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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. Richard Cranium

    Man created gods to explain what he could not
    Man created religion to control other men.

    July 18, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • .

      Cite your evidence. Otherwise it is speculation.

      July 18, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
      • bostontola

        Evidence:
        Man created god. Gods have human characteristics, jealous, anger, love, etc. Creation myths are all wrong, e.g. bible says the earth was created before the son, land animals came before sea animals.
        Religion created to control other men. Inquisition, Crusades, etc.

        July 18, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
      • jazzguitarman

        Yes, the concept of a so called ‘god’ is speculation just like all of the Christian believes \ myths.

        July 18, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
        • .

          Just because the concept of a god is speculation does not negate that the idea that said god is a concept of man is also speculation.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          There is no evidence of a god; many believers say that the god(s) of other religions are man-made or not not true gods. What's sauce for the goose ....

          July 18, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
        • .

          Of course though, it's not the religious people on here that is yammering about evidence and such. It's the atheists and they don't have any for their claims.

          July 19, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
      • CeltOne

        The history of mankind is evidence enough, Einstein.

        July 18, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
        • .

          That's a non-answer and a ad hominem. Try again.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
      • Doug

        Just open your eyes, the evidence is all around you...

        July 18, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
        • .

          That's a religious person's answer.
          I doubt you would agree if a creationist gave you that kind of response.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
      • .

        So, no actual evidence. Just speculation. That figures.

        Correlation does not imply causation. Just because the "gods" (I guess you count the block like gods of the Nabateans in that) supposably have human like qualiti tes..does not mean it is because of man making them up. That is not evidence. Try again.

        To make it simple, let's use the Abrahamic god since it is the most widely worshipped in the world today. Just prove with verifiable evidence that Abraham (or whomever) made up the concept. Then your initial statement, "Man created god", can be factual.

        "Man created religion to control other men."

        No evidence of that. Yes, some ppl use religion to control others. But that is a result of some cases and not the intent. If someone has evidence that shows religion was created for the sole purpose of controlling people, I would love to see. I bet others would as well.

        July 18, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          Trying to prove a man (most likely fictional himself) invented another fictional character 4,000 years ago is pretty much impossible. It's like trying to prove Mr. Garrison invented Mr. Hat.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
        • bostontola

          Apparently you don't understand the difference between evidence and proof. There is a lot more evidence man created god and uses religion to control other men. Not only isn't there proof of god, there's no evidence.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
        • .

          @I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that- "Trying to prove a man (most likely fictional himself) invented another fictional character 4,000 years ago is pretty much impossible."

          Then the intellectually honest thing to do is for the individual not to make positive claims when he has no evidence.

          @bostontola, "There is a lot more evidence man created god and uses religion to control other men."

          And that evidence would be? Do you have evidence that man created god? Please provide the testimony of witnesses, records, doc uments, or objects that support this positive claim.

          Please don't change the topic. No one said that man has never used religion to control others. The original statement implied that religion was created to control men. Again, the end result does not mean that was the original intent.

          "Not only isn't there proof of god, there's no evidence."

          Irrelevant to the topic. Having no evidence or proof of a god does not negate the fact there is no evidence or proof that man created god.

          July 18, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          .

          Intellectual honesty and rationality don't always go hand in hand. I agree that making claims of absolute positivity isn't intellectually honest in regards to anything but it doesn't make the claims irrational. Claiming that there isn't a flying spaghetti monster who prevents people from flying up in to space with his noodly appendages may not be intellectually honest but it is rational.

          July 18, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
        • bostontola

          Dot,
          You asked for evidence. I gave it to you in my first response. Answer that evidence.

          July 18, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          To be fair, that was speculative conjecture more than evidence.

          July 18, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
        • bostontola

          Neither speculative nor conjecture. Creation myths being wrong is scientific fact.. Bible itself defines god with jealousy, anger, etc. the inquisition and Crusades are historical facts. No speculation or conjecture, what are you talking about?

          July 18, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          OK, speculative conjecture may have been the wrong choice of words, but pointing out that creation myths are BS and religion has been used as a tool of control aren't evidence that man created god.

          July 18, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
        • bostontola

          As I said, evidence, not proof. Not one god's creation myth bears out, that's evidence that the myth was created by man and his contemporary knowledge.

          July 18, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
        • .

          @bostontola- I did address your "evidence" and found it wanting.

          "Man created god."

          That is a theory, not evidence.

          "Gods have human characteristics, jealous, anger, love, etc."

          As stated before, correlation does not imply causation. Just because the "gods" (I guess you count the block like gods of the Nabateans in that) supposably have human like qualiti tes..does not mean it is because of man making them up. That is not evidence. Try again.

          "Creation myths are all wrong, e.g. bible says the earth was created before the son, land animals came before sea animals."

          You have proven that a religious text has some inaccuracies. You did not however, prove that man created god.

          "Religion created to control other men. Inquisition, Crusades, etc."

          Again...NO ONE is denying that religion has been used to control people. However, it has not been proven that the intent of religion was to control people. Please try to pay attention.

          July 19, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
      • hitchens67

        There is no need to cite evidence about man creating God and religion, what is needed is evidence that your god truly exists. There is none so I can just dismiss your religious beliefs based on the fact that you can NEVER prove them!

