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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. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    Every letter of a word has meanings of its own, seeds to grow crop of words for humanity to communicate. From seeds of letters, blocks are created and than blocks are combined to create words to communicate intentions of a person. Word ATHEIST MEANS, A SELF CENTERED, DENIER OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE, OR A PERSON CLAIMING HIMSELF TO BE TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD, A HINDU SHAMAN, A CROOK SPEAKING BY HIS SOUL, DESIRE, NOT OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE OF A MATTER. Atheism is not of human, but in line with mind set of a animals. Following words are best example to identify Atheism.
    DOG
    Letter D, means, THE. vowel O, represents, QUANTIFIED AND Letter G is result of one s intention from his mind and heart. Sounded Ga. meaning a secular, self centered by intention in opposition to truth absolute by intention. or an atheist,
    MONKEY
    Letter M means essence or choice of an intention, Vowel O represents Quantified. Letter N means enshrined or established. Letter K identifies function of a noun. Vowel E represents unity of an adjective and a noun in essence. Letter Y means Ye, from heart and mind, base of word Yes. meaning by self choice, with dis regard to truth absolute, a Secular, self centered or an atheist,
    DONKEY
    Letter D, means THE, Vowel O means QUANTIFIED, Letter N means established or enshrined. Letter K identifies function of a noun. Vowel E represents unity of an adjective and a noun in essence. Letter Y means Ye, from heart and mind, base of word Yes. meaning by self choice, with dis regard to truth absolute, a Secular, self centered or an atheist,
    As a matter of fact, word ANIMAL means nothing else, but a atheist, self centered or denier of truth absolute.
    Atheism, self center ism is way of animals and hindrance negativity to truth absolute GOD, foundation of consti tution of USA and universe and source for existence of every thing in existence, otherwise known as constant.
    Atheism is way of hindus, deniers of truth absolute, not of human, but animals observed by pot head hindu Swamis, ignorant goons, secular, self centered by their hindu soul, filthy desire and foundation of hinduism racism of hindu dark ages.
    Please visit Limitisthetruth.com to learn about truth absolute and hindrance of truth absolute by hindus, deniers of truth absolute, foundation of hinduism racism, product of Atheism, hindu secular ism, criminal self center ism of hindu Sanatans, crook goons to hind, fool humanity in to gentile ism, slavery of few.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • S T F U

      March 24, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  2. llcoollj

    None of these comments matter. Both sides' points in this forum are meaningless because they are all given anonymously. Mine is too but I don't care about either side. Then again, maybe I do. But when you post anonymously, it doesn't matter. How brave and passionate you all are when you can hide behind a made-up name. See, I'm doing it right now too. At least Stiefel put his name and face behind his beliefs. Everyone out here is a coward at heart, including me. Now THAT is the truth.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      It is reasonable to fear the crazies. This is not a test of bravery, it's an opportunity to share opinions without the backlash from those who fear a different opinion threatens their belief system.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Even anonymous opinions matter if they lead others to think. The author of the thought is immaterial if the thought is valid. The only real problem with anonymity is that it encourages trolls, but that's okay as well because we all need someone to laugh at.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • Lola Bunch

      ....says the guy named "llcoollj...

      March 24, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • yo yo

      Interesting, you wrote a lot, but said nothing.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The sad part is people have to be anonymous, people can loose jobs, family, friends, ect just for speaking up. We all should be ashamed that our social structure is such that people have to either shut up or lie about what they think.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      *lose*

      March 24, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
  3. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    The freedom to be a moral, ethical, loving human being without the threat of eternal punishment in the fires of hell .. it is the only true freedom.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      "If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed." – Albert Einstein

      March 24, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • yo yo

      That's the key word, FEAR. That's what religion is all about.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
  4. Lucidifer

    *** SPOILER ALERT***

    Humans don't have a soul.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • mark

      Prove it! Don't just say it. The cult of unbelief.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • Standup

      Soul refers to the mind. Most humans are guilty of that.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
  5. MandoZink

    Those who point out past atrocities by so-called “atheists” are significantly mistaken as to the fundamental nature of the people who committed those acts. While RELIGIOUS violence is carried out by extremists in the name of their religious beliefs, the frequently mentioned historic atrocities by non-religious tyrants were committed by maladjusted individuals. They were either paranoid, narcissistic, megalomaniac, psychopathic, totalitarian or a combination thereof. They did not have any comprehension of the inherent moral sense of human kindness that the majority of rational atheists come to know. Integrity, understanding, and empathy for the human condition are the hallmarks of character that enlightened beings come to realize. Those awakened to intelligent atheism understand that this recognition of human quality is essential to a sane, compassionate, and universally moral society. ALL good people, both atheists and theists, should realize this. It is frustrating to feel the prejudice that religious people often project when they misjudge atheists as amoral. Surprisingly to you, we are more committed to all of humanity as a higher purpose in life, as we have to answer to ourselves for our discretions. We atheists cannot rely on a supreme being to forgive us not paying attention to our fellow man. “Do unto others…” is a commitment we share.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • Kristin

      Thank you, MZ! This is very articulate and concise, and is exactly what I have been trying to put into words. I do have to add that I think horrific acts performed in the name of a religious belief or serving a specific deity or philosophy is something so far beyond simple good and bad, moral or immoral. I am not sure if I am expressing this well. There is something about hiding behind a god that just perverts the true goodness of humanity. It makes me sad.

