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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. mzh

    we should watch what we say...

    July 17, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • Ted

      The sights of sounds...

      July 17, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
      • mzh

        This statement was meant for someone who used f words...

        July 17, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
        • sam

          It's too late! They're hellbound!! God gets so mad about words.

          July 17, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
  2. faith

    most unlearned fishermen authors i no write fiction and die defending themselves, pretending it was non-fiction. kinda the trend among the avant guarde since profits dropped out of publishing.

    did u hear what happened to the chick who wrote harry's not a potter, no way, hosea! messy (u don't wanna no)

    July 17, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      The profit is in being an established religion: tithing and a symbiotic relationship with monarchy do wonders for your net wealth.

      July 17, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Akira

      Did J.K. Rowling ever posit that Harry Potter was anything other than a fictional character? No? What, then, is your point?

      July 17, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  3. Foxhole believer

    It takes a certain amount of courage that I don't have to be an atheist. I know there is no evidence for God. But believe me if I were to have a heart murmur or something I'd feel compelled to pray. And I don't know why it's not as though I'd feel compelled to burn a candle in the name of Zeus. I'm not really sure why. I can't say I'm religious but I can understand the compulsion.

    July 17, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • bostontola

      Were you brought up with religion? Did friends influence you?

      July 17, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • devin

      That was refreshingly honest.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
      • bostontola

        Are you suggesting that people with stronger atheist positions are not being honest?

        July 17, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
        • devin

          That wasn't my initial intent, but by way of inference I guess, yes. I don't necessarily believe this is always a conscious dishonesty however.

          July 17, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
        • bostontola

          I will assume you think the same kind of unconscious dishonesty occurs in believers.

          July 17, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
        • devin

          I would imagine in some, yes.

          July 17, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
    • ME II

      "...it's not as though I'd feel compelled to burn a candle in the name of Zeus."

      If you lived in Rome 2000 years ago, you'd probably feel otherwise, or Ireland, or Norway, or Ja.pan, etc.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Why not burn a candle in the name of Zeus – there's as much evidence for Zeus as there is for the christian god. And Pascal's Wager has been discredited so many times.

      July 17, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Foxhole believer

      I'm sure me doing it is culturally based. But to date there remains a human pile of ash in Pompeii frozen in a state of prayer. We don't know what was going through his mind but he assumed the position. He was probably praying to Zeus.

      July 17, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  4. Sam Yaza

    merv
    i scan thru all these so called famous people, i did not see other color , only white race has this disease .

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

    July 17, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • Foxhole believer

      I'm surprised that Morgan Freeman is an atheist, in most movies he plays the part of God

      July 17, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  5. merv

    every soul shall taste death, then it will be too late white famous people

    July 17, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      "taste death"??? Really? What is that supposed to mean?

      July 17, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • sam

      I heard it tastes like limburger cheese.

      July 17, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
  6. Greg S

    Here's MY question:
    I used to be a born again Christian. I lived the life of faith. I believed that everything in the Bible,was the true word of God. I prayed with a sincere heart and would "be still and know that He was God".
    After many years, my "being still" showed me that it all was in vain. There really IS now god. The whole concept of god is incorrect.. Those that profess that the love god and believe in him "have deceived themselves and the truth is not in them". The bible says that you shall judge a tree by its fruits. since the fruits of religion are rotten (wars, murder, judgementalism, bigotry, robbery, lies, racism, ect.), then religion must be rotten. The very nature of the universe around us shows that it was not "created" but evolved.
    Once I came to realize these truths, I could not "believe" any longer, just as a child eventually cannot believe in Santa any longer. And once that child doesn't believe, he/she can never go back and believe again. Now for my question:

    What category will you make up to fit ME into?

    July 17, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • merv

      i scan thru all these so called famous people, i did not see other color , only white race has this disease .

      July 17, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • JDV

      Unfortunately, you fall into the category of condemned like all the other atheists.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        In your evidence-free opinion.

        July 17, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
        • JDV

          My evidence is not valid in your way of thinking so why bother.

