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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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

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. inspiration for the rest of you

    The atheists believe in many things: reason, logic, evidence, facts and probablity. I like that "religion"!

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

      Not really - atheists are trapped by the same human myopia that confounds all men seeking their faith. They have no hold on reason...and no particular ties to the Truth. They have a leader, they have a "cause", they have a body of literature, they have a lost, but not forgotten soul, willing to fund it and a membership list of angry acolytes.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:55 am |
  2. CRMack

    If people want to be atheists that is their business, but why are they trying to rally others to their faith (it takes more faith to be an atheist than to have faith in God). Yes, it takes faith to believe all of this beautiful world happened by chance or some meteor explosion out in the cosmos. It takes faith to believe that all the animals that are different just happened by chance and man in its complex nature just happened along. Faith is the believe in God when we can't see Him. They have faith in some unexplainable explosion of some unexplainable DNA. Their quest to destroy others faith in God is their faith in the unknown too. Man doesn't have all the answers but they are so arrogant that they think they do. These people have been around forever, this is nothing new, but they will find out about the unknown which is historical, witnessed by people, recorded by many and lived out in faith in a real true God with love for God and most of all love for people!

    March 24, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • inspiration for the rest of you

      Get educated, dummy. Although you obviously can't do that.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • IndFL

      Typical, blah blah blah. It doesn't take faith to be a Non believer, just Brains!

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

      The bible is the only historical text with any mention of the resurrection of jesus christ. Why is it, do you suppose, that there is NO OTHER mention of such a momentous event in ANY of the other writings from the time in question? If, as you say, there are many witnesses and testimonials, why are they only in one place. Why then is the bible literally FILLED with inaccuracies, contradictions and outright falsehoods? Atheists are not mad at god any more than you are mad at the loch ness monster. Why do so many of you christians come knocking on my door every week trying to convert me? Could it be that you want to rally me to your faith? I feel obliged to return the favor.

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

      I agree...religion is for people that are too ignorant or lazy to find true explanations for things they can't understand. Don't know what's gonna happen when you die? No problem, god's got it covered, you get wings, harps, virgins. Can't fathom our existence on a scale greater than 6000 years? God's got it covered, he waved his wand for 7 days and POOF, done. Don't understand why them gay folk to their gay thing? All good, god says they're just engaging in sin. etc etc..yada yada
      Heck of a lot easier than trying to understand those devilish distractions called SCIENCE.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:40 am |
  3. Zeibodique

    You can always enjoy the feather ruffling of articles like this one. When someone who believes in a "God" and there are articles about it, the believers consider it "Passing the word"....BUT when non-believers have their say, the believers consider it "Shoving it down our throats"

    March 24, 2013 at 10:23 am |
  4. jasonedw

    This guy is just as fearful of not knowing all of the answers to life as the bible thumpers who pretend that they are so sure about their beliefs.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Edweird69

      It's normal to be "fearful" of the unknown. Most people are. It's not normal to "invent" explanations, then start believing your own lies.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:28 am |
  5. StopFeedingTheMedia

    Only CNN could print an article like this...and on a Sunday morning .......After reading some of these comments it is no wonder to me now why this great country is producing so many failures........The news outlets are not in business to report news to you...they are in business to make money......oh it is true.........and the more wild the headline the more followers they get......and the more followers they get the more advertising money they get..........to those of you that love to hate on God I say this.........Good Luck when your day of Judgement comes...and make no mistake....that day will come......

    It is your choice to live the life you want but if you think you can live a life of sin and not be accountable one day you are in for a rude awakening!

    Faith......give it a try.

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

      Mind mapping NO GOD(S) REQUIRED!

      Gone but Not Forgotten: Yearning for Lost Loved Ones Linked to Altered Thinking About the Future

      Mar. 18, 2013 — People suffering from complicated grief may have difficulty recalling specific events from their past or imagining specific events in the future, but not when those events involve the partner they lost, according to a new study published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130318151631.htm

      Maybe the bible needs to be updated

      Have a great day .

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

      Reality hurts. Organized religion is the biggest scam there ever was. Ever. And to think billions of dollars are wasted on this scam is really unbelievable.

