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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

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Faith • Nones

soundoff (4,594 Responses)
  1. wallybird1234

    I'd rather get my teeth cleaned at the dentist than have my brain washed at a church.

    July 19, 2013 at 10:34 am |
  2. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    Shame on atheists carrying US dollars..... Read back of it. IN GOD WE TRUST

    July 19, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • Henryo

      Put there in the 50's under McCarthy...does that make it christian now? No.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • Jim

      By that logic, you must be a supporter of every act of the Federal government to be living in this country. By extension, you must be a huge fan of Obama.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • wallybird1234

      oh the IRONY – the words "In God We Trust" on the back of ever y $ bill is printed right next to what the bible expressly calls an abomination.

      Gotta' love it.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:37 am |
      • Troy

        What, wearing two kinds of cloth? Is someone eating shrimp? Or should we just skip to Luke 16:15.

        July 19, 2013 at 10:42 am |
        • wallybird1234

          Nope..."In god we trust" is printed right next to the picture of an EAGLE – our national symbol, and according to the bible, an "abomination."

          Kinda amusing that even the religious people dont know that, don't you think? lol

          July 19, 2013 at 10:45 am |
        • Troy

          @Wally No, I don't think that. Not at all. I think the Bible is a joke. A very distateful dangerous hateful joke.

          July 19, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Troy

      Oh, it must be so then! Other humans have put a motto on money, let us all rejoice in their godly decision.

      Ridiculous.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • snowboarder

      nothing more than a quaint statement from more supersti tious times.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • asdrel

      What choice do they have? It isn't like there are two kinds of currency in the U.S., one for believers and one for athiests. Maybe we should start that. We could have In Yahweh We Trust for Jews, In Allah We Trust for Moslems, In Buddha We Trust for Buddists, In The Earth Goddess We Trust for Wiccans, stc. as well as as nothing in that spot for athiests.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      OK – I just went into my wallet and put a line through "In God we Trust" on all my bills.

      I suggest that all atheists do this. This seems to be a more in-your-face protest than playing hide-the-bible in hotel rooms.

      Tell all your atheist friends (and libertarians) to do the same and lets see how long it actually takes to remove it from our currency.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:51 am |
      • Brother Maynard

        ok I think that is a brillant (sp?) idea. I've seen a number of "WheresGeorge.com" bills ... I think marking that out with a sharpy is awesome. I'm seriously going to start.
        My own little way to rebel.

        July 19, 2013 at 11:09 am |
      • My Dog is a jealous Dog

        I can't wait for the counter-protest from fundies where they refuse to spend bills that have been "defaced".

        July 19, 2013 at 11:18 am |
  3. Bill P

    It is somewhat interesting to know what others of some fame believe (or in this case, do not believe), but for all those, great and not so great, that are now dead, their knowledge and understanding is infinitely more than when they breathed for existence. Knowledge for which nothing can now change for them. The only person ever to have been endowed with greater wisdom, directly imbued from God, greater than any other human, King Solomon said, when “pondering the mysteries of the universe” (i.e., the meaning of life), “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). We might all agree that no fact has ever been made or deemed true because of belief. And, we might also agree that of the seven billion living humans and those billions that have passed before us, that not one of them has formulated a universal and compelling argument to prove the existence of God, nor disprove it. The matter boils down to faith, and not human logic or wisdom, and apparently, that is what God intended: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). The Bible tells us, “the fool has said in his heart, there is no God” (Psalm 14:1).

    July 19, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • snowboarder

      it is impossible to glean the intentions of any god considering that all religious texts were written by men.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • William Demuth

      Of course, we are fools. The Muslims, Jews, Shintoists, Buddhists, Zoroastrians and Muslims are as well.

      But you read a glorified comic book from the bronze age and are all knowing!

      If I had only know you were so wise! To think I must now change my entire life because of your obviously deeply considered position.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:37 am |
      • Bill P

        William Demuth,

        You do not have to do anything for me, you have to do it for yourself: "Believe on the Lord Jesus and will be saved" (Acts 16:31).

        Bill P

        July 19, 2013 at 10:43 am |
        • William Demuth

          Saved from what, you're mindless drivel?

