July 18th, 2013
03:14 PM ET
`Six Types of Atheists' study wakes a sleeping giant
By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
(CNN) - They were trying to prove a simple point: That nonbelievers are a bigger and more diverse group than previously imagined.
"We sort of woke a sleeping giant," says Christopher F. Silver, a researcher at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. "We're a bit overwhelmed actually."
Silver and his project manager, Thomas Coleman, recently released a study proposing six different types of nonbelievers - from strident atheists to people who observe religious rituals while doubting the divine.
The study clearly struck a chord, particularly among triumphal atheists and uneasy believers. Articles appeared in in Polish, German, Russian and Portuguese, Silver said.
Here on CNN.com, our story "Behold, the Six Types of Atheists" garnered about 3.14 gazillion hits and thousands of comments.
Half the fun seemed to lie in atheists applying the categories to themselves, kind of like a personality test.
"I guess I'm a 1-2-4 atheist," ran a typical comment.
Other commenters questioned the study's categories, methods, and even the religious beliefs of its authors.
Silver and Coleman agreed to answer our readers' questions via email from Tennessee. Some of their answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Q: Several readers asked how you came up with your six categories of atheists?
A: In a sense we let the participants inform our theory.
The categories were devised from a series of 59 interviews conducted with people nationwide who don’t believe in God. Participants were asked to define various terms of nonbelief as well as their own religious views.
We also asked participants to tell us their stories and how their religious views have changed over time. We found the most commonly repeated stories and descriptions and formed them into types.
We then used those types in the survey portion of the project. Each of the six categories proved to be statistically unique in a wide array of psychological measures.
Q: @PaulTK asks: Are atheists limited to the six categories your study proposes?
A: We suspect that further research exploring people who don't believe in God will certainly expand the number of categories and fill in more details about the six we've named.
For example, we found that the Intellectual Academic Atheist type may produce a 7th type reflecting those who are more "philosophically orientated" versus those who are more "scientifically orientated."
Our study also gives some evidence that individuals may not believe in God but still identify with religion or spirituality in some way.
Q: @JessBertapelle asks: Can people fit into more than one category?
A: The typology of nonbelief is fluid. Based on our interviews, we suspect people transverse the various types over the course of their lives. Since we did not conduct a longitudinal design (a study conducted over time tracking the same people) we are unable to validate this assumption.
For those of you who found yourselves agreeing with multiple positions, you may find characteristics that you identify with in all types but there is likely one type which is your preference.
Q: @Melissa asks: Why isn't there a category for "closet atheists"?
A: This is an excellent question. Many of our interviews were done in strict confidence where the participant’s own parents, spouses, or children had no idea they were participating in the study. One participant hid in the back of her closet because she did not want her parents to discover she is an atheist.
But while there were plenty of “closeted” participants, they didn't agree in how they describe their religious views. That is, they ranged across a variety of our six types.
Q: stew4248 asks: How is this any different than religious divisiveness?
A: There is vast diversity among religious believers, but it's unclear if such diversity exists within nonbelief.
We do know that the Antitheist category has much in common with religious fundamentalism. Likewise the Intellectual atheism/Agnosticism type has a lot in common with intellectual theology, although they are clearly not the same.
Q: How did you find the participants for the study?
Participants were recruited through nonbelief communities across the country. They were recruited face-to-face, through snowball sampling (participants sharing the study with friends), and through the Internet.
Project manager Thomas J. Coleman III is well known in the atheist community because he is suing the Hamilton County (Tennessee) Commission for their involvement in divisive sectarian prayer at meetings. His reputation helped locate “closeted” atheists to participate.
The regional breakdown of participants is presented on the project website.
Q: A number of readers have also asked about your own religious affiliations, if you don't mind.
Christopher F. Silver answers:
I was born and raised in the rural South to a deeply religious Methodist family. In my hometown everyone was Christian. As was the case for many in our study, during college I was introduced to people from different cultures and ideologies. I was interested in studying different faith traditions and why people believe.
In many respects, research for this was a selfish enterprise for me. There is nothing more transformative than sitting with someone as they share their life story with you. Today I consider myself an agnostic in the real philosophical sense. The more I learn, the more I recognize the extensiveness of my ignorance.
Thomas J Coleman III answers:
My mother has been active in the Methodist church as a choir member and pianist for most of her life. My grandparents were very active in the church and went every Sunday. Growing up, I would often go as well.
