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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. Rob

    I love the fact that atheists call themselves humanists. What have they done for humanity? NOTHING!!! Are they building schools in Africa? Are they feeding the poor in Calcutta? No!!! They would rather spend their money on telling you that God does not exist! Egocentric, arrogant lost group of people... My advice, stop spending money on irrelevant things and help your fellow man!

    March 24, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Damocles

      I trust you go to all the churches that pay for billboards and tell them the same exact thing?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • TOOZX5

      A humanist can be someone who doesn't accept assertions of deities. Believing in a deity isn't a requirement to help the poor, or people in need, or any of those things. They don't have to be told by a god to do those things & get a reward. They do it just to help. Believers spend money claiming god exists, so why can't an atheist spend their money likewise? By your logic, a believer too can stop spending money on irrelevant things and help their fellow man without the push of seeking a divine reward for it. It's more egocentric to think the whole universe is designed planned specifically for you as religion claim. Its as if you framed this whole comment that atheist are arrogant.....without realizing your own arrogance.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • Helena Troy

      You are smug, arrogant, and ignorant. Atheists engage in philanthropy, volunteer, and donate money. Because they do it individually, it is seldom noticed. Also, did you read the part of the article which said that Stiefel has started a foundation to raise money to find a cure for leukemia and lymphoma?

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

      Helena... Please, name one atheist group.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Scott Strune

      Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are both atheist. They've given more to charity than you can fathom. And they did it out of a desire to do good for mankind and not out of fear of some God.

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

      BTW, the Catholic church alone donated 170 billion to help the poor. Google it.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • karlaporter

      Not all atheists are humanists. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in a deity. "Humanism is a progressive lifestance that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives capable of adding to the greater good of humanity" as defined by the American Humanist Association. If you are interested in the charitable works of humanists visit humanistcharities.org. This information is readily accessible via Google.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • froSTed

      What have they done for humanity? Let's see.. religion has yet to build a computer, take us to the moon, invent cars, or even create light. Used to be when someone came up with a nifty invention, the church condemned them as a heretic or a witch, usually hanging them. Girls that learned to read were drowned. Science has allowed us to unlock the atom, bring about higher quality foods and standards of living, increase the human lifespan by more than triple. All this while you toil in fear of an afterlife that you can't even find on a map, or show a shred of evidence that it exists. You give up your personal freedom to an imaginary being and you actually think that's good for humanity? When has your god actually built a school? Your god has not solved poverty, if it's so powerful, why can't it just go on TV and make it's self known to erase all possible doubt? You see, you can't ignore reason, science, rationality. It will always win because science works 100% of the time, reliability VS mystical mumbojumbo. Show me results, every day millions of your god followers pray for world peace and NOT ONCE has that happened, maybe that's a sign that you have been praying your power away instead of ACTUALLY DOING SOMETHING.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • uriel

      grumpschmidt you can "lalalalalalalalala" Christ out of your head all you want..go ahead and keep your pointy little head buried in the sand. He whom you deny is IN FACT the real deal whether you choose to believe or not. You are not on the path to enlightenment as you suggest but rather continue on the path of darkness leading you to hell.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:24 am |
  2. Drew

    The Athiest Agenda is so ridiculous: "Believe with us: We don't believe!" (By the way, if they're stupid enough to use this, I get paid. Only fair since Stiefel is.)

    March 24, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Robert

      Why does the option of "not believing" sound so absurd to you?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • Rob

      Because the thought of no God is absurd and arrogant.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • NickZadick

      says the one who believes in ridiculous bronze age myths and fairy tales... pray!! pray!! your disney land in the sky awaits!! we atheists will soooooo regret calling you fools when we are burning in the fires of hell!!! (does this not sound utterly childish to you??????) and why not???

      March 24, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • Damocles

      @rob

      How is it absurd and arrogant to know that you can do good things just because you can and not have to do them because you are afraid some deific busy-body is looking over your shoulder? Sounds like one of us is living in fear, thankfully it is not me.