        July 18, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
        • .

          My religious or non-religious beliefs are irreleavent to the topic.
          It is for the person that has made the positive claim to offer up evidence to that claim.

          As so many point out on here, the burden of proof resides with those that make positive claims.

          July 19, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
      • halbermunken

        So all other gods were invented, but not yours?

        July 21, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  2. Nancy

    How about the 6 types of Christians.
    We don't all believe in the same way nor are we all evangelicals.
    i am a simple Christian. I don't do "works" to gain eternal life. It is a free gift from Jesus.

    July 18, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Well, denominationally there are areound 35,000 type of Christian.

      I'd call you a lazy Christian.

      July 18, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I think we already have quite a lot of terms like that for Christians...evangelicals, fundamentalists, liberal Christians, liberation theologists etc.

      July 18, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      Yes, we know that the so called Christian god cares more about being worshiped than the character of his subjects.

      The movie The GodFather III points this out real well. (as it relates to the Catholic faith).

      July 18, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

        Please don't mention that film. I just ate, I don't want to barf.

        July 18, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
        • jazzguitarman

          Sorry about that. Yea the movie is a dud but it is funny to watch a mob boss care so much about being accepted by some type of savior.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          I never really felt that context to Godfather III. I just felt Michael saw his involvement in The Vatican as a business opportunity and the religiosity was for the sake of appearance (as it is for most Cardinals, I imagine).

          July 18, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          There's also the self-redemption aspect over his brother's death. He clearly felt guilty about Fredo, and he saw his work in The Vatican as somehow being better than his typical mob work. I wouldn't say it was religious salvation he was seeking, just self-redemption.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      You got that right. You are an "simple christian".

      July 18, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

        Maybe, but she has a good understanding of the indefinite article.

        July 18, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
    • sam stone

      nancy: do you seriously desire ETERNAL life?

      July 18, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
  3. Mike

    "Orientated?"

    July 18, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
  4. lol??

    The military budget is takin' a hit, so remember these cla*asses to get em near the top of a list if Unca Suga has to restart a draft.

    July 18, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
  5. JT

    Even if you had evidence that God is real, you would still choose to not believe.

    July 18, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • Saraswati

      If I had good evidence gods exist, I would believe. If the skies open and a god talks to me and 10,000 others, promising a cure for cancer next week, and next week all cancer is gone, I guarantee you I will be in the belief camp.

      July 18, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        AMEN to that! 🙂

        July 18, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
    • Euthyphro Epicurus

      If I had good evidence, I wouldn't need to believe. I would know.

      July 18, 2013 at 8:12 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      It's the other way around. If you showed irrefutable evidence of god's non-existence to a devout believer, they'd maintain their belief.

      July 18, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avJj7SrnqT4&w=640&h=360]

      July 18, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • Observer

      JT,

      Nonsense. God could prove his existence in less than 5 seconds but apparently refuses to do it.

      July 18, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      Oh, JT that was weak, real weak. But let me know when there is any actual evidence (a book written by men for men isn't evidence) and we can discuss this again.

      July 18, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • CeltOne

      Sigh, another clueless wonder that doesn't understand what atheism is.

      July 18, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • halbermunken

      No, if we had evidence then we wouldn't have to believe. Because we would *know*. But all that there is now is faith, and that is not much to have.

      July 21, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
  6. Nick

    One of my favorite quotes is by Richard Dawkins – “We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”

    July 18, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Wasn't that Stephen Jay Gould or Karl Sagan? I don't think it was Dawkins.

      July 18, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • Mr. Duckworth

      Hey Atheists – don't forget Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin were both confirmed Atheists – this is verified fact. And Hitler said – it's impossible to be an obedient Christian and an obedient Nazi at the same time – you have to be one or the other.

      July 18, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
      • Saraswati

        By your logic I'm sure there was never an evil Christian – you just define Christianity to exclude the possibility. Have fun with that game.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
      • breathe deep

        Except it's not, so your entire premise falls on its face.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
      • Pants on fire, Ducky

        Oh, why do you lie?

        “I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of
        the Almighty Creator.”

        [Adolph Hitler, _Mein Kampf_, pp. 46]

        Gott Mit Uns
        God is with us (on the Nazi belt buckle)

        Stalin was an atheist, but he NEVER killed anyone in the name of atheism. Stop lying for Jesus, mmmkay?

        July 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          Well, the League of Militant Atheists killed in the name of atheism and scientific achievement, even if the real reason they persecuted religious organisations had nothing to do with atheism.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
        • Pants on fire, Ducky

          What? Is this a joke? Citation or shut up.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          Are you referring to me? It's inarguable that the League of Militant Atheists cited the necessity of atheism and scientific achievement in their persecution of religious organizations, even if ther actual goal was the consolidation of power. Also, there's no need to be hostile.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          Actually, just looking it up, it appears that Lenin's tenure was far more oppressive towards religious people. The persecution of religious organizations actually fell greatly under Stalin. Surprising really, considering everything else he did.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
      • Meaningless Commentary

        Hey Christians, don't forget that thousands of priests and bishops were and ARE disgusting child molesters – this is verified fact. And the churches said – what happens behind our closed doors is never wrong and should never be investigated – that's our business and we're morally right for reasons we won't explain.

