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The money man behind atheism’s activism
Todd Stiefel, a wealthy businessman, is responsible for bank rolling many atheism activism projects.
March 23rd, 2013
10:00 PM ET

The money man behind atheism’s activism

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) - Todd Stiefel is far from a household name, and the odds he gets recognized on a street corner, even in his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina, are small.

For Stiefel, a slim, scruffy ex-Catholic, his public persona is his wallet and activism. Through the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, the 38-year-old has made an indelible impact on the nation’s fastest-growing “religious” group: the nonbelievers. Most of the highest-profile atheists campaigns –- flashy billboards in high-traffic areas, news-making efforts to get atheists to come out of the closet, and boisterous rallies - are funded by his fortune.

Stiefel isn’t shy about his far-reaching goals.

“What I am trying to accomplish is multifold, he told CNN. “I consider myself working on the next civil equality movement, just like women’s rights, LGBT rights and African-American Civil Rights. We are still in the early stages of eliminating discrimination against atheists and humanists. That is something I really want to accomplish.”

So far, Stiefel has pumped $3.5 million into those aspirations, and his money benefits a number of atheist organizations, from the Clergy Project, a group that helps atheist and doubting clergy out of the closet, to American Atheists, arguably the most in-your-face atheist group in the country.

Stiefel sees his work as far more than just money. For him, this is just the beginning.

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From Catholic school to atheist millionaire

Stiefel was born in Albany, New York, in 1974 to Catholic parents. He was raised in a Catholic household, confirmed in the church, attended Sunday school, went to a Catholic high school.

“I was a cross-wearing, praying, religious-retreat Catholic,” Stiefel said. “You could say there were points that I felt the spirit.”

But his faith, he said, fluctuated during high school. “I was always a skeptic,” he said, “and I always asked a lot of questions.”

At 18, Stiefel attended Duke University to pursue a degree in psychology. To fill an elective, he took an Old Testament history class at the Duke University Divinity School. It was there, he said, that his final “ebb” away from belief took hold.

In the class, Stiefel said he saw a flawed logic in the Old Testament. In particular, he said, he began to see much of the Old Testament as unoriginal stories that had been told in many pagan traditions.

“'Wait a second, is what I believe in really the truth or is it really the accumulation of myths bundled in a package?’” Stiefel remembers asking himself. “That was the end of my faith right there.”

After graduating from Duke, Stiefel went into the family business: Stiefel Laboratories, a company that develops products to combat skin diseases. For 12 years, Stiefel worked with his family and turned the business into a major player in their specialized market.

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In 2009, with Stiefel in an executive position, the Stiefel family opted to sell the company to GlaxoSmithKline. The price tag: $2.9 billion, according to media reports at the time.

“I only got a very small piece of that, for the record,” Stiefel said with a laugh. “I did, however, find myself in a unique and fortunate position where I was able to do whatever I wanted to do.”

And like many who have the luxury of doing exactly what they want, Stiefel began thinking about what he was truly passionate about. After kicking around the idea of starting another business, the answer became clear to the young millionaire: advocating for atheism.

“I wanted to try to help the world,” he said. “I wanted to give back and this seemed like the most productive way to help humanity.”

‘Just doing my part’

Stiefel put $2 million in to begin his foundation. In his first year, according to tax documents, the nonprofit disbursed $700,000 to groups like the Secular Coalition for America, the American Humanist Association and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

In 2010 and 2011, the giving continued with the foundation distributing around $750,000 to different atheist and humanist causes. In 2011, he also pumped another $500,000 into his foundation.

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“I am just doing my part within my means,” he said. “Different people have different means. I am doing what I can do, just like the rest of the people in the movement are.”

But recipients of the money, such as David Silverman, president of the American Atheists, see his impact as much greater than just a one-off activist.

“Todd is an example of what major contributions can accomplish for atheism,” he said. “From a donation stand point, he is really leading the movement to a different level.”

