home
RSS
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. thomas

    god is merely the mis-application of human's social ability – namely to infer intent and expectations of others – to try to explain the natural world.

    when we can't explain nature, we create a being and talk about intent and expectations of that being

    July 31, 2013 at 12:17 am |
    • Good Luck With That

      I tell you what. I have my beliefs and you have yours. I don't care if you believe what I believe, but give me the same respect. A lot of athiests try to destroy my traditions simply because they don't believe in them. This to me is a form of religious bigotry and should be treated on the same level as racism. Reversing that, religions should not force themself on others.

      July 31, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
      • Grim

        Religions should not force themselves on others.. Yeah, good luck with that.

        August 1, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
      • sam stone

        wouldn't that pretty much eliminate evangelism?

        August 2, 2013 at 9:58 am |
        • photografr7

          Don't forget to mention Christmas celebrations at football games, parades, and down the center of town every year, many of which are broadcast on nation television. I'm sure Jews, Buddhists and Muslims around the world are thrilled at that, not to mention atheists. If Christianity is the one true religion, why do billions of people disagree with you?

          August 2, 2013 at 10:03 am |
  2. Sean Ross

    I think there are more kinds of atheists than just six. I, for example, am a spiritual atheist – I think religion is a mythological context for ethical behavior. I find that myth helpful, but I don't accept it as fact. One can find religion beautiful without believing it as fact.

    July 30, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
    • Eric

      Wow! I like that!

      July 31, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • CheCheImFurst

      Hmm, what about Buddhists? Many are atheists but have a religious/spiritual philosophy...

      August 1, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
      • photografr7

        If we're talking about believing in myths, and not in the existence of a god, then there can be thousands of types of atheists. I happen to think the Roman gods of love and war, etc. are pretty neat, but I don't think for a second they are real.

        August 1, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  3. GOOD NEWS

    Atheism is a dead end;

    for GOD is absolutely Real.

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com
    UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES

    July 30, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
    • thomas

      GOD is just an explanation for things actually better explained by something else

      yeah, confusion and delusion ARE real, I agree!

      July 31, 2013 at 12:20 am |
  4. Ryan Rasmussen

    I suggest that atheists might be categorized in other ways. 1) Those who have been hurt by experiences in church or by people who profess to be of faith. Professing there is no God is a reaction to a painful experience. 2) Those who don't want God to exist so they won't be held accountable for their actions. They think they're happier or more free without the restraints that come with belief. 3) Those who have not made the effort to seriously examine the validity of faith in God, or searched their heart for the need of purpose and meaning in life... The creation attests to the reality of a Creator. Is it really more logical to believe we came into being without cause than to believe in God? Is it really more comforting to think of love and friendship as the result of survival instincts than a gift from God? Does it make more sense to conclude that all the order and beauty of the universe is a result of random chance than from a God of wisdom, power, and imagination?

    July 30, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Evangeline

      Very well written!!! Agree wholeheartedly.

      July 30, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • Fred

      I agree with you, Ryan. I would go with this categorization.

      July 30, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • Maani

      I would add a fourth (tongue-in-cheek) category: atheists who have been "indoctrinated" as atheists by atheist parents. LOL. Seriously, though, while there ARE probably other legitimate categories along the lines you suggest, I agree with your post. Bravo.

      July 30, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • Kavik

      Dear Ryan, your questions are all opinion statements worded as questions, your catagorizations of athiests are all christianity-based with no respect for the majority of the world (non-christian).

      HOWEVER, I would ask of all your questions, is it better to believe something because it's more comfortable, (god) or because it's true? 😉 Should I believe whatever brings me the most happiness, as per your argument, or what I honestly see as the truth?

      As an atheist, I believe not what is most comfortable, but what makes the most sense based on my experiences and perceptions. You have a right to go on living with beliefs that assuage your fears and comfort you, I'm glad you do, keep up with that, but don't think everyone wants only to be comfortable.

      July 30, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • redzoa

      I've not had a bad church experience, I would prefer there was a deity to hold people accountable for their actions, and I was once a believer who asked Jesus to come into my heart. But I eventually found that a comforting thought based primarily in a fear of mortality was insufficient to overcome the absence of evidence supporting the proposition of god(s) existence. I don't believe because this is the only honest position I can take and it's the same position you hold for all other god(s) excepting the one you prefer.

      Regarding the creation arguments, the bottom line is there is no positive supporting evidence for causation via agency. These arguments are a mixture of special pleading, unsupported teleological thinking, and likely a poorly-informed understanding of the relevant science, all wrapped up in an anthropocentric apophenia constructed to pacify a fear of mortality.

      July 30, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
      • Maani

        Redzoa: "But I eventually found that a comforting thought based primarily in a fear of mortality was insufficient to overcome the absence of evidence supporting the proposition of god(s) existence."

        It may be little comfort, but don't forget that no less a scientist than Carl Sagan said, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." It seems that, instead, you "gave into" Sagan's other famous comment that "Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof."

        July 31, 2013 at 1:27 am |
    • Logan Hall

      Somebody looking to stir up some anti-theists? Hmm?

      July 30, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • Artchil

      You serious mate? Keep doing that and you'll tribe will eventually disappear. It's presumptuous, arrogant and medieval–exactly the slump you Christians should get out of.

      July 30, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • chrisnfolsom

      Ryan, thanks for nothing although it does show your bias in your crude attempt at humor...
      >1) Those who have been hurt by experiences in church or by people who profess to be of faith. Professing there is no God is a reaction to a painful experience.
      – Yes, the painful experience of hypocrisy and double standards...
      > 2) Those who don't want God to exist so they won't be held accountable for their actions. They think they're happier or more free without the restraints that come with belief.
      – Really? How many wars, beheadings, scourges were NOT based on religion? One of the great inventions with Christinity was being able to be absolved of all sins – the Catholics even let you do it while you are living. How many Athiests have written here that they wish there was a God so they could know and didn't have to worry as they could be saved. I know of no one who went on killing spree's or committed crimes simply because they weren't afraid of God's wrath.
      >3) Those who have not made the effort to seriously examine the validity of faith in God, or searched their heart for the need of purpose and meaning in life...
      – I am sorry you don't know enough to feel the wonder and majesty of the world as it is. There is purpose without a mystery you cannot prove. I am much more "spiritual" than most of my "religious" friends and I believe more "moral". I actually think "what would Jesus do" as even though I don't believe him to be a god his teaching make sense and his philosophy (along with many others) allows me to be more as a person.

