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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. Rajun Cajun

    You do not truly know your own religious convictions one way or another until you face impending death. It is truly amazing how those last moments in life can trump decades of deeply held convictions. There are some seriously tough ones like Carl Sagan or Bertrand Russell, but not many.

    July 17, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • lol??

      I hope I don't go out cussin' like many prominent fighters in the socie religion.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Foxhole believer

      Yep. Critical thinking and philosophy holds no weight for me over something as basic as survival. Enter Pascal's wager.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
      • Saraswati

        Is this a joke or serious? Really...I actually am unsure?

        July 17, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
  2. faith

    proof of god?

    it has been done here many times

    as an atheist, i reject their proof

    fsm exists cause i gave myself faith in him for christmas

    faith in something that don't exist makes it real

    wishing and hoping and praying makes it so

    DUH

    July 17, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Akira

      You are lying when you say you are an atheist. You are breaking the 9th Commandment by doing so. Do you think you get points for lying? Do you think reverse psychology is a valid way to proselytize?

      July 17, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
      • Seajay

        How does one break the commandments of a God one does not believe in?

        July 17, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • faith

      o, i'm way ahead of you.

      i broke em all, every one. many times.

      wait.

      that';s not entirely true.

      i haven't slept with my manservant

      (yet)

      July 17, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  3. God

    I contend we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer gods then you do. When you understand why you dismiss all other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

    Two hands working do more than 1,000 clasp in prayer

    July 17, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • lol??

      Your contention is in vain to the bride. Don't tick off the groom.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  4. john

    "In many cases, this comes across as apathy or disinterest." I do not think that they come across disinterested, but rather as UNINTERESTED.

    July 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • lol??

      Which are you dissin, or rather dissun??

      July 17, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
  5. Ec1warc1

    To categorize atheists into 6 groups does not report on reality nor is it news. CNN has no credibility.

    July 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Rodents for Romney

      Yet here you are.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  6. mary roberts

    I feel sorry for those who don't think that there is anything more than life on earth. it would make all of this living thing pointless.

    July 17, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Everyone knows that there is more than "life on earth." The universe is filled with all sorts of strange combinations of different flavors of matter and energy.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
      • mzh

        Earth is the only place that has been made for human to live and no where else in the universe especially for this life... no one can go above the ground... one can only jump but can't stay for few seconds a foot above of the ground... I am sure we all know the scientific explaination about that...

        July 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
        • ME II

          What are you talking about? If you can reach escape velocity then you don't need to come back down. It's been done many times with many space launches.

          July 17, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
        • Joe

          Earth was not made for humans to live on, but rather humans evolved on Earth.

          July 17, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      life is only pointless if you are too pathetic to make it otherwise

      July 17, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      No, if anything I place more value on life and humanity now because without the belief in some afterlife (due to the complete lack of evidence), this becomes the only life I am guaranteed of.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • illusive

      Funny twist...
      it is actually the religious who see life as pointless, because the real deal starts after you die, this is just a "tiny trial period for the rest of existence"
      Life is actually much more valuable to an atheist, as it is the only chance we will ever get.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Ken in MD

      Please don't feel sorry for me. I'm doing fine, and have no feelings whatsoever that my life is pointless, just because I don't believe in an invisible man in the sky who can read my thoughts and control my life. I actually like it better that way.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @mary, that is a common fallacy. life is worth living.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • sam stone

      i feel sorry for those who look at life on earth as a stepping stone to eternity

      July 17, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Sigh

      As an agnostic I feel sorry for people who insist that death is the end. It may be the most rational conclusion but given that life beyond death is an universal idea that transcended national boundaries, cultures and oceans from the earliest recorded history, it's not completely implausible there may be an afterlife of some sort. Add in near-death experiences and their universality with common experiences transcending beliefs and it's not unreasonable. The nature of the afterlife and how much of "you" will continue on are questions that likely can only be answered at time of death.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
      • illusive

        It is only in all cultures and all beliefs because it happens to everybody. Each "afterlife" described is different..each accounting of it is different..each explanation of it is different. Similar to all creation myths, each one is different. Correlation (that all cultures talk about it) does not equal causation (because it exists).

