home
RSS
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.

CNN Belief: The secular high priest of SXSW

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.

CNN Belief: Atheists ratchet up rhetoric, use billboards to attack Republican politicians

“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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

“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. mike from iowa

    Realize that christians are working non-stop to get at YOUR CHILDREN through the public schools system. They were fervently to get religion injected into science textbooks. Their continued existence relies on indoctrinating children during their impressionable years. YOUR CHILD.

    March 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • tony

      The religious leaders are the ones who created the concept of evil.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
  2. Sara

    Why waste money on this? Religion is the opiate of the masses and you'll never get them unhooked.

    March 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  3. tony

    I worship Dick Cheney. He smote the Iraqis and made their oil flow unto us.

    March 24, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • mike from iowa

      I understand Bush and Cheney can never leave the U.S. because they'll be arrested and tried as war criminals.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • BruceINpanama

      Quite true, he did get us the oil but all done so in the name of God (aka Halliburton) therefore all his war crimes are forgiven. God bless you.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
  4. Bostontola

    A very smart co-worker of mine is a devout Christian. We were joined by a Mormon and the discussion went to the Mormon tenets. After the Mormon left, my Christian friend was dumbfounded that a person could believe such nutty things that the Mormons do.

    Why can intelligent people so easily see the folly in every other religion but their own?

    March 24, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • PraiseTheLards

      Why would you call them intelligent? If they believe in fairy tales, they're m0r0ns...

      March 24, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Zobby

      Its the way their raised, honestly the UFO cult religions are no less believable than some of the stuff in the bible.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Alex R

      Everyone is an atheist to millions of Gods. Atheists just take it one step further than everyone else. You're right, the hypocrisy is mind-boggling.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Praise, you are wrong. I work with some very smart engineers and scientists, many believe in god. Getting indoctrinated by the people you trust most is powerful.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • James

      That is the mental illness of religion. When you are a true believer, you do not see the basic similarity between your set of beliefs and someone else's. Instead, you are convinced you are right, even though you have no more tangible evidence than anyone else does. It is one thing to believe that a supreme being was the origin of life, it is quite another to insist that you know what that supreme being wants of us.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Ralphco

      Intelligence has nothing to do with having faith or not having faith – that's simply a choice we all make. Really smart people and really dumb people on both sides (see posts below). Turn the question around: there is a string of hatred from atheist commenting below admonishing various religions for acts of hatred in history. How can intelligent people not see the folly of their logic when it comes to their own NON-beliefs?

      March 24, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
  5. Kay Krause

    I am so sorry for him. I do pray that one he will turn back to God because if he doesn't ........ This life is very short compared to the next. I wouldn't want to be him or the any atheist for that matter. The thought of this life being all there is, is just too depressing. It doesn'tmake sense either. Even science is realising that this world didn't just 'happen'. Todd is just one of many that christians must pray for. I have a niece also. Prayer is a powerful tool but only if used.

    March 24, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Gadflie

      Nice delusion! I'll pass though.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • PraiseTheLards

      Which "God" did you have in mind? There have been so many...

      March 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • James PDX

      If he doesn't turn back to god, what will happen? God does like to coerce and threaten to get our worship. In fact, he also likes to murder, commit genocide, and abort unborn babies en masse. I can see why Christians talk about fearing god. He is vindictive and evil.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Sense0326

      I bet he doesn't exactly care whether you pray for him or not.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      why just atheists, kay? why not hindus, buddhists, shinto, rastafari, muslims, etc? or, for that matter, members of a christian sect other than your own? you say that science now beleves that we did not come out of nothing....do you have a link for that. or are you pulling it out of your rectum? your empty proxy warnings are nonsense.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
  6. kennyzales

    I'm happy to see this guy p!ss away the family fortune on such an ignoble cause. Because atheists are unable to articulate, even among themselves, the specifics of their non-beliefs, Stiefel is funding a "movement" that doesn't move very much: Atheists are best known for two things: anger and apathy. These are not characteristics that help foster a cause. Just sayin'

    March 24, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Zobby

      Stamping out ignorance around the world is a noble cause. Every day around the world countless people die over mythological beliefs. Its needs to stop, now.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • sjordan

      I think the point is to show that it's okay to be a non-believer and to promote separation of church and state. Money well spent in my opinion!

