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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. Harry

    ...also....as an African American I find it disheartening that not one of the listed celebs is Black

    July 17, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      African Americans tend to be more religious. Perhaps there aren't that many well-known black celebrity atheists?

      July 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Alex

      True, they could have included Morgan Freeman. He's an atheist.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
      • Athy

        i really like Morgan Freeman. He's one of the smartest actors I know.

        July 17, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      What about Lewis? Lewis Black? He's a celebrity and an atheist.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
  2. Akira

    I dislike this-10-responses-per page format intensely. By the time I refresh, it's on to a whole new conversation that I won't be able to contribute to the NEXT time I refresh.

    July 17, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      It's not the 10-post format that's the problem, it's the fact that the links (from recent posts, and after posting) are off by a page.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
      • Tim

        It doesn't even work for me, it goes nowhere. They rushed out this new format without testing it properly.

        July 17, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
      • Akira

        Ah, well, I'm on my cell, so I have no idea what's going on...I just know that the pages used to be mucher longer before they started a new page...

        Thanks. I still dislike it, though.

        July 17, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        It tries to go to one page higher than the current highest page.

        July 17, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Yep, it's all clusterfvcked.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The administrator is probably an Anti-Theist

      July 17, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
  3. Harry

    I would fall somewhere between Intellectual/Seeker Agnostic. I don't believe and challenge believers to give me reason to believe .......i'm open to more information

    July 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • CosmicC

      Hope you're aware of http://www.blackatheistsofamerica.org/. Ayanna gave a Sunday sermon at our congregation (UU) earlier this year. With the number of atheists we have she was mostly preaching to the choir.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
  4. Duane

    Yoga as part of a ritual? It is an exercise regimen not part of a religion. Stop spreading this garbage.

    July 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • lol??

      I think putting straws in ye ol' snozz is kinda cool. Can help to cleanse.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Akira

      I suppose anyone eating a damn piece of bread would fall into that category of "ritual" also...

      July 17, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
      • lol??

        Transcendental meditation can bring on colorful visions. Don't ask me how I know. God took my mantra away. I almost forgot about that little side trip.

        July 17, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
  5. mzh

    Dear Vic,

    I felt obligated to let you and others know that what one of the things that Quran teaches about Jesus:

    3:49 – And [make him Jesus] a messenger to the Children of Israel, [who will say], 'Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you from clay [that which is] like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by permission of Allah . And I cure the blind and the leper, and I give life to the dead – by permission of Allah . And I inform you of what you eat and what you store in your houses. Indeed in that is a sign for you, if you are believers.

    3:50 – And [I (Jesus) have come] confirming what was before me of the Torah and to make lawful for you some of what was forbidden to you. And I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear Allah and obey me (Jesus).

    3:51 – Indeed, Allah is my (Jesus) Lord and your (companions) Lord, so worship Him. That is the straight path."

    5:116 – And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, "O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, 'Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?'" He will say, "Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen.

    5:117 – I said not to them except what You commanded me – to worship Allah , my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took me up, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness.

    5:118 – If You should punish them – indeed they are Your servants; but if You forgive them – indeed it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.

    5:119 – Allah will say, "This is the Day when the truthful will benefit from their truthfulness." For them are gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever, Allah being pleased with them, and they with Him. That is the great attainment.

    5:120 – To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is within them. And He is over all things competent.

    Peace be upon all of you!!

    July 17, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Dear mzh:

      I felt obligated to let you and others know that what one of the things that Tolkien teaches about hobbits:

      In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
      It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats – the hobbit was fond of visitors. The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill – The Hill, as all the people for many miles round called it – and many little round doors opened out of it, first on one side and then on another. No going upstairs for the hobbit: bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens, dining-rooms, all were on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage. The best rooms were all on the left-hand side (going in), for these were the only ones to have windows, deep-set round windows looking over his garden, and meadows beyond, sloping down to the river.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Rodents for Romney

      No one cares. The humans who cooked up the Qur'an were just as dishonest as the humans who cooked up the gospels.
      Muhammad never existed. Al-Ilah was the crescent moon phase of the moon-god "Sin". In the original Kabbala there were 359 other gods worshiped, and Allah had 3 divine daughters. The SAME 3 divine daughters as the Sin god. Read the Satanic Verses, and watch Robert Spencer's videos. Islam is as much bunk, as Christianity is.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
      • OTOH

        Rodents for Romney,

        I think there is some evidence that Mohammad existed, but it really makes no difference. We know that Joseph Smith existed, for example, and exactly how this type of bunk gets started.

