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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. Loathstheright

    There is a seventh – Atheists that think Jesus' teaching were representing a basicly good way to live your life – but we simply find the idea of a "God" to be ridiculous. I am a better "Christian" thans todays "Conservative Christians" (they seem to be a very hateful group who want to control everyones lives by their warped thinking".

    July 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Interesting how you forget about the other religions on our planet.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
      • Loathstheright

        I wanted to keep it short, like your little unit.

        July 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
        • CommonSensed

          Wow...straight to childish insults.

          Poor, pathetic troll. I would pity you, but you don't pity trolls, you ignore them.

          Have a nice day.

          July 18, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
        • Dawn Givasheet

          Well
          Yeah,
          but I don't care WHO y'are...that was funny.

          July 18, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • Torrid

      I'm sure you've heard that the only thing required to be a Christian is to accept the sacrifice of Jesus, believing him to be the son of God who was sacrificed so that the sins of man could be washed away with his perfect blood.

      Anything more than that is personal choice.

      July 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
      • CP in FL

        Do you know how ridiculous you sound. This isn't the 15th century, we do not believe in fairy tales.

        July 18, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
      • snowboarder

        that doctrine makes no sense. god making a blood sacrifice of himself to himself. plus the whole hereditary sin fallacy.

        July 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Saraswati

      If you add a category for that you'll be adding "christians who think the Buddhas ideas were good" and "christians who think the Gita is good" etc. into a thousand other categories.

      This actually is fairly well covered, though in the ritual atheist/agnostic category

      http://www.atheismresearch.com/

      "One of the defining characteristics regarding Ritual Atheists/Agnostics is that they may find utility in the teachings of some religious traditions. They see these as more or less philosophical teachings of how to live life and achieve happiness than a path to transcendental liberation."

      July 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Dawn Givasheet

      Yeah,but I don't care WHO y'are...that was funny.

      July 18, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
  2. Salero21

    Atheism is stupidity in Full bloom, therefore there is only on type of atheist.

    July 18, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      So, you're the kind, benevolent, understanding, fogiving, follow in the footsteps of your Lord and Savior kind of theist then?

      July 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Loathstheright

      Typical response from an ignorant conservative christian.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Len

      That's very "on type" of you, Salero21.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Salero21

      Soon the hom.os will give you all the butt flu.

      July 18, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
      • bob

        Wow. Great comeback. I guess you win.

        July 18, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
      • ram

        Troll

        July 18, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • Pole dancing for Jesus

      Salero21 is stupidity epitomized, therefore there is only one type of christian.

      July 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • Jeff Williams

      Do not feed the troll.

      July 18, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Explain this to me as I do not understand your reasoning.

      Atheism is to not believe in god. It has nothing to do with intelligence, only with belief.

      Therefore Atheism can not equal stupidity. Your statement fails.

      July 19, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • 1984

      Just what Jesus would say. But I guess he would love silly trolls too.

      July 21, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
  3. CP in FL

    We brainwash our children from an early age to believe in god but there is no evidence of his existence. Would any of you believe a woman today that said she gave birth to a virgin baby? Would any of you believe a person that says god speaks to them? The Christian god is a Bronze Age fairy tale made up by men in order to gain power and influence over others.

    July 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Catholic4ever

      How can you find evidence when you've never looked? you really expected God to come down from heaven on a white horse and deliver everything you wanted?.. Wrong God. Now you choose the gods of this world.. good luck!

      July 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
      • Len

        Why can't you present any evidence?

        And why is your god the right one, among the thousands that man has invented?

        July 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
      • CommonSensed

        How's your new Pope working out? Everything you hoped for?

        July 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
      • CP in FL

        Show me one shred of evidence that god exists? And please don't point me to your book of fairy tales written by men thousands of years ago.

        July 18, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
        • Maani

          Show me one shred of evidence – solid, verifiable, reproducible evidence – that the Big Bang occurred, and I'll believe in that.

          July 18, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
        • Odds

          There's plenty of evidence to suggest that the big bang occurred. It's certain that we don't fully understand all of the implications of this event or exactly how or why they occurred. However, it's a certainty that it did occur, as evidenced by observations of radiation from the event itself (among other observations).

          If you have evidence to the contrary, by all means educate us! One of the most frustrating aspects of science is all of the things we still don't know! For every question we answer leaves us with more questions.

          July 19, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
        • Maani

          Odds:

          Thank you for your measured comment. We essentially agree. The only supporting evidence – arrived at using the scientific method – that we have for the Big Bang is evidence of its EFFECTS, NOT evidence of its actuality. And, in fact, there is actually very little of THAT either. The only difference between atheists and me is that atheists believe it occurred ex nihilo, and I do not.

          Peace.

          July 19, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
        • Huebert

          Maani

          I don't necessarily believe that the big bang occurred ex nihilo. I don't claim to know what, if anything, caused the big bang. I simply do not believe that it was caused by a conscious ent.ity.

          July 19, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
        • Maani

          Huebert:

          By rejecting both the "ex nihilo" and "creator" causes for the Big Bang, you put yourself in an untenable position. The reason for this is that you can only be suggesting that the Big Bang was caused by something other than those two – which leads us to ask; okay, then what caused THAT? Thus, you end up with an "infinite regression" of causes for causes for causes. Yet this is clearly not acceptable. Thus, there MUST have been a "first cause." If not a "creator," then who or what?

          Peace.

          July 20, 2013 at 12:11 am |
      • Desiree

        The difference for me personally is that I am not waiting for that to happen.

