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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. lionlylamb2013

    American Pie! A fabulous song!

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAsV5-Hv-7U&w=640&h=390]

    July 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • snowboarder

      relevance?

      July 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
      • lionlylamb2013

        snowy sired boarder... asks. "relevance"?

        A favorite song I sang at karaoke meets along with songs such as King of the Road, In the year 2525, Hot Rod Lincoln, among sorted others...

        July 18, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Observer

      snowboarder

      "relevance?"

      Just his usual relevance.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
  2. Tim

    Ok, so then when do we see the article about believers, and famous celebrities who do beileve in God talking about their faith? Or would it be considered offensive to talk about people who DO believe in God but not considered offensive to talk about people who do not?

    July 18, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Colin

      No offensive, just a little old fashioned.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      when someone produces a report on the many different kinds of christians? that would be my guess.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • snowboarder

      we see those type of articles often. why would anyone consider it offensive?

      July 18, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Nicoli

      Offensive? No. It would seem rather self absorbed, considering how religion is inherently open in our society. People talk about their beliefs all the time, from every single award acceptance speech ever to religious holidays to making laws that affect everyone else. On the other hand, a large percentage of atheists had to essentially "come out" to peers and family members and face becoming treated like a social pariah, or continue to lie and keep everyone else comfortable. Hell, there are still a few US states who disallow atheists from running for public office. Outside of the internet, people who do not subscribe to religion are typically silent about it – hence the article's focus on celebrities who have spoken up. There are a lot more atheists in the world than most think, simply because most atheists would rather not bring attention to themselves and/or identify at all. I wouldn't take a survey of people the size of a community college math class as a valid statistic on anything, let alone when simply participating requires a level of outspoken self-awareness more often found in the first 6 groups. From personal experience, the last group is is higher in number, while the others get more attention.

      I would personally love to see a compilation of the many different kinds of Christians, Muslims, and other religious sects. It would certainly highlight how dependent religion is on the person practicing it, rather than some unwavering universal truth as it is usually projected. In my experience, those who practice religion differently than others, even from the same church, are more likely to be disregarded as not "real Christians" / etc than simply given the benefit of doing the same thing everyone else is and interpreting the book how they like. It would do us all some good to take this into consideration when judging a person solely based on what religion they believe in.

      July 18, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
      • lol??

        How many Killer Kommie Mommies, KKM's, practice the same type of divorce but yet get the same booty??

        July 18, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  3. Mike

    It's almost like peer pressure isn't it. You just have to make that decision about which group you fit into, and you have to do it right now! Or do you?
    It seems, in this day and age, there is this constant intrusion into our daily lives. "... and what do you believe?"
    Is it really anybody's business what each of us believes? Personally, I no longer feel the need to justify the status of my belief to any religious group or atheist classification. I know where I am at, and that's sufficient for me.
    It is so important to be cool with who you are and not to take anything for granted. We could all actively slam doors open and shut on belief. But, to me, it smacks of a culture where we are being actively encouraged not to ask questions, nor to have an open mind, nor to seek or to grow.
    Maybe I will learn something today that clearly tells me an opinion I held yesterday was flawed or a bunch of garbage. But, do I keep on holding that opinion out of sheer pride?
    Maintain an open mind people. In terms of the sheer vastness of the Universe and all that it contains, human kind is considerably less than microbic in scale. Our knowledge of all that was, is and will be is probably just about on the same scale

    July 18, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • lionlylamb2013

      Micro-cosmologies such as the atomically enumerated are where the God's family generations fester and dare live...while upon the topside issues of the celestial variants God is made manifest.

      We are as fecal conditionings given to a labyrinth of dementedly expanses within jealous orientations fixated quite rudely resonating in our feeble minded austerities in unmentionable undergarments protrusions...

      God One... Mankind Billions... Where then is the lusters of manhood's luminaries to be highlighted ever so brightly?

      July 18, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
      • Paul

        ""his ego will likely not let him absorb it (writing short and concise). POMPOSITY is more important to him than actually imparting any wisdom he might have to others.""

        Hey look, Observer was correct in their evaluation of your comments once more!

        July 18, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  4. John A. Kozura

    The fact is, there is one category you generally can't put an atheist in; stupid.

    July 18, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Elise

      Do you feel better about yourself now?

      July 18, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
      • Elise

        Apologies; I misread "can't" for "can".

