Archive | October 2013

Behold, the six types of atheists

For once CNN posts something good.

CNN Belief Blog

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) — How many ways are there to disbelieve in God?

At least six, according to a new study.

Two researchers at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga found that atheists and agnostics run the range from vocally anti-religious activists to nonbelievers who still observe some religious traditions.

“The main observation is that nonbelief is an ontologically diverse community,” write doctoral student Christopher Silver and undergraduate student Thomas Coleman.

“These categories are a first stab at this,” Silver told the website Raw Story. “In 30 years, we may be looking at a typology of 32 types.”

Silver and Coleman derived their six types of nonbelievers from 59 interviews. We’re pretty sure we’ve spotted all six in our comments section.

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Getting our terms clear

Some people in the religious (and some in the agnostic) community have been going on a crusade to redefine atheism from “a lack of belief in god/s” to “the belief that no god/s exist”. This is fallacious from the start because:

1) Atheism comes from the Greek words “a”-without and “theos”-god. Without god. While some atheists do believe that there is no god, it is not a requirement to do so. In order to be without god, you just need to not believe in god/s.

2) It’s a lot easier to pretend that your opponents beliefs are faith-based and insupportable than facing up to the burden of proof that you give yourself when you make claims.

But for the sake of argument let’s just say that officially atheism is “the belief that no god/s exist”. If two people, one believing no god/s exist and the other being unconvinced were to debunk every theistic claim put to them, it really wouldn’t matter what their beliefs were. It would just show that theistic claims consistently collapse under critical scrutiny, have no evidence backing them up and are not backed up by logic or evidence. Theists who fixate on strong atheists are really just trying to distract attention from their real problem: that their claims have no valid foundation.