      >The creation attests to the reality of a Creator.
      – which creation? from what religion? which creator are you talking about?
      >Is it really more logical to believe we came into being without cause than to believe in God?
      – yes
      >Is it really more comforting to think of love and friendship as the result of survival instincts than a gift from God?
      – yes
      >Does it make more sense to conclude that all the order and beauty of the universe is a result of random chance than from a God of wisdom, power, and imagination
      – Not random – we are not random, we are ordered, randomness is a gas, or a plasma – the universe has order. What may have sparked life may have happened in a random way, but the minute preference was preserved and evolution was on it's way there was a purpose, a direction.

      Just because you don't see order in the universe don't tell me it came from something which you cannot prove. I can prove the order of things, you cannot prove anything other then the fact that all groups of man have created some sort of religion since the beginning of humanity – to claim yours is the only one that is "real" and trumps any of the facts we see and can test every day is true hubris.

      July 30, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • Mr. Pi

      According to you Ryan (as I see it) Case 1) We are tramaurtized folk, scared and resentful of the big bully preachers. Case 2) We are ephemeral creatures like the fabled grasshoppers failing to prepare for b the weaklings you makesad times.

      We aren't the weak sisters you make us out to be. To be an Atheist in this society is to wear a bullseye on our backs. We see no mre reality in Biblical myths than in Scandanavian or Chinese ones.

      July 30, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Melissa

      Yes, it *is* more logical to be dazzled by the complexity of a vast and infinite universe that we can see and demonstrate and explore than to shrug and say, "Meh, God did it."
      Your hypothetical three categories don't describe the majority of atheists. At all. People don't find the concept of god unbelievable because they were molested by their pastors. They don't find the concept of god unbelievable because they want to get away with stuff. In fact, atheists tend to score higher on scales of moral judgment–possibly because they can't pretend that god gives them an excuse for lack of empathy or respect for their fellow humans. And most atheists grew up in religious traditions, were very well schooled in religion, continue to actively study religion and religions in adulthood and simply cannot find sufficient evidence to validate the theory that a god is necessary to account for the existence of the universe or of love or decency or morality.
      Your assumption that atheists must have base motives for rejecting belief in god presumes that belief in god is the default position. Belief in god has to be learned. Some people just don't see sufficiently persuasive evidence to produce belief.

      July 30, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • Good Luck With That

      There are approaching 7 billion religions in the world counting forms of athiesm as religious belief. Everyone has their own set of beliefs and should not be harrassed by anyone for those beliefs from either athiests or those holding a religion.

      July 31, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Tom Sawyer

      Ryan – Your ideas seem to presume only two possibilities–atheism or Christianity–but I'm sure you're aware there are many, many other possibilities. How many of those possibilities have you made the effort to seriously examine, as you suggest others should do with your faith?

      July 31, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • Norm de Plume

      Ryan, you presume that God is self-evident. God is not self-evident; there is no evidence whatsoever to prove his existence. Everything in the universe, from stars to cells to mammals, arises from simple systems that evolve into more complex systems. As improbable as all that may seem (your words were "random chance"), you have to concede that it is even more improbable that a supernatural, all powerful, everlasting god brought that all into existence. There is an overwhelming abundance of science (especially biology and natural selection in particular) to explain how it and we all came to be; do yourself a favor and pick up a textbook on on the subject.

      Regarding your 3 types of atheists, I don't know of any atheists who became as such through panful experiences (1). Most atheists arrive at that position through simple logic. (2) If someone doesn't want God to exist, they probably still believe that God exists; therefore, they are not atheist. (3) Have you taken the time to consider the validity of atheism? Atheism provides me plenty of meaning to my life; check it out, you might agree.

      July 31, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Wow, Ryan. What a ridiculous, ignorant claim. You have succeeded in making yourself look very stupid.

      August 1, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
      • photografr7

        Ryan probably thinks that atheism is a mental disorder. Atheism relies on evidence, and wherever that leads. If that's a mental disorder, call me loony!

        August 1, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
  5. MIT

    And then there was another type of atheist–the 'Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning' type

    July 30, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Chuck U. Farley

      That is not really an intelligent response.

      July 31, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It's funny how many christians are liars. They must really think that their god is stupid.

      August 1, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
  6. Jared

    Can I be partly type 1, 3 and 6?

    July 30, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Chuck U. Farley

      you can just be you and let other worry about how to stereotype you on their own time. =)

      July 31, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  7. Armen Gevorkian

    There are three on the Internet. 1. Regular people who see no evidence of the supernatural and go on with their lives. 2. Fat white male nerd Internet trolls who were bullied in school but live in some hick neighborhood where they see the their oppressors as the christian joe blue collar jocks who made their lives hell. 3. Jews who have a serious ethnic supremacy issue and have the urge to broadside any positive manifestation of Christianity or Islam they see and get Christians and Muslims to hate each other. They pretend to be 1 and 2 very often

    July 30, 2013 at 11:51 am |
  8. Duane

    It looks like I am A Seeker-Agnostic. I don't believe any one of the religions we have now does any justice to what could actually exist, but I'm not so self righteous and pretentious as to "know" that there is absolutely nothing greater, as many atheists are wont to do.

    July 30, 2013 at 9:20 am |
  9. M.E.T.

    I'm generally a 5, but occasionally a 3. I don't consider myself an atheist, though. I usually describe myself as agnostic or simply not religious. I feel like this list isn't so much six types of atheists as 6 types on non-believers or non-religious people.

    July 30, 2013 at 12:00 am |
    • chrisnfolsom

      M.E.T., I agree and have used Agnostic as opposed to Atheist for a while as I am not against a God – if one exists. If proof was shown I would believe, but I am however against any God at present as I see no proof of existence. I think that saying you are Agnostic leaves the door open and it really is shut concerning any deity we currently know about.