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

      Nick... I never that. We don't know what God is. We think of him as what you described. But, maybe God is pure energy.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • TOOZX5

      No, the slogan is....."Think with us. We don't accept blind gullibility. We use our intelligence."

      March 24, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • rick

      christianity is this really unbelievable story that has been packaged up for you sometime in the 3rd and 4th century, made from a bunch of pagan stories dating back to the earliest civilizations.
      the new testament was cobbled together by a committee who chose those "gospels" from hundreds of "gospels", discarded the rest, then declared them to be "holy".

      this is what gets shoved down our throats all the time. we push back and the christians are beside themselves.

      you can pray anywhere. you can build your own church. you can build your own schools if you get it accredited. you can have tv shows that spout your faith if you can get sponsors. and no one is going to stop you. yet, that's not enough. you want it in public schools as well, in government as well. stop pushing your belief on us and we won't push back.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • Rob

      @ TOOZX5... Your gullibility is your faith in man.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • NickZadick

      OK Rob... I am a pantheist and I also believe that the universe is god in a sense... the physical laws it evolves in do somewhat resemble a "plan" ... this is in no way what I object to in religion... it's the part about talking to middle easterners 2000 years ago ...and the message he supposedly said is.... If you blindly believe in what all ( except some parts that don't fit with what you want) these bible writers wrote.... you will enjoy an afterlife of joy and those who refuse these obvious fairy tales, we will burn in fire forever! This is more than ridiculous...it is so childish we are AMAZED you give it even a second thought!!

      March 24, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • froSTed

      It's not about belief, that's where you fail. It's the eradication of belief. Believing does not make something real. When you dwell in the reality, you find that instead of praying, you are doing. Instead of wishing, you are acting. Instead of hoping, you are making the change. In the end, results come to those who do, not those who waste time guessing what a magical deity may want and be appeased from.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • uriel

      robert....choose wisely. you can choose to believe in nothing as long as you have breath..but when you will be faced with the reality of satan's lies it will be too late.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Rob

      Nick... I agree. The bible is a foundation for morality and structure. I don't believe it is the end all be all.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • TOOZX5

      @Rob- "Your gullibility is your faith in man"

      -faith that man exist? Well we have evidence for that. No faith required. Sorry.

      March 24, 2013 at 11:44 am |
  3. Truthis

    I was raised in a typical religious family and wanted to be a minister. Fortunately I was able to travel and learn that all those cute little bible stories about the world that were just make believe. Why are we so tied to Israel and shed our blood and treasure to promote the myth? This country sinks deeper into ignorance daily.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:40 am |
  4. Robert

    Atheism is the unscientific religion that teaches that the universe is either eternal or created itself out of a steady state of absolute nothing.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Edweird69

      Atheism is no more of a religion, than bald is a hair color.

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

      Try reading up on the subject. Matter and energy are freely exchangeable. Who created god?????

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

      Or that the universe is a bounded system that exists within a greater whole that neither has a beginning nor has an end .

      March 24, 2013 at 9:58 am |
  5. hal 9001

    Humans would achieve greater affinity, understanding and cooperation with one another if they would simply let X = X.
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmLjVD2VAws&w=640&h=390]

    March 24, 2013 at 9:40 am |
  6. Sol Invictus

    God Bless you, Todd Stiefel. You're doing the Almighty's work. I love billionaire evangelical atheists.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  7. Sam

    This comment is directed at everyone, in all seriousness you should all really watch two South Park episodes called go god go, pt 1 & 2. I'm not gonna say why but I think it makes an interesting point about Religion v. Atheism.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  8. john vance

    I don't know if there is a "God" or not or in what form it exists. If one exists, I do suspect it doesn't give a flip about religions or atheism – or humans for that matter.
    Truth is whole, absolute and stands on it's own. It can't be reformulated by the efforts of man to create a personal anthropomorphized version to suit his fears, weaknesses and finite aspirations.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • my2Cents__

      Thank you! My exact thought

      March 24, 2013 at 9:47 am |
  9. Emanuel

    Too bad that money was not used to take care of the poor and needy in the world. I guess Christians will continue to take upon that task!