        July 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
  5. Scott

    This post regarding famous athiests appears to be advertizing atheism. Hey if they're doing it, perhaps I should consider hopping on that bandwagon! People are free to believe how, where, and what they may, but the story needs to be told from both sides from various religious backgrounds. The next post should include famous religious personnel with their quotes as to why they believe.

    July 18, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • bostontola

      Are you worried? Believers are the vast majority.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'This post regarding famous athiests appears to be advertizing atheism. Hey if they're doing it, perhaps I should consider hopping on that bandwagon!'

      That type of herd thinking is usually found in the believer camp, not atheist one.
      And if you want christian articles there are plenty up top for you to choose from.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
      • Observer

        cedar rapids

        "That type of herd thinking"

        Yes. "The Lord is my SHEPHERD".

        July 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          'nuff said.

          July 18, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "The next post should include famous religious personnel with their quotes as to why they believe."

      I disagree. Christianity and in fact all other types of religion in the world have been advertising for centuries, now that atheism joins in you want to act as if advertising is something new and never been tried before by people of faith.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  6. David

    I mean really. OK, so there are six some odd categories of non-"believers." The same could be said of believers. There are those who believe everything that is in the Bible. There are those who believe that man is six thousand years old. there are those who pick out pieces to believe. There are those who can do no wrong 'cause at the end of the week, their slate is wiped clean. What is the point ?

    July 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Len

      page views.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      rephrase – there are 6 "categories" of atheists but 41,000 types of christians...

      July 18, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Maybe to show some believers something that it took me a few months here on the Blog to understand. That there are different kinds of Atheist and that Atheism is not a united front. Same as the Faithful, Atheist have their Westburo Baptist church segment.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • bostontola

      David,
      I think you are right, you could categorize believers as well. A point is, understanding groups that are at odds may help them get along better. It's always better to understand than not and you have to start somewhere. I'm sure the categorization and methodology will improve over time.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
  7. bostontola

    These categories seem more like characteristic basis vectors in a 6 dimensional atheist space than ontological categories. Each person has some amount of each characteristic. I am around (0.4, 0.0, 0.3, 0.0, 0.0, 0.3).

    I'm not sure I would use these definitions either. These were derived by interviews, and bins seem to have been formed in an ad hoc way. The researchers may want to consider a more systematic approach. They could cross the degree of belief with the degree of aggressiveness. You could have 3 for degree of belief: 1. Believes in god(s) (deists and theists), 2. Neither believes in god(s) nor believes there is no god (agnostics), 3. Believes there is no god (atheists). For each of these you could rate the aggressiveness (e.g. passive, reserved, social, aggressive). The above categories aren't that far off.

    July 18, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Yes – you could map them on a 'radar' plot with an axis for each behavioral archetype.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
      • bostontola

        Great idea.

        July 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
  8. bitman9000

    hmmm.... Let's see. How about we divide this growing, perceived, threat of a population of non-believers, into all of 6 categories, properly, subconsciously, associating them with the mark of the beast in the eyes of true believers. Not that we are necessarily true believers ourselves. We just use division to "charge" people up, in ways that benefit us, as they naturally discharge back to neutral, while solving the problems that we create for them.

    A little too abstract? Sorry, it gets worse.

    Charge and discharge is the whole of reality. It permeates all things that move. It is "why" they move. It is why we animate. Animation is simply the process of returning to neutral, or balance, after being charged with energy.

    All that matters, most, to us watchers, in this reality, is that, which can be charged, and therefore used to aid us in managing the discharge of our own undesirable energies. Conversely, that which represents neutrality, especially in matters of energetic significance to us, is considered to be useless and dead, like a dead battery, like that which is to be spewed out of the mouth of God for being lukewarm (Revelation 3:16 KJV). In no uncertain terms must it be stated, to neutral people, that we do not like you as you are. And it is why we have so successfully campaigned against you enough to categorized you as the smallest, and least desirable of the 6 categories, that we have quite cleverly devised in effort the charge you back out of your neutrality. Yes you are category 5 and ironically equally as threatening. And given that you are of the least manipulable kind for being so damn neutral, all we want the world to know, about you, is that you are small and apathetic as such. Nothing else to see here, move along. Out of sight out of mind.

