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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. Agnostickids

    "Never fight a man with his Bible; for it be his shield against reason."

    -Charles Darwin-

    July 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  2. Agnostickids

    "The best cure for christianity is reading the Bible."

    -Mark Twain-

    July 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
  3. Cindy

    Mankind didn't invent God. God invented mankind! If it doesn't make sense to you it's because no one has explained it adequately. As for the people that kill in the name of their God, they were actually influenced by demons. God doesn't want people to take lives. He loves all of us and wants the best for us. It's because of free will that people are insanely stupid and hurt others and themselves. So for those who deny Him, you should reconsider because come judgement day, He will deny you too.

    July 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      And God knew he'd deny me BEFORE he made me.

      Got Blood? (on your hands)

      July 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • sam

      +1 comedy post of the day.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • niknak

      F you and your god.

      July 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Agnostickids

      OH! That's what all the Presidents of the United States were possessed by when they declared war after war on another country: Demons!

      Thank you Cindy! Adding demons to the mix reminded all of us how crazy religious people REALLY are!

      July 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • niknak

      Mark me down as a number 4.

      July 16, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Your dog is an atheist

      -Cindy, people who kill in the name of God are killing with the help of a delusion.
      -Many of us have had the whole Christian thing explained to us in detail beyond all reason.
      -There is no judgment after death.
      -There is nothing to miss out on after death.
      -There is no you after death.

      July 16, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @cindy, your god has killed every living creature on earth at least once according to his own book. that is not a loving god. pull your head out of your backside.

      July 16, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Mankind didn't invent God. God invented mankind! If it doesn't make sense to you it's because no one has explained it adequately'

      How adequately can you explain 'it was magic'? And i think we can say the reverse is true for you. With all those gods throughout history, how you can claim 'yeah but this one, this one is real' is just ridiculous.

      'As for the people that kill in the name of their God, they were actually influenced by demons. God doesn't want people to take lives'

      Dont be silly, god in the OT is a psycho killer. He kills left, right and center, and has no issue with his followers doing the same (think Jericho after the walls fell)

      'It's because of free will that people are insanely stupid and hurt others and themselves.'

      Why do only those that commit evil acts get the option of free-will? why dont the victims ever get the choice of free-will to not be murdered, attacked, whatever? Surely the intent is enough to damn so why doesnt god protect those that are the victims?

      'So for those who deny Him, you should reconsider because come judgement day, He will deny you too.'

      In his ever lasting love and forgiveness right?

      July 16, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • Athy

      Cindy, your idiotic comment is a great promoter of atheism. Keep up the good work.

      July 16, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • sam stone

      you do realize that threatening atheists with the judgement from your vindictive pr1ck god is only so effective, don't you?

      July 16, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
  4. Your dog is an atheist

    Untroubled by God or gods, only knowing guilt as you've taught him to feel guilt, your dog may be in better mental shape than you are.

    July 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • lol??

      Does he share his women??

      July 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Agnostickids

      I KNOW my dog is in better shape than I am. However...he doesn't believe in god either.

      July 16, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  5. mzh

    To All:

    I think we are talking about 2 different things… my point was that someone denies that there is A Creator who created the universe and created man from dust and we are heading back to where we came from. But human with the use of ‘Free Will’ that they testify that there is no God or Creator. Because of ‘Free will’ given to human, ppl say that there is No God or God has a son or daughter or associate any partners and so on… if there was no ‘Free Will’ there will not be 2 different beliefs, and also if there is no free wills, there is no tests or judgement…

    I do have respect totally for science or medicine or anything technology or non-technology you name it… and all these that we see around us is nothing but a huge blessing for the mankind from The Lord of Universe… as I myself work in IT…
    If I have sickness then obviously I would go to a doc to get medicine to get cured and this is blessing that God has revealed through some human…

    I wanted say to those who are so much arrogant to say that there is no God then why don’t you use power to get out of the disabilities or anything else… can anyone stop from death?

    3:185 – Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.

    I believe that someone may be the highest in anything in this material stuff but if that someone has not understanding or believe that there is One Creator who has no partner and to whom we come from and to who we are returning, then what a great loss.

    On that day human will be wishing to be dust as dust will not have to go through the accountability:

    78:40 – Indeed, We have warned you of a near punishment on the Day when a man will observe what his hands have put forth and the disbeliever will say, "Oh, I wish that I were dust!"

    Also I do not look down to any human as I believe we all are from same parents but what I dislike is the action human does. In another words – I do not hate the sinner but I hate the sins.

