Not all skeptics are created equal. In fact the range of religious skepticism is arguably as diverse and nuanced as the various religious beliefs worldwide.
Here, we've compiled a list of 12 noted non-believers who have kind words to say about the comfort, beauty or awe that religious belief inspires.
The conservative icon, and panelist on CNN's "Crossfire," has been open about both her self-proclaimed atheism and her respect for religious devotion. She even went so far as to pen the book "Losing Our Religion: The Liberal Media's Attack on Christianity."
"I believe ... that Judeo-Christian values, religious tolerance, an objective press, the benevolence of Christianity, and civility and decency make for a better American democracy," she wrote in "Losing Our Religion."
The Academy Award winning actor doesn't believe in a higher power, but that doesn't stop her from admiring what religion has to offer.
"I'm an atheist. But I absolutely love religions and the rituals, even though I don't believe in God," Foster told Entertainment Weekly. "We celebrate pretty much every religion in our family with the kids."
"Maybe one day somebody will be able to convince me that there is a God, that there is a particular God, but to me I love people and that's what, to me, is the most important thing," billionaire Richard Branson said during an Interview with Piers Morgan on his now canceled CNN show.
Banson, however, admitted during the same interview that he had in the past turned to prayer during times of fear and uncertainty.
When pressed by Morgan to explain why he doesn't believe despite his reliance on prayer (a prayer that seems to have worked, Morgan argues), Branson explained that he "would love to believe."
"I think it's very comforting to believe ... it would be very comforting to believe that (his deceased father) was still somewhere."
Bettany was raised Catholic, and has even played a number of Catholic priests on screen. But he has also played Charles Darwin, and he personally sides with the teachings of secularism over The Vatican.
But he still finds room for the possibility of belief.
"I wish I did have faith. I think it would make life so much easier," he told New York Magazine. "I just have not discovered God in my life. I mean, I don’t see him. It’s not that I’m closed off to the argument, but I do feel the burden of proof."
A dedicated skeptic of religion, Mark Twain has quite the archive of humorous insights into what he sees as religious inconsistencies.
His approach to skepticism, however, was also colored by his respect and admiration for the beliefs of others.
"The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also," Albert Bigelow Paine quoted him as saying in his biography.
"I would not interfere with any one's religion, either to strengthen it or to weaken it. I am not able to believe one's religion can affect his hereafter one way or the other, no matter what that religion may be. But it may easily be a great comfort to him in this life — hence it is a valuable possession to him.
The elusive filmmaker is known almost as much for his ambiguous attitudes toward religion and politics as for his symmetrical composition.
Though most assumed him to be, at the very least, agnostic, Kubrick admitted during interviews for his film "2001: A Space Odyssey" that he finds comfort in the idea of an ordered cosmos.
"I'd be very surprised if the universe wasn't full of an intelligence of an order that to us would seem God-like," he reportedly said during an interview with The New York Times' Bernard Weinraub. "I find it very exciting to have a semi-logical belief that there's a great deal to the universe we don't understand, and that there is an intelligence of an incredible magnitude outside the earth. It's something I've become more and more interested in. I find it a very exciting and satisfying hope."
Though Lennon was rather open about his disbelief in God or an afterlife (a belief made most famous by his song "Imagine"), a book by christian author Ray Comfort quotes the Beatle as saying in the year of his death that he admired the teachings of Jesus.
"I’m a most religious fellow," Comfort quotes Lennon as saying in his book " “The Beatles, God & the Bible.”
"I was brought up a Christian, and I only now understand some of the things that Christ was saying in those parables."
British comedian Stephan Fry is an outspoken supporter of humanism and a self-proclaimed atheist, but he also strives to respect the beliefs of others.
"It would be impertinent and wrong of me to express any antagonism towards any individual who wishes to find salvation in whatever form they wish to express it," Fry said during an Intelligence Squared debate on the merits of religion.
Author Bruce Sheiman has made a career out of defending religion from the standpoint of non-belief. Much like S.E. Cupp, Sheiman made waves in atheist circles after writing a book in defense of religion, bluntly titled " An Atheist Defends Religion."
"More than any other institution, religion deserves our appreciation and respect because it has persistently encouraged people to care deeply — for the self, for neighbors, for humanity, and for the natural world — and to strive for the highest ideals humans are able to envision," he wrote in his controversial book.
Known primarily for his cult horror films, writer/director John Carpenter has also given a lot of thought to issues of religion.
Though he personally isn't convinced of any religious dogma, he believes in the power of personal convictions.
"I'm an atheist, but I have a great fascination with this issue — over God and whether there is one or not," he reportedly told Big O Magazine. "I come to (my belief) personally for my own reasons and my own decisions. But I respect anybody who believes anything, I don't have the ultimate answers about anything."
Though Gates prefers answers to be provided by the scientific method and not religious doctrine, he has often mentioned his admiration for religious principles.
In 2014, he told Rolling Stone Magazine that he thinks the "the moral systems of religion" are "super important."
"The mystery and the beauty of the world is overwhelmingly amazing, and there's no scientific explanation of how it came about," he continued in the same interview. "To say that it was generated by random numbers, that does seem, you know, sort of an uncharitable view.
I think it makes sense to believe in God, but exactly what decision in your life you make differently because of it, I don't know."
Raised by a devout Roman Catholic mother, influential film critic Roger Ebert came to understand the concept of the divine in a radically different way than how he had been taught as a child.
Though he professed no particular belief during the latter years of his life, Ebert also rejected the labels of "atheist" or "agnostic," finding them too limiting.
In an essay he wrote for his website in 2009, Ebert recalled certain spiritual experiences he'd had as an unbelieving adult.
"I've spent hours and hours in churches all over the world. I sit in them not to pray, but to gently nudge my thoughts toward wonder and awe," he wrote. "I am aware of the generations there before me. The reassurance of tradition. At a midnight mass on Christmas Eve at the village church in Tring in the Chilterns, I felt unalloyed elevation."