          July 17, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          JDV, What evidence do you have that atheists are condemned? None. Which is why you won't tell. Out of interest – do you include believers in other religions as condemned?

          July 17, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
      • Greg S

        But that raises another question: condemned by who? God?

        July 17, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
        • JDV

          Well, actually, you have condemned yourself by denying Jesus as Savior/redeemer of your soul and the forgiver of sins who wishes not you be condemned.

          July 17, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
        • Athy

          I'm sure we atheists would recognize valid evidence if it were presented. None has ever been presented.

          July 17, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
        • Greg S

          Well JDV, as I stated in my OP, I once was where you are. In fact, in times past, I would have answered a post like that in EXACTLY the same way you have. Now, I know better.
          Your quick condemnation, and lack of a loving response more than proves my point. It's rather sad that you can't see how "unloving" your reply was. Remember "WWJD"? Well........should he have done that? Smells like rotten fruit to me.

          July 17, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
        • Madtown

          condemned yourself by denying Jesus as Savior
          -----
          And, if you've never heard of Jesus? Then what? You must not think God is very powerful, if you believe christianity is the only way. It's not available to all, even today there are humans on earth that have never heard of it. If God truly cared that all his equal human creations had access to this message, wouldn't he make it available to all? He is that powerful, he created the universe and all life within.

          July 17, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
        • JDV

          Well, you see, my answer was not 'unloving', it spoke to you the truth of your current situation and it actually provides a way for you to try and change it by turning to Jesus through repentance. If anything, it was more loving than you will ever have anyone else tell you. And, I only mirrored Jesus' words when he said that anyone who truely loves him finds life, and anyone who does not condemns himself.

          July 17, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
      • ME II

        Condemned by a non-existent being to a non-existent place of torture? I'll be sure to non-believe, now.

        July 17, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
      • tesmith47

        condemned to rational thought in this madhouse of childish religious believers, welcome to adulthood!!!!!

        April 26, 2014 at 11:30 pm |
    • faith

      i am a born again atheist

      July 17, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
      • faith

        (it is wednesday. i convert every other week or so.)

        onst i became a free mason on a friday. never again!

        July 17, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
      • Sam Yaza

        I'm a born again pagan, yeah for being "born again"

        July 17, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You'll be with the group on the left.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
      • Ted

        Bill Deacon will be in the group of idiots as a core member.

        July 17, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      #7, the honest realist.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      merv

      i scan thru all these so called famous people, i did not see other color , only white race has this disease .

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

      July 17, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
      • Southerner01

        Morgan Freeman is an atheist? I thought he WAS God?

        July 17, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      7, the honest realist.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • abraham0delacey0giuseppe0casey0thomas0o0malley

      merv

      i scan thru all these so called famous people, i did not see other color , only white race has this disease .

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

      July 17, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • mary

      I applaud you Greg S. There isn't much to say or add, I believe you took the words right out of my mouth.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
      • Greg S

        Thank you mary!

        Your response was much more loving and inclusive than JDV. I applaud YOU,

        July 17, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Joel

      Personally, I find it foolish that so many of us think that God's existence and purpose is too complex for humanity to possibly understand. It isn't hard to argue that as a species, we have grown exponentially smarter throughout our history. Scientists are now capable of capturing antimatter and grow ever closer to proving dark matter's existence as well. Yet we ignore the fact that with alternate forms of matter comes the very real possibility of alternate realms of material existence. What could these realms be? Some kind of alternate dimensions like we see in the movies? Maybe. But why can't these realms be the very same we were told about so many years ago through our various religions? Why can't it be that humanity has grown so much that we are on the verge of proving God's existence, even if we don't yet understand his purpose for us?

      July 17, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • bmb88

      You would fall into either the "activist" or "anti-theist" categories, you've already been described.

      July 17, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
  7. Bet

    This was all created by Aliens!!

    July 17, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
  8. Phelix Unger

    Its always nice when someone tries to put another person in a box. Wait isn't that what religion does. Stop trying to put people in boxes and the walls between everyone could fall down as well. Don't be afraid the we can all see the unknown together.