          An eternity spent with Fundies?

          July 19, 2013 at 10:45 am |
        • My Dog is a jealous Dog

          I think you meant to say "your mindless drivel", but – you are mindless drivel works just as well.

          July 19, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Edmund_Dantes

      The bible is a collection of folklore pulled together by monks in the 12th century.Jesus is based on the legend of Mithra.Look it up.Game over

      July 19, 2013 at 10:40 am |
      • Bill P

        Edmund and William,

        The Bible was written by 40+ authors (some are unknown), comprising 66 individual books, and its writing spanned a period of 1400 years. Save for some scribal errors, it is self-consistent and thousands of ancient copies exist – some that date back to within the first 100 years after Jesus was born. Those copies are held at universities around the world. Belief is a choice; ignorance of facts is also a decision. What we have today is exactly what was written originally. No other "writings of man" can claim this same testimony. And there is a reason for that – it is the inspired Word of God – whether you like that or not. And you will be held accountable for what you know.

        Bill P

        July 19, 2013 at 11:08 am |
        • Doobs

          What we have today is exactly what was written originally.

          Bullshit.

          July 19, 2013 at 11:50 am |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          "What we have today is exactly what was written originally. No other "writings of man" can claim this same testimony." Don't lie so effortlessly Bill, it makes it look like you are intentionally misleading instead of just being woefully uninformed. You know as well as I do that the current accepted canon is not what has always been accepted and there are dozens of 1 century letters and books that were written and included and then removed by the Church in the 2nd and 3rd centuries.

          July 19, 2013 at 11:53 am |
        • Bill P

          Doobs and Just facts – I believe that I have been studying this long enough not to be swayed by what you say or how you say it. I am sure that there are blogs and websites that give comfort to your disbelief, but as I said before, no belief or disbelief of a fact makes it true or false. If what you think is true were indeed so, then it would profoundly change the equation, but it is not. It does however, give the fringe thinking a false solace – for the moment. – Bill P

          July 19, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          So you claim Maccabees, Enoch, Jubilees, Psalms 152-155, the Prayer of Solomon, Ascension of Isaiah, Baruch, Ethiopic Lamentations and many more to be complete modern fabrications that were never included by early Christians or Jews in their early canons thus making the current version the only true version that has ever actually existed? If you believe that I have some beach front property to sell you in the Maldives...

          July 19, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
        • Doobs

          Well, bully for you. I've studied the bible too, and claiming that it is "exactly as it was originally written" is pure bullshit.

          July 19, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • lol

      "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live." (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, 212)

      Look I can quote stuff too!

      July 19, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
  4. FRANK

    Is this so hard to understand - religion is a business – people make a good living off of this business – belief in a religion has nothing to do with belief in God or Gods – I believe in all Gods but I do not believe in any religions – I'm not sure if this makes me an atheist or not – maybe we need another category

    July 19, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Anybody who charges a fee for salvation is a con-man.
      (that included collection plates)

      July 19, 2013 at 10:37 am |
  5. Tim

    Atheists created bombs and guns oOo

    July 19, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Henryo

      Ah, you're just a provoker. Not someone that can provide an intellectual argument. Bye.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      And religionists fire and drop them.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • Damocles

      We figured you religious people were tired of whacking each other with sticks and would enjoy something with a little more 'oomph'. Damn if ya'll didn't pick up on the idea and run with 'em straight to the nearest cafe, hotel, police station, gathering of unlike-minded people all powerful eager to try them out.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Edmund_Dantes

      Christians created inquisition and witch hunts.Your point?

      July 19, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Doobs

      Boring troll.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • lol

      And religious people fueled the wars to use them.

      July 19, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  6. Tim

    Anyone who don't believe in Jesus Christ will burn in hellfire.

    July 19, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • Henryo

      Well I "doesn't" believe in Jesus. Hellfire to me!!!!

      July 19, 2013 at 10:31 am |
      • kerfluffle

        Hellfire and dalmations to you!

        July 19, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • William Demuth

      Where you getting the fuel?

      Jeebus aint got no credit with the towel heads

      July 19, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • matthew

      Fear of the unknown breeds this sort of comment.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • darren

      I love that "unconditional" love...