      March 24, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      So, non beliefs has "specifics?" Can you please provide an example of a non belief in anything, anywhere with really good specifics? thanks.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • James

      An atheist once told me he had a box with no apples in it. I said, you aren't being very specific. Can you tell me the color, count, and variety of the apples?

      March 24, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • James PDX

      I can easily articulate the specifics of your beliefs. Hypocrisy and worshiping a hateful and murderous deity.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • colin in Florida

      " atheists are unable to articulate, even among themselves, the specifics of their non-beliefs". Kenny, you just don't get it, do you. If we (atheists) WERE able to articulate the 'specifics of {our} non-beliefs' then atheism would be a another religion. Atheism is NOT a religion, period. It is NOT a system of non-belief-atheists just do NOT believe in fairy tales. I mean, when you look at it, Jack and the Beanstalk is as believable as any 'story' in the bible, like Noah living to be ≈950 years old.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      One more thing atheists are known for: scoring higher grades in education and making more money in business.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Izumi

      James: BRILLIANT. I can't stop laughing. Mostly at kennyzales.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  7. Mairin

    Sorry to dispute the word of I am god, however, being born a Catholic, does not make Hilter any more Catholic than Stiefel, who was born into a Catholic family. Will you insist on labeling Stiefel Catholic, when he clearly denies he is still a Catholic? Hitler was not "Catholic", either. An anti-christ would be a more appropriate label:someone who sets themselves up against God, as their own god or the god of others, like Hilter.

    March 24, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Gadflie

      That's a logical fallacy known as "No True Scotsman". You need to try harder guy.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Jeesh

      There is a religious catholic crazy, Bill Deacon, that maintains that once baptised and confirmed into the faith you are catholic until death. You maybe a lapsed catholic or even excommunicated but are welcomed back by repentance or confession. Billy says he is an expert on RCC dogma and sacrament, a self proclaimed god, sort of.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      Hitler's racist speeches pulled heavily from Lutheran writings, particularly his hatred for the Jews and the desire to exterminate them (in which the catholic church saw a common goal and helped him).

      March 24, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • colin in Florida

      Joseph Goebbels, Reich Propaganda Minister, was very catholic-six kids, regularly went to church, etc. That is until he gave his kids and wife poison, then committed suicide.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  8. @OD

    Come on people give me a break, my job doesn't end at 5 and I got 6 billion people and counting.

    March 24, 2013 at 11:58 am |
  9. Darwin

    christians take other religions holidays and twist them to be their holiday, for instance, Easter was a holiday for spring in the vikings religion, christian twisted it to be their holiday meant to celebrate jesus rising from the cross, christmas was also stolen from another religion

    March 24, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • @OD

      Not to mention that my son Jesus was Jewish, my job sucks I tell ya...

      March 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • kennyzales

      If this is your attempt to usurp Christmas with Kwanzaa, it 'ain't' working!

      March 24, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      The practices of worshiping a virgin born by the spirit of a ghost on the winter solstice and placing sacrifices under a wintergreen tree are at least as old as ancient Mesopotamia.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
  10. tony

    The "miracle of life". . . . . . can be stopped by a dumb teen using a condom. . . . Who'd a thunk miracles were so easily overcome?

    March 24, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • colin in Florida

      Yeah, not much of a miracle if a thin piece of plastic film can stop it.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
  11. peter

    Dear Atheist, non-believers, whatever you want to call yourself. The New Testament Books were written between 40-90 years after Christ. That means some were written 40 years after, some 50, some 60..etc. with the Books of John and Revelations 90 years after. I see some wild dates below. Some of you say this is enough reason not to believe the Bible or NT. Yet it seems a lot of you dig a book called The God Delusion...which was written now. Hmmmm, some 2000 years after Christ and who really know how long since creation (that's what I call it). If you're not willing to believe in books that were written a few decades after the fact, been followed by billions of people over time, has similarities with other religion's books (I'm referring to characters and events involved). I suggest you don't believe what is written about WWII and anything prior and especially books that are written in the current day concerning God or any event that has no video footage etc. to back it up...make sense... History and physical discovery prove Bible stories every day... I suggest you do a Google search for recent articles. As time goes on you become more vocal with less meat behind your argument that there is no God. You're running on anger. Boy I hope this bloke who is sinking millions into building an atheist army (he calls it free thinking) gives some money to the needy, like Churches do, the Salvation Army does etc. Let's see some atheist groups giving to the needy hey!

