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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. Maestra730

    Why is CNN (or any other news forum, for that matter) giving this imbecile any publicity? With that massive bank account of his, he could be doing so many really good and charitable things in the world, and instead he chooses to do this?? Sounds like your basic, garden variety fame hound to me.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Damocles

      I guess you skipped over the part about his donations and work for cancer research.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • edpeters101

      As much a valid belief as any other. Why are people so afraid when somebody doesn't agree with their narrow/ancient (for the most part) beliefs?

      March 24, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      I am an atheist activist, and Todd Stiefel is about 35th on the list of people I'd think of if you asked me to list our leading lights. So much for your opinion that he's only in it for personal fame and glory.
       
      But I guess we knew as soon as you called him an imbecile that you weren't exactly the most objective observer.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • gager

      He is doing good. He is bringing reason to those who believe in magic. Improving the world we live in.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • NickZadick

      To help brainwashed imbeciles like you to embrace logic and to advance humanity against your idiotic fairy tales!

      March 24, 2013 at 10:51 am |
  2. Edweird69

    After weeks of all that "pope" non-sense, this article and blogs is soooo refreshing!

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

    Renly Baratheon

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

      You're right! The resemblance was nagging at me, and I couldn't place it.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:27 am |
  4. wow...

    ATHEISM IS NOT AND WILL NEVER BE A RELIGION. ATHEISM IS THE LACK OR RELIGION. TO MAKE A GROUP SIMILAR TO A RELIGION GOES AGAINST ATHEISM. ATHEISM IS SIMPLY THE LACK OF BELIEF IN A GOD. IT DOES NOT MAKE A PERSON "BAD".
    IF ONLY PEOPLE WERE NOT IGNORANT AND REALIZED THIS ATHEISTS WOULD BE LEFT ALONE. I CAN PROMISE THAT MANT ATHEISTS DO NOT WANT THIS TYPE OF ATTENTION AND WOULD SIMPLY LIKE TO CONTINUE THEIR LIVES PEACEFULLY AWAY FROM FANATICS.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

      I hear ya, but the problem is, in the U.S. anyway, the wall of separation is constantly being challenged. We must keep a vigilant eye to make sure our lawmakers continue to respect it.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Aononbid

      Bro, cool it with the Caps...making us look bad

      March 24, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • Richard Gentile

      @TOOzx5 My point is that you or I or anyone else for that matter really have any idea whether or not there is a god. Your adamant refusal to believe in a higher being is just as "foolish" as those with the blind faith to believe in an organized religion. You or I or Einstein times10 simply do not have the intellectual capacity to phathom how we came about. With DNA, for instance, we are getting closer, but the bottom line is that some "being" must have been responsible for the big bang. Beside, your view (and it is a VIEW) is rather depressing. We live we die and that's that. End of story. Maybe you are correct. But we won't know until our deaths.

      March 24, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  5. mom

    Read ll Timothy, chapter 3 verse 4. We are seeing this more and more. "Heady, high-minded, boastful, etc." Look at the increasingly awful and baffling, cruel criminal cases everywhere. Perilous times we are now in, with God- hating people everywhere and on the increase. Read what is going to become of them in Revelation. The powerful, the mighty, the heartless wealthy people, will cry out to the rocks "Fall on us, and hide us from the wrath of the Lamb." But they will not find any hiding place. Don't worry, those of you who know Jesus Christ- He is coming back, but not as the meek and lowly One of long ago. He is returning as King of Kings, as the Righteous Judge of all the earth. Read how HE will deal with the things we are starting to see all over the place. Those who hate God and actually think they will beat Him, in their little mortal efforts, are all around us today, and their influence will increase. Also read Psalm chapter 2.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "mom", but all that is unfounded (especially entities denoted in capital letters).

      March 24, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • Damocles

      Funny that one needs to fear the wrath of a lamb.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • Turdburglar

      The things that are happening now are similar to things that have always happened, and always will happen. Any rational, intelligent person can see that. Why do you think people have spent 2,000 years waiting for the end. You, your god, your religion, anything you do with your pathetic life, will be nothing more than a blip on the radar screen of history. That undeniable truth, and the feeling of insignificance it gives you, is the reason behind your religious lunacy. As atheists, we accept that truth. Perhaps it is us who are enlightened?

