home
RSS
The money man behind atheism’s activism
Todd Stiefel, a wealthy businessman, is responsible for bank rolling many atheism activism projects.
March 23rd, 2013
10:00 PM ET

The money man behind atheism’s activism

By Dan Merica, CNN

(CNN) - Todd Stiefel is far from a household name, and the odds he gets recognized on a street corner, even in his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina, are small.

For Stiefel, a slim, scruffy ex-Catholic, his public persona is his wallet and activism. Through the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, the 38-year-old has made an indelible impact on the nation’s fastest-growing “religious” group: the nonbelievers. Most of the highest-profile atheists campaigns –- flashy billboards in high-traffic areas, news-making efforts to get atheists to come out of the closet, and boisterous rallies - are funded by his fortune.

Stiefel isn’t shy about his far-reaching goals.

“What I am trying to accomplish is multifold, he told CNN. “I consider myself working on the next civil equality movement, just like women’s rights, LGBT rights and African-American Civil Rights. We are still in the early stages of eliminating discrimination against atheists and humanists. That is something I really want to accomplish.”

So far, Stiefel has pumped $3.5 million into those aspirations, and his money benefits a number of atheist organizations, from the Clergy Project, a group that helps atheist and doubting clergy out of the closet, to American Atheists, arguably the most in-your-face atheist group in the country.

Stiefel sees his work as far more than just money. For him, this is just the beginning.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

From Catholic school to atheist millionaire

Stiefel was born in Albany, New York, in 1974 to Catholic parents. He was raised in a Catholic household, confirmed in the church, attended Sunday school, went to a Catholic high school.

“I was a cross-wearing, praying, religious-retreat Catholic,” Stiefel said. “You could say there were points that I felt the spirit.”

But his faith, he said, fluctuated during high school. “I was always a skeptic,” he said, “and I always asked a lot of questions.”

At 18, Stiefel attended Duke University to pursue a degree in psychology. To fill an elective, he took an Old Testament history class at the Duke University Divinity School. It was there, he said, that his final “ebb” away from belief took hold.

In the class, Stiefel said he saw a flawed logic in the Old Testament. In particular, he said, he began to see much of the Old Testament as unoriginal stories that had been told in many pagan traditions.

“'Wait a second, is what I believe in really the truth or is it really the accumulation of myths bundled in a package?’” Stiefel remembers asking himself. “That was the end of my faith right there.”

After graduating from Duke, Stiefel went into the family business: Stiefel Laboratories, a company that develops products to combat skin diseases. For 12 years, Stiefel worked with his family and turned the business into a major player in their specialized market.

CNN Belief: The secular high priest of SXSW

In 2009, with Stiefel in an executive position, the Stiefel family opted to sell the company to GlaxoSmithKline. The price tag: $2.9 billion, according to media reports at the time.

“I only got a very small piece of that, for the record,” Stiefel said with a laugh. “I did, however, find myself in a unique and fortunate position where I was able to do whatever I wanted to do.”

And like many who have the luxury of doing exactly what they want, Stiefel began thinking about what he was truly passionate about. After kicking around the idea of starting another business, the answer became clear to the young millionaire: advocating for atheism.

“I wanted to try to help the world,” he said. “I wanted to give back and this seemed like the most productive way to help humanity.”

‘Just doing my part’

Stiefel put $2 million in to begin his foundation. In his first year, according to tax documents, the nonprofit disbursed $700,000 to groups like the Secular Coalition for America, the American Humanist Association and Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

In 2010 and 2011, the giving continued with the foundation distributing around $750,000 to different atheist and humanist causes. In 2011, he also pumped another $500,000 into his foundation.

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

“I am just doing my part within my means,” he said. “Different people have different means. I am doing what I can do, just like the rest of the people in the movement are.”

But recipients of the money, such as David Silverman, president of the American Atheists, see his impact as much greater than just a one-off activist.

“Todd is an example of what major contributions can accomplish for atheism,” he said. “From a donation stand point, he is really leading the movement to a different level.”

Walking the line

One of Stiefel’s major concerted contributions in the last three years was the Reason Rally, an event held on the National Mall in Washington, which was billed as a watershed moment in the atheism movement. The goal of the event was to show to religious Americans that atheism was a powerful minority in American life.

