As for the response about the "god of the gaps" . . . isn't that also what you're doing? Filling in a gap with your own preconceptions? Assuming an answer where there isn't one? Extrapolating an answer from evidence you deem credible or non-credible? Some incredibly intelligent individuals can come to some incredibly different conclusions.

        July 16, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
        • kso

          actually no. we leave it as TBD (to be determined) instead of "god did it."

          "god" (the christian version) is an exponentially more complex being than the universe. the universe has very simple mechanics far as we can tell. to say that a conscious being more complex than the universe poofed itself into existence without its own evolution or ancestry is for me a logical hang-up.

          July 16, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
        • Stephen Jones

          What preconception? What answer did I extrapolate? You seem to be approaching my response with the assumption that I presume to have answers to the big questions, I don't. That's why they seem to me to be big questions.

          I'm not so sure about intelligent individuals coming to some incredibly different conclusions. Some of those intelligent individuals may not have all the facts, be delusional or are being disingenuous. With the same evidence and enough time consensus seems to be the outcome of the application scientific method.

          As to my god of the gaps (the Dawkins variety) stance, I stand by that. The more we know the smaller god/ gods seems to the point of nonexistence actually.

          July 16, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
      • Sarah Divine

        Small minded....
        I believe you meant "close-minded" dear
        Belief of God has nothing to do with the universe
        also, who are you supposed to be?
        Jesus?

        September 11, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • Love and Hugs and Fluffy Farts

      Scientists have worked out that matter can in fact come from nothing. It's a question that was poorly answered by the religious to state that their deities did it. Instead, scientists actually did WORK and figured it out.

      That's the nice thing about science. It doesn't just pretend something did it so it can be lazy. It is used to figure out the answers. When was the last time the bible was used to perform any psysics calculations? Nah... that's too much work.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
      • Jehovah

        And a non living cell produced a living cell? The Big Bang made things organized and not chaotic? Science oh science where are your fossil transitions from one kind to a totally different kind? DNA will not bring new info to make something different, it only mutates and goes backward. Evolution remains a theory and a bad one.

        July 15, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
        • crackwalker

          Here's the thing about science – it's all one body of knowledge. I know it's divided into specialties, but that doesn't mean they are completely divisible parts. You can't choose to believe in engineering, and reject evolution. You can't accept the science behind electricity, and reject the science of carbon-dating. The scientists of all these disciplines are held to the same standard, known as the scientific method.

          I mean, believe what you want, but... logic... reason... stuff like that matters to most people.

          July 15, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Obviously, you understand neither fossils nor genetic mapping. Get a clue.

          July 16, 2013 at 10:17 am |
        • Stephen Jones

          I think you are confusing theory with hypothesis. That's ok though, a lot of people do and you seem more confused than most.

          July 16, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          You're about 160 years behind on the fossil thing – there are plenty of transitional fossils.

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

        Not true. Columbus used the Bible, specifically Job, Genesis, and Numbers to explain why he believed the world was round.

        July 16, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
        • Tim

          Columbus also created mass genocide... yeah, great example, Phil.

          July 16, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • Mathews

      For proof that Jesus is the Son of God, its there. Read Israel's history, then read the Bible. Seek and you will find.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
      • pfr1nk

        I HAVE read the bible, cover to cover. It is clearly the collected fireside tales of a group of nomads who claimed to be 'gods chosen people'. Followed by the fan fiction created by the followers of an apocalyptic preacher (or a conglomeration of many preachers) of the day. It is fairy tales, not history.

        July 18, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • pfr1nk

      " Our being is a mystery and anyone with average intelligence can conclude this."

      You have proven that someone with average (or slightly below) intelligence can become confused by complex subjects and attribute these complexities to a man made god with the added benefit of being a god of the gaps. Others know that sometimes the best answer is "I dont know", instead of "a wizard did it".

      /Some of us have above average intelligence.

      July 18, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  11. John

    Amazing how people can be duped by the fairy tale of atheism..