    I am part category 5, and part category 3, and part category 1, and at times, part category 2,4 and 6 depending on how I feel. Does the way that you feel, at any given point in time, need to be the definition of you as a being? It's just restrictive. If you concede to it, you may find yourself trying to identify with every attribute of the category because now, somehow, it must be the proper definition of who and what you are.

    We are too dynamic to be divided into such discrete separations. Plus the "secret watchers" would be damned before they allow their image to be sub-categorized as anything less than a massive force to be reckoned with anyway.

    That is all I have to say on the matter.

    End of rant.

    b9

    July 18, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  9. faith

    and another thing. c, jesus was about 40 or 50 slices of them dudes runnin around back in the day and everybody kned it. he was a compilation of all them fellars, plus the preeverted imaginations of a bunch of iron age knuckleheads! no body is gunna believe nothin. y, u can c vassuvius palin as day.

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

      c, there was horus and chad, norwitz, flamingo the rat, all them cats trying to be gods. they were doin the resurrection gig for hundreds a years b4 jebus don shown up.

      c, so i gotta make my god super cool and original.

      thing is, i gotta figure out what them boys was sellin. was they in it for the doe or the fame, cause they were bored? c, cause i gotts 2 figure out what i want to pull off. that will guide my imagination

      this fun!

      July 18, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
      • faith

        i got 2 b careful. how do i splain disease and heartache? i no being an atheist, that's important in making gods

        July 18, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
      • faith

        bill, y do u think them n.t. writers wrote it? money? fame? ego?

        July 18, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • faith

      did i mention Vespasian, Serapis and Hercules "Jebus was a mythical conflation of a number of messiah figures from around 50BCE to 75 CE. There were many Jebuses," a jebus scholar

      July 18, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  10. Nicholas

    Hey assorted secularists
    Is it really necessary that we be ###holes to the theists in this thread? They're wrong, and some of them are rude and arrogant, but do we really have to lump those together? Can't we be nice when discussing facts, and keep the conversation on the rude individuals' rudeness?

    July 18, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • CNN Belief Blog Co-EditorCNN

      Amen @Nicholas!

      Uh, I mean, right on!

      July 18, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Observer

      Amen.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I have a return semi-rhetorical question... why are you asking us to be nice, but not them?

      July 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Observer

      Lucifer's Evil Twin,

      It's because WE should know better.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Len

      It's great fun to bait stupid religious people, and there are a lot of those.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • skytag

      I don't suffer fools gladly.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
  11. A Believer

    The plug at the top says Christians are happier than Atheists on twitter and that made me wonder.... is there any data that suggests a divide between the haves and the have nots when it comes to faith? Are poor people more likely to believe? What do you call an atheist that's had a truly spiritual experience, even held the hand of God, but says it didn't happen? Or tries to explain it away out of habit? Habitual Atheist?

    July 18, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • *

      Is this that "Mary" twit from a few weeks ago?

      Or a Poe?

      July 18, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'What do you call an atheist that's had a truly spiritual experience, even held the hand of God, but says it didn't happen?'

      Imaginary. You call such an atheist 'imaginary'.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • skytag

      "What do you call an atheist that's had a truly spiritual experience, even held the hand of God, but says it didn't happen?"

      What do you you call people who don't believe in Santa Claus but have been to his shop at the North Pole?

      July 18, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • snowboarder

      i have never heard of such a thing.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "Are poor people more likely to believe?"

      The answer: Yes

      Why? Because the wealthier a person is the more likely they are to be better educated. The poor do not have access to the same level of education so instead of bringing actual known facts to bear in deciding ones faith the poor often rely on hearsay, feelings and peer pressure to form their personal ideology. Sadly, once they fix on a position they are also less likely to change their position because they also feel insecure about their lack of education which often leads to prideful refutations of logic and angry affirmations of their baseless faith.

      "Researchers George Gallup and Jim Castelli put the problem squarely: "Americans revere the Bible–but, by and large, they don't read it. And because they don't read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates." How bad is it? Researchers tell us that it's worse than most could imagine.

      Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels. Many Christians cannot identify more than two or three of the disciples. According to data from the Barna Research Group, 60 percent of Americans can't name even five of the Ten Commandments. "No wonder people break the Ten Commandments all the time. They don't know what they are," said George Barna, president of the firm. The bottom line? "Increasingly, America is biblically illiterate." [see Barna Group's web site]

      Multiple surveys reveal the problem in stark terms. According to 82 percent of Americans, "God helps those who help themselves," is a Bible verse. Those identified as born-again Christians did better–by one percent. A majority of adults think the Bible teaches that the most important purpose in life is taking care of one's family.