        So by your logic, all Christians are just looking for a convenient, private place to force themselves on trusting young children.

        OR, you know, the "Christian" and "Atheist" labels don't actually tell you if a person is good or bad. But since you went all Hitler and Stalin, I figured I'd respond in turn.

        July 18, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
        • lionlylamb2013

          M.C.

          One needs to take notes regarding all the people of riches who go to other third world countries and pay to molest their enslaved children. Whose daddies and their sons of the many richest aristocrats in many well off nations/countries can be found guilty of such sensual infidelities?

          [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WF0IrOuv57s&w=640&h=360]

          July 18, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
      • jazzguitarman

        The majority of people in prision believe in a so called 'god'.

        July 18, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
      • CeltOne

        Wrong on all counts. Nothing like just making bs up, right?

        July 18, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
      • Ken Margo

        Yo Duck.....................Nobody said all atheist are angels (pun intended). There are bad atheists just like there are bad Christians. Although I'm not sure about your Hitler and Stalin comment.

        July 18, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
      • halbermunken

        Umh, Mein Kampf is filled with religious reasons to hate the Jews (who for instance killed Jesus... which is false of course, because it was God himself. And that is false too, because he didn't really die...he simply respawned later with a 3 day lag).

        According to your belief though, Stalin, Hitler etc were all made in God's perfect image. And he did nothing to stop them. Perhaps he even approved...because he is in the genocide business himself.

        July 21, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Sorry, you're correct. It was Dawkins.

      July 18, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • wilbie

      That has always been one of my favorites too.

      AA is known for it's "god as I understand him" policy. One day it occurred to me that isn't that what everyone does anyway?? A person is incapable of doing anything but believe in a god of their own understanding. But there are so many believers who refuse to acknowledge that.

      Atheist since i was fourteen or so. I realized that there were 3 possibilities:
      all powerful god exists, sits back and watches (sadist)
      all powerful god exists, sits back and watches and intervenes when the mood strikes him, her, it, etc. (again sadist)
      there is no god. No more questions or pondering required, everything just falls into place like a solved Rubik's cube. As an atheist, i am not shocked or surprised by anything, everything makes sense. I am not however immune to horror or revulsion

      July 18, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

        Your reasoning doesn't rule out a deistic god, although let's face it, humanity may be able to create universes in the future, which would make us gods in a deistic sense.

        July 18, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
  7. Thought Purification

    what's the big deal?

    July 18, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
  8. mbb

    I am in every aspect an athiest and firmly believe that if people could just focus on the here and now maybe the world would be a much better place to live. If prayer worked why is there so much evidence that it dosen't ,ie: just go to any stadium and watch the home team loose,or any cancer ward and watch a child die then you can tell me there's a god listening.

    July 18, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Lose.

      July 18, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @mbb...........................You'll never get an straight answer. The latest line of BS Came from blogger RUSS Who said god gives "common grace" for those who sin. In other words "sin is OK" at that moment. The best way to eventually rid ourselves of this nonsense is to convince people to stop giving to the church.

      July 18, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • lionlylamb2013

      Good day mbb,

      Are not the 'focal plains' of social rationalisms a needed commodity of circulating connotations giving everyone self-personifications of base-rooted individualist needs?

      For without individualistic differences this earthen world of humankind would be no better off then the animal kingdoms whose habitual tendencies are natured apart from and differentiated by their natural tenaciousness. We reason and natures do season...

      July 18, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      like I said.

      July 18, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
  9. One one

    There are over 35,000 different sects of Christianity. That means there are at least 35,000 different organized views about what god's word is.

    Atheists agree, there is insufficient evidence for the existence of gods. How atheists go about expressing that belief is as individual as individual atheists.

    July 18, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Yes, pretty much.

      July 18, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • SAM

      OH MY GOSH!!! CNN, WOULD YOU GIVE THIS TOPIC A REST!!?? Unbelievable!

      July 18, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
      • sam

        UM THE WHOLE ARTICLE IS PRETTY MUCH ABOUT THIS TOPIC you idiot.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
        • CBKidder

          sam, I like how you think. If you're gay we should get married. We can do that now.

          July 18, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
      • sam

        Wait...I forgot to add all the ????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so you could understand my post.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
      • jazzguitarman

        This is a belief blog. Why do you come here if you don't wish to read about topics related to belief or lack thereof.

        Oh, because you're a fool!

        July 18, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • lionlylamb2013

      According to a 2010 poll and/or study, there was only 2.01% amount of atheists worldwide and (if I remember correctly) there was a worldly populace of around 35% Christians. Kick your cans down the roadways and when the finalized tallies are sublimely revealed such an embarrassment for such squealing anthropomorphic mammals that only think for themselves. 😦

      July 18, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
      • herbert jones

        Your stats maybe true at the moment, let see what happen when tragedy strikes, not close to home, but at home. Then ask those that claim to be atheist what their claim is now.