    July 15, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Pc3

      Athiesm has no fairy tales. Religion does.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • Biff Biffman

      Far fewer than those that have been duped by fairy tales of Zeus, Yahweh and Allah, I assure you.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • James

      Theism – a belief in a god or gods
      Atheism – Lack of belief in a god or gods

      So all your statement does is show that you lack even a simple understanding of what atheists are. You can be an atheist and still have a difference in opinion on things.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  12. hazelk

    Judging from the way the article sways in its reporting, I'd say the reporter felt that there are only two types of atheists: annoying/loud/extrovert atheist VS. quiet/content/introvert atheist.

    July 15, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
  13. RS

    I'm agnostic, but I don't "regularly question" my beliefs. I'm very firm in my belief that we do not know what happens after we die. I think both religious zealots and atheist zealots are preaching the unknowable.

    July 15, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • hee hee

      There is a fair bit of evidence that you rot.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • James

      We aren't saying we know. We say we don't know, but we know enough to know you can't know. We are simply replying to the proposition that there is a god. We say we don't know(that would make us agnostic atheists). Mind you that both words mean different things. You're tired of hearing atheists complain and argue with people, but we do it because of the ignorance and over all bigotry attached to the Christian(and many) religion(s).

      July 15, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
  14. Dan

    I am waiting for humans to grow up beyond childhood of tooth fairies and religion.
    Having said that, one cannot ignore the enormous meme legacies of religion in our history, arts and culture and philosophy – for good or bad.

    July 15, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • James

      True Newton and Galileo were both religious and brought a ton to science and our understanding. On the other hand of course you have the people that discount science.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Lycidas

      I do not understand this kind of arrogance. There is nothing superior in being non-religious. There is no evidence of being a superior human because of your beliefs or non-beliefs.

      July 15, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
      • Ozzfest

        Loose a god you become a rock star.

        July 30, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
  15. anon

    Guess I'd fall into the non-theist category. It really bothers me to see other atheists proselytizing. So long as people leave you alone and respect your (lack of) beliefs, it makes no difference at all whether or not they believe. Worst of all are the (so called) atheists who make a religion out of either their anti-religiousness or their politics (e.g. marxists).

    July 15, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • hee hee

      re: atheists proselytizing: when was the last time an atheist knocked on your door on a Sunday morning?

      What have you got against people expressing their viewpoint, on message boards and in conversation?

      July 15, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • But they DON"T leave us alone - they create laws and rules WE have to follow

      They are ENEMIES to truth and science. How can you allow an enemy that could harm you or your family a chance to succeed?

      You're a coward. Let those of us with the courage fight for you, and stay the hell out of our way.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
  16. Ted B.

    I guess I'm a combination of #3 (Seeker-agnostic), #4 (Anti-theist), and #6 (Ritual atheist). As to #3, I think humankind is pathetically primitive, unevolved, and not even remotely prepared to comprehend the deepest mysteries of the universe (see, the scene in "Contact" where Jodie Foster's character meets the intelligence manifested as her father). As to #4, I think organized religion is incredibly dangerous, a tool of tyranny, a crutch to the insecure and weak minded. Finally, as to #6, I see many philosophical and ethical parallels in various belief systems that are of practical value in day-to-day life. (see, Thich Nhat Hanh's "Living Buddha, Living Christ"). Meditation, yoga, and the pagan symbols of, for example, Christmas, are all good things. Still, the only holiday of redeeming value is Thanksgiving.

    July 15, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
  17. Salero21

    There's only one type of atheism the stupid type. Atheism is stupidity in Full bloom, in other words Total stupidity.

    July 15, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Yakobi

      There is a direct correlation between how religious a person is and their lack of intelligence.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Love and Hugs and Fluffy Farts

      You are incorrect. Imagine the stupidty of anyone that believes in a collection of books such as the bible, which proves itself to be false. The evidence it mounts against itself is monumental, yet idiots everywhere believe in it. Just how stupid would one have to be in order to believe in it? Unimaginably stupid. Total stupidity? No. Much, MUCH further than that. We're talking ultimate mind cripple stupidity. So stupid that it causes physical pain. Salero, you look like you need an aspirin.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
      • Jehovah

        It takes a much greater faith to believe that nothing produced everything. Atheists need to repent before time is up.

