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(RNS) Believers within Christianity, Judaism or Islam don't all believe the same thing, and atheists and nonbelievers are no different. Here are six different kinds of unbelief.

23 Comments

  1. I am a reluctant Anti-Theist.

    I wish I didn’t have to fight against religion.
    I wish people could go to church and stay out of shoving Jesus into our politics and laws.
    I wish religion were treated casually by churchgoers, like an old custom.
    I wish religion were not tone deaf to the harm it causes.
    I wish religion did not fight the Climate Change science.
    I wish Pogroms and Witch burnings were a thing of the past.
    I wish nobody ever taught Hell to children.

    But wishes don’t make things true.
    And if I thought living a wishful life was good for people I would be defending religion instead of ripping it up.

  2. The author should probably state (assuming that it is true?) that the respondents of the survey were all USA-based. For example, in secular and mostly non-religious countries such as the UK, the category percentages would be completely different – most people here in the UK are category 5.

  3. I agree with John Moore about the categories. I agree with Vexen Crabtree about the prevalence, (probably in the world in general), of category 5.

    1) I listen to discussion and debate related to atheism and read many articles such as this one. But on the other hand I’ve never read an atheist book nor gone to an atheist conference or group or otherwise sought out like minded company.

    2) I would certainly like the world to change but I’m too apathetic to make it happen except for a few blog comments.

    3) I’d like to think I’m open minded but on the matter of a god’s existence it just ain’t so. I think it more likely that the sun won’t rise tomorrow than any of the gods I know about exists. I don’t miss religion because I’ve never been religious.

    4) I’m certainly an anti-theist. I believe religion is probably a net bad thing. Error in belief will eventually lead to error in action.
    On the other hand I’m not so certain about this that I promote it. I know a few very good people who are religious. If religion vanished tomorrow it would be replaced by other irrational beliefs not grounded in evidence. We might end up with new philosophies as bad as communism or fascism given the nature of humanity.

    5) Most of the people I know are apatheists. They just don’t care about the matter sufficiently to take an interest. I can believe the low figure for apatheists in the US. However, I suspect American apatheists just don’t “come out”. I suspect the world wide percentage of apatheists is more like 80%.
    I suspect the apatheists have got it right. Imagine an alien tuning in to our communications signals. Who is going to impress him? Those arguing the pros and cons of non-existent entities or those getting on with something useful?

    6) I do find some rituals soothing and reassuring. But they tend to be mundane like wet shaving with a bog standard safety razor. I wouldn’t recognize spirituality if it slapped me in the face with a wet fish.

  4. Hard to imagine being an Apatheist after 9/11.

    I can’t imagine too many better news headlines
    than this one:
    “Middle East Shows Signs of Fast-Growing Secularism”

    IF ONLY!
    The whole world would breath a sigh of relief.

  5. I think the problem with apatheists as something to be identified with, is that “activist” and “academic” sound cooler on paper. That there is some reason and zeal behind one’s non-belief rather than just lack of interest.

    It is definitely the category which would have fit me growing up. But current conditions make “activist” the personal choice. I am far too annoyed by the confluence of religion and politics to just leave things alone. I can abide by religious belief if people don’t act like raging jerks about it.

  6. I would identify with category 4 as arguing about whether there is a god is equivalent to me as arguing whether there are unicorns. It does sadden me when people use religion to justify killing or harming other people.

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