      March 24, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
  6. mark

    Damien has come to roost, and his minions are here in this forum to make fun of believers and worship/bow to his bruno magli's. St Atheist has risen! The cult of unbelief.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
  7. orlando

    thank to god , im a atheism !!!!! thank you all

    March 24, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  8. Christian7

    What if the Bible is true and you receive zero proof that it is true and then you die? You probably think: well I will just say I didn't know God existed so I am innocent and if God is a loving god he would not send me to hell. Wrong. You are already condemned and it is right that sin is thrown into different levels of hell exactly where you belong. It is not about knowing that God exists. Satan knows that God exists, and he is condemned. Even if you could get past your lame arguments against God it would not even help you.. Jesus Christ is offering you a chance to change into a new creation that is not sinful. When you die, you would not be judged for your old nature, your new nature would make it in to heaven instead. Science does not explain how life began on earth. How did it begin?

    "God created everything by number, weight and measure." - Issac Newton

    March 24, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • clarity

      "Even if you could get past your lame arguments against God "

      Who needs to accept the lame spam suggested by rehashed ancient folklore?

      March 24, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • Box

      Lastday, Chirstian 7's. Year of the City: 2013. Carousel begins.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I would never assume that the christian god would do anything other than the most evil thing possible. For instance, if your god exists, I imagine that he will keep hell going forever and put whoever he wants to in there. He might keep me in heaven because I'm interesting, but eventually his evil nature would cause him to get upset at something we disagree on and he would throw me in his never-ending torture pit.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      7
      you have restated Pascals wager, which is the worst reason to believe, and is no real faith at all.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • brady

      what if the muslims are the correct religion? What are you going to tell Allah when you die? Or the mormons? Or any of the thousands of religions that have been around since to dawn of human civilization? Stupid logic.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • demoguy1

      You put forth a good argument for atheist... We should believe in jesus christ because it "might" be true? There is no proof, none what so ever that anything in the bible is true. I believe the bible states "do not pray to false gods". Could that include the ultimate false god? If believing in religion or a god gives you peace or comfort then please believe but do not push your false beliefs on others. Try meditation. No god to punish or send you to a bad place.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • Christian7

      brady, Your use of the word logic is wrong. It is a hypothetical. You have not shown at all how my logic is faulty. It is unlikely you are going to out logic a computer scientist. If the Muslims are correct that is a different hypothetical.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • Christian7

      demoguy1, I do not accept Jesus for no reason. You have no idea why I believe what I believe. I am putting into perspective for you what your worst case scenario is. I do not expect you to be smart enough to read what I am tying and turn towards Christ and get it right. I expect you to go into a 7 year tribulation during which you will remember my words. At that time, get down on your knees and pray and ask Jesus to be your lord and savior. The words are less important than meaning it in your heart. It will be very very bad for you. But accepting Jesus at that time is the best case at anytime no matter how much it cost you, even if it cost you your life. Go ahead and mock me. I did not write this for approval of men. It is information you will need

      March 24, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
    • brady

      You didn't answer my question. In the hypothetical situation that you where to die and find out Allah is the one true god what you say to him? Shouldn't you also be a muslim incase that is "the one true religion?" Or better yet practice all religions so all your bases are covered when you die.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • jan buyck

      That's Pascal's wager: what if god exists and Atheists are wrong? But what if Jews, Muslims, Bhudists, Hindu's, "The followers of the spirit in the volcano", etc... are right? Then all christians are doomed too...

      March 24, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      brady
      The christians don't like it when you use their logic against them...to them it isn't fair.

      When someone uses pascals wager as a defense, they are defenseless.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • brady

      I've got to stop arguing religion with people, it goes nowhere. It's just sad we have to wait for a generation to grow old and die before change can happen.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
  9. MICHAEL

    Atheist are in good company...Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin..The boys of Columbine who obeyed their own moral law...Have you ever read whose writings Hilter followed? Probably not.

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

      Hitler was catholic...