Walking the line

One of Stiefel’s major concerted contributions in the last three years was the Reason Rally, an event held on the National Mall in Washington, which was billed as a watershed moment in the atheism movement. The goal of the event was to show to religious Americans that atheism was a powerful minority in American life.

Stiefel speaks onstage at the Reason Rally.

The rally drew a number of high-profile speakers, including Richard Dawkins, the author of “The God Delusion,” and thousands of attendees, despite rainy weather.

In his speech to the crowd, Stiefel talked about what he sees as the most important problem facing atheism: “Discrimination comes from ignorance, and in this case it is ignorance about our beliefs,” he said. “We are told freethinkers believe in nothing, but that’s a misunderstanding. We believe in a lot of things; we don’t all believe the same things.”

Stiefel put $250,000 toward the rally, a contribution that Silverman, the organizer, said was critical.

“He brought the Reason Rally to a brand new level,” Silverman said. Without that money, “we would have had far fewer people and a far smaller event.”

Silverman and the Reason Rally advocated for a specific brand of atheism. Silverman, who regularly calls his group the “Marines of the Freethought Movement,” is not shy in making it clear that he views his goal in calling out religion and elevating atheism.

Stiefel says he doesn't necessarily endorse those tactics wholly, but he does see their validity.

“I try to walk a line,” he said. “I see religious criticism as valuable, and groups like American Atheists are good at that. I do think we have to have a dialogue about who has the right ideas and part of that is pointing out the flaws in religious ideas.”

Stiefel continued: “I also see inter-belief work, though. I do find a lot of value in inter-belief work and I do see a lot of value in general charity work.”

Evidence of that is his work on cancer fundraising.

In 2012, Stiefel approached the Foundation Beyond Belief with an idea of creating networks of nonbelievers around the country to help raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Stiefel tapped into his atheist network and began organizing different event.

In total, the atheist groups raised $430,000 in 2012, including a $215,000 donation from Stiefel and his wife, Diana.

“Across the country there are 150 local groups of atheists and freethinkers raising money for charity,” Stiefel said proudly.

The key, however, was bridging the gap between atheist and religious communities in the name of charity.

“We welcomed Christians, as well,” he said. “Some of our biggest fundraisers were Christians.”

For 2013, the goal is to raise $500,000.

Expanding the community

With money and resolve comes great influence for Stiefel. He has the ear of many atheist leaders, meaning he can dictate the movement’s focus.

Stiefel said he wants to see the atheism movement expand its footprint.

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“What I would really like to see is expanding out communities to people who may not just be atheists or agnostics and into people who are religiously skeptical and may still have some religious beliefs,” he said. “Nobody is a perfect skeptic and I would like to see more people like that in our community.”

For Stiefel, this is a personal priority. He says his wife, whom he describes as a skeptical Christian, is someone who would fall within an expanded atheist movement.

“My message is not only of anti-theism,” Stiefel said. “I don’t choose to attack religion itself. I see religion as something that provides both good and ill to the world.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism

soundoff (7,617 Responses)
  1. Seth

    Pagan origins of the old testament? I'm a believer, but even I understand that a religion sprouts through a combination of the pre-existing beliefs and stories, and the new ones which are introduced through the 'prophetic process'. Kinda sounds like Stiegel should have kept studying, or consulted an old testament expert- either a real Christian scholar or Rabbi, before dropping everything altogether. It also sounds like perhaps he has never had the need to legitimately surrender/open his heart, quite common among the affluent. If and when he truly needs it, he'll find it.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • Saving the earth,one pithy comment at a time

      ..and just what would be the factor that would convince him to change his mind?I don't think he is the kind of fellow that would abandon evidence to gain a new version of reality.Now,if we can just get Gates and Zuckerburg on board...