Stiefel speaks onstage at the Reason Rally.

The rally drew a number of high-profile speakers, including Richard Dawkins, the author of “The God Delusion,” and thousands of attendees, despite rainy weather.

In his speech to the crowd, Stiefel talked about what he sees as the most important problem facing atheism: “Discrimination comes from ignorance, and in this case it is ignorance about our beliefs,” he said. “We are told freethinkers believe in nothing, but that’s a misunderstanding. We believe in a lot of things; we don’t all believe the same things.”

Stiefel put $250,000 toward the rally, a contribution that Silverman, the organizer, said was critical.

“He brought the Reason Rally to a brand new level,” Silverman said. Without that money, “we would have had far fewer people and a far smaller event.”

Silverman and the Reason Rally advocated for a specific brand of atheism. Silverman, who regularly calls his group the “Marines of the Freethought Movement,” is not shy in making it clear that he views his goal in calling out religion and elevating atheism.

Stiefel says he doesn't necessarily endorse those tactics wholly, but he does see their validity.

“I try to walk a line,” he said. “I see religious criticism as valuable, and groups like American Atheists are good at that. I do think we have to have a dialogue about who has the right ideas and part of that is pointing out the flaws in religious ideas.”

Stiefel continued: “I also see inter-belief work, though. I do find a lot of value in inter-belief work and I do see a lot of value in general charity work.”

Evidence of that is his work on cancer fundraising.

In 2012, Stiefel approached the Foundation Beyond Belief with an idea of creating networks of nonbelievers around the country to help raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Stiefel tapped into his atheist network and began organizing different event.

In total, the atheist groups raised $430,000 in 2012, including a $215,000 donation from Stiefel and his wife, Diana.

“Across the country there are 150 local groups of atheists and freethinkers raising money for charity,” Stiefel said proudly.

The key, however, was bridging the gap between atheist and religious communities in the name of charity.

“We welcomed Christians, as well,” he said. “Some of our biggest fundraisers were Christians.”

For 2013, the goal is to raise $500,000.

Expanding the community

With money and resolve comes great influence for Stiefel. He has the ear of many atheist leaders, meaning he can dictate the movement’s focus.

Stiefel said he wants to see the atheism movement expand its footprint.

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

“What I would really like to see is expanding out communities to people who may not just be atheists or agnostics and into people who are religiously skeptical and may still have some religious beliefs,” he said. “Nobody is a perfect skeptic and I would like to see more people like that in our community.”

For Stiefel, this is a personal priority. He says his wife, whom he describes as a skeptical Christian, is someone who would fall within an expanded atheist movement.

“My message is not only of anti-theism,” Stiefel said. “I don’t choose to attack religion itself. I see religion as something that provides both good and ill to the world.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism

soundoff (7,617 Responses)
  1. Reality

    And one more time into the CNN Sunday facts fray:

    1. The Sun will burn out in 3-5 billion years so we have a time frame.

    2. Asteroids continue to circle us in the nearby asteroid belt.

    3. One wayward rock/comet and it is all over in a blast of permanent winter.

    4. There are enough nuclear weapons to do the same job.

    5. Most contemporary NT exegetes do not believe in the Second Coming so apparently there is no concern about JC coming back on an asteroid or cloud of raptors/rapture.

    6. All stars will eventually extinguish as there is a limit to the amount of hydrogen in the universe. When this happens (100 trillion years?), the universe will go dark. If it does not collapse and recycle, the universe will end.

    7. Super, dormant volcanoes off the coast of Africa and under Yellowstone Park could explode catalytically at any time ending life on Earth.

    8. Many of us are part Neanderthal and/or Denisovan. For a $199 check and mouth swab sent to the National Geographic's Genographic Project you can find out if your relatives co-mingled with these extinct species of hominids.

    Bottom line: our apocalypse will start between now and 3-5 billion CE. The universe apocalypse, 100 trillion years?

    March 24, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  2. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    okay stfu, my father was a muslim BHUNGI, my mother was a muslim BHUNGI, and I am muslim bhungi too, are you happy now? And you atheists crooks, bhungi means someone who swipe cleans crap from toilets with bare hands and carries sh!t in a bucket on his head, my father was a proud BHUNG.