        July 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
      • snowboarder

        @catho, you forget that most atheists were raised in households that were at least somewhat religious. I personally spent most of my life in parochial school, but the doctrine was empty.

        July 18, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        If there is a god, it is not the one described by religions; all creation myths are known to be incorrect. Any god would have to be pre-Big Bang (if there was a pre-Big Bang).

        July 18, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
      • Odds

        Why would you assume that atheists never looked for God? Most atheists became what they are precisely because of their experiences with theism. And unlike organized religion, most atheists don't have a millions-strong support group standing ready to reinforce their ideals. We think the way we do not because we're blind or contrary, but because many of us have spent our whole lives trying to fit into organized religion. Trying – and failing, because we've never been able to sense what others claim to be sensing and, in fact, everything our senses tell us indicates that those around us are merely going through the motions themselves.

        July 19, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
      • 1984

        God is supposedly everywhere, yet he is nowhere to be found. Maybe he likes hide and seek?

        July 21, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • eric

      I'm dying to know something; How long have you been a Biblical scholar? You most likely can read The Bible in Hebrew and Greek and apply the correct context too amirite? Or are you yet another arrogant atheist who base their opinions on pure ignorance? Take your time....

      July 18, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
      • Bob

        Why does your god require a stale old book to get is message out, and with so many different re-translations that are inconsistent with each other?

        Furthermore, why can't your god do his own website to get its message out (no, religious shill sites don't count), or push some tweets out? Even the pope, that foul hider of child molesters, can do that much.

        Seems like your Christian god is one of those less-than-omnipotent ones...

        July 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
        • snowboarder

          if you actually believe the stories in the bible he would be a mean spirited little dunce.

          July 18, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
      • sam

        I'm dying to know something: are you actually expecting valid conversation from anyone while you're acting like a complete snot?

        You're just trying to pick fights. Go play outside while the big kids talk.

        July 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Knowledge that you are unaware of or deny does count as ignorance on our part. There have been numerous requests to you and other believers to show evidence of a god. None presented. Until it is, you will be regarded as delusional.

        July 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        Oops, didn't take my time.
        Knowledge that you are unaware of or deny does not count as ignorance on our part. There have been numerous requests to you and other believers to show evidence of a god. None presented. Until it is, you will be regarded as delusional.

        July 18, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
      • snowboarder

        @eric, what would be the point of reading stories of ancient myths? did you study the ancient texts of every other religion to dismiss them? I bet not.

        July 18, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
      • ram

        Oh, so now the only people who should be allowed to have feelings about, beliefs regarding, or make comments on the Bible are those who can read "The Bible in Hebrew and Greek and apply the correct context too"? That sure doesn't appear to be what I see all the time all over with all kinds of comments about it. And who is to say what the correct context is? You?

        July 18, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        I can't speak to the original poster, but I, for one, have studied the book side by side with a Lexicon and Concordance extensively to the point where my Greek and Hebrew skills were pretty impressive. I have studied the times and the area, the archaeological record, the history of the book, the Hebrew people, the Christian church.

        This exact thing is what led me to a place where I no longer believed.

        July 19, 2013 at 10:32 am |
      • 1984

        Fact. The bible doesn't even agree with itself. Another fact: Even with the SAME book the believers cannot agree amongst themselves either.

        July 21, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Oscar Cat

      As someone who has been healed twice by God and has seen the true power in Jesus, I am sad for those that speak so ugly and hateful towards him, god and fellow Christians. I pray for everyone on this post to feel the love of God. I am sorry that so many people have given Christ a bad name. I pray that you one day feel Christ and receive the gift of eternal life. Personally feel it takes more faith to not believe than believe. I am not ashamed of the gospel, nor am I unintelligent. I have felt the power of god and received his power. May you who do not believe one day believe. May peace, love, joy and goodness be upon you even though we do not see eye to eye about God and Jesus.

      July 23, 2013 at 6:27 am |
      • M.A.P.

        I feel so sad readong your post. You sound completely lost in a book of lies and your brain has seriously been twisted and turned into something that barely resembles a normal functioning, socially healthy human. I don't pray for you, but I feel sad for you.

        July 23, 2013 at 6:29 am |
      • TG

        @Oscar Cat

        How do you know that you were healed by God, since Jesus said that in our time period that "many will say to me (Jesus) in that day, ' Lord, Lord ' did we not....perform many powerful works in your name ? And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew you ! Get away from me you workers of lawlessness."(Matt 7:22)

        Hence, Jesus established that many "powerful works" such as healing does not necessarily come from God, but his enemies, the demons, has this power as well.(see Job 1; Acts 8:9) And making statements without any evidence is like stating that a person is innocent or guilty of a crime without so much as a shred of proof, but just a personal opinion.

        What should any sincere Bible student be willing to do ? Provide sufficient confirmation of any statements made, such as historical background, scientific verification, dates, the source material of perhaps a quotation. For instance, concerning the Bible as being accurate and trustworthy, Job 26:7 is a good example, whereby Job was inspired to say that God is "hanging the earth upon nothing."

        Until Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was able to carefully examine the heavenly bodies through a telescope, establishing that an unseen force of gravity exists, suspending the earth without seemingly anything to support it, "hanging the earth upon nothing", Aristotle's (384-322 B.C.E.) view of the heavenly bodies being suspended in crystalline spheres (he called ether) was in vogue for almost 2,000 years. The reasoning was that an object must rest on something, or else it will fall.

        Therefore, a sincere Bible student should provide a sound basis for his or her statements.