      March 24, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • joe

      .......Figures

      March 24, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Steven CoboWabo

      Your judging people and making an assumption they have not 'opened their heart', as if the only way for a person to open their heart is the way you believe/do, How offensive, selfish and frankly makes you sound closed minded.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Seth

      I apologize for any offense...when I said 'perhaps' I meant it literally, I don't presume to know anything about anyone. And I don't subscribe to the belief that there is one, or any framework of G-d; the only difference between atheism and panentheism, a form of monotheism, is that panentheists acknowledge that something other than themselves is responsible for their creation. This is fully compatible with Judaism, and possibly even the other Abrahamic religions, depending upon the framework of belief. It also often includes many Buddhists who are non-theist, as well as most atheists and humanists, but many have simply not done the research to find this out.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
  2. chris

    No problem with what this guy is doing and the organizations which provide information about other choices in life. However I have rarely seen or read articles or events where Athiests have done little but bash religion. Like many groups fighting for recognition and inclusion into societies mix you can teach your ways but bashing others is not your right nor a way to gain respect.

    Personally to add: if Mr. Stiefel argument or position is that of discrimination to qualitfy or bring vocal the position of atheism,
    then thats pretty weak. Seems today the template for gaining attention is yelling discrimination.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • Jobgen

      Maybe atheists should start mass killing anyone who doesn't agree? Isn't that the way the Christians earned their respect? You are right Chris. Atheists are taking a weak approach.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • chuckie

      I don't believe I have ever heard or read about any of religious doing anything else other than "bash" atheists, humanists, skeptics, etc. Taking the position that God loves everyone and He will accept un-believers if they change their ways is nothing else than a dismissal or indirect "bashing" of their beliefs. Why are atheists discriminating when they criticize the beliefs of the religious while the religious can criticize non-believers at will?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Saving the earth,one pithy comment at a time

      Religious folks have NO problem letting atheists know they will rot in h e l l for their lack of belief in ONE(pick one), of these religions.I consider this a small price to pay for the ability to think without the shackles of religious dogma here,in this little place called-REALITY.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:17 am |
  3. Sunny Raja

    Buddha did not have to believe in God to lead a happy and meaningful life.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:32 am |
  4. Brent

    Why is it so important for an Athiest to let everyone know they don't believe in God? If you don't believe then that's your business but stop trying to shove it down our throats.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • JH1

      Just like Christians don't shove their beliefs down everyone else's throats through public policy?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • I Am God

      Giving you the opportunity to freely think yourself is shoving it down your throat? Sounds like your a closeted Atheist.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • Stay Strong

      Hah, who shoves what down people's throats? Christian ministry, Islamic colonization, Mormon ministry, the US congress... puh-leez. You just don't like to hear how baseless your beliefs are.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:36 am |
  5. free thinker

    I'll start knock door by door like mormons and other religious people doing,teaching people that there is no god out there

    March 24, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • Brent

      Lol..I dare you to knock on my door...

      March 24, 2013 at 9:34 am |
  6. musmim2012

    The Nazarenes never considered Jesus to be divine (i.e. God the Son) but that he was given the messiahship after his baptism by John. The Nazarenes never accepted the teachings and writings of Paul. In fact, they looked upon Paul as an apostate who was not of pure Jewish blood. (1)

    According to the ancient Church historian, Irenaeus (c. 185 CE), the Ebionites believed in one God, the Creator, taught that Jesus was the Messiah, used only the Gospel According to Matthew, and rejected Paul as an apostate from the Jewish Law… Ebionites were known to still exist in the 4th century. Some had left Palestine and settled in Transjordan and Syria and were later known to be in Asia Minor, Egypt and Rome.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • Fury

      And what do you propose all the angels were doing at the time of Jesus's birth? An angel told Mary she'd give birth to Jesus, an angel told the wise men to go see Jesus when he was born, an angel told Joseph to leave for Egypt, an angel told the wise men to not go back to see Herod, and an angel told Joseph to return when Herod had given up his reign in Israel. That's 5 angels showing up to tell others about Jesus, and then some others for John the Baptist's birth too. How can you suggest Jesus wasn't born of the Holy Spirit, just as the text says he was? You sir, are a liar... and so was the false prophet you follow. It is quite likely you will spend an eternity with him.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • colin day