    March 24, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • midwest rail

      Nonsense.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Ken Wilson

      Emanuel-

      The choice to do something with money is not binary: it's not either "Help the poor" or "Do what you want." If you logic were to hold true then no Christian should ever own a big-screen TV, since they could have "helped the poor" with all that money. Of course atheists help the poor AND contribute to this cause – the underlying reason being that atheists are at risk of losing their jobs, friends, and family due to sheer ignorance. Which your comment helps perpetuate. For the record I'm an atheist who donated over $1500 last year to African orphans of AIDS victims (via World Vision, ironically a Christian-based charity who does great work). Try again, sir.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • sandalista

      Yep, if the catholic church would sell some of their assets, they could wipe out hunger in the world over night.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • chuckie

      Emanuel, you must not have noticed in the article where Stiefel talked about broadening his philanthropy to include giving to charities. The article mentions donations to a cancer society. More likely you didn’t read the article and just took the opportunity to bash atheists.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:05 am |
  10. muslim2012

    To the utter shock and dismay of our spiritual virtues and morals, Paul wrote the shocking statement:

    "For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. (1 Corinthians 1:25)

    IF that is not shocking enough, Paul admitted to LYING, and even CURSED Jesus Christ!

    For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? (Romans 3:7)

    Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: (Galatians 3:13)

    What more evidence do we need? Christianity betrays the true Jesus Christ as portrayed in the Holy Quran, and there is no other alternative but to accept the true Jesus as described in the Quran! The only perfect Revelation of God that does not degrade Jesus is the Quran. All other Scriptures must be abrogated in favor of the Quran’s guidance alone.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • my2Cents__

      yet another my-fairy-tale-is-better-than-yours. sadly but reality

      March 24, 2013 at 9:51 am |
  11. Will Truck

    Britain's atheist church is barely three months old but it already has more "worshippers" than can fit into its services, while more than 200 non-believers worldwide have contacted organisers to ask how they can set up their own branch.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  12. Will Truck

    atheism is a religion they opened a church in london with sunday worship services

    March 24, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • sandalista

      Whom do they worship? If Atheism is a religion than almost pregnant is a condition.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:45 am |
  13. Phazon

    If God didn't exist we wouldn't be having these questions 🙂

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

      We can talk about unicorns too. Does that make unicorns exist?

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

      When my daughter was, ohhhhh, 5 or 6, she asked me some questions about Curious George.... am I to take it that you think Curious George actually exists because questions were raised about him?

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

      Amen brother this is what people fail to see. They think that if God was real he would put us in a perfect society where everyone is perfect. They fail to see why we're here.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • JustJosh

      Your acknowledgment of Spiderman only proves his existence.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Dionoysus

      Phazon
      Of course there were questions about ME but they were all rumor or lies, I deny them all, it was just letting off a lo of s*xual tension and having some fun.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Jeesh

      Phazon
      God is based on the mammalian instinct of dominance and the resulting need for a leader of the pack/tribe that developed in humans into the meaning of life and death. What mankind did not understand he made up a bunch of silly sh-tty stories about that the scam artists built into religions. History of religion in a few sentences.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • chuckie

      Technoman, tell us, please, the purpose of life. Tell us why the all powerful, omnipresent God, hides from us behind parables and other myths.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:11 am |
  14. Which god?

    Atheism is a religion, like freedom is a prison sentence.

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

      Atheism is a religion you have a beliefs do you not? That belief is that no deities exist and you feel the need to try and convert everyone to your ways like any other religion.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Steven CoboWabo

      You got that reversed.
      Most religions tell people what they should and should not think or believe.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:45 am |
  15. my2Cents__

    believe... not to believe... what does it matter what one chooses?
    as long as
    1. everyone follows the law of society
    2. no one imposes one's belief onto other
    then everything is great. you can believe in anything you choose if it makes you feel more fulfilled and meaningful.

    HOWEVER, the problem with our society and government, from the religion perspective, is that too many try to impose one's own belief onto others, sometimes onto the entire nation. That is WRONG!!!

    Regardless of what one believes, NO ONE knows anything about life after death. The more one reinforces others that he know, the more in denial he is.