    July 17, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      I thought that was what undertakers and morticians did.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  9. Seajay

    Why do we need to categorize disbelief at all past Agnostic and Atheist? You believe, you don't believe, or you aren't sure what to believe. I don't think we need more labels in this world.

    July 17, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • bostontola

      I agree, these "scientists" have conflated states of belief with behaviors.

      I recognize 3 states of belief; 1. Believe in god(s), 2. Believe there is no god, 3) Don't believe either way. Behaviors range from passive to aggressive. Presto, multiple categories.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
      • Thomas

        I agree that they refer to bevahiours, not belief, but I disagree that there are three states of belief vis-a-vis god. There are only two: belief in god (theism) or no belief in god (atheism). If you believe in god then your a theist; everything else is atheism (albeit it might come in different flavours, e.g. negative/positive atheism, etc).

        People tend to place agnosticism in between theism and atheism, but that is a mistake. Theism and atheism pertain to your belief status. Agnosticism is an epistemological position; it is about knowledge of god(s) and is the contrary position to gnosticism. Agnosticism is therefore not mutually exclusive with either theism or atheism.

        So there really are two distinct questions: (1) do you know if a god exists, and (2) do you believe in a god. For the first question you either claim to know (gnostic) or you don't (agnostic). For the second question you either believe (theist) or you don't (atheist). With this appropriate and correct distinction in mind, you can get agnostic theists (people who do not claim to know if a god exists but believes anyway, on faith), and you can get people like myself, agnostic atheists (those who do not know of any god exists, and therefore do not believe in such a being).

        July 17, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Christopher

      It gives unemployed religion majors something to think about.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
  10. fallen angel

    My parent's gave me very good advice in life from the time I was able to understand what religion and politics meant.They said don't ever bring up religion or politics into a discussion or get involved with either one of these subjects because it brings out the worst in people,best to avoid it if you can.They plainly said there would be no clear winner's just one side of people angry at the other side of people.Truer words were never spoken

    July 17, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • Dippy

      Winners, not winner's.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
      • numbnut

        Quit micro-analyzing. We understand what the message was.

        July 17, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
      • fallen angel

        "Dippy sounds like a good name for you".You must be an obsessive compulsive frustrated person that majored in English grammar.Excusssse me for the tiniest oversights.I am sure you have never made a mistake while typing your comments on a blog of all places.SAD REALLY

        July 17, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
        • Dippy

          Angel, using an apostrophe to form a plural is more than just a mistake. It's fundamental lack of knowledge. It negatively impacts the believability of your statement. If you want to be taken seriously, write more intelligently.

          July 17, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • Dippy

      Also it's parents, not parent's.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
      • asuem77

        lol

        July 17, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Also, motor oil. Never get into a discussion about motor oil. Things can get out of hand.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
      • Athy

        That's true. It can be a "slippery slope."

        July 17, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
      • Akira

        I can tell you the arguments I've had about the benefits of synthetic vs. petroleum based have gotten very heated. 'Tis true.

        July 17, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
  11. gphx

    Categorizing people based upon nonbelief in a nonexistent god is ridiculous. Might as well invent categories for people who don't believe in Santa Claus.

    July 17, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Colin 2.0

      So atheism is about as important as those who don't believe in santa?
      Ok, I figured it wasn't.

      July 17, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
  12. faith

    bill deacon, did u hear that? i gots faith and knowledge simultaneously!

    i'm ruined!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 17, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You should become a Catholic

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

        i was.

        became an indentured servant, then a monk, twice i converted to judaism (didn't like the hats) tried buddhism but they said i drank too much

        July 17, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
  13. jackienichols645686005

    I consider myself an Atheist, but after reading the 6 categories, I'm not sure which, if any, I belong in. I do not belief in God, heaven, hell, Satan, or basically, anything in the Bible; however, I can't decide as to whether I believe in some other form of afterlife such as reincarnation, spirits, etc. I think that I mostly don't, but I'm not sure. I basically keep my religious (or non-religious) views to myself, but I admit that I do enjoy occasionally bantering on Internet forums with the ultra-religious who feel they must jam their beliefs down everyone's throats. I celebrate religious holidays (i.e. Christmas, Easter), but only from a traditional standpoint, not a religious one. I am not at all offended or upset when I see a public Nativity scene or other religious symbol of Christmas. In fact, I rather enjoy them because to me they represent a traditional Christmas even if I don't believe in the meanings behind them.