    July 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Well, there is no "free will" in any religiously meaningful use of that term so I think we're good.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • niknak

      To long, too boring.....

      July 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Illusive

      Atheists generally don't say "There is no god" they say "I don't believe a god exists" the two statements are VASTLY different.

      Death is natural, nothing mystical about it.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
      • Saraswati

        A lot of atheists do say "there is no god"; you only have to hang around here a few hours to see it said multiple times. These people are the reason many of us won't have anything to do with the word "atheist". Even if imperfect etymologically, the common language distinction between atheist and agnostic (in the everyday language use) is much more useful.

        July 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
        • RGE50

          Sure, I'll say it... There is no god. Difference is I'm willing to prove it. Before I do though you have to promise that if I do you have to give up your "faith" and become an atheist.

          July 16, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
        • Red

          Hahaha...DEAL! But if you cannot prove it, you have to announce your faith in god to the masses, get baptized, and read the bible every day...

          July 16, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
        • Saraswati

          RGE50, I'm not a theist...that's the point.

          July 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
        • snowboarder

          i certainly can not say that there is no greater force in the universe, but i can say with no compunction that the christian god and doctrine is absurd and unbelievable. man has invented innumerable gods.

          July 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          Saraswati

          there is no God...it is that simple....several fields of science are building mountains of evidence against this..from Biology to Astronomy. To say any different means we will never be free of this utter BS.

          July 16, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
        • Saraswati

          Goodswell, I do not personally believe in any gods. But for someone to state emphatically and with assuredness that there are none is to perpetuate the culture of zealous belief without evidence. No one knows. We may be pretty sure that certain gods do not exist as depicted based on specific conflicts. But we can say nothing at all about god's in general, and to do so is to misunderstand the nature of human knowledge.

          July 16, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
        • Red

          Have to agree with Saraswati on that one. You may be able to disprove the "absurd" Christian god, but it's impossible to even define a generalized notion of "god." You don't even know what you're trying to disprove. Your stubbornness to disagree with this and/or provide evidence is paralleled by the bible-quoters on these pages.

          July 16, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          Saraswati

          The whole concept of creation is a human construct..we disappear and the question goes away. We are finding on every level that there is always a rational explanation – even if we don't immediately see it....if you want to call what we haven't discovered yet the "question" then it will always be on the horizon ....

          July 16, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          both of you need to re read my intial post – no evidence? we have evidence telling us how the earth was formed, we have evidence explaining everything back to the point of ignition...the question yet to be answered is it repeating, or are there multiple collection points for multiple big bangs?, how exactly is space time effected by super masses...etc. No creators required. im satisfied with our progress...

          July 16, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
        • Red

          Goodswell, thank you for that array of evidence that all points to how the universe was formed. Now as to how it disproves God…I’m lost. What if I said I believed that God started the Big Bang? How far back do you want me to go? Before the big bang? The big bang is not an explanation of creation, btw, it’s an explanation of the acceleration of matter in the observable universe. I don’t believe in a god…but I don’t claim to have evidence against such a thing where I don’t understand what it is I’m even trying to disprove.

          July 16, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
        • R.M. Goodswell

          Red

          we are working out the particulars on everything from molecular structures, how thing work at the subatomic level ...clear up to the the big bang....its just us supplying labels on forces at work around us right... we have a solid framework coming from all the sciences and filling in the details as we figure them out. Everything in science that we have discovered makes sense...everything We will discover will make sense...it may amaze us -but it will make sense.

          that "we don't know" as applied to a creator is base not in science...but can be traced instead to every creation story told by humans. We have disproved every mystical aspect humans have devised. Creation is a mystical concept....not a real world working or useable tool.

          July 16, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
        • Red

          "Everything we will discover will make sense." This is an assumption. And while I would personally assume the same, that means any proof/disproof utilizing this is dependent, which is hardly convincing. I expect when I wake up tomorrow, that the laws of physics will still apply %100, but I cannot prove it to you. Waking up with that kind of uncertainty with respect to god, might be what belief is, or at least what it lends to. You may call it living in the dark...you may call it ignorance, but the fact of the matter is, there's a window regardless of how small, where the absurdity of believing in a god is valid and should not be made fun of, especially if it is done so harmlessly.

          July 16, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Red

      Free will doesn't exist unless you believe in something beyond science...so either get believing, or get over it...maybe you don't have free will.