      I also say "Athiest" as politically Atheist are against individuals who say beyond ANY shadow of a doubt that they are certain their god exists (even though many other religions say the same thing). When dealing with most people the one with the most conviction usually is believed more. I wan to remove double from anyone's mind that as far as I am concerned given all the religions and deity's we know of at this time – I am an Atheist.

      July 30, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
      • M.E.T.

        I feel that a lot of atheists want to push all non-believers/non-religious types into the atheist box. Honestly, I think it's a bit arrogant to say beyond a shadow of a doubt that none of the religions out there have it right (or vice versa – to say beyond a shadow of a doubt that one religion is correct). If convincing evidence of a god (of a current religion or something) were to present itself, I would be open to it. I feel that it's much more intellectually honest to admit that I don't have any firm evidence either way and to admit that it's not something I particularly concern myself with at this point in my life. I do want to leave that door open, because for me it is not shut to any deity we currently know. I'm not convinced of their existence, but I certainly wouldn't say that I am convinced that they absolutely do not exist, either

        July 30, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
        • M.E.T.

          * (of a current religion or something ELSE)

          July 30, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
        • chrisnfolsom

          >I feel that a lot of atheists want to push all non-believers/non-religious types into the atheist box.
          – I agree, but that is the same failing as anyone who takes their belief beyond "reason" and makes it a mission. When you involve your ego in something you start making excuses above and beyond the facts which perverts the whole argument.

          >Honestly, I think it's a bit arrogant to say beyond a shadow of a doubt that none of the religions out there have it right (or vice versa – to say beyond a shadow of a doubt that one religion is correct).
          – I agree although you are not dealing with reason here. You have to adapt your message to the listener and they want certainty. I don't believe anything beyond the shadow of a doubt – you can't say you are not in a dream... But with what we have I can be certain that no religion can differentiate itself from any other in a way that would make them any more real than another – perhaps only the Mormons as with their book there is no evidence it was not transcribed from an angel (we know the New Testament was put together from books by man) although their religion has many other issues, the book itself cannot (as far as I know) be shown to have been created by man...

          >If convincing evidence of a god (of a current religion or something) were to present itself, I would be open to it.
          – Yes it is, but you are "arguing" against those who believe without a doubt in their religions – without any evidence.

          >I feel that it's much more intellectually honest to admit that I don't have any firm evidence either way and to admit that it's not something I particularly concern myself with at this point in my life.
          – I understand your point although I believe the evidence we have that the Bible was put together by men (many books not included), no one actually who knew Jesus wrote a word of the Bible, there is no proof of miracles and the fact that there is not statistical evidence of praying making a difference and the craziness that our soul (no proof) is separate from our physiology – our mind is intertwined with our brain in a way you can't have one without the other. I can say there is no God as stated by any current religion – no matter how much some might believe.

          I leave a door open if something comes along, and it might be hubris to say what I believe, but is it not hubris on a grand scale for religious people to say that their God is the true God in light of all the other religions and that fact that none of them can be proven at all – never mind by a shadow of a doubt?

          July 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
        • M.E.T.

          "You have to adapt your message to the listener and they want certainty."
          "Yes it is, but you are "arguing" against those who believe without a doubt in their religions – without any evidence."

          I guess this is the fundamental disconnect we are having. I don't try to argue or convince anyone that I'm right or they are wrong. I very much believe in a "live and let live" philosophy at least as far as religion and spiritual beliefs. I will respect yours and hope that you do the same for me. If not, I will just disengage from the discussion rather than engage in a fruitless debate on a subject. I have no desire to convince others to be non-religious or agnostic. I feel that this is a very personal issue that is really none of my business.

          I'm frankly just tired of atheists telling me that I'm really an atheist when I pointedly do not identify as such. Or atheists who consider agnostics and other non-believers as future atheists or as "cowardly" atheists. I am not an atheist in belief and I purposely distance myself evangelical/political atheism. To be perfectly honest, I resent being lumped in the same category, particularly because it is often the product of arrogance and a sense of superiority.

          July 30, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
        • Maani

          "If proof were shown..." "If convincing evidence of God...."

          You both continue in your willful blindness. There will never be such proof, not because it doesn't exist, but because God cannot, by His nature, ALLOW it to be seen. Why? Because of free will. After all, right now you have the free will to accept or reject the existence of the very God who (believers believe) gave you that free will. Were God to "prove" His existence, it would eliminate both "belief" and "faith," because both of those are DEPENDENT UPON a lack of proof. Even setting aside free will, God does not want automatons who "believe" in Him because they MUST (i.e., because He has "shown" Himself). He wants people to believe in Him because they CHOOSE to do so.

          You have both made a conscious "choice," based on your "need" for SCIENTIFICALLY PROVABLE evidence of God's existence. That is your prerogative vis-a-vis free will.

          July 31, 2013 at 1:35 am |
        • Evangeline

          Beautifully expressed!

          July 31, 2013 at 9:55 am |
        • chrisnfolsom

          M.E.T.
          I am not telling you that you are anything – that is up to you. I have gone back and forth and have made my decision and as I explain below I feel I have to be more direct and absolute – in my statement of belief – as that is what is needed in our current political environment.

          I was not saying that I push my believe/non belief on others to prove a point – there is nothing worse then removing someones belief in something unless of course it threatens their health or life, and I would much rather have someone happy and believing whatever they like as long as they don't try to influence me, or the government I live under.

          If the conservatives had not wrapped themselves in the flag AND the bibles. If conservatives did not decide to create their own creation museums (there are actually many of them) with absurd (even for creationists) revelations that all animals were vegetarians until that snake tricked that evil woman – giving all women the burden of original sin. The abortion "war", the litmus tests, the blatant disrespect of our president as well as removing any compromise – something new to politics which has crippled our nation. Also education and the fight against global warming in which they didn't just disagree – they attacked science and scientists so now there are millions of Christians who not only don't believe in climate change, but are against scientists and science in general – especially at those "liberal" schools. It's using religions to justify not just disagreeing with a position, but destroying the enemy to win their position which I cannot allow to continue.

