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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. John P. Tarver, MS/PE

    The first amendment guarantees freedom of religion and $3.5 million is not going to be enough to overturn it.

    March 24, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Trvth

      Who's stopping you from believing anything you want?

      March 24, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Larry

      Nobody wants to "overturn" religion, just make it easier to leave for the people who realize they don't need it anymore.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • clarity

      Why do you think anyone is attempting to overturning the 1st Amendment, John P. Tarver, MS/PE/BShitter?
      (Other than extremist Christians at every opportunity, of course.)

      March 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • John P. Tarver, MS/PE

      The atheists want God out of the public square, but it is part of our founder's social engineering for God to be there.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • clarity

      attempting to overturn

      March 24, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • tony

      So you are saying that with enough money you can get people to believe any thing you want them too?. Like the Popes have done already?

      March 24, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Mr. Tarver .. it seems ironic that your state "it is part of our founder's social engineering for God to be there". Do you even know what social engineering is? You just made an Atheists point!

      March 24, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
    • clarity

      BS, Tarver – no one is saying anything about the public square. It's when people try to use tax money that the full ideals of the Establishment Clause need to be considered.

      James Madison:

      Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.

      The Civil Govt, tho' bereft of everything like an associated hierarchy, possesses the requisite stability and performs its functions with complete success, Whilst the number, the industry, and the morality of the Priesthood, & the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State.

      Madison came to oppose the employment of chaplains for the House and Senate.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • John P. Tarver, MS/PE

      The bill of rights were a product of free masons out of Connectecut, who offered "this bill of rights, or war".

      March 24, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • clarity

      Madison's Bill of Rights are what turned into several of the first Amendments, JPT, BShitter.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • cleareye1

      You are free to believe, and preach, any religious fabrication you like and I would defend you for it. However, you do not get to force feed your beliefs onto anyone, anytime.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  2. libertyspatriot

    I am a Christian, I am not a moron, ignorant, uneducated, and any other names that you wish to call Christians. I choose to believe in God just as others choose to believe he does not exist. There have always been questions about God for as far back as history has been recorded and there will always be. Every human being has free will, the choices you make in life, shape who you become. If you chose to not believe that is your right, I don't sit here and judge you nor do I call you names, I just wish the same for myself. The freedom to believe in God without judgment by those who do not. I resent being categorized. I hear quite a bit of Christian bashing, hard to believe but not all Christians are alike. There are many good Christians in this world that you lump in with those who use Christianity to promote hate. I have respect for your beliefs all I ask is please respect mine and don't use your views of Christianity to promote hate for those that do believe.

    March 24, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Fungeek

      Religion SHOULD be an individual experience. However, it's not. It's not because of laws preventing loving couples from marrying because they don't fit some religion's definition of what marriage should be – not a religious marriage ceremony, but the actual government sanctioned marriage that provides tax benefits, insurance benefits, and family benefits (imagine not being able to visit your husband or wife in the hospital if they were dying). Religion is NOT a personal experience because churches aren't taxed and that amounted to more than 71 BILLION dollars in revenue lost to the tax rolls last year – money that the rest of us are having to make up for – money that was many times used to preach politics from the pulpit (how much money from the Morman church in Utah POURED into California to strike down gay marriage?). Religious beliefs in our science classrooms are hurting this country's standing as a world leader in science and technology (read: jobs, religion costs us all jobs).

      Yes, religion absolutely should be personal. However, it's not. This level of complacent ignorance across the board affects all of us. You yourself may not be ignorant, but the fact remains that there are far too many people who are.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • sam stone

      of course there are many good, intelligent, educated christians. there are also man good, educated, intelligent atheists.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • BScN

      The freedom of though is one of the most important rights. I respect your right to think and believe whatever you want. However that doesn't mean what you believe is sacred, or inherently worthy of respect, or above critism. A common tactic, at least in the US, is using the term "as a Christian", as if that somehow makes whatever you say or do more credible/believeable.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Edward

      The problem is that your religion advocates inequality for the non-believer and for believer's of other Gods... When your religion teaches people that anyone who does not believe what you do will go to hell, then how does that bring humanity together?