        July 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
      • mzh

        What you are saying is totally UNTRUE… my humble request to you is to study it from the one who knows about it and not from the one who promotes incorrectly whether intentionally or unintentionally.

        Again you can say whatever you wish to say… you will not see the penalty as you receive a ticket by a cop when you violate a traffic law… if human is punished in this life for the wrong doing by The Creator then there will be none who would associates any deities with Al Ilah…

        July 17, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
        • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

          No, it is NOT untrue. Hobbits DO live in holes in the ground, but they are very nice holes. Actually, there is far more morality exhibited in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings than in the Quran or the Bible.

          July 17, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
  6. FordGT90Concept

    I am secular which would fall under #5, "non-theist." I have no interest in any kind of religion.

    July 17, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • mzh

      One of the definitions of Religion is following “DO vs DON’T”. There is none who could say that I do not follow any of “Do Vs Don’t”.

      When it comes to “Do Vs Don’t” in faith/believe, you either take it from any of the books/teaching that we have around the earth or you make your own… so if you make your own that means you do have a religion and you make your own “Do Vs Don’t”, make sense?

      Peace be upon you...

      July 17, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  7. AJ

    Non-theist.

    July 17, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  8. lol??

    I once heard a Scotsman say history looks like burnt toast. He wouldn't say why unless I paid him, so I guess you'll never know.

    July 17, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Doobs

      Yeah, I met that guy too.

      http://www.cracked.com/blog/understanding-people-who-see-jesus-in-burnt-toast/

      July 17, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  9. wat

    CNN should make an article called "The 6 types of black people" and see what happens

    July 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • rob

      1. Victim – everyone pics on me and i'm the consummate victim.

      2. Lazy – let everyone else work and pay me to do nothing.

      3. Racist – use the racist card and blame everyone for being racist to hide my own racism

      4. Holds onto the past – Having to have many women to keep up my image and keep up the 75% birth rate to unwed mothers

      5. Lazy Racist Victim – i want you to pay me to not work and give me what is due to me since I'm always the victim and can blame you for my shortcomings.

      6. One who thinks for themselves, doesn't follow the black liberal masses blindly and does not worship Obama as savior to the black race.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  10. bp

    We have heard talk enough. We have listened to all the drowsy, idealess, vapid sermons that we wish to hear. We have read your Bible and the works of your best minds. We have heard your prayers, your solemn groans and your reverential amens. All these amount to less than nothing. We want one fact. We beg at the doors of your churches for just one little fact. We pass our hats along your pews and under your pulpits and implore you for just one fact.

    We know all about your mouldy wonders and your stale miracles. We want a this year's fact. We ask only one. Give us one fact for charity. Your miracles are too ancient. The witnesses have been dead for nearly two thousand years.

    – Robert Green Ingersoll

    July 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • lol??

      Those are gubmint assemblies. Have you(or he) tried the American Legion??

      July 17, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Vic

      I implore atheists to create one living cell out of nothing!

      July 17, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
      • Doobs

        Why? What would that prove?

        July 17, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
        • Vic

          That is rhetorical that God is the origin of everything, He is the creator of everything. That's why no one can create a single living cell nor animate matter!

          July 17, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
      • Observer

        Vic,

        Speaking of nothing, please tell us how God was created out of nothing and then created everything from nothing.

        July 17, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
        • lol??