      July 19, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Gotta love the Christian schadenfreude.
      Gott mit uns!

      July 19, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Jim

      And if you aren't a good child, Santa Claus won't bring you any presents. Notice the parallels?

      July 19, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Jesus

      Well do you know a better way to getting constant, around the clock BBQ ribs?

      July 19, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  7. wallybird1234

    Jumbo jet slams into side of mountain, one little kid survives out of 500 passengers....

    Religious person: "One little boy survived! Thank the mercy of GOD, it's a MIRACLE!!"

    Me: "A miracle isnt that one kid survived, that's just chance. A 'miracle' would have been if each and every one of the 500 passengers survived without a scratch when the plane slammed into the side of the mountain at 500 mph."

    July 19, 2013 at 10:30 am |
  8. John

    Atheists looks like âssholes.... Covered with tattoos, piercings, alcoholics, drug addicted and all bad behavior. They commit crime because they have no faith

    July 19, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Henryo

      Stop looking in the mirror John.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • Tim

      You can't be serious. The vast majority of inmates in our prisons would claim to be Christians.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • William Demuth

      I seem to remember your mama had some Tats?

      July 19, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • kerfluffle

      weak sauce

      July 19, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • Doobs

      Boring troll is boring.

      July 19, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Wasn't there an article on here a while back about some church advocating tattoos as signs of faith or some such? Some Christian church?

      What does that do to your little theory?

      July 19, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Jesus

      Oh no! Not (dot dot dot) TATTOOS!!! And Piercings????? Oh my! What of the children!

      July 19, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      How John, is that what your ass hole looks like?

      July 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
  9. IN GOD WE TRUST

    I hate that Christians support Jews and Israel when they deny Christ and don't believe in Him !!!

    July 19, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • William Demuth

      You hate Jews?

      Christ Killers I suppose??

      July 19, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Henryo

      Do you live in a trailer court?

      July 19, 2013 at 10:29 am |
      • asdrel

        Probably the trailer with the big Nazi flag out front.

        July 19, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • ed dugan

      If you are a christian there is a LOOOOONG list of people and things you hate. Your hate list probably contains more words than that work of christian fiction you call a bible. If it weren't for the Jews you wouldn't have one.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:31 am |
  10. IN GOD WE TRUST

    Thank God atheists cannot hold public office in numerous states, and good luck being elected as president 😀

    July 19, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • William Demuth

      Barrack is BLACK and as atheistic as any leader EVER.

      The clock is winding down on Thumper dominance, and I am enjoying watch your death convulsions.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      That Joe McCarthy was a great guy, eh?

      July 19, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • bostontola

      Why didn't god ban atheists running in all states?

      July 19, 2013 at 10:30 am |
      • William Demuth

        Cause every time Jeebus goes above the Mason Dixon, he gets his scrawny transgendered self stomped.

        July 19, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • jesus christ

      god has nothing to do with our country dumb* * * . research you'r founding fathers believes you freaky christian

      July 19, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • skytag

      Atheists cannot be prohibited from holding public office in any state.

      July 19, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  11. Social scientist

    Atheists give a bad name to Americans.... Don't turn this nation into European mentality!! Visitors are fascinated how religious Americans are and we tell them atheists do not exist

    July 19, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • William Demuth

      Atheists also gave us the A-Bomb, so now Europe and the world are our Biatches

      July 19, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • ed dugan

      YOU, and your fellow chirstians are the problem, not the Europeans. You spew hate every time you open your mouth. However, athiesim is growing by leaps and bounds. How about church attendance?

      July 19, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • myweightinwords

      It isn't fascination. Those visitors are appalled and terrified of how backwards this country can be. It's disbelief and fear you see in them when faced with your religiousity.

      July 19, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Doobs

      "Visitors are fascinated how religious Americans are and we tell them atheists do not exist"

      You sound like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – "There are no homosexuals in Iran."

      Actually, visitors laugh at how religious many Americans are.

      July 19, 2013 at 11:08 am |
      • Doobs

        Crap. Sorry about the irrelevant italics. I need coffee.

        July 19, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • skytag

      It's hard to know if people are serious when they say stuff this stupid.

