July 15th, 2013
02:50 PM ET

Behold, the six types of atheists

By Dan Merica, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

(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.


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.

Daniel Burke

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Holidays • Lost faith • Nones • Spirituality • Trends • United States

soundoff (9,518 Responses)
  1. photografr7

    The Story of Jesus iappears in the New Testament, but it might not have been the first time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbAoDd1bq6Q

    August 24, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
  2. Scot

    Hi mom, look at me I am an atheist or should I really say, I feel shorted in life, spoiled, whiny, and need attention so I joined this group. Next year it will be another group but for right now, it's the atheists.

    August 24, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Brandon

      I dont believe in any higher power which I have to bow to. I do however have enough morals to know not to judge other people. Have a beautiful day.

      August 24, 2013 at 11:55 am |
      • Guest

        Well said, Brandon!

        August 24, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Tom Sawyer

      Or, far more likely, regardless of geography: "Hi Mom, look at me, I follow the same religion you do. Didn't really put any thought into considering anything else. Glad I was just born into the right religion".

      August 24, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
      • photografr7

        I personally wouldn't care if the major religions of the world fought to the death. My only concern is for those innocent atheists, agnostics, and children (who have not yet been brain washed by their families and culture) who might be injured in the cross-fire.

        August 24, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
        • Guest

          It would certainly make for a more loving, peaceful world!

          August 24, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
        • Peter

          You have the nerve to mention "innocent atheists" in this context. The greatest butchers of the 20th century were true atheists. Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler, and the list goes on. And please don't insult everyone's intelligence by implying Hitler did his butchery because of some religious zeal. It is quite clear that he was a diehard atheist who only used religion for his own interests. It is no coincidence that secular Communist regimes have very little thought for an individual human life. Why should they when they don't regard it as sacred or worth saving. Their MORAL compass is turned off

          August 24, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
        • photografr7

          They were staunch atheists, indeed...... BUT (there's always a but), they didn't carry out unspeakable crimes against humanity BECAUSE they were the atheists, unlike the crimes against humanity by men of faith who proclaim at the top of their lungs, Allah praise they name as they pull the detonator while sitting in a bus load of children, or certain Christian sects in the Mideast who carryout equally horrible atrocities in the name of the Lord. Show me one example of a mass murder in which the person or leader who carried it out did so while praising loudly the non-existence of a God. I never happened.

          August 24, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
        • JR

          Peter – Please don't insult our intelligence by being one of those who insist Hitler was not a Christian.

          August 24, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
        • photografr7

          ... or view this site http://www.nobeliefs.com/Hitler1.htm

          August 24, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
        • photografr7

          "Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord." – Adolph Hitler

          August 24, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
        • fafarachi8

          @photografr7..So you do believe that what Hitler did to the Jews (Holocaust) was just a self defense?

          August 25, 2013 at 12:07 am |
        • photografr7

          Huh? What? Errr? Hmm? German Jews were Germans and Hitler was the head of the country? They weren't at war, so how would the word "self defense" apply? I don't get it.

          August 25, 2013 at 12:26 am |
  3. Peter

    While there very well not be a God, is it that difficult to understand why the vast majority of human civilization believe that all the incredible complexity and harmonious aspects of nature , the earth, and human kind may not be just left to the almost infinite amount of chance occurrences that would have to take place to get us to this point? Is the Big Bang THEORY that much different from the story of creation, where maybe the length of time was misunderstood? As far as Christianity, the thing that always makes me wonder is what made a dozen or so men set off from a place in the Mideast to spread a message that they knew would lead to their execution and torture. Why did a bunch of guys that were cringing in fear and running for the hills at one moment, change their tune a month or so later and go out to certain death? Do atheists deny that the Christian faith was spread by a few men traveling thousands of miles with no fear of what happens to them after certain death. One nut, maybe two, but a dozen or so guys from one spot on earth traveled the world to spread a fable? Really? Denying the vast evidence of evolution is willful blindness on the part of creationists, but evolution never quite explains the guiding mechanism that actually causes something to grow wings or fins or whatever is needed to adapt so perfectly to it’s environment. A scientist who looks so closely at the intricate details behind life just has to come away with a sense of awe or else they are missing something too.