        I think I will remain in the default position, or null hypothesis of non-existence until evidence is brought to light.

        July 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
        • Sigh

          Of course correlation doesn't mean causation, but it certainly indicates a possibility. I just think it's not intellectually honest to dismiss belief in an afterlife and gods completely. I think the afterlife has more evidence for it than gods do though.

          July 17, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
      • illusive

        And would you call yourself an agnostic theist or antagonistic atheist?

        I ask because agnosticism is not the "Middle ground" that most think it is,
        Gnosticism and agnosticism are stances on knowledge "I Know" or "I don't know"
        Theism and atheism is a stance on god belief(not afterlife) "I believe" or "I don't believe" (Buddhists are atheists too FYI)

        Personally I am an agnostic atheist "I don't believe a god exists, but i don't know for sure"

        July 17, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
        • Sigh

          I'd say I'm agnostic atheist with an agnostic belief in the human soul.

          July 17, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
  7. D

    Wow, way to FAIL right out of the gate in sentence 1.
    Atheism is not "disbelief in God" (a statement that presupposes that "God" exists and thus can be disbelieved).
    Atheism is the belief that no gods exist.

    July 17, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I disagree. Atheism is a lack of belief or disbelief; it is not a belief itself in anything. In response to the god hypothesis, an atheist disbelieves that hypothesis put to him.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
      • D

        Ah, well, yes, it is a relatively undefined term. There are many different interpretations of what it means.
        Personally, I like the premise that 'nogsticism' (as in: agnostic) deals with what is known/knowable and 'theism' (as in: atheism) deals with what is chosen/believed in.

        July 17, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Agreed. I am an agnostic atheist because I neither claim spiritual knowledge nor do I believe in any gods.

          July 17, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Do interpret the phrase:

      "I don't believe in God"

      to be a tactic acknowledgement that God is real and the speaker is in denial? The notion of God is real to believers – the concept exists whether or not the ent!ty does.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Oops – tacit.

        July 17, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
  8. john

    Atheists and agnostics are COMPLETELY different. Atheists claim the proof of the nonexistence of God (not saying it's right or wrong), and agnostics typically claim they just do not believe in a traditional God. I think it's a misstep to broadly include these two groups of people in the same category for this argument. Oh wait, CNN is a tabloid. Nevermind.

    July 17, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • jacobyhickerson

      Agnostics claim, you don't know and cannot prove if there is a god or isn't a god (which is factual...). It's not that they don't believe in a 'traditional' god.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Akira

      Atheists don't believe in the existence of gods. They make no specific claimes of proof one way or another.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Atheism/Theism: disbelief/belief in a god or gods
      Agnostic/Gnostic: to be unsure in your knowledge of something/to be sure in your knowledge of something

      They are two separate terms meaning two different things. I am an Agnostic Atheist...I do not claim to know for certain that a god or gods do not exist (agnostic) but I see no evidence to give me reason to believe (atheist).

      July 17, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Atheists claim the proof of the nonexistence of God

      Umm, no they don't. Some certainly may, but this is not a requirement for disbelief.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      john said: agnostics typically claim they just do not believe in a traditional God

      Umm, not they don't. You are confusing deism with agnosticism.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • sam stone

      john, are you daft? atheists do not claim to have proof of the non existence of god. by the way, how do you "prove" the non-existence of any "spiritual" thing?

      July 17, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
  9. OnePartDesCartes

    I think, therefore I am. That's all we actually know. Some beliefs, however, are more credible than others, and if the world truly exists as we know it, then atheism is the only logical conclusion.

    July 17, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • faith

      i believe i can buy a candy bar at the store

      i have faith i can do that

      i have knowledge that a candy bar most likely awaits my purchase.

      i have faith in my knowledge

      i have knowledge and faith

      uh oh

      July 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
      • Akira

        I don't suppose you know there are laws against stealing? But of course you do. Your point hasn't GOT a point.

        July 17, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
      • Rodents for Romney

        Fallacy of the false analogy.
        You know what you will find at the store, and because of learning you expect to be able to buy one there.
        It is possible they won't have any when you get there.
        Oh oh.