      July 19, 2013 at 11:47 am |
  12. LookandSEE

    As intelligent they seem to be, they still can't explain LIFE!

    July 19, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • bostontola

      Who is "they"?

      July 19, 2013 at 10:24 am |
      • matthew

        Uneducated people.

        July 19, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Whatever the answer to the question of abiogenesis is, I somehow doubt that it'll be magic.
      Supernatural is a null word.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      I'm sorry but "God did it" is not a valid answer and is nothing more than the last refuge of morons, lazy thinkers and con-men.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Jim

      Neither can you without claiming it was magic.

      When it comes the origin of life, "I don't know, but we're working on it" is a better and more honest answer than Genesis.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Damocles

      For the love of fvck would you please take your handle's suggestion and LOOK in a book and SEE what it actually says.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • Doobs

      Science is hard. Letting someone else tell you what to think is easy.

      Looks like we know how much time you've spent thinking about what you believe.

      July 19, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  13. See Novak

    Seeking to be wise, they become as fools

    July 19, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Doobs

      Fools let others tell them what to think. Fools believe in superstitions. Fools fear knowledge.

      July 19, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  14. mariosphere

    I'm atheist and I'm proud. Science rocks.

    July 19, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • LookandSEE

      Evolution is poor science!

      July 19, 2013 at 10:23 am |
      • William Demuth

        Just because Christians don't evolve you refute it.

        Perhaps, if YOU just tried a little harder, you too might evolve?

        July 19, 2013 at 10:24 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        The 5 laws of Darwinian evolution are practically applied on a daily basis by thousands of people in hundreds of different fields. Over 150 years of building on and refining the original hypothesis has proven the theory of evolution to be true over and over again.

        July 19, 2013 at 10:33 am |
        • Jim

          @Doc

          Your response, while valid, is the equivalent to giving a book that explains the virtues of literacy to a man that can't read and doesn't want to....

          July 19, 2013 at 10:48 am |
  15. lol??

    A&A's might not claim religion, but you have to take their scientific assumptions as facts. Kinda like corps that own other corps so the owners distance themselves from the liabilities of chicanery.

    July 19, 2013 at 10:18 am |
  16. Believe

    Reasons why atheism is horrible and unhealthy for our children and living things:

    – Atheists do not have any morality, are heartless, soulless and cold.
    – Atheists grew up in a bad family, not being loved and abused.
    – Atheism was brought upon during the French Revolution, one of the most evil time of history.
    – Communism – evil system created by atheists!
    – Atheists cannot prove God does not exist and how Earth was created.
    – No atheists contribute to charitable causes, unlike Christians, due to atheism beliefs in Darwinism.
    – Atheism making you agree with mass murder leaders like Stalin, Mao, Pot, Mussolini and even Hitler!
    – Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith and belief.
    – Countries with high rate of atheism = high suicide rate (Nordic nations).
    – Atheists tries to convert (young) people into their evil belief over the internet.
    – Atheists believe in evolutions, and want us to act like animals.
    – Atheists bash Christianity based on Jewish scriptures (Old Testament/Torah) and organized religion, and tend to ignore or forget how amazing, loving, friendly, supportive, and excellent the most influential person who has even walked on Earth, Jesus Christ, was. Christians found hospitals, universities, science, etc.
    – Atheists do not believe in Jesus Christ; therefore they must hate their neighbor and enemy. Remember the Sermon on the Mount?

    Atheists are minority in the U.S. and the world no matter what "secular" sources and polls voted by few thousands of people tells you that were made up by silly atheists dreaming about making America more atheist, unbiblical and unGodly than what it actually is. More than 90% of Americans believe in God. Period! Christianity is the world's largest religion, and the main religion in the western world. Christianity grows dramatically and goes global.

    July 19, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • mariosphere

      Were you trying to be humorous? What a clunker.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • William Demuth

      Really

      Hitler? You Do know he was a devout Christian who specifically dedicated ALL his works to his Christian God right?

      July 19, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • tony

      Boy are you uninformed , as well as all the nasty things you ascribe to others.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Dave

      Believe....you are an absolute idiot!