          Theists and primarily the evangelicals are threatened. They know the writing is on the wall demographically and they are scrambling to be able to keep control of the states and districts they currently control. Beyond politics the religious right are fighting back knowing that their beliefs are threatened by science and the continued scandals and such that have chipped away – I feel for them. I also understand basic group dynamics and psychology which is that when threatened people generally get more conservative, make more rules and try to demonize the other groups against them in order to keep their believers in line.

          All of that and I said nothing of God existing or not – that is not my concern as I am fine with my beliefs, but unfortunately to win the political fight I have to "talk Christian" and use absolutes (even if I don't 100% believe in them) as that is what most people understand. I am an Athiest.

          July 31, 2013 at 5:14 am |
        • Evangeline

          I'm surprised to hear you quote from the Bible ("the writing on the wall" is the story found in Daniel Chapter 5). Why on earth would a "creation museum" be offensive to YOU unless someone forced you to go there against you will? It's still a "free country" isn't it? Evolution has been taught as fact, and this is another alternative, believed by many to be much more credible. Even Darwin added bones that didn't belong....to make his "evidence" match his" theory". And all of evolution rests on his assertions. Carbon dating has also been proven inaccurate in some cases....so scientists should admit they're really only guessing. You seem to assume that all scientists are in agreement that no God created the Universe. That is simply not true! Are the dissenting opinions any less valid than their colleagues who happen to agree with YOU my friend???

          As for disrespecting the President....demanding explanations for blatant lies told AFTER he was in office is in no way disrespectful. All Presidents need to be held accountable. George Bush's constant ridicule (even all these yrs after his term in office)....is precisely disrespectful. That's the difference between conservatives & liberals. It's all about disrespect....for opposing opinions, making personal attacks on people, and turning a blind eye to scandals involving their own candidates. That's the mindset of a spoiled child.

          Lastly, I think you have the mistaken idea that our govt belongs to YOU alone.....and anyone with a conservation opinion should be silenced. You couldn't be more wrong....it belongs to ALL of us! The school system was established by religious people, and I think it served us very well for many years. Govt can't possibly say the same!

          July 31, 2013 at 9:51 am |
        • chrisnfolsom

          Maani – "That is your prerogative vis-a-vis free will."

          I don't understand that statement. Free will IS our prerogative. We have made it. Why is it assumed that God exists and we are against "what is"? There is no proof – you prove god to me before you get to assume your position, or you give my position just as much merit as yours.

          We may never be able to prove that God exists so why assume he does? What differentiates your God from all the others – most of which we will never know as they are just gone with their followers. Is it your books? Is it your superior story – that cannot be proven? Is it your superior morality? I get it, you believe in a deity, but in doing so you also don't believe in 1000's of others – just as I don't – so you are as much an Atheist as I am – except for one (that argument has been used before)...

          So are you a better Agnostic – to all the other theists that you don't believe in than I am to your belief? You don't get the high road in this unless you can prove something – you have opinions, I have opinions – stay out of our government.

          July 31, 2013 at 5:28 am |
        • chrisnfolsom

          @Evangelne
          >I'm surprised to hear you quote from the Bible ("the writing on the wall" is the story found in Daniel Chapter 5).
          – Why? Just because I don't believe in a Deity does not mean I have not read/respect the bible, or other "bibles") although I believe your "surprise" is more of a barb to try and weaken my position... I was raised catholic, have attended many different churches as well as taken classes and read about many different religions. I especially enjoy talking to different people from different religious and cultural backgrounds as well as traveling and seeing countries for myself. I have also taken classes and read extensively on science, history and the arts.

          >Why on earth would a "creation museum" be offensive to YOU unless someone forced you to go there against you will?
          -The effects of creating "Museums" affect much more than just those who attend – I am not worried about myself. I can be offended when people create their own facts – not from the bible, but in response to science. Every time science finds something new some new counter "thing" is taught as FACT by creationists (they very rarely say theory) when they just thought it up – the Bible says that god created life – it says nothing about a 6,000 year earth, or how long a "creation day was" among the many other things the Bible does say that are ignored. To promote "the truth" by putting Dinosaurs and humans together and then saying that all animals were vegetarians until the talking snake conned Eve into committing original sin – without any acknowledgement that this is a theory from an interpretation of the Bible is wrong. Why is science held to a higher standard then biblical "interpretations"?

          >It's still a "free country" isn't it?
          – Yes it is – I did not say their should be a law against it – that is my issue – that Republicans are making laws based on their religious beliefs.

          >Evolution has been taught as fact, and this is another alternative, believed by many to be much more credible. Even Darwin added bones that didn't belong....to make his "evidence" match his" theory". And all of evolution rests on his assertions.
          -The dinosaur in the Museum of Modern Art is made of many skeletons, some were in the wrong place until recently – we are still learning. The word Dinosaur was not even a word until 1841, and we knew next to nothing then. Nothing is perfect and complete – even Creation is being refined to battle new science – so is Creation wrong by your measure of needing to be perfect? Almost everything that Darwin first stated has been added to, review and updated. Just as religion used to believe that sicknesses were caused by demons – you probably would not recognize Christianity in the 1600's – things change.

          >Carbon dating has also been proven inaccurate in some cases....so scientists should admit they're really only guessing.
          – Really? So some tests were done wrong, and now all of them are guesses? Do you want me to apply that standard to religion? Carbon dating is not used on Dinosaurs as Carbon dating is only good to 60,000 years – there are other materials Uranium, Potassium that give better, longer term readings. We also can count tree rings (Dendrochronology), oF live and dead trees and have an accurate reading back 11,000 years – this is a physical thing, no mystical isotopes of carbon or anything – this is real, fact.

          >You seem to assume that all scientists are in agreement that no God created the Universe. That is simply not true! Are the dissenting opinions any less valid than their colleagues who happen to agree with YOU my friend???
          -Again, I never said all, there are people who believe in just about everything. Are you saying that of all the scientists in the world more than 50% believe in creation? Are you saying that all of the Christian scientists that more than 50% believe in pure biblical Creation? Also, the argument means nothing as the number of people who believe in something has NOTHING to do with it's (or my) truth – it is the Facts, and even when you don't have all the pieces if they point in one direction you have a choice to make as at some point – the tipping point – you have to make a decision on what to believe.