    Bottom line, I totally respect whatever people chooses to believe, but please keep within your private space. Do not bring it into the public, like schools and politics. I someone is qualify for a position in the government, I would vote for that person even if he believes in rocks and the flying squirels. just don't shove it down my throad.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:35 am |
  16. bill.x

    It is always more convenient to deny the existence of God then face your own family's social crime, as the Stiefels did. The problem is that the bad that you do haunts you. It's heavy and you must carry it around with you forever. So you convinced yourself there is no God to be judged – but that's not enough to help you forget. You must convince others to validate it – so you try to spend yourself to righteousness. The truth is that this family ripped-off their employees in their family business by getting them to sell their employee stock to the family for $16,000 a share, without telling them the family would turn around and sell the company for $68,000 a share thereafter. The Devil works in mysterious ways.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • Bob Carlson

      Are you suggesting that this revelation makes his message any less valid than the message of the priests who diddles young boys?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • my2Cents__

      @Bill: If believe in God makes you a happier person, that's great! I'm all for that. However, you assertion that that if someone doesn't believe in God then he somehow is in the wrong, is very twisted. It is this type of closed mindedness that drives many people nuts. It is this my-fairly-tale-is-better-than-yours mentality that is divisive, unproductive and down right repulsive.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • Steven CoboWabo

      By that logic that anyone who has done something you don't like means the beliefs of all of those who share a similar belief are wrong. There has been a string of religious people have done much worse things that what you hint at.
      So if you really believe in what your implying, you just proved to yourself (even if you don't like it being so) that religion is wrong.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • Rick

      That's nothing but "free market capitalism", something right wing "Christians" advocate wholeheartedly.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • bill.x

      You knuckle heads – All I'm suggesting he is driven by guilt and trying to rid himself of the guilt by trying to destroy for others what he fears because of his guilt. He helped develop, managed and guided the company through employees who invested in the company and stiffed them at the end for a fist full of coins. May he rot in Hell.

      March 24, 2013 at 11:51 am |
  17. Larry

    Guess I don't understand why atheists – those who choose NOT to believe in any higher power – feel the need to ram their beliefs down everyone's throats while protesting the rights of any religion to do the same thing? As I would say to EVERY religion, why not just STFU and let people decide for themselves?

    Oh, yeah. That would make you feel unimportant, and deny you the ability to boss people around. Yeah, sorry. I forgot.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • I Am God

      Now you are just proving to be a troll looking for a fight on a blog.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • Bob Carlson

      And Christians proselytizing all the time isn't "ramming their beliefs" down others throats??

      March 24, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Zeibodique

      Works both ways. Why do those who do choose to believe, go door to door, pass out literature, have television program after television program SHOVING YOUR WORD down everyones throat daily? Do you really feel that what your belief is out weighs anyone who does not? If you do, and based on your comment, you really do, you're sadly mistaken. There is always someone walking up trying to pass on what I should believe. My morals and well being far pass many of the people in your hypocritical society. I call it hypocritical because on one side your type is all kind and gentle, but if someone like me crosses your path, your true side shows. Mean spirited, vile speech, and nasty thoughts come to light.. It ruffles your feather right now that someone who doesn't believe is treading on your turf. Get over it, you stick with the club that not everyone does not want to be a member of and I will stick with mine. In the mean time, "STFU" is not really becoming of a believer. It is a sad individual who only thinks they are correct, and you're far from that.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • Steven CoboWabo

      How do you think people learned about religion in the first place? We are all born atheists.
      I agree that in a work place people need to STFU about what they believe, that should be a neutral place.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • chuckie

      How droll for a religious taking offense at having a contrary belief forced down their throat.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:16 am |
  18. adam

    In your face athiests are just as bad as in your face believers. And I am an atheist. However I wasn't super aware that there was a problem with in the closet atheists.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:33 am |
  19. Clyde Farris

    This 69 year old recovered Southern Baptist atheist attended the Reason Rally. Thank you Todd Stiefel.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:33 am |
  20. Lexagon

    Ooh, I didn't know we had a patron. Sweet.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:33 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.