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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. Frankie

    Well I'm numbers 3 and 5 so right there that makes 7 types. I'm agnostic because I believe that there may be a God, but I'm not constantly questioning my own beliefs like the description says. I'm agnostic because I'm apathetic to God, religion, etc.

    July 15, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • howabouthat

      Yes, I find myself also sharing several categories. I would be naturally among the anti-theists, but society and the times merit movement into the other types, save the last one. Should be an interesting dissertation. Perhaps expands a bit on Dawkin's categories in The God Delusion.

      July 15, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
  2. Aface

    I am a bit of each – just depends on what's going on at any given moment. IF I had to fit into the category that I default to the most, it would be the Anti-Theist. I am not afraid to tell people (when asked) that religion is a relic of the past that we've outgrown. However, I respect those who still hold on to those beliefs, as long as they don't infringe on my or other's rights as human beings. Due to family connections, I still attend ceremonies and observe Christmas and Easter, but I take it as a metaphor rather than a holy event.

    July 15, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • saroban

      Same here. I try to be the "intellectual atheist" described in the article, but I pretty often end up in "raging anti-theist" mode when actually confronted by religious thought.

      July 15, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
  3. Dyslexic doG

    if you Christians feel compelled to believe that there MUST be a creator, then answer me this ... who or what created your god?

    July 15, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • Aristotle first cause argument

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_cause

      July 15, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
      • DJL

        'Everything must have a cause, but you cannot have a infinite number of causes, therefore there must be a single cause.'

        Unfortunately, the underlying premise that 'everything must have a cause' is completely unfounded and is proven so by the very argument! 😉

        July 15, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
    • devin

      He is self- existent and eternal, basic theology 101.

      July 15, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
      • faith

        by definition

        July 15, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
      • faith

        always was and always will be

        July 15, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          then why can't the universe have always been? Why the need for a mystical man in the sky?

          July 15, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
        • faith

          is it?

          July 15, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
        • faith

          faith
          by definition

          1 capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality: as
          a : the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe
          merriam-webster

          July 15, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
      • crackwalker

        Theology, would be irrelevant to the question, seeing as how it is based on the assumption that supernatural forces are real.

        Arguing that there must be a prime cause to everything is one thing, but calling it a deity and getting down on your knees and worshipping it is another.

        July 18, 2013 at 9:04 am |
  4. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    I wonder if there are as many ways to be free of tuberculosis or claustrophobia. Are there as many ways to not be a pedophile or a racist?

    July 15, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
  5. irlmwookie

    You see how these comments contrast to the post-apocalyptic nitwit fits of so many other topics?

    I am a neopantheist who believe there are many levels of power in the universe and our lives are influenced, not controlled by intelligences who consider themselves Gods and therefore, can waddle in and shape our lives to their own whims. Many are bullies and thugs who linger because they fear Hell is waiting for them on the other side of the threshold, and who play us like toys to pass the time. Sometimes, some individuals will play with a life and wander off, and other individuals with their own whims come in and send that life off onto another track.

    A few are selected. My Father was selected before me and I inherited them, and I have a remarkable set of problems my brothers do not have (deaf from birth, RP, Gout, RA, Asperger & usher syndrome possible, bad teeth, unable to fit in, daily mishaps, difficulty in earning a living though I am a capable Web Developer, transgenderism, no wife, no family of my own. My brothers are successful, with families, although 2 had divorces, excellent health, sight, hearing, teeth, friends & community.

    I also believe other chosen ones fated to live unworkable, chaotic lives are driven to commit suicide as the only escape. Not understanding the cause of their problems, or able to communicate it to others.

    I believe there are higher powers who are unaware of us, and aloof to our concerns. Anecdotal prediction/observation support these precepts.

    So if I don't believe in a single god, technically, I'm an Atheist. What I do have in common with Atheists is the Big 3, Judaism, Christianity and Islam's rubrics fail real-life tests, why 2 children witness a serial killer murdering their parents and then promising them the same brutal fate, which he carried out, only to be arrested much later for his crime – if ever there was a time for an angel to magically appear with a firey sword, that was it, and it didn't happen then, or a million other times. While the only justice delivered was meted out by humans.