    So what category do I fall in?

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

      These categories are essentially bunk, there are as many types of atheists as there are atheists.
      By your description you are an atheist
      All atheism is a a lack of a belief in god(s) that's it....Yes that makes Buddhists atheists, and they still believe in an afterlife. other atheists believe in ghosts, fairies, santa, ridiculous conspiracy theories.....

      The

      July 17, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
      • numbnut

        Atheists believe in Santa and fairies? Where are you getting that from?

        July 17, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • Jimmy

      Agnostic, not atheist.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
      • illusive

        not mutually exclusive, i am an agnostic atheist "I don't believe god exists, but i can't know for sure"

        July 17, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
        • Thomas

          I'm also an agnostic atheist, but I would describe it as "I don't know if a god exists, and for that reason I do not believe".

          July 17, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • mark troiano

      it's kind of hard to understand why you celebrate the holidays. since I lost my faith I do it grudgingly just to appease the family. if it were not for that I wouldn't celebrate them at all. I lost my faith after getting sick six years ago but a religious jewish doctor who poisoned me with a combination of pain killers that caused a stroke. wouldn't admit wrong or even offer an apology, so much for being a religious man..

      July 17, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
      • faith

        me too.

        dr. howard jerome fafoofniyke jr
        on 5th ave between broadway and times square

        dated his daughter fifi

        July 17, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You fall in the category of people who have been blessed to be born into a liberal democracy built on the foundations of Judeo-Christian morals and Greco-Roman governance fueled by the prosperity of capitalism and the easy credit of fiat monetary systems. You are probably so intoxicated with the distractions of modern life coupled with the pressures of maintaining it that you've forgotten the basic structure that allowed it all to emerge from the slave and serf economies your ancestors struggled against.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        A structure maintained for centuries by the collaboration of church and monarchy. Clearly christianity has played a big part in Western society, but that does not mean that christianity directly led to the society we now have or that this society could not have gotten to this point without christianity.

        July 17, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
      • Still Just Jerry

        My God Bill (pun intended), you really hit the heart of the matter. This explains politicians and occupy and Wall Street and labor unions and Walmart and even Michelle Obama. Hope you didn't steal this from somewhere since I plan to quote you liberally.

        July 17, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • Montana72

      You sound like you are in a similar boat as I am. I would have to say you are most similar to #6. For me, I would consider myself agnostic (still catagory 6). My problem is probably a lot less with faith and probably a lot more to do with the human element of religion. I have a hard time with a pastor that is wearing $1,000 shoes, Brooks Brother suits and driving Bentley's asking parishioners to give 10% of their income to the "cause". On one the other hand I am not offended at all by a Christmas tree or seeing the word "God" on our currency. I don't why if you don't "believe" you feel the need to force the removal of belief from others.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
  14. Chuck

    Atheists and agnostics are not exactly mutually exclusive... One can be formally agnostic in that they recognize that we cannot logically prove that God does not exist, and yet identify as an atheist based on the evidence at hand. I do not believe there is a God. In fact I believe there are no gods, ghosts, fairies, etc. I could always be convinced otherwise if there were compelling evidence to the contrary, although I have very little expectation that will ever happen...

    July 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • lionlylamb2013

      Hello Chuck...

      It takes intellectual adversarial-isms to promote either Godliness or godlessness in today's riddled ranks of markedly emotionalized and loosely qualified intellectual societies. Your stance upon saying the Gods don't exist is based on...?