      July 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
      • ME II

        Not sure I'd agree with that. Are you claiming that all decisions are merely chemo-electric reactions?

        July 16, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
        • Saraswati

          I don't know what Red is claiming, but I would say all descisions are based on electrochemical reactions. Choice as Christians (and many North American atheists) think of it is an illusion.

          July 16, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
        • Red

          That's exactly what I'm claiming. From a scientific point of view, decision-making (along with every other action/reaction in the universe) is a superimposition of forces.

          July 16, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
        • Saraswati

          @Red,I think you, I, and mostofthe psychological and physics community are agreed. As a poster her loves to say of god, "No free will needed".

          July 16, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
        • Red

          @Saraswati ...I'm not following/understanding your last sentence there. It's in some kind of code.

          July 16, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
      • RGE50

        From my post above I'm ready.

        July 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
        • Red

          Go for it.

          July 16, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
        • RGE50

          So tell me about your god so we know what to look for.

          July 16, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
        • Red

          You didn't say you were disproving "my god." You said, "there is no god." That's quite the generalization, isn't it? Oops. I don't even know what God is...but apparently you have the evidence to disprove it. I'm awaiting eagerly.

          July 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
        • RGE50

          You don't know which god you believe in? I don't want to waste my time proving that Ra, or zeus doesn't exist just to have you switch to Allah at the end. Your prayers must be very confusing to the gods, how would they figure out who should answer you?

          July 16, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
        • Red

          I'm agnostic soooo...please, go from there.

          July 16, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
        • RGE50

          I don't see that has any real bearing on my question. Agnostic just means you don't believe the question of god's existence can be resolved. One can be both christian and agnostic without conflict. I'm trying to give you a chance with this but if your not going to give honest responses I won't waste my time.

          July 16, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
        • RGE50

          Sorry Red, over an hour unanswered I'm moving on to other posts.
          Best regards to you, catch me around here some other time if you want to try again.

          July 16, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
      • mzh

        Only human having free will and rest of the creation has no free will... which is why a tiny little human controls a giant elephant and so on... as since human has free will, they do whatever they tend to do... the worse thing they say that God has begotten a son or daughter or having a partner to run the universe but human does not think that if a human dies or get hungry or anything else, how the universe will run...
        and also there is no diff Gods but there is only One God who is worthy of worship and who has no partner, no son or daughter.... but human calls/belive diff objects/creatures as God OR make a creature equevalant to The Creator...

        July 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
        • Saraswati

          You just made up this free will myth to justify your beliefs of domination, praise and punishment. I am quite sure you can't tall me how free will works. If you can, you will make millions publishing books.

          July 16, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          'Only human having free will and rest of the creation has no free will... which is why a tiny little human controls a giant elephant and so on'

          you are just messing with us now right? you cant be seriously trying to use that as an argument for human free-will vs rest of the natural world?

          July 16, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      mzh

      Why do you believe you will be resurrected?......What convinced you? isn't it convenient that you get to die – hopefully in service to your religion and then be brought back? why doesn't your god prevent death altogether?

      the answer is the clergy in the desert religions have crafted a means to order people to their deaths to further their own aims. Islam and Christianity have used this on a grand scale throughout history...and Islam still promotes it...because why not? its not like anyones coming back and saying " ahhh guys..theres no afterlife....

      they have you properly scared.

      July 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
      • mzh

        Goodswell:

        I am a proud Muslim and some of it by my choice as I could go anywhere I want by using my free will but I wouldn’t as they don’t make any sense. As anyone else for example here an atheist says that there is no god and some of them says in different ways… its all about using free will and its all up to an individual how that individual wants to use this God gifted Free will which they will be asked for and I have no doubt about it…

        Let me share with you little bit about pre-Islamic time:

        Muhammad (pbuh) lived for 40 years in his own community as the most trust worthy person, Jews and Idol worshippers at that time used to trust him more than anyone else.

        So when at the age of 40, he received the first revelation, he went to his people and he said, O people! Would you believe if I say that the enemies are hiding behind the mountain to attack you, they says, Yes Mohammad we trust you… then he (pbuh) says, then know that I am the messenger of The Almighty sent to the mankind and I am asking you to believe in One God and leave the life you are living. Then they say, is it somekinda joke o Mohammad? They did not believe in him (pbuh)…

        I believe in every single word of the Quran and my humble request to the mankind to believe in the message of The Quran and this is the only truth, I am not saying which is better than what but this is the Truth if one use the brain or think of the creation… but at the same time quran also teaches that there is no compulsion in religion… just to let others know and leave it to him/her…

        Peace be upon all of you…

        July 16, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Hilikus

      "On that day human will be wishing to be dust as dust will not have to go through the accountability:"

      This...THIS is what people don't understand. This little line basically says all atheists are "immoral". No matter how kindly you phrase it...do you think that is more likely to illicit a smile, or a middle finger from an atheist?