But for me, “religion” was always something that other people did. I prefer to identify as a secular humanist.
Silver and Coleman would like to point out that their study was supported and conducted in collaboration with the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Department of Psychology and the Doctorate in Learning and Leadership.
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.
Once again, joining all six + categories in a few steps:
Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.
• As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.
• There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.
• There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.
• There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.
• Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.
• Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.
• A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.
Added details available upon written request.
A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.
"The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.
Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "
Wow. I'm an atheist and even I find that to be pathetically bad logic.
origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.
New Torah For Modern Minds
“Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).
The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.
Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.
The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."
AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE BELIEVERS:
Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)
"Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."
Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;
Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).
Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)
The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.
Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.
The Apostles' / Agnostics’/Atheists' Creed 2013 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)
Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????
I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)
Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,
He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.
(References used are available upon request.)
IA WANT MORE..MORE ...MORE..MORE.
I AM REQUESTING MORE....PAGES AND PAGES OF COPY/PASTE. MAYBE THEN THE MODERATOR WILL FINALLY DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS GUY!!!
Time to turn the tables on you 😀 Can you prove Atheist are 100% correct? In my guestimation, if there truely was no god , wed all be atheist, but since u are hell bent *pardon the pun* on saying atheist are correct then what PROOF do u have that is beyond a shadow of a doubt.... Rules : no taking the attention off you in ur response
Why do you think we'd all be atheists if there were no god? Humans have historically believed all sorts of incorrect things, from the earth is flat to insanity is caused by demon possession. There's nothing inherent in truth that makes our species believe it. We have, do now, and will continue to believe all sorts of inaccurate things.
I'll lay it out clearly for you.
A Christian tells me all about their God. I notice their story is full of holes so I don't believe them, That makes me an atheist with respect to the Christian God.
A muslim tells me all about their God(oddly enough the same God as Christians, just with different stories). I don't believe them. That makes me an atheist with respect to the muslim God.
A jew tells me all about their God(whadday know...same God) I don't beleive them. That makes me atheist with respect to the Jewish God.
See a pattern here? When someone can tell me a story about their God that isn't chock full of ridiculous BS I will change my mind and believe in their God. I'm not gonna hold my breath.
Are you sure you just require a god strory with no holes and not one with additional evidence of any specific kind? There are plenty of deist, pantheist and panentheist conceptions that are neither incoherent or inconsistent. I've also heard a few good stories about disinterested or slightly evil gods that seem pretty consistent.
Speaking of breath, don't waste it on ODD BALL who is an uneducated buffoon.
True. I guess I should have added that their god should be verifiable. A deist god can be consistent and coherent yet still be entirely conceptual. There isn't anything that would compell me to believe if not believing held no adverse consequences. Chrisitans insist we must believe or risk eternal peril.
I find it particularly strange that the strongest arguments put out by Christians in defence of their God are deist arguments. I mean nobody ever became a Christian because of the Kalam cosmological argument but time and time again they resorrt to using it.
The argument that all creations require a creator is valid. But it's also a hollow argument since it presupposes (as a premise) that the universe is a creation, which is exactly what the argument is supposed to prove. What I would like to see is proof that the universe was created by a deity, and that no other explanation is possible. I'm waiting.
One thing I notice is that a lot of wealthy, self-made people are atheists. Is this because they are not constrained by the strict rules of religion that their way of thinking is free and boundless?
No that is because they have huge egos that help them achieve their goals, but make them unable to believe in a greater power than themselves. Being a self made wealthy person doesn't necessarily make you happy.
Ego is thinking that the all powerful being that made the universe is all concerned with you, and your desires. It's thinking the whole universe was built for you and your kind.
Actually, dean, success in one's vocation and lack of religious belief are both correlated with intelligence and education, while poverty and religiousness share an inverse relation to measures of intelligence and education. That is a much more sound assessment.
I've noticed that many atheists are egotistical professors of one type or another who are destined to preach their version of non religion to a bunch of 20 somethings that really just want their grade.
actualy, most atheists are intelligent people who studied all religions and found the man made flaws in every one of them-and its true that more intelligent people have greater wealth...
Ah yes, the dreaded religion that is Christianity...to look after widows/orphans and keep onself unstained from the world. How horrible is THAT? It's obvious you and your beloved professors need to study a bit more.