      July 17, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
      • illusive

        Most atheists don't say "God does not exist" they say "I don't believe god exits"

        For the most part it can be summed up as "The burden of proof of gods existence has not yet been met, and until it is, we remain in the default position or null hypothesis of non-existence. "

        July 17, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
        • lionlylamb2013

          illusive...

          The burden of proofs for Gods' (yes plural) existences lays squarely upon our first and foremost in seeking out the kingdom domains of the Godly and not bickering and bantering about the Gods' existences for it is literally written that even the Gods are themselves mortal and in their being of flesh and bone they die off just as we do. Our Astrophysics and genetic deconstructionists are doing exactly that which is seeking the whereabouts of Gods' kingdom domains.

          For instance, "If our embodied atomically constructed cellular essences need a source of sustenance to sustain their molecular environments than just exactly how far downward does the supposed food chains entail this trans-migratory involvements of food source separations and by what means does any atom need to be fed"? Even an evolved atom needs a food source to remain as an occupying force within any and all confinements of the cellular variations within all celestial life forms and formations.

          July 17, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
  15. CNN Belief Blog Co-EditorCNN

    Hi gang,

    The authors of this study have graciously agreed to field questions from our commenters. If you're interested, please post your question below and we'll select 5-7 to take to the authors. 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

    July 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • ME II

      What is the margin of error on 59 subjects?

      July 17, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • b4nothingafternothing

      Before you were conceived there was nothing, after you die there will be nothing, humans cannot wrap their thoughts around nothing because it is something. Believing in a religion, being agnostic or atheist means that you are acknowledging that there is something to believe in or to not believe in. I was nothing before my conception and I will be nothing after the body I live in dies, one cannot imagine nothing because then you are imagining something...Put that in your peace pipe and smoke it

      July 17, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        It must be nice to have everything all figured out.

        July 17, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
      • Woody

        "I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it." – Mark Twain

        July 17, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
      • Woody

        "I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconv-enience from it." – Mark Twain

        July 17, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
      • Woody

        "I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inco-nvenience from it." – Mark Twain

        July 17, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
        • Woody

          Sorry about the triple post, thought the word police machine kicked it out.

          July 17, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
        • Athy

          It usually does, but it's been acting kinda goofy the last couple of days.

          July 17, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
        • lol??

          Which death was he talkin' about?? Being evil and divided there has to be 2.

          July 17, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • ME II

      This study seems to be identifying more the types of behavior as "Nones" than the types of "Nones". Wouldn't, as someone else asked earlier, similar categories apply to believers as well.
      Intellectual Baptist
      Seeker Protestants
      Ritual Catholics
      etc.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • jerrymcm1970

      How did you select the 59 interviewees? Did they volunteer? If so, I suspect that group five would be much bigger if the sample size wasn't inherently skewed by self selection.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Did the authors make an effort to determine what respondents meant by God, or did they assume that the object of everyone's belief or disbelief was somehow the same?

      July 17, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
  16. Texhimself

    All I know is that the right wing religious nutjobs have been with us forever. Fear and judgement are great tools on controlling the weak and making yourself richer. Human nature is to be weak and follow. How else do you explain Hitler, Christianity, Islam, the GOP or Fox News?

    July 17, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Akira

      There IS no excuse for Fox News.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
      • bostontola

        Fox is a natural product of capitalism. You've got to take the good with the bad.

        July 17, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
        • Akira

          Sur I do, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

          July 17, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • faith

      that's what happened to president carter when he was a nuclear engineer and went to 3 mile island to be a big shot

      July 17, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • Chris

      and the great atheists like Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and the Kim's of North Korea.

      July 17, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
      • Ken in MD

        As opposed to great believers (theists) like child-abusing priests, Dick Cheney, Rev. Jim Baker, ... It's easy to find examples of bad people on any side of any issue. What's your point?

        July 17, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
  17. bostontola

    There must be a number of atheist categories; just on this blog, different atheists/agnostics define atheism and agnosticism differently. If you have a different definition, you are likely to be a different category.