    Six categories is not enough. We need a bigger boat.

    July 15, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • faith

      who was jesus christ?

      July 15, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
      • Candiano

        Are you serious?? You didn't read one damned word, did you??

        July 15, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
      • crackwalker

        Who was Robin Hood? Who was Hercules? Who was Johnny Appleseed? Who was King Arthur? Who was Paul Bunyan?

        They, like Jesus Christ are all mythological figures. They may have been based on a real person who really lived, but the reality is obscured by legend.

        July 18, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • CommonSensed

      Why do we need to be in a boat?

      July 15, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
      • irlmwookie

        Well for one thing, the water's rising. And I'd like to have some distance from that Tiger. An Ark would be a good idea, better yet, a Canaard Line Cruise Ship. We can put our boat in the pool. ;>

        July 15, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
    • JP

      If you believe in more than one god, you are a polytheist. There have been many polytheistic religions through the history of humans.

      July 15, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • faith

      do you know who he was? yes or no?

      July 15, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
      • irlmwookie

        I do not want to damage your belief, or share in it. You believe Jesus as an ultimate paranatural being. I don't. If your belief gives your life the bedrock to build upon, hope for your future, and comfort that when you die you'll reach your heavenly home, and that you live a compassionate life following his example, those are good thing and I respect that. I however, cannot share your faith.

        July 15, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
        • faith

          faith
          do you know who he was? yes or no?

          irlmwookie
          I do not want to damage your belief, or share in it. You believe Jesus as an ultimate paranatural being. I don't. If your belief gives your life the bedrock to build upon, hope for your future, and comfort that when you die you'll reach your heavenly home, and that you live a compassionate life following his example, those are good thing and I respect that. I however, cannot share your faith.

          thanks. i'm not asking you to join me. my question is, do you know who he was, yes or no?

          July 15, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
        • Johnny

          If he was anything like the bible describes he was a crazy person who thought he was the son of god.

          July 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
        • a

          so, u don't know either

          July 16, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
      • crackwalker

        Not everything has a yes or no answer.

        Are you still a satanist? Yes or no?

        Just answer yes or no!

        July 18, 2013 at 9:10 am |
  6. MrHighMighty

    The only differences among different "kinds" of atheists is in their preferences of methods for avoiding the reality that their existence and awareness and everything else could only exist if created by an eternal, infinite, incomprehensible force, and in their preferences of methods of rationalization for refusing to submit to the Holy Creator.

    Some use their intellect to trick themselves, even though logic and reason came from God as He created man in His image. For example, logic that the physical universe spontaneously created itself inevitably fails, but the logic of God's perfect plan for Grace made accessible to fallen man through the price paid by the eternal Christ, coupled with the solution of the problems of sin and Satan's rebellion, is an everlasting beautiful logic that requires no special IQ to grasp, only an open heart.

    Some avoid the internal conflict by feigning ignorance or apathy, even though deep down they know that all they see and feel come from God. That knowledge drives them toward truth, but their sinful nature makes them still cling to their selfish desires.

    Some loudly proclaim their alleged cleverness for rejecting God, but like us all they are born into the same fallen state of hostility to God, so there is no reason to be proud of demonstrating your nature. But they wish to drown out their repressed shame and fears with their own voices. Deep down they know they are helpless against God, and that eternal separation from God is the logical final result of sin. But instead of submitting to God's authority and seeking reconciliation, they seek comfort and reinforcement from other people who are losing the same internal conflict.

    Some ascribe false attributes to God, so that they can feel better about rejecting Him. Some ascribe false attributes to man, such as that morals have a bio-chemical evolutionary origin instead of spiritual, and that instead of being God's greatest creation with an eternal soul, ability to choose, and accountability, they claim each person is only a result of a random collection of stardust that will continue to disperse into an ever-expanding and cooling universe (which ironically sounds much like the Hell of which Jesus spoke). And they create strawmen for themselves to knock down, by finding the false teachers and pointing to the inconsistencies and unsolved questions when a false gospel is preached.