      March 24, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Aononbid

      I'd be sure he would get to all of you believers that chose to disobey his word first, amirite? You kill, steal, cheat...and you have a "moral compass" supposedly.... We atheists seem to have the better ratio of non crazies and "sinners". Mostly because sin isn't real but if we took into account your commandments, we are actually the better people, we kind of nail the whole "love thy neighbor" thing to a lower case "t" ...see what I did there

      March 24, 2013 at 10:26 am |
  6. Pete

    I truly pray that God will bless you Todd, in ways that you could not imagine now.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:15 am |
  7. John

    Atheism is not a belief system. Atheists just don't believe in gods (and angels and virgin births and talking burning bushes, etc.). Do you believe in Zeus? Then you are an atheist with regard to Zeus. I just believe in one less god than you do. And I have a strong moral code and I'm a good person with a strong, happy family. Religion is a lens that distorts the real world, and causes many problems for society. We need to allow people to believe what they want, but remove religion from the political sphere.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:15 am |
  8. Jack

    As a traditional Catholic it is my duty to pray for atheists. That said, I always suspect that there's 'something more' about people like Steifel. The reasoned, 'benign' revelation about himself leaves out a lot. As many commentators here have mentioned, why does he use his money to be 'in your face' to believers? I think the answer is multi complex but when we die, there will be a brief glimpse of God given to all of us. Those who have lived for themselves, including atheists, will end up separated from God forever, 'where there will be wailing and knashing of teeth' because they will realize, what they have lost. But it will be too late! I seriously suggest that people like Stiefel and all real atheists read a little book called "Hell and Its Torments" by St. Robert Bellarmine, available from TAN books. Maybe it's available online, I don't know. Oh yes, I fully expect the atheists and anti-Catholic 'believers' to come roaring out of the woodwork on this comment, but if even one atheist has the guts to read it, he/she could save his/her soul! After all, that's the reason God put us on this earth folks. It's not about money, Mr. Steifel, and it's not about the further infiltration and undermining an already dead American society Mr. Steifel. All things pass away and life here is a very short ride!

    March 24, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Aononbid

      The money is spent because many fear their true feelings and beliefs and in this society, in 2013, we are still the minority and are very much persecuted. As an atheist and business owner in GA I can't just come out and be open about it because many people I deal with don't understand atheism and treat it as worse than being Muslim or gay.

      Religions plaster billboards with messages creating fear and guilt with their anti abortion rhetoric and "repent now before the second coming" b.s. there needs to be a voice that says, "Enough already, it's all hocus locus and you're living a lie and hurting other with it"

      March 24, 2013 at 10:30 am |
  9. Bohemer

    Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers..

    March 24, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • mom

      My, you are a very poorly informed person. Many of today's best researchers are now Christians. Yes, there has been much corruption in the churches, but many are NOT corrupt. You do not hear about them. Without the life of Jesus Christ, you, nor anyone else, can guess at how barbaric the world would still be. You do not know what you are saying, but I know you think you are bright and accurate.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • John Adams

      (in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 09/03/1816)

      I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Damocles

      @mom

      Mmmmm, yes, if we could only go back to the good old days when religion truly held sway. What were those days called again? The Dark Ages? Why were they called the Dark Ages? With religion holding sway, I figure they should have been called the Light Ages, right?

      March 24, 2013 at 10:25 am |
  10. alf564

    My problem with this is that it is "THE TAIL WAGGING THE DOG".....Because members of the ABA will take any law case to make a buck, very stupid people in high or influential positions such as school boards and principals knuckle under to these law suites and are partially to blame for the downfall of America. Ofcourse in that group I include the ACLU and the Dumbocratic party with Senators like Schumer, Menendez, Durbin, and many others that really hate America and what it is and what it stands for.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:12 am |
  11. Fox

    Not seeing the discrimination against atheists here. Seems everybody is a victim these days.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:12 am |
  12. Richard Gentile

    As an agnostic who grew up catholic, I am not so arrogant to totally dismiss religion, or the concept of a god, simply because at my level of intelligence I cannot begin to comprehend how the world and all its living things came about. Something, somewhere started this process.My belief is that God is a super Einstein who created all this and will let the chips fall as they may. I am, however, glad that there are organized religions as they guide the morals of society. America has been the greatest nation on earth due its reliance on judeo-christian values. Look at how society has broken down since the 1960's starting with banning prayer in public schools and the slippery slope that has led to. Next was Johnson's great war on poverty which doomed many people of color to a life of crime, blight and mediocrity. Many religious moral teachings such as self reliance, monogamy are ridiculed by godless people who feel that life ends where their nose begins. People like Steifel are so damn righteous and arrogant, but I am sure the democrat party will embrace this next as soon as they success in their gay marriage agenda.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • Bob Carlson

      Why is it that you feel you can't have morals without religion??