      I, as most atheists I know, hold themselves accountable for their actions. We act the same as anyone else...minus the religious worshiping. To be considered evil, or bad not because of any action I've taken, but because I don't believe in the same god as you is insulting...and frankly, it strike me as ignorant.

      Either way...I certainly wouldn't use a line like that as a conversation starter...

      July 16, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  6. Illusive

    I am all of the above plus a few more...depends on the conversation and mood. There are as many types of atheists as there are atheists. Although I do appreciate an honest article on atheism.

    July 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
  7. Johnny Noir

    I am leaving. These new pages are just too annoying. I'll check in later to see if CNN gets it together.

    July 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
  8. niknak

    can you hear me now?

    July 16, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  9. Laura

    I am a combination of 1 and 2 – I like to be well versed and in a lot of situations can be strongly outspoken, but I like to think I know when to do it.

    July 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • N° 2

      I hate being number 2.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
  10. Paul Costa

    Some dudes smoked hashish and wrote about another dude they once knew who they (allegedly) believed was the son of god. Two-thousand years later, millions will say: "It's the word of God!"

    July 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  11. lol??

    More cla*ssifyin', more gubmint jobs, more broke Masters.

    It's a trap.

    July 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  12. mythsdreams

    I'm not an atheist by definition because I do believe there is a higher 'power'....within nature. Human nature as well as in the natural world {humans evolved from nature}. If it exists it is because nature let's it exist. If it happens it is because nature let's it happen {you don't do evil and then fall off the earth}. Everything evolves within the laws of nature. But nature has a balance and to keep that balance you have to have laws that govern it. When that balance is thrown far out of place negative results occur. The earth is an organism in balance. What is happening to the planet {climate change and global warming} is being governed by the laws of nature. In the laws of time and space it is merely another event. To man and his habitation it is a bad thing because it is negatively affecting human life. But it is man who is causing it to happen.

    There is also the laws of nature within the cosmos. If a ten mile wide rock slams the earth it will devastate the planet and all life will seek to exist. The earth is a special place and human/animal/organic life is an extraordinary event. There has to be special laws within nature to govern this special place. Those laws do not supersede the natural laws of cosmos. Good and evil are human concepts. There is no such thing as good and evil within the cosmos. But the laws are the same.

    I believe in Karma, the law of moral causation. But I am not a Buddhist {Buddhism is not a religion, it is a psychology}. The law of cause and effect. There is good Karma and bad Karma. For the most part we are responsible for our own happiness and misery. We create our own Heaven and our own Hell. I've experienced both good and bad Karma and it is from experience I know what is true. I don't need faith, I have experience....Joseph Campbell.

    Religion is for lesser minds. It doesn't necessarily make them lesser beings but their actions are primarily based on emotion and not on objectivity. That puts them in a lesser position of ignorance. An ignorant person makes decisions based on emotions and more likely will likely make wrong decisions. That creates negative energies that eventually come back to bite them in the ass.

    Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. Fate does step in and causes things to happen. But in the end the law of Karma catches up with you. What I do wrong to day may take 20 years to come back to me. Hitler experience great success in the beginning. But in the end he lost {and during most of his adult life he suffered from many physical ailments}. Karma is destiny or fate, following as effect from cause.

    Then there are the laws of opposites. These are also laws governed by nature. It is the unity of opposites that bring about good Karma. It is the exploitation of opposites that bring about bad Karma. In Reality it all is a very simple concept. Hard to live by because most men are of a simple mind.

    July 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • lol??

      I like how the Indians rob victims of train wrecks to help the karma along.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  13. Debbie

    King David wrote in the Psalms: the foul has said in his heart, there is no God.

    Everyone going into eternity NOT KNOWING GOD THROUGH JESUS WILL LIVE WITH ETERNAL REGRET. HOW SAD..
    YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE WHILE LIVING ON EARTH BUT GAVE IT AWAY BECAUSE YOU WERE STUBBORN IN HEART AND MIND. Jesus said: YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN, NOT OF FLESH AND BLOOD BUT BY GOD'S WORD... BELIEVING IN GOD'S SON WHO DIED ON THE CROSS TO REDEEM MANKIND WITH HIS BLOOD SHED FOR MANY.