          >As for disrespecting the President....demanding explanations for blatant lies told AFTER he was in office is in no way disrespectful.
          -First of all – ALL presidents say some things the cannot back up in office and second of all there is a BIG difference between disagreeing and demonizing. And a third since you brought up Bush – Obama did not plant false information to start a war with another country – a proven fact.

          >All Presidents need to be held accountable.
          – Yes they do, and they generally have although they used to get the benefit of the doubt...

          >George Bush's constant ridicule (even all these yrs after his term in office)....is precisely disrespectful.
          -I believe George Bush tried his best. I don't like all of his politics, but I don't think he was devious. I don't think "blaming" him for his policies, or the result of his policies is disrespect as you would critique an president, or business leader unless of course you are just making up things – which we can all debate about...

          >That's the difference between conservatives & liberals. It's all about disrespect....for opposing opinions, making personal attacks on people, and turning a blind eye to scandals involving their own candidates. That's the mindset of a spoiled child.
          – Wow, I disagree as watching Fox "News" will give you more opinions then facts – they may believe them, but it's not "news". So conservatives have more respect? That is interesting, and another debate entirely. I live in a conservative Republican area, and this is the first place I live where I cannot talk politics with friends. I have many friends of many different beliefs and I respect all of them for their beliefs – NO ONE has a hold on morality or respect as we are all different.

          >Lastly, I think you have the mistaken idea that our govt belongs to YOU alone.....and anyone with a conservation opinion should be silenced. You couldn't be more wrong....it belongs to ALL of us!
          – No, I voice my opinion as is my right, and try to influence the vote and the country through talking and conversation with others. I love diversity and believe it is one of the things that makes America great, and as an Evolutionist I understand that diversity is what allows you to survive. I don't believe I own anything but my ideas, and I believe those ideas are the best I can make – or I change them. It is my right and duty as a citizen to try and do my best.

          >The school system was established by religious people, and I think it served us very well for many years. Govt can't possibly say the same!
          -I am not sure what the point of this is, but there is a rich history of religion in schools – that is great although I wish they would teach their new Creation Theories as theories and not facts.... I am actually for religion as I have my daughters in religious ed classes as believe it is very important, and believe in more then yourself and that your community is extremely important. I believe as a humanist, but there are no humanist churches around here so I have to use what I have and I have to deal with my daughter coming home crying because she is being raised catholic and one of her after school classes at a mega church said Catholics are not "real" Christians – that has nothing to do with my beliefs, but it is illustrative many discussions I have had. I will talk to my girls as they get older and we will have discussions and they will decide on their path moving forward as have I.

          Wow, Done – Good luck in your life and may your beliefs grant you all you need or want.

          July 31, 2013 at 11:51 am |
  10. Stephen Hawking is an Idiot!!!!!

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-lTXVA5o4Y&w=640&h=390]

    July 29, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
  11. E. Burke

    Question:
    I don't think I really understand the point of this. I don't think you can package atheists or agnostics neatly into any of these categories. I personally fit into 6,5,3, and 2. They can all overlap. 4 and 2 sound almost the same, however I gather 4's are more extreme.

    July 29, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • Charle Holden

      Group 6 sort of answers my question of why do nonbelievers spend so much time and energy fighting something they don't believe exists in the first place. I have always thought that maybe they are really, deep down, unsure and so speak loudly to reassure themselves. In the wee hours of the morning, when all is dark and quiet, uncertainty can be very loud. And, who can really be certain? They won't know until it is too late. Pity.

      July 29, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
      • Hiding easter eggs and giving a Christmas present doesn't

        mean we're hiding anything, diptruck. I simply like Easter eggs. They're pretty.

        It just means we like celebrating happy occassions with our families that have NOTHING to do with your silly delusions. We KNOW the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are as real as your Jeebus is.

        July 29, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
  12. The Great Gazoo

    The six tribes of atheism. That's clever. It reminds me of South Park's "Go God Go!" episode.

    July 29, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
  13. nofluer

    Question – for your "study" did you define terminology? For example – the term "athiest" simply means "without God" or without religion. An agnostic would be one who "does not know" if a God/gods exist. Breaking these down into "sub-classifications" would seem to be a waste of time as the "reasons" for belief or disbelief would be irrelevant to the classification. Mud is mud – water and dirt. You can go on to classify mud as thick, thin, dark, light, etc but it does not change what it is – it's still mud. Thus attempting to turn sub-classifications into something that would be more than they are would be just so much ego stroking by the authors. ie does your "study" have any purpose or goal, any rigor at all? Or is it just more internet cowflop to amuse the non-thinking masses?

    July 29, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
  14. mzh

    Thanks to all for your postings on this regards… I know there are no answers… but I was more likely expecting that you would answer from what you believe in… I mean your faith book i.e. Bible, Torah, Ghita, Tripitak or any others if there is any…

    I am a proud Muslim and I live each and every step of my life by reflecting the teaching of Quran… I study other religions too to know it… and when I know something new, it helps me compare my own faith and also it elevates my level of faith in Islam much more… that I do not submit myself to a creature or any material objects but to The One worthy of Worship who is unseen and towards whom we are returning…

    Here is what I found from Quran and I believe this the best answer and more importantly the truth… now if you want me to show the proofs that you want to touch or see mathematically, no one can at these days but I am definitely absolutely positive that if you study Quran with patience and go to someone who has knowledge of it, you will find yourself something that you have perhaps been looking for your entire life:

    1. WHERE DID WE (or I) COME FROM

    There are 2 elements of human body:
    1. The body which has been created from dust – from the earth
    2. Soul breathed in to it which makes the body to move or ability to think and so on – from up and no one knows more details about it

    # 1: The body which created from dust
    40:67 – It is He who created you
    1. from dust, then
    2. from a sperm-drop, then
    3. from a clinging clot; then He brings you out as
    4. a child; then [He develops you] that you reach your [time of]
    5. maturity, then [further] that you become
    6. Elders (old age).
    7. And among you is he who is taken in death before [that], so that you reach a specified term; and perhaps you will think.

    4:1 – O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you.

    # 2: Soul breathed to the created body
    32:7 – Who perfected everything which He created and began the creation of man from clay. Then He made his posterity out of the extract of a liquid disdained. Then He proportioned him and breathed into him from His [created] soul and made for you hearing and vision and hearts; little are you grateful.