        July 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
      • faith

        uh oh

        i am in the weeds. i got faith and knowledge!

        HHHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP

        July 17, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
      • OnePartDesCartes

        Is there a store? Is there a candy bar? Maybe we are buried underground with wires attached to our bodies. Maybe we don't have bodies. Maybe the laws of physics don't actually govern our universe, but our minds. I think you missed the point Mr./Ms. Faith.

        July 18, 2013 at 10:12 am |
  10. lol??

    Pro 6:16 These six [things] doth the LORD hate: yea, seven [are] an abomination unto him:

    July 17, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • midwest rail

      If indeed those prove accurate, you are totally screwed.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  11. EdL

    I have never understood why atheists seem to always be on the defensive. Why are they not proud of their atheism? Why do they not ignore their critics.

    July 17, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Tom Wilson

      If we wanted to broadcast our thoughts, we would open a very large athiest church.. Take up collections, pay to have a leader and even open athiest schools for kids.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
      • *

        *atheist

        July 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Karin Werner

      Because the faithful create laws or force their beliefs unto their communities. I guess you can look at atheist as street sweepers. We attempt to clean up the mess.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • jimsmixedviews

      I have never understood why non-drug addicts seem to always be on the defensive. Why are they not proud of their non-drug addictism? Why do they not ignore their critics.

      Because we are talking to drug users.. yours just comes in a little black book.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • sam

      In some states there are laws on the books that state atheists are not allowed to hold public office. An awful lot of believers think that's ok.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
      • Truth Prevails :-)

        Arizona wants to stop Atheists from graduating high school. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/01/25/arizona-republicans-propose-bill-that-would-not-allow-atheists-to-graduate-high-school/

        July 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
        • sam

          Huh. Go figure. Good old AZ! Gotta keep those women, non believers, and brown people in line, I guess.

          July 17, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      How do they prove you're an atheists sam?

      July 17, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        So you think that sam should lie, Bill?

        July 17, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
      • sam

        Well, people who don't believe in god navigate life in the exact same way Catholics would prefer all gay people live: pretending they're something they're not.

        The religious have made it unsafe to do anything else.

        July 17, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I don't think anything of the sort. I just wonder how the states that have those laws on the books enforce them. If there's no creed and no belief system and no hierarchy and no structure, how does one show membership to the group?

      July 17, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
      • Ken in MD

        Have you never seen a candidate asked if they believe in God? Answer 'yes' and you're a believer. Answer 'no' and you're an outcast (as far as they're concerned).

        July 17, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
      • sam

        Sooner or later, one accidentally outs oneself by saying the wrong thing, and it's all downhill from there. Oops!

        That's ideal, though, isn't it, Bill? Athiests should just be silent, and they'll stay out of trouble.

        July 17, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
        • Dippy

          Atheists, not athiests.

          July 17, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
        • sam

          Hot damn, Dippy, whatever would we do without you? I sure am glad you've found your life's true calling. We all need to feel useful, don't we?

          July 17, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
      • ME II

        @Bill Deacon,
        It's usually a "Religious Test", I believe. In other words you must show (prove?) that you are a member of a religion, as opposed to "proving" that you are not an Atheist.

        July 17, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
        • sam

          Shibboleth!

          July 17, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        Do you think those laws are not found unconstiitutional because atheism isn't a religious belief?

        July 17, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
        • sam

          If atheism was a belief, it would simply be a matter of claiming religious persecution. How convenient for the majority that non believers are not a protected species. Makes it perfectly legit to introduce legislation against them. I mean, goodness! What could be the harm?

          July 17, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          hmm you're in a spot looks like.

          July 17, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Bill, I'm not sure what laws you are talking about. If you are referring to state laws that specify that an atheist cannot hold office, then these laws are definitively unenforceable with Supreme Court rulings to that effect.

          Doesn't mean people in those states would vote for an openly atheist candiate of course.

          July 17, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
        • sam

          I just watch out for the elected officials who keep trying to push legislation that likes to take rights away from others, and vote them out when the time comes. Sooner or later, they'll cause their own extinction with their behavior.

          July 17, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          GOP, I think you're right but it's not really a religious test is it? It's more that voters are saying I don't like the way you think. Or, I don't like your values, or the way I perceive your character.

