Classification of Atheists!

According to a new study, there are at least six types of atheists.

1) Intellectual atheist/agnostic

This type of nonbeliever seeks information and intellectual stimulation about atheism.

They like debating and arguing, particularly on popular Internet sites.

They’re also well-versed in books and articles about religion and atheism, and prone to citing those works frequently.

2) 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.

They tend to be vocal about political causes like gay rights, feminism, the environment and the care of animals.

3) Seeker-agnostic

This group is made up of people who are unsure about the existence of a God but keep an open mind and recognize the limits of human knowledge and experience.

They regularly question their own beliefs and do not hold a firm ideological position.

That doesn’t mean this group is confused. They just embrace uncertainty.

4) Anti-theist

This group regularly speaks out against religion and religious beliefs, usually by positioning themselves as diametrically opposed to religious ideology. Anti-theists view religion as ignorance and see any individual or institution associated with it as backward and socially detrimental. The Anti-Theist has a clear and – in their view, superior – understanding of the limitations and danger of religions.
Anti-theists are outspoken, devoted and – at times – confrontational about their disbelief. They believe that obvious fallacies in religion and belief should be aggressively addressed in some form or another.

5) Non-theist

The smallest group among the six are the non-theists, 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. Religion plays no role or issue in one’s consciousness or worldview; nor does a Non- Theist have concern for the atheist or agnostic movement.
They simply do not believe, and in the same right, their absence of faith means the absence of anything religion in any form from their mental space.

6) Ritual atheist

They don’t believe in God, they don’t associate with religion, and they tend to believe there is no afterlife, but the sixth 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. For example, these individuals may participate in specific rituals, ceremonies, musical opportunities, meditation, yoga classes, or holiday traditions.

For many of these nonbelievers, their adherence to ritual may stem from family traditions. For others, its a personal connection to, or respect for, the “profound symbolism” inherent within religious rituals, beliefs and ceremonies.

This classification is probably not the best one. But I am glad that people are talking about atheists and different types of atheists in popular mainstream media. The word atheist is not being considered a filthy obscene word in the USA anymore. People are becoming religious. People are becoming atheists also, more than ever.
What kind of atheist am I ? I believe I am a mixture of 1, 2, and 4. What about you guys?


  1. Menyambal --- Ooo, look! A garage sale ... says

    I’m mostly a 1. Except for the citing of works part. I hang out a Pharyngula, and have argued against citing authorities. Religion is based on authority, and it gripes me a bit when theists assume we follow leaders and books.

    Apathetic non-theists bother me. If there is any possibility of heaven or hell, one should really get clear on the issue—just shrugging that off is careless, I think. If there is no God, we’ve a bunch of crazy people running the world, and that should be a concern. It isn’t a matter fro apathy …. well, actually, it is, since there is no God and there isn’t much chance of convincing the crazies otherwise.

  2. roger ivanhart says

    Nice one.

    For what it’s worth, these are my thoughts.

    Radical atheists tend to be a mixture of 1,2 and 4. I know I am.

    It says here that 3s embrace uncertainty; a rather polite way of saying indecisive, methinks.

    5s are closet atheists unwilling to show themselves, perhaps fearing what may become of them if religion reasserts its diabolical power.

    6s call themselves atheists but cannot release themselves from the rigid ritual that religion gave them. Peter Pans, adults with the emotions of young children, they dare not to break free from the comfort they gained from their schooldays; they are afraid to grow up. 6s think they have the answers that will bring atheists and theists together but often come across as arrogant and unwilling to compromise by other atheists. 6s want to be liked by everybody but are instead seen as pathetic by atheists who dislike and distrust ritual, something that can arise when adults study the worst excesses of and then reject religion. 6s can be regarded as figures of contempt rather than fear by the strongly religious. However, some theists see 6s as being less strident than other atheists and therefore they may serve a purpose in gaining the trust of the wavering religious.

  3. tuibguy says

    Is there a 7? The sort that is rather bored by arguments over whether god(s) exist, but quite opposed to theistic interference into the private lives of other people? An activist for secular rights, visibly atheist but avoids arguments with apologists not out of fear but because they cover the same tedious ground ad nauseum. That’s how I see myself.

    • Lahiru D says

      I think that agrees with my line of thinking too. I am most likely a mix of 2 & 4 + 7. I’m definitely not 1 : I don’t identify with Atheism or for that matter Agnosticism, Rationalism, Free-thought, etc. as philosophical positions/ideologies (note: capitalization to indicate philosophical positions/ideologies).

  4. brianbuchbinder says

    Depends on what day or time you ask me. And because I love pipe organ music I spend more time in churches than most believers. I used to play the organ for the Methodists in a small town. One day the Catholic priest cornered me in the grocery. “Would you play for our Sunday services?” “I’m sorry, father, I think one church service a week is enough for any atheist…”

  5. hari says

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  6. says

    I’m stricty a non-theist for the same reason I’m a non-stamp collector and a non-NASCAR fan. The topics don’t interest me, they’re irrelevant to my life.

