(If you happen to be a nonbeliever, that is.) Via CNN, researchers Christopher Silver and Thomas Coleman interviewed atheists and formed a Cosmo-quiz-style typology of six distinct groups:
- Intellectual atheist/agnostic – This type of nonbeliever seeks information and intellectual stimulation about atheism. They like debating and arguing.
- Activist – These kinds of atheists and agnostics are not content with just disbelieving in God; they want to tell others why they reject religion and why society would be better off if we all did likewise.
- Seeker-agnostic – People who are unsure about the existence of a God but keep an open mind and recognize the limits of human knowledge and experience. That doesn’t mean this group is confused, the researchers say. They just embrace uncertainty.
- Anti-theist – This group regularly speaks out against religion and religious beliefs, usually by positioning themselves as “diametrically opposed to religious ideology,” Silver and Coleman wrote.
- Non-theist – The smallest group are people who do not involve themselves with either religion or anti-religion. In many cases, this comes across as apathy or disinterest. “A Non-Theist simply does not concern him or herself with religion,” Silver and Coleman wrote.
- Ritual atheist – They don’t believe in God or associate with religion, but this type of nonbeliever still finds useful 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,” Silver and Coleman wrote. Their adherence to ritual may stem from family traditions or respect for the “profound symbolism” inherent within religious rituals, beliefs and ceremonies.
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