Eric, one doesn't need to concoct an imaginary deity to look after widows or orphans. And let's be honest–that's not high on many christians' to-do lists. Living in a community stuffed to the gills with delusional self-righteous Christians, I've observed job one is spreading the word and getting everyone to believe in a vindictive passive-aggressive deity and his so-called only begotten son whose motto is "believe in me or be tortured forever."
Yeah, because Christianity invented charity.
"Most?" on what, praytell, do you base THAT claim?
and eveyrone knows religion was invented to control the poor, uneducated mases-what sounds better than 72 virgins when you die??
Actually, you MIGHT be more accurate to say that religion was CO-OPTED to control the poor, uneducated masses. In their original forms, the various belief systems were not "used" to "control" anything; they simply formed in various cultures and societies.
Any statistics to define what "self-made" means or show a disproportionate percentage of atheist representation among this group when compared to the general population or are you just using personal anecdote, a limited and biased social circle, and selective perception?
No, it's because they're not stupid like the common masses.
If your life is bad, wouldn't you find God's "love" consoling?
1984 if this were true you would want someone to lie to you to make you feel better. ????
Quran says (Islamic Scripture)
“The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]
“They say , "We live only this life; we will not be resurrected. If you could only see them when they stand before their Lord! He would say, "Is this not the truth?" They would say, "Yes, by our Lord." He would say, "You have incurred the retribution by your disbelief." [6:30]
“No soul can carry the sins of another soul. If a soul that is loaded with sins implores another to bear part of its load, no other soul can carry any part of it, even if they were related. ... [35:18]
“They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]
“Recall that your Lord said to the angels, "I am placing a representative on Earth." They said, "Will You place therein one who will spread evil therein and shed blood, while we sing Your praises, glorify You, and uphold Your absolute authority?" He said, "I know what you do not know." [2:30]
It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is. [19:35]
“We have honored the children of Adam, and provided them with rides on land and in the sea. We provided for them good provisions, and we gave them greater advantages than many of our creatures.” Quran [17:70]
“O children of Adam, we have provided you with garments to cover your bodies, as well as for luxury. But the best garment is the garment of righteousness. These are some of God's signs, that they may take heed.” Quran [7:26]
“O children of Adam, do not let the devil dupe you as he did when he caused the eviction of your parents from Paradise, and the removal of their garments to expose their bodies. He and his tribe see you, while you do not see them. We appoint the devils as companions of those who do not believe.” Quran [7:27]
“O children of Adam, when messengers come to you from among you, and recite My revelations to you, those who take heed and lead a righteous life, will have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.” Quran [7:35]
“Losers indeed are those who disbelieve in meeting God, until the Hour comes to them suddenly, then say, "We deeply regret wasting our lives in this world." They will carry loads of their sins on their backs; what a miserable load! [6:31]
Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to visit whyIslam org website.
What else does the terror and horror of the koran teach??
http://www.muslimaccess.com/quraan/arabic/005.asp et al
o "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)
"Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)
"Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)
"...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)
"Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:27-)
"It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith [Islam] to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters [non-Muslims] may dislike it." (Surah 9:31-)
"If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)
"Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)
"Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)
"Say: 'Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom..." (Surah 17:111)
"'How shall I bear a child,' she [Mary] answered, 'when I am a virgin...?' 'Such is the will of the Lord,' he replied. 'That is no difficult thing for Him...God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!...Those who say: 'The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,' preach a monstrous falsehood..." (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)
"Fight for the cause of God with the devotion due to Him...He has given you the name of Muslims..." (Surah 22:78-)
"Blessed are the believers...who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)...These are the heirs of Paradise..." (Surah 23:1-5-)
"Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:29)
"Shall the reward of goodness be anything but good?...Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents...They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets...Blessed be the name of your Lord..." (Surah 55:52-66-)
Actually, I don't think anyone's reading your post. I just read the first line, realized your lack of intelligence (though you are good at copy and paste, I must confess), skipped to the last line and am posting this comment. So there.
I didn't read the article either. I am just here for the nice [short] troll comments.
It does give the lie to the "inherently peaceful Islam" PC crap being peddled to avoid anti-arab pogroms in the USA... but then EVERY major religion has its unjustifiably inflated ego and most have their periods of slaughtering nonbelievers... this happens to be Islam's. Only without religion... just education, ethics, charity etc... will we have Whirled Peas.