    August 23, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • Andy

      No it is not difficult to understand why humans have attributed something unknown to a god. If it is unexplainable then must be god. Just as chemistry grew from alchemy astronomy from astrology and so on.
      Yes the big bang theory, not sure why you capitalized that word for emphasis, is different from the fable of creation as the BIG BANG theory, better to call it the everywhere stretch really, had a testable hypothesis that was demonstrable.
      Finally if your proof for truth is why people were willing to die for their belief then how could you know which one is true? Repeatedly in history men have died for the gods they believed in which ones of them were wrong?
      I believe that these places called museums of natural science show the evolution of animals that develop wings the guiding ‘mechanic’ is hard ship of environment and chance.
      Berkley natural history does a decent job explains this.

      Finally it is amazing how animals survive and adapt considering the sheer number of living creatures that have gone extinct since life began on earth it is awesome you are correct.

      August 24, 2013 at 7:41 am |
    • Graham Epp

      Hey Peter, read this:

      Luke 14:26

      If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

      Luke 19:27

      But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

      Matthew 10:34

      Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I come not to send peace, but a sword.

      And sorry for going off topic this one time.

      August 26, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
  4. jjg777.

    I am a Christian so I won't even deal with the comments you made regarding other non Christian religions. However regarding the bible:

    The bible says there is only one name under heaven whereby men (and women) must be saved. The Lord Jesus.

    The bible claims that Jesus was raised from the dead by the Father. No other religion claims that a man was raised from the dead. That he was seen on the earth for 40 days after he was resurrected (by more than 500 people) and that he then went up to heaven on a cloud. That he now sits on the right hand of the Father making intersession for our sins.

    The rapture will take all born again believers to heaven. Leaving the rest of humanity in a horrible time of war and the coming of a man called the Antichrist and a season of horror for 7 years most of humanity will be killed by other men and Christ will return for 1000 years of peace. Then unbelievably after 1000 years of his rule on earth, man kind will still revote and be promptly put down.

    The bible has been incredibly accurate. Going back even to non Christian sources such as Josephus where he describes Christ in around the first century. The bible knows things that man has just recently discovered. For example in four places the bible says that "God stretches out the heavens like a curtain." If you read what Hubble discovered that the galaxies are flying away from each other in just that manner. His discovery was not made until 1929!!!

    Or how about looking at many of the (hidden) prophesies in the Psalms. For example: Each of the Psalms seems to describe events that match the number of that Psalm in the 20th and 21th century. For example Psalm 91 for 1991. It very accurately describes gulf war number one. The Psalms talks about arrows (scud missle) tipped with biological weapons (pestilences in the bible). Read the whole Psalm for your self. Or maybe you want to read Psalm 102 (for right after 9-11-2001). It describes a building (the trade towers) coming down and people in the dust! Read it for your self.

    Or maybe Psalm 46 (right after the 2nd World war) it says God ends all war and it describes the earth melting (atomic bomb). I could go on.

    Man has no other answers to why it we are evolved rather than made by God that every other planet that we have discovered is barren and weird with no chance of life.

    There is a all powerful, all knowing, all present God and he can give you eternal life if :

    You confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Jesus from the dead you will be saved!!!

    Finally, to prove this statement above read the story of the crucifixion of Christ, with 2 bad men one on either side of Christ also being crucifixion. The one bad man said to Christ on the cross, "If you be the Christ, come down off that cross and save your self and then save me." But the other bad man on the other side of Christ said to his bad friend, " You and I deserve what we are getting but this man (Christ) has done nothing amiss. Then he turned to Christ and said " Lord when you come into your Kingdom, remember me. Therefore he called Jesus "Lord" with his mouth, and must have believed in his heart that Jesus was going to be raised from the dead (because at the moment Jesus was on the Cross.) He met the requirements of the verse "Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and you will be saved.

    What did Jesus say to the one thief who made this confession (but not to the other). He said "This day will you be with me in paradise (Paradise became Heaven).

    Fall away from the church if you will as the bible says–There will be a great falling away." But one day you will see the Lord Jesus standing before you with the nail prints in his hands and his feet and you will say "Lord I believe now."

    But it will be TOO LATE.



    August 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      You have no evidence for any of that. You have no realistic basis to believe that a conversation between the men on the crosses could be overheard above the noise of the crowd at that distance let alone recorded accurately.

      August 23, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
      • jjg777.