      March 24, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Harangue

      The only reason there are still questions is because Christians keep changing the rulebook whenever new information comes to light which overthrows previous beliefs. I can guarantee that if/when other sentient life forms are finally discovered among the stars that the first thing Christians will do is A) Call them demonic and wish them to die B) Claim God created them, because reasons.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • libertyspatriot

      I rest my case, reading all the posts you have verified everything I have said, how do you know what my religion practices? Again you have lumped and passed judgment on most Christians. Why do I bother, if you opinion doesn't agree with mine you feel that I don't deserve respect. It's a matter of faith, won't be the first time Christianity is attacked, won't be the last. There are many scientists that do believe in God, I suppose they don't deserve respect either. Unlike you I respect your opinions though I may not agree, I will keep my faith regardless, no matter what category I'm lumped into by hypocrites.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  3. Stephen B Gomes

    Here is Steifel (rhymes as Hell), the spokesperson for Hell and lobbyist for Lucifer.

    March 24, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Stephen B Gomes", but "Hell" and "Lucifer" are elements of mythology, therefore your assertions are unfounded.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • .

      Um, Stephen, sweetie...atheists don't believe if any gods, and by extension, lucifer either. Know-nothing Gnomes.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • cleareye1

      I always thought the name Lucifer was cool. I think I'll name my next kid with it.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  4. Sharky

    And atheism isn't a religion. bahahahahahaha yeah right.

    March 24, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      It's as much a religion as "off" is a tv channel. Or do you hold that all clubs who make statements and organize themselves are religions? Is that it? In your mind, are all gatherings of like-minded individuals "religions," or is something more required.

      Hurry with your answer, I have to go to my religious meeting that we like to call a "book club" where we are discussing Bram Stoker's Dracula.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Sharky, you are brilliant.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Atheist, me?

      Sharky
      I love u as myself and hope you keep it up.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Chris

      Atheism is a religion like NOT smoking is a habit. You've got Atheists/"liberals" figured out so well don't you? You know we're the dogmatic ones. You conservatives are a deadly judge of character.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  5. Vence

    There is no god. Only believers!

    March 24, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Sharky

      Ok prove there is no God. LOL

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

      Ok, prove that there isn't a teapot in orbit around the sun right now between Venus and Mercury. Logic doesn't work that way.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Sharky, your genius is showing again.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
  6. Vence

    Let the fight begin!

    March 24, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Sharky

      Fight for what? To eradicate religion from the US? So you want to be like North Korea or China huh. Lot of good there huh.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
  7. Steve

    An obvious troll... but anyway. This reminds me of a television show where a priest(?) said that all aborted fetuses go to heaven. So one of the other panelists pointed out that by that logic the best thing you could do was to abort all fetuses. Needless to say, that didn't go over very well, although they couldn't dispute the logic of it.

    March 24, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  8. straitsight

    Such passion for something they don't believe exists seems kind of moot. Religion is an individual experience, if someone ask you share if they don't ask you don't push. What works for me might not work for someone else. As far as government they can't and don't tell you what to believe put if my tax dollars can pay for someone to lay around and mooch or pay for a war then it can pay for symbols of what our country was founded on and some of what I believe.

    March 24, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      straitsight, you have missed the point but it's personal so that is ok.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Fungeek

      Religion SHOULD be an individual experience. However, it's not. It's not because of laws preventing loving couples from marrying because they don't fit some religion's definition of what marriage should be – not a religious marriage ceremony, but the actual government sanctioned marriage that provides tax benefits, insurance benefits, and family benefits (imagine not being able to visit your husband or wife in the hospital if they were dying). Religion is NOT a personal experience because churches aren't taxed and that amounted to more than 71 BILLION dollars in revenue lost to the tax rolls last year – money that the rest of us are having to make up for – money that was many times used to preach politics from the pulpit (how much money from the Morman church in Utah POURED into California to strike down gay marriage?). Religious beliefs in our science classrooms are hurting this country's standing as a world leader in science and technology (read: jobs, religion costs us all jobs).

      Yes, religion absolutely should be personal. However, it's not. This level of complacent ignorance affects all of us.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "As far as government they can't and don't tell you what to believe"

      Really?

      "One Nation under God"

      "In God we Trust"

      Seems to me the gov't is not a nuetral as you seem to think.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
  9. Apple Bush

    I will never agree with everything someone else does or says, but overall I like what this man stands for. I have been saying for years that atheists must face discrimination, come out of the closet and then fight discrimination. Take the high road, not the easy road.