@ Proud atheist. people did read his post. and it seems to me you are the unintelligent one. perhaps if you did read the post, you might lean something. And when the day come when you meet your maker (God) you will be sorrowful that you did not live your life a believer and follower. Ill Pray for all you Atheist to hopefully one day see the light. it really must be a lonely life not knowing that Hes with you at all times and Hes there for you. Instead of focusing on not believing maybe try opening your heart into finding Him. You'll be happy you did ; )
good grief amie, lighten up!! your god or gods, are dead. Sorry, its a fact, no wonderment's in so long that no one truly believes anymore they are just going through the motions cause it is drilled in their brains, so if you don't like what an atheist says, go away.
The Silmarillion clearly states that Sauron r bad, orcs r bad, man r good, and elves r good. Why you not believe in Silmarillion?
I'm disturbed by the thought that anyone from CNN or beyond actually reads the comments section.
They started doing so in earnest recently.
There are two categories of people who don't collect stamps: those who like apple pie and those who don't.
Good point Abalone. I think that makes the argument that trying to put any group in buckets is a difficult task. There could be even more types of non-stamp collectors. You could like baked apple pies but not fried. Or pies with Granny Smith apples, but nothing else. Oh man, where does it stop??
I personally do not collect stamps neither do I like apple pie. I see not point in the stamps, they are usually used and dirty from being stamped and as for apple pie, to much sugar and fat. oh woe is me....
Ask yourself this question: “Is it absolutely impossible for God to exist?” Any thinking person would have to say “no, it’s not impossible” because in order for someone to say “yes,” then that someone would have to posses all knowledge to know absolutely that God cannot exist. So, if it IS possible for God to exist, then ask: “Is it possible then for that God to reveal Himself in such a way that we can know that He is real?” Once again, the thinking person is forced to say “yes” since to say “no” would require someone to have all knowledge. If someone is to ask: “couldn’t you be wrong?” The obvious answer is “no” because God has revealed Himself in such a way that we can know that He is real, and besides, you have already admitted that it is possible...
If god has revealed himself, I must have missed it. Could he do it again?
OMG! your logic and reasoning is so flawed and repeating it in post after post doesn't make it any more relevant.
Simply telling someone their logic is poor is unhelpful. Explain WHY his logic is poor, since I, personally, see nothing wrong with it.
Well, it's kind of impossible to prove definitively that something doesn't exist. As far as I know, atheists aren't trying to.
You can't prove unicorns don't exist.
Therefore you should believe in Them.
That's his logic in a nutshell. And it's flawed.
Don't worry phrancis, you are sane and he is not.
Yes, it is possible for a god to exist.
Yes, it is possible for a god to demonstrate his existence to human beings.
No, I don't believe such a god exists because there is no evidence of such a god. Very few people ever agree on god's nature because there are no measurements whereby anyone can prove that they are closer to god or his will than another person; we all agree on math and chemistry because it's obvious that they work in the practical world. God is invisible and undetectable.
There is no "evidence" – solid, reproducible, falsifiable evidence – that the Big Bang occurred. It is a hypothesis. Yet I'm sure you accept it. A person blind from birth has no "evidence" – solid, verifiable evidence – of the existence of "color," yet most of them accept that "color" exists.
Why should the existence of God be any different? Carl Sagan said "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof." But he also said, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."
The Cosmic Microwave Background (C.M.B.), the effects of plasma on electromagnetic radiation, and the Hubble deep field are just three things that help support the big bang theory. If you need more proofing, I can direct you to some easily accessible online resources.
Your post confuses the terms "hypothesis" and "theory." The distinction is very important. Not understanding the difference leads you into illogical thinking and wild claims that are self-evidently mistaken. To confuse religious faith with a scientific theory that is supported by enormous amounts of evidence is to actually support those who do not believe–it demonstrates a basic lack of understanding about science.
As I noted, you are providing EFFECTS, from which certain surmises are made. (And yes, I am quite knowledgeable about astrophysics; I spent two years in physics and astrophysics with Dr. Michio Kaku at City College. not every believer is a scientific ignoramus.) However, most of the atheists here are looking for "proof positive" of God's existence. I was merely noting that there was no "proof positive" of the Big Bang either. And I remain correct.
Hypothesis is defined as "a proposed explanation for a phenomenon." A theory is simply a "generally accepted hypothesis"; i.e., a hypothesis for which "supportable evidence" is available. A theory is only as strong as its supporting evidence, arrived at through the scientific method. However, since there is no way to engage the scientific method with respect to the Big Bang – but only, as I noted to Wheee, to the EFFECTS of what is surmised to be the Big Bang – my contention that there is no solid, verifiable, reproducible evidence of the Big Bang remains true. Indeed, since a "theory" is only as good as the SUM TOTAL of all available evidence arrived at through applying the scientific method, the Big Bang is actually a very WEAK theory, since there are is only a fairly small amount of supportable evidence EVEN FOR ITS EFFECTS, much less its actuality.