    So for an atheist who wishes to categorize him or herself (or for the researchers or CNN Blog editors) the real question is, how do you deal with your awareness of the reality of being born into a state of enmity against Holy Almighty God?

    July 15, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • What is going on? FREEDOM

      We were created by biological means, not by some individual throwing sand in the air and stating let there be male and female.

      July 15, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
      • devin

        And you know this how?

        July 15, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          hilarious!!!!!!

          wait ... you were being ironic, right?

          July 15, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
        • Mike

          I dunno. Maybe because of the spectacular amount of physical evidence in every corner of our world that that's exactly what happened?

          Or, you know... you could just believe in fairies. That's easier.

          July 15, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
      • MrHighMighty

        "What is going on? Freedom," your comments are an example of false logic, hijacked intellect, and false assumptions, as it presupposes the existence of sand and "biological means". Who created those in your story? Only a God who exists before and outside of the limits of time and space of the physical universe could create anything physical and the laws that govern the physical. Far from being "some individual.."

        Your other comments presuppose a false conflict between God and science. God created science, He created man with a curious mind to discover the magnificence of His Creation in a planned progression of steps. Science is the study of the processes that God devised to work His will in the physical universe.

        When science conflicts with Scripture, the only resolution is that science is wrong, or that particular interpretation of Scripture is wrong. For example, one of the most common misinterpretations of Scripture is that the days of creation were immediately consecutive, and occurred in a week. Science has shown a pattern of explosions of new life forms separated by eons, each more complex than the preceding, and each with a unique effect on the earth's atmosphere, climate, and biomass that prepared the earth for the next "day" of creation, culminating in the creation of man for the purposes of God's glory. Close reading of Genesis and other Scripture such as the Book of Job and Psalms will reveal that these are perfectly consistent with the chronology of appearance of land and life forms on earth as discovered by science.

        July 15, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Genesis got the whole order fvcked up; it's not even close. The bible has contributed nothing to the scientific community even though sacrificing animals has been such an effective medical technique, lately.

          July 16, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • The Brady Bunch Chainsaw Massacre

      I just love the "humble" Christians who think they get to live forever in Super Afterlife Disneyland with their super-amazing invisobuddy who wants to lavish stuff.

      Humble. Right.

      July 15, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
      • MrHighMighty

        Brady Bunch... your comments are an example of ascribing false attributes to God and His purposes. Jesus and Scripture actually teach Heaven is not a Disneyland or a place of leisure or "lavishing stuff." It is a place of perfection and absence of sin and pain. God created man to work, for His glory; Heaven is where His Chosen will be eternal humble servants of Christ, and able to serve and worship Him without the dangers or distractions of this physical world.

        July 15, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
        • Observer

          MrHighMighty

          "God created man to work, for His glory; Heaven is where His Chosen will be eternal humble servants of Christ, and able to serve and worship Him"

          God couldn't get anymore vain, egotistical or selfish than that. Amazing and disgraceful.

          July 16, 2013 at 12:05 am |
        • MrHighMighty

          Observer, Scripture tells us that God is a jealous God, meaning He is protective of His property, so your comments are not too far off base, although perhaps somewhat exaggerated. As the Creator, God certainly has the right to do whatever He pleases with any of us. But upon whose standard of morals and justice do you judge God? Will that standard save you when your body decays and your soul is left on its own?

          July 16, 2013 at 1:14 am |
        • Observer

          MrHighMighty,

          "But upon whose standard of morals and justice do you judge God?"

          I try to use as much knowledge and common sense as possible.

          That's why my morals differ from the Bible.

          I don't believe slavery is okay. I don't think you should be able to break the arms and legs of female slaves without punishment.
          I don't believe that marriage should be forced on people who might even hate each other.
          I don't believe in discrimination against gays, slaves, women or the handicapped.
          I don't think anyone should beat their child with a rod.

          All of those morals are opposite the so-called "morals" in the Bible. That makes me a sinner bound for hell according to Christians.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:20 am |
        • redzoa

          "As the Creator, God certainly has the right to do whatever He pleases with any of us."