    March 24, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Nicodemus Grumpschmidt

      Take a deep breath and relax now. Your medication is forthcoming.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Olaf Big

      It is really scary how many mentally unstable people are out there, and internet gives them all a voice...

      March 24, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Yakobi

      ISLAM, you are a shameless Pakistani Muslim, Arab wannabe. You are a BHUNG of Internet.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
    • Yakobi

      Get your own handle, son. Stop using mine.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
  3. rik

    Between and among so many of the comments here and on other articles re: Catholicism, Pope etc.. I can really see how God despite loving us must isolate such souls if they continue to death 's door to essentially curse and blaspheme, they must reside with Satan. As Padre Pio said, they will certainly believe when they get there.

    March 24, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Yakobi

      There is no such thing as god, satan, soul or "there". Thanks for playing, though.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • Alex

      Organized Religion – last bastion for the ignorant

      March 24, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Raoul Duke, Jr.

      Hmm. Pascal's Wager, eh? What if you "get there" and it turns out that Zeus or one of the many other millions of gods man has created is the one sitting on the golden throne? Then what will you say to that diety? "Oh, sorry, I thought that Yahweh was the one true god." Fail.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • Nicodemus Grumpschmidt

      No, we don't reside with satan because according to your mythology, lucifer was created by god. Lucifer was a fallen angel and went somewhere else and created his own club. Therefore, there's no believing in satan (for lack of proof or rationale) for the same reason there's no believing in your god. Simple enough?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • JayJ7

      And when you die you will feel Apollo's wrath for not sacrificing a goat weekly.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Padre Pio? The huckster charlatan fraud Padre Pio? Or did you have some other one in mind?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • krm10007©

      Yakobi = ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION = the same MFer, real wheeler and dealer eeh!!

      March 24, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • End Religion

      ik, won't you be surprised to find Thor sitting in judgement of you after death. How will you explain falsely worshiping a pedophile god instead of the righteous ruler of the gods?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Yakobi

      Try again, krm. I don't cut & paste nonsense.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
  4. Quest ion

    Is he a child of the devil or the devil's child?

    March 24, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Catm

      Interesting distinction you've got there.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • End Religion

      He's doing more for mankind than any saint ever did.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
  5. Salero21

    Atheists are like a pack of rabid wolves and like a troop of wild monkeys from the jungle.

    They're so stupid!

    March 24, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Yakobi

      Trolls are like...trolls.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Alex

      your comments indicate an under developed and child like mind...so you're religious too?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Saving the earth,one pithy comment at a time

      You would advance your side of the argument more if you could give reasons why you HATE people who have a different opinion than yours.The wild monkey-dogs await your words of wisdom..this is what happens when you get outside of your little christian bubble.ps:don't go away mad........

      March 24, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Salero21

      OK, so they're not stupid they're fools! Are you happy now Alex?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Nicodemus Grumpschmidt

      Thank you for your uninformed and completely ludicrous opinion.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Salero21

      Oh here we go again! All you have to do is call people out in their wrong doing and immediately someone cries out HATE. Now that's so stupid! That's why atheists are like a pack of rabid wolves.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • JayJ7

      You mean it's so much more logical to believe invisible sky fairies, rather than reality.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Raoul Duke, Jr.

      Christianity:

      The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree... yeah, makes perfect sense.

      And you have the nerve to call atheists stupid?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Dean

      Actually, Atheists have higher I.Q.s than religious people. It's been proven; look it up.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Yakobi

      Muslim trolls are like...BHUNG trolls.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Salero21

      I did recanted and called them fools instead of stupid. It is very, very foolish to believe we came from nothing or from a cosmic soup or from a big bang or some sort of ape like "creature", which if it was a creature is because it was created.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      salt shaker. You're an idiot

      March 24, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Salero21

      @ Dean,

      Believing that only proves how foolish you are. I have a bridge in Brooklyn I like to sell you!

      March 24, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Salero21

      If you trust in Santa then I'm Not, but you are!

      March 24, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Dean, you are committing the ecological fallacy. You could look THAT up, too.

      Just because ON AVERAGE atheists are smarter than theists doesn't mean that all atheists are smarter than all theists.