Don't get me wrong. Although I am a believer, I believe in a 13+-billion-year-old universe. The only thing I disagree with the atheist and scientific communities about is that they essentially believe it occurred ex nihilo, while I do not.
Wheee and Jake:
Wheee is providing EFFECTS, from which certain surmises are made. (And yes, I am quite knowledgeable about astrophysics; I spent two years in physics and astrophysics with Dr. Michio Kaku at City College. Not every believer is a scientific ignoramus.) However, most of the atheists here are looking for "proof positive" of God's existence. I was merely noting that there was no "proof positive" of the Big Bang either. And I remain correct.
Jake: Hypothesis is defined as "a proposed explanation for a phenomenon." A theory is simply a "generally accepted hypothesis"; i.e., a hypothesis for which "supportable evidence" is available. A theory is only as strong as its supporting evidence, arrived at through the scientific method. However, since there is no way to engage the scientific method with respect to the Big Bang – but only, as I noted to Wheee, to the EFFECTS of what is surmised to be the Big Bang – my contention that there is no solid, verifiable, reproducible evidence of the Big Bang remains true. Indeed, since a "theory" is only as good as the SUM TOTAL of all available evidence arrived at through applying the scientific method, the Big Bang is actually a very WEAK theory, since there are is only a fairly small amount of supportable evidence EVEN FOR ITS EFFECTS, much less its actuality.
Don't get me wrong. Although I am a believer, I believe in a 13+-billion-year-old universe. The only thing I disagree with the atheist and scientific communities about is that they essentially believe it occurred ex nihilo, while I do not.
I pose this question in reply: Now that we have Google to actually answer our questions about life, the universe, and everything (42)... why do we still need a god?
When did God ever answer those questions before Google?
In Yahoo groups.
It depends on the attributes you ascribe to said god. Now, get the christians, muslims, and jews to all agree on what those attributes are.
its pretty simple to say god doesnt exist-its actually very simple minded to think that because someone taught you that god exists, he may exist....you have to be TAUGHT god exists for you to think he does
Ask yourself – is it impossible that an invisible unicorn is in your living room? No, of course it's not impossible.
Ask yourself – if there were an invisible unicorn in your living room, could it show it's presence? Of course it could.
Therefore, you must believe in invisible unicorns.
This is called an appeal to ignorance – not everything that we don't know is true.
Most excellent retort indeed.
More people need to learn about logical fallacies, so they can stop being irritating phalluses. Great reply, Susan.
Using your logic, let's try this one on for size.
Is it possible that ultra-advanced green/gray/pink aliens visited Earth millions of years ago and seeded the planet with the fundamentals of life by use of their advanced bio-engineering techniques? Is it possible that we are just a result of a rather sophisticated alien high school science project on a galactic scale? Is it possible that this is the "God" you actually believe in?
There is a difference between believing in the possibility of something versus building an entire way of life around it.
Why is that depending on your birthplace a different god reveals itself? Or different gods? It's make believe.
To which "God", of the thousands of often mutually exclusive deities worshiped or otherwise acknowledged throughout human history do you refer and for what reason do you reference that specific deity to the exclusion of all others?
It's possible (extremely improbably) for a statue to wave at you. If all of the atoms happen to line up in the same direction and vibrate together, then it would appear that the statue waved it's arm. This is technically possible given the laws of physics, but it is so improbable that you could have started writing zeros at the origin of the universe, and still wouldn't have written enough zeros today.
Just because something is technically possible, doesn't mean that it is probable or will ever happen at all.
Just because there's a 1-in-a-million billion trillion chance that God exits doesn't mean He does. In fact, there's a 99.9999999999999999999999999999999999% chance He doesn't.
with the idea of categorizing atheists, there is already something wrong. I think that, as with all beliefs, every person is in its own individual category. Then the researchers only use 59 subjects ?
I got the impression they used 59 people to come up with the questions to ask in the full survey. I agree (mostly) that you can't easily put people in buckets to describe them, but sometimes you can (to an extent.) I think that's what they were trying to do.
I checked out their methodology (see link to their study) and it seems they did a pretty good job.