          If one could create a sentient being, capable of suffering, then any reasonable understanding of morality, let alone empathy and compassion, would reject this premise implying there are zero obligations to the created. A constant argument from theists regarding atheists is that any moral framework an atheist devises must necessarily be relativistic; however, implicit in the argument of God as an absolute, objective source of morality is that morality is relative to one's perspective, i.e. deity v. moral. Furthermore, this absolute, objective source of morality is simply the whim of the deity. There's no escaping Euthyphro's dilemma here by simple circular arguments by definitional fiat . . .

          July 16, 2013 at 1:22 am |
        • G to the T

          "...no sin..." So I guess there's no free will in heaven? Seems odd if you could have free will but no sin in heaven and somehow he wasn't able to accomplish that on earth...

          July 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • devin

      By exchanging truth for a lie.

      July 15, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      if you feel compelled to believe that there MUST be a creator, then answer me this ... who or what created your god?

      July 15, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
      • spinzgirl

        Seriously, I have asked this a million times and get some theological mumbo jumbo about how he didn't need to be created. Talk about skewed reasoning. If the universe can't allow for flawed humans like us then how did LITERALLY nothing poof an all knowing being into existence? I grew up in the church and so many things bothered me but I tried to ignore them. Finally I realized that my disbelief wasn't some mythical horned angel looking to steal my soul, it was my brain trying to break free from the mind-control that keeps most christians in line. I think that's why so many of us fight other people's causes, because we've been there before.

        July 15, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
      • MrHighMighty

        Dyslexic, your question is an example of applying a physical and man-centered view to something spiritual, eternal, and infinite. That's what God is, infinite eternal perfection, which by definition is something uncreated. Because of Him all exists, and without Him nothing could exist. That is the nature of Holy Almighty God. He is that He is. God did not create Himself, nothing can create itself, and only something eternal can exist before anything is created. You cannot comprehend it because you choose to look at God only through man's perspective within barriers of space and time.

        July 16, 2013 at 12:11 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Humans don't carry magical forces that allow them to sense other magical forces. I see no problem in believing in some eternal deity, but who cares? The Christian god, however, is evil beyond compare, and the sort of sadistic azzhole you want to get as far away from as possible. But hey, believe in some sky wizard chanting magic spells to create the universe or some other nonsense: it's invisible and undetectable, and so, irrelevant.

          July 16, 2013 at 12:20 am |
        • Johnny

          MrHighMighty, your response is a perfect example of a religious person just making stuff up.

          July 16, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
        • Stephen Jones

          @Johnny

          @Johnny
          Actually worse than making stuff up. MrHighMighty believes in stuff other people made up.

          July 16, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
    • Candiano

      You forgot one major caveat: "In MY OPINION...
      You've named yourself well. Arrogant, presumptuous, and pompous.
      You are, quite frankly, full of it.

      July 15, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • What is going on? FREEDOM

      Devin stop trolling the board and actually pick up a Science book once in your life.

      July 15, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
      • devin

        And yet, you still did not answer the question.

        July 15, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
        • What is going on? FREEDOM

          Why don't you pick up a Science book and get the answer? A science book can give you a lot more information then I know. Stop trolling like a fool and pick up a book that doesn't relate to a Bible for once.

          July 15, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
        • devin

          Freedom

          The obvious implication here is that you can't answer the initial question, otherwise you would have attempted to do so. Next time you may wish to provide meaningful answers as opposed to meaningless bravado.

          On a side note, I would be more than happy to compare our educational backgrounds and extent of science related courses.

          July 15, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • Yakobi

      MrHighMighty–
      TLDR

      July 15, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
      • MrHighMighty

        Yakobi, sorry for not being more concise, but ignorance and apathy are not acceptable excuses to God.

        Someone else actually wanted me to continue.

        July 16, 2013 at 12:15 am |
        • Observer

          MrHighMighty,

          Speaking of ignorance, tell us why you believe the Bible saying that unicorns and talking nonhumans exist. Funniest of all was the Noah's Ark science fiction. Do you buy that, too?

          July 16, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • Observer

      MrHighMighty,

      Is that the same God who torturously killed every pregnant woman, child, baby and fetus on the face of the earth?