      March 24, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • sjordan

      I disagree that "Christian morals" are any better than a non-believer's. And How exactly has the country gone downhill since prayer was banned in schools? Crie is down, people have more rights... I think you're being dishonest about your position here.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • TOOZX5

      I am not so arrogant to totally dismiss religion, or the concept of a god, simply because at my level of intelligence I cannot begin to comprehend how the world and all its living things came about."

      how can you comprehend how a god would come about or to say what make a god? Where has a god been observed to say what a god is? Are you not then creating your own perceptions of what you think a god should be? Again, nothing but mere projected assertions. Why automatically assume only one instead of more than one since you can't disprove that either? It seems you have already embraced a specific theistic stance and made perceptive assumptions about society & the world based on it. It also seems you don't have clear knowledge on the full history of Christianity to make claims of it's so called "values".

      March 24, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • ericgoestoholland

      yep, it's all about the gays...

      March 24, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Richard Gentile

      Yes, one can have morals without religion. One can also be very successful in life despite growing up abused and a childhood in poverty. I am speaking in general. Give me an example of a great atheist nation, beside the former Soviet Union. Of course you can hit me over the head with examples of religious nations like Iran, but I'm talking about judeo-christian values that guided our country for nearly 200 years prior to the great society of the 60's, where acceptance of godless principles , peppered with alot of liberalism caused an enormous decay in American society. And whoever said crime is down, please try walking through any inner city neighborhood at night.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • Aononbid

      Democracy, check and balances and that sort of thing made us successful, not religion. We weren't better off with black slaves, women that couldn't vote and gays that had to be sheltered. Those things were the fault of religious influences in our government and they were all misguided and terrible. The majority of our founding fathers were atheists or agnostic, closeted for the same reason many of us are today, some of you don't accept us and are violently lashing out to protect an ancient and very bigoted belief system.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Erik

      TOOZX5 – I've seen your comments and I think your brain is broken because I can't make sense of them at all. You may want to go to the brain doctor. Just sayin.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Kyle C.

      In response to crime being down I always use the movie 'No Country for Old Men" where pretty much the moral of the story is when you grow up things seem to look worse and worse when things have always been bad. Communication increases the speed of the bad news when in reality the crime IS going down you just hear about it faster. Back to the major point. You are correct good christian values have guided us for the past 200 years values like manifest destiny, killing off the natives using slaves using cheap Chinese and irish labour the irish by the way were considered lower then black people cause hey, slaves had a price tag. These godless values that the 60's brought? yeah they have been around for CENTURIES hey even in the places with the highest christian values. People were just as raunchy in the 1800's as they are today just back then they kept it in the shadows. So wait, Christian values is have fun after dark but not in the day time? so these godless values are just the opposite? or just that the party spilled over into the day time? Atheism looks likes it is lawless but in reality we cut through the pointless ones and strengthen the important ones. If it doesn't bother or hurt others we don't need laws governing it. But because this one short span of existence we have, life is more precious and therefore, we regard actions that harm other's lives as a more heinous crime then if a man wants to marry another man.

      March 24, 2013 at 11:38 am |
  13. T

    God didnt create Adam and Eve...God didnt create Adam and Steve either. God created just atom. cmon.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • TOOZX5

      The atom show no evidence of a creator. It doesn't tell us "so and so created me." That's an assertion you placed on it. Again, with no evidence. Where is observation for the creator itself, rather than people asserting a creator from their mind and projecting it on things?

      March 24, 2013 at 10:30 am |
  14. Banjo Ferret

    This pleases Tim the Destroyer of Worlds to see His minions ditching the false sky daddies in droves. Tim will surely bless Mr. Stiefel with his flaming paws of doom. He frees people up to accept Ferretianism as the one true religion. Repent and secure your purple energy bubble! (banjoferret d c)

    March 24, 2013 at 10:11 am |
  15. Mike in SA

    It's funny...he says he wants to stop discrimnation against his kind...all the while discriminating and defaming anyone who doesn't see things his way. He's just as bad as these he "preaches" against.

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

      I agree. I don't really like it when people go around preaching their faith, or lack of one. To me it's the same thing. Everyone is on their own journey, just let them be.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Aononbid

      How is he defaming anyone in particular? How? By stating his views? Saying something is ok that doesn't line up with your views isn't defamation.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:43 am |
  16. Zon

    Anyone who riles up the bible-thumpers that want to turn our democracy into a theocracy has my support.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:10 am |
  17. Erik

    I really hate these kinds of people, and Todd Stiefel is probably the worst of them all. I'm a nonbeliever as far as religion goes, but we barely have any hard facts about how the universe started, so arguably it's just as ridiculous to exclude a god than to believe in it.