Just think...in a couple of centuries from now...there will be no real proof that YOU existed. Just as trees, the earth, air, even your own existence is not enough to quinch the thirst of disbelief, ironically, no one will ever believe YOU ever existed either – even with proof before their denying eyes. Can't you just see the arrogance of such a person?
So what's your point? That god existed at some point and does not any more, right?
Eh, there might be pictures that survive. I might write a book that lasts in circulation that long. But it isn't arrogant to not believe something there is no positive evidence for, even if it is something true like that I existed.
If there one day is no evidence I ever existed I surely wouldn't hold it against anyone to not believe that I did. I wouldn't expect them to ...by definition, they'd have no reason to believe it. Instead are we just supposed to believe something because someone says to believe it?
You know what I believe existed? Dinosaurs.
You know why? Proof.
Yet that was more than "just a couple centuries" ago.
You see, I don't care if I am not remembered, I don't threaten people if they don't do what I tell them, I don't kill women and babies and pregnant girls, I don't hurt, murder and beat my chest and say they everyone has to die cause they aren't doing what I want. I don't make people feel bad or fear dying.
1. You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go....
– Dr. Seuss, (Oh! The Places You'll Go!)
Some of You SOUND intelligent to a degree. But have you ever read the bible? I suggest starting with the book of John in the bible. If you care about your family will you not at least do that? The greatest comfort and joy comes from a PERSONAL relationship with the God of the universe! And if you decide to read it, ask God to help you apply it personally. He will.And then pay attention to your thoughts about what you read.
I know some of you will laugh at this. But, pay attention to who you are listening to about God. You don't know me, but you probably don't REALLY know any of the other so-called atheists on this website. What do you think about when you're afraid?No hope? No life after?No...
Listen to God. Don't listen to the lies of the world. All of these superstars and "Heroes" will be gone someday. Just think about what you're gambling with...
"May the peace of God which transcends all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4
Nicely written, but totally delusional.
"if you care about your family"......
no point to even point the rest of my thought out
Exactly. So if we do not read the bible, we do not care about our famlies?
Please someone explain that.
Bob, I actually know more atheists who've read the bible than christians.
Then you live in a really odd place. Why are the atheists you know reading the bible? I don't pay much attention to things I don't believe in. Could it be a fear they might be wrong, or are they just looking for ways to insult Christians?
Many of us are former Christians, who read, studied and heard preachings about The Bible for a long time. Me... I put nearly 50 years into it.
Dean, I assume they're reading the bible because they want to see what all the hub-bub is about before deciding what to believe (or not believe). They tend to want to make an informed decision.
I read the bible back when I was a Christian. Reading the bible, along with more reading on the origins of the bible, on the psychology and anthropology of religion, and on the science of belief, is what led to my atheism.
I read the bible cover to cover in college and have referenced it many times since then. I've also read the Vedas, the Discources of Buddha, the Quran, the Book of Mormon, several Taoist texts and many other religious theories, from the DreamTime to Spinozan Pantheism to numerous monist and dualist theories to... well, I could go on a while. The thing is that when you've read enough, usually you realize that none of these ideas is special and that they disagree in significant ways. For this reason most people who read widely and travel when young will steer clear of accepting any one of these as a key to truth.
I'm an atheist and I read the bible to more effectively point out it's foolishness.
How would I know whether or not I believe it to be true if I haven't read it?
You are absolutely right. I laughed at you.
@Bob–reading the Bible, back to end, was what cemented my nonbelief. It was as much a story of myths as reading the Odyssey. Like all old texts, some parts of of value to today, but none of the positive ideas contained within are unique to Christians or any other Abrahamic religion (or to religion, period). There is also, a great deal that is negative, such as the inherent mysogyny and neutrality (even endorsement) of slavery that was typical of cultures of that time.
I take its "history" with a big kegger of salt.
how about you continue reading your Bible and find bliss with that, and leave everyone else to choose their own path ... if you stopped the "come take a test drive with us" mentality from your daily activities, organizations and charities, maybe you can find peaceful co-existence with the rest of the world
but teh bible was writen by man-why else would the genealogy of Joseph differ between the gospels?? more importantly, why is jospeh's tree even mentioned in the bible if he wasn the father of jesus?
Bob – Do you realize how naive and condescending you sound? I have read the bible and went to church for years which led me to question and, ultimately, reject religion. What do I do when I am afraid? I have confidence in myself to solve any problem. Someday, I will die. That is why I find joy in each day. I am very happy.