      Is that the same one who told his people to kill unruly kids and to beat children and slaves?

      July 15, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
      • MrHighMighty

        Observer, your comments are an example of ascribing false attributes to God and His plan for the destruction of evil, by apparently taking specific isolated pre-Christ instructions out of context and falsely magnifying and applying them to all times and all situations, although I'm not sure where you got your ideas. God reveals Himself in degrees, and Scripture shows the logical progression of His plan for the redemption of man. Evil could not be destroyed unless it first had a chance to appear. God could not display His Holy wrath for the purposes of His Glory unless there was something to punish. Also, your comments take a man-centered view of evil, but in the true context of perfect eternity, the evil we see in this life will fade to absolute nothingness soon enough.

        July 16, 2013 at 12:29 am |
        • Observer

          MrHighMighty,

          Does the Bible say that God torturously drowned every pregnant woman, child, baby and fetus on the face of the earth in the flood? Yes or no?

          Does the Bible say that God told his people to kill unruly kids and to beat children and slaves? Yes or no?

          Have you read the Bible? If so, the answers should be very easy for you to figure out.

          July 16, 2013 at 12:35 am |
    • CommonSensed

      The other gods man created might disagree with you.

      July 15, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
      • MrHighMighty

        CommonSensed, your comments are an example of false logic and comparisons that attempt to erase guilt for rejecting the Creator by equating the imaginations of pagans to the eternal perfection and Glory of the One Holy God. So just because man, who is born into a state of opposition against God, manufactures false relgions, it makes the Gospel of Christ false also?

        July 16, 2013 at 12:43 am |
        • Observer

          MrHighMighty,

          Does the Bible say that God torturously drowned every pregnant woman, child, baby and fetus on the face of the earth in the flood? Yes or no?

          Does the Bible say that God told his people to kill unruly kids and to beat children and slaves? Yes or no?

          July 16, 2013 at 12:45 am |
        • MrHighMighty

          Observer, your question presupposes that Noah's flood was global. My understanding of Scripture and scientific geological evidence is that Noah's flood was regional, but the details remain one of God's mysteries that He has not yet chosen to reveal. But either way, the flood serves as a lesson of the consequences for sin, and show the Mercy and Love God has for His chosen servants. As for the pre-Christ instructions regarding slaves and children, those passages must be viewed within the historical context only and for the culture that existed at the time, as the teachings of Christ and the Apostles superceded the old Laws that had been given to the Hebrew people.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:04 am |
        • Observer

          MrHighMighty

          "Observer, your question presupposes that Noah's flood was global. My understanding of Scripture and scientific geological evidence is that Noah's flood was regional"

          Nope. Your "understanding" is obviously wrong. Your knowledge of the Bible seems quite limited. If you aren't that familiar with it, you really shouldn't be trying to use the Bible to tell people how to run their lives.

          Genesis 7:21 “And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all human beings”

          July 16, 2013 at 1:11 am |
        • MrHighMighty

          Observer, it's a matter of interpreting and translating the ancient manuscripts, and using other Scripture and yes even science to discover the truth. In that original passage, the word for earth can be the same as the word for land, and the extent is implied to be only the area of the earth where evil of the flesh was rampant. But either way as I said, the lessons of God's wrath and salvation are the same.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:26 am |
        • Observer

          MrHighMighty,

          Why is it that believers are unable to defend the Bible unless they insist that words don't have the same meaning anymore?

          So "earth" doesn't mean the planet or all the earth. It actually means "land", but not all land, just a "part of the land". You'd think God's inspired words would be clear, but we need to change the actual wording.

          It's no wonder why believers trying to excuse what the Bible actually says are laughed at.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:32 am |
        • Observer

          The new CORRECT Bible:

          Genesis 7:21 “And all flesh died that moved on some of the earth but not all of it, birds, domestic animals, wild animals, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all human beings, but not all on the earth”

          July 16, 2013 at 1:34 am |
    • Robert Brown

      MrHighMighty,

      Those were real good observations, I just wish you would have kept going, you know with the rest of the story. Nonbelievers have reasons why they don’t believe, all they need is a reason to believe.