        July 15, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
        • G to the T

          Maybe... but atheism has nothing to do with that. It only posits a non-belief in god(s). Sometimes the most honest answer is "I don't know", not jumping to "Goddidit".

          July 16, 2013 at 10:10 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          LOL, and which one of these answers is more sensible:

          1. We don't know how the universe came to be
          2. A big invisible sky wizard chanted magic spells to make the universe.

          July 16, 2013 at 10:14 am |
        • pfr1nk

          "It takes a much greater faith to believe that nothing produced everything."

          So where did god come from?

          /I am betting you think he 'just was/always existed', which makes your statement even more ironic.
          //Also, no one postulates "that nothing produced everything". That is a strawman of your own creation. One that you still failed to defeat.

          July 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • Jeff

      Your cogent arguments about stupidity might carry more weight if you demonstrated the ability to punctuate and capitalize correctly.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • hee hee

      Yes, "nyaa nyaa nyaa, I can't hear you... you're a silly face" right back at you.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
      • Stephen Jones

        You made me laugh. Don't do that again.

        July 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • FreeThinker

      Troll....yep....that about sums it up. "Give man fish and he will eat for a day. Teach man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. Teach man religion and he will die praying for fish."

      July 15, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
      • Stephen Jones

        But he wont have stinky fingers.

        July 16, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • My - see how Christains are such LOVING and NONJUDGEMENTAL people?

      Not a bit of a god damned hypocrite among you, is there?

      July 15, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • pfr1nk

      "There's only one type of atheism the stupid type. Atheism is stupidity in Full bloom, in other words Total stupidity."

      Yous sounds rally smrt.

      /I have seen kindergarteners with better writing skills.

      July 18, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
  18. blah

    seeker-agnostic should not be grouped in with atheists. Atheism is a belief, agnosticism is the opposite.

    July 15, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Atheism is a disbelief, not a belief. An agnostic claims not to have spiritual knowledge. Belief and knowledge require two different words: theism and gnosticism. Disbelief (not belief) and no-spiritual-knowledge also require two different words: atheism and agnosticism.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
      • asdrel

        I disagree; at some of the "types" of athiests dicribed in the article passionatley belief there are no gods and want to spread thier belief.

        July 15, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Actually they want to spread their disbelief.

          According to these labels, they are number 2, the activists.

          July 15, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
        • James

          How hard is this to understand. You people(religious folk) are saying there's a god. We are replying "We don't agree here's why". How is that having a belief and fighting for it? We have a lack in belief because belief requires faith and faith is believing in something without evidence. This isn't hard.

          July 15, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
      • dlj

        this is false. atheism is a belief, not a lack of belief. this is clear because otherwise one could be an atheist without ever knowing it. Atheism is belief that God does not exist.

        July 15, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
        • G to the T

          Actually, you just proved yourself wrong. All baby's are atheists – theism is a learned response.

          July 16, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      An atheist is responding to the belief of someone else. What does it matter if I don't believe in Santa if no one understands what a "Santa" is? If you say that you are an alien, and I don't believe you, that's disbelief in your idea. I didn't say I believed you were anything.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • cm

      if you claim to be an agnostic you are advertising you lack decision-making skills. Pick a side and stop being lazy and/or cowardly.

      July 15, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
      • Observer

        cm,

        "if you claim to be an agnostic you are advertising you lack decision-making skills. Pick a side and stop being lazy and/or cowardly."

        If you claim to be an atheist you are advertizing that you lack objectivity. Stop being so intellectually ignorant and admit that there is a possibility of intelligent design that could incorporate some form of a leader or group of leaders.

        July 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
  19. Yakobi

    "These kinds of atheists and agnostics are not content with just disbelieving in God;"

    That should've said "gods", not "God", as atheists don't subscribe to ANY religion, and not just the Judeo-Christian one.

    July 15, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  20. wadesworld242

    How come all we get on CNN comments is #2 and #4?

    July 15, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      You don't.

      Mostly you get behavior consistent with number 1.

      There's plenty of behaviour consistent with 2 and 4 too, but most of it is type 1.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Adam Williamson

      Representing #5: you don't get #5 in discussions of religion by definition. We aren't interested.

      July 15, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Well said.

        July 15, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.