      July 19, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Julia Dunphy

      Is this a joke?

      July 19, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • darren

      your points are so ridiculous that I can only assume you to be a POE

      July 19, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • FrostByte

      I love satire. Such a great laugh. Thank You!

      July 19, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • marowland

      You are an example of why so many people turn from church & God.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • not my chair

      well thats great now we are just going to make stuff up now? oh right your religious. you are so miss informed that i dont know if i should laugh or cry for you

      July 19, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • types of believers

      that's hilarious. It really is fun to play make-believe. Mr Rogers would be proud.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • Um, no

      you clearly have no idea what you are talking about.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:21 am |
      • not my chair

        the scary part is I am sure a lot of people actually believe this bs

        July 19, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • not my chair

      i dont know about you but i can never figure out what my favorite christian charity the inquisition or maybe the crusades. those christian really helped out a lot of people

      July 19, 2013 at 10:21 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        I'm partial to the Judas Cradle.
        Be thankful that one isn't your chair!

        July 19, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Jim

      "Any sufficiently advanced troll is indistinguishable from a genuine kook."

      Which is this? You decide!

      July 19, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • bostontola

      Don't be so afraid, we atheists are a tiny minority.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • mrskippy

      As an atheist let's debunk this fun shall we:

      – Atheists do not have any morality, are heartless, soulless and cold.

      I'm actually kind, giving and have more morals values than many Christians I know. Remember, It was good honest Christians who brought slaves to the US. It's good honest Christians that chained a gay man up in Montana and beat him to death.

      – Atheists grew up in a bad family, not being loved and abused.

      Nope. Mom and dad were pretty good to me. Taught me how to be respectful, truthful and honest. Never got "beat"

      – Atheism was brought upon during the French Revolution, one of the most evil time of history.

      Yeah, we'll forget about that whole spate of Inquisitions shall we? Oh, and the crusades. We can't remember those either.

      – Communism – evil system created by atheists!

      True. But then Capitalism isn't the greatest system either. Also remember: correlation does not imply causation.

      – Atheists cannot prove God does not exist and how Earth was created.

      Yeah, but we're not the one's claiming God does exist. And Christians can't prove he does or how the Earth was created either. But then that whole pesky "science" thing gets int he way and supports that whole pesky "Big Bang" theory.

      – No atheists contribute to charitable causes, unlike Christians, due to atheism beliefs in Darwinism.

      I contribute to charitable causes. I give to the Idaho Youth Ranch, I donate my time at a shelter. And son, Darwinism is a branch theory of evolution. Evolution itself is a proven fact.

      – Atheism making you agree with mass murder leaders like Stalin, Mao, Pot, Mussolini and even Hitler!

      Nah. But lots of good Christians sure did like that Hitler guy. Me... I like the Dali Lama.

      – Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith and belief.

      A guy who believes in magical fairies in the sky calling others mentally ill. 'nough said.

      – Countries with high rate of atheism = high suicide rate (Nordic nations).

      Countries with little sunlight during winter hours = high suicide rate (Nordic nations. And Seattle)

      – Atheists tries to convert (young) people into their evil belief over the internet.

      Pot, kettle on line one? Christians force young people int their beliefs behind closed doors on Sunday. (Or whatever day you like)

      – Atheists believe in evolutions, and want us to act like animals.

      Intelligent people acknowledge evolution is actually a real thing and accept that we are animals. As opposed to us being rocks or plants. Insane people think Humans are some sort of 4th magical being that's not in anyway related to animals despite that whole pesky "genetics" thing pretty much guaranteeing we are.

      – Atheists bash Christianity based on Jewish scriptures (Old Testament/Torah) and organized religion, and tend to ignore or forget how amazing, loving, friendly, supportive, and excellent the most influential person who has even walked on Earth, Jesus Christ, was. Christians found hospitals, universities, science, etc.

      Christians tend to use their faith to justify murdering other people. e.g. Crusades. The Inquisitions. Salem Which Trials. War in Iraq. Slavery.

      – Atheists do not believe in Jesus Christ; therefore they must hate their neighbor and enemy. Remember the Sermon on the Mount?

