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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. lol??

    Socie mob power:

    Los Angeles authorities say packs of young people rampaged through Hollywood, knocked down people and stole cellphones before a police sweep halted the marauding.

    foxie newsie

    July 17, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • FAITH

      And said to them, You men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do as touching these men. For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nothing. After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. And now I say to you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nothing: it will come to nothing: But if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it; lest haply you be found even to fight against God.……

      2.3 million for nothin!

      July 17, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
      • Doobs

        2.3 million for nothin!

        Is that the number of sperm your daddy shot into your mommy when they created you? If so, great self-analysis!

        July 17, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
  2. Slapaho

    Atheists are also six times more likely to suffer depression, commit suicide and have low self esteem.

    July 17, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I doubt it. Where did you get that information?

      July 17, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Rick

      Says who? You are addressing skeptics who don't just take things on face value. So, source please!

      July 17, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      And of course you have peer reviewed articles from a well recognized journal of psychiatric medicine to back up that assertion?

      July 17, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • John

      They're certainly not depressed because they're in jail, or on death row. The vast majority of people there are Christians.

      July 17, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Robert

      "Atheists are also six times more likely to suffer depression, commit suicide and have low self esteem."

      CNN just recently had an article on this belief blog that showed those that are spiritual but not religious suffer from more mental issues than atheists.

      Isn't this fun!

      July 17, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Melissa Greene

      Pure rubbish!

      July 17, 2013 at 11:51 am |
      • lol??

        Waste disposal in some areas of the country is under, ahem, family control.

        July 17, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • TDM

      Christians murder more. Christians make up the majority of pedophiles.
      Christians rape more.
      Christians physically abuse children more.
      Christians commit more violent crime.
      Christian women get more abortions.
      Christian men are arrested the most for "Slapaho"ing.

      Want to keep going?

      July 17, 2013 at 11:53 am |
      • JimK57

        Christains also make up the largest population, so I would expect these stats.

        July 17, 2013 at 11:59 am |
      • lol??

        YES!!

        July 17, 2013 at 11:59 am |
      • lol??

        Keep going TDM. yes

        July 17, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Sue

      Hey, you can't just make up stuff like that! Who do you think you're talking to, creationists?!?

      July 17, 2013 at 11:59 am |
      • lol??

        Historians do it all the time. If they didn't they'd have to put on sackcloth and throw ashes in the air.

        July 17, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Melissa

      lol. Maybe only in your head.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
  3. sweenbass

    When it comes to matters concerning all of the books that people consider to be "holy" (Bible, Koran, Gita etc...)

    there are some interesting stories in those books. The ones that you think are interesting may not be the ones that interest me but that's personal taste.

    those aforementioned books do contain some philosophies that people can use to help improve their lives & the lives of others. This is true of all those books & more.

    However, when it comes to questions of a spiritual nature (A deity, A life force or soul, existence after natural death etc...), the best that those books can do is speculate. That is because they were written by people.

    Some people wish to hang their spiritual hat on a speculation that one of those books offer. I do not.

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

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

    I will not close my mind to the remote possibility of a spiritual plane of existance. i just will base it on a speculation from a single writing from a person or group of people one one planet in one galaxy in the universe

    That is why I refer to myself as an agnostic.

    July 17, 2013 at 11:37 am |
  4. Greg

    I am types 1, 3, 4, and 6.

    July 17, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • mzh

      I am glad that I am none of the above... 🙂

      July 17, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  5. Frank Stallone

    I don't define myself by disbelief in something that doesn't exist.

    July 17, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Most atheists don't. I would assume that for most of us there are many different "ti.tles" we consider ourselves. My "atheist" adjective is far from first on the list of identifiers.

      July 17, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • devin

      Finally, a lucid thinker. As a theist, I've always found it fascinating how much time and energy atheists spend both defining themselves and refuting the belief in a being they don't even believes exists.

      July 17, 2013 at 11:43 am |
      • OTOH

        devin,

        Atheists don't believe that a god or gods exist. Believers, however, *do* exist; and they often want to do things that affect us and all of society.

        July 17, 2013 at 11:48 am |
        • OTOH

          (I should add: they want to do things, based on their superst'itions and fantasies)

          July 17, 2013 at 11:50 am |
        • devin

          And that's fine. We live in a pluralistic society where you have the right to oppose my views through voting and the legislative process. Why do you still feel the need to denounce, with such vim and vigor, an individuals belief in a super natural being?

