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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. Reality

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

    “John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today
    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville

    It is very disturbing that religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth. Maybe, just maybe if this fact would be published on the first page of every FaceBook and/or newspaper every day, that we would finally realize the significant stupidity of all religions.

    March 24, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
  2. mark

    Damien rises and his minions post any christian remarks as they worship at the feet of his Bruno Magli's

    March 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  3. Face-Palm

    Being stupid and ignorant makes us laugh.

    March 24, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  4. Christian7

    Atheism defined: I don't know if god exists, therefore he does not exist.

    No. You do not know if god exists. You have no way to prove he does not exist; therefore, it is illogical to say he does not exist. It is beyond your ability to determine. You can not prove an unrestricted negative.

    March 24, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • HitchedBritches

      That's not my atheism defined. But, it would still be infinitely better than: I don't know if God exists.Therefore, he exists. Wowsa!

      March 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      So, because we don't know if unicorns exist we should believe that they do?!? Really?

      March 24, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • HitchedBritches

      BTW, what happened to the previous 6 Christians? Aborted?

      March 24, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Christian7", but you have defined atheism incorrectly once again. Better luck next time, "Christian7".

      March 24, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Jeesh

      It works both ways doofus, you do not know if god exists, let alone your specific Christian god and the hundreds of different religious interpretations, cults of your god.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • HitchedBritches

      I'm sending this one in to my old Logic course professor. He'll get a kick out of it.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Christian7

      Moby Schtick, I strongly disagree with you that you that because we don't know if unicorns exist we should believe that they do?!? I call that illogical. Unicorns may not exist. I can not prove they do not exist. I do not know.
      You should not believe in anything without good cause. I believe in God.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • the AnViL™

      what's all this unrestricted negatives business?

      a negative most certainly can be proven. lol

      also – what you've done is assert what's known as – argumentum ad ignorantiam – or an argument from ignorance.

      not like we don't see those every week.

      guess what christian7.... the onus of evidence still rests on the shoulders of those who posit the existence of flatly fictional beings – like your "god".

      learn2logic so you don't look like such an idiot on a national public forum.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • psych ward staff

      Xtian7's argument has now degenerated into a vortex of ridiculousness.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Christian7

      HitchedBritches, Please let me get a kick out of your response. Please teach me exactly where my logic failed. I look forward to a really good laugh.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Christian7

      HitchedBritches,

      Anyone that thinks this:
      I don't know if God exists.Therefore, he exists.

      Is very illogical. I do not know anyone that illogical. I certainly do not think that even a little. I have never said that or wrote that nor will I ever. I don't like being illogical.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
    • the AnViL™

      your logic failed flatly when you asserted an argument from ignorance.

      you basically told the world that you're an idiot.

      then you announced publicly that you're an uneducated parrot with your whole "you can't prove a negative" business.

      go back and try again there captain dunning-kruger

      lol

      March 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Christian7

      the AnViL™, I am very very interested in you teaching me exactly how my logic failed. Please do tell.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • i wonder

      Christian7,

      When an hypothesis has been neither proved nor disproved, the default stance is to withhold belief.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • the AnViL™

      i just did – stop being ignorant. you asserted an argument from ignorance – more than once.

      it's a common logical fallacy that delusional xians attempt to employ to shift the onus of evidence. the thing is – it wasn't even a nice try. just a different name on a different day.

      go google argumentum ad ignorantiam – read carefully – take your time.

      then reference bertrand russell's teapot analogy.

      are you having that good laugh yet, chump?

      March 24, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Christian7

      the AnViL™, I do not believe it is impossible to prove a negative. I believe it is impossible to prove an unrestricted negative. Please try to be more precise.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • the AnViL™

      again with this unrestricted negative business.

      to be precise it's nonsense

      stop being a parrot and do your homework – quit assuming everyone is as insipid and uneducated as you are.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Steve

      Your definition of atheism is incorrect. Atheism is simply the lack of belief in gods. Not since I was a child have I heard people say that atheists 100% deny the possible existence of gods. Today, I don't know of any atheist who doesn't acknowledge that a god or gods might exist. They simply consider it highly unlikely given the complete lack of evidence for it, and so don't include it in their belief system.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
  5. Patsy Nomore

    The war on religion is a myth. Religion has hitched it`s wagon to the T-Party/Republicans. Jesus was the ultimate Liberal. You cannot preach hatred,bigotry, embrace the privileged,and ignore the message of Jesus,and remain relevant..?? You cannot preach morality,it you have none..!!!