    What Todd is doing is just awful. He's rallying up people a bunch of losers that find no better way to spend their time than being self-defensive about being an atheist. These kinds of people either need constant self assurance about their atheism, or they are such awful people they don't find a better way to spend their time. I barely even think about this kind of stuff, never ridicule someone about their religious beliefs, and I never give another atheist encouragement. I've never paranoid about being discriminated against about of my agnosticism.

    Todd could have spent his money much, much more wisely. He could have started business or a charity to actually help people.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • Erik

      craig – Yes but he could of had his complete focus on charity and done a lot more. No, bashing the godless is just as bad. Though I think atheism is hilariously more ignorant than believing in god. They already have the no god possibility to work off of, but instead they completely take it out of the equation without any scientific proof. Believers have no scientific proof which makes atheists all the same. They believe they improved themselves somehow by not excluding the possibility of god completely, but really they are just back to square one.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • TOOZX5

      "but we barely have any hard facts about how the universe started"

      -yet there are NO facts on a deity whatsoever...because it isn't based on evidence. So why then is it logical to jump from what we do know about the universe....to that of something we know nothing about because there is no evidence for it. That's what's ridiculous. At least what we do know about the universe produces evidence to verify it. It isn't ridiculing a person belief by requesting evidence to justify such a position.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Erik

      TOOZX5 – I don't really understand your comment or maybe you should read what I posted again.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:41 am |
    • Aononbid

      I think you miss the point completely. It's about standing up for those who feel persecuted by believers. It happens, I experience it on a weekly basis. As far as trying to dismiss the idea of god, science doesn't work by saying lets start by saying god did this and try to prove otherwise. It's to be open to all possibilities logically. Cause and effect.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Erik

      Aononbid – LOL if you feel like your prosecuted by believers. Where the heck are you? Holy cow, like, religious people exist. Do religious people actively walk up to your and start prosecuting you? If that's the case I bet you get all huffy and start arguing. You should learn how to peacefully end the conversation and brush it off and go on with your life.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Kyle C.

      Erik it happens more then you expect especially in the south. He could merely state, in passing, his atheism and by word of mouth it spreads. It gets hard to brush off the ridicule when you are constantly heckled by those with good christian values. I go to a college north of Atlanta and I never mention my atheism because the vast majority of the campus is Christian and I don't want to get heckled for it. I know that most won't care and the few people I do mention it to don't care but I know of some people who would.

      March 24, 2013 at 11:48 am |
  18. Paul Dick

    Creationism: Man created god in his own image.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • Aononbid

      Then man created the old testament.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:47 am |
  19. gordys

    It seems like many of the atheists had negative experience with so-called "religion" and turned to atheism, mostly from organized religion. If that was the main reason, you still have a chance, since many of the organized religions are not real messengers of true God. You need to personally seek the true God, open your mind, and receive the real message of salvation. Until then, all you are fighting over is foolishness against another foolishness.

    There is only one true God, perfectly just and loving at the same time. Because of that, there was only one true solution to save the doomed humanity: sacrifice His Son for their failings, and conquer physical and spiritual death that dooms us all.

    Why save? Because God loves you, even though all we are are nothing but sinners who can never reach the standards to be with God.

    Why the sacrifice? Because God is just, he creates Law and he will not break the Law: Those who sin cannot reach God, every human sins one way or another, therefore everyone is doomed. The only way to save us from doom without breaking the Law, is to pay the ultimate penalty: Sacrifice His Son.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • ericgoestoholland

      I'm not an atheist myself, but I'd say that what you describe about people turning to atheism can be true. However, a lot of atheists turn away from religion, and in this country it's often christianity, mainly because faith requires a certain suspension of disbelief; a willingness to ignore what is considered traditional rational, objective thought. Not all people are willing to make that leap of faith to risk wasting their life on something their not sure is true.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • TOOZX5

      or perhaps people turn to atheism because they actually did some research on their religion and expose the lies that they no longer accept as true. They see belief can say one thing while reality reflect the opposite. Now they see simply believing in something won't magically make it reality.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:45 am |
  20. lex

    Atheism is the religion of the future, especially taking into account how secular our society is becoming. Sadly, atheism has no real value system, which is importrant for most people who are religious.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • Ex-Catholic Glo

      Religious systems don't have 'values:" PEOPLE have values, no matter what religion or non-religion they adhere to. I am an atheist and I have honor, integrity, believe in right and wrong, pay my taxes, never hurt anyone, etc. These are core values human beings should have. How many times have we seen 'religious' people screwimng others, cheating, lying, hurting, and yet going to church on Sunday for absolution? Those are the people with no values.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:16 am |
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About this blog

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.