    There are 4 ways of human creation:
    1. Adam from dust
    2. Eve from Adam
    3. Off-spring of Adam from the mixing of sperm and ovum which we all are
    4. Jesus The Son of Marry – created from only mother without father and this is a miracle or a sign for mankind to know that when God wishes to create anything He only says ‘Be and it is’…

    2. WHY ARE WE HERE (WHAT IS OUR MISSION IN THIS EARTHLY LIFE):

    We are here with a mission and this mission will decide what would be the end result. As we all know that nothing we do without a purpose and so human creation…

    51:56 – And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.

    4:36 – Worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, and to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbour, the neighbour farther away, the companion at your side, the traveller, and those whom your right hands possess. Indeed, Allah does not like those who are arrogant and boastful.

    7:158 – Say, [O Muhammad], "O mankind, indeed I am the Messenger of Allah to you all, [from Him] to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. There is no deity except Him; He gives life and causes death." So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered prophet, who believes in Allah and His words, and follow him that you may be guided.

    3. WHERE ARE WE HEADING TO
    When we end our life the human body stays in the earth as it was created from the earth and the soul goes up where it came from which of course no one knows, and this soul and human body will be merged again on that day for accountability and that human body will not be the same as this earthly life as the environment will be totally different.

    32:11 – Say, "The angel of death will take you who has been entrusted with you. Then to your Lord you will be returned."

    45:26 – Say "Allah causes you to live, then causes you to die, then He will assemble you for the Day of Resurrection, about which there is no doubt, but most of the people do not know (meaning do not use their intellectual to know.)

    45:27 – And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. And the day the hours appear – that day the falsifiers will lose.

    2:28 – How can you disbelieve in Allah when you were lifeless and He brought you to life; then He will cause you to die, then He will bring you [back] to life, and then to Him you will be returned.

    Then Quran gives lot of pictures after the judgement and there will only be 2 ways, either heaven or hell and there are no third options.

    I hope it will make us to think about the human creation, the purpose of the creation and the end…

    I would ask the mankind to accept Islam as your way of life but its up to individual as there are no compulsion in choosing religion.

    Peace!!!

    July 29, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Maranatha

      Jesus, the Christ, said: "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

      Follow Him and you will find Eternal Life.

      July 29, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
      • mzh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        I hope you find the TRUTH about Jesus (peace be upon him).

        Peace be upon all of you!!!

        July 29, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
        • Mihail

          The question is:
          How can Islam claim Jesus said certain things when Islam came way after Christianity and way after Jesus?
          Well, there are only two ways of explaining this 1) either copied it from the bible ( yet Islam says the book is not true?) or simply made shhh up just to make it look like they actually know something about Jesus that of course ooonly Islam knows as it always claims lol....so which one is it?

          July 29, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
        • chrisnfolsom

          >How can Islam claim Jesus said certain things when Islam came way after Christianity and way after Jesus?
          -OK, you do know that not one author of a book of the bible actually spoke or heard to Jesus? So if the Bible can claim Jesus said things what is wrong with the Quaran?

          July 30, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Evangeline

      I have no problem with anything you quoted, but your own words confuse me... "no compulsion"? Do you have the freedom to abandon your religion if your conscience prompted you to do so? Does your religion respect other's beliefs? Forcing others to accept Him seems to go against God's very nature, and His gift of free will. Other gods demanded submission, but never the God of the Bible. Even now, we must come to Him individually. Please be "completely" honest as God commands us in Leviticus, for the Old Testament is one of your Holy Books as well...isn't it? Correct me if I'm wrong please, and peace be with you also! I sense a sincere heart within you!

      July 29, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
      • mzh

        Dear Evangeline

        Thanks for your reply… may The Almighty make things easy on your and your loved ones and anyone around you in this earthly life and most importantly hereafter, amine.

        ‘No Compulsion’ meaning you do not force anyone to accept Islam and does not mean that Islam will accept others.

        There is no different God (s)… there is only one God, the God of Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Zachariah, John, Jesus and Mohammed (may the peace and blessings upon all of them)… Quran clearly says that there is NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN THESE PROPHETS OR MESSENGERS…. They were all Muslim meaning submitted to The Lord Almighty. But human took the different direction which took human away from worshipping One True God who is unseen and who has no son or any associations and made Jesus as Son of God and so on…

        Either you with God The Almighty or NOT… its up to individual whether they want to follow or not.

        About respecting others – Quran teaches that let the other person know about Islam and let him decided, if he does not want accept Islam then say ‘you do your religion and I do mine – chapter 107

        I am glad that you have mentioned ‘free will’, human invents these deities by using this ‘free will’, anything happened to them? NO, not in this earthly life, otherwise no need of judgement day, everything is kept for that day.

        I would not be a Muslim if I do not believe in the books were sent prior to the Quran which are Injeel was given to Jesus, Jabur (psalm) was given to David and Torah was given to Moses. Now if you put these books together, you should be able to find the core message is the same as they were sent from the same soruce… I ask you do you see any similarity between NT and Quran or OT and Quran or Psalm and Quran? The answer is NO, then who is correct then? Both can’t be correct… right? Please be honest… there is always one truth…

        Peace be upon you…

        July 29, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
        • Evangeline

          You are very good at explaining your religion! I wish you would explain to me why Christians (and others) are still being martyred today for failing to convert to Islam. Are you saying the rumors we hear are all lies?

          If what you're saying is that because of "free will" there is no punishment until judgment day, I disagree. People have to live with the consequences of their actions now, as well as in the future.

          The Quran appears very similar to the Old Testament, but not identical. Jesus quoted from the Old Testament, confirming it as truth. As for the New Testament, Jesus claimed to be God, so that is a huge contradiction....is it not? If you believe He was a true prophet, would He have dared to lie? I seem to remember a warning in the Bible "not to add or subtract anything from it", yet wasn't the Quran written long after the Bible was completed?

          I hope you won't find my questions insulting in any way, but you did say we were perfectly free to accept your religion or not. I choose not to at the time. I'm realize I'm not qualified to debate religion with anyone, but I enjoyed trying to figure it out with you. Thank you for sharing.