    March 24, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Christian7

      Christian are not suppose to bear false witness and say people hate when really they are just opposing certain ideas.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  6. Ed

    All athiests will burrrrrrrn in HELLLLLLLLLLLLL! God loves you so much that if you do not believe in Him, he will burn you forever!!!!!!! Repent to the invisible sky daddy or you will burn FOREVERRRRR!!!!!!!!
    -Christianity in a nutshell.

    I spent the first 20 years of my life brainwashed. The next 20 were spent scared and apathetic because I couldn't believe the myth and superstion, but was afraid to admit it. At 40 I finally realized how silly it was to be afraid of the invisible sky wizard and came to see the universe as it is, in all its mystery and wonder. I'm just glad I have some time left to appreciate reality for what it is, and not live in a deluded fog.

    The fact that religion relies on threat and bullying to keep people brainwashed exposes how ridiculous its claims are. Islam threatens apostates with death in this life. Christianity threatens them with eternal death and suffering in the next. Good thing there is no reason to believe any of it is true.

    March 24, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • HitchedBritches

      Hmm, well I hope the skewered meat isn't too charred. I'll bring the BBQ sauce, you bring the paper plates.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      A bit blunt, but accurate. Now figure out how to work that knowledge into questions that will leave the christards with no foundation to put forth their silly arguments.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
  7. Face-Palm

    These arrogant rapists pretend as we need to dance at their feet?

    March 24, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Jim Christensen

      This is fascinating info. I was always told that these groups functioned on donations from followers, unlike other groups that had money behind them.

      Now it turns out, there is money behind them.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  8. scott

    It takes too much faith to be an atheist.

    March 24, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • HitchedBritches

      Are you a Bizarro World anti-hero?

      March 24, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Suma

      It didn't take you to much faith to disbelieving Zeus I guess. guess what, because atheism is the rejection of the claim of theism! Welcome!

      March 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • g2-b837363fe05d124be3384fdddef67d01

      You are right! Anyone discards the idea that a talking, walking evil magic snake thwarted the will of the all-powerful Yawah by convincing the first woman (made from the rib of the first man) to eat a magic fruit just because they have no proof that it's a rediculous idea must be crazy.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  9. kamanalono

    Religion is a product of language and cannot exist without language. If no one spoke about religion there would be no religion. On the other hand, if everyone spoke about religion there would STILL! be no gods, angels, devils, messiah’s, miracles, prophets, etc., etc.

    March 24, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • theTruth

      you think you know know something but at the end of the day you know nothing. you are lost.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
      • kamanalono

        If all the religionists kept their mouths and religious books shut religion would cease to exist.

        May 19, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
  10. Face-Palm

    Truth? let it out! Burn this liar down!

    March 24, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • pepsee

      Burning "this liar"? Yep right, this is exactly what your religion taught you. In other way to say, religion also inspires people to kill others, including teaching good things. I don't want to be a killer like you. So I stay away from religion. You have shown exactly what religion has done for millenia – waged wars and killed millions. You have proved that point. Maybe you should do some soul searching, why your religion inspired you to kill others who you think merely lied.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • Keith

      That is right, if "God" doesn't' smite this guy there is no "God"

      March 24, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  11. swohio

    Atheists can push their agenda until cows fly.....but I still, and always will, believe in God. The one question that atheists, and science, cannot answer is: What existed before the "big bang"? What caused it to happen? Oh, they will try to say that the laws of physics allow for such a thing to occur, but they can't explain where the laws of physics came from. And if they can somehow accept that the laws of physics existed prior to the "big bang", then why is it so hard to comprehend that a higher intelligence existed, and still DOES exist, which created the laws of physics? Oh well, one day they will find out just how real God is. And no amount of money will be of any use to them then.

    March 24, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • clarity

      "then why is it so hard to comprehend that a higher intelligence existed"

      It's not difficult at all to comprehend that as one of many possibilities. But the gods of ancient folklore, including capital G are a lame excuse for being honest and admitting that we just don't yet have an answer.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Gyrogearloose

      So should God exist, who created him?
      Same argument.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • ubfitsblog

      How was God created?