    I’m also an activist, but not an anti-religion or pro-atheism activist. I don’t care what people do or don’t believe. I care about what they do. I frequently fight against the actions of the religious and, occasionally, against the actions of the unreligious and the atheists.

    I agree with those who regard the six classifications of atheists as junk.

  7. Agni_B says

    No mention of:
    Fundamentalist atheist
    Atheist Taliban
    Egotistical Atheist
    Brain dead Atheist

    Intelligent Atheist? don’t exist- all are agnostic or Hindu /Buddhist now.

    ” The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason Creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason what so ever into self-replicating bits which then turn into dinosaurs ” – Make perfect sense ?

    Hindus don’t need atheism, anyone can be almost anything in hinduism. For thousands of years India has been a veritable laboratory of religion: . In spite of attacks on Hinduism by varied invaders, rumors of decay and disarray, Hinduism has outlived

    What India needs is more Hindu/Buddhism NOT Atheism – A ‘Muscular Hinduism’ to confront Atheist silly brigade & Muslim fundamentalism.

    • says

      You are having some sick ideas. You need to fight superstition and religion using science . You would fail if you use one religious fundamentalism to fight another religious fundamentalism. All religious fundamentalists are more or less the same. They are friends when drag their societies backwards.

    • says

      You are having some sick ideas. Please try to get rid of those. You need to use science to fight superstition and religion . You need no religious fundamentalism to fight a kind religious fundamentalism that you don’t like. All religious fundamentalists are more or less the same. They are often friends and work hand in hand in order to drag their societies backwards.

      • Agni_B says

        Sick ideas? Birds eye view of Atheist mumbo jumbo.

        Atheism is not science , just speculation but believers act like Muslim fundamentalist
        The idea of atheism is nothing new in Hindu/Buddhist thought- it existed thousands years b4 it become fashionable in the West

        A Hindu can be atheistic, agnostic, monotheistic, polytheistic, pantheistic, pantheistic. So Hindu fundamentalism is an oxymoron. Can be called stupid -honored ‘Mother Teresa’ with ‘Bharat Ratna’

        Misguided and gullible atheist unwary of Vedic science and ’Upanishad’. .
        Fundamentalism never existed in Hinduism, cant be compared with any others.

        “Hinduism and Buddhism offer much more sophisticated worldviews (or philosophies) and
        I see nothing wrong with these religions“- R Dawkins

        Hindu fundamentalism is a myth created by the media & congress. Hindu nationalism is nt fundamentalism

        You cant abolish social evil with repeated mantra of ‘god does nt exist-’ Without Hinduism the whole history culture tradition of India would perish . Mohammed wiped out Arabs past history ,culture with Islam , which they call ‘Jahiliyyah’

        Anyone remember Fundy atheist Stalin ,Hitler ,Mao ,Pol Pot ?

        You should make yourself familiar with ‘Aryabhatta’ & Upanishad- it may improve your understanding.

        • says

          Dear Agni_B,

          I am just a bit inquisitive to know that do you believe the world, rather universe, starts and ends with “Hinduism”??? If I have to believe that all these trees, birds, nature, human race did not just happen in a blink of an eye (and without some divine intervention, as per you and those religious preachers), then would you say that Hinduism is the reason behind this big bang theory?

          Now, let me come to that notion of yours “You cant abolish social evil with repeated mantra of ‘god does nt exist-“. So do you think that with the help of religions, we can abolish the social evils? Wikipedia says that currently, the world has around 4200 religions. So as per your thesis, the world should have become a heaven already with no sign of social evils! What you say??? All you need is a clear conscience and high level of integrity to beat the social evils. Some unknown, unseen creatures (read God) cannot wipe out the devil inside you.

          And, I must tell you that the reason behind creating the almighty is to held a figure responsible for all your deeds (specially the negative ones). It takes courage to take the onus for everything in your life, but it’s easy to put the blame on something else. It’s like the “x” in Algebra although in reality ‘x’ does not exist.

          And and and, Veda and Upanishads are the guidebooks on how to live your life in the rightest way. So instead of just quoting them for religious debates, you should try and incorporate the teachings in your life…properly.

          Hope that makes sense.

          • Agni_B says

            It may/could make sense if I understand your comment & inference

            Did I mention Universe start & ends with Hinduism or reason behind universe or big bang ? Just your fertile imagination.

            My assertion-
            *Hindus does not need to be atheist to eradicate Social evil.

            *Fundamentalism does not exist in Hinduism -Hinduism wont behead you because of
            your atheism

            *Theism /Atheism cant and not needed to change the negativity of 21st century ‘s society

            *Without Hinduism India would be like ‘Cambodia’ under Pol Pot. or you may end up with Burkha

            I did not quote anything from Veda or Upanishad (I can) and my life style is irrelevant to the debate

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