        August 27, 2013 at 11:59 am |
        • photografr7

          Notice how they use the expression "sound basis," not "scientific or historical evidence." I am a journalist. If I published articles without scientific or historical evidence, they would first laugh at me, and then never let me publish again. But Biblical scholars do it all the time by quoting scripture. Hello!! Proving scripture is true by quoting scripture only works in the minds of those who have nothing else......

          August 27, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
  4. hotsummer

    Religion in a mildly contagious, chronic, mostly benign mental disease. Although no cure exists, spontaneous remission is observed quite frequently, and renders patients mostly immune to further infection.

    July 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • CP in FL

      Amen!

      July 18, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Not sure I'd agree with mostly benign, but then if you're considering per-captia it's probably true.

      But man – even just one bad apple can do so much harm using and spreading the disease.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
      • hotsummer

        true. and some flavors are worse than others

        July 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • Saraswati

      It would be a shared delusional disorder in cases where an outsider can readily see the factual errors. Most, but not all, religions provide falsifiable elements and react to challenges in much the same way as people with delusions do. The DSM, however, is very careful in their wording to exclude shared cultural delusions, which are presumed to be evolutionarily healthy, at least historically.

      July 18, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • photografr7

      There is a cure, but like drug addition, the infected person has to want to be cured.

      August 27, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  5. eric

    Nothing better than watching atheists gather around in the typical circle-jerk with each person taking turn as pivot to announce how great they are. Oh!...I forgot accepting and tolerant. And non-judgmental. A lot of you are MORE religious than the very people you mock. Heck, there's even atheists churches lol.

    July 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • CP in FL

      Please seek psychiatric help for your delusions.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
      • eric

        Truth is uncomfortable huh?

        July 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
        • CP in FL

          I am still waiting for one piece of scientific evidence that god exists.

          July 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Do you have examples of atheists saying how great they are?
          "Truth hurts" ? What evidence do you have for your god that exists outside of your mind?

          July 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • Desiree

      Ummm... ya sure if that makes you feel better.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • sam

      Hmm...not sure what's funnier: the passive aggressive nonsense, or the 'lol'.

      July 18, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • Guest

      If the only exposure you get to atheist personalities is through on line exposure, then your assessment may be valid. The ones I meet in person seem to be less fanatical and ostentatious than the ones who troll these articles. If someone were to observe the nature of theological thinkers from only reading news articles, then they would be justified in leveling the same assessment on them as you have laid on atheists.

      July 18, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Oh!...I forgot accepting and tolerant. And non-judgmental'

      actually that is how christians are ordered to behave so looks like you might be failing yourself there.

      July 18, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • 1984

      At least atheists do not claim to be made in God's perfect image. That is the ultimate delusion, because it ignores tons of medical or biological knowledge.

      July 21, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
  6. Randy

    Interesting, but wrong. As Garry Neale points out in his book "Necessary Delusions", there is only one type of atheist. Either you believe in God or you don't. But he does go on to discuss the stages of Atheism that most non-believers go through. Now he does discuss the 13 Types of Believers which is very enlightening.

    July 18, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      With tens of thousands or religions/sects there's only 13 types?

      July 18, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • bostontola

      The variety of comments by atheists on this blog is in conflict with your statement. They don't all define atheism the same. What makes you or this author a "higher" authority?

      July 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Gregg

      Either you believe in God or you dont.... how can there be 13 types of believers when the proposition you forward is "on or Off"?

      July 18, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
      • Dudeman

        How can there be Lutherans, Catholics, protestants, baptists, Jews blah blah blah etc etc etc when there is just one god (in your particular religion)?

        You guys can be pretty egotistical sometimes.

        July 18, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
  7. steve

    CNN's pro athiest story of the day!

    July 18, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Dippy

      Atheist, not athiest. Correct spelling will always make you appear to be smarter.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Did you see the previous posts – they've mainly been about religion.

      July 18, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
  8. Bible Clown©

    I am the type that doesn't give a rat's ass about the other types. One more article trying to make "atheism" sound like a religion.

    July 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • lolly

      Belief that deities do not exist, without evidence to support that belief, is the same as a religion.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
      • CommonSensed

        All religions are cults. Not all cults are religions.

        And trying to define someone who doesn't believe in god as a religion itself is most amusing. Please, do carry on.

        July 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
        • somewhat voluble

          By definition, a religion does not necessarily have to revolve around a god or gods.

          Religion: the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices; a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe.

          July 18, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
        • snowboarder

          @somewhat, what beliefs and practices would those be? what rituals do atheists perform?

          July 18, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
      • DatAzz

        Then that assumsion mean that there must be a belief no matter what, in which cause the word "belief" should not exist. Im sorry but atheism, the lack of a "belief", is the default before indoctrination.

        July 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
      • CP in FL

        Do you also believe in unicorns? There is no evidence that they do not exist. Can you prove that unicorns do not exist? Not believing in something that there is no evidence for is not the same as believing in something that is unproven and there is no evidence to support. The burden of proof is on the believers.

        July 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
      • bostontola

        There are many people who believe in god and have no religion. Why would disbelief imply religion?

        July 18, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
      • snowboarder

        @lolly, you seem to have that backward. atheism is the stance that there is no evidence to suggest that gods exist, not to mention the absurd doctrines that surround them.

        July 18, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
      • cedar rapids

        'Belief that deities do not exist, without evidence to support that belief, is the same as a religion.'

        dont be silly, of course it isnt. It that what counts as logic with you guys?

        July 18, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
      • Dudeman

        Look, you just made a crazy valid point for agnosticism...

