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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. Colin

    Yesterday morning there was a knock at my door. A pleasant and enthusiastic young couple were there.

    John: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."

    Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss His ass?"

    John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, He'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"

    John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever He wants, and what He wants is to give you a million dollars, but He can't until you kiss His ass."

    Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."

    Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?"

    Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."

    John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?"

    Mary: "Oh yes, all the time..."

    Me: "And has He given you a million dollars?"

    John: "Well no. You don't actually get the money until you leave town."

    Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"

    Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and He kicks the guts out of you."

    Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town, and got the million dollars?"

    John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."

    Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"

    John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."

    Me: "So what makes you think He'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"

    Mary: "Well, we have faith in Hank. It’s good to have faith in Hank and bad to question, doubt or think skeptically of what Hank says. Hank will kick the guts out of you if he finds out you do that.

    Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."

    John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to Him, get the details straight from Him..."

    Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."

    Me: "Then how do you kiss His ass?"

    John: "Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Karl's ass, and he passes it on."

    Me: "Who's Karl?"

    Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."

    Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss His ass, and that Hank would reward you?"

    John: "Oh no! Karl has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."

    From the Desk of Karl
    1. Kiss Hank's ass and He'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
    2. Use alcohol in moderation.
    3. Kick the guts out of people who aren't like you.
    4. Eat right.
    5. Hank dictated this list Himself.
    6. The moon is made of green cheese.
    7. Everything Hank says is right.
    8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
    9. Don't use alcohol.
    10. Kiss Hank's ass or He'll kick the guts out of you.

    Me: "This appears to be written on Karl's letterhead."

    Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."

    Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is Karl's handwriting."

    John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."

    Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"

    Mary: "Not now, but years ago He would talk to some people."

    Me: "I thought you said He was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the guts out of people just because they're different?"

    Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."

    Me: "How do you figure that?"

    Mary: "Item 7 says 'Everything Hank says is right.' That's good enough for me!"

    Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up."

    John: "No way! Item 5 says 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says 'Use alcohol in moderation,' Item 4 says 'Eat right,' and item 8 says 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."

    Me: "But 9 says 'Don't use alcohol.' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."

    John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."

    Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock..."

    Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."

    Me: "I'm not really an expert, but not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it plausible that it might be made of cheese."

    John: "Ha! You just admitted that scientists don’t know everything, but we know Hank is always right!"

    Me: "We do?"

    Mary: "Of course we do, Item 7 says so."

    Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying 'Hank's right because He says He's right.'"

    John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."

    Me: "But...oh, never mind.

    from Jhuger.com.

    July 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Hank be thy name... all hail Hank!

      July 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Dean

      Don't forget to take your meds and don't give up your day job.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        You sure told him... lol

        July 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • Sussay

      Classic! Thanks for sharing.

      July 16, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
  2. brucefp

    I'm a 1-4 with varying degrees of each. I'm very comfortable with the label Atheist, but those specific types don't really make any sense to me in a vacuum. They are probably overly specific and there is probably more of a recipe with those ingredients for each non-believer.

    July 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
  3. pep

    God may be an atheist. Lots of confusion up there. What with a God, his son and his mother and a ghost running around. Who believes in who?

    July 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
  4. Agnostickids

    If christians REALLY believe in their god, or their Jesus, then why do they have to convince others that what they believe is right and true?

    I mean, why not try going all Beatles and "Let It Be?"

    July 16, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • William Demuth

      It is how Ponzi Scheme work

      You need to shovel meat and money in one end if you EVER want to get back out.

      July 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • defdd

      there's no such thing as an atheist. there are only liars.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        there's no such thing as a christian. there are only liars.

        July 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      "Because letting it be" would cut out the fear and the enemies needed to scare people into seats on Sunday and money on the trays and votes swayed toward the Family Values Party.

      Enemies are critical.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Agnostickids

      ddfdfdd...or whatever your username is...

      You're a provoker and a bully. Why post a response if you don't have anything useful to contribute to a discussion?