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

      Many people think that journalism means “news” and nothing else. In fact, it also encompasses features, sports (a particular type of news, ’tis true), opinion (from both editors and readers), analysis, humor (including comics), and advertising. Done properly, it’s like a buffet with a little something for everyone.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:43 am |
    • jon

      Being non religious is not a sin. The Golden rule of treating others as you wish to be treated can be practiced by atheists. If GOD does exist, they should be forgiven and loved. If GOD sends them to hell for being non believers even though they were good people, then that is a GOD I do not want.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:46 am |
  6. Geoffrey

    What “science” can show the path from primeval slime to the wonderful creation that mankind is? Please show me the complete fossil record. Oh… it hasn’t been found yet. But you have “faith” that it will be found. Well Ok. If you are a “free” thinker, you would notice all the holes and speculations that passes for “science”. Remember that theory should be proven by experimentation or observation before it is established science . So your “science” really seems to be a matter of faith to me. Historically, science has been the study to understand “GOD’s creation. It still is to me.

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

      It's the part where believers in your fairy tales get to go to disneyland in the sky and those that don't burn forever in hell that is soooo ridiculous... you believe in one of hundreds of myths written by middle eastern sheep herders... we choose to reject ALL MAN wriiten creation fiction!

      March 24, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Bob Carlson

      Don't confuse "faith" with expectation. Scientists don't have faith in that they are going to find the missing fossils but rather have a reasonable expectation (as evidenced by previous repeatable experimentation and scientific findings). For example; when you drive in your car on one side of the paved street, you don't have faith that the oncoming drivers are not going to hit you, rather you have a reasonable expectation the oncoming drivers are not going to hit you based upon your long observation of others and their willingness to continue to survive.

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

      That is entirely possible. I've always thought that. Whether or not it proves God created evolution or there is no God at all, I'll be satisfied with the result. Right now, I'll lean toward evolution occurring as random events in the universe rather than divine intervention. That being said...I think Atheism is a faith as well. There is just as much proof that God doesn't exist as there is of him existing. My being annoyed by people who blindly follow religion accepting things printed in some unverifiable account of ancient events written by questionable people and selectively assembled by vote is just as annoying as those who want to definitively say there is no God. How do you know? I'm a happy Agnostic.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • Checked_Other

      Geoffrey: Good point, but we can't arbitrarily assign a whole new definition to science. You closed the comment that "science has been the study to understand “GOD’s creation," but one would have to first stipulate that there was/is a god in the beginning to be able to study what you call his creation. Clearly, not everyone believes that notion both in science and elsewhere.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      Science proceeds from observation and evidence to understanding.
      Religion works the other way around. It starts with a conclusion, then looks for evidence to support it.
      The track record when the 2 come into conflict is clear. Science has won 100% of the disagreements.
      Why bet on a horse that consistently loses?

      March 24, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  7. Checked_Other

    Often, the retort from people calling themselves Christian will say: "You need to educate yourself on God." But what they don't realize is that the more one becomes educated in the many world religions, the more skeptical one becomes. Stiefel is a very good example of this dynamic.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:20 am |
  8. Rob

    Lets just hope the act of turning people away from faith doesn't get militant like it did with the religious franchises trying to turn people towards their religion.

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

      VERY good point..............

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

      Whoops, too late.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Edweird69

      Their "belief" deserves ridicule. Faith is not a virtue. It brings destruction to many people. Religion rots the brain.

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

      Atheist are generally not fanatical militant brainwashed believers of fairy tales.... We just can't understand why you think 2000 year old various writers, none of which had actually met Jebus, knew all you have to know to exist forever in a magical place... If your myths and parables are really true, I would rather spend it eternity in hell than making a fool of myself claiming your fiction has any basis in reality!

      March 24, 2013 at 10:34 am |
  9. Lawless4U

    So...........to go against organized religion he needed to organize non-belivers?

    I thought being an aethiest was just about not having faith, so where is the discrimination? In fact, until you open your mouth and feel the need to tell others that they are fools for believing in God no one really cares whether you believe or not.

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

      Would that it were so. But it's not. Go to Wikipedia and look up "discrimination against atheists".
       