      For example, if Bill Gates should walk into my living room, my household has the highest average income in America. That doesn't help ME pay for my next dozen donuts, tho.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • End Religion

      One doesn't need to have read anything other than a couple of Dr. Seuss books to be smarter than Salero21.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
  6. yo yo

    I can't help but to laugh at these never ending arguments between atheists and believers. The fact of the matter is that religion or the lack of it really doesn't matter because we are all the same, think the same, and act the same. IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE. The only differences are in the mind, that's all. Both sides accuse the other of being less than human for either believing or for not believing. This silliness reminds me of an episode of Star Trek in which two aliens from the same planet hated each other and thought each other was inferior. Both looked the same, half their body was black and the other half was white, except that one was black on the right and the other was white on the right, that's all. We humans are so silly.

    March 24, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Quest ion

      Are you looking in a mirror?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • ScienceSoma

      It is silly up to the point that one side can make laws that prohibit another side from living according to those beliefs. Silliness would end if churches were not allowed to exist anymore, or people had to pray before the start of everyday in a public school or business. That is where live and let live ends and that is where the debate becomes sparked. If it were just down to debates, everything would be fine, but it centers around personal liberties in one's day to day life. That is very real.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • Tom

      You do realize that moral from Star Trek is completely retarded, don't you? An outside observer that knows nothing of the relationship between two people, only looking at their physical appearance and how the two sides call attention to it as a means of insult. Then they call that the reason, deem it not worthy of being an opinion according to their society and their beliefs, and they instantly want to do something about it. If people have a disagreement, it's up to them on what matters, not your pathetic and outside opinion on it, because you're not them. Now if you want to take a side or kill both side, go ahead and do it. Otherwise, just but the hell out. Either do or don't. Practicality is all that matters, and talk is cheap...

      March 24, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • JayJ7

      The difference is whether we make society decisions based on what kind of future we want, or based on what our invisible hallucinations want.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  7. Beeb

    I cannot imagine the special pit in hell that is reserved for this Stiefel character who would throw his fortune behind a denial of Christ after he was given the light of Christ from the day of his baptism. Sad and pathetic loss of a soul. I pity him at the judgement day when he falls into the hands of the living God.

    March 24, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Yakobi

      But there is no hell, christ, soul, judgement day or god. So, I guess he has nothing to worry about.

      It's like voodoo–it's only effective if you believe in it.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Beeb

      Just like gravity, you don't have to believe in something for it to be true.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Yakobi

      Gravity can be measured, empirically tested. Faith is belief without proof. Furthermore, there aren't dozens of flavors of gravity running around all claiming to be the one true gravity.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Oh, right – I keep forgetting how the all-loving god of compassion and benevolence has such a hair trigger when it comes to condemning his special creation to eternal fire and pain without respite, ever.

      That is the god you claim to be worshiping, right? 'Cause a lot of the time, from what you say, it sounds a lot more like the one with the leathery wings you're talking about revering.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • UncleM

      Gravity is real and observable. God is made up. See the difference?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Catm

      Is there ANYTHING that brings Christians more happiness than imagining the torture of non-believers while they get to say "I told you so!"?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • mykroft

      Personally, I find the concept of Hell to be illogical.
      Why do people go to Hell? As punishment for sinning.
      What is punishment? Punishment is something given so that a person can learn the errors of their ways, and become a better person.

      OK, so if I go to Hell, how long will I be there? Forever.
      If I'm there forever, then my learning the error of my ways is irrelevant. Hell must not be for punishment then. What is it for?

      If I go to hell forever, I'll be there after 1000 years? A million? A hundred billion? All the time being tortured, for the mistakes made over a span of 100 years of less. At what time does this "punishment" become the act of a sadistic monster?

      For Hell to exist as depicted by fundamentalist Christians, they can not simultaneously claim that they worship a loving God.

      OK, which is it? Is God loving, or a self-centered sadistic monster who would condemn those he "loves" to an eternity of torture for not worshiping him properly?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Opposing View

      Yakobi… Prove it. Please show us one shred of proof that God, Hell, etc does not exist. You can't do it to save your life. All you can do is evade the question…

      March 24, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Opposing View

      SixDegrees… If God was truly the hair trigger person you say, you'd be in hell right now for the evil statements you have made. It's only because of his mercy that you're still even alive...