        July 18, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
      • Bible Clown©

        Nope, you have to supply the proof, not me. Do you believe in God's Lesbian Grandmother? OF COURSE YOU DO, because you can't prove she doesn't exist. Keep thinking and you'll get it.

        July 19, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
      • 1984

        No, it's not, religion contains a set of beliefs. Atheists have disbelief or lack of belief, it's nothing like a religion. Dawkins for instance is not an authority figure to tell other atheists what to believe. This is completely different from religion.

        July 21, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Joe

      It isn't a religion, that is the whole point. Just cause you study it and lump people in different cats doesn't mean they intend it to sound like religion. Screw people that believe, because they are the worst people in the world. Sin Sin Sin only to be forgiven. That also isn't religion. Think some human in the Roman empire changed your bible around, fools.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  9. Twist

    If someone grew up in a pocket of AmeriKa where religion was never, ever, on anyone's radar screen, what type of atheist would they be?

    July 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • G to the T

      The kind that inexplicably spells "America" with a "K"?

      July 19, 2013 at 9:31 am |
  10. Mr. T. Bag

    Since this has proven to be such a popular article, I thought I'd re-post my little response... Cheers, atheists and agnostics!

    DO NOT get me started on Christians! I've lived all over America - including the "Bible-Belt" and have found Christians to be segregated, cultish, hypocritical clan-like groups who treat their religion more as a SOCIAL CLUB than, UM, what was it? –oh yeah, a religion...

    So for your next article, WHAT ABOUT SUMMARIZING THE TYPES OF CHRISTIANS??
    Here, I'll get you started:

    1.) The Christian Taliban: those who seek to impose what they think is the will of [their god] on other infidels. (everyone living outside of their little neighborhood, basically) –They often believe in "Less Government" –except when it comes to things like WARS, banning civil unions & women's rights, promoting guns, corporate welfare, and tobacco. So, let's bomb a Planned Parenthood clinic! Praise Jesus! (Allah-hu Akbar)

    2.) Lunatic Christians: –You know, the ones who 'speak in tongues', faith-heal, dance with snakes and marry children... (or any combination of the above.)

    3. Agents of God: Pat Robertson-types who like to crusade to convert heathens in Tahiti to the Glory [Hole] of God. "Better wear grass skirts now girls, the Devil is givin' me un-pure thoughts!" –They also like to pray to [their god] so that he will smite/smote/kill/or otherwise punish all of their enemies vis-a-vis, plagues, hurricanes (like Katrina), diseases (like AIDS) or poverty.

    4.) The Opportunists: Pedophiles, con artists, and people looking to network or travel to other countries to "spread the word..."

    5.) Tax cheats... Christian groups/leaders are not taxed. Why not? And why aren't you patriotic?

    6.) Sociopaths: You know, ones who believe the world is ending (AGAIN) and they must retreat to their compounds to await the second coming of Jesus, or whatever... –This group includes Mormons, by the way. (and don’t get me started on Mormons, either!)

    AND the DENOMINATIONS! –What the **** are all those denominations?!? Why can't you all agree? How many Frickin' Churches do you self-indulgent people need anyway??
    Catholic, Protestant, Lutheran, Presbyterian, "Christian-this, Christian-that", Baptist this-n-that, Mormon, Jesuit, Mennonite, Jehova's Witnesses, etc., etc.

    –Honestly, don't you think the world be a much better place if you used all of that Christian money for REAL, productive things - like curing diseases, ending poverty - and "teaching people how to fish." (job training programs.)

    Right now, you all look like jerks.

    July 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • steve

      I find you to be a bigot that stereotypes all Christians.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
      • Bible Clown©

        He sounds to me like a former believer who got tired of waiting for others to actually live up to the standard they bear. If Christians would act Christian, they'd be great neighbors. Instead, they want to tell you how to live and are always ready to mob up against you.

        July 18, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      My favorite are the ones who are "going to enjoy watching me burn in hell for not believing." Uh, guys? If you would actually enjoy scenes of awful torture, then you aren't going to be watching from a safe place, if you can see what I mean. As long as you would like to see me skinned for not going to your church, you are not going to heaven.
      I agree with the late James Pike; if I found myself in Heaven, I'd start digging down. How could I enjoy heaven while my friends burned in Hell? Time for a rescue party, or die again trying.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • eric

      Well at least you're not judgmental....you have that going for you.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Mr. 30

      I'm a Christian and all of the above categories are exactly why I believe the American church is in ruins. And to top it all off, more professing believers come to pages like this and throw down horrid comments and call people idiots who they don't even know...which is completely opposite of what a Christian is supposed to act like. I have friends who are athiests, and they are not idiots. Nor are they religion gobbling monsters like most of the church portrays them. The athiests I know are good people who I trust, care about, enjoy their company, and we don't hate each other. Yeah, sure we disagree on religion and spirituality but disagreeing on stuff is just part of life. The church has earned the opposition. We hold up the Bible, point at rules and demand people follow them when the majority of Christians don't follow it themselves. We have no right to point fingers. There's a small demographic of us Christians out there who feel terrible about the amount of insanity the crazies in the church have put America through and we wish could change it (Some of us are trying). If the church actually practiced the teachings of Jesus, we wouldn't be so loathsome. We'd actually be taking care of people's needs instead of yelling at them.

      July 18, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
      • sam

        You are a cool dude.

        July 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
        • Mr. 30

          Thanks!

          July 18, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
      • CBKidder

        I agree with Sam; you sound like a cool guy. I do think your energy is misdirected. You can take care of people's needs without introducing an improbable deity that is in all likelihood man-made. Being good brethren doesn't require a supernatural being.