      No. I'm not old enough to have been there. And I do dislike one of my neighbors. But that's cuz he keeps parking his car on my lawn. (Except on Sunday when he's at church) But I like the rest of my neighbor's just fine. I even have BBQs with them.

      You're funny. Thanks for the laugh.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:42 am |
      • Jim

        @mrskippy

        Dude, you've been utterly trolled

        July 19, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • asdrel

      I don't think there is a single point in your diatribe that is true. I feel sorry for someone with such a narrow, bigoted, hate-filled view of someone they disagree with about religion.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Michael

      Before I pick apart your points, you're an Ultra Maroon. Uneducated, ill-informed and just flat out WRONG. Oh yeah, add TROLL to that, too ...
      Now, why your points are made up and categorically WRONG ...
      – Atheists do not have any morality, are heartless, soulless and cold.
      ** I have a very well defined code of honor, am compassionate and accepting towards other "races", women, gays, etc. Are you?
      – Atheists grew up in a bad family, not being loved and abused.
      ** I grew up in a loving, God fearing family. It's just that at four (4) years old, I decided that religion and Christianity made no sense. There were no answers, only questions. After reading the Bible twice, cover to cover and talking with many "people of the cloth" there were still no answers to my questions.
      – Atheism was brought upon during the French Revolution, one of the most evil time of history.
      ** Atheism goes back much further than the French Revolution. For every attempt to explain why and how things are in the world through some religion, there have been people that doubt or seek answers that religions casually ignore or divert.
      – Communism – evil system created by atheists!
      ** This is just wrong at so many levels. You obviously have zero sense of history. I strongly suggest that you go read up on what these terms you're throwing around so liberally really mean.
      – Atheists cannot prove God does not exist and how Earth was created.
      ** We don't have to prove that your diety does not exist. We don't accept as truth the "proof" that you use to prove your point. "Have faith" and "It's in the Bible" are both Straw Man arguments. I know how the Earth was created and by dating meterorites, have a real good idea of how old it is. It's all physics ... something you are obviously not familiar with.
      – No atheists contribute to charitable causes, unlike Christians, due to atheism beliefs in Darwinism.
      ** I'd really like to know where you come up with this tripe. I have contributed significant portions of my disposable income to a variety of charities as well as volunteer work for such things as the Air Zoo (a passion of mine) and Habitate For Humanity. I'm curious as to your charitable contributions. Do you help the needy, the poor?
      – Atheism making you agree with mass murder leaders like Stalin, Mao, Pot, Mussolini and even Hitler!
      ** Again, go read some history. Hitler was a devout Catholic. Stalin was a religious man. Your ignorance shouts volumes.
      – Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith and belief.
      ** Mentally ill? It is intuitively obvious, even to the most casual observer, that you eschew truth and understanding. Why do you not take 100% responsibility for everything that happens to you instead of blaming your misfortune on a diety or devil? In fact, because of my non-belef, I consider myself the sane member of my family, seeing things as they are.
      – Countries with high rate of atheism = high suicide rate (Nordic nations).
      ** Which hole did you dig this information out of? Maybe if you didn't see the sun for 6 months out of a year, you'd be a little goofy, too. Jeeze, you're such a P'taQ ...
      – Atheists tries to convert (young) people into their evil belief over the internet.
      ** And you're on the internet ... why?? Your very actions completely disprove your failed hypothesis. Uh, that's a scientific word ... you might want to go look it up.
      – Atheists believe in evolutions, and want us to act like animals.
      ** You ARE an animal, dip stick ... by definition. If you are of European descent, you have upwards of 4% Neanderthal DNA in you ... that's evolution. If you despise blacks, that is the epitome of irony since every human on the planet descended from just NINE breeding pairs ... from guess where? Africa !! Why do you think that the human eye has so many flaws? It's a product of evolution.
      – Atheists bash Christianity based on Jewish scriptures (Old Testament/Torah) and organized religion, and tend to ignore or forget how amazing, loving, friendly, supportive, and excellent the most influential person who has even walked on Earth, Jesus Christ, was. Christians found hospitals, universities, science, etc.
      ** Nobody can prove that there ever was a person named "Jesus Christ" ... and most, if not all, of the atheists I know are honest, truthful, compassionate people. Not at all like the Religious Extremeists that want to put wpmen back in slavery, taking away her freedoms, viewing gays as sub-human, that can't get past the separation of Church and State, and think that the US was founded on Freedom OF Religion, when, in fact, it was founded on Freedom FROM Religion.
      – Atheists do not believe in Jesus Christ; therefore they must hate their neighbor and enemy. Remember the Sermon on the Mount?
      ** Do you remember "Do unto others as you have them do unto you"? Then why can you hate? Your statements pin the HYPOCRITE tail on your hind side.