      March 24, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Opposing View, The religious are the ones claiming that there is a god (although they disagree about which one) – they are the ones that need to provide evidence that a god exists and further that it is their god not another. All creation myths are proven incorrect by modern science, so basically religion has no evidence.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Yeah, yeah, yeah, more empty threats from somebody who's never seen either Heaven or Hell or known anyone who has — and never will — but who nonetheless is convinced that they're more real than Narnia or Hogwarts. Sucker!

      March 24, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • God'sSon

      You keep telling yourself that!

      March 24, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Beeb

      You believe in gravity only because you believe in Newton's explanation for why things fall. You have faith in the people who said it is true. I bet not one of you ever questioned the theory, or looked for other explanations for it, or worked to validate it for yourself, with your own empirical testing. You accept it because you believe the teachers who taught it to you were not lying. Regardless of what you experience, anybody any day could suddenly say, hey, Newton was wrong about the reason for gravitational pull, show why, and everyone would have to toss this idea and figure out what is really "true." Isn't it true at speeds nearing the speed of light Newton's laws start to fall apart? So don't B.S. me about how you are so SCIENTIFIC and EMPIRICAL and yet live your life by faith based on what the "elders" have said in the sacred science books. Geez!

      March 24, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Yakobi

      OV–
      Prove the universe wasn't created when the Great Mutant Cosmic Star Goat (braise His mane!) sneezed. The onus is upon you. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Opposing View

      mykroft… All civilized societies have a system of crime and punishment to control their criminal elements. If you commit a crime or do wrong, you will to jail or prison as punishment. So why should the eternal God be any different. If you are guilty of committing sins, then you will go to hell and the lake. It's that simple. Only a very simpleminded person would feel that God should be any different…

      March 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Opposing View

      In Santa… It matters not what the Christians say or do or believe, in order for you to have an argument against it, you still have to have proof to back up your claim. An atheists have no proof. You can't show me one shred of proof or evidence that God doesn't exist. Therefore you have no argument. All you can do is evade the question…

      March 24, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Yakobi

      No, Beep. You can measure it yourself. You can see it operate. My measurements will match yours. That is the difference. One person's claim (or theory) can be tested by others. A theory can be adjusted to match the observable facts. This is the opposite of faith.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Opposing View

      Yakobi… You're only doing exactly as I stated. All you're doing is evading the question Because you know you don't have a shred of proof…

      March 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • Yakobi

      OV–
      There was no question. You have faith in the unprovable. That's your "cross to bear", not mine. I can make all kinds of equally silly claims that are just as valid and unprovable as your faith. It's up to the asserter to prove his claims, it's not the audience's responsibility to disprove them.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • mykroft

      Beeb,
      Everything in science is based on measurable facts, obtained by observation and experimentation. The process of science is such that if someone shows that new data contradicts our current theories, the data is tested and if upheld the theories are revised to accommodate them. In other words, science is bound by observable reality, and is designed to constantly get closer to the truth about our universe.

      Religion on the other hand has no such constraints. If someone want to believe that the comet coming in November will take their souls into the heavens, and commit suicide to hitch a ride (something that has happened before), that belief is not testable. Same goes for Christianity, or any of the other religions. If reality contradicts one's faith, the faithful can just say "Oh, God made it look that way to test our faith!" There is no process for refining one's beliefs to get closer to the truth, because it is assumed that the truth is the starting state by default.

      If nonsensical beliefs did not have the veneer of religion on them, a person proclaiming them would justifiably wind up under psychiatric care. If it is a religious belief however, people are expected to respect those beliefs.

      Look at it this way. You don't believe in all of the many thousands of other religions, gods or goddesses that man has worshiped over the centuries. Atheists just have one more deity on their list of "I don't believe in that" than you do.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • mykroft

      Opposing View,
      All civilizations have punishments for criminals, but by and large only the ones considered too dangerous to release are kept indefinitely. So if I don't believe in God during life, I'm too dangerous to release from the constant torment of Hell?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:50 pm |
    • mykroft

      Opposing view,
      Also, in civilized society the torture of prisoners is considered inhumane and barbaric. By that measure, God would be an war criminal, for sending people to hell to be tortured indefinitely. Is man more moral than God?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Beeb