      July 16, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  5. Joe

    I don't know if I would be considered an atheist, but I believe in God as a force that is omnipresent and holds everything together. I do not believe in God as defined by religion. One way to say it is that I believe in God, but I don't believe in any religion. I don't think that two have anything to do with one another. However, pope Francis appears to be a good man. I hope that he is for real and that he we will be able to accomplish what he seems to have set out to do. I think he is someone with whom I can see eye to eye without changing any on my beliefs or he changing any of his. I think goodness in people's hearts is the commonality that brings some of us together much better than religion.

    July 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I haven't checked in a while, but about 2000 years ago the Popes job was to administer Gods kingdom during the extermination of 2/3 of humanity in a world ending war

      Not exactly something I want his royal looniness to succeed in doing.

      July 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Colton

      I think you just described yourself as a deist

      July 16, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Illusive

      Yeah, as far as definitions go you are a theist, because you believe in a god in some form or another. Particularly that sounds like deism (like the other poster said), deism being the same belief that most of the founding fathers held.
      Personally I find deism better than most theologies but in a way it makes it pointless...essentially all it is, is calling nature, gravity, or the universe god. Why attach the word "god" at all? it brings along with it so much baggage. Just call it what it is.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  6. Johnny Noir

    Hmm, when I last posted, the comment was on page 18. Now it's on page 32. Apparently they changed systems so that far fewer comments are on each page. Weird.

    July 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  7. Dolphintam

    I am definitely a non-theist. I couldn't care less about religions,I find them a total waste of time and money .Religions are run by people who capitalize on their followers' insecurities and fears in order to control their lives and take their money, that is all religion is: a big business based on instilling fear of "God/Allah/insert name of fairy tale character here" into people.

    My mother is extremely religious and yet,none of my 5 brothers and sisters are religious in the least,which is interesting.I consider myself very lucky to have been able to "escape" the whole "spaghetti-monster-in-the-sky" fairy tales and live my life according to my conscience and simply trying to be kind with others and respectful of our planet and all of it's inhabitants, human or not. Which also makes me a vegan. It is a way of life I love and embrace. It baffles me to this day to see the extent of the power of religions,when it is so obvious that these are just stories made up by humans to control other humans....

    July 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • pjusa

      Kind of like socialism or communism. The government will take care of you if you just believe in them and give them most of your hard earned cash. Both forms of government have 2 classes, the minority ruling elite and the majority followers/dependants. However, unlike a religion which you can choose to leave if you don't like the message, if you're just a socialist/communist follower then you're hosed, unless you want to start a rebellion. Alas only the government will have weapons other than forks and knives.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  8. digitalclips

    Six? There are as many types of atheism as there are atheists. The ONLY thing they have in common is not believing in mythology, the rest is individualism.

    July 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Technically they may even believe in mythology, as long as it doesn't involve gods.

      July 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
      • William Demuth

        Saraswati

        Yes, myths like Justice, Honor, Fair Play, Democracy and Ethics

        We too have our fantasies with no basis in reality

        July 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
        • Illusive

          Can't tell if serious....all those things can be secular as well, and I could argue that secular morality, justice, fairness is leaps and bounds better than religious ideologies.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
        • Saraswati

          I don't think any of those are inherently related to atheism. Atheism is about god beliefs – period. As the poster below points out, many Buddhists are atheists. As this Pew survey finds, atheists may believe in all sorts of other things...qi, libertarian free will, homeopathy. I'm not recommending these beliefs, but the atheists I've met who hold them are no less atheists.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Illusive

      Saraswati is correct, Buddhists are atheists as well. Atheist does not mean non-religious non-supernatural etc... just "I don't believe in any gods".

      July 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Illusive

      Agreed, but alas just as unattainable.

      We are toast. This society is about to collapse.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
      • Illusive

        Unobtainable? What is there to obtain?

        Society is going to collapse? How do you know? Seems to be getting better to me.

        I would hate to live with a negative worldview, life must suck for you.

        July 16, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
      • Illusive

        *Attain*

        July 16, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
  9. Blagoj

    I am an Anti-theist

    July 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Illusive

      I am all of the above, depends on the mood and conversation. but the problem is there is as many types of atheists as there are atheists...everyone is different...