          July 17, 2013 at 11:57 am |
        • OTOH

          I guess atheist's vim & vigor is just to counter the vim & vigor of believers.

          Actually, in the real world I don't do much of it; but here, beliefs are what we are discussing.

          July 17, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        devin, imagine that you lived in a society where 90% of the population believed in fairies and had buildings built for discussing fairies and laws that preferred those who believed in fairies. You might talk about all that silliness every once in a while, wouldn't you?

        July 17, 2013 at 11:51 am |
        • JimK57

          Cpt. The goverment wastes our tax dollars every day with foolish scientific studies and laws such as pro-choice and gay marriage are being backed by all sides, even christians. I think we are alot closer to finding common ground.

          July 17, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • John

          How about a president who made decisions based on his horoscope and lucky numbers?

          Oh yeah, we already had one, his name was Ronald Regan! 😆

          July 17, 2013 at 11:57 am |
        • devin

          That's what I love about theoretical analogies, they are so often are irrelevant.

          July 17, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          And devin, that's precisely why I reject all religions and their gods. They are merely incorrect, incomplete, attempts at "theoretical analogy."

          July 17, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Jim, could you please list a few of the scientific studies the US has wasted tax dollars on? Thanks.

          July 17, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
        • JimK57

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidmaris/2012/10/24/government-waste-science-spending-includes-massages-for-rabbits-meditation-for-hot-flashes/

          Google: wasteful goverment scientific studies. you will be shocked.

          July 17, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
      • John

        devin
        Many atheists are appalled by the problems that religious superst ition creates. So, your stand is like being fascinated by the number of vegans who speak out against cruelty to animals.

        July 17, 2013 at 11:54 am |
        • devin

          I'm sorry, I don't say this with animosity, but that analogy is simply meaningless.

          July 17, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          That you fail, devin, to extract the pertinent meaning from analogies is not surprising to anyone reading your posts.

          July 17, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
        • devin

          Capt.

          No, the failure is that this particular analogy is meaningless to the context. What is pertinent, is your inability to recognize this. But anyway, I have no desire to get into a pi**ing match.

          July 17, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
      • devin

        I find myself in agreement. My degree of passion for vocalizing my beliefs is significantly greater on these forums. I would think in reality, you would find this principle true of most Chrisitians. For the most part, we simply have our beliefs and go about our daily lives.

        July 17, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
        • devin

          Oops, this was meant for OTOH

          July 17, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
  6. John Paul

    It shouldn't say "Behold the athiests." Rather, it should say "Pity the athiests who have no hope."

    July 17, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • Terri

      My grandmother was one of very few Christians I respected. Unlike your view (which is exactly the kind of thing that drove me from religion) she believed there was hope for everyone. She didn't preach, she prayed privately for people. She believed there was hope for everyone.

      July 17, 2013 at 11:32 am |
      • Flemming

        Hope for what??

        July 17, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Observer

      John Paul,

      Pity the Christians who insist that this world (created by God) is so miserable that there is no hope in life unless we pass to a better world.

      July 17, 2013 at 11:35 am |
      • JimK57

        I think some people find comfort in that feeling and that is okay. Maybe they were born into a bad situation and this gives them the strentgh to carry on. What kind of person would I be to take that away from them?

        July 17, 2013 at 11:48 am |
        • Observer

          JimK57,

          I agree with you, but the original premise is still that without another world to go to, this one is miserable and without anything to hope for. Not much of an endorsement for God's work, is it?

          July 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • JimK57

      Do not pity the athiests, there is nothing to pity. They are living life as they choose, no harm is done. I also believe in a creator who loves all people.

      July 17, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I have no hope in a god who would not provide it to all or at least its consequence, eventually.

      July 17, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • PaulD

      And living your life believing that you have a 50/50 chance of being tortured forever is living a life of "hope", I suppose?

      July 17, 2013 at 11:41 am |
  7. Terri

    I find my view on religion sways back and forth from it bores me to the need for it facinates me. I recall when my brother once asked me "Why do you do so many good things when you don't even believe in God?" My response was "Why do you need a reason to good other than that it feels like the only right thing to do? Not doing good makes me feel horrid, why would I want to make myself feel like a creep?"

    So many who claim to believe only do so out of fear...that is so alien to me. Why would anyone even want to believe such a cruel "father" was worthy of worship? If my father constantly threatened me with torment I would flee as far from him as possible as soon as I could. The "reward" of grovelling at his feet for all eternity is just as unappealing.

    July 17, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • JimK57

      I think you are going about life the right way. Do good, help others and everything will be fine.