    March 24, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • Sharky

      Except the problem with Atheists and no I am not a religious person by any means, is the fact they are picking the wrong battles. The wrong fights and we already have laws in place to not mix Government and religion. However, Atheists are taking things too far, then cry foul and victim when people push back.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Sharky, as much as I would like to have a debate with someone intelligent, you are making that quite impossible.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  10. Rcsfg

    This guy should have given all of the money given to those idiotic organizations to charities....seriously, $1,450,000 to athiest movements? Disgusting. Athiests push their agenda much harder than everyone else...meanwhile they criticize other religions? God bless.

    March 24, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Chad

      Very True!

      March 24, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      You don't seem to be in possession of the facts.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • .

      Lol. Keep reaching. It's good to excercise.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Really, Chad? You know that the poster is lying, and that's your rejoinder? I told you last night that soon I would think even less of you than I did then. Mission accomplished, liar.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • justeye

      This is why I give my hard-earned money to reputable charitable organizations...such as NOT a church.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      How much money has Chik-Fil-A spent trying to criminalize gay behavior in Africa and the Middle East, making it a capitol offense punishable by death? Mr. Stiefel's personal expenditures are utterly dwarfed by the hundreds of millions spent by evangelists every year pursuing their goal of all-encompassing hatred imposed on the entire population through a theocracy imposed and maintained by force.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • tony

      I think there are about $200 Billion worth of churches and their real estate in the US alone.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Chad

      How do you figure the root poster is lying???

      March 24, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • Stan

      They push their beliefs more than Christians or Catholics? Ignorance must be bliss eh buddy?

      March 24, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Fungeek

      My taxes help pay for pastors of megachurches to live in multimillion dollar mansions. How is this? Because churches (and pastors' incomes) aren't taxed. Because they're not paying in, the rest of us have to pay more to pick up the slack.

      Last year alone, over 71,000,000,000 was exempted from the tax rolls by churches not paying taxes in the U.S.A. So go on and complain about the 1.2 million dollars raised for atheism, because it doesn't even account for a tenth of a percent in the amount of money that churches were able to raise tax free last year.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Chad's congradulating himself again.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      You didn't need Stan to point it out for you, Chad. You knew it was a lie before you agreed with it and before your response to me claiming not to know. You've known the whole time, liar.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • Sharky

      @SixDegrees–

      *falling over laughing hard* You think the people in the Middle East and Africa give one hoot or even listen to one word from the Chik-Fil-A guy? Seriously? I bet they don't even know who he is.

      What a ridiculous comment.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Chad

      @Moby,

      where is your credibility if all you ever do is accuse people of lying, but never, ever, actually state what the lie is? Tends to make one think that you just automatically respond with that line regardless.

      cue: ad hominem

      March 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Dennis Kelley

      if we taxed church income, we could add 71 billion, that's with a "b," to the annual budget. feed everyone, provide them with health care, house the homeless, and still have 6 BILLION left over! TAX CHURCHES NOW.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      So that's your third or fourth lie on this thread alone, Chad? I did point it out to you when I referenced Stan's post. You lie because it's who you are, Chad. You can't help it. And I love it and I love you!! Keep up the great work for atheism.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Chad

      you consider "Athiests push their agenda much harder than everyone else" a lie?

      seriously?

      look at the amount of noise this ~3% of the population generates? Get real..

      March 24, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • sam stone

      Rcsfg: Really? Atheists push their agenda harder than others? Where are the atheists tax exemptions? Where are the atheists threats of hell? Can you answer that? How about you, Chard? Can you answer them?

      March 24, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      "You think the people in the Middle East and Africa give one hoot or even listen to one word from the Chik-Fil-A guy? "

      Feel free to look it up. Mr. Cathy has successfully sponsored several pieces of legislation aimed squarely at criminalizing gay behavior in that part of the world, and several of them have passed; it is now illegal to be gay in Sudan, Tunisia, Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Mauritania, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and roughly a dozen more African nations, and most of these are due to efforts on Cathy's behalf directly, or received substantial financial support from him and various organizations he controls.

      It's freely, easily available information. If you care to look.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • Chad

      @Moby,

      three or four lies?

      please give examples

      just kidding!!! I know you dont do that..

      March 24, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad
      You have been proven a liar over and over again, still in denial Rachel? Listen calling some one a liar that is a prove liar is not an ad hominem attack, it is simply the truth. The ad hominem attack cop out you and your fellow apologists use is just so lame.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • sam stone

      Come on, Chard....want to compare the number of Christian billboards to the number of atheist ones?