      Some of the statistics are enough to perplex even those aware of the problem. A Barna poll indicated that at least 12 percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife. Another survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife. A considerable number of respondents to one poll indicated that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham. We are in big trouble." – christianity.com

      July 18, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
  12. A Believer

    What part does rebellion and counterculture play in atheism? Can a child be an atheist? Is atheism bound to a particular age group? Is there a conversion age, an age range when MOST people become atheists?

    July 18, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • G to the T

      Theism is a learned response. We're all born atheists.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • skytag

      Of course a child can be an atheist. All he needs is to not be brainwashed to believe is fairytales about a god that doesn't exist.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Hal

      Believer
      If nobody taught your children about God, where would they ever get the idea that one even exists?

      July 18, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
  13. faith

    when i was a christian, i pondered how i might fare if i tried to create a story like the new t. the true account about god and his son, but just a fiction, of course. how would i make it both credible and audacious?
    first, i wouldn't start out by putting the big guy in a barn

    c, that's the thang. y start out with a virgin and a barn and dead kids and shepherds, wise men, angels singing, u no? who is gunna fall 4 that stuff? idiots! pure morons, right? what were they thinking?

    i'd start with a beautiful warm day in palm springs. we were finishing a round of golf when the phone rang. it was my buddy hal. hal found a treasure chest in the desert. said it was solid gold. well, when he opened it, he found instructions on how to convert energy into gawwwwwwwwwwd.

    July 18, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Elise

      Please stop it. We know you are a Christian, and trying to use reverse psychology is unlikely to suddenly make atheists have an epiphany. Many atheists were believers at one point in their lives.

      Lying to make your point makes one look foolish. Is that the impression you were trying to make?

      July 18, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
      • Elise

        wow elise, let me apologize for that jerk. he was a big atheist at one time and its roots r not all gone.

        btw, have u rebuked the asp yet? no? shucks. point being, so, u seriously might agreed to it

        Elise
        Please stop it. We know you are a Christian, and trying to use reverse psychology is unlikely to suddenly make atheists have an epiphany. Many atheists were believers at one point in their lives.

        Lying to make your point makes one look foolish. Is that the impression you were trying to make?

        November 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
      • Elise

        wow elise, let me apologize for that jerk. he was a big atheist at one time and its roots r not all gone.

        btw, have u rebuked the asp yet? no? shucks. point being, so, u seriously might agreed to it!

        Elise
        Please stop it. We know you are a Christian, and trying to use reverse psychology is unlikely to suddenly make atheists have an epiphany. Many atheists were believers at one point in their lives.

        Lying to make your point makes one look foolish. Is that the impression you were trying to make?

        November 19, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
      • Elise

        wow elise, let me apologize for that jerk. he was a big atheist at one time and its roots r not all gone.

        btw, have u rebuked the asp yet? no? shucks. point being, so, u seriously might agreed to it!
        ?
        Elise
        Please stop it. We know you are a Christian, and trying to use reverse psychology is unlikely to suddenly make atheists have an epiphany. Many atheists were believers at one point in their lives.

        Lying to make your point makes one look foolish. Is that the impression you were trying to make?

        November 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
      • Elise

        wow elise, let me apologize for that jerk. he was a big atheist at one time and its roots r not all gone!

        btw, have u rebuked the asp yet? no? shucks. point being, so, u seriously might agreed to it!
        ?
        Elise
        Please stop it. We know you are a Christian, and trying to use reverse psychology is unlikely to suddenly make atheists have an epiphany. Many atheists were believers at one point in their lives.

        Lying to make your point makes one look foolish. Is that the impression you were trying to make?

        November 19, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
  14. A Believer

    If science could prove that atheism was a defect like a genetic abnormality to be able to suspend ones disbelief, could it be treated with medicine?

    July 18, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • richunix

      Wow, were you born stupid or are you working at it? Atheism is neither a religion or a belief.

      Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exists. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
    • JJ

      Since we're all born an atheist then I guess we're all born with this defect until our parents and pastors can "cure" us all, or attempt to. Some of us just lack the gullible gene and tend to ask pesky questions and demand evidence for such wild claims.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • sly

      When I'm off work I treat my genetic abnormality with good drugs like Northern Cali Sensei and Kettal One Vodka, and no surprise, I don't spend a minute thinking about your God, or the Muslims Allah, or any of y'alls personal deities.