      July 17, 2013 at 11:33 am |
  8. ALT

    First, I find it very offensive to be called a non-believer. I believe very strongly that there is no God of any kind. That is my faith, if you want to call it that. I find the word non-believer dismissive and right out disrespectful. I'm an atheist. I really don't understand why that is so hard to say.

    Second, I think the attempt to categorize us is rediculous. Most are a combination of all that has been said.

    In the end, I just ask to be treated with respect and that people stop trying to force their religion and beliefs on me.

    July 17, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • PaulD

      ALT
      If you don't have any good reasons not to believe that there is a God then you are an atheist by faith, but if you actually do have sound, logical reasons for being an atheist, then it's based on sound judgment and not any kind of "faith" at all, correct?

      July 17, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • sulden

      Amen brother......

      July 17, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • mzh

      I do not understand either that why people call an Atheist as Non-believers… I don’t think there anyone who does not believe in something… I guess if I don’t believe in what you believe that makes me a Non-believer to you and vice versa…

      In response to your last point – Quran teaches in on of the chapters that say to those who disbelieve and reject the message of Quran that ‘you do your religion and I do mine’, so no one is harming others and we can live in a same society with peace. The line could be drawn only when it comes to the act of worship other than that there should not be any problem between 2 human. One chose to be what he or she wants to be. You can’t force someone to be what you believe in but you let the person know and then let him decide. If you want the other person to change be an example in terms of good characters.

      Peace be upon you all...

      July 17, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • ME II

      @ALT,
      Many non-believer don't subscribe to the belief that here is no god(s). They simply lack a belief in any god so far present, but understand that given sufficient evidence could change their mind.
      You seem to be what might be considered a positive, or strong, atheist and therefore posit that there is actually no god(s), which does take faith, due to the lack of evidence to support that premise. Many are of the weak, or negative, variety and might prefer the 'non-believer', which does not require "faith" nor "belief", hence 'non-believer'.

      July 17, 2013 at 11:54 am |
  9. non-theist

    How is it that non-theists are the smallest group? Possibly because this survey was conducted in The South (UTenn @ Chatanooga)?

    In my life I find many people who simply don't concern themselves with religion. We weren't raised with any religion, didn't bother with any religious holidays – use them for day trips instead. Religion & God-belief just seems like a foreign custom to me. Just like belief in faiiries, leprachauns, and Sasquatch.

    July 17, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Non-theists are the smallest group because to do the study the researcher had to have access to people who he knew fit into a category of non-believer.

      But definition, the non-theist (who doesn't really care about religion or disbelief anyway) is much less likely to 'put their hand up' and be identified as a candidate for the survey.

      This study wasn't conducted by a major polling organization like Gallup or Pew.

      July 17, 2013 at 11:48 am |
      • AtheistSteve

        Pew Resaerch Center Poll

        Question:
        Is religion increasing or losing its influence on American life? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

        July 17, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
      • AtheistSteve

        Answer:

        U.S. General
        Public
        %

        Increasing 25
        Losing 66
        good thing 12
        bad thing 49
        no effect 9
        other/DK 11

        This indicates that most agree that religion is losing its influence and less than half think its bad.

        July 17, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
  10. GreggEsq

    Nice to know that people can be pigeon-holed neatly into six categories. I don't fit specifically in any one category, rather I suppose I borrow something from all of them. I'm an atheist, and my wife is a born-again Christian. Quite the paring but we don't discuss or argue about religion and I'm fine with our daughter being exposed to religion and letting her make up her own mind as to what she believes. Frankly in looking at history and the development of religion, from polytheism to now the predominant monotheistic religions, religion has been used as nothing more than a crutch for people who cannot understand the world around them and why things happen, so they lazily refer things as "god's will". Religion has been used for centuries as a means of controlling others, and making religious leaders rich and powerful, so not only can you be a good and decent person without religion, but you can be an evil and manipulative "religious" figure as well.

    July 17, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Angry atheist

      Ehhh, knowing that I fit very well into one of the six groups, I can't really complain too much. I'm very much an anti-theist.

      July 17, 2013 at 11:29 am |
  11. hassanAuthman

    I think that there is no life with out faith this life is just apridge for llifeafter

    July 17, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Rick

      Why do you even think that there is a "life after" this one, or that it's even one you'd appreciate? You could be reincarnated as a pig, for all you know!

      July 17, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  12. Joe

    Religion is detrimental and dangerous and we need to get rid of it! There is no thruth in religious claims. Everybody say No to religion! God does not exist and if he did exist I would have to think of him as a mass murderer or at least a huge a.ho.le. Errr... does this put me in category 4?