        Mary and John were near enough to hear Jesus say to Mary (speaking of JOHN) BEHOLD YOUR SON, AND TO MARY BEHOLD YOUR MOTHER. Also the bible gives seven saying of Jesus on the Cross including "Forgive them for they know not what they do."

        No matter what objection you come up with, you will one day see the Lord Jesus with the nail prints in his hands and feet and know that you should have believed.

        August 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
        • shamblin

          Who are you really trying to convince? Everyone else? Or maybe deep down in the back of your mind you're trying to reassure yourself of your own chosen religion. Keep trying to convince yourself.

          August 25, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
        • jjg777.

          My purpose is simple. People need to hear the Gospel (which means Good News) and fall at the foot of the Cross and be saved. My benefit will come when Christ says to me "Well done thy good and faithful servant. " I will receive a soul winners crown in Heaven. And someone maybe you could come up to me in Heaven and than me for pointing you to the cross.

          August 25, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
        • seanshamblin

          So all your preaching is pretty much just for yourself. "Soul winner's crown?" Wow. You must be the one person on the planet who knows exactly what the afterlife is like. Its kind of like you are god. Isn't that type of thing looked down upon in your religion? You're really giving yourself too much credit.

          August 26, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Andy

      Wow thank you I had no idea that the bible was so accurate about history and in fallible thank you for telling me to read it. Everything is different and now i see the light. All your hard work has finally paid off you no longer have to copy and paste this into every article on CNN.

      August 23, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
      • shamblin

        Yeah. jjg77 has convinced everyone and saved all of our souls. I think he or she is trying to convince herself more than anyone else.

        August 25, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • Tom Sawyer

      If someone quotes the Quran to you and says you'll go to hell unless you proclaim that there is not god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet will that compel you to believe what they are saying? Likewise, you quoting from the Bible and telling people they will go to hell unless they believe it will have no effect on anyone who isn't a Christian.

      August 24, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
      • photografr7

        Good point. The problem is that all religions, both major and minor, do not agree. If they all agreed, I would say to myself, "Gee, there might be something to it." Since their stories vary wildly, they all can't be right.In fact, most if not all are wrong.

        August 24, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
      • david smith

        The thing is Tom, you have been told – now its your choice.

        August 24, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
        • photografr7

          Since when is choosing being evidence and a myth a matter of choice?

          August 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
        • photografr7

          That reminds me of my first day in college. After my math professor explained the basic concepts behind calculus, he said to the class, "Believe it if you want to, or not, I don't care. Have a great day and we'll see you tomorrow."

          August 24, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
  5. photografr7

    I am an atheist, and I can't explain it, but a man came to life after pronounced dead: http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/bestoftv/2013/08/22/exp-newday-cuomo-yahle-dead-45-min.cnn.html

    August 23, 2013 at 1:16 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Simple, they made a mistake. Clinical measures of life are not always performed perfectly.

      August 23, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
      • photografr7

        That may be true but he was "dead" for 4-minutes, and CNN (hardly the CTN - Christian Television Network) let the family go on and on about how the only explanation was Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezus. If it was a mistake on the part of the hospital, why didn't Dr. Gupta tell the family that mistakes happen and "you might consider consulting an attorney for pain and suffering"? They were ready to sign the death notice when someone walked over and said, "Guess what... HE'S NOT DEAD!" The fact that this story took place on April 1st probably had nothing to do with it. I bet they laughed about this all the way home, while thanking Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesuz profusely!!

        August 23, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
  6. Reason over faith

    How about those of us who can't understand why people don't use anyreason to realize all of this faith based junk is nothing but mythology? Oh yeah, we are the ones who actuall read something and wish to enlighten ourselves based on facts. That must make me a #1 in this definition.

    August 22, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • amandastackis

      How about those of us who are intelligent, do use reason, and come to different conclusions? Live and let live.

      August 22, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
      • photografr7

        We will never let "intelligence people who use reason" and who are, nevertheless, dead wrong alone. This is too important. Or do you not think that the creation of the universe, earth and mankind is important? Certainly you can't believe that!

        August 23, 2013 at 12:25 am |
      • In Santa we trust

        How would reason lead you to believe in the bible? You wouldn't take the rest of your life on faith – you wouldn't buy property, investments, insurance, etc without due diligence; you wouldn't cross the street without looking. The bible may have some good ideas about morals but they are not unique to religion or christianity. The creation myths are shown to be incorrect; many other stories are implausible and unreproducible today; there are many contradictions in the bible. And it's not the only religion.
        There is no convincing argument for a god and none for christianity.