          He didn't say how. Must be on a "need to know" basis. Why?? You think God is kwazy?? Next thing ya know the race would be playin' with genetics and havin' babies by the litter. With no dad around, of course.

          July 17, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
        • Vic

          God is eternal in generation. He is not a creature, and He is the Creator. He is outside the realm of this existence and is metaphysical. God is not subject to His creation in anyway or fashion. What we sense and perceive in this physicality only applies to us & all other creatures!

          July 17, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Tim

      "I implore atheists to create one living cell out of nothing!"

      That should read "I implore Christians to create one god out of nothing!"

      July 17, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
  11. Richard

    Why am I not allowed to believe?

    July 17, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      It might be helpful to ask for what you need. Be careful what you pray for though:

      “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

      24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

      July 17, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
      • Rodents for Romney

        Trouble is Bill,
        a. it's not an historical text, and never was intended to be.
        b. a text by believers, for believers, to remind themselves what they already believe does not meet any sort of "evidence" test
        c. the objections of non-believers cannot just be set aside without huge cognitive dissonance in their brains. It leads to insanity. No one who seriously does not accept the nonsense cannot just say "oh ok, I'll just *say* I believe, even if I don't, (and hopefully an omniscient god won't notice).

        July 17, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
        • JimK57

          But he does not have to prove anything to you. It almost sounds like you take his belief as a personal insult.

          July 17, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
        • Vic

          It has been evident throughout human history that what we know is a tiny fraction of what there is. It leads to insanity to try to account for the massive majority of the unknown by mere physical explanations and inferior human abilities. On the contrary, it leads to serene and rational explanation to believe that there is a God who did it all, which BTW is according to our sentience!

          July 17, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
      • Melissa

        Believes what exactly? That an omniscient, omnipotent loving deity will allow cancer to waste a person away until they die? That murdering all the first born male children of an entire country is a good thing just to teach their parents "if you don't worship me, you'll suffer"? Really? Are you mentally re tar ded?

        July 17, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Who is forbidding you ? Are the police stopping you from attending church ? Are atheist ninjas stalking you and hurling damaging thought waves your way ?

      July 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
      • Richard

        For me, It’s been the ninjas.

        July 17, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Melissa

      Believe what you want, just leave everyone else out of it.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      If you believed the world was flat but worked at Burger King no one cares about your personal delusion. However, if you believed the world was flat but worked at NASA then I would think that may cause some problems in your calculations and people's lives would be at risk so that person should be fired for their beliefs. Would you not fire the guy at NASA who suggests exploring the surface of the Sun by going at night? There are some beliefs that should be ridiculed because giving them any credence puts everyone at risk.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
      • Richard

        I believe the earth is round!

        July 17, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
      • give it up for the big guy

        So what about being the President, is that an acceptable job to hold if you believe in God? I'm just curious because Obama claims to be a christian, has stated his faith has grown even stronger since taking office, and even held prayer meetings before his debates. And yet I'm guessing the majority of atheists voted for him.

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

          I haven't noticed Obama trying to get new laws passed based entirely on his Christian faith.

          July 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  12. jeff

    I got a joke what do an athesis say when he or she is about to get hit by a train. Answer oh my god.

    July 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Doobs

      Hilarious. Now get back to your fry station.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      You don't know how to tell a joke....or spell, evidently.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Akira

      Not to be too crass about it, but many people say that during sex, also. Is that why so many good Christians want to legislate what goes on in our bedrooms?

      July 17, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • faith

      not funny. depends on if u is a 3 2 nghf, a 1 6, or a 5 5+1 nghf. most are 3 only. i myself am 6' 41/2'" and 210lbs

      amen bro. what bird brains. we love re lig itards. what else would there be 2 do all day if we didn't have them evil group of morons 2 trash? nut tin. they gives meaning to our empty lives

      2.3 million 4 nu tin!

      i prefer a nghf to explain how posting works

      July 17, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Who!!!