      If you seek God with all your heart he won’t let you down. He will reveal himself to you in an undeniable way.

      July 15, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
      • Athy

        Sorry, Robert Brown. I'm just not that good at hypnotizing myself.

        July 15, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • spinzgirl

      That's like saying your born with an inclination to hate Santa. Everyone is born a non-believer, yes. But that is because even children don't have a sense of needing a deity, they just need a sense of security. Your god gives you a sense of security and you hang on to it like a warn out blanket. However it's full of holes that you keep trying to patch up just to keep the boogeyman out.

      July 15, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
      • MrHighMighty

        Spinzgirl, your comments are another example of false assumptions and false comparisons that you generate in your mind to try to live your life outside of God's authority.

        July 16, 2013 at 12:49 am |
    • Seer

      I find it interesting that militant atheists sound more and more like fundamentalist Christians and Moslems in that they believe that they know best and that everyone must think their way and live their way, or else.
      Like all hard headed, narrow minded people everywhere, they will be entirely unable to see this irony.

      July 15, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • MrHighMighty

      Mac, my comments are scary to you because they challenge the internal defenses you have constructed to avoid confronting your fear and shame before Holy God.

      July 16, 2013 at 12:35 am |
  7. sybaris

    if i saw a child being ra.ped i would try to stop it. that's the difference between me and your god.

    July 15, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • Pondering

      Also, you exist.

      July 15, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
  8. God wears panties

    Really???? who is

    July 15, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
  9. rb

    I think I'm a typical atheist. I don't believe in god, and I can't force myself to do so. I get angry from time to time about the abuses of churches (catholic church in abuse scandals, Mormon church role in promoting prop 8) but I don't spend a lot of time campaigning against organized religion.

    I have a Christmas tree at the holidays. I associate it with tradition and childhood, and it was originally a pagan idea anyway. It amuses me that so many of our so-called Christian traditions held as sacred came out of pre-Christian rituals.

    July 15, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • What is going on? FREEDOM

      I agree. Some of my relatives gave me the angry eye when I stated I was an Atheist. My aunt actually spoke angrily at me on why I celebrate Christmas with them if I was an Atheist. Just because I don't believe in God doesn't mean I stop from visiting my family or celebrating that week/holiday with them as a family member.

      July 15, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
      • faith

        like the men that murdered jesus when they put a price upon his head

        July 17, 2013 at 7:51 am |
    • Athy

      That's me too, rb.

      July 15, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
    • faith

      i get grateful from time to time about all the incredibly wonderful things the church has done over the years

      July 17, 2013 at 8:03 am |
    • Austin

      abuse? you mean like when Aaron left his post and went down the mountain and gathered gold for a golden calf, and with this idol he appeased the peoples cry for something visable to bow down to.?

      July 17, 2013 at 8:12 am |
  10. Donald R. Hardy

    We are machines. I call us IAM machines. The password is I am and anything that follows I am in a statement will happen in the world. You are a global operating device. GOD. Any direction you travel in space at millions of light years away will only produce an IAM saying I am here. Now, isn't it fun being GOD and responsible with your word?

    July 15, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Pondering

      Wherever I go there I am, but when I am gone I am not.

      July 15, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
  11. Awda Abu Tayi

    I don't understand all the need for discussion. There is no god. Never has, never will be. Religion is borne of ignorance and mass psychology. Yes, it has moved people to produce great works, but it has also sired murder, mayhem, hate, and loathing. The latter statement alone dispels the concept of "intelligent design". An intelligent architect would not have created the mess we call humanity. I think Epicurus said it best, "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

    July 15, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • saroban

      Love the Epicurus quote. It's like watching a checkmate in five moves.

      July 15, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
      • Dave

        It is a good quote. However, doesn't the response 'God gave humankind free will' resolve the dilemma?

        July 15, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
        • JP

          No. Because if there was a god, and we were designed by him, then he should know what would come out of giving us free will. Kinda like giving a child a loaded gun and saying "don't hurt anyone" then stepping back and waiting to see what would happen.

          There are many many creation stories. Many people throughout history who have believed totally and to the point of death in other gods. How can one look at history and have any reason to believe that suddenly 2000 years ago, someone collected all the right stories from previous religions into the "correct" one?