      March 24, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Kyle

      Religion is the one claiming to have all the answers... Science doesn't pretend to.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Bob Carlson

      Then who created God?

      March 24, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Christian7

      Bob Carlson, God invented time so the beginning of God is undefined. Life on earth is bound by time and had a first cause. What was that first cause of life on earth? Hmmm?

      March 24, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Suma

      Because we are honest enough to say we don't know, and talk about irony, only in your world cows can fly because your god is so powerful!

      March 24, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • theTruth

      kyle you can put all your belief in man's science but science will never answer the most important questions of life. If you want to know the answer to such "heady" questions then ask them to God in prayer.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Christian7", but "God" is an element of mythology therefore the notion that it could "invent" something is unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your repeated unfounded assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      March 24, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Kyle

      theTruth, I'm sorry, but prayer requires a fundamental belief in God. I think it's better to have no fundamental beliefs, and go from there based on evidence, which is what science does.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
    • Dave

      "Before the Big Bang" is a meaningless statement. Time is a property of the universe, and probably not even a fundamental property, but rather an emergent property. There may be something outside of the universe, whatever that may mean, but this is not currently a scientifically testable hypothesis and may never be.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • tomfjord

      The only agenda atheists have is to think – and to continue thinking and learning as new information becomes available. Do you see something different? Regarding the nature of our universe: No one is claiming to know EVERYTHING. Why do you have this idea? Just like you don't KNOW there is a god (it's okay – no one does!) atheists aren't claiming to know the nature of our universe. We're simply saying "Due to zero evidence, we lack the belief in a god". However, if some amazing evidence proving God's existence appears, then we'll believe. Until then: no. Life is all about learning and growing, so it's sad to hear a human say "I still, and always will, believe in God", based on something someone told you at some point in your life. Your basically saying "I choose not to think".

      March 24, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Steve

      The "God created time" argument doesn't work, because it still presupposes the existence of God.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
  12. el_incr

    Some day EVERYTHING you have, your friends, family, your job, all of those things you worked for or built, will be taken away from you by someone. This fact alone should cause anyone who has lived to at least consider, that there MIGHT be an intelligence outside themselves that created al of these things just to be taken away. You didn't ask to be here and you certainly have nothing to say about being told to leave this earthly "party". The day is coming when you will be told to leave. If the Bible is a lie, then you have nothing to fear but do you have any real reason to live since everything is here by chance. Chance can give no purpose. If the Bible IS the truth that we all profess to be looking for, then there WILL be Hell to pay for eternity as it plainly states. We are ALL running out of time to find this truth but not by our own choice.

    March 24, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • HitchedBritches

      That's Pascal's Wager and I don't see a need to hedge my bets

      March 24, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Gyrogearloose

      Frankly, I see no reason that the Bible should be truth any more than the Koran, as an example. Religions are inventions of men. The various religions compete with one another in order to justify their own existence, which has of course been the root cause of many wars. I want no part of this game.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Jeesh

      Pascal's Wager. Stop already the only people who know where hell is are the ones that believe it exists, the rest of the 5 billion of us do not give a good god damn about YOUR hell, enjoy your delusion.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Steve

      The fact that a religion might provide a 'purpose' has absolutely no bearing on whether or not it is true.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • el_incr

      Pascal's wager is irrelevant; Pascal is dead thus we have no way of knowing whether he won his "wager'. Everything he had was taken from him-even his very breath. That alone we know to be true. Do the math. I can't prove gravity to you or anyone, we can only observe the evidence. I would ask you to simply observe the evidence. The Bible proves itself to be true simply by fulfilled prophecy. No other sacred text makes this claim. You have Google. See for yourself if you have the desire to.

      The Bible claims to be the ONLY revealed truth. WHY are there so many religions? Why do men continuously, throughout the centuries, search for this God? This sense of wanting to know certainly can't come through nature since nature has NO questions of morals, no sense of justice, no compassion, no mercy, no reason for being that we all demand. An all powerful, self existent God is the only answer to all of our questions. Again, nature doesn't ask these questions- WE DO.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • el_incr

      Gyrogearloose, you said;

      "Frankly, I see no reason that the Bible should be truth any more than the Koran, as an example. Religions are inventions of men".