      No they don't! They go splat!!! Then Oh my God! ha ha ha

      July 17, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Akira

      Not to put too fine a point on it, but people say that during sex all the time.
      Do you think that's why the good Christians want to legislate what goes on in our bedrooms?

      July 17, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
      • Akira

        Sorry about the double post. Apparently there are a few kinks to work out, yet.

        July 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
      • lol??

        Communal bedrooms are under control of the commune.

        July 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Observer

      jeff,

      "A thesis" is a subject for a composition.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
  13. Bruce

    A measure of what it means to believe is that it influences a person's behavior. My behavior is not influenced by the notion that there is a god/being who cares about my behavior and my behavior is not influenced by fear of an after-life. My behavior is influenced by moral teachings that have relevance to how humans can get along and some of those teachings came from the philosophies of religions. So, I don't believe in a personal god but I do know I am not sufficiently wise to judge what makes a difference to others. Sigmund Freud in his "future of an Illusion" makes a good case that some people have a need to believe in a god.

    July 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Who!!!

      Good point, but what is a personal god? Could it be anything that you hold firm beliefs? Couldn't it be a innate mental need for security that transcends what is seen? If that is the case where did that need come from? Did it evolve or is it learned? Can it be fulfilled? Nothing operates in a vacuumed there is an evolutionary reason for everything! Nothing just happends.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
  14. kns

    God doesn't exist. Think for yourself!

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

      Maybe, maybe not. The closest thing to a true statement when it comes to these questions is "I don't know". No one knows. All across the spectrum, from the most ardent athiest to the most ardent theist, no one knows for certain. Any statement of conclusion, from anyone, is not correct.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
      • Who!!!

        Well put Madtown! We all will know for sure or no longer exist when we reach our demise. Then our view can’t be change or it will not matter!

        July 17, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Hmm

      I'd rather not think for myself, can I just take your word for it?

      July 17, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
  15. Open MInded

    There are no atheists in foxholes.

    July 17, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Doobs

      There are no cliches a christian won't use.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • YOU'RE open minded??

      Bull. A myth that has been repeatedly refuted.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      There are plenty of atheists in foxholes. I've known two, and I've been a breath away from death several times and my lack of belief never caused me (or them) a second thought. It just didn't come up. Just because believers think about god when they are close to death doesn't mean a non believer does.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      FOXholes: people so dumb they can't tell FOX news is lying to them so they keep yelling and screaming at others over total fabrications.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
      • Doobs

        LMAO!!

        July 17, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • Indi

      Nonsense. I've served in the military, and I'm an atheist. I've known several other service people who served in combat and are atheists. My first thought on encountering a life-threatening situation isn't "oops, better ask some supernatural Sky Father to save my butt." It's a.) "oh, crap," and b.) "All, right, how do I get myself and my team out of this? "

      July 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
  16. Six kinds of atheists all right...

    Hateful
    Pushy
    Deluded
    Stupid
    Obnoxious
    Loudmouthed

    Question of the day:
    How can you tell you are talking to an atheist?

    – Oh, don't worry, they will tell you. Repeatedly.

    July 17, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • criticalbuddhist

      What category do you fall into?

      July 17, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
      • Mark F

        Exactly. If you are so quick to categorize atheists and be heard on this forum, lets categorize you.
        Naive
        Yearning
        Narrow Minded
        Follower

        The list could go on. Perhaps we can think for ourselves and wonder why we no longer see people walk on water, find it absurd the entire world could flood and are intelligent enough (or clear minded enough) to not see Jesus in a blueberry muffin. Its interesting the only people that see apparitions or "miracles" are those in uneducated third world countries or brainwashed individuals. Then there are the people thank think they lived through something tragic that God must have helped them. Take 9/11 for instance. So you mean to tell me not one of the other 3000+ people that died had a strong faith in God and was a good person. You full of yourself and you just need a reason or an explanation for why your bus was late that day. Religion to bring out the good in people is fine in my book, but not a necessity. There are plenty of thugs and football players that thank God for their achievements and then go kill someone too. Religious folks always blame atheists for attacking them just because they have their own set of beliefs. Where most of the time you say you don't believe in God and they are the one's shunning you; leaving you to merely defending yourself.