          July 17, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Do you agree with the laws in those states or not, Bill? That you can wiggle and squirm as good as any believer is to be expected, but back to the point.

          July 17, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          @Bill,

          yes those States attempt to apply an invalid religious test.

          Any swearing in wording like "So help me God" or swearing on a Bible to tell the whole truth as a witness is a religious test. They have been determined to be unconst!tutional.

          July 17, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          Feel free to review Silverman v. Campell for a recent ruling.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverman_v._Campbell

          In this case the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled unamimously in favor of Silverman.

          July 17, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • Zestyfudge

      It's only been very lately that you can really be "proud" of your atheism. I'm 44, and until I was about 18 if you said you were; there was a lot going against you. Glad it wasn't much earlier though, or else I would have been stoned, burned, hung, drawn and quartered, and spread around pretty evenly.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  12. Karin Werner

    Well, I personally do not like to be placed in a group. I suppose I feel that limiting one to a certain group is ingenuous to the human brain. So in order to be fair, I place myself in all groups 🙂 I guess it just depends on the content, if I got enough sleep or I am at my best. I do lean more towards; 1, 2 and 4.

    July 17, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  13. Tom Wilson

    Knowledge is believing in something you can prove.

    Faith is believing in something that can not be proved.

    It takes Faith to believe in Santa Clause

    Knowledge is knowing you could get hurt or killed by crashing into a bridge at 100 MPH!

    July 17, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Karin Werner

      Probably why this grouping checklist has been created for atheist. So the faithful have a way to group us. Since they are clearly missing the point all together! All we need now is a checklist of what group each of us falls into for not believing in Thor.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
      • Bill Deacon

        That's funny Karin given the over 5000 post of people self identifying as one class or another. I don't think it's believers who want to class anyone. If we did, we'd just say "lost"

        July 17, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
        • Alias

          Bill,
          that is the same way we see you.

          July 17, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
        • Bill Deacon

          Rest assured Alias. I've been redeemed.

          July 17, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • lol??

      Rom 10:17 So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • faith

      whew!

      i can start believing in santa again! dig it

      (listen, as a devout atheist, i say this with nothing profound respect for us) don't say nothin about knowledge and proof. duh.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
      • Akira

        Why do you lie, faith? You aren't an atheist. You are constantly breaking the 9th Commandment. Dig it.

        July 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • illusive

      Faith:
      A Belief without or in contrary to evidence.

      There is no evidence that what is said in the bible is true (minus a few minor cites and kings...but not Biblical important ones) why would i believe what is written in it? and quoting from it is pointless, it would be like me quoting spiderman comics to prove spiderman exists

      July 17, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  14. sly

    Barry Bonds is God, and there isn't a single person blogging here who can prove me wrong.

    No, I cannot prove I'm right either, but after watching Him for 15 years I can say he's easily the best player I ever saw (and that includes Mays).

    No, he was the best well before The Cream.

    That's my God. Sounds like some of you have your own. And many of you don't care to own one. All power to y'all.

    July 17, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • A Theist

      Sly – very cute, but stupid. BB, though talented, does not give meaning and purpose to life, providing real answers for transcendant questions, who designs and supports all that is, from the outside, underneath and from within.
      BB did not pay your sin debt. He has his own problems and does not care about, or even know about you.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
      • A Theist

        To paraphrase Tyler Durdin, "Listen to me! You have to consider the possibility that BB does not like you. He never wanted you. In all probability, he hates you."

        July 17, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
        • sly

          I guess what I'm trying to say by nominating Barry as God is that belief in God is just a personal opinion, which is why there are perhaps 1000+ God's being worshipped today. And there isn't anyone who can tell another that their God is true or their God is false (well, they tell each other each day I guess, usually with bombs, but they cannot prove it).

          Obviously I'm just using Barry Bonds as a metaphor, since EVERYONE knows that Joe Montana is really God.

          July 17, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
      • sly

        BB provided countless meaningful moments, but I agree, perhaps He didn't answer any Transcendal Questions. (Is that one of the God requirements?).

        Wrong about Him not caring however – those close to the Giants know that he contributes more to youth education and sports than most any Church.