    July 17, 2013 at 11:15 am |
  13. mumblyj0e

    I don't think any of those suit me.. How about evolutionary atheist? That is to say, an Atheist who views religion as a formerly useful but now obsolete system for making sense of the universe as a species.

    Or perhaps I'm a cautionary Atheist- one who sees the inherent gullibility (or rather, the ability to believe anything without proof) of religious adherents as a weakness that may need to be protected from exploitation in order to preserve religious freedom and sociological diversity.

    July 17, 2013 at 11:07 am |
  14. albie

    Its human nature to want to categorize, hence these "six" types. All I know is that I hate and fear organized religion and don't believe in the bible.

    July 17, 2013 at 10:59 am |
  15. joey

    jerry sandusky is a christian

    July 17, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Richard

      But Hitler was an atheists, wasn’t he?

      July 17, 2013 at 11:04 am |
      • Paul

        "But Hitler was an atheists, wasn’t he?"

        Hitler was a christian.

        July 17, 2013 at 11:06 am |
        • Richard

          I know he was baptized a Christian but I thought he abandoned religion by the time he was dictator. Maybe not atheist but I thought he wasn’t religious either.

          July 17, 2013 at 11:10 am |
        • JimK57

          Hitler was an evil man.

          July 17, 2013 at 11:11 am |
        • Huh?

          " Maybe not atheist but I thought he wasn’t religious either."

          "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.... When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited."

          -Adolf Hitler, in his speech in Munich on 12 April 1922

          July 17, 2013 at 11:13 am |
        • Melissa

          Really, so him writing about god in his own book Mein Kampf didn't happen hmm?

          July 17, 2013 at 11:14 am |
        • Alias

          Hitler was one of many leadersthrough history who used religion to unite the people and justify immoral actions. If he really believed or not is not entirely clear.
          The same thing is going on today in America and throughout the middle east.

          July 17, 2013 at 11:16 am |
        • Sue

          Richard
          Think again.

          [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNN-M4wMbT4&w=640&h=390]

          July 17, 2013 at 11:16 am |
        • Len

          Recommended reading:

          American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America
          by Chris Hedges

          July 17, 2013 at 11:20 am |
        • Richard

          I'm sorry. I'll admit that I'm wrong.

          July 17, 2013 at 11:20 am |
        • Len

          Richard
          A critic of atheists admitting that he's wrong?!

          It's a miracle!!!! 😆

          July 17, 2013 at 11:28 am |
      • Melissa

        You not liking the fact that he was Catholic doesn't make him an atheist. He says in his book Mein Kampf that he's doing gods work. Nice try, but stop lying.

        July 17, 2013 at 11:09 am |
        • Richard

          Lying? I might be mistaken but I’m not lying. There’s a difference to being wrong and lying.

          You’re probably right that he wasn’t an atheist but I don’t think he went to Catholic mass.

          I read a biography on Mussolini and he said that he didn’t believe in a higher power.

          July 17, 2013 at 11:16 am |
        • Angry atheist

          Richard,

          You may personally not be lying, but those who invented the idea that Hitler was an atheist most certainly were. Christian revisionism runs rampant in the US. Don't believe anything David Barton or his ilk tell you.

          July 17, 2013 at 11:18 am |
        • Melissa

          Angry atheist is right. And its Mussolini. Who would you rather believe, Hitlers own words or words from a rival dictator?

          July 17, 2013 at 11:21 am |
        • faith

          its in jimmy swaggart's book too

          July 17, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
        • faith

          its in jimmy swaggart's book too

          Melissa
          You not liking the fact that he was Catholic doesn't make him an atheist. He says in his book Mein Kampf that he's doing gods work. Nice try, but stop lying.

          jim bakker's too.

          July 17, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • faith

          its in jimmy swaggart's book too

          Melissa
          You not liking the fact that he was Catholic doesn't make him an atheist. He says in his book Mein Kampf that he's doing gods work. Nice try, but stop lying.

          jim bakker's too.

          joel osteen

          ted haggard

          oral roberts

          wasn't there a priest somewhere that got caught with his pants down?

          what's worse is that hitler believed in god which proves there must be a god. he said so

          July 17, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
        • faith

          its in jimmy swaggart's book too

          Melissa
          You not liking the fact that he was Catholic doesn't make him an atheist. He says in his book Mein Kampf that he's doing gods work. Nice try, but stop lying.

          jim bakker's too.

          joel osteen

          ted haggard

          oral roberts

          wasn't there a priest somewhere that got caught with his pants down?

          what's worse is that hitler believed in god which proves there must be a god. he said so

          he wrote this, didn't he?
          Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
          A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
          Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
          To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
          rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

          So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
          When we come.

          Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
          I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
          I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
          That's fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
          rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

          Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
          On my drum?

          Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
          The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
          I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
          I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
          rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

          Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
          Me and my drum.

          July 17, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
      • JimK57

        Even if he was that does not mean athiesm caused him do his crimes. It is always dangerous to paint a group of people with a broad brush.

        July 17, 2013 at 11:17 am |
        • faith

          we can broad brush them evil tards. they is evil

          July 17, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
      • Len

        Forget Hitler! Where do you think he learned his hatred of Jews if not from Martin Luther's book "On the Jews and Their Lies"? Hitler's atrocities are rooted in good old German protestant hatred of the Jews.

        July 17, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • Really?

      ...better yet, Einstein – the killer of worlds – was a Jew

      July 17, 2013 at 11:16 am |
      • Thinker...

        OK gotta ask: How was Einstein 'the killer of worlds?'

        July 17, 2013 at 11:33 am |
      • fintastic

        "do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954)"

        July 17, 2013 at 11:49 am |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Einstein did not accept the idea of an anthropomorphic God – such as the Abrahamic traditions do.

          He was essentially a deist and admired the notion of Spinoza's God.

          He wasn't an atheist.

          July 17, 2013 at 11:53 am |
  16. Darlene Buckingham

    Most people know there is not a man with a beard that controls everything. It is difficult when looking at the miracle of life and the sacred geometry and mathematics that underlie life, that there is not higher intelligence and care that governs life. We have higher selves that we can aspire to. Caring about what happens to life and taking care of life is what I have learned is a higher truth than paying the mortgage and bills. Life is much more than we think and believe it is – religion holds us back from the bigger picture of who and what we are and that everything we say and do matters!

    July 17, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Melissa

      The same intelligence that gave us heart disease, cancer, the apendix, and wisdom teeth? That intelligence? The same intelligence that refuses to help when someone is suffering? The same intelligence that told people in the bible that its ok to eat your children when you're starving, gives instructions on best how to sell your daughters, and murders first born male children to teach followers a lesson? That intelligence?

      July 17, 2013 at 11:08 am |
      • JimK57

        The bible was written by man, not god,

        July 17, 2013 at 11:24 am |
      • faith

        they r delicious. add a little butter and salt and roast em over an open fire. it don't get any better

        hank, eddie, tootsie, lulu, leelee, fifi.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:03 am |
  17. Lisa

    I fail to understand the usefulness or accuracy of these six defined categories.

    Many rational individuals, faithful or atheist, cannot help but cringe at times over problems caused by organized religion or certain religious beliefs. The degree to which they are motivated to take action, actively criticize, or remain quiet varies wildly.

    There are far more than six static buckets.

    July 17, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Thinker...

      Generic grouping is human nature. It is how we learn to respond to things. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try to work past the tendedncy though. Personaly I look at the groups the same way I look at personality test groups: helpful for predicting the actions and motivations of groups, but not very useful when looking at individuals.

      It also makes for an easy storey to generate large numbers of hits for the site.

      July 17, 2013 at 11:00 am |
  18. Tim

    I'm a #6 through and through. I don't believe in god or anything, but I do like tidbits of philosophy from each religion. I can be a bit of a #4 when I'm feeling self-righteous, but I rarely enter into religious talk with coworkers or friends. My #4 side comes from being gay, and having to hear about how I'll burn in hell for the rest of my life, along with all the scandals in the Catholic Church. Who'd want to be part of a group that doesn't want you?

    July 17, 2013 at 10:54 am |
  19. April Moreno

    CNN forget one of the most popular and my personal favorite Bill Maher. I am proud to be intelligent, and I do not believe in a invisible being. I believe the world is 4.5 million years old, and I given my son the choice to pick for himself what he wants to believe in. He has picked science over anything else. He is an intelligent caring teenager who has won a national science award along with a scholarship.

    July 17, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • MY PANTS HURT

      Billion. Not Million. Just a little FYI for you there.

      July 17, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • TS

      I agree totally April, but I think you meant 4.6 billion years old.

      July 17, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • RobLock

      4.5 Billion.

      July 17, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Observer

      Bill Maher is NOT an atheist.

      July 17, 2013 at 11:22 am |
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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.