          July 29, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
        • chrisnfolsom

          @Evangeline – It does amaze me that Christians always bring up this point about martyrdom and Islam. All religions have killed in the name of their religion, and splinter groups or sects have always gone even further. Evangeline – things are very different in the worlds of Muslims and Christians – and I generally mean America and Europe.

          If Muslims had Nuclear bombs and basically controlled all the power in the world and all of our business, trade, wealth came from the Muslims – and the Muslims even gave some of our land away to one of their friendly religious groups (Israelis of course) then Christians would have the same problem and probably deal with it the same way – remember that the Revolutionary Army were essentially Terrorists to the English during the war – whatever is justified to win...

          As recently as 100 years ago most of these muslims were living in a very different world where there were (and are) kings and tribes and they also took care of their own problems – through their religious groups – Remember that through much of Christian history the Church was involved in business, diplomacy and politics. Christians have not had anything like this, even similar for quite a long time.

          I believe that Muslims will change a bit as they rely more on a central government and as people start to do better economically and actually have something to loose – there are few things scarier than an opponent that has nothing to loose – and perhaps 72 virgins to gain. So Christians please get off any moral superiority and work towards solving the problem by learning more and actually following what Jesus would do and embrace your enemy, understand them and work toward solutions.

          August 4, 2013 at 12:59 am |
    • Hamsa

      Very nice post. Just an FYI (For Your Information), but the Torah and Tanakh are both part of the Christian Bible (not the Talmud though, which is 12th century commentary on the 2 Jewish texts...like Sadiths are to the Koran I think). If you really study Judaism/Christianity (Judaism/Judaism for non-Jews) I think your mind will open, as well as your eyes...Good Luck

      January 29, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
  15. alan

    I hate the atheists who protest your right to believe in god. They don't want to see any religious symbols in public places FU. I am not religious at all but people have a right to celebrate their religion and this country was founded by religious people.

    July 29, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • prairienymph

      Alan, hate is a very strong word. Many of the people who protest public displays of a certain religion don't do it because they want all traces of that religion removed from society, but because they see the religious bigotry behind them and only want fairness. If only one religion is allowed to use public property to promote their religion and other religious worldviews are denied- that is unfair. In my experience, that unfairness is what is protested. I stand by that.

      July 29, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  16. Steve

    As someone who's not Christian I always found it odd that people in the United States want to call me "atheist" or "non-theist". I'm not atheist, I'm normal. It would be weird to start calling Americans "non-Trekkies" as if being a Star Trek fan was the norm.

    July 29, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
  17. Bob

    Fascinating article. After reading it I can comfortably place myself in the category of Seeker-Agnostic. I have always had questions about the existence of some supreme being, even after 16 years of Catholic education. One of my biggest issues is that I have always been told that God is infinite in all his ways. Omnipotent, omniscient, Omni-present. We humans are mortal creatures with finite brains. A finite brain is incapable of grasping the infinite and an infinite god of some sort. Given that, the only way to accept a god is by a blind leap of faith, for which I do not have the resolve. And so I question, think, and listen. And I separate gods from religions. They do nothing positive and are unnecessary in determine ones belief in a god. I think they get in the way quite frankly. I guess in that respect I fall into the category of Anti-Theist.

    Again, a thought provoking article, and one that made me think. Which is a good thing. By the way,I'm sure I will be criticized for being a "fallen Catholic" No fall involved, I made an informed and conscious decision to walk away from the non-stop sin and eternal damnation I heard about for all those years. As Mahatma Gandhi said, "Faith... must be enforced by reason... when faith becomes blind it dies."

    July 29, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Robert

      "Given that, the only way to accept a god is by a blind leap of faith, for which I do not have the resolve."

      True.. if we were left to our own devices. But your missing a key concept of the Christian faith, Revelation. Consider a creator with a personal/intimate interest in his creation.. Would he just leave them to their own devices, in ignorance of Himself? Or did He, as Christianity claims, take the initiative, set aside his glory and enter into the natural world to reveal his heart toward us. If this is true, there's nothing blind about accepting it.

      Christianity does require a leap of faith in the unseen, and Revelation should be logically scrutinized, but the unnatural (supernatural) elements of this claim are well regarded among respected scholars and intellectuals, both today and through the ages.. both religious and secular. It is unfair to call belief in the Christian God a BLIND leap, In light of Revelation, there's nothing blind about it.. many have argued that it is a very well lit leap.. divinely lit.

      Best regards.

      July 29, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
      • chrisnfolsom

        >It is unfair to call belief in the Christian God a BLIND leap, In light of Revelation, there’s nothing blind about it.. many have argued that it is a very well lit leap.. divinely lit.
        – Very beautiful reply and I wish it was true for me. I guess I didn't look hard enough. I look at my "leap of faith" similarly as my faith in facts as I see them – there is much light in my Atheism I see beauty in all there is, what we are, what came before us and what can be. I see Humans as the current pinnacle of evolution, and as beings who have actually transcended our DNA and now have intelligence in our society which allow us to carry information form generation to generation and to build on that to achieve whatever we may achieve – we have just begun.

        July 29, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
        • jroeper

          One thing that should be pointed out is that not believing in God, or believing in no God takes as much or more faith as believing in God. Since none of us were actually there 100,000 years ago, or billions of years ago, we really don't know how the earth was formed, and while we may trust some findings of science, those findings are constantly changing and being refined. Also, no one really knows where their soul end up at the end of this life, because once it ends, we cease to be part of this reality that we are living in. All I know is, the world is too complex and far too intricately formed to have happened by accident, and so I find I must believe in God, knowing that someone with infinitely more knowledge and understanding than me, was smart enough to design all of this, including me. Also, in my experience, I find that the story in the Bible, while hard to comprehend, jives with what I observe of mankind, and the presence of both good and evil in the world. And, I have also discovered that as I personally embraced the person of Jesus Christ, and what he did and stood for, that many other things in this world and my life made sense.
          In response to a few comments above, I do not personally know exactly how old the world is, but if God is eternal, and the universe as well, whether the world developed in a big bang, or was deliberately created by someone 6000 or 600000 years ago, the materials could all still be billions if not trillions of years old. Therefore, also the beams of light. It requires just as much faith to believe the world is 2 billion years old as it does to believe it is 6000, and none of us can truly prove it since we were not there, we can only hypothesize. The danger is to see those scientific hypotheses as fact, and religious belief as non-fact. I know the earth is an incredibly designed object in an incredibly huge universe, and don't pretend to have all the answers.