    July 17, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • mark troiano

      I am sick and only 45 and don't believe in god because I prayed like crazy while I was getting sick to get better and I didn't. now I am faced with the horrifying prospect of suffering for a number of years before I finally fade into oblivion. terrifying. I wish there was a god.

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

        me too

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

        I'm sorry you are sick. It's understandable that you're questioning your beliefs.

        July 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
        • Melissa Greene

          I don't believe we really die, I believe we go on, don't be scared. I know it's hard. I'll be thinking of you.

          July 17, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
      • JK

        I'm sorry for your illness but I think what you wish is not that there was a god (who, given your current state would have obviously forsaken you) but you wish there was a solution to your condition. It is something completely different.
        Prayer does nothing, and people who offer to pray for you are doing absolutely nothing to help you. But I hope science can.

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

        i prayed and got a headache!

        some gaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwd

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

        I also hope medical science can find you some help.

        July 17, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
      • Cherilyn B

        Hi, Mark - I am sorry you are sick. A friend of mine about your age recently died from brain cancer. Do not give up hope for a medical miracle; find the BEST doctor who specializes in your illness. Death is inevitable for all of us. Our characters are measured by how we live. Make the most of the time you have left and find solace where you may. The best to you!

        July 17, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • lol??

      Is it bury the difference, or vive la difference??

      July 17, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
      • bostontola

        Vive for me.

        July 17, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @bostonola,

      I was surprised by the number of people who equated deism with agnosticsim.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
      • bostontola

        I agree, very different, deism is full on belief in god.

        July 17, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
  18. faith

    i kinda believe in horus, to be honest. i been in the mood 4 love

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

      c, christ ain't no thang. most people did what he did.

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

      c, the thang is, he was rich and didn't die until he was 87. he got a bunch a dudes to write this big fairy tale with him as the star. sort a like the producers. it was intended to be a flop. he just wanted to keep his homies employed and the thing was a smash hit. plus, u could make a cross with two sticks. big improvement over the six point star

      July 17, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • faith

      i think Bernie was kinda cute

      July 17, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
  19. SoCal Reggae

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29o6ITf5iTo&w=640&h=390]

    July 17, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  20. Tom

    The coincidences to allow this universe to happen are incomprehensible. Where did matter come from? (The big bang? Maybe, but before that it was a singular point of infinite density plasma or matter, where did that come from?) If gravity was just a little bit stronger, how different would the universe look? If the weak and strong nuclear forces were just a little skewed in either direction, how different would matter react? Its just mind boggling.

    July 17, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • ME II

      "Its just mind boggling."

      So, just because you don't understand, God must have done it?

      July 17, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
      • Tom

        Never mentioned god in that statement at all

        July 17, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
      • ME II

        @Tom,
        I assumed that God as creator was implied, my apologies.
        So, your questions were just rhetorical expressions of awe at the complexity and vastness of nature – a commentary on how little we truly know about the universe and how much science has yet to discover.

        Cool, I agree.

        July 17, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • faith

      it don't matter cause i have faith god don't matter!

      July 17, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      You need a course on Chaos Theory, and Probability. Highly improbably events happen all the time. Given an infinite time scale, a universe such as this is MORE probable than not. Intelligent Design is totally debunked. Just because you happen to be too uneducated, and uncreative to cook up other answers, does not mean you get to make up an answer that fits. The universe has been proven to NOT operate in a way that is logical to human brains, (Relativity, Uncertainty, matrices of Dirac).

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

        therealbigbuckyballbaby
        Just because you happen to be too uneducated, and uncreative to cook up other answers, does not mean you get to make up an answer that fits.

        r u going to arrest us in the am?

        July 18, 2013 at 1:15 am |
    • { ! }

      Atheists don't have Faith. They have Assumption. For all they know, there is an infinite amount of information out there that is not available to them. But they ASSUME that all reality is available to them through their five senses. THey further ASSUME that their brains can infallibly interpret whatever information they can acquire.

      July 17, 2013 at 4:55 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.