      March 24, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Chad

      @sam stone "Where are the atheists tax exemptions? Where are the atheists threats of hell?"

      =>A. what does having a tax exemption do with pushing an agenda??
      B. Christians dont threaten anyone with hell anymore than informing someone that they are driving the wrong way threatens them with a car accident.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • Chad

      @sam stone ".want to compare the number of Christian billboards to the number of atheist ones?"

      =>as a percentage of the population?

      March 24, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Mr.Butters

      It slices both ways. There are overtly aggressive atheists who do push an agenda of converting people. And there are those who let people believe what they want, as long as they don't try to force their beliefs on me. And there are overtly aggressive religious people who try to convert everyone they meet.

      In terms of money, I think we need some perspective. How much was spent on last years elections? How much does McDonalds spend on marketing (just marketing). How much do some CEO's get paid every year?

      The answer is more than $1,450,000. The truth is individuals spend more than that on everything from houses to cars to vacations. So don't try to attack how one individual spends their money when far greater sums of money are wasted.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      The evidence of your lies is this thread. By my count, either five or six, now. That you fail to recognize this thread as evidence of your lying is extremely pleasing to me. I knew that you were oblivious to your own stupid ignorance, but I had no idea it was this pervasive. Keep up the fabulous work for us atheists, Chad. It's greatly appreciated.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Chad

      Well Moby,
      since you continue to make accusations without providing any evidence, we can only conclude that you lack that evidence..

      March 24, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
  11. SixDegrees

    How long before some christian website posts a picture of Mr. Stiefel with a bullseye around his head and calls for his death?

    March 24, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • justeye

      Soon as Parah Salin gets her lipstick out.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Palin loves this guy, he is a maverick!

      March 24, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • Sharky

      Show me a Christian website that has done any such thing at all towards anyone. Muslim websites different story. And no the Westboro Baptist nutjobs do not count.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Westboro does not count?? Why not? They worship the same god you do. You need to examine your own arrogance.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Austin

      "worship the works of their own hands" ............guns were not invented by God. Satan was given the permission to civilize the earth and he taught many bad things including the art of war. the painting of eyelids ect ect.

      Hitler, and the kkk (11 11 11+33) was supposedly Christian. This is satanic deception and apostacy. idk if westborough falls into that, I have never heard of them, but we will not defile the Holy Spirit with the sins of men. That is taking the Lords name in vain. That is satans plan.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • skytag

      Won't happen.

      March 24, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  12. mark

    Damien rises and his minions post any christian remarks as they worship at the feet of his Bruno Magli's. 666

    March 24, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • .

      666? Is that a UPC code?

      March 24, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  13. Lameness Spotter

    Where's that lady who outs the trolls various and sundry screen names?

    March 24, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  14. tony

    What is the positive benefit of worship exactly? To either the worshipped, or the devotee?

    March 24, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Chad

      Worship is just response.

      "What is the benefit of thanking someone for a gift"?

      well, thanking someone isnt done for benefit, it's done in response.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • .

      You make even less sense than usual, Chad.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Johnson

      Great benefit to the one worshipped. Your followers give you lots of money. The greatest get rich plan is to become a cult leader and make up your religion as you go along.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • Gyrogearloose

      I've got to agree with Johnson. Churches have a vested interest in growing their ranks in order to grow their income and power. So, encouraging worship in church has financial and political motivations.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
  15. amiehol

    Joshua 24:15
    And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
    Joshua 24:14-16 (in Context) Joshua 24
    you can believe whatever you want to, but give us the same respect.

    March 24, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • tony

      Followed by: Josh 24:19-20. (para) God is a jealous god,and if you serve another, he will turn and will do you harm.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • Austin.no such thing as atheism

      Not as He did with the flood. The rainbow and covenant with Noah was a promise not to do this. And, you do not live in the curse of sin from the old testament, because you are justified by the blood of Christ, as a promise of forgiveness. And the curse has been lifted, unless you reject this. And you are the one heaping up and storing up the consequences for rejection.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • What is That Thing on Aaron Neville's Face?

      Austin needs professional help; see my note below about his escapades that he has admitted to on these blogs.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • serious mistake, serious forgiveness and faith given

      Saul of Tarsus hated Christians. He made it his goal to capture, then bring Christians to public trial and execution. Saul was present when the first Christian martyr (named Stephen) was killed by an angry mob.

      "... they all rushed at him (Stephen), dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. . . . And Saul was there, giving approval to his death" (Acts 7.57 to 8:1).