      Heg'lu'meH qeq jajvam, P'taQ ...

      July 19, 2013 at 10:55 am |
      • jesus christ

        Thank You!

        July 19, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
  17. William Demuth

    The key to remember is Science evolves, it is NOT stagnant.

    That is why religion is terrified of it.

    For centuries religion has declared innumerable absurdities which the sciences have ultimately proven to be demonstrably wrong.

    Can anyone provide an example where religion has proven science wrong??

    Scientists individually may hold positions they wont yield on, but SCIENCE inherently accepts challenges to dogma

    Theists often hold positions they wont consider challenges to, AND religions do the same thing collectively

    It is why science has been so successful and religions come and go.

    July 19, 2013 at 10:11 am |
  18. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    "Archaic human admixture with modern Ho.mo sapiens occurred at least twice in history: with Neanderthals, and with the population to which the Denisova ho.minin belonged. A minimum estimated 1% to 4% of the DNA in Eurasians, North Africans is non-modern, and shared with ancient Neanderthal DNA rather than with Sub-Saharan Africans (i.e. Yoruba and San probands). A minimum additional estimated 4–6% of Melanesian DNA is from the archaic Denisovan hominins from Asia. Recent DNA analysis also indicates African admixture with a now extinct archaic population." – A Draft Sequence of the Neandertal – Genetic evidence for archaic admixture in Africa – North African Populations Carry the Signature of Admixture with Neanderthals

    Any Christians care to explain how the Adam account and our actual DNA record compare? And if Adam did not exist, then how are we to accept the premise of inherited sin and the need for a savior? Anyone?

    July 19, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • dodgeywinger

      You ought to read C S Lewis. He was an atheist and then later became a believer. One of these days when you realize how frail you are and how fleeting life is, you will want to believe. Till that happens you will continue to naively believe in mankind's never ending march to a glorious future.
      As far as salvations is concerned we need it because we are creatures that have the thought of salvation put into their very being. Which other creature can even contemplate the thought of everlasting life. Once again the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, you don't get there if you believe you are indestructable

      July 19, 2013 at 10:28 am |
      • Damocles

        Why, oh why, would you have to fear a supposedly loving deity? 'Cuz it'll kill you if you don't'. Well there goes love right out the freakin window.

        July 19, 2013 at 10:33 am |
      • Edmund_Dantes

        Can't help but notice that you're reply doesn't refute the original post at all.Care to actually debate logically or are you going to stick to preaching?

        July 19, 2013 at 10:36 am |
        • Edmund_Dantes

          your* reply

          July 19, 2013 at 10:36 am |
      • Doobs

        What a load of bullshit.

        July 19, 2013 at 11:21 am |
      • My Dog is a jealous Dog

        NO – the fear of death is the beginning of god. I do not fear death (anymore) and therefore have no need for god. I do not fear oblivion – I fear an infinite existence with absolutely nothing to do. Just imagine watching the universe cool down to nothing but subatomic particles popping in and out of existence – SWEET!

        "Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens" – David Byrne

        July 19, 2013 at 11:34 am |
      • skytag

        Typical fact-free rubbish. There are plenty of atheists who never embrace your delusions.