        July 18, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
      • Bible Clown©

        Jesus didn't really require people to go to church, just come to Him. So if every church closed down and people just went about their business, it wouldn't stop anyone from worshiping or going to heaven. Trying to formalize what is basically a relationship between a man and a possibly-imaginary superior being has always seemed like a way to charge people for breathing air.

        July 19, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  11. accuracy_smakuracy

    I hope this study is about as accurate as the CNN stats machine ... "2.1 gazillion hits"???

    July 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  12. Dagger_32

    So what about this obscure scenario:

    Your parent's go to an island, alone. Your mom becomes pregnant with you. She dies in childbirth. Your dad raises you, but also dies an early death. You spend all your days on that island, never doing any evil, never being aware of religion, or that other people even exist.

    Do you go to Heaven?

    You never believe in God? Are you destined to burn for eternity?

    July 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Doug

      People who have never heard of God are judged by their own moral standards, which they invariably violate. Even when we set rules on our own terms we can't follow them.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
      • Dagger_32

        So how is that different from an Atheist who does not belive in God but lives by a good set of morals?

        July 18, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
        • Doug

          I don't think the excuse works if a person has been told about God and has then chosen to reject what they heard.

          July 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
        • G to the T

          In that case Doug wouldn't it be a failure on the part of the messenger, not the person who heard it?

          In addition – if this was the case – the missionaries should all shut down because all they are doing is forcing the issue and damning good people to hell just because they may be lousy messangers.

          July 19, 2013 at 9:54 am |
      • Chris

        And Doug knows this because he just pulled it out of his ass.

        July 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
      • CommonSensed

        Fail. They did not accept Jesus Christ as their lord and savior – therefore damned to hell for being a good human innocent of the "one true faith",

        Or do good people of other religions also get into your heaven?

        July 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
      • Dagger_32

        @Doug ...but isn't God an all knowing being. Would he know if you were truely good or truely evil.

        Would he send a good person, deserving of Heaven, to Hell simply because they did not believe in him? Even though God is the one who (apparently) gave the person free will to choose?

        July 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
        • Doug

          Basically, everyone is deserving of Hell. There is no person who is deserving of Heaven, which is why they needed a savior.

          Will people actually end up in Hell? I hope not.

          July 18, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
        • Dagger_32

          @Doug So guilty until proven innocent. I see. Man, even babies aren't safe from Hell.

          Yeah, this is the perfect example of why I do not worship such a God.

          July 18, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
        • Doug

          I'm not sure I understand that logic. You would rather suffer punishment than take part in a system you don't agree with? Would you still make that choice if you had proof that Heaven and Hell were real places?

          July 18, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
        • Peter

          Punishment would be spending eternity with a bunch of Christians.

          July 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
        • Bible Clown©

          "You would rather suffer punishment than take part in a system you don't agree with?" Suppose you discovered God was actually Hitler? Heil Hitler, full of grace? Come on, if God turns out to be real after the Christmas Tsunami, we'd all turn our backs on Him.

          July 19, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
      • sam

        That's depressing. No wonder I drink!

        July 18, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        I have not violated my moral code. Because it's the moral code by which I live my life and I base my actions on it.

        However, even if I DID violate it, there is no threat of eternal torment as punishment. Instead, I would evaluate why I made a choice that violated that code, judge the impact to my life and to the code and if necessary, make amends to any hurt by my actions.

        Any eternal punishment for a temporal and finite action is immoral. Period. Even the threat of that punishment is immoral.

        July 19, 2013 at 9:59 am |
      • halbermunken

        NO! Most people get their standards from the moral zeitgeist to which they conform to without knowing it.

        And the bible is not a good source for morality. For one thing, he is a mass murderer.

        July 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      You burn, but God feels sorry about it. God finds it necessary in his public capacity to do things which in his private capacity he deplores. That's why babies born dead burn, too.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • dean

      Depends on you definition of belief doesn't it? I could just have well decided that there must be a god based on what I see and feel. I may not have been taught his name or know anything about Christianity, but that does not exclude me from being a believer. For every unlikely scenario there can be an opposing one.

      What if a person was given every opportunity to know about god. Parents, church, friends, their own senses all telling them a god exists. They just refuse to believe out of a sense of being smarter than others. What is the chance they are going to heaven?

      July 18, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
      • Dagger_32

        Is that not the free will given to them by their own God? The choice to not believe?

        So someone who lives by the bible, but does not believe in it, is destined to burn?

        Glad I don't believe in all that because that is just depressing.

        July 18, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
      • cedar rapids

        'They just refuse to believe out of a sense of being smarter than others'

        show me one atheist who refuses to believe because they think they are smarter than others.

        July 18, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
        • myweightinwords

          Belief isn't something you necessarily control, so this makes no sense to me.

          If I could control what I believed, I would likely still be a Christian today, because I did NOT want to stop believing. I clung to what I once believed for a long time after I stopped believing hoping I could go back.

          Eventually though I had to realize that all that was doing was making me a hypocrite. I had to accept that I did not believe. I had to figure out what came next.

          July 19, 2013 at 10:06 am |
        • Bible Clown©

          I am smarter than a lot of people, but am I better? I can point to semi-literate old ladies who work hard past retirement age to help support the grandkids, getting up every day in the dark to clean up some restaurant kitchen to earn money she gives away. I'm a cool guy, I value myself highly and make the world a better place, but I'm not so full of myself as to think I'm better than someone who struggles.