        July 18, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
        • Saraswati

          I was a non believer before my mother got ill, during her long illness that uprooted my life, and continued to be so after she died. You may find it more interesting, however, that during those last years when she was ill, she began to think that god's existence was less and less probable. She was quite happy all this time and emotionally unaffected by her changing religious views, it was for her just an interesting intellectual discussion with which she passed those last years.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
        • jazzguitarman

          Yes fear of death does make some into believers. That doesn't mean those myths are truths, only that people are cowards.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        According to adherents.com 16% of the world's population is secular/non-religious/atheist/agnostic.

        They estimate about half of this group to be theistic. 8% is still a minority, but much larger than 2%.

        Most western countries have a higher percentage of atheist/agnostic than the US. In the US, the latest data (from PRRI in 2012) was 6.7% for atheist/agnostic.

        July 18, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        If the world atheist/agnostic population really was only 2%, then why do Christians get so worked up about it?

        Perhaps they fear the number might be much larger and include many who self-identify as "Christian" for various social reasons but deep in their hearts they know this to be a lie?

        July 18, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        I've wondered of all the people in a church on a given Sunday where everyone earnestly confirms that God does indeed speak to them, that they have a loving personal relationship with God, how many are lying and know that they are lying?

        July 18, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          AS long as you say it with faith it's not a lie.

          July 19, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  10. Loopytickler

    Hail Satan!

    July 18, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • Satan

      Thank you sweetie ❤

      July 18, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
      • herbert jones

        He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Now, satan, I command you in the Name of Jesus Christ son of the Living God, to go and never to return, be drown in the nearest sea. As the children of Israel were delivered out of the hands of the Egyptian bondages, likewise God have delivered every soul that call on His Name from your evil devices. This I ask in the Name above all names, Jesus Christ, son of the Living God. Amen

        July 18, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          Riiiiight.

          July 18, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
        • Elise

          HEAL! I say HEAL!!!
          (Not effective unless you smack them on the forehead and knock their ass OUT)

          July 18, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
        • Beelzebub

          Stop your nonsense. The power of christ compels you! The power of christ compels you!

          July 18, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
        • Ken Margo

          Hey herbert what is "Common Grace"?

          July 18, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
        • johnsullivanmusic

          You talk devil talk very much...You go HELL NOW!!!!

          July 18, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Is Satan a woman? That's a H3LL I can deal with!

      July 18, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
  11. Wax on Wax off

    There is only one type of Atheist, one who doesn't believe in a God or god or gods. That's pretty simple

    July 18, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • Dave

      That's like saying there's only one type of Christian. Christianity has multiple different flavors, and I agree that atheism does as well.

      July 18, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

        But that's because Christians interpret The Bible differently, which leads to different denominations. You can't really interpret "I don't believe in a god/s" in too many ways.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
        • Me

          Of course you can look at it in different ways. Are there powerful supernatural beings (what you may think of as angels)? Should we worship them? Are they as powerful as a God? Does God have a God? If so, shouldn't we worship IT? There are many, many questions and variables. Also, the diversity of Christianity is a fair point. Look at the differences between Mennonites, Amish, Baptist, etc. It's much more than just how they interpret the preaching of Jesus – it's an underlying culture. This of course just the Protestants. What about Catholics? Orthodox? Copts?

          July 18, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          In what context would an atheist seriously ask the question "are angels as powerful as God"?

          July 18, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
      • CeltOne

        No it's not like saying that at all. Not even a little bit.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      Exactly, everything else is completely irrelevant to atheism.

      July 18, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
      • Glenn Parker

        Since atheism is a denial of truth, you might say that EVERYTHING is irrelevant to atheism. Except for a hedonistic lifestyle, of course.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
        • sam

          Oy vey, here it comes. In 3...2....1...Glenn is also going to WARN US ABOUT THE GAAAAAAAYS.

          July 18, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
        • One one

          Hi Glenn. Would you please tell us what "truth" is being denied by atheists ?

          July 18, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          You're funny, do you do children's birthday parties?

          July 18, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
        • jazzguitarman

          Glenn, is being a Muslim or Jew denying truth? I mean you claim to know what the truth is. I assume there are many groups of people other than atheist that don’t believe as you do, so I assume you mock them just as much.

          July 18, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
      • What is going on? FREEDOM

        Parker that is funny coming from an individual that only believes the Earth is 6,000 years old when science shows that it is a billion years old and more.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • halbermunken

      Not true, as everyone has a different subjective perception on...well, everything.

      July 21, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  12. @OD

    21st century is at least as good as I imagined it would be, probably even better

    July 18, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
  13. Portland tony

    Just wondering: Why do we need a God when morality can exist without one?

    July 18, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • Wax on Wax off

      Can it? What do you use as your moral compass? And what is your compass is different than your neighbors? You think lying is ok, then what? It's ok?? C.S. Lewis argued that the moral compass of most portions of the world are constant....You don't lie, you don't steal, you don't murder (not killing, that's different) you don't on cheat on your spouse(s)...the list goes on. He argues that this inner sense of morality is ingrained in people and are an expression of the existence of God. No other animal on earth has these same qualities. So, when you talk about morality, without a standard you have nothing. What is your standard?