      Fury, all you are doing is quoting history. You have no idea that what you say actually happened. It might be written in a book, but no means are all books, "non-fiction". Where are all the angels today? I haven't seen one. Have you? At least one by your definition and not some cute little girl who behaves well. You believe what you want, and so will I. We all have a right to be here, but we don't have the right to shove each other's opinions down each other's throats and by no means to we have the right or audacity to claim our belief is RIGHT or THE ONLY ONE. That is ludicrous. (Oh that is just my opinion by the way)

      March 24, 2013 at 10:16 am |
  7. Vittal Pyati

    Christians belive that only those that have taken Christ as their savior go to heaven. This raises some nagging questions. For example, Mahatma Gandhi, a Hindu and apostle of peace was denied entry but Bush 43 will be welcome when his time comes even though he caused the death of 4000+ Americans and 100,000 Iraqis msotly women and children in a war of choice. What about those that were born and died before Chriist arrived? Surely there must have been one or two good souls. If Adam and Eve were the first couple, presumed white with blue eyes and golden hair, how come Donald Trump fits the bill, Jessie Jackson definetely does not, and myself with a brown skin in limbo assuming we are all begotten by the same parents. Being a strict vegetarian Mahatma would avoid Christian heaven where the melas would be haburgers and fries rather than curry rice.I I'd like to go to hell because that's where you find good looking women.

    Religion is the opiate of humanity- that's what Marx or Engels said. But Buddha said it most beautifully, "Religion should confine to ethics of living herein rather than hereafter since heaven or hill don't exist" I'm a Hindu agnostic. Encyclopedia Britannica says-Hinduism is a way of life and does not depend upon the existence or absese of god and am very comfotrable with the thought..

    March 24, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Stay Strong

      Good points

      March 24, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • Name*VincentThieu

      Vittal.... That is incorrect about what Christians believe. Read what the Catholic church actually teaches please. Thank you.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:35 am |
  8. Name*VincentThieu

    Yet another anti-Christian article in the CNN Belief Blog.

    At least we are being consistant here.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Brent

      What did you expect from CNN? Tomorrow they will be talking about gays getting married. or transgender kids...equal rights..uh..unless your a conservative.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:38 am |
  9. Stephen

    What possible good can come from this? What hope does he provide to the sick, to those in need, to those who have lost? He is the antichrist. People should stay away from him.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • SATCH

      You bvelieve in that anti-christ,m lol. Grow up child of fairy-tales.

      Did God build all the life-saving equipment we have today, or did scientists?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • I Am God

      The Antichrist is the individual claiming another individual is the anticrhist.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Stephen", but the "antichrist" is an element of mythology, therefore your assertion is unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your unfounded assertion may represent a truth is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      March 24, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • Tbone

      Take all that money going to the pope's magical diamond shoes and all the money paying for lawyers to defend child raping priests and put it back into the pockets of the people. If people are not paying the church they will have more money and will need less charity.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • JH1

      No hope based in reality is better than false hope based on wishful thinking.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • Brent

      Nothing at all. But misery loves company.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:40 am |
  10. Nerak

    Wow, it's so sad to hear that he and many like him never ever expeienced an encounter with the Lord only to rely completely on intellect. That's so unfortunate. God is so real!

    March 24, 2013 at 9:28 am |
  11. John

    Foolish man.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • Brent

      The foolish man is the one that doesn't believe in anything.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Haluk

      You are right John; trying to prove that there is no God is like trying to keep a big ball completely submerged under water which is very difficult to do...impossible after few minutes....The Bible says "The fool (not stupid; there is a big difference....because God does not make junk...He is the Creator and author of every good thing) said in his heart "there is no God"....please join me praying for this young men so that God will open his eyes to truth....

      March 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
  12. miguel

    Only a matter of time before this becomes the mainstream Democrat Party line on religion...

    March 24, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • I Am God

      Not really, we accept everyone that does not wish to force their beliefs unto others.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:29 am |
  13. Kuske

    Atheism is not a religion

    March 24, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Kuske

      Religion is a plague on society

      March 24, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • guest

      no. idiotic people pushing their beliefs on others are the plague. both religious and non are both guilty of this nuisance

      March 24, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Stephen

      Thank you god for that.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:31 am |
  14. lolol

    an article about atheism in the "belief" blog page ?