        August 23, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  7. Randy Butterfield

    What about deism, pandeism, pantheism, panentheism? Belief in a non-involved creator and/or that nature is God and vice versa?

    August 22, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      What about it?

      August 23, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
      • Randy Butterfield

        Deism and related beliefs lie somewhere between arheism and theism, although many theists would lump them in with atheism. I merely asked the question to provoke a discussion. If the concepts are unfamiliar to you, try Wikipedia.

        August 23, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
        • photografr7

          Weren't most if not all of the Founding Fathers Diests? If that's true, and you're right, why do they call America a Christian nation?

          August 23, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Andy

      I don't think it is much of a stretch to sort people into these general categories. We like easy to chuck around phrases to sort people into any way. Easier to count that way.

      August 23, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
      • Andy

        On second read all of those positions you state begin with or contain faith or belief that a god exists. None of these people should be sorted to any atheist group.

        August 23, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
  8. Knucklehead

    We'll be trying to straighten this out at the 2014 American Atheists Conference. We are going to streamline the dogma and stand united as one...or else you'll be ex-communicated

    August 22, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  9. Dyslexic doG

    Christians arguing stories from their bible vs. scientific facts is like arguing about Santa's sleigh flying ... sure it says it flies in the stories but the facts are that there is no Santa (sorry kids), there is no magic sleigh, and there are no magical reindeer to guide his sleigh tonight. Anyone using any story in the bible as a fact to argue against scientifically proven evidence is deluding themselves and annoying the sane.

    And you Christians wonder why we atheists sound annoyed all the time.

    August 20, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  10. Graham Epp

    It seems to me an error of judgment to classify atheists according to what they don't believe. Try classifying them according to what they additionally believe and you'll get a clearer picture. This makes sense because atheism isn't limited to reacting against the proposition of God. It can also be a basis for accepting continuation without God playing any role whatsoever. The greater context is perspectives on the existence of a hopeful reality, and if you forget this you only botch the analysis. Anyone care to respond?

    August 20, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  11. Gretta Madlock

    I genuinely enjoy examining on this website, it contains fantastic content. "A short saying oft contains much wisdom." by Sophocles.

    August 20, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  12. Byrd

    You forgot one important category: Vengeful-Agnostic: We believe that god exists, but he's a complete jerkwad with some well-deserved payback coming soon..

    August 20, 2013 at 10:10 am |
  13. Graham Epp


    I see no way that I fit into any of your six types. I thought for a moment maybe type 6, but see that I don't qualify on three counts. To help you out I don't believe in a God, soul, or heaven. I do believe we eternally continue through a form of eternal recurrence. I have constructed a personal religion around this largely devoid of ritualism and mundane life philosophy, and meditation plays no role. I can logically prove everything I claim and yet feel an equal amount of joy. I'm outspoken and aggressive. I hope to take down the faiths, the hard line skeptics, and the fence sitters- all in a single blow.


    August 20, 2013 at 12:59 am |
    • Graham Epp

      Oh, and this isn't a declaration of war. It's a declaration of intention to fairly compete.

      August 20, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Peter

      Graham, you don't sound like an atheist at all. After all, you admit you have "constructed a personal religion" for yourself. The fact that your religion is "devoid of ritualism" and day-to-day commandments reminds me of Deism, along the lines of the USA's "Founding Fathers." I suggest you look up Deism on Wikipedia––it's an interesting combination of rationality and religion.

      Does "eternal recurrence" mean reincarnation?

      August 20, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
      • Graham Epp

        Peter, I don't understand why you would think I don't sound like an atheist when I clearly stated that I don't believe in God. As to recurrence, this is not reincarnation. Reincarnation is considered a supernatural event. Recurrence is not. It's based on natural copying power, or simply chance. I see no connection to deism, which is essentially trying to argue God exists, and I didn't need to look that up. It's important to understand that if you have religion you don't necessarily believe in God. And it's important to understand that atheism isn't limited to disbelieving in God. There is no atheist religion, but there can be atheistic religions. I just don't fit into any of these categories, and this isn't because I'm not a real atheist, but because the premise is wrong. Atheism isn't limited to rejecting God in various ways. The proper context is possible perspectives on the greater topic of hopeful reality. Some atheists reject natural continuation (or recurrence) and others rationally accept it.