      July 18, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
      • ME II

        Morality is a learned understanding of social conventions that our parents and/or society teach us. And not all are the same.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
      • Dave

        Wow, that's a pretty big leap, saying that because people can agree across cultures what's right or wrong, that must prove there's a God. Most people in the world are right handed...does that mean God must be right-handed too? My question to is the opposite side of your very same coin. If Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Atheists, and just about everything else agrees that Killing, stealing, cheating, lying are wrong, to me that suggests that the religious constructs are artificial creations designed to explain why our INSTINCT says these things are wrong. And the fact that we're the only animal on the earth that has these moral codes again argues more against God than in favour of it. But if we all possess instincts that cross our racial, cultural, and ideological boundaries, that suggests a common evolutionary trait that links us all together as a species, not some external divine source. Same as any other species...Several breeds of animals have a mate-for-life instinct, same as we do. Heck, they're even better at it than we are, because we've developed the intellect to override our instincts!

        July 18, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
      • jazzguitarman

        Lewis is a crack pot. Behavior is learned. i.e. one is not born to not steal or to be a thief. As for what is the standard: The standard is the law as decided by the collective and subject to change. E.g. being a racist is supported by the Bible but most Christians have come to understand that this is no longer moral.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
      • CeltOne

        Wow, how weak you are that you can't fathom someone being moral without a threat coming from a magical sky daddy.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

        Penguins are far more moral than humans.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
        • Cherilyn B

          No, penguins are not. Just trust me on this. I am a biologist studying animal behavior. Even I was shocked, just shocked, by how low those penguins will go.

          July 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          Yeah, and a sociologist (Christ, even somebody who watches the news) will tell you how low humanity can stoop.

          July 18, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
        • drkent3

          I want to hear more about degenerate penguins. It sounds fascinating.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
      • Scott

        Everyone determines their own moral compass, for some people lying is ok, for others it is not. Just because you have an imaginary friend with an imaginary set of morals does not mean that is the gold standard that everyone on the planet should live by. Do to others as you would like done to yourself. If you don't like being lied to or murdered then don't do it yourself. It's that simple. If you chose to do these things there will be consequences for them. (and i mean real life consequences, not some fairy tail pit of fire)

        July 18, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
      • JimK57

        I do not think it is proof of god. But I also think it is far to deep of a question to be answered with a few sentences in a comment section.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
      • Saraswati

        a) other animals do show the basics of morality; we just have a particularly evolved sense because of our complex social structures. b) No, it is not all right for everyone to have different standards. A core set of standards must always be adopted but with room for limited areas of disagreement and growth.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
      • halbermunken

        Morality pre-dates religion. We can also observe it in other animals, who as far as we know do not have any instruction books to live after.

        July 21, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • One one

      Because belief in god and heaven is the only way people afraid of death have hope they get to live forever and be reunited with their loved ones after death.

      July 18, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
      • G to the T

        Unless of course they didn't follow the same religion as you, in which case you'll be watching them suffer for all eternity. Fun eh?

        July 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • Ponce De Leon

      Because immortality can not.

      July 18, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
  14. Dae

    My hushand and I had a fun conversation about which categories of atheists we fell into.

    We have been talking about adopting, but are worried about our non-Christian beliefs becoming an obstacle. As I told my husband, people are not expecting us to say, "We just want to raise a nice little family of atheists".

    July 18, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • ME II

      I'm not familiar with the adoption process. Do such questions come up?

      July 18, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        It certainly would in the context of a religious adoption agency.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
      • JimK57

        My brother is an atheist and his wife is christian.They adopted two children and he said the question never came up.

        July 18, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
        • Dae

          I'm glad to hear about your brother's experience when adopting. We may need to go to a larger agency rather than the smaller Christian based agencies I found around our area.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I am hoping there are non-religious adoption agencies. (Frankly I wouldn't know.)

      July 18, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
      • Pi

        And this is the problem. People like you are so quick to criticize Christians for opposing abortion, and asking where Christians are when the children are born. They're fostering those children. The adoption industry is almost entirely supported by Christian foster families. Back when we had orphanages they were run by the Catholic church. That's who cares for unwanted children.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

          I think GOP is simply referring to the fact that he would like non-religious adoption agencies so non-religious people aren't excluded from being able to adopt.

          July 18, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          The decision to terminate a pregnancy is a personal choice for a pregnant woman.

          Those women with unwanted pregnancies who do not want to choose abortion can elect to give their child to and adoption agencies. This may or may not have anything to do with religion. There are plenty of non-religious reasons for not wanting to have an abortion.

          It is my expectation that most adoption agencies are religious.

          July 18, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
        • jazzguitarman

          Yes, some Christians are adopting while others are cutting off funding to groups that would reduce the need for abortions.

          July 18, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
        • sam

          Wow, someone's got a hot button issue. What set you off, tough guy?

          July 18, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      I'm not certain, but I'm pretty sure most adoption agencies don't ask what religion you are. Some people obviously bring up their religion in the interview process, as they believe it's indicative of them being good people. Maybe I'm wrong though.