    March 24, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • tony

      Your ignorance clearly proves the non-existence of a god-given brain.

      March 24, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Mr Magoo

      Actually if you'd read the article, he has a charity.

      March 24, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Gadflie

      So, by that nonsensical rant, may I safely assume that you believe in all religions that have a holy book? Or is word of mouth good enough for you? But, other than that, nice straw man argument kid!

      March 24, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • peter

      Thanks for the intelligent responses...it explains a lot. Good luck with yourselves...keep up the good work...make America proud!

      March 24, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • jjoaN

      yes. use a google search based on science to prove something that's not based on science. I would suggest you use the telepathy with christ method instead

      March 24, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Ray

      @Peter

      The four gospel of the New Testament make extraordinary claims which violate the laws of physics and the world that each of us experience. Not only were they written *decades* after Jesus' death but they were done so by people who never met him. In other words, they got their information through orally which is unreliable. None of the original canonical gospels even exist, nor did they exist at the time the first Bible was created. They were copies of copies of translations of copies, which allows for editing and later interpolation; evidence for this is clear. The gospels were also cherry-picked. There are over 40 gospels in total yet only four were selected. The gospels have passages about specific events that contradict each other as well. Many of the events in the gospels were borrowed from earlier religions (virgin births, resurrections, etc.).

      How anyone could be sure they are reliable is mind-boggling.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • H . D. HARVEY

      you seem to be the one who is angry and confused. We, the people, seem to get along ok, the religious fanatics, Christians, Muslims, Jews etc are the ones who cant chill out and live this life we have. Wake up no matter what you promise people to join your church, this life is it, live it to the fullest.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Sense0326

      Sure the churches give some money to charity. But, look at the Vatican for instance, surely all of those riches could have been better spent elsewhere!

      March 24, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      Personally, I discredit the New Testament mainly because most of the etails of Jesus life were borrowed from neighboring cults. Also the core of the Christian belief system requires the Old Testament to be true, which it certainly is not. Science and history tell us that there have been no talking animals, life evolved over hundreds of millions of years, the story of Eden is borrowed from the Canaanite pantheon who borrow edit from Gilgamesh, the story of Noah is borrowed from the Mithraic mysteries, the ten commandments had already long existed in Egypt as the Confessions of Maat, the Israeli covenant is a reinterpretation of the covenant of Memphis, Moses was based on the worship of Pharoah Thutmoses II and III, and the hebrews were only mediterraneans confused about the myths of the egyptian religion.
      It's difficult to believe in a single, caring god when the abarahamic religions obviously originated in polytheistic pantheons who lived here on earth and not in some galaxy far far away.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • clarity

      It's also very telling that, as an excuse for the gospel stories looking so much like earlier stories, all the early Christian apologists (Justin Martyr and others) could come up with was this whacky notion of diabolical mimicry – that the devil had disseminated the supposedly earlier "fake" stories before the supposedly later "real" gospel stories. How about that? – plagiarism in reverse.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  12. Angryoldwhiteman

    Another man with small genitals and lots of money. Know he can buy people's attention but they won't listen. Is time to drop to the floor and start kicking, screaming and crying yet! What a loser.

    March 24, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Seyedibar

      At least he can string together sentences that makes sense.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • James PDX

      So when you don't like what someone has to say, you claim they have small genitals? I'm guessing a lot of people don't like what you have to say. Maybe that's how you came to your silly conclusion.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
  13. Reality

    And it is Sunday morning and CNN has featured a news item conserning religion or lack thereof in this case resulting in a lot of blog traffic and advertising. So to join the fray:

    For your next billboards:

    SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:
    THERE NEVER WERE AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR LIKE 9/11.

    SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
    THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY.