      Hey Yakobi – you cannot directly see gravity. You can only experience it's effects indirectly, because the force of gravity is INVISIBLE! But you believe this "force" exists because you experience it. The theory is that mass exerts a force on other masses and the greater the mass the greater the force, so the earth being much larger mass than you exerts a force that draws you to it and so on. But you can only see and measure the EFFECT of that force on another mass, but you cannot see the "force" itself . Everybody also experiences God indirectly and sees His effect on us and creation (something you have replaced with the stupid hole ridden Darwin mythology, (you know the one: that life spontaneously erupted then evolved, very S-L-O-W-L-Y; when we know for a fact only life begets life. Life never spontaneously erupts.), without any real proof, but only surmising from observation of the creatures mutating. No missing link. Another faith based theory you prefer to the Judeo-Christian claim, but one you cannot substantiate either.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Opposing View

      Yakobi… Stop trying to play like you're too dumb and too stupid to know there was a question. In my very first post to you, my words were "Prove it" Prove there is no God or Hell etc. You've haven't provided an ounce of proof. All you've done is evade the question. That's because you don't have any proof. And I already know your next answer will be evasive as well…

      March 24, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Beeb

      mykroft – "Everything in science is based on measurable facts, obtained by observation and experimentation." Really? So Darwin measured the "fact" that life spontaneously appeared, and observed this, and experimented to repeat it? News to me.

      March 24, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Yakobi

      Beeb–
      Gravity can be measured, just like electrons (which you also cannot see). You can measure the effects DIRECTLY, not INDIRECTLY just like other forces in nature. What is measurable to me is equally measurable to you.

      Just because you continue to believe in unprovable, UNMEASURABLE myths you were told as a child is not my problem.

      Oh, and you really need to educate yourself on the fact of evolution. Your 2nd grade level of understanding of the subject is woefully lacking.

      March 24, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Yakobi

      OV–
      Prove the Great Mutant Cosmic Star Goat is less valid than your god. Stop evading the question.

      March 24, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Beeb

      Yakobi – YOU need to educate YOURSELF on how much scientific information you take on faith alone. HUGE blind spot you share with all people who pretend they only believe in what is scientifically, empirically provable. And you really didn't address how I am SO uninformed about Darwin and his belief that life spontaneously arose (as the first single cell.) Not observable, not measurable, and not repeatable. That is your criteria, not mine, pal.

      March 24, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  8. In Other Words

    A fool among fools.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • André

      I think he's a great man.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
  9. Lucidifer

    How many Jews does it take to change a lightbulb?
    Two, one to hold the lightbulb and Yahweh to rotate the universe.

    How many Christians does it take to change a lightbulb?
    One, but he's still in the dark.

    How many Catholics does it take to change a lightbulb?
    Two, one to change the lightbulb and the Pope to hide the guy who did the screwing.

    How many Muslims does it take to change a lightbulb?
    Two, one to change the lightbulb and the other to light an oil lamp to see that it was changed.

    How many Atheists does it take to change a lightbulb?
    None, Atheists don't change lightbulbs, they invent them.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • norelegion

      All human miseries are from relegion.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Salero21

      Reall! Well that's strange because for years many have known he did not.

      This is what Wikipedia says in the Electric light paragraph, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison#Marriages_and_children

      "Edison did not invent the first electric light bulb, but instead invented the first commercially practical incandescent light..."

      March 24, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
  10. Atheism is a form of Autism, more specifically Asperger Syndrome--Fact

    Hey Atheists, don't forget to tithe. 🙂

    March 24, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • oOo

      Aren't you clever. You may want to hold on to your day job.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Atheism is a form of Autism, more specifically Asperger Syndrome--Fact

      Thanks, I'll be here all week. 🙂

      March 24, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Quest ion

      Is it not Ti-thing one of the things of the Law?

      Are we not under the Law but under Grace?

      Why do you want to burden the gentiles with matters of the Law?

      Was not that Law of Ti-thing given to Israel instead?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
    • Nicodemus Grumpschmidt

      Ah. Uninformed, hate-ridden opinions from one who claims to follow the loving ways of the so-called Son of God. GO HATE-MONGERING XIANS!! WOO-HOO!