      July 18, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Maybe this will help...http://community.babycenter.com/post/a31912893/non-religious_adoption_agencies

      Good luck 🙂

      July 18, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • Curious

      Why would you even tell them that you are an atheist? It should not be a big issue unless you are adopting from somewhere that requires you to be "Christian" (which there are some places that do). Just say that you do not attend church or practice any particular religion. I adopted two children and this was not a big issue. I am not an atheist (though I have not yet read the study...perhaps I fit into one of their categories) and basically I am unsure. I do not practice any one religion, though I have studied about most of them, and do not attend church. My children are just fine and have not been damaged by this. We do discuss god and what they believe, or not, and will leave it up to them to make up their own minds. When you choose your social worker for your home study, be sure that you ask questions before you hire her/him to find out if you beliefs will be an issue. If so, find someone else. When I was looking for a social worker, I called one place that did not believe in single mothers adopting (I guess they prefer children rot in orphanages rather than have a loving family), so I called someone else.

      July 18, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
      • fred

        You are very wrong to believe children have capacity to find their own way. Nonsense, actually as why would you give guidance in all areas of life except one. What you do is set the child up with blinders.
        Christian homes today experience 75% of their church raised children do not attend church after college. These children came to a free decision yours will be blind and handicapped in the areas of life that are not limited by naturalism. You are teaching a religion it just happens to be a godless one

        July 18, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
        • BD

          You are delusional and I would be afraid to let my kids near you fred

          July 18, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
        • fred

          BD
          Why I simply help the innocent with needed tools for life. When they are of age they can make a balanced choice.

          July 18, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
        • jazzguitarman

          What you do Fred is brainwash kids with a bunch of myths.

          July 18, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
        • fred

          Jazzguitarman
          No, we teach them a way that is humble, thankful and filled with love. The source of that way of life is Christ. As I said 75% do not attend church these days after college. We assist with college which is part of the overall commitment we make when we save an innocent life.
          We must be very bad at brainwashing.

          July 18, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
        • fred

          jazzguitarman
          The difference between a myth and reality is that we actually save lives and provide the environment for that life to thrive. A myth is powerless and changes nothing.

          July 18, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          @fred,

          myths can be very powerful. Consider the myth that we live in a republic where democratically elected officials represent the district that elected them.

          In practice the const!tuency they 'represent' is very different, yet people still believe in the myth.

          July 18, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
        • fred

          GOPer
          Correct, it is about belief and we all function based on our core beliefs. In my case I was agnostic then Christ did exactly what the Bible said and has done so ever since. Our elected representatives have not.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
        • drkent3

          If 75% of Christian raised people do not attend church after going to college, with the implication that they realized that church was unnecessary – then how can it be that not having them attend in the first place is placing 'blinders' on them and "not giving them the necessary tools"? that's like saying we should teach them to believe that Santa Clause exists when they are children, even though most will reject that belief later, because not teaching them that is preventing them from having one of the necessary tools for life later on and is raising them with blinders. Most ridiculous argument... EVER.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
        • Observer

          "Christian homes today experience 75% of their church raised children do not attend church after college"

          fred, there's a real message there in those statistics about getting a higher education.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
        • fred

          darkent3
          There are lots of theories why the young people are not returning to their Church after college. The point is they made a choice they were not brainwashed. My reply was to the post that claimed Christian families brainwashed their kids.
          Yes, kids realize Santa is just fun but at least they had opportunity to enjoy.

          Atheists rob children of opportunity. It is like being born to a Muslim family in Iran, good luck with seeking Christ or any truth for that matter.

          July 18, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
      • Dae

        Thank you for your reply, Curious. I was looking at smaller agencies around our area and found mostly Christian based agencies. We may need to branch out to adopt a child.

        July 18, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • fred

      We sponsor agencies that give the true facts on abortion and they are all Christian. Most of the young women are referred to us through parents or friends that are concerned abortion is not according to the will of God. Planned Parenthood, the public school system and government agencies push abortion and so we rarely see anyone referred out by these agencies. Planned Parenthood goes so far as to destroy and remove information providing an alternative to abortion including available complete financial assistance for the mother and child.

      With that in mind we have a backlog of people who want to adopt and yes if you state one of you is atheist or gay you will be at the back of the line.

      July 18, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
      • sam

        'True facts'. Right. True facts as according to your worldview.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
      • fred is full of it

        >>Planned Parenthood, the public school system and government agencies push abortion

        Crackp0t liar.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
        • fred

          We ask how they found out about us and have receive less than 2% from public schools and government agencies while zero from Planned Parenthood. We ask if they were given options that did not include abortion and they were not.

          I cannot account for the other support centers but I can and do for the ones I support.

          July 18, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
      • BD

        Fred......wow, there is nothing sane about your post, i would pick an atheist or gay person over you on purpose any day

        July 18, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
        • fred

          Our purpose is to save innocent life from being tossed in a stainless steel bowl. Why would we take the effort to save a life and then put it into an unproven environment. We have 10,000 years of a traditional family model under God and 10 under the new godless banner. The lives we save are not the beta version.

          July 18, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
        • G to the T

          It's funny – I could actually agree with some of the stuff he said right up until this:

          "With that in mind we have a backlog of people who want to adopt and yes if you state one of you is atheist or gay you will be at the back of the line." Mixed race couples OK with you?

          It's these types of actions that make many atheists so upset with religious people. WE ARE NOT SECOND CLASS CITIZENS!

          July 19, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
      • Observer

        fred,

        Why do you try to link the Bible and being anti-abortion? The Bible NEVER mentions abortion by name, but offers more to support abortion than to oppose abortion including a formula for how to cause abortion.