'What do you think about when you're afraid?No hope? No life after?No...'
That just sounds like you need god as a crutch.
You do know, that in every study, atheists know the bible BETTER than Christians – right? Because we were raised that way, most of us, and when we left, many read up trying to find if they were wrong or not. Oddly enough, reading the Bible is a thing that turned many atheist – you read that thing in it's entirity, not just the cherry picked pretty parts – and pretty soon you realize it does not represent anything that could be considered 'god'.
Pascal's wager is always a nice finishing touch.
The bible and god IS the biggest lie in the world. AND the biggest reason people kill in this world. I have read the bible and I couldn't believe all the evil things god did!!! Even if he did exists, and I don't believe he does, I would NOT want to spend eternity with him. He is mean and horrible. All the lying and killing and temper tantrums he has supposedly thrown and all be cause he didn't get his way. Ridiculous
I was originally raised in the Baptist church. My mom converted to Catholicism after an elderly lady dragged her into the aisle during service one Sunday, and starting screaming about my mom going to hell because she was a child of Satan due to wearing lipstick and a red sweater to service.
Then, I was slapped into Catholic school for grades 4 through 6. I went to mass every morning before school. and had catechism as one of my daily classes. I really liked that school (and sister Fidelma), better then the public schools, because the food was sooooo much better! We left that parish after my mom caused a huge stir by sleeping with one of the priests.
Not all non-believers are ignorant about religion or the bible. I think the more knowledge one has about the bible specifically, and religion generally the less likely one is to believe in the tenants of said religion.
"The more I learn, the more I recognize the extensiveness of my ignorance."
Great quote. I feel mutually inclined to become more aware of my lack of knowledge with everything I learn.
God doesn't believe in atheists... The word “Atheist” means: A – no + Theo – God = no+god. The atheist is one who says “There is no God.” This is known as an absolute statement. In order to make an absolute statement such as this, they would have to have absolute knowledge of everything there is to know in the universe. They would have to know everything about everything in order to make the determination that there is no God, because if there is the existence of even one shred of evidence for the existence of God, then they would know about it and have to admit that there is a God. By definition, an atheist cannot exist, because no one has all knowledge. This fact forces them into the position of the Agnostic. This word: A – no + Gnosis – knowledge = no+knowledge means that they do not possess the knowledge of God's exisence.
I don't need to prove that gods don't exist, there isn't a shred of evidence. The onus of proof is on those who claim gods do exist. Your statement was really not well thought-out.
LOL. No one needs to prove anything to you. Especially god.
What do you expect? He believes in fairies!
Spoken like a true egotist. I believe that you are not an atheist, because you do not believe there is no god. You believe you are god.
dean, many of us thinking people envy your ignorance-wish i could believe in god, but i studied religion too much 🙁
Spoken like a true egotist. I believe that you are not an atheist, because you do not believe there is no god. You believe you are god'
yeah, i am kind of certain he doesnt think he is god. But that does make you someone bearing false witness though.
Egotist? Like being part of a heavenly plan, to be made in gods perfect image, that you will play harp with Jesus forever?
And no, he does not believe he is god, for one thing he does exist.
There is not one shred of evidence – solid, verifiable, reproducible, falsifiable evidence – that the Big Band occurred. Yet I'm sure you believe in it.
Does Benny Goodman count ? Tommy Dorsey ?
Midwest rail: ROFLMAO! That may be one of my worst typos ever! Thanks for the laugh.
"God doesn't believe in atheists"
Yet we know atheists exist. So, your god is not omniscient?
"The atheist is one who says “There is no God.” This is known as an absolute statement."
Not all atheists make absolute statements such as that
"In order to make an absolute statement such as this, they would have to have absolute knowledge of everything there is to know in the universe. They would have to know everything about everything in order to make the determination that there is no God"
Same could be said of those who profess to know absolutely that there is a god
"By definition, an atheist cannot exist, because no one has all knowledge."
nor can a theist
Atheists do not make the claim that there is no god. Atheists simply lack belief in your god or any others.
that's the definition given by "new atheists." The traditional definition is derived from the actual meaning of the word.
Ugh, how tiresome. Athiesm is just the lack of belief, not an assertation that there is definitely no god. Don't put words in other peoples mouths.