        August 21, 2013 at 12:58 am |
        • Twigz

          I'm still waiting for the logical explanation of eternal recurrence.

          August 21, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
        • Graham Epp

          This is not the place for discussing in detail how eternal recurrence works, It is also not the place for discussing the merits of one religion versus another. It's only a place for discussing the validity of 6 proposed types of atheists. I only maintain that the analysis was severely botched. This I'm willing to prove if the authors ask me to do so and allow to fully present my case- replete with diagrams.

          August 26, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      You simply sound like one more new-age nut....
      Nothing abnormal or unusual.

      August 23, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
      • Graham Epp

        Interesting that you would conclude I must be a new age nut without having heard me out, but I suppose I should get used to people saying I'm a nut without reading and understanding my work: this kind of prejudice. Thanks for pointing that out.

        August 26, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  14. Lori

    I find thinking about religion whether for or against to be a waste of time. That so many people get worked up over religion and dedicate so much time to believing or not believing it boggles my mind. I guess I fall into the non-theist category.

    August 19, 2013 at 8:44 am |
  15. J

    I think this study very much represents how either new atheists or society have set things up, I'm not sure, and why I feel so detached from the "movement." I have no desire to obsess about atheism. I don't Hitchens, or conferences, or the in-fighting, to make me feel important. However, I am not indifferent. I am disgusted by the way society is organized around something I can't believe in and that my unbelief is considered immoral. I speak up whenever I see injustice. I choose to associate with atheists because I feel a bit safer. However, a few of my friends are so angry (rightfully so, their lives have been damaged by bigotry against them) that I can't quite relate.

    I think it's positive to recognize there are many different faces of atheism but this doesn't capture that, even with the disclaimer that there may be more "tribes" at a later time. This research skews the point that the ONLY thing atheists have in common is nonbelief. That's it.

    August 19, 2013 at 5:18 am |
  16. Rendiggy

    I have an actual question for the study... what sort of research has gone into the relationship between an atheist's concept of religion and how it impacts their choice to reject it? I've known a lot of people who seem to have a twisted view of what certain religions are actually about. They've never read the Bible or the Quran, but they are sure they know what it means because they read something about it once. They're judging the entirety of the religion based on extremists or legalists or straight-out jerks. Yep, religious jerks do exist. Has anything been done to correlate the types of beliefs with their personal understanding of the religions they are judging? And how they may be misinterpreting what they are judging?

    August 18, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
    • George

      The starting point for most athiests is the realization that there is no need for a god. All of the rest is a reaction to the effects of religion on daily life. It really is pretty scary that people with the ability to wipe out large numbers of humans using advanced weaponry profess beliefs that are profoundly irrational.

      I think it is true that many athiests misunderstand the religions that they criticize; I find that many happily join in with the Christians in demonizing Islam. However I don't think that a better understanding of any particular religion would convert athiests to theists, however - the fundamental understanding that God is both unnecessary and unsupported by evidence would not be changed by a better understanding of what members of a particular religion really believe.

      August 21, 2013 at 12:47 am |
  17. Doc

    I know Atheism mean they don't believe in God? Then why do Atheism hate God so much?

    August 18, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • NorthVanCan

      They don't hate or can't hate "God"
      They just hate nonsense being told to children as the "truth"
      Surely you can understand that.?

      August 18, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
      • DLC53

        If you think Atheist say they hate something, to prove your point, you need to quote what they said, not what you think they meant.

        August 19, 2013 at 12:16 am |
        • Charlie

          I am an atheist and I do not hate god, I simply do not believe that he/she/it exists.

          August 19, 2013 at 12:46 am |
    • sam stone

      you have to believe something exists before you can hate it, doc

      August 27, 2013 at 4:46 am |
      • photografr7

        We don't hate God. You can't hate something that doesn't exist, although I'm not too happy with Santa Claus who brought a pretty lousy present down the chimney in 1969. By the way, how can a roly-poly man fit through narrow chimnies? It must be one of those biblical miracles, I guess. I never read the entire Bible... But I digress. We don't hate God; We just hate the idiotic people who believe in Him.

        August 27, 2013 at 6:19 am |
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    August 17, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
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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.