        Why not read the Bible before pretending it says something it doesn't?

        Wishful thinking does not mean something is real.

        July 18, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
        • Observer

          fred

          "We have 10,000 years of a traditional family model under God and 10 under the new godless banner."

          God's warped version of marriage excludes love and believes that marriage should be FORCED onto people who might even hate each other.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
        • fred

          As to abortion the Bible does not comment specifically. We see the Egyptians attempted to force late term abortions on the Hebrew yet the midwives risked their own lives to deceive the Pharaoh and save the lives of the children. We still receive thank you cards from those lives we saved.

          As to forced marriage you twist the verse. It was not God forcing marriage but custom of a broken people.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
        • Observer

          fred

          "As to forced marriage you twist the verse. It was not God forcing marriage but custom of a broken people."

          Nonsense fred. READ a Bible. It was God's "perfect, infallible" commands.

          You are the one twisting the EXACT words in the Bible.

          July 18, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
        • Observer

          Here's just one example of God forcing marriage on people. Don't bother looking for the word "love".

          (Deut. 25:5-10) “If two brothers are living together on the same property and one of them dies without a son, his widow may not be married to anyone from outside the family. Instead, her husband’s brother should marry her and have intercourse with her to fulfill the duties of a brother-in-law".

          July 18, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
        • fred

          Deuteronomy 25 5-10 is a summary of tradition as to right of inheritance. If there were no son is further stated in law and tradition meaning no grandchildren, daughter etc that could preserve the family name and property by tradition. This was about not letting strangers acquire the land. In the same house means community or family not just a brother living in same house.

          Common you can do better than this.

          July 18, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
        • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

          @fred,

          are women still 'property' to be inherited then?

          July 18, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
        • fred

          GOPer
          And in American history payment was received per "Indian" scalp. Should we scalp Indians today?

          July 19, 2013 at 8:49 am |
      • Truth Prevails :-)

        The only real views that matter and the only truth that matters in the real world is what science has to say about this issue. Not everyone lives in accordance to the bible and thus it does not apply to everyone. What a woman does with her body is strictly none of your business, nor is it your place to tell her she is wrong for having an abortion or considering it, especially when you are using the bible as your guide for why it is wrong. Planned Parenthood does a tremendous amount more than provide the option of abortion. They offer education and access to breast cancer screening. They offer access to birth control. The offer counseling on a secular level that is meant to reach people from every walk of life.
        The only thing that really matters is what the law of the land states and fortunately for women, it disagrees with you.

        July 18, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      If your baby grew up believing differently than you,would you reject it?

      July 18, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
      • Dae

        Of course not! Just as mother accepts me although our beliefs are different. There may be some good-natured debates in our home, though! I think diversity is good for everyone. Mostly I want my children's beliefs to truely be their's, rather than something they do because they were told to when growing up.

        July 19, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Saraswati

      The vast majority of my friends and relatives have raided children in non-religious households. In much of Europe and east Asia this is the norm. If you live in the US South or something I'd pick up and move to Boston or Portland, OR or some more sane place.

      July 18, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Btw, if you're worried you can join a Unitarian Church which will cover most bases. The only problem I ever saw in adoption was a coworker who was a white Southern Baptist trying to adopt a black daughter. This is up north where all most people know about the SBs is that they were founded to keep slavery going. His adoption was not approved.

      July 18, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
  15. Waynet

    Survey can be very misleading. In many case, people would respond "none" to a religion question, but that does not mean that the person is an atheist. In communist countries, like China, Cuba and Vietnam, religion is forbidden, so on the country's UN profile would show something like 98% atheist (or no religious affiliation). Also, not believing in God (the Christian/Catholic God) or Allah does not mean that a person is atheist or agnostic or whatever name called. For example, a Buddhist does not believe in any of the "God" shown above, but still can be deeply "religious".

    July 18, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • gkh1977

      I'm going to let you in on a secret. Religion is not "forbidden" in countries like Russia and China. Russia has a rather large Eastern Orthodox population in actuality. As for China, their "religious" population (Buddhists, Taoists, folk-religion) is actually larger than the entire population of the US. They simply don't believe in the same religious concepts Christians do. For example, there is no specific day of the week that they must attend services (with the exception of certain lunar calender holidays). Regardless, you will not find a shortage of Chinese burning incense, praying or meditating at the thousands of Buddhist/Taoist temples in the country.

      The difference is that religion in those countries are regulated (sometimes heavily) to prevent it from entering the political arena and becoming a force. That in itself is actually not a bad idea since history tells us that the volatile mixture of religion with politics generally produce horrendous results. Still, the methods of enforcement can become uneven or too heavy handed sometimes.

      July 18, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

        Russia wasn't mentioned.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Yes the "nones" is not the same as "atheist".

      In addition to atheist/agnostic, "none" encompasses deists, people who are "spiritual but not religious" and believers who don't attend a recognized church. I think we understand this.

      The number of adherents to traditional Chinese folk religion is greater than the population of the US. (394 million, according to http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html )

      July 18, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
  16. JJ

    What happened with this blog? It was up to 7,000 comments I thought. CNN repackaged it as a different story and wiped all the comments.

    July 18, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      The original story still exists.