          July 19, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Maria Delaluz

      Yes.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
  13. Tony Montana

    Your the idiot. People who 'believe in science' are misguided. Science IS HOW god made the universe.

    July 18, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • fsmgroupie

      You're

      July 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Dagger_32

      So like in a big giant lab!?

      Maybe he/she was not wearing a white robe but instead it was a lab coat!!!

      As it is based on science could it be repeated again? If so would would the creator of that universe also be a God?

      July 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
      • Dagger_32

        -would

        Man, I was just so excited about the lab coat.

        July 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
      • Bible Clown©

        Heck no, it was a cooking show. God looked just like Paula Deen, and Creation began with forty pounds of butter.

        July 18, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
        • Dagger_32

          (Would have been cooler if you said fourty-two pounds of butter.)

          July 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
        • sam

          Damn, that was funny.

          July 18, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
        • Bible Clown©

          Heck yeah, and that's why the answer was 42: it was a recipe!

          July 19, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • CP in FL

      Science and god have nothing to do with each other. Science attempts to explain how the universe works and is continually being updated whereas god is a copout answer as to how the universe was formed.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
      • Jeff Williams

        God(s) was primitive man's way of understanding the world.

        Whereas, science is the modern man's way of understanding the world.

        July 18, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • ILoveIt!

      There is something poetically beautiful–or at least painfully ironic–about the sentence "Your the idiot" [sic]

      July 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
      • Bible Clown©

        It speaks to the whole notion of belief in a personal god, doesn't it?

        July 19, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Who made your god?

      July 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
      • Bible Clown©

        Probably knitted by old women.

        July 19, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • krivka

      Who made the coffee? God was invented by humans to explain the unexplained. Science allows nature to be explained, hence God can retire to the retired Gods home and sit next to Thor, Isis, Ba'al and the rest of the thousands of old Gods that have outlived their usefulness and can retire in peace eating baby food and watching Seinfeld re-runs.

      July 18, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • sam

      So god invented himself, then invented science, then invented everything else using science? Is this where you've really chosen to go?

      July 18, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • snowboarder

      @tony, your statement is bizarre. science has nothing to do with gods.

      July 18, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • 1984

      So, you're all powerful and all wise...yet you make humans who die just because they eat nuts?

      That belief is more than...nuts. Yet as a religious person you have to believe that the bible tells the truth.

      This is...madness. Can't think of another word which describes religion better.

      July 21, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
  14. Bible Clown©

    We survived being primitive by being able to hush our children when we needed to. A child thinks its parents are God, and does what it's told with reverence until it's old enough to make its own decisions. That awe for the parents lasts into adulthood for many people, and includes awe for the god they taught the child was real; some people get over idolizing their dad and mom and some people never do. But there doesn't have to be a god for us to believe in one, because we have the brain function of belief there in order to survive a rough childhood.

    July 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
  15. not sure

    IMost of the time I dont care and don't make distinctions between religions so basically act like atheists. But when I feel afraid I always find solace in a prayer and that is when I believe in God.

    July 18, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Frankie

      That's more than 99% of the people on here. I hope he guides you to a better understanding of who he is.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
      • Someone Reasonable

        I highly doubt that "over 99%" of people reading this article are like this. I would guess somewhere closer to 65-70%

        July 18, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
  16. Lawrence

    God exists – logically shown.
    When you look at a building, you know immediately that there must have been a builder, simply because the building exists. When you look at a painting, you know immediately that there must have been a painter. Likewise, you can look at creation, and know that the very existence of a creation demands the existence of a Creator. For, to say otherwise, is to say that nobody made everything out of nothing. This is impossible, how can everything come from nothing? In fact, if at any time absolutely “nothing” existed, then nothing would ever exist, because only nothing comes from nothing.

    July 18, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • xirume

      Lame, simplistic, childish argument

      July 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
      • Lawrence

        If it is such a childish argument, it should be easy for you to prove it wrong, no?

        July 18, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          What created your god? Should be easy enough to show the creator.

          July 18, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
        • Jeff Williams

          Without spending too much time on this fallacious argument, let me point out to you that in your examples, man has made those articles, and we know this.

          In an attempt to "prove" your argument, you already assume that a god made everything else. That's called circular reasoning. Fail.

          July 18, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
        • DLG

          imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, "This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in, fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!" This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be all right, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise.
          -Douglas Adams

          July 18, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
      • Glenn Parker

        The existence of God does not require a complex argument. It simply requires one to be honest with the facts.

        July 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
        • Bible Clown©

          Fact: You will never see one shred of evidence for God, and you shouldn't expect to. If you want to believe that someone who stands outside of physics and reality will intervene to grab a copy of you as you die, go ahead! I'd like an afterlife, too, I just don't see it being possible.

          July 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
        • Jeff Williams

          """It simply requires one to be honest with the facts."""

          Facts? Facts have nothing whatsoever to do with this. It's ALL faith because you have no "facts".

          July 18, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      So then the creator must have also had a creator.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
      • Lawrence

        Since it is impossible for something to create itself out of nothing (out of nothing, nothing comes), every effect is determined by a cause. That cause is in its turn determined by another cause. But we cannot assume an infinite series of causes, because an infinite series of causes with no beginning is a contradiction, as a causal chain by definition must have a beginning. Hence there must be an uncaused Cause, the ultimate Cause of all the events that proceed from it. This ultimate and supreme Cause we call God. (An Eternal Creator created the Universe)

        July 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
        • UncleBenny

          "But we cannot assume an infinite series of causes ..."