      July 16, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  10. NotYoDaddy

    Number Seven...........................The Hatetheist.

    Poster Child?

    Bill Mahr.

    Premise: Will do whatever necessary to humiliate, embarrass, or otherwise shout-down any one of any "faith" whatsoever.

    (from a completely non-religious poster)

    July 16, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Please at least read the definition. Bill Maher is an anti-theist, see type 4.

      July 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      Most Christians I know need no help humiliating and embarrassing themselves.

      July 16, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
      • Richard

        I’m not one of those Christians, Just the Facts Ma'am...

        July 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Johnny Noir

      A hater post accusing others of being haters.

      Christian hypocrisy is perfect.

      July 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
  11. William Demuth

    A HEADS UP TO THE REGULARS!!

    Do NOT use the notify of follow ups option, your email account will be BURIED before they get this running right.

    July 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • OTOH

      Gee, I didn't know there was one (notify feature) here. I have it on the regular CNN articles, but not here.

      July 16, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
      • William Demuth

        Appeared recently, does NOT work right.

        July 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Antigone

      I thought it was for follow up comments on *your* posts...but I suspected as much...

      July 16, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
  12. Lord Creator GOD

    Dear Children of Earth,

    Although the universe is vast in space and time I've chosen to only notice and take care of one tiny little part of your planet. Two thousand years ago I decided only they were the chosen ones. I am real, and this is totally legit.

    Not a fairy tale,
    Love,
    Lord God in Heaven Above, which really exists.

    July 16, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Agnostickids

      Yo Lord god thingy...

      Please prove that you are real.

      Sincerely,

      The people of the earth that think you are a nasty god for allowing the horrible suffering that takes place...ESPECIALLY if you are real.

      July 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
      • Maani

        Uh...if He proved His existence, what would be the purpose of faith? God does not want "automatons" who "believe" in Him because they "have" to based on His proving His existence. He gave us free will – including the free will to accept or reject His existence. You choose to do so. That is your prerogative.

        As for suffering, pain, grief, etc., adversity makes one stronger as a human being. Why – do you think all of us should simply "live the life of Riley," with no "bad" stuff? If so, what you are describing is not Earth, but Heaven.

        Peace.

        July 17, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "Lord God in Heaven Above, which really exists." Anything you have to add "which really exists" to pretty much guarantees that it doesn't exist. Also, when you say "above", above where? Does an extra-dimensional space have a fixed location somwhere within our universe that is continually "above" us?

      July 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
      • Maani

        The use of the word "above" is merely for simplification. Just as we use the word "He" as the personal pronoun for God merely for simplification (since God is a "spirit," and thus has both male and female properties), so the word "above" is used for simplifications. You are correct in your notion of God being "extra-dimensional." Most scholars simply note that god is "outside of time."

        July 17, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
  13. lionlylamb2013

    Today's verbalized conjurors dare to séance in verbal augments derisions of multi-functionally written gestures. To label someone and for that someone to lay claim to other's labeling innuendoes shows much as to how written séances dare conjures up another's wanton desires to be led astray from things being imaginatively delegated with serene promises of nothing in particular perspectives of ill rationed abilities. Be as an atheist and label them all while being as a theist becomes also a labeling issue. The crux of the many is the cloisters in which the few will never rightfully ascertain and find being complimentary to one's life variances. Be the of goodness sakes and find good cheer among one's friends and leave the rest to never find chances for changing of values ever forsaking the menial figurations of the most celibate kinds.

    July 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • .

      This is why you ignore these type of posts, LL is the belief blog pseudo intellect, don't bother reading, 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 1:42 pm |
      • TheresaQ

        My first thought was – crackheads should not use the internet!

        July 16, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
        • lionlylamb2013

          Your labeling someone unknown as being "crackheads" seems to be a submission of one's own ambitious waywardness. If I were you, I'd seek a behavioral specialist before you pull the trigger...

