And are there more types than these?  This is apparently from sociological research out of the University of Tennessee, but I'm reporting from the Salon article.  The researchers identified six categories of non-believers in the U.S., with estimates of their relative size.

1. Intellectual Atheist/Agnostic. By far, the most common kind of non-believer, at nearly 38 percent. This group enjoys intellectual discourse, and while they’re often very certain about their beliefs, they’re not belligerent about it. These types often get mistaken for dogmatic atheists, however, because they have a tendency to join skeptic’s groups or otherwise find avenues to discuss non-belief with others. However, as researchers note, these non-believers “associate with fellow intellectuals regardless of the other’s ontological position."  They like debating religion, but aren’t particularly interested in chasing down believers to give them a hard time.

2. Activist. This group also gets commonly accused of being dogmatic, but like the intellectual atheist, while they’re firm in their beliefs, they’re intellectually flexible and don’t prioritize attacking believers. Instead, they are motivated by a strong sense of humanist values to make change in the world, often making related issues—such as feminism, gay rights, or the environment—a priority over simply advocating atheism. They are the second biggest sub-category of non-believers, making up 23 percent of non-believers.

3. Seeker-Agnostic. This group, which makes up 7.6 percent of non-believers, are unlikely to be as critical of religion as most other groups. They prioritize not-knowingness. If you ever come across people saying, “I don’t know, but neither do you!” regarding religious belief, you’re dealing with a seeker-agnostic. They don’t really believe in anything, but they are uncomfortable committing to non-belief completely.

4. Anti-Theist. This group tends to get conflated with all atheists by believers, but they only constitute 15 percent of non-believers. Like the Intellectual Atheists, they like to argue about religion, but they are much more aggressive about it and actively seek out religious people in an effort to disabuse them of their beliefs. While most atheists limit themselves to supporting a more secular society, anti-theists tend to view ending religion as the real goal.

5. Non-Theist. They don’t believe in any gods, but don’t think about those who do very often. In such a religious society, simply opting out of caring much about religion one way or another is nearly impossible, which is why this group is only 4.4 percent of non-believers. “A Non-Theist simply does not concern him or herself with religion,” researchers explain. In some skeptical/atheist circles, this group is disparagingly referred to as “shruggies,” because they simply shrug when asked their opinion on religion.

6. Ritual Atheist/Agnostic. This group, making up 12.5 percent of atheists, doesn’t really believe in the supernatural, but they do believe in the community aspects of their religious tradition enough to continue participating. We’re not just talking about atheists who happen to have a Christmas tree, but who tend to align themselves with a religious tradition even while professing no belief. “Such participation may be related to an ethnic identity (e.g. Jewish),” explain researchers, “or the perceived utility of such practices in making the individual a better person.”


Tags: activist, anti-theist, atheist, groups, intellectual, non-theist, research, ritual, seeker-agnostic, types

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I probably fall into the first two categories, and to a slightly lesser extent, the fourth. My atheism and my sense of social justice are so intertwined I don't think I could separate them if I wanted to. Which brings me to anti-theism. Do I think the world would be a better place without religion? Yes. Religion has either been directly responsible for, or used to justify centuries of human suffering. Today, many politicians dismiss reason and logic in favor of fear and superstition. To give such people the power they have is extremely unwise. If they are so willing to lie to themselves, how much trouble do you think they have in lying to us?

That being said, I'm in favor of freedom of religion, because in this country the rights of both believers and non-believers are protected. At least, that's the way it's supposed to work. But there are many who forget that their rights end, where the next person's begins.

@Bob - Don't you have enough faith in your religion to answer a straight question, a very simple question - or do you not understand what it is you actually have faith in? You have failed as a theist to explain why you are a theist, why you are a catholic, and what it is you actually believe in - then on top of that, you don't have enough confidence in your catholicism to want to help Bergoglio, who needs help in trying to clean up, clean out the criminals in his midst, and is hitting brick walls from people who want to keep the status quo, their wealth, power and lifestyle.

Other catholics think it is worth helping Bergoglio, just not you.

You do not have even enough courage to help your own catholicism.

Bubble Bob, Klonk.

Lets see Bob,

1. I am when am interacting with someone who seems to have something between his ears that thinks. They are not many on the theist camp when the topic is religion.

2. am an activist. I don't want the pope, who claims to be a virgin, telling me how I should have sex.

3. am not there. am very critical of religion

4. i don't like to argue about religion. my favorite topic is sex or beer :-P

5. every where I turn someone is either kneeling down or showing me his butt. Even if I wanted to I couldn't help noticing believers everywhere. Try walking past a long a road with trash and not think about the trash you see around you then get back to me. Am patient :)

6. well, yes, i like to drink beer with friends. and beer sure does make us better people. Trying looking at everyone in the bar after the fourth beer, they are all beautiful! Thanks to beer.

Now that I have answered your query, what type of theist are you?

@onyango - My friend Bob, is the genuflecting kind, 'cause he has a problem spine, and is a Master of Deflection kind.

Maybe he has a straight answer for this simple question.

How have you been? I haven't heard from you in a long time

@onyango - I always read your blogs, just finished reading your latest - and I have just finished reading archy's comments on TA - I just get so flabbergasted at stupidity, and the control these evil people have over innocents. I am left speechless, 'cause it is all so dangerous. So many people, and I understand that in poorer communities, they need a crutch etc. etc. but, truly, it is so frigging scary the amount of people that are taken in by this.

Luv your blog - but what the???? Speechless :(

My friend Bob, does not answer questions. That is how he operates. Deflect, deflect, deflect. Klonk.

@Bob - As a theist, I think the same sort of thing happens in religion.  Most people have the experience you had - as it seems I have been 'badly' taught.

Who would you consider to be a 'good' teacher, or the 'best' teacher of religion, that you can think of.

What and how should a good instructor, teach catholicism?

@Bob - this is a question that you didn't answer -

Aa a theist, I think the same sort of thing happens on religion. Most people have an experience you had.

Question: Who would you consider to be the 'best' teacher, or even a 'good' teacher of the catholic religion, that you can think of? How well do you think you are doing on this site, to convince anybody that the catholic religion is the one to follow?

Im the first one. But I use to be a shrugger

I would not even waste time discussing the idea with theists. I have found that it is only a waste of my intellectual superiority. :)

I'm most probably an intellectual agnostic/atheist with a little mix of seeker-agnostic.


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