          July 15, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
        • spinzgirl

          No, because "he" gave us rules and punishment. That does not fall under the "free will" category. Plus it only applies to the perpetrator, not the victim; therefore, it is not infallible.

          July 15, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
        • Johnny

          If you believe in an all knowing and all powerful god then at best you have the illusion of free will.

          July 16, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
        • crackwalker

          Funny how religionists champion freewill when it suits them, and then trample it when it offends them.

          July 18, 2013 at 9:13 am |
    • Austin

      you have the freedom to speak out against God? is this a tragedy?

      for you it is, but not for those who's hearts are prepared and in need of truth and salvation. and you still have justification and redemption available..

      July 17, 2013 at 8:15 am |
      • crackwalker

        If you have such respect for freewill, then stay out of other people's business.

        If people want to have abortions, or marry someone of the same gender, or smoke pot, or believe in nothing, leave them alone to do it. It's all part of God's plan anyways, right?

        Let God sort it out later, since that's what you believe.

        July 18, 2013 at 9:17 am |
  12. Josh

    I think it's funny what some of these "celebrities" say...very childish and very presumptuous.
    Paul Jillette stating that "If every trace of any single religion were wiped out and nothing passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true. Someone would find a way to figure it all out again."
    Wow...several things...let's just say people believe in an "all-knowing" God...wouldn't this "all-knowing" God know exactly what it was he was trying to say? When it needed to be said, and how it is going to be said? I mean, I can only assume that Paul J is NOT all-knowing...but let's just for kicks and giggles say he is...wouldn't he know how to re-create the exact same model, twice...or an infinite amount? Why not a God, in whom people believe is "all-knowing?"
    2...could it be introduced to say that science may just be the tiny...NO....the MINISCULE steps to allow man to peek into the cosmos and see how God actually accomplishes His works. Therefore, if science is always true...then...could the reality of an existence of a God be also true?

    July 15, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Penn

      July 15, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • Observer

      Josh,

      Even if you don't know his name, Penn Gillette is right. If all reference to Christianity was removed including the Bible, Christianity likely would not regenerate as it is now unless God suddenly decided to prove his existence.

      July 15, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • Candiano

      Who is Paul Jillette? I've never heard of him. Oh, you mean PENN Jillette? And why are his statements any more arrogant and childish than, oh, Mel Gibson's or (and here we are going back) Debby Boone?

      July 15, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • spinzgirl

      Well since man created god in its image then yes, to an extent religion may be the same. However it may be a woman, or a child, or going back to ancient religions some of each. It could even be a hybrid human-like animal. The creation story and all the myths derived from it would be different though.

      July 15, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
  13. TAK

    And into which of these groups do scientists fit? Those who seek answers with observation and evidence, rather than some book written by bronze age goat herders?

    July 15, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • G to the T

      Scientists are still humans and subject to all the failings we as humans suffer. In fact there is reason to believe that being smart is no defense against irrational belief, they're just better at coming up with reasonable explanations for their beliefs (cognitive dissonance).

      That's why the scientific method is so important. It gives us a way to confirm or deny information regardless of what other beliefs we may hold.

      July 16, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  14. John Stefanyszyn

    There may be 6 or more types of "atheists"
    There may be 6 or more types of "Muslims"
    There may be 6 or more types of "Christians"
    There may be 6 or more types of "Jews"
    There may be 6 or more types of "Hindu"
    ...etc...
    BUT they all live, defend, and worship ONE WAY OF LIFE....the "Freedom" to establish what is right in their own eyes.

    Their true "religion...their way of life of freedom dictates that it is RIGHT (their right) to worship any god.

    BUT Christ said that there is Only One True Way that leads to life and it is Only through Him, Son of the One and Only Creator...and Christ said that one is to setve Only the Will of the One Father.