          And why not? It's turtles all the way down.

          July 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
        • UncleBenny

          Read "A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing " by Lawrence Krauss. Nothing ain't what it used to be.

          July 18, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
        • Jiao

          And yet you insist that there must be a cause for the universe, and it must be God, but God doesn't have to have a cause to have been created? Weird.

          July 18, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
        • Bible Clown©

          Nope, that Cause had to be created too, and whatever made it had to be created. Your argument just means an endless series of macro-gods, and you can't just say 'only one god is permitted.' It's a contradiction? Um, an immortal, eternal god who hangs around Earth asking for collection plate money is a contradiction; an infinite set of conditions is just a mathematical equation. If Creation implies a Creator, then a Creator implies an Uber-Creator, and an Uber-UberCreator to make Him, and then a Super UberCreator Maker to make Him, and so forth. You reckon these UberGodMakers sit around Mount Olympus drinking cold ones and laughing at us? Or maybe just at you?

          July 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
        • Bible Clown©

          No, it's four elephants standing on a turtle. Only One Turtle is required.

          July 18, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
        • UncleBenny

          So explain to us why the chain of causation goes back to God. Why can't it stop with the Universe as being eternal and uncaused? This is every bit as valid (and makes more sense).

          July 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
        • ILoveIt!

          Why can't the universe itself be eternal?

          Why invent "God" at all?

          Maybe there are many, many universes. Maybe they are created and destroyed cyclically. Maybe the fact that there is anything doesn't prove that there is an eternal, magical being.

          July 18, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
        • JohnC

          This argument says all things must have a cause until we hit a special exception to the rule and call that God. But the moment you allow for an exception you could fill in things other than God. What you ask - well I don't know but only because there are many things I and all of us don't know. Secondly the argument says that you can't just go back infinitely backward citing causes, but doesn't say WHY that is true but then allows that God goes back into infinity thereby saying that indeed something (obviously a very special something) can. So just replace God with "something I don't know" and you have no longer proved God. You haven't disproved God either. Some then will say it's just a matter of faith that cannot be proven. Others might say "I don't know so maybe God is one of the possible answers".

          July 18, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
        • Bible Clown©

          You are the only one who thinks this is at all reasonable. You end up with quantum mechanics; is the universe infinite? Is it in layers like an onion? Does God see millions of us in all possible worlds? You die screaming "God help me" but he can see a million of you still safe so He doesn't act. Mix God with science and we'll put knobs all over Him.

          July 18, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Presuming that your logic is correct then why does the chain have an end and why does it end with your god?

          July 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
      • snowboarder

        nearly all things once considered divine in origin have been determined to be of natural cause. the supernatural is nothing more than a placeholder for the ever shrinking list of the things that we do not yet know.

        July 18, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Emma

      Then to further your logic, if God exists, who created God?

      July 18, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
      • IrishinToronto

        Fox News

        July 18, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
        • Quade

          Lame, simplistic, childish

          July 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
        • Imagine No Religion

          Depending on whether your post was sarcasm, it is either the funniest post of the day or the scariest post of the day.

          -–
          "There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
          Now that I found out, I know I can cry." - John Lennon

          July 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
        • Jiao

          Lol. No kidding.

          July 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
      • Mat

        How about asking God that question. He would have answered if you are willing to listen.

        July 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
        • UncleBenny

          I did ask him. He said it was the Tooth Fairy.

          July 18, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
        • Bible Clown©

          I asked Him too and He said the Tooth Fairy was His Mom. He just looked sad when I asked about His Dad, though. I guess Creation isn't always easy.

          July 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
        • ILoveIt!

          Not everyone is crazy enough to hear voices.

          I tried that "open your heart" crap a couple decades ago. I heard nothing. So move your cart along.

          July 18, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
        • halbermunken

          Which God? None of them are even in the phone book.

          July 21, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
      • accuracy_smakuracy

        Eternity is something neither science nor religion can explain. Asking who created God, is the same as asking what happened before the Big Bang.

        July 18, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Snow

      so who created you creator, then? man?

      July 18, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • G. W. Bush

      B**ch

      July 18, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      When I look at a bare tree, I'm always struck by the similarity to blood vessels branching out to capillaries. Every one is random, all produced by the action of random growth; how could anyone look at that and think it was 'created?' So, no, I don't think 'everything has to have a creator.' What a nutty idea, really.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • Sane Person

      You argue with the reasoning power of unripe melons.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
      • Extra Large Melons

        Is that a jab at me?

        July 18, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • MisterWhite

      There is absolutely no logic in your position; it is pure fallacy. A fallacy which has been dissected by actual logic more than once.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Random Writer

      This is not an example of a logical argument. Quite the opposite.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • UncleBuck

      Logically shown?? That wasn't any form of logic I'm familiar with. It demonstrates the bible in my opinion. It demonstrates that man will create his own truths to justify what it is he wants to believe. In the case of the bible, man wants to know he has purpose, that when fearful and without hope that there is someone who can provide strength, guidance, and the understanding that his life has purpose. I'm strong enough and have faith enough in myself that I don't need to believe, not everyone is so lucky.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • DatAzz

      Nice try, then the argument is... which god? Jesus? Zues? Allah?

      July 18, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Vic

      Thank you.

      This Universe & Life in it ARE "Prima Facie" EVIDENCE of God.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
      • CommonSensed

        Which god? So many to choose from?

        July 18, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
      • Bible Clown©

        Not really. "Something exists, a god must have made it" isn't logical at all.

        July 19, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Who created the creator?