          July 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
      • Paul Costa

        Far out. Thought I was at a Rush concert.

        July 16, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Cool... I just tried that... read this along with the "Freewill" melody!

          July 16, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
      • lionlylamb2013

        Your pretentious nature toward nurturing others wanton reading seems to be your lot for living. If I were you, I would consider changing your balmy resolutions and seek help in matters of stationary dribbles which you find soothing yet comforts your soulful spirited gestures underlying your flinching wayward accolades...

        July 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
        • .

          Keep demonstrating why you fit the label of a pseudo intellect because of your poor writing skills.

          July 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
        • lionlylamb2013

          To lot-a-dot,

          Your decisions to remain as a negative spokesman weighing against my wordage usages shows many as to just how uneducated your grasp of the English language truly is... I keep making attempts toward triangulating my written perspectives and all you do is remain staunchly adversarial.... Why do you forlorn me and my words of wit? Are you a teacher in search of being a professor?

          July 16, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
        • Paul

          You are absolutely correct and what you stated perfectly applies to your same message and conviction.

          July 16, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Mike

      Please get back on your medicine.

      July 16, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Words of Wisdom

      Christopher Buckley: "The best advice on writing I've ever received was from William Zinsser: 'Be grateful for every word you can cut.'"

      Truman Capote: "I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil."

      Rachel Carson: "[Writing is] largely a matter of application and hard work, or writing and rewriting endlessly until you are satisfied that you have said what you want to say as clearly and simply as possible."

      Winston Churchill: "Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words when short are best of all."

      Cicero: "When you wish to instruct, be brief; that men's minds take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind."

      Samuel Taylor Coleridge: "Words in prose ought to express the intended meaning; if they attract attention to themselves, it is a fault; in the very best styles you read page after page without noticing the medium."

      Leonardo da Vinci: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

      Albert Einstein: "If you can't explain something simply, you don't understand it well."

      Albert Einstein: "Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in language comprehensible to everyone."

      Albert Einstein: "Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius–and a lot of courage–to move in the opposite direction."

      George Eliot: "The finest language is mostly made up of simple unimposing words."

      Wilson Follett: "Whenever we can make 25 words do the work of 50, we halve the area in which looseness and disorganization can flourish."

      H.W. Fowler: "Any one who wishes to become a good writer should endeavour, before he allows himself to be tempted by the more showy qualities, to be direct, simple, brief, vigorous, and lucid."

      July 16, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Words of Wisdom

      Anatole France: "The finest words in the world are only vain sounds if you can't understand them."

      Anatole France: "The best sentence? The shortest."

      Learned Hand: "The language of law must not be foreign to the ears of those who are to obey it."

      Robert Heinlein: "The most important lesson in the writing trade is that any manuscript is improved if you cut away the fat."

      Hippocrates: "The chief virtue that language can have is clearness, and nothing detracts from it so much as the use of unfamiliar words."

      Thomas Jefferson: "The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do."

      Samuel Johnson: "Do not accustom yourself to use big words for little matters."

      Samuel Johnson: "A man who uses a great many words to express his meaning is like a bad marksman who instead of aiming a single stone at an object takes up a handful and throws at it in hopes he may hit."

      Joseph Joubert: "Words, like glasses, obscure everything they do not make clear."

      James J. Kilpatrick: "Use familiar words–words that your readers will understand, and not words they will have to look up. No advice is more elementary, and no advice is more difficult to accept. When we feel an impulse to use a marvelously exotic word, let us lie down until the impulse goes away."

      C.S. Lewis: "Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite."

      July 16, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Words of Wisdom

      Will Rogers: "I love words but I don't like strange ones. You don't understand them and they don't understand you. Old words is like old friends, you know 'em the minute you see 'em."

      William Safire: "It behooves us to avoid archaisms. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do."

      William Shakespeare: "Men of few words are the best men."

      William Strunk: "A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts."

      Mark Twain: "I never write metropolis for seven cents when I can get the same price for city. I never write policeman when I can get the same money for cop."

      Mark Twain: "As to the adjective, when in doubt, strike it out."