      March 24, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
    • Atheism is a form of Autism, more specifically Asperger Syndrome--Fact

      No hate, just truth. God bless you 🙂

      March 24, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
  11. Henry Dee

    Hey Alex, Hitler was A baptised catholic, but abandoned the faith early in life. Had he stayed catholic, world war 2 would never have occured. Isn't it amazing when Christtians apostisize, they too often attack and demonize the faith of their fathers. Tragic.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • mykroft

      Where do you think Hitler learned to despise the Jews, the people the Catholic Church denounced for centuries as the ones who killed Christ?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      In addition to what Mykroft said about the Catholics hating the Jews, they were about 1/3 of the Germans Hitler led down the road to the Holocaust. The other 2/3 were Lutherans, and Martin Luther was one of the most rabid anti-Semites of all time. So 2 major religions laid the groundwork for the death camps.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  12. genold

    When all of humankind ceases to believe the nonsense that bubbles from the mouths of Sunday preachers and finally seek the goodness of humanity which dwells in each one of us, it will be at that point we will begin to see ourselves as equals in a quest to do better then we have done in 2000 years. Deliver us from the pomp and lies of the clergy.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • NK

      only if you listened to what they are babbling about, than you would be already out doing all those good things you listed, but to you it's just babble...

      March 24, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Gyrogearloose

      Include the Friday and Saturday preachers, and I'll agree with you.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      NK, Why do you think atheists aren't out there doing good things? It's very arrogant to believe that only the religious have a moral compass.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  13. NK

    if God is not real than why are all you atheists here? why do you fight the non existent? Why raise money to promote atheism, there is no God anyway, right? oh wait! you can make money on that too!! just like some so called believers do. A tree is judged by the fruit.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Why are you commenting on an article about an Atheist?
      We only fight to stop the religious from continuing to impose their belief system on the rest of us.
      Believe all you want, just keep it to yourself.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • DoctorDan118

      Wow, your ignorance is showing. The reason people fight the belief is because they are discriminated against. There was a time when people of color, or women, were not allowed to vote or hold public office. Look at some of the laws in this country, and the ignorant christians who are trying to prevent atheists from voting or holding public office, or to simply use their first amendment rights for freedom of speech. Are you suggesting that atheists should just passively allow themselves to be discriminated against in this way? Why do you care if a group of humans with equal civil rights actually tries to defend their civil rights? Moron.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Gregg H

      We're not fighting god, we're fighting the idiots who feel it necessary to bother other people with their silly beliefs.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I think it's funny Christians wants everyone to pay attention to their religion, they want it included in laws and gov't and public school, they put up billboards and have TV channels dedicated to it. And then when atheists pay attention they say "you shouldn't even care, why not just ignore us".

      March 24, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Gyrogearloose

      Actually, I'm here because I'm tired of condescending 'Christians' who arrogantly disparage those who think differently.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      A tree is judged by the fruit. That's exactly why atheists don't want believers creating laws based solely upon their beliefs, why atheists don't want those beliefs taught in schools as science, why atheists don't want those beliefs posted on public buildings, etc.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
  14. Quest ion

    So he have money and is an atheist; so what?

    Does that makes him any better than anyone else?

    Does he thinks he so special or what?

    big deal!

    March 24, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Lilith

      Jealous much?

      March 24, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  15. Elliott Carlin

    FreeThought....like you are free to think....think anything but religion. That's true freedom, isn't it? Wow.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Religion rots the brain.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • Gregg H

      You're free to think (and talk) about religion all you want. No one is going to take that from you. Generally if you think enough about religion without preconceived notions you'll come to the conclusion that they're all nonsense.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Think anything you want ... just don't impose it on others against their will.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • DoctorDan118

      True freedom is not being suppressed by the ignorant religious right who everyday try to write laws into the books banning atheists from holding public office or their civil right to assembly. So yes, we will truly be free when all organized religions based upon mythology and hatred pass, or they learn to accept others beliefs, whichever comes first (and we all know organized religions such as christianity will never allow people to actually think for themselves and accept other beliefs)

      March 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • weareallgods

      Religion is anything but free thought. The forxe behind more murders than any and all other forces combined. The most oppressive non existent thought process to plague ojr species. This world will be a safer, saner, healthier planet when our population understands the fairy tale that is religion.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
  16. MP

    Sounds like he is just seeking fame in an uncharted frontier, hes just creating his own religion.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Atheism is NOT a religion. No more than bald is a hair color. It's a null stance. I can't tell you whether Bigfoot exists or not, but if I told you it did, you would expect proof.