      March 24, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • clarity

      You need some education. Hitler was a Christian.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      MICHAEL, are you trying to bait an atheist into listing religious atrocities? There isn't enough room on this blog.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • brady

      yeah because religious people have never committed atrocities. You are either a Troll or a very sad person.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • MandoZink

      Michael,
      See my post above. It won't do you much good, but it may help others, even if just a little.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Hitler was a catholic.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • yo yo

      Religious people are in good company, almost every despot, tyrant, king, queen, emperor, empress, or dictator worldwide from beyond the beginning of history.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Alex

      read your history books for some clarity, clarity

      March 24, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
    • Hello

      read Caesar's Messiah by Joseph Atwill..

      March 24, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
  10. Lucidifer

    There doesn't seem to be a way to talk to devout christians without them taking offence. It's because they hold their beliefs emotionally and take any rebuttal personally. So I don't worry about offending christians anymore.

    I just treat them as if they are trying to convince me that Winnie the Pooh is real. And when they demand that I must love honey too, I understand that they are not using critical thinking skills but merely expressing their fragile emotions.

    The first amendment gives them the right to be infantile, but it does not protect them from being shown to be infantile.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      The atheists be after me Lucky Charms!

      March 24, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
  11. Patrish

    An article I enjoy. I was raised in all the Sunday school, church and choir stuff. Once I got into the world and aged, I found religion very flawed. To go on and on about some deity that you can't prove exists, and more than you can prove fairies exist is rater silly. I do believe in 'thoughts are things', good old metaphysical concept, and if you focus, dream, plan, and believe on something you can make it happen. It has nothing to do with GOD or his will. If it gives you comport to believe in a fantasy figure, so be it, but don't shove that believe in my face. As I see the ridiculous behavior of some of our Christian politicians, I sure want would vote for an atheist any day.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  12. Silviu Gavriliuc

    I came from a country where people tried to remove God from the hearths of people and decleared they are atheists and need no God. The system changed and Christ is still on the throne. Todd, you can fight and use your resouces against God, but you can not win. We have been praying with our church for your salvation.

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

      Silviu Gavriliuc, you are a runner and will be terminated. Your thought patters and reasoning abilities are flawed. Fish, and plankton. And sea greens, and protein from the sea.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Silviu ... instead of wasting (what you consider to be precious) time praying for Todd perhaps you should pray for healing sick children .. so far it hasn't been working!

      March 24, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • sofi

      HA!

      March 24, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  13. cleareye1

    This guy is just as legitimate as the Pope.
    Obviously, we cannot afford to continue to subsidize religion forever. It must stand on its own or die out, just as many other human creations have before it.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  14. conexes

    People in this very country are homeless and hungry. Spending millions of dollars on billboards with the goal of promoting anything is senseless, let alone when it serves nothing in particular.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Tell that to the churches who carry out the action 99.99999% more than atheists do. Or are you a hypocrite?

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

      The Christians who put up billboards such as "Got religion" should read your post.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • John P. Tarver, MS/PE

      It serves the athiest ego (devil) to advertise their faith.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • CarrotCakeMan

      Promoting freedom from oppressive religion is a Good Deed.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      conexes .. I'm assuming you've seen all the "God loves you" and the "Life is nothing without God" signs. They certainly serve no purpose .. especially since the money for them came from tax exempt status!

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

      John, you are an idiot. Go away. Don't insult atheists by saying our ego is tied to some fictional bull that we don't even believe in. You are the definition of a lunatic and a hatemongerl.

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

      Atheists don't believe if any gods, ergo no faith in the non-existent. You're rather uneducated when it comes to atheism, aren't you Tarver?

      March 24, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • John P. Tarver, MS/PE

      Colin- Psychology says your ego has all the characteristics of the devil, not the bible.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • cleareye1

      His efforts serve freedom. Anyone can free themselves of unwanted belief systems. If religion did not work their propaganda on children with threats it would have faded away long ago.

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

      Mr. Tarver, BShitter:

      what is this? "athiest"

      March 24, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Fungeek

      Churches and pastors are not taxed. This cost us all at least 71,000,000,000 dollars last year alone (by way of comparison, that is 30x the cost of the Mars Curiosity program – in TOTAL). That is money that the rest of us pay for by way of increased taxes and decreased spending on social/infrastructure/government programs.

      Churches within the U.S. are estimated by the I.R.S. to pull in roughly 120 billion dollars a year. It's estimated that current church real estate within the U.S. amount to roughly a half-TRILLION dollars in holdings.

      Last year alone, Gideons International distrubuted over 84 million bibles at a cost to their organization of roughly $5 per bible for a total cost of 420 BILLION dollars spent on bibles they handed out. Do you want to take a wild stab at how many people you can feed, clothe, and provide safe drinking water to (12% of the 5 year old children in Africa last year died to DIARRHEA because they can't get safe drinking water – WATER!!!!)?