      After Stephen was martyred, Saul went door to door in Jerusalem finding people who believed that Jesus is the Messiah.

      "Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison" (Acts 8:3).

      After putting these people in prison, Saul learned about their Christian friends in Damascus by somehow getting letters from the prisoners.

      "I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished" (Acts 22:4-5).

      But something happened to Saul as he traveled to Damascus in search of Christians. According to Saul of Tarsus, God appeared to him in an unexpected way.

      "About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, `Saul! Saul! Why do you persecute me?' " `Who are you, Lord?' I asked. "`I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,' he replied. My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me. " `What shall I do, Lord?' I asked. " `Get up,' the Lord said, `and go into Damascus. There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.' My companions led me by the hand into Damascus, because the brilliance of the light had blinded me" (Acts 22:6-11).

      Saul of Tarsus believed that he was serving God by finding Christians, throwing them into prison, and even executing them when possible. But Saul was wrong. Perhaps even more intriguing, Saul was highly educated for his era in Jewish beliefs about God.

      ". . . Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you . . . " (Acts 22:3).

      How could such a highly educated man be completely wrong?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • G to the T

      "But something happened to Saul as he traveled to Damascus in search of Christians. According to Saul of Tarsus, God appeared to him in an unexpected way."

      Yes – by all accounts he had an epileptic seizure (this would also jive with Paul's many statements about his infirmities).

      Let me ask you this – Did his companions see/hear anything?

      April 5, 2013 at 11:30 am |
  16. Johnny L

    Almost all atheists I know or have read about used to be part of an organized religion, but something about that religion disillusioned them. Maybe they prayed a prayer which was not answered, a priest did something bad to them, they saw all those hypocrites, etc. So they rejected God, but know this, this is a subjective reason to reject God. Then people like Dawkins and others wrote things which helped them justify their subjective objections to God and or religion. So now they spout out all these supposed objective reasons for their atheism, saying it is all about reason. But in reality it is not. They are simply either mad at God or religion and so they mask this with "reason." Whether God exists or not has nothing to do with whether I "feel" he exists or not. They also confuse God with religion. Maybe they actually are more anti-religion, and use these suppose" proofs" that God does not exist to justify that. So while they may not want to admit it, or may not even realize it, "reason" is not the real reason they reject God, it is a subjective reason, they are mad at God or religion. Quoting what Dawkins says is only a cover, and speaking of that, his supposed reason has more holes in it than a sieve, and are probably also based in being subjectively mad at God or religion.

    March 24, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • atheist Realism

      they actually defeated the brainwashing..

      March 24, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Saving the earth,one pithy comment at a time

      Now..I know this might be hard to understand,but atheists are NOT mad at god.Truly,they are not.You see,you can't be mad at something you don't think exists.I am not angry at the easter bunny,because he stopped bringing me chocolate etc...never mind..

      March 24, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • tony

      Abstract evil is an invention of religious leaders. But then they discount the massacres of the tsunamis as due to something else.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • Austin.no such thing as atheism

      Rejecting God is the sin of unbelief. This unbelief is an act, not true mental state. once you have heard the truth, you make choices and live by your own human standards. This is a proclomation that you think you are one to argue with God. This is the same thing Satan did in heaven. he said "no i wont worship you , I am like you God" and by repeating this you are a follower of the g.od of this world.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • FeralUrchin

      I used to be a Christian, prayed a lot (often for faith and connection with God, for a personal relationship with God). I believed the "Behold I stand at the door and knock..." I filtered my experiences through a "Christian lens", trying to see God's Will in events around me. But I got tired of waiting for the knock. Metaphorically, I went to the door often myself, opened it and looked outside. Nobody seemed to be there. I never could detect either an answer to my prayers, nor could I detect any Presence in the Universe which was interested in me. I wondered, enviously, "Where is my 'road to Damascus' experience/revelation?" There simply was no discernable response at all to my attempts to reach out. Again, metaphorically, I felt that I was alone in space, in a pressure suit, with an umbilical stretching out and fading from view in the distance with nothing at all attached to its far end.

      Finally I decided (again metaphorically) that "if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck..." and accepted my experience as revealing that religion is bunk. All religions. But, hey, if God wants a connection with me–well, I'm in the phone book.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Austin.no such thing as atheism

      what happened to your conviction over the sin issue? Did you ever really need a savior? did you ever feel the devils oppression when i came to being a witness for Christ? did you ever feel the pull to reject the notion, that every thing that is yours is Gods, and is supposed to be used to minister to the lost?