    July 15, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      when you say "Christ said" ...how do you know what the Christ character from your story book said, given that the King James version of the new testament was completed in 1611 by 8 members of the church of England. There were (and still are) NO original texts to translate. The oldest manuscripts we have were written down 100's of years after the last apostle died. There are over 8,000 of these old manuscripts with no two alike. The king james translators used none of these anyway. Instead they edited previous translations to create a version their king and parliament would approve. So.... 21st century christians believe the "word of god" is a book edited in the 17th century from the 16th century translations of 8,000 contradictory copies of 4th century scrolls that claim to be copies of lost letters written in the 1st century.

      No-one knows if Christ even existed, much less what he said!

      July 15, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
      • Dave

        Without asserting his divinity, I would like to point out that the historical record is pretty clear about the existence of Jesus and the basic facts of his life and crucifixion. The consistency of the texts used for modern translations is also rather astonishing. That doesn't necessarily make them true, but it's not reasonable to reject them as false on that basis.

        July 15, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
        • G to the T

          I find that an unusual stance. In my studies it was once noted that there more differences in the various versions of the gospels that were in existence than there are words in those gospels.

          Only MUCH later did any kind of consistency (i.e. canon) in the text/setup of the bible occur. And even then there are many differences between them (for whatever reasons).

          That being said – I would agree that the person Yeshua bin-Josef probably did exist.

          July 16, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
      • Mathews

        This is where you are wrong. The KJV was transliteration. Not Translation. Transliteration was done from Greek and Hebrew so that the common man could read the Word of God. Before the tranliteration, the priests , mostly in the Ancient Orthodox Churches, used Greek. The Texts and Manuscripts were kept in the most holy places and only the High Priest was allowed to touch it. Because it was sacred and mostly to preserve the manuscript.These were all seperate and spread out. For the first 300t o 500 years after the death of the first appostle, the only manuscripts they had were the letters from the Apostles and the old testament. This was later put together to form one complete book so that everyone could read and understand all the old testament, new testament, the gospels and the letters to the churches.

        July 16, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
        • Mathews

          If you want to know the truth, read Richard Freidman's "Who wrote the Bible?"
          Also read Israel's history.

          July 16, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • Yakobi

      Other prophets both more ancient than Hay-Seuss and more modern said other things that were equally untrue. There is only one right answer: None of the above.

      July 15, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
  15. Jay Norman

    I am an atheist. I do not accept nor will I be relegated to a class, type or denomination. Putting people into little boxes or putting labels on people has become the pastime of some people. It has reached a point that I am sure these people are now getting paid to do this chore.

    July 15, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • Pondering

      That is definately true. I am so tired of labels.

      July 15, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Based on reading the study, I suspect the purpose of the study was to disprove the notion that all atheists are militant religion haters.

      "Fortunately, one of the many questions our empirical research was able to address was, “are all atheists angry, argumentative and dogmatic”? Our results lead us to answer that question with a resounding “absolutely not”! If any subset of our non-belief sample fit the “angry, argumentative, dogmatic” stereotype, it is the Anti-Theists.

      In the survey, the anti-theists represented about 15%.

      July 15, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
  16. Enlighten me

    How many times this year will they keep reusing this garbage they call news?

    July 15, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • Guest

      lol...true, I saw this exact same article up a few months ago.

      July 15, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
  17. What is going on? FREEDOM

    The fifth one is a definite description of what I am and I am proud of it.

    July 15, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
  18. jesus walks

    anti-theist reporting in. I would like to see an epidemiological study done on a cohort of "beleivers" to determine the source of, and hopefully cure for the disease that is religion.

    July 15, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
    • Pondering

      Simple to cure religion cure death.

      July 15, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • faith

      me too

      July 17, 2013 at 8:05 am |
  19. cm

    All 6 suck.

    July 15, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • Mr. Flibble

      Really? So Atheists suck because they don't believe what you believe? Where's this Christian understanding and tolerance I hear so much about? hmmmmm........

      July 15, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • Candiano

      So do the 40000 religions worldwide.

      July 15, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • sybaris

      It's funny when people say derogatory things about Atheists because they are really no different, they just believe in one god of the many thousands to choose from............and have no more evidence for existence than any other.

      July 15, 2013 at 7:42 pm |

  20. I'm not opposed to any God, just lies about gods.

    July 15, 2013 at 7:24 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.