        July 19, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      I have read C.S Lewis and Frank Herbert and Tolkien and many many more. I was also an evangelical minister for nearly 20 years. I have read the bible numerous times. None of your statement has anything to say about the science that I posted, and your sad conjecture that humans have inborn sin and a need for salvation is just laughable. If you had been born in India do you think you would believe as you do right now? You are a Christian by the simple random act of being born here and not there. Once you understand this you will start to feel like a part of the larger community of humans instead of the small minded narrow world of Christianity. Maybe then you will actually have some compassion for others without being bribed or threatened into good actions.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  19. doctorstrangeluv

    Christiantiy ... 2000 years of "Any day now"

    July 19, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • ImIrish

      What exactly is that supposed to mean?! Jesus already came to us over 2000 years ago.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:11 am |
      • William Demuth

        Cause his SUV is still parked in Palestine, and he said he would be right back.

        Traffic in the whole Middle East is tied up because the Christians wont allow the Muslims to tow his ride to the junk yard.

        July 19, 2013 at 10:13 am |
        • Lawrence

          Nice metaphor!

          July 19, 2013 at 10:21 am |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          Which is another reason we need to get the religious zealots out of our government. Right now we send 10's of billions of dollars to Israel to defend their borders but if you ask them whose land it is the Israelite's say "It is our land, promised to us by God on high 3500 years ago!" and the Palestinians say "It is our land and has been for more than 4500 years!" so who are we to believe? Well, the Palestinians have been there longer and that is a proven fact, so what about this Israelite claim? Well if you are a Christian in America voting to fund Israel you are likely voting based on your religious beliefs and have thrown and sort of reason and logic out the window in favor of "Well, If the Hebrew God promised it to them then I guess it's theirs..."

          July 19, 2013 at 10:23 am |
        • Tim

          Who cares who was there longer? That's not how it works anywhere else. Those currently in control of countries took it from someone else at some point.

          July 19, 2013 at 10:26 am |
      • Dave

        it's like waiting at the fireplace for santa at christmas....he will never come because he is just a story

        July 19, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • lol??

      doctorstrangeluv
      Christiantiy ... 2000 years of "Any day now"..............................That's Dispensationalism and the teaching that the jewry you see means something. But not what they think it does!! BTW Mormons think they are Jews through bloodlines.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Doobs

      2000 years of "You just wait until your father gets home!"

      July 19, 2013 at 11:22 am |
  20. Louis

    Reasons why atheism is horrible and unhealthy for our children and living things:

    – Atheists do not have any morality, are heartless, soulless and cold.
    – Atheists grew up in a bad family, not being loved and abused.
    – Atheism was brought upon during the French Revolution, one of the most evil time of history.
    – Communism – evil system created by atheists!
    – Atheists cannot prove God does not exist and how Earth was created.
    – No atheists contribute to charitable causes, unlike Christians, due to atheism beliefs in Darwinism.
    – Atheism making you agree with mass murder leaders like Stalin, Mao, Pot, Mussolini and even Hitler!
    – Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith and belief.
    – Countries with high rate of atheism = high suicide rate (Nordic nations).
    – Atheists tries to convert (young) people into their evil belief over the internet.
    – Atheists believe in evolutions, and want us to act like animals.
    – Atheists bash Christianity based on Jewish scriptures (Old Testament/Torah) and organized religion, and tend to ignore or forget how amazing, loving, friendly, supportive, and excellent the most influential person who has even walked on Earth, Jesus Christ, was.
    – Atheists do not believe in Jesus Christ; therefore they must hate their neighbor and enemy.

    Atheists are minority in the U.S. and the world no matter what "secular" sources and polls voted by few thousands of people tells you that were made up by silly atheists dreaming about making America more atheist, unbiblical and unGodly than what it actually is. More than 90% of Americans believe in God. Period!!!!!

    July 19, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • Lawrence

      Wow, did you just make all that up yourself, or did you just copy other people's made up stuff?

      July 19, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Trollin' trollin' trollin', keep them doggies trollin'

      July 19, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • Loathstheright

      It's simply amazing that people as ignorant as you still exist today.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • tony

      Look who's talking 🙂

      July 19, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • AAAAHHHHhhhhhhh

      That's just a long string of nonsensical opinions. There are no facts or arguments in there.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • bostontola

      You sound scared.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Jim

      "Any sufficiently advanced troll is indistinguishable from a genuine kook."

      Which is this? You decide!

      July 19, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • joe

      You are an insane person.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • skytag

      What a load of malarkey. So much for not bearing false witness.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:45 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.