      Maybe your religious experience was based upon you.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • G to the T

      Austin – really? The "not a true christian" argument? That's the best you've got?

      April 5, 2013 at 11:38 am |
  17. GODS Child

    WOW!! This is all just another puppet set up. The devil is using all these people to do his dirty work and it really sickens me to hear all the ignorant thoughts of non-believers. They will never get it nor do they want to get it that there is good and evil in this world. To late to change your mind when the devil is dragging you to hell. These are the ones i pray for!

    March 24, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • atheist Realism

      prove there's a hell or grow up

      March 24, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Austin.no such thing as atheism

      thank God for your faith and earnest prayers. because like Paul, and like Me, these stubborn att.itudes are a type of zeal for truth directed in the wrong direction. and these types when they experience THE TRUE CALLING, will align themselves with love for His faithful forgiveness.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • FeralUrchin

      I agree with Todd Stiefel that when religious scriptures are exposed to a thinking-type analysis, then they do not justify belief.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Thank you for your prayers. Your god is disgusting, though. I could never call "good" a being who allows other beings to suffer eternally. That sounds to me like the most horrific terrorist that has ever existed.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Saving the earth,one pithy comment at a time

      Billions of Muslims believe you and your type will go to h e l l...are THEY wrong?..or are you?discuss.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • GODS Child

      We suffer because the people of this world have rebelled against the word and laws of GOD, i mean really get a clue. why should you be blessed when you don't believe?

      March 24, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Austin.no such thing as atheism

      @ moby........YOU allow your self to suffer with the rejection of atonement, AND, you encourage those who read your text to do the same thing. Satan, was the leader of this refusal. Because he had a choice.

      Hell is not for you. Heaven is . obstinate rejection. spiritual criminal behavior.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • Austin.no such thing as atheism

      Satan is crafty devil and deserves to be put in his place for deceiving so many false denominations, including our brothers the Muslims and Mormons. I feel sorry for muslims and hope that God will have mercy on them for trying so hard, but teaching a false doctrine on deity of Christ and the resurrection, is an atrocious and satanic attack and oppression on each and every person that buckles to this powerful deceit.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I don't care about being "blessed," but I won't violate my own conscience and my own morals. No being who would ALLOW eternal suffering is "good," and in fact, I would consider a being like that to be the most evil and horrific in existence. Can you think of a more horrifying being than one that allows eternal torture? God is evil because he allows eternal torture to go on and because we can imagine nothing more evil.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      If there is any group more arrogant than the xtians who post here, I hope never to meet them.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • sam stone

      Spending a lot of time on your knees, are you, GODs Child? Looks like you will be quite ready to service Jeebus for eternity. Take lots of breath mints

      March 24, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • Austin.no such thing as atheism

      A non believers thought on punishment (a leader around here)

      " If some idiot tried to tell me he murdered because he was under the thrall of a demon, I'd clap him on the back and laugh as I lead him to the chair.
      So, tell me, when your deity supposedly murdered the world, was he under demonic possession?"

      I think you make a good point to be honest. That is called character.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  18. tony

    It seems that the many wild contradictions of the Bible are the greatest evidence that god(s) were clever population control inventions of the tribal leaders of the time.

    March 24, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Austin.no such thing as atheism

      God will not reveal His spirit to you until you trust Him to do so. Believing that you are an authority to judge the word of God, after He has made it clear is the pride of the fall. Consider the possibility that God HAS given you HIS living Word.

      John 1
      New International Version (NIV)
      The Word Became Flesh

      1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.

      Revelation 19:13

      13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • What is That Thing on Aaron Neville's Face?

      @Austin the dude who drove his truck naked thru some churches
      John of Patmos (Revelation) was clearly a substance-abuser; and the other part were from some copied stories; next.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Austin.no such thing as atheism

      the special revelation that I experience, the adding to faith of a sovereign Holy Spirit that bears the truth and sustains the authentic ministry on the planet earth since Christ ascended, is not a substance abuse or a plagarism.

      He is risen.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
  19. Moby Schtick

    You must be a christian since you steal other people's nick names and lie. No good arguments or reasonable logic for your position, eh?

    March 24, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
  20. midwest rail

    Stealing screen names – a truly contemporary Christian activity.

    March 24, 2013 at 1:25 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.