      Is it as bad as discrimination against blacks, women, Muslims, or gays? Nope. But it's not non-existent, either, and in some ways (electability) it's worse.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:36 am |
  10. Peter

    Belief is a funny thing. If you say you believe or if you say you do not believe, you are still participating in a belief. Atheism Can mean ignorance as in this person or it could just mean a question that was never asked. The question may never have arisen. I mostly feel sorry for those who feel that since they had a question that wasn't answered to their satisfaction, they become disheartened. It is always better to struggle rather than give up.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • Edweird69

      Atheism is NOT A BELIEF! It is a null stance. The burden of proof is on those making the assertion. I'm open to any proof they have of the existence of their proclamation. Until then, I'm null on the topic. Make sense? If you told me you believed there was Bigfoot, I wouldn't tell you there isn't, I would just say "prove it". Til then, there's no "reason" to believe it.

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

      The logic you're applying also works reversely.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Checked_Other

      Last reply regarding logic was directed to Peter. Thanks.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      Atheism is not a belief. It's the ABSENCE of a particular KIND of belief.
       
      All babies are born without beliefs of any kind and are therefore, by definition, atheists. They stay that way until the indoctrination kicks in.

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

      Peter, this is just not true. We can reject a claim as being unproven without believing that it has been proven false. Do you currently believe that I am wearing a blue shirt? You shouldn't believe that since there is no evidence for that claim. You also shouldn't believe that I am not wearing a blue shirt since that claim is equally lacking in evidence. The only logical position on that claim, until further evidence has been presented is to hold no belief. Not holding a belief in gods is atheism... some would call that "weak atheism" and holding the belief in the non-existence of gods "strong atheism".

      The cast majority of atheists do not claim to know that there is no greater power out there somewhere. We simply reject the very specific claims that have been presented due to the lack of compelling evidence. That goes for Zeus, Poseidon, Isis, Yahweh, Allah, etc. Surely you understand the rejection of some, or most of those gods. It may be muddled for you, becuase you reject the belief in them, in part, because of your belief in (I assume) the Judeo-Christian God. If you honestly look at it and separate the religious beliefs you hold from the religious beliefs you don't hold, you'll find you have self-sufficient reasons for dismissing those claims. You don't believe in Thor because you don't find accounts of Thor to be credible nor compelling. These are the same reasons atheists go one step further and reject the claims made for the existence in your God.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:41 am |
  11. whoblackmailspeople

    the same parasites behind monsanto:

    "Three days ago, bowing down to Monsanto’s well-funded lobbyists, Congress voted to allow Monsanto to grow GMO crops that could be harmful to human health and the environment – even if a federal court or a regulatory agency rules that the planting of those crops is illegal. ;Under this new law, sneaked in at the last moment as a rider to the federal appropriations bill, not even the federal courts will be able to stop Monsanto from introducing a slew of new, potentially poisonous GMO crops into our food supply."

    - organic farmers association

    March 24, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Lawless4U

      Organics are a joke.

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

      You could easily examine a whole year of things you've eaten without running across a single thing that WASN'T genetically modified by 10,000 years of agriculture and animal husbandry.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:31 am |
  12. muslim2012

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKvUaji2SO0&w=640&h=360]

    March 24, 2013 at 10:19 am |
  13. tyler

    why dont instead of talkin about it we all wait til we die and find out.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Edweird69

      You can't "find out" anything when you die. You won't exist. It's like saying we should have found out something before we were born. Not possible, because you didn't exist then either...same is true after death.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:21 am |
  14. MyHumbleOpinion

    God is beyond religion. Religion is created by men. You can deny god only when you deny your existence. So don't worry be happy, does not matter if you accept god or not. Accept yourself as you are. God accepts everyone irrespective.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Edweird69

      My existence does not equal god's existence. A is not equal to B here. FAIL !!!

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

      @Edweird69 – You dont know if you existed before birth or if you will exist after your death. That leaves only now the present as the only time when YOU (from your perspective) accept or deny god.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:43 am |
  15. MO

    The existence of God is not there to be proven. If God could be found in a lab, or through mathematics, or a science experiment, he would not be God. God exists because He exist. Things happen on this earth because WE fail, not God. Humans are full of emotions, some good, some bad. Often bad wins because we're overpowered by its temptation. That is why we have wars, disease, and famine. Remember, God is not there to make our lives comfortable and trouble free, He is there to support us when we fail and cause our own misery, just like a good parent.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Bob Carlson

      A good parent shows his/her face to their children every day. Why does not God??