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

      Religion requires dogma and belief in a spiritual being. Atheism requires neither. So how can it be a religion?

      March 24, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Gyrogearloose

      Edweird, I think MP has a valid point. One of the more objectionable aspects of many religions is their proselytizing. While atheism isn't really a religion per se, this guy is proselytizing atheism just like a religion.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  17. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    word fondu is based on Latin word dippity doo, hot gooey, chips, great, chip dip, to be in greatness, pita chip, to be creamy to both of them, fondu, a noun in yummy, fonduism, way of yumminess.

    Visit dippingisfun.com to learn about fonduism, deliciousnessity of fondu's, deliciousness to impose fonduism, veggie dipping on humanity by fonduism, cheese skin of truth absolute by dipper. Be a dipper, not a fondu, lactose intolerant like a fondu, double dipper.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • Akira

      Hey AB. What's the haps?

      March 24, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Best of a hindu atheist, stupid secular, self centered by faith. Answer challenge hindu monkey, self centered brain.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Hi Akira, just kickin' back. Slow day today. How are you?

      March 24, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Quest ion

      Could it be the Foundation of the american constipation?

      March 24, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Akira

      Fondue is mor interesting than what you write about.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Akira

      Doing the same, Apple. Just 'Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon.'

      March 24, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • JMEF

      Akira and AB
      Could use tour help with Chad on page 37 if you are bored.....

      March 24, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
  18. Fundies Gone Wild

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0-04VDrCbM&w=640&h=390]

    .

    March 24, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
  19. joe

    The man should be given the Medal of Honor and a statue erected to him right next to Lincoln. The day this poor planet is freed from the tyranny of all religions will be the day when mankind can truly begin to be "free" in the real sense of the word.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • YeaOk

      Your statement on being "free" is a complete contradiction. If we are truly free then people have the right to be religious don't they?

      March 24, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      You mean the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Medal of Honor is reserved for those of extraordinary valor during war.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • absolutionis

      You're not going to convert people to your faith by insulting them.

      Other religions spread by love or fear and have been successful at that. Atheist preachers could learn from that.

      March 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      YeaOK ... Breaking free from the chains of religion to be a moral, ethical, loving human being by choice without the threat of eternal punishment in hell IS the only true freedom!!

      March 24, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
  20. Lori

    The needless/heartless slaughter of people with different religious beliefs alone, is one very good reason to reject religion. If faith results in mass murder (too many examples to list) in an effort to propagate your Gods and Prophets to control the weak and uneducated, I don't want any part of it. Opting out of religion should be allowed wherever you are and live. To be forced to believe and to be browbeaten to follow or in effect die if you reject a certain faith, truly demonstrates how crazy following religion really is. Not to mention religions are just power grabs to control the weak and uneducated. We should all have the right to reject religion without backlash, pressure and retribution.

    The anger in some of these posts are perfect evidence of the mindset of the those who are trapped and influenced by religion. Think for yourself, don't be a lamb following those who really don't have your best interest in mind, and who are really only lining their pockets to fight another religious war and killing more of your brothers and sisters.

    March 24, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • Neil

      You are confusing the fact that man is capable of doing bad things with the idea that religion makes man do bad things. The most efficient killings in human history occured in atheist countries–USSR, North Korea, China. 10s of millions of people died for not conforming to a superior godless community. The idea of atheism is not at fault, but the fact that man is capable of doing bad things is at fault.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Lori

      I don't think godless has anything to do with the atrocities in those countries you site. God or no God, when people are given no voice, you make my point by bringing now bringing Communism and Dictatores into the discussion which similarly control people and establish a rigid hierarchy to the same level religion does. You follow, witness or in the worst cases you die. People without a say in either their government or their religion with very little right to be their own person, likely with have similar fates.

      Appreciate your comment.

      March 24, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Lori

      I meant to type Communism and Dictatorships. I figured you got that though?

      March 24, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79
Advertisement
About this blog

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