    July 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • sam

      You know what we need HERE IS AN ACTUAL BIBLE QUOTE or six to GET THE POINT ACROSS.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
      • J the Agnostic

        David lived with this God. He actually talked to him directly through an ephod. (my guess is that our air was toxic for him)

        David also had several wives, 10 concubines (whom his son took for his own briefly and afterwards David wouldn't touch them). He also took the neighbor lady for himself, knocked her up and killed her husband.

        A man after God's own heart. (all in the bible, you should give it a read. fascinating book)

        July 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Athy

      What does your comment have to do with the article?

      July 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      A god that cares more about being worshiped than the character of his subjects. No thanks.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • ME II

      "... anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell." (Matthew 5:22)

      July 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Agnostickids

      WOW DEBBIE! I'D RATHER LIVE WITHOUT YOUR CRUEL GOD THAN WITH HIM. ESPECIALLY SINCE HE DOESN'T HAVE A PROBLEM BEING A TOTAL JERK TO HIS KIDS!

      Next time, try 'all caps' for real emphasis. Otherwise you come across as a screaming lunatic. Being a christian isn't helping you any either...

      July 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Paul Costa

      C'mon Debbie, king David? Now how the heck would you or anyone else know that whatever he wrote is something more truthful than any one of us?

      July 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  14. Tom Anthony

    "God" is just a concept created to scare the people when they were doing bad things hundreds of years ago. So was the afterlife. A few smart street philosophers put it all together in the bible, the Koran, and numerous other ancient texts-all fine works of literature. Unfortunately, many folks actually believe these stories are actually true. It would be similar to an adult believing in Santa Claus. I can understand uneducated folks believing in a god or gods, but when a college educated person believes in heaven and hell, it is quite comical.

    July 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • Sussay

      I would have just left a "thumbs up" – CNN message board not working properly today - you are dead on. When I learned religious history at a religious liberal arts college, I became an atheist.

      July 16, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
  15. lol??

    Page 66

    Some being is playin' games.

    July 16, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Stephen Jones

      The powers that be went to a shorter page length. I'm not real happy with this new format.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  16. J the Agnostic

    I'm an Agnostic. I was raised Christian and was a devout one till I actually read the Bible. Then I realized that God needed a spaceship (Ezekiel) and a psychopathic murderer (Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua etc).

    I do believe that this being existed at one time though. Just not that he's all knowing or omnipotent.

    July 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • snowboarder

      that is very possible.

      July 16, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Agnostic monster

      I'm agnostic too. I don't believe in belief, I'd like to know. But since I wasn't there I can't.

      July 16, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
  17. TO THE BELIEF BLOG STAFF

    These new pages suck. They are too short to allow longer conversations. It is a step backwards.

    I can't say I like the different reply function as it makes conversations disjointed, but others may disagree.

    July 16, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • Athy

      A string of replies is never interrupted by a page break. Same as before.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
      • TO THE BELIEF BLOG STAFF

        But they get buried way back much much quicker. New people won't tend to go back that far, and the participants will tend towards the fresher pages as well. Go back on these and see what I mean. There are fewer extended conversations happening.

        July 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Diogenes

      It wasn't like this yesterday. They need to tweak it a little bit, apparently. I will say it is lessening my enjoyment.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
  18. rickapolis

    I am certainly not an atheist, but I have a very hard time with the hypocrisy of so many 'religious' people. People have killed in the name of their God for centuries (the body count is unspeakable), many while telling us of God's love, forgiveness, etc. Thanks, but no thanks to those folks.

    July 16, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
  19. Michael

    I'm an atheist but don't fit into really any of the little classifcations. Why do I need to? Religion makes no sense to me at all, and I cannot imagine why otherwise intelligent and sane people believe any of it.

    God is the worst thing mankind has ever invented.

    July 16, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • arrogant much?

      wow michael, insightful. gonna repy so you feel like someone's listening. You must have all the answers huh? Believe it or not, some find comfort in faith. Hardly the worst invention if a large population find comfort. true or not.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
      • Then again

        There are so many millions who did not find the forced conversions and wars and torture and oppression and intolerance all that comfortable.

        July 16, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
        • arrogant much?

          Didn't say Everyone finds comfort did I? I can't put a number to it, but the wars and torture and forced conversions effected mostly believers of another faith. they just argued over which god.