This makes no sense... By your definition there couldn't be any theists either since they would be "saying there is a god" and would need definitive proof that there is in fact a god. A major idea of a belief system is that it doesn't rely on proof. You're an atheist if you believe there is no god, you're a theist if you believe there is a god, no one can definitively state one or the other is true.
No one needs to know anything in order to have a belief or disbelief. There all sorts of things people believe without justification. (Some might say one example is your belief in god).
Also you do not need to know absolutely everything about everything in order to know one thing. Something's you can know just logically, like that there are no square circles. Similarly if the existence of other things are logically impossible you can know that they don't exist either.
Whoever told you that you have to know everything is just doing the ultimate goalpost moving, and is not being intellectually honest with you.
Well, you're close, but "atheism" is not "a" + "Theo". It is "a" (without, or "no", if you like) + "theism", which is BELIEF in a god or gods.
Lawrence – You are wrong on the etymology of the word atheist. It originated in the 16th century from the Greek word atheos with "a" meaning WITHOUT and "theos" meaning "a god". At that time, in Europe, atheists were tortured and killed. Isn't it great how times have changed?
You guys are missing the point. I have no desire or obligation to prove that any god does NOT exist. It is not up to me to disprove something you – or anyone else – have failed miserably to prove in the first place.
Most atheists, I would think, are simply frustrated with all the silly mental hoops that believers must jump through to continue to have faith while ignoring what mankind has learned over the past few centuries. We see irrational thought and action in otherwise rational human beings. You can do better.
You have faith in something for which you have NO evidence, a faith that perseveres mainly through the indoctrination of children rather than the propagation through reason.
Your religions once had purpose when men had no laws and natural processes had no explanation. But that time is gone. It's time to evolve or be left behind.
as an athiest im glad to see more and more talk about atheism on the rise. not neccesarily these types of articles, but in general. i'm also also a firm believer (as david silverman is) that many, many people live their lives really being an atheist but live their lives like a religious person. go to church, pray in certain scenarios, etc. 🙂
It's just a way of coming out of the closet – the more atheists become real people living their lives, the less there is room for prejudice against us. When we are the boogeyman that you don't know in real life, it's easy for preachers and others to scapegoat us, use us as the bad guy in every story.
Well when you find a hot topic... hit it again right.
You weren't overwhelmed because you created 6 categories for what you view as Atheists or even the way it felt like a "Hey good Christians... here are the different types of Atheist you need to watch out for in case they don't have a scarlet A emblazoned on their shirt"
The reason you're overwhelmed is that there are more people who feel like us than you thought. More people where I was in my teens that simply questioned... More who felt like I did a few years ago that "well obviously all religions are hokum" ... More that come to a full realization as I have now that "Yes... there very likely is NO god... of any kind" Certainly none that affect me in any sort of way.... and this is the one life I get. It is precious... it's not just some waiting room I need to stay in before I get to the good stuff. This is the good stuff. It is amazing to exist and I'm going to see value in every day and enjoy my life. We hope you do too.
More and more of the falsehoods and childish stories are fading away... and that may be scary for some folks... but it's pretty exciting for the rest of us who want to see how we far we can go without a set of out dated bronze age fairytales holding us back.
Well, take the reins Reptile-Man.
This should be fun watching you twist the survival of the fittest theory which clearly supports and condones racism.
After all, some just aren't evolved as others.
100% out of 100% of all the atheist are atheist how amazing!
Why is it a big deal and people freak out when someone doesn't believe in a giant mass delusion. I don't care if Joe Schmo over there believes in an invisible sky zombie. Why should he, or anyone else for that matter, care that I don't? Get over yourselves!
People care DEEPLY about religion and the LACK of religion because it heavily influences politics and education. I'm an atheist who takes my daughter to her church: the pastor gives THE MOST political sermons, telling people who to vote for and damning them to Hell if they don't support certain political causes. People care, of yes, people care what you believe.
Why do you take your daughter to church? Are you into child abuse? 🙂
The only reason why we thought Atheists were a smaller group is because CNN wanted us to think so.
Now you're just being silly.
CNN has actually been pretty good about articles and opinion articles on atheists, talking as if we are just another group.
The reason so many are in the closet is that up until recently it was near certain career and social suicide to admit you were an athiest. Now it is merely probable career and social suicide in many areas of the country, making it more possible to come out.
Stupid article the first time.
Pooly done 'research'.
Pooly chosen questions.
Pointless discussion to follow.
"Pooly"? I would have to agree...
i know eh?! lol
I always do my research in the pool
And here we go again...!