    SAVING 15.5 MILLION FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
    ABRAHAM AND MOSES AS BEST ONE CAN TELL NEVER EXISTED.

    Added details upon request.

    March 24, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Reality

      Oops, make that "concerning" religion.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  14. The Seeker

    The fact that all religions are flawed and at least partially telling outright lies does not negate the existence of God. I understand that so many are discouraged because they can't find anything worth believing in – but that doesn't change the fact that so many want to believe.

    It is an emptiness so many of us feel that we wish to fill with something, the more desperate among us will try and fill it with just about anything. Religion is deeply flawed, but religion has nothing to do with God. A few are born connected to God and could no more deny his existence than they could deny their own.

    Seek your own answers, but do not let religion decide for you as to whether or not God exists. To deny God because you cannot find him is just as silly as those who say he exists for material or other gain, yet know nothing of him.

    He is out there, I know.

    March 24, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • Doris

      But He went down a black hole to start another universe – why should we be spending time looking for Him??

      March 24, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Unintelligent Designer

      Good point. What you believe is what I believed for the longest time. In my case, I eventually became a non-believer. However, I applaud you for exercising a certain degree of honesty and seeing religions for what they truly are.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • James PDX

      What a terrible and silly post. If you know god exists, please define him for us. If you cannot define him, worshiping something that for all you know is pure evil is just plain stupid.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • g2-b837363fe05d124be3384fdddef67d01

      There is no more evidence for the Christian God or the Muslin Allah than the Norse Thor, yet many believe in the Christian God and the Muslim Allah. Moreover, those who believe in the Christian God come from families that believe in the Christian God while those who believe in the Muslim Allah come from families that believe in Allah.

      It's pretty clear that religion is picked up like language; it's merely a cultural adaptation, no more "true" than a Christmas tree or a Ramadan fast.

      When you can understand why you don't believe in the tens of thousands of other gods, you might understand why we don't believe in yours. You might even re-think your own beliefs.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
  15. Zobby

    Sigh...

    I was an atheist long before I ever heard of this guy. I'm glad he is spreading the message but there is no "face of atheism". A not belief is not a belief or a religion. Just because I don't believe in Santa clause doesn't make mean im against Santa Claus. Some religions teach people important moral lessons, but they people reading them should also understand they are just inspirational fiction.

    March 24, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • Darwin

      im not atheist, i don't have a religion,now,i don't hate random people because they don't have my religion,if i had to pick a religion ii would be Buddhist, they dont advertise their religion

      March 24, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
  16. Face-Palm

    What if God exists? What if God wants to be worshiped thru truth? What if God will punish and send to hell every moron believing the mythological fictions of ignorant lying men?

    What if God gave us a brain and an internal compass that tells us how repulsive religion is?

    What if the lazy, unquestioning faithful will burn in hell forever? What if those of us that stand up for truth get what we deserve? What if the unthinking creduli-tards are the ones that failed to worship truth? God and truth can never be separate, right?

    I’m a patriotic American, but I’m so sick of watching my Nation being hijacked by these deliberate liars.

    March 24, 2013 at 11:54 am |
    • Ralphco

      I understand why some people decide to not believe in God. That is their choice. What I don't understand is why they seem so angry about people who do have faith. Why the constant insults about "fiction" and "retards" just because some decide to have faith. Faith (or the absents of faith) is simply a decision we all make for ourselves. The atheist central arguments seem to be "it doesn't make logical sense" – so I often wonder how our human brains could conceptualize an omnipotent all knowing being – and if we can't, that means there is no God? You can't prove God, you can't disprove God – you either have faith or you don't. Whether faithful or not, let's all work on decreasing the hatred of others – that does not good God or no God.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • James PDX

      Ralphco, I think the anger comes from religions doing things they shouldn't. Like trying to infiltrate our government and manipulate our laws to support their beliefs. Also from the bigotry so rampant in religion, not to mention the hypocrisy.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • g2-b837363fe05d124be3384fdddef67d01

      "I don't understand is why they seem so angry about people who do have faith."