        You do bring up an interesting point: Is there specific 'criteria' for being God?

        Anyhow, I stand by my statement: Barry Bonds is God, and there isn't anyone on here who can prove me wrong.

        July 17, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
        • A Theist

          If there are no criteria, how has Barry Bonds met them? And I said YOU – he does not care about you. See Tyler Durden's quote...

          July 17, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
        • sly

          I don't have any criteria for God, until I read your comment I didn't realize there are (is? was?) criteria.

          And he probably cares a little about me, since he loves Giants fans. But, no, I've never met him. Then again, I'm thinking most folks haven't met their own God either.

          I'm pretty sure that the 'criteria' one God-ster has, for example a Christian, is not the same as for a Buddhist, or a Muslim or Jew. From the little I know about religion, the religious folks seem to have a lot of disagreement among themselves about the 'criteria'.

          Oh well ... I didn't say Barry Bonds is the 'perfect' God – he's pretty imperfect, which makes Him a great representative of humankind.

          July 17, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Sorry but that can't be possible, everyone knows the true god is Elvis. 😉

      July 17, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
      • sly

        Elvis is still Vice-God, along with Dionysus.

        July 17, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
  15. Toad

    Neither believer nor non-believer is everything they claim to be in these comfortable moments of public yammering. When it comes to living, the world will soon enough test the limits of your little beliefs.

    If you have lived long enough and unluckily enough to have experienced a good deal of suffering and danger in your life, then as a believer, you must have had long moments of real doubt, or as an atheist, you must have had short but intense moments of "Oh God just in case you really are there, please oh please help me right now."

    Anyone who hasn't wavered in their beliefs hasn't lived or thought much, and I would "trust them little in the commerce of the soul."

    July 17, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Russian Blue

      Very well said. Very few people are consistently of one opinion.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
  16. lol??

    Some little demon has his nose outta joint
    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    lol??
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    lol??
    Johnny Noir sayz, To Burke!
    It would have helped to address the real substance of my comment. What about racists like lol?? ................."

    I've always held to the Ark story and Noe, just like Jesus. Does your bwain understand the implications of that?? Now get crackin' and prove Noe's wife was, In the field of human genetics, Mitochondrial Eve.

    July 17, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Akira

      Sigh. You blame your bigotry on the Bible?

      July 17, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
      • lol??

        Out of the six bins of bigotry to which are you referencing??

        July 17, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
  17. Anti-ichthyism

    Does an anti-ichthyist spit in the face of cod?

    July 17, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      No... they eat them religiously

      July 17, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
      • Stephen

        They taste divine . . .

        July 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Sinbad

      Just for the halibut, according to one school of thought...

      July 17, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
      • Anti-ichthyism

        Ahh CARP-e diem 🙂

        July 17, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The whole concept of cod sounds fishy to me.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
      • Sinbad

        If you're hungry, you'll sing a different tuna...

        July 17, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
        • Stephen

          Sorry to be a crab, but holy mackerel - repent and save your sole. Enough of these codless puns already . . .

          July 17, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • sam

      Not unless they want their sole to go to the eternal fish fry!

      July 17, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • sly

      If you continue with the False Moray's, the Ghost Carp and Goblin Sharks will come after you, and you better have a powerful Angelfish or Cherubfish looking after you or you will feel real Crappie and go the way of the Devil Ray.

      Remember, in the end, we all Croakers.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • OTOH

      Anti-ichthyism,

      Then you also have the agnathics, who could never belong to the chews.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
  18. Tim

    Can we all just get along regardless of beliefs ...

    July 17, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Rodents for Romney

      You tell them to stop shoving their beliefs down our throats, and telling us who we can and cannot marry, who gets "rights", and who doesn't, and maybe I'll think about it.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • lol??

      Yes, at the point of a gun. No training was received from fathers.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
  19. Iceman

    i do not believe in religion, but i do believe in GOD, i wont shove it down anyone's throats, im not going to point fingers at gay people or people that are atheism because im not perfect.

    July 17, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  20. Rodents for Romney

    They forgot muggle and wizard atheists.

    July 17, 2013 at 3:54 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.