      So many blame Christianity for all the wars and killing etc we've seen throughout the centuries. WHY would men want to invent a religion? To what end? The Roman Catholic Church is always held up as an example of Christianity. Roman Catholicism is NOT a Christian religion. They KILL those who disagree with them especially true Christians who refused to worship Mary or the host as it was paraded by. Again, the Roman Catholic "church" is a political organization bent on world domination as is Islam and Mormonism (Glenn Beck). Murder of innocents and pedophilia are not signs of a true church.

      Truth matters. Because the truth is; we are ALL going to die and give an account of our lives very soon to ONE who doesn't live on this earth but created it for His purpose and His plan since we don't have a plan of or own. Your own certain death is where the rubber will meet the road.

      Even Bob Dylan lamented; "you've got to serve somebody; it may be the devil, it may be the Lord but you've got to serve somebody".

      March 24, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • Steve

      el_incr, Roman Catholicism most certainly IS a form of Christianity. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it isn't Christian.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      el_incr,
      "The Bible proves itself to be true simply by fulfilled prophecy. No other sacred text makes this claim."

      No, YOU Google and find "prophecies of the Holy Quran" and "Failed prophecies of the Bible"

      http://www.alislam.org/library/articles/prophecies.html

      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Failed_biblical_prophecies

      March 24, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      el_incr,

      Oh, and here are even some "fulfilled Hindu prophecies" from the Bhagavad Gita.

      http://bci.org/prophecy-fulfilled/hindusa.htm

      March 24, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Keith

      Out of the Thousands of "Gods" invented since man arrived on Earth, the odds that you have picked the right one is pretty slim.

      March 24, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
  13. Loathstheright

    Nice to see someone leading the way to reason and rejecting the ridiculous notion of some magical invisible guy in the sky.
    Atheists have a standard creed – DO NO HARM (something that Christians don't seem to understand)

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

      Atheists do NOT have a standard creed. They share the common characteristic of not believing in gods. Everything else about them can be different.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
  14. HitchedBritches

    True atheism is lack of belief in a deity. It is not simply another religion. You can say it is until you are blue in the face, but by doing so you ignore the fact that atheists do not worship a deity or higher power (a requirement of religion). Atheism = no theism, not anti- theism. The confusion and vitriol come in, I think, when the former is interpreted as the latter and when believers hear atheists deny, with certainty, the possibility of a of a God or higher power. Of course, to totally deny that possibility is technically a flawed tack if you take the position that we cannot know for sure. At the same time, many believers fail to appreciate that atheists put tidy God stories on the fringes of the spectrum of possibility, and consequently, don't think them worthy of serious consideration. I suppose that many atheists argue from a position of certainty because they feel that admitting to the possibility of a higher power opens a door for believers and somehow expose a weakness in the atheist position. Neither is true. With my brand of atheism I can admit that God might exist, but I am also confident that the probability is very low. It is particularly low for the God espoused by the major traditions. In fact, I'd be disappointed if a God did exist. I don't want or need one. Anyway, it is okay to say, "I don't know." You lose credibility when you argue from a position of certainty though, and you help your case immensely when your starting point is not so fantastical.

    March 24, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • atheist Realism

      atheism is not a religion, agreed. It'd be like saying that not having a disease is a disease or bald is a hair color.

      Claiming it is, is merely an attempt by fragile believers, who like alcoholics, need religion buddies.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      "off" is not a tv channel.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Story Girl

      I read your post and was thinking how I experience and have lived off miracles. No explainable explanation. I remember being broke over twenty years ago and going through the grocery store praying for a miracle. I remember looking at a can of roast beef hash and thinking I wish I could get that for my husband. (He liked it) Anyway never told anyone but God my need as I lived away from family to come home that night to a box of groceries on my porch with a can of roast beef hash on top. These things were life occurrences he has become my best friend. My son was four and stammered so badly it would break my heart one night I fell on my knees and just cried to God to release him from this. I swear he woke up the next morning and spoke clearly as if it never existed!! He is married now and to this day still does!Another time I asked for home of my own. I asked in detail for a log home , half done with the kitchen being done , beamed ceilings, 3 acres and 3 fireplaces. I was shaken to the core as I visited my prayer about 6 months later 2 counties away! I told many people before I found my house what I was praying for. I moved in on my birthday. Also I was then in a bad marriage and on bad days I was ask God to lay on my husbands heart to give me flowers. I did this about tn times and when he came home everytime I had flowers (The only times)I have experienced things like this consistently to this day. So when I am in the water of my reality it is so hard for someone who isn't to tell me I am wrong! I want every one to know the goodness and the miracles like I do. It gives hope to no hope and light to a dark world! Who would want to out a light of love??