      Christians in America don't practice their faith, they push it on others. The push for prayers in schools, the push for public laws we all have to live under based on their understanding of their religion. Gay marriage . . . ban it because the Bible say so? That's pushing your religion on others. Abortion . . . ban it because it makes your god mad? That's pushing your religion on others.

      When the religious practice their religions in their own homes and churches, and they leave the rest of society to do the same or not, as they see fit, atheists and followers will get along fine.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
  17. tony

    Career counseling: Becoming a Preacher.

    Tell people what they desperately want to hear and they will part with their money – to you. Give a little back to charity and keep the rest. You get a way bigger percentage per deal than being a realtor.

    March 24, 2013 at 11:54 am |
  18. Will

    God has a plan to reveal himself to ALL mankind (yep, non-believers too), it's called The Revelation and you can read about it in the Bible. So that when the events unfold on the world's stage, you can go "hey wait a minute, I've read about this in the," Yep, THE BIBLE.

    March 24, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Gadflie

      YAWN!

      March 24, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • tony

      Except God's plan is easily stopped now by a teenager using a condom, and a gunman killing the star cast.

      March 24, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • Doris

      Everyone knows John of Patmos must have been a serious substance abuser to come up with that mess called Revelation.

      March 24, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Chris

      So what you are saying is Atheists simply need to read the Bible. How dumb are you most of us have read that book that is why we can argue it so well. Secondly we have at least taken one college course about religion. You simply have no idea what you are talking about.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      Sorry to disappoint you, but the battle of Armageddon already took place in 70 C.E., and if you're a christian it's doubly troublesome to believe in the Book of Revelations, since it says that out of the 100 billion people that ever lived, only 144,000 jews are allowed into the afterlife.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
  19. Mr Magoo

    I've been a closet atheist for awhile now. I suspect there are a lot of us.
    I for one, appreciate the billboards because they make those of us who feel like we are forced to pretend, think about what we are doing, and who we are betraying when we "go along, to get along"
    I spent 40 plus years, trying to believe and actually raising my children as Christians. Now that they've grown, they've rejected that part of their upbringing, and I can honestly say that I can see why. Christians are NOT better people for their beliefs, in countless cases they are worse people for them.
    The most basic belief behind every religion seems to be that they are somehow superior to other people, and can therefore judge what is right and wrong in every aspect of society. This guarantees that they will never move toward peace, because they believe God will bring it, never that they have to participate in it. A world that clings to religion, will never find peace, because they will never accept other's freedom of thought.

    March 24, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      I feel ya. I'm "out" but it's not a comfortable thing and I have to be on constant guard. In the past, I received death threats, lost jobs, had automobiles and my home vandalized, and lost dear friends. Good luck!

      March 24, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Sense0326

      I too am an atheist, but, if people ask, I'm a secular humanist. It's absolutely true, and people seem more receptive to it (if only because they don't know what it is).

      March 24, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Ralphco

      Fine with me – have no faith. Just don't hate others because they do. What you are talking about is government being controlled by religion; historically a bad idea (why our founding fathers did away with it). My faith is personal, and no I don't feel superior to anybody. I see nothing in the teaching of Jesus Christ that says anybody is superior to anybody else. In fact Jesus spent his life seeking out and helping the "outcasts" and explaining that we are all loved by God. Yeah, that's a horrible terrible message we should hate that right?

      March 24, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
  20. C. Michael Turner

    Saying there is no God is No proof. Creating words to justify your actions for others to read is kinda hypocritical with out proof. Must I take your belief system on faith?
    So I can have faith in a all intelligence or faith in nothing at all....
    Eve is the first person who was cloned from a stem cell, a rib cell. Explain that one, Aliens? Proof?

    March 24, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Gadflie

      I'm confused, was that supposed to make sense? Or was it a parody of how actual believers think?

      March 24, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • psych ward staff

      Uh oh – some one threw up their word salad. Clean-up needed on page 33 pronto.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • Darwin

      saying god is real has no proof

      March 24, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Did you read my reply to you on the other thread you started, C? That post just seemed slightly ignorant, so I corrected your faulty reasoning. This post just seems stupid. You do realize that just because we don't know everything and have every answer doesn't mean that there's a big invisible sky wizard, right?

      March 24, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79
Advertisement
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.