        July 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • One kind of Christian

      Hateful
      Pushy
      Deluded
      Stupid
      Obnoxious
      Loudmouthed

      Question of the day:
      How can you tell you are talking to a Christian?

      – Oh, don’t worry, they will tell you. Repeatedly. Usually while trying to deny you your civil rights and inserting their brand of Christianity into your vagina.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      Which America did you grow up in? Because I barely knew other atheists existed until recently, though the Christians I have known all my life pretty much consistantly lived up to your list.

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

        It's not that there aren't a lot of us, it's that fear of persecution tends to drive people under ground. Consider how a child who is an atheist feels when they are forced to acknowlege god (say the pledge of allegence) every day. Because of beliefs they are treated as second class citizens and subject to ridicule and torment.

        July 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Kimbo

      Way to stereotype us all. Cause that makes so much sense. Do you do this with all minority groups?

      July 17, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • faith

      not here. we b loving, open minded, sweet, humble, kind and blessed with a great sense of humor. its them xtards who cause ALL the misery in the world. i have 4 g a y uncles and 6 g a y aunts who couldn't marry cause of them!

      July 17, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  17. Caroline Collins

    Agnostic

    July 17, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
  18. literate

    In my humble opinion, someone who thinks we (humans) have the capacity to know everything about 'truth' and 'reality'. is very misguided. We know only a fraction of what there is to know. We simply do not have the tools to fully understand truth. Therefore, I reject all definitions of atheism because that position cannot bridge the absence of unobserved phenonmenon (e.g. God) as a potential explanation to observed experiences. If you cannot measure it, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It simply means you don't yet know how to measure it.

    July 17, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
  19. Shannon

    Atheists and Agnostics are not the same! Yet, these "researchers" group them together?!

    July 17, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      How do you distinguish them?

      You either believe in God, or not.

      Agnostic doesn't really mean someone who can't form an opinion.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
      • Austin

        That's the problem with atheist, it's white or black, can't be something in between. Agnostics don't believe in God, but they don't blast those who do (like atheists) just because they can't prove it doesn't exist. You got it? It's a smart approach to the issue. In the other hand, the atheists, they are the same as terrorists or the religious nuts, they always talk crap about people who believe in their God, and they don't bring anything to the table, other than hate, of course.

        July 17, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          You don't understand the terms "atheist" and "agnostic."

          July 17, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          "Agnostics don't believe in God"

          Austin, anyone who doesn't believe in God is (by definition) an atheist.

          What you are calling an atheist is "anti-theist". Refuting the fallacy that all atheists are militant anti-religionists is entirely what this study (and creating these labels) is all about.

          July 17, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • lol??

      It's the grouping instinct of the inclusivists. Next thing you know they'll be talkin' Christians into Inclusivism!!!

      July 17, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      GOPer ,

      yes your opinion is that we cant prove or disprove and that Agnosticism is the most logical position.....

      to me..agnosticism is just a slippery, legal tactic –

      Agnostics in general ironically ignore completely our progress in the physical sciences- and call be people like me, who realize our universe is operating outside such human concepts as creation as ignorant and stubborn.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        The problem is that there is no real consensus on what "agnostic" means. It should relate to specific knowledge.

        I consider myself to be an agnostic atheist. I don't believe in God, but can't (and don't have to) prove non-existence.

        I suspect that most people who use the term "agnostic" are being intellectually dishonest. If you believe in God, you are a theist. If you don't, you are an atheist. Except for those people who genuninely can't form an opinion, I look at it as a binary outcome.

        July 17, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  20. sayit

    I think CNN publishes articles like these because of how much traffic it generates by irate atheists. Making atheists angry seems to be pretty profitable.

    July 17, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Do a quick count and see how many of the atheists are "irate" versus the posts by trolling Xians.

      July 17, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.