      My abnormality doesn't seem to have much negative impact, as I make over $250,000 a year.

      Hope your God is doing you well – most of us live quite well without noticing your God.

      But thanks for the advise, and if I ever decide to get my own personal God I'll ask you for references.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
      • ou812

        so you fill that void in your life with weed, greed, and Booze? How pathetic.

        July 18, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
        • Doobs

          A bit presumptuous, no?

          Why do believers always think that nonbelievers have a "void" in their lives? Probably because it's been hammered into your brains by your parents and church leaders. They have to make nonbelievers seem empty, sad and alone because if you knew better, you might realize that believing in deities gets you nothing but wasted time, lighter wallets, and a constant feeling of unworthiness.

          The only "void" I felt when I stopped believing was the release of five decades of guilt brought on by my uber Catholic mother, my parochial school education, and the burden of "inherited sin". It was quickly filled by a lasting sense of happiness and freedom.

          July 18, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
        • ou812

          Doobs- Where did you read in my post about believing?

          July 18, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • skytag

      If science could prove believing in god is the result of a personality disorder in which the person can't handle unpleasant realities, do you think would could find a drug to treat that?

      July 18, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  15. A Believer

    I know what to call people when they have a faith, like a Muslim, a Christian, but what do you call someone who believes in all of them?

    July 18, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • susan

      A polytheist.

      The great thing about living in the U.S. is that freedom of religion also means freedom from religion.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • JJ

      Psychotic.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
  16. A Believer

    Is there any evidence that race may play a part in atheism? If I am a minority in a foreign place where the religion is X and observed by an oppressive majority, am I more likely to reject God along with faith as a way to survive? What if the majority is not oppressive and open to everyone, will I be more likely to 'join' them even if I don't know or believe that there is a God?

    July 18, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I guess it's time for: Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy

      July 18, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
      • My Dog is a jealous Dog

        When I die, I want to go like my grandfather, peacefully in my sleep – not screaming in terror like the passengers in his car.

        Jack Handey

        July 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  17. livingwithgoogleglass

    This article is unbelievable bad... Why must you try to nail down a super diverse group of people into categories because they all have a common lack of belief?

    I can't wait for the followup articles: "The 6 types of republicans", "The 6 types of Catholics", or "The 6 types of Pharmacists"...

    July 18, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "The 6 types of republicans"

      you mean like neo-cons, libertians, tea-partiers, value voters (aka thralls of the religious right), fiscal conservatives, free-market conservatives etc.

      Of course for most of those in office we could just go with kleptocrats, only that's unfair becuase – they're really only kleptocrats by proxy. The donors are the real beneficiaries.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
  18. A Believer

    Is there any data to suggest that those born under certain zodiac signs/during certain times of the year are more or less inclined to believe? Are there more Piscean believers than Aries? Do the different seasons yield a different proportion of believers vs non-believers? Seasons of Belief/Seasons of Disbelief? Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) for faith?

    July 18, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Hal

      Ha! Are you seriously trying to use astrology to explain atheism? You are too funny!

      July 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
  19. Shinea

    God isn't something any human would ever recognize, you might as well get over it and just do your best to be good to the humans around you.

    July 18, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
  20. A Believer

    Are there any psychological abnormalities or trauma that would disrupt or prevent a person from being able to believe in God? Are there any 'badgered by saints" syndromes where a person has had so many bad experiences they develop an auto-reject "tick"?

    July 18, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • snowboarder

      i suppose that is possible, but not likely the majority. most of us simply find the doctrines of religions absurd and unbelievable.

      July 18, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Athy

      No. We disbelievers are simply unwilling to accept such a preposterous notion that there is some supernatural entity watching over our lives. It's as simple as that.

      July 18, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      a surprisingly unsurprising ridiculous question...

      July 18, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • OTOH

      Bumping up @Benny's comment below on this page:

      "We have a close personal relationship with reality."

      Fantasy is fun, and even useful at times, but we don't live there.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • JJ

      I wouldn't call being rational, a skeptic and demanding evidence a psychological abnormality.

      July 18, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Doobs

      It usually just takes reading a basic science book.

      July 18, 2013 at 2:43 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.