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

      It's people, like you John, who make me understand that atheists exist in a state of semi-unrealized war because religious monsters like you exist everywhere and are guiding this planet towards oblivion if good atheists don't stand up to stop you, possibly with force. Thank you for confirming once again, that what you represent is an unchanging enemy. Atheists, learn from this. Learn that we must win. Learn that we don't have time to rest on the laurels of our intelligence. We must act now.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
  15. SayIt

    religion = hypocracy

    March 24, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
  16. silentcount

    Can't think of any discrimination against atheists today, but there's quite about against Religion, as if somehow society would be better without it. However, things will only get worse if more people believe that there is no final penalty for taking one's own life, and others along with them. No amount of government programs can fix that growing problem. Only the church can. It's separate from government and should be, but probably more important to the good health of society.

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

      Your assumptions are incorrect.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • CarrotCakeMan

      Religious nuts are NOT being "discriminated against" when we won't join their nasty churches and let them force their peculiar, minority "beliefs" onto all other Americans.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      If the church can fix these problems ... what is it waiting for?!

      March 24, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Colin

      Agreed; you are wrong, Silent.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • Mr.Butters

      Did you really just lump depressed people trying to cope with suicide into the same category as those who go on killing sprees? You have serious issues. And it has nothing to do with your religion. You are just clearly disturbed.

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

      Christianity and Catholicism are the two most widely spread religions in the west. You're not being discriminated against. Meanwhile your religious leaders have on more than one occasion called out a "war" on atheism, because they feel threatened whenever someone who wants to use common sense over blind faith comes along. I can assure you, anything you have seen or experienced against religion is in the minority of people. Coming out as an atheist is in many cases as hard as one coming out as being gay. I know many a person who has been shunned by their brainwashed family for deciding not to believe in an invisible genie.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Patrish

      Religion and a believe in God doesn't fix much. All religions have a agenda. Yous believe and act as they do to be accepted. Religious people want to impress 'God', or others, and they are not doing it in secret. You help or give your time to a person, an animal, the environment, etc. because it is the right thing to do, and to make this a better place for all with gain for yourself.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
  17. 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 1:59 pm |
  18. Trixie

    It never ceases to amaze me how catty religious folk can be when their cages are rattled even the least little bit. What are they afraid of? Do they not think think that Atheists have a right to be heard? I'm not understanding this. After 2000 of having their beliefs shoved into out faces, they don't like the fact that voices of reason and logic are now proving the ignorance of the bible? Nobody's attempting to take their god(s) away from them; they simply need to realize that theirs is not the only viewpoint on the matter.

    March 24, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • John P. Tarver, MS/PE

      You violate our first amendment rights and think it should not be a problem.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Please cite a verifiable instance where your 1st Amendment rights have been violated.

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

      And how are atheists violating your first amendment right, Tarver? Worship as you please. Just don't try to legislate your "beliefs" into law. Get a clue.

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

      Tarver – Mr. BS:

      What violation?

      You need to learn more about the 1st Amendment before you spout off like you usually do.

      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 employment of chaplains for the House and Senate.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
  19. a-man

    Atheists / agnostics do not need to prove anything – you can not prove nothing.

    March 24, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      .. and we don't need to since we are not claiming something exists.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
  20. John P. Tarver, MS/PE

    At the root of Darwin's "origin of species" is pure racism and his followers are just plain evil.

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

      Name calling is a great way to spread religion.

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

      John,
      can you give any objective support for your assertions? I would like to read them here in this forum.

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

      His "followers"? You seem to be so indoctrinated that you can't comprehend that you DON'T need to follow anything. Accepting what Darwin pointed out is not different that accepting what Newton showed us .. you don't "follow" them, you simply accept the reality of what they showed us & we can observe for ourselves.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The only reason you hate evolution is because it threatens your myth.

      March 24, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Larry

      Darwin was no more racist than any other white guy living back then, including Christian clergy. Even Helen Keller was a raging racist by our standards today. Lucky for us we've all evolved a lot since then, well most of us have anyway. What pockets of racist thinking that are still out there aren't in scientific circles, but there are still some pretty deep pockets of it within religious ones.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • John P. Tarver, MS/PE

      Darwin attempted to take away humanity from blacks.

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

      el- the editor will not allow me to post the historical facts here.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • What is That Thing on Aaron Neville's Face?

      JPT: "el- the editor will not allow me to post the historical facts here."

      LOL

      March 24, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • cleareye1

      It's people like Tarver who are a real danger to humanity. Their irrational beliefs have led to the deaths of millions and they are not satisfied yet. They want more death, particularly if it's the deaths of other religious people holding slightly different fantasies.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Darwin attempted to take away humanity from blacks."

      No he didn't. The Bible did though, I have heard Christians quote the part about the cursed decendants of Ham many times.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Yakobi

      There are no gods or goddesses, demons or devils, ghosts or goblins. Religion was invented by man to control the masses.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
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About this blog

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