          July 29, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
        • chrisnfolsom

          >The danger is to see those scientific hypotheses as fact, and religious belief as non-fact. I know the earth is an incredibly designed object in an incredibly huge universe, and don’t pretend to have all the answers.
          – I disagree with this as it is much easier to believe in what you can see and test then one of many different religions on earth. I would much rather believe in man's ability to shape his own future then a rapture coming (any time soon) as some time to save us all – some use that to say man has domain over the earth and should not care about conservation....God will fix that of course..

          I really don't want to shake anyone's belief as not having a belief in anything is a terrible thing – I just believe in evolution, and man's ability to control his destiny. If you believe in a deity that is great as long as you don't ask me to drink the cool aid and refute science to the point that our human race destroy's itself. Just as most Christians would not want radical Muslims (I don't mean all Muslims) to be in control of the United States – even if they won the election (sorry, Obama does not count) – I don't want Christians in office pushing their tribal beliefs on me, the country and the world.

          July 29, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
        • Cheeeeesssseee

          Great respone!

          July 30, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
        • Number 6

          @jroeper

          -“One thing that should be pointed out is that not believing in God, or believing in no God takes as much or more faith as believing in God.”
          How so? Just as believing and not believing in Little Red Riding Hood? Most 4 year olds are convinced that Santa Clause in real. I am not. Are both our beliefs equally valid?

          -“Since none of us were actually there 100,000 years ago, or billions of years ago, we really don't know how the earth was formed, and while we may trust some findings of science, those findings are constantly changing and being refined.”
          No we were not there. But you don’t need eyewitness accounts to prove whether something is true or not. There would be a lot more unsolved murders if that were the case. Science constantly changes as new evidence emerges. Unlike religion that is stagnant and bends the science to fit the facts.

          -“Also, no one really knows where their soul end up at the end of this life, because once it ends, we cease to be part of this reality that we are living in.”
          There is also no evidence that anything such as a soul exists. Or does that take just as much faith to not believe as believe?

          -“All I know is, the world is too complex and far too intricately formed to have happened by accident, and so I find I must believe in God, knowing that someone with infinitely more knowledge and understanding than me, was smart enough to design all of this, including me”
          Who said this world formed by accident? You’re using the God of the gaps argument. You don’t understand how something happened so “X” caused it. Just as in centuries past we didn’t understand epilepsy and so believed it to be caused by demons.

          -“Also, in my experience, I find that the story in the Bible, while hard to comprehend, jives with what I observe of mankind, and the presence of both good and evil in the world.”
          Which parts are hard to comprehend? The curing leprosy with bird’s blood, the Eve was created from Adam’s rib, the story of Noah’s ark, the exodus from Egypt? The list goes on.

          -“And, I have also discovered that as I personally embraced the person of Jesus Christ, and what he did and stood for, that many other things in this world and my life made sense.”
          Meek and mild Jesus, who was the first to threaten everyone with eternal torture? As nasty as the God of the Old Testament was at least when you died you were dead. He never said he would send you to a fiery Hell.

          -“In response to a few comments above, I do not personally know exactly how old the world is, but if God is eternal, and the universe as well, whether the world developed in a big bang, or was deliberately created by someone 6000 or 600000 years ago, the materials could all still be billions if not trillions of years old. Therefore, also the beams of light.”
          Not to be rude but, “If, if, if.” Again with the God of the gaps.

          -“It requires just as much faith to believe the world is 2 billion years old as it does to believe it is 6000, and none of us can truly prove it since we were not there, we can only hypothesize. The danger is to see those scientific hypotheses as fact, and religious belief as non-fact.”
          No, “you” can’t prove it. Science can. Study cosmology, quantum mechanics, the geological record, the fossil record, etc. The biggest problem with religion is it doesn’t like its followers to be educated.

          -“I know the earth is an incredibly designed object in an incredibly huge universe, and don't pretend to have all the answers.”
          It’s not designed, nor is it an accident. Science can explain how it came about within thousandths of a second after the big bang. (The age of the universe is 13.77 billion years, with an uncertainty of only 0.4%, – NASA., and the Earth is 4.54 ± 0.05 billion years – U.S. Geological Survey),

          July 30, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
        • Cheeeeesssseee

          Read the bible before you try to critique it. Jesus wasn't the first person to talk about damnation. Also "Science can explain how it came about within thousandths of a second after the big bang. (The age of the universe is 13.77 billion years, with an uncertainty of only 0.4%, – NASA., and the Earth is 4.54 ± 0.05 billion years – U.S. Geological Survey)". Do the math, what is 0.4% of 13.77 billion. It's 54.8 million. That's a pretty big friggin error! I don't see that being a thousandth of a second. Maybe in God's seconds! Boom, mind blown!

          July 31, 2013 at 8:11 am |
      • joe

        Pray that the Muslims don't take over the world, then you'll see some serious intolerance.

        July 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
        • chrisnfolsom

          >Pray that the Muslims don’t take over the world, then you’ll see some serious intolerance.
          -Muslims have no monopoly on intolerance. Almost all religions are good during good times and get conservative during bad. Muslims – at leas the radical ones are products of their environment as modernism, science and war – along with the state of Israel – have put them under pressure – so they go radical.

          This of course is the same issue with Christians in America who feel pressure as they are loosing their majority in America, and as the majority controls the government that is a problem. Also the pressure of science and facts are putting pressure on their beliefs as the day after day proof that prayer makes no difference (other then personal peace) and scandals cannot be forgotten with modern day communication – the emperor is being shown to have no clothes.

          Again, I am for religion, just not radical ones that promise things they cannot keep and are willing to polarize our nation against science and reason to protect themselves.

          So will Christians give up the country without a fight and follow our founders rules for our Democracy – many country's are dealing with this issue? We will have to see as it is inevitable.

          July 29, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111
Advertisement
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.