    March 24, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • sunnythinker

      Well, since it is about what the man believes, that is where the article belongs. Duh.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • beth

      It's CNN's annual nod to Holy Week.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:38 am |
  15. Caz

    Third-generation Atheist here. From Australia – the atheist nation. And a peaceful one!

    March 24, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • I Am God

      Dang it. Now why did you have to say that? Just makes me want to move to Australia even more.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:27 am |
  16. Gary

    Wish they would buy meeting halls (could be former churches) and call them the "Halls of Evolution" as meeting places so we all could socialize just like the god fearing people.Then the movements strength would spread and grow exponentially.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • TOOZX5

      Evolution has to do with biology, not atheism. There are even religious believers accept evolution.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • Pastafairian

      Gary
      But then it would become a cult. Better go to your nearest bar, raise a pint indulge in pasta and maybe hit on a good looking sweetie. The FSM would approve.
      RAmen

      March 24, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Brent

      Yeah Gary...and you can hold your gay meetings their too with your gay Australian buddy...lol

      March 24, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • Gary

      All the other religions are cults. The point was we could have a social group organization without the preaching. All are welcome unlike the cult religions!

      March 24, 2013 at 9:45 am |
  17. Rock

    Good to see CNN continues its anti-Christian campaign and it doesn't stop for the beginning of the holiest week on the Christian calendar. We Christians are obviously the main problem with the country. We work hard, raise our families, pay taxes, fight the countries wars, and take it all under a constant assault on our faith. Let me ask you these.... How have Europe and America been doing since we decided we didn't need to live by God's rules? Two generations in, we're broken morally and economically. At least the secularist will be able to say they helped collapse civilization when it is all said and done. Good job! Seriuosly, find a less destructive hobby.....and CNN shame on you.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • hal 9001

      Rock?? Sounds more like tissue paper to me.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • I Am God

      Anti-Christian campaign? I'm sorry but they did talk about Pope Francis for almost two weeks (and still continue to do so) correct?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Jenny R.

      Sheesh, don't take it *so* personally. It is not a personal affront unless YOU make it out to be one.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Damocles

      Just stop. CNN has 100 stories about believers and you go into a tizzy about one non-belief story? Give me a break. Yeah, I work hard, pay my taxes and did my part to help defend this country. Supposedly some ~80-90% of the world still believes in some deity, so I would say the failing has been where it has always been, stupid people doing stupid things. Raise your kids to have respect for themselves and for others and things will get better, not perfect, but better, one small step at a time.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • JustJosh

      Relax... Despite what you're told – no one is trying to take away your freedom to: worship whichever god you wish, attend whatever church you wish, or believe whatever you want. Religious people in the US need to shed this ridiculous Chicken Little mentality.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • Zeibodique

      Really? Whether you choose to think it or not, IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT BELIEF IN A GOD. There is NO timeframe on what should or shouldn't be posted. If you want to get into the FREEDOM of speech, then your claim is a non-issue. You want morals? Then don't look for them in just the halls of your local church. Pedophiles run rampant masked under the name of the cloth. I as an Atheist have more morals than you can ever imagine and I do not need a supreme being to keep me in check. Whine and moan all you want, but your club is not the be all to end all. If you want the respect, you and your brothers need to show it, not spread hypocrisy.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • Jeesh

      Rock
      One story in ten or twenty that mentions atheists and you get your magic underwear in a twist or did some bully agnostic give you a wedgie?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • jungleboo

      Sweetheart, 30 years ago Europe and the USA shipped all their manufacturing to China, and simultaneously opened their doors to massive immigration from Third World countries that had begun to stand up and join in the fray, technology in hand. Did you know that the entire United States population is exactly 5% of the entire world population. FIVE per cent. Sure, during the last century, our great-grandfathers pushed real hard and covered the Earth in our manufactured technology. But it was only a matter of time before the empowered nations would gather force and flow toward the source of this energy. Get over it. This shift has nothing to do with belief in god. However, if it comforts you to look at the situation from a pretense, I wish you great joy and happiness as you wring your hands. As Max Ehrmann wrote in his poem DESIDERATA, "...no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it should."