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

      That's perverted. You can't make something happen by believing, you must act. Good and bad, really? This is what happens when you load up your brain with nonsense. Stories can be used to mean anything your religious leaders want. Morality is for children, too young to have life experience. As we get more mature, you learn ethics. There is no right or wrong arbitrarily decided by a magic deity. No thought police, you make up your own mind independent of how you have been taught. Anything that happens to you is your own doing, take responsibility! You use excuses as to why you can not show any evidence of your god, like "he works in mysterious ways" and "god is not there to fulfill your agenda" when the facts are that you can't get it through your thick skull that BELIEVING DOES NOT MAKE SOMETHING REAL. If your god was real, it wouldn't need you to believe in it, it would have clear and evident UNIQUE properties that can not be explained in any other way. Through out the centuries, organised religion has suppressed science because everyone is quite well aware that science works, and that undermines religion's control. Now it's simply a mad dash for power, religious leaders know that the resiliency of their beliefs is in question, so they change the meaning of their stories to support whatever keeps them in power.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • gager

      Nothing like demented reason to solve all problems...except they don't solve real problems, only the imaginary king.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:31 am |
  16. rand

    His parents must be SO PROUD...................

    A business man?? He did nothing more than go to work for the family business that his relatives STARTED.........

    He's a spoiled brat rich kid who went to Duke..............to study psychology............

    March 24, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • Science

      Mind mapping NO GOD(S) REQUIRED!

      Gone but Not Forgotten: Yearning for Lost Loved Ones Linked to Altered Thinking About the Future

      Mar. 18, 2013 — People suffering from complicated grief may have difficulty recalling specific events from their past or imagining specific events in the future, but not when those events involve the partner they lost, according to a new study published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130318151631.htm

      Maybe the bible needs to be updated

      Have a great day !March

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

      yeah ! and i have yet to see any psychologist cure anybody.
      They only attach labels to people but cant cure anybody even the medicines they prescribe all have side effects worst than the disease. thats what the commercials say. and you clearly see the results of their labor each time you turn on the news and read about another shooter who was under the care of theses high paid psychologists
      yet they think they have the answers.

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

      No more proud than the parents of people like the Bakers, Robertons, Osteens Swaggarts, Crouches and all the other television preachers who bilk millions of dollars from people on a weekely basis to feed their lavish lifestyles....expensive mansions, cars, boats....But hey, it's in the name of God so it's ok!

      March 24, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
  17. Cora

    Whereas I wish the man well and don't feel it right to curse him, he is not right. There is a God. You can choose to not have one and he won't be there if you so choose. It is a right we have at birth.
    I just hope he and other rich powerful atheists remember that it is the down trodden and the broken hearted who find God and truly need him. NO as a rich powerful handsome young white man, he doesn't. Please don't take that away.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • julibear

      "He will not be there if you so choose." That sounds like you're saying that humans have the ability to make God appear or disappear at will. That is the atheist's argument: Man made God, not the other way around. Greeks and Romans believed in Zeus and Jupiter just as strongly as my mother believes in the catholic God. How can all the other systems of belief throughout the history of mankind be wrong in favor of our currently popular Judeo-Christian God? They can't. Man made God in his own image.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:25 am |
  18. Face-Palm

    The oppressed will "shut up” when we’re no longer oppressed. Atheists, LGBT, Racial Minorities and the poor will shut up when we are no longer pushed around like second class citizens.

    March 24, 2013 at 10:18 am |
  19. Janet

    What's the difference... So he has hs own new religion " atheism" , and he's asking and expecting people to buy what he's selling

    March 24, 2013 at 10:17 am |
  20. truth will out

    Atheism........just another cult

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

      Every religion in the world is a cult. No god exists. No Jesus exists. No Buddha exists. etc..etc... These were figments of people's imaginations when the world was a different place..hundreds or thousands of years ago. To believe in this now is actually unbelievable when so much has been proven about how we got here. Go to youtube and see The Incredible Human Journey made by the BBC and you'll learn a lot about how we came to be.

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

      a/theism is not a belief....it is a lack of a belief so a cult is not possible. on the other hand...every religion is a cult.

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

      A cult:
      1.A system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.
      2. A relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.
      None of this applies to Atheism as it is not a belief or a religion.
      The scientific method maybe considered to some to be a practice, but it yields results 100% of the time, accurately, which I would gladly say, is the opposite of religion.
      Don't you hate it when someone just knows more than you? Well, that can be rectified, do your research.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:36 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.