      July 18, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • ME II

      That was the first one https://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/07/15/the-six-types-of-atheists/

      July 18, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • JJ

      Oh, pardon me. I saw the same pic and scrolled to the bottom. Thanks.

      July 18, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
  17. Gromit801

    Many atheists celebrate things like christmas, not any religious reasons, rather because they are cultural events. We view christmas as more of a celebration of a cherished myth. Like the easter bunny. It's fun, but doesn't mean anything religious.

    July 18, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • ME II

      And the "spirit" of giving is worth celebrating, I think.

      July 18, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      It's about family for us.

      July 18, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I can't let you do that

      The Easter Bunny is a myth?

      July 18, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
      • Cherilyn B

        The Easter Bunny is real. He spends the off season in our woods. He has a temple where he worships The Great Carrot God who I think is actually my husband. Long story.

        July 18, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
      • Saraswati

        He only visits the true bunny believers. Heathen families have to provide candy for their children themselves.

        July 18, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • halbermunken

      It's a time to relax, to enjoy good meals and otherwise enjoy life. I don't even think that for most Christians that Christmas is important for religious reasons. Most worship money more anyway. And, the whole thing was a pagan thing in the past.
      And all weekdays get their names from other gods, but it's not something most people ever think about.

      July 21, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  18. fsdfs

    you're all crazy mental jokes.

    July 18, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • ME II

      Are you the punch line?

      July 18, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
  19. Jerry

    Atheism can only make sense in the context of NOT knowing, not in the context of knowing. Atheism is a (possibly more assertive) derivative of agnosticism. Nobody can know there is no God. Knowing anything is a very personal thing, depending on your own context and sensual exposure. I would never assert that something does not exist or that it is impossible. I would, however, willingly assert that in my context or with the tools and senses available to me I cannot find or perceive something. Any atheist who tries to "prove" the nonexistence of God is on a fool's errand. Any atheist who asserts he/she "knows" there is no God is a liar.

    July 18, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      If you believe in God you are a theist. If you don't, you are an atheist.

      What you describe is an agnostic atheist and is a logical position to take.

      Using your reasoning I would argue that 'nobody can know there is a God'.

      July 18, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • Morgan21

      Atheism refers to belief. Agnosticism refers to a claim about knowledge. There is a huge distinction. I don't believe in a god because there are no facts/evidence to support a belief in a supreme being (knowledge). Get it?

      July 18, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • Jim

      Jerry, the exact same can be said of anyone who believes in a higher power. To prove the existence of a god is a fool's errand also. Seems like you glossed over this fact.

      July 18, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
      • Jerry

        I did not gloss over anything at all. I was addressing "knowledge", not "belief". All of us on some level choose to believe some things based on the assertions and testimonies of others. But we can only have knowledge if we have "been there, done that" in a real sense. My point was that I may or may not believe someone who says something exists, but I will find someone who asserts that something does NOT exist far less credible if they make the context too large. If you say something does not exist in a certain law, or a specific place (house, room, geographical area), I may find that credible, but in some cases would do my own due diligence (only if it matters to me). When someone asserts something does not exist universally, I find that lacks credibility, and one reason is that it is not possible for me or anyone else to do due diligence (if it even matters to us). A number of the atheists in the article are asserting that they know something does not exist universally. They cannot know that, but they can believe it. In some cases that is not what they are saying. There is a certain arrogance when they assert knowledge of something they cannot possibly know. I said nothing in my post that asserts something I cannot know. A person can "know" there is a God on a very personal level, because his/her own senses may have proved that (to him/her only). But he/she cannot prove it to someone else. The context is small enough (one person) that knowledge by the one person is possible. But on a universal level, that one person cannot prove it to others. For atheists or anyone else, truthful assertion of the universal nonexistence of anything, any person, or any place is not possible. If the atheist says he cannot find evidence that God is in his pillow, I would probably believe him. Context is very important.

        July 18, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
        • Yakobi

          Jerry–
          TLDR.
          FYI, I _know_ there are no gods, xtian or otherwise. Now go forth and prove me wrong.
          Deal with it.

          July 18, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
        • lol what

          So I'm assuming that you're not going to believe me when I tell you that there are no Hydras in the universe....

          July 18, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • oobydooby99

      bs

      July 18, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • CeltOne

      Einstein, atheism is about lack of a belief in god.

      July 18, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • Keith Chadwick

      You do not prove a negative to infer a positive that is bad science. You can not say that simply because one can not prove that god does not exist ergo it must exist. That is inverse logic. You prove the existence of something not the absence of its opposite then make an assumption.

      July 18, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
      • Saraswati

        The OP did not make any claims about this showing that god exists.

        July 18, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
    • Ken

      I get your point, but your argument is akin to saying well you can't know there aren't flying unicorns or seven eyed frogs. Wouldn't you agree it's essentially impossible to disprove most things that do not exist? Thus at what point does such a subjects nonexistence become a fact, knowledge that it doesn't exist? Thus if one side claims god doesn't exist, and there is no proof anywhere that god does exist, then those who don't believe would have it correct.

      July 18, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • halbermunken

      There is an infinite amount of things which we cannot disprove. And for most there is no good reason to believe in.

      July 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.