      March 24, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • Brent

      Well said.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • Brent

      It's so funny to see all of these losers hating on people that believe in God...boo hoo...I'm an Athiest...please don't believe in anything like me so we both can burn in hell together...lol..get a life trolls

      March 24, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Zeibodique

      Brent, you must have some pretty strong blinders on. Read through the pages and pages of posts. Some of the most vile hatred comes from the believers of a "God". They are a perfect example of the hypocrisy of religion. It works as long as it fits your need, but you forget all about the supposed message when you run offensive.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  18. AJ

    " Ironically the thing that people are most hungry for, meaning, is the one thing that science hasn't been able to give them. " – P.Joss from Contact

    Until every fundamental question on "us" is answered, I will keep believing. Perhaps not in a traditional organized religious sense, but in a spiritual, one-creator belief. Too many unanswered question from science....the ball is in your court this century, have fun science.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • JH1

      So you basically believe in a god of the gaps.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • Stephen

      "Meaning" is the illusion that fuels "Belief". When you finally get over the notion that Life has any particular meaning – and that you and your best family and friends aren't going to Utopia in the sky when you die – you can get on with the one life you have here on earth.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Tbone

      Science has always taken questions that were previously answered by the presence of God and given real world, tangible explanations. It will always do this and continue to erode the foundation of religion which relies on people's lack of understanding of why things happen. As people grow more educated the role of religion will continue to shrink. PS – Science doesn't need luck...it's science.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • TOOZX5

      "Until every fundamental question on "us" is answered, I will keep believing."

      -which is nothing but willful ignorance. Science seeks to discover. That's how one gains knowledge. "Believing" an assertion that claims to already know without evidence, doesn't answer any questions on us. It doesn't even answer any questions on a creator. Its an artificial creation of meaning. Yet the evidence thus far doesn't purport there is a meaning to the universe. We, however, can still create our own meanings for the duration we are alive. Which is exactly how religion formed.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • NickZadick

      So..... Since science doesn't have all the answers yet.... you will continue believing in bronze age fairy tales? very logical !!

      March 24, 2013 at 9:41 am |
  19. Phazon

    I hope all of you calling Jesus and his father foul names are fully prepared to answer for your actions I mean choose your course in life but live it just because your parents didn't come knock on your door at night doesn't mean they wasn't there.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • JH1

      I could physically get up and go check if my parents where there if there were any doubt. Your denial of Zeus will be your downfall.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:30 am |
    • Wait A Second...

      The Jesus in the Bible is not the real one. Jesus Father is not who you think he is and he's not out there. Catholics started the mess and evangelicals took it to a new level.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • NickZadick

      yes continue believing your fairy tales...in case they are true.....anyway... atheism doesn't have any torture and eternal suffering...why chance it, right?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:44 am |
  20. Larry L

    His work does more to end evil than all of the Evangelicals combined. The mythology of religion causes chaos, war, and spreads hatred across the planet. It's time people stopped praying to an invisible, never-to-appear god and simply started treating humankind with kindness and compassion.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • Wait A Second...

      This guy has figured out something very important. That the OT was manufactured and if you look further the NT was manufactured by the Catholic Church. Very disturbing and most will ask what next? What is the truth? The Buddhists have it right, there is no religion or deity outside. Just what we have inside. What he's doing is very Buddhist. Atheism? I don't give it a second thought.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • guest

      if religion goes away and God becomes a relevant as zeus or odin people will still find things to kill each other over or fight wars about. you cant be that naive. atheist are still human. and humans destroy.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • TOOZX5

      @guest- that simply show the belief of god is useless, as we see that hasn't prevented any wars or atrocities or tragedies or suffering or injustice. Yet we can find instances where religion has led to one of these at some point in history.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:41 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.