          July 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
      • J the Agnostic

        @arrogant much?

        The beautiful thing about science is that we don't need to have all the answers. We seek to solve questions, not have questions solved by answers that we already have.

        July 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
        • arrogant much?

          ok didn't pick up on the sarcasm i guess

          July 16, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
      • Illusive

        People also find the same comfort in alcohol and drugs...
        Religion was useful thousands of years ago, it provided a society with rules and structure and peace (I'll avoid the negative bits for this comment) but now there are better ways, reasonable, true ways. I know I want to believe as many true things as possible and as few false things as possible. A comforting lie is still a lie.

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

        The belief in a religion is a sign of immaturity. Take your example of feeling better because of religion, say when a love one dies, because one believes they have gone place called heaven. Ok, they feel better but how is that different than Muslims that believe in 40 virgins. Both are being immature because they refuse to accept they don't know what happens after we die. So they make up myths to feel better. This is what children do.

        Telling kids about Santa so they feel good is A-OK, because they are children. But retaining childhood myths into adulthood is a sign of immaturity.

        July 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
        • lol??

          Facts + Feelings=Philosophy

          July 16, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
        • arrogant much?

          Both can accept that they do not know what happens after death. The difference is where they put their hope. you don't what happens either do you. so you are just as arrogant in assuming you are right to call it myth. Only difference is where we put our hope. You just hope its myth so to reaffirm your personal opinion

          July 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Logic led me to atheism

      "I cannot imagine why otherwise intelligent and sane people believe any of it." That's always been a mystery to me also. The only answer I can come up with is that people fear death so much, they'll hold on to ANYTHING that offer eternal life, no matter how ridiculous.

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

      Totally agree,Michael!

      July 16, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
  20. Randy M

    As a Christian and evangelical, I'm interested in more how you came from a religious upbringing to Atheism. I've noticed in decades of Christianity that most Christians do not really know much about God or the Bible. And most don't practice even what they know. I have much of the same problems with Christians as many of you do. But most people are like sheep and follow the current event of the day. Yesterday that event in the US was Christianity and today it seems the event is Atheism. What will you do when Atheism fails you?

    July 16, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      well seeing as we dont have any expectations of some supreme being swooping in to save the day, how will atheism 'fail' us exactly?

      July 16, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
      • Paul Costa

        Logic and reasoning usually defeats fiction.

        July 16, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
      • Randy M

        If You expect that if the whole world were nonreligious then people would act sensibility and do good. If that does not happen then it would be a fail.

        July 16, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          'If You expect that if the whole world were nonreligious then people would act sensibility and do good. If that does not happen then it would be a fail.'

          You seem to be confusing atheism with some kind of guide on how to live your life. We dont believe everyone that behaves badly does it for religious reasons so why would believe that getting rid of religion would mean no more of that?

          July 16, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      It has a lot to do with the free flow if information provided by the internet and social networking. Instead of being pigeon holed into a set of beliefs that they grew up with a person can see what else if available out there and the evidence for or against a certain belief.

      The proper application of skepticism will naturally lead to atheism.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • sam

      Atheism can't 'fail' because there's no expectation attached to it.

      Most of us walked away from our religious upbringing because it was so hypocritical and too often used as a blunt tool to justify abuse.

      July 16, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I grew up with two parents – one who did not believe in any gods and the other who believed in a god until a few years before death, when she 'converted' to atheism. If non-belief didn't fail them – or dozens of other friends and relatives (going back several generations) – why should I expect it to fail me?

      July 16, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Athy

      How can disbelieving superstitious nonsense fail us, Randy?

      July 16, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Thinker...

      Randy,

      I realised I was an athiest at 14 sitting in the baptismal pool listening to my pastor performing the ceremony. When he asked me to confirm my commitment and belief I realised suddenly that I thought everything he had just said was silly. Unfortunatly I lied and went ahead of it for fear of embarasment. It was less that any one thing led to my athiesm and more that I was always questioning everything and reading books from different times and cultures. To me, what the pastor was saying sounded just the same as what the priests of Zeus or Jupiter or Sol Invictus would have said: wrong.

      As to atheism 'failing' me, I do not really understand how that is possible. How could not believing in a deity fail me? There is no promise to be broken or expectation to fall short of. Something that offers no promises (since it is a state of being rather than a doctrine or covenant) cannot fail to deliver on its lack of promises.

      July 16, 2013 at 3:19 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.