      Fail.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • biobraine

      How did the creator come into being? If the universe could not have come from nothing, then how could something as complex as a creator come from nothing? If a creator has always existed, then why is it not possible for the universe?

      July 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • Aubrey

      So then if God does exist and he somehow found a way to create every planet including the ones we're still discovering every day, every galaxy including the ones we're still discovering almost every day, and everything else in this universe including things like dark matter, then who created God? I mean he can't just come from nothing as your argument states, right?

      July 18, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
      • sam

        Better yet, how can a god that vast and infinite even be capable of dealing with things on our tiny, inconsequential scale? Dude creates an entire universe only to be obsessed with US? How crazy would he have to be?? Surrounded by that, but messing with us....and we're pretty boring.

        July 18, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
      • Bible Clown©

        If God exists, He is a natural part of the universe, possibly a huge dense star capable of intelligent thought? Because, as Mister Bible Person taught us, Creation implies a Creator, and so whoever made the universe made God.

        July 19, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • ray

      Then god must of had a creator and his creator a creator if we follow your "logic"

      July 18, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • Regretfully

      Your points are self-contradicting, You say that "we can not assume an infinite number of causes", why not? and why is your "god" exempt from "having a cause"? It's basically the special pleading argument where the laws of logic and physics apply to everythig except the thing you already believe in, how convenient!
      I have seen a painter paint, I have seen a builder build and I KNOW that those things exist. I have never (nor have you) seen a "god" create anything nor do we have any reason to suppose that such a thing as a god exists in the first place.

      July 18, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • CBKidder

      Oh Lawrence, that's such a terrible argument. The existence of something designed does not require the introduction of an imaginary deity. If a bag of Fritos fell out of the sky and were picked up by an uncivilized pigmy, he might think they came from god. The printed bag obviously had a designer, and the delicious crunchy chips inside were obviously created. The pigmy can use them to argue a god all day long, but that doesn't change the fact that the bag of chips was made by Frito-Lay company. The very existence of a creation DOES NOT demand the existence of a Creator-god; it demands figuring out (which we have done, thanks to science and reason).

      July 18, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Lawrence
      You have posted this before and since it was shredded before, I have no idea why you are trying it again.

      Your "logic" is flawed. You make many preumptions which are false and then extrapolate to a conclusion.

      Why do you think there was once nothing? We do not know that so your base premise is incorrect.

      July 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  17. Snow

    How about classifying the theists too?

    – Radical kind
    – confrontational kind
    – obsessed with death kind
    – better-than-thou/condescending kind
    – pseudo-helpful kind
    – normal, don't bother me kind which are the best

    any that I missed?

    July 18, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Someone Reasonable

      I almost hate to admit it, but there is a very small group of the "genuinely empathetic, caring, good natured, live and let live" theists. Luckily, there are quite a few atheists who live that way as well.

      July 18, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
  18. Alan

    It's hard to believe that so many people become indoctrinated into a religion at an early age and never take a step back to question it...even when it no longer serves them. Religion was created to control the violent masses of days gone by...it is ludicrous to believe in a god.....you may as well believe in Santa

    July 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Mat

      Wouldnt it be a charm if you are proven wrong.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • CP in FL

      It's called being brainwashed. We tell children that Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and god are real from an early age. None of these are real. We lie to our children. There is no evidence of god or the Tooth Fairy.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
      • Someone Reasonable

        I disagree there is evidence for Santa (presents!) the Easter Bunny (candy!) and the Tooth Fairy (cold hard cash!) I never said it was good evidence, but it's better than the evidence that there's a god (?)

        July 18, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Maani

      Actually, many children who are "indoctrinated" eventually fall away from religion, and many become atheists. However, the opposite is true as well: many people grow up as atheists or agnostic, and eventually become believers.

      Also, religion was NOT "created to control" anyone. It may have been CO-OPTED for that purpose later on. But belief systems, both religious and otherwise, did not originate as forms of control.

      Your knee-jerk anti-theist comments are not supportable.

      July 18, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      When you were young, you realized one day that Santa Claus was actually your parents. At this time, you realize that God is actually your parents as well, and that the whole thing is a skit designed to make you learn some ethics and morals and be a better person. Many of us reject this idea and cling to the childish belief in Santa God bringing presents, and these are the True Believers who put money in collection plates and teach Sunday school.

      July 19, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  19. louisriel

    who care what other people believe in, go live your own life.

    July 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Public news station

      I care, but only because I use it as a point to see just how far I've missed the mark of sanity in my own life.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I care, because what people believe in influences their behaviours and voting patterns and therefore government policies and all of our lives. I care because what other people think is interesting and tells us about eho we are as humans.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • halbermunken

      The religious are not concerned about their mere afterlife. They want to create their fanatical paradises here on earth. And one can tell that how many of them yearn for an end-of-days. These fanatical beliefs can become self-fulfilling prophecies and extremely dangerous.

      July 21, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
  20. Agnostickids

    Well that's depressing. Who knew Atheists on CNN were going to be Guinea pigs?

    July 18, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Public news station

      That surprises you? Big brother tracks our purchases at the drugstore. We are all guinea pigs.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • OTOH

      The Blog Editor asked posters several times yesterday for questions to pose to the researchers... and also included a postscript to the article to that effect.

      July 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
      • CNN Belief Blog Co-EditorCNN

        @Agnostickids, only people who answered our requests for questions were quoted. No Guinea-pigging here.

        Thanks,
        Daniel Burke

        July 18, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
        • Dagger_32

          Well that is no fun at all.

          July 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
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About this blog

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