A team of atheist/agnostic researchers out of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga got together to survey over 1100 atheists and released their findings recently. They claim that there are 6 kinds of atheists as follows:
2. Activist: they are vocal politically and proclaim why society should believe as they do.
3. Seeker-agnostic: a group that is willing to claim they don’t have all the answers and admit they’re unsure about whether or not God exists.
4. Anti-theist: they consider their knowledge superior and consider religious people as ignorant and are outspoken about the weaknesses or contradictions they believe are obvious in religion.
5. Non-theist: they hold to their disbelief in God quietly and don’t participate in any religious or anti-religious practices.
6. Ritual atheist: they participate in religious practices but don’t believe in God or eternal life and their participation is simply an acknowledging that some principles taught in various religions can be good for everyday life applications.
The study has stirred a lot of controversy within atheist ranks. But a former atheist who became a Christian has pointed out that Christians shouldn’t feel the least bit intimidated by atheists.
Professor Alister McGrath of Great Britain says that it is good to keep in mind that human reasoning is limited and can never fully get a handle on the reality of God–who he is and what he can do. The important thing, he says, is to hold steadfast to the doctrine of the Trinity as a way of confirming within our own minds the vision of God we should have and not allow anyone, including ourselves, to diminish God to less than that. McGrath said, “The doctrine of the Trinity is this realization that God is just so great, we are never going to be fully able to make sense of him, even though we can trust him.”
In contrast, atheism creates its own narrow little world, according to McGrath. Boxing yourself in to the idea that the only reality is what can be proven tends to negate the fact there are things bigger and brighter than what can be proven, like hope or beauty or the will to get up every day. McGrath believes atheists’ animosity against Christians is a result of them having to distract themselves from the misery of the smallness of their own world.
I would add that atheists also attack Christians because we are a reminder to them about the sins they don’t want to give up but deep down know they should. They also know God exists but they try to shut out the obvious by attacking Christians with the false hope this will take away the misery of their denial of the obvious. As the Bible states, there’s really no such thing as an atheist.
Christopher F. Silver. Non-Belief in America Research. July 2013.
Dan Merica. Behold, the six types of atheists. CNN Belief Blog. July 15, 2013.
Daniel. Burke. ‘Six Types of Atheists’ study wakes a sleeping giant. CNN Belief Blog. July 18, 2013.
Alister McGrath: There is a limit to reason. Christian Today. July 17, 2013.