      July 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • .

      @Words of Wisdom, that's why LL is labeled a pseudo intellect, they don't understand what it means to be a good writer.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • Words of Wisdom

      Mark Twain: "Anybody can have ideas–the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph."

      E.B. White: "Use the smallest word that does the job."

      William Butler Yeats: "Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people."

      William Zinsser: "Writing improves in direct ratio to the things we can keep out of it that shouldn't be there."

      July 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
  14. Heather C.

    Seeker-agnostic here!

    July 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Single???

      We gotta do our part in the struggle, we agnostic are gonna need LOTS of future martrys!!

      July 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      Same here. And believe it or not, I walked around most of my life not knowing my classification. Duh.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
  15. Paul Costa

    The people who are in the third category are likely at peace without fear of fire and brimstone. Seems healthy, if not intelligent even.

    July 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Shaun

      I would agree

      July 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
  16. Katherine

    I'm #6, a ritual atheist. I'm not interested in religion, but don't preach atheism either because I have respect for believers. Curiously, my father is a retired Protestant pastor and I grew up in the church, so I find Christian teachings useful in my life, whether I choose to admit it or not to others. I like to observe holiday traditions from the dreaded secular viewpoint (Christmas, Easter, etc.), though I no longer have any religious ties to them.

    July 16, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
  17. Jake

    So the first step of categorizing all the different types of atheism is to conflate atheism and agnosticism?

    July 16, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  18. TheresaQ

    I have probably been all six at one time or another in my life's journey. I think I'm mostly settled into a 6 now. In my idealistic younger days I wanted so bad to help make the world a more rational place. But I accepted the reality of the quote "you can't teach a pig to sing, it wastes your time and annoys the pig". That could be said for either side in passionate debates on religion. So, now I live and let live in peace.

    July 16, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Paul Costa

      Well put, Theresa.

      July 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
  19. OTOH

    W T H?... did this comment section suddenly explode from 28 pages to 59? How are we to find previous posts that we might be following?

    July 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Pete

      I noticed that too, this new system is having a hard time keeping up.

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

        It's probably why when you click on a comment on the side it goes nowhere because the page count is moving up too fast.

        July 16, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • William Demuth

      The Mormons called in reinforcements

      And the other comments you are looking for need Romney's approval before they can post

      July 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • ME II

      Seems that way. It's been acting very strange lately. Possessed even!?!?

      July 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Nor is it displaying posts by clicking on the most recent post list.

      July 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
      • Saraswati

        Yeah, that's been hit or miss all day. More pages will make it less useful for me unless they add a workable search feature.

        July 16, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Agnostickids

      Yeah...kinda blew my mind too...

      Mormons...best propagandists of the last two centuries.

      July 16, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Ha! I thought I was the only one to notice that weird jump. busy little bees to jump from 29 to 59.

        July 16, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
        • ?

          Funny how it's only the atheists that seemed to have noticed.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
        • William Demuth

          All the Fundies are back on Page Six!

          July 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
        • Johnny Noir

          @? Yes only the atheists notice the obvious. That's why we are atheists and you are a Christian.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
        • OTOH

          @?,

          We are professional noticers... such as noticing facts, as opposed to fantasy.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • WASP

      you too huh?

      i just completely lost my place and i was having such fun. XD

      July 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      It looks like the whole thread has been reformatted to 10 primary posts per page.

      (It was much more than that before – 20?)

      July 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
      • Athy

        Yes, it was 20, now it's only 10. Immediately doubled the number of pages.

        July 16, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
        • WASP

          :("""""""""""""" I LOST MY PLACE!

          I WAS HAVING FUN TOOOOOOOO!

          XD ROFLMFAO

          July 16, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  20. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    FOX'hole – A person who watches FOX News 24/7 and constantly repeats the total fabrications and nonsensical stories as truth to people who do not want to hear it.

    Atheists don't believe Foxholes.

    July 16, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Dude, what about Palin?

      She is a Fox Hole, and a fine looking one at that.

      July 16, 2013 at 1:34 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.