      March 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      When I was a christian I experienced many miracles that could not be explained. It still happens now, as an atheist. You'd be surprised.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
  15. NorCalMojo

    a-holy rollers

    Atheists seem determined to be as annoying as fundies.

    March 24, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • atheist Realism

      atheists are realist,, unless you don't like realism

      March 24, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • NorCalMojo

      All fundies say that.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • notogop

      Please explain how.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  16. Face-Palm

    I’m an Atheist, let me live unmolested by your ignorance… Just try! Just try not imposing your delusions upon me!!

    March 24, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  17. Rob G

    Religion the great divider. Common sense and empathy should be our guide.

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

      Religion is also the great uniter. While it may divide those with different religious beliefs it unites those share a set of religious beliefs. Its ability to unite people has resulted in religions doing a great deal of good.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • notogop

      Skytag, you need to read more history. I suggest books on the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, Henry VIII, world witch trials, the Holacaust,a history of the Roman Catholic Church, to name just a few areas of study, a history of Islam. I believe you will find uniting is NOT a big goal of religion.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
  18. Face-Palm

    I can not live unmolested in this Nation because of the religotards that try to cram their ignorance down my throat at every chance.

    March 24, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
  19. Story Girl

    So sad to try to stifle peoples free thought by trying to dictate yours. I personally hate religion or any system that tries to suffocate the spiritual side of me. I understand the hatred of the system it murdered Jesus himself. Yet your answer is to create another system. Let people find truth for themselves! Most atheists are injured people by the system or indoctrinated into another type of system thinking. The symbolism that has existed for hundreds of years over the landscape of our country Inspires some to look higher and then the religious portion can use those same symbols to beat and segregate those that don't believe like them! You are doing the same! Jesus himself taught its about love is our conquering force that measure we are filled with is what will bring religious systems to its knees and crumble. Why persecute the numbers that truly have a heart for their beliefs and embrace all..Just because our propaganda based media loves to show the crazy religious ones out there beating others like they are the majority. I was curious if you all attack Islam like you do Christianity? Just live and let live. Let people grow as individuals for themselves instead of dictating to your belief. This is to be a melting pot not a we serve only one thing kind of country! FREEDOM!!

    March 24, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • skytag

      Islam has no significant political influence in this country. Christianity in its more common variations (as opposed to the Amish, snake handlers, and other fringe Christian sects) has significant political power, which translates into laws that impose Christian beliefs on society.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • AvdBergism sourch of filthyRainerBraendleinism©

      No Christian Captain Crunch dogs; no hebrew national beef dogs; no Isalami dogs; no Ron Jeremy foot-long dogs; NO DOGS!

      March 24, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Face-Palm

      What a sad picture of a deluded person. You know nothing about anything. Your arrogant ignorance speaks more than I ever could;

      March 24, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Steve

      The problem, Story Girl, is that atheists are not allowed to live and let live. What do you think the chances are of an atheist being elected president in this country? They are consistently polled as the least trustworthy group of people. Attempts to put creationism in science classes is another area where you can't simply live and let live. A position must be taken on the subject since it determines what is taught. Most atheists are happy to let you personally believe whatever you want, even if we think you are delusional for it. The problem comes when people try to force those beliefs in the public sphere and the laws.

      March 24, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
  20. Keith

    This man will be with us if there is a God or Heaven. He seems like he does good things in the world and is willing to cooperate with Christens in community outreach. He is helping to provide a service for non-Christians so that they can serve their fellowman. As far as I can see he is doing the things that the "Christ" would approve of.

    March 24, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • skytag

      The value of religions to societies is in their ability to get people to work together in groups and value something above self. This fellow seems to be providing those benefits without the negative aspects of religion.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
      • Keith

        It seems you are right, it seems to me he is a good man without the restrictions or threats of Religion

        March 24, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
      • Keith

        That does seem to be the truth of his work.

        April 7, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.