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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.

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.

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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. .

    Yakobi, you think you are going to walk away with online crap you have been posting under "ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION", we'll get you.

    March 24, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Kiss my hind, hindus, ignorant s, you have no education, knowledge to catch up with me, hindus, ignorant s of hindu dark ages.,

      March 24, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • .

      EVERY DOG HAS ITS DAY, KEEP WATCHING BHUNG.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Quest ion

      How can that be?

      Could it be instead the american constipation?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  2. Emma

    Good job! Spread the word, "what gods?"

    March 24, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
  3. Yakobi

    I am also the shameless racist troll also known as ISLAM BLAH BLAH BLAH.........I cab't keep it secret guys.

    March 24, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Here it goes flatulence ism, absurdity of lactose intolerance, odiferous ism, Nation founded on spicy foods of truth Digestive disorders human food inequality being given toots from hind lysol scent variety to celebrate flatulence ism, digestive disorders, a violation of a healthy constitution, not of regularity, odiferous of the constipated, but of hindered by Irritable bowel syndrome of flatulence ism, runny ism called Montezuma revenge ism to celebrate hind, filth of flatulence ism, smelly ism.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • Yakobi

      ISLAM OR WHATEVER YOU FOLLOW SUCKS, MONTEZUMA ISM OF THE WORLD.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Tax Damned Churches NOW

      I am lactose intolerant. May I ...should I,....join...?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      @Tax Damned Churches NOW, be my guest and shoot right in my mouth, NOW

      March 24, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Yes, join goon . filthy secular ism lactose ism

      March 24, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Yakobi

      Get your own handle.

      March 24, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
  4. Demorrhoid

    Difference is .. he's right and you're Demmorhoid. Prove he's right @Lilith. And I'm sorry for the horrible oppression that you and your athiest buddies have been subjected to because of your non-belief. It must be unimaginable.

    March 24, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Sue

      LOL

      March 24, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Lilith

      Ask me nicely. Use your inside voice.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Rhoid .. Inquisition, witch trials, laws against public office, teaching fiction as fact in public schools, etc ... we can certainly handle what we're dealing with now, but we won't let it get out of hand ever again!

      March 24, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Quest ion

      What kind of Oppression?

      Are Atheists being oppressed?

      When, where and how are they being oppressed?

      Who can be so cruel to so oppress those kind and loving atheists?

      How can anybody or anyone be so cruel and oppressive to oppress such good, kind and loving people?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Demorrhoid

      !@Horses, can we limit our examples to post-1700 AD? And when has religion or theology been taught in the public schools? I sure don't remember any religion classes.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Demorrhoid

      That was my inside voice ...

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

      @Demorrhoid, you've obviously never lived in Texas or the South where they are trying to shoehorn creationist myth into science classes.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Demorrhoid .. I can't help you with your ignorance of past and current history. If we ignore history we are doomed to repeat it. We will never let your belief get that out of hand again. Did you comprehend the point that time?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Jade

      Look up "The monkey bill" in Tennessee, which was passed in 2012. It allows creationism to be taught in public schools.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Demorrhoid

      My question is: Is it "shoehorned in" or is it presented as an alternative possibility?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Demorrhoid

      @horses ... I'Funny how you cite examples from the 1600's and then say I'm weak on current history. Very impressed.

      March 24, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Demorrhoid .. "shoehorned" or not, makes no difference. You cannot teach an "alternative possibility" if there is no reason to believe it is a possibility. There are INFINITE alternative possibilities that have no evidence or reason to think they could be true, we can't teach them all & they have no place in public schools. Get it yet?

      March 24, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Demorrhoid .. go back and attempt to comprehend my post you claim cites examples from the 1600's. I believe you missed a few things -or- you have nothing so you're claiming ignorance.

      March 24, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • Demorrhoid

      @Jade – per your request, I Googled the TN Monkey Bill and this is what I found:
      "tame by comparison, merely guarantees that teachers will not be disciplined for “critiquing” the “weaknesses” of scientific theories “such as evolution and global warming.” It also requires school administrators to “assist teachers” in finding “effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies.”

      Not exactly forced creationism as you would have us believe.

      (Yes, I believe in evolution)

      March 24, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Demorrhoid

      @horses – be specific instead of throwing out nebulous sound bytes. And FYI, I've read-up on both TN & TX. See above for TN Monkey bill and here's the skinny from NBC's fact check:

      "State officials and school officials, though, said there is no Texas law or state education standard requiring the teaching of both. Instead, again, state-education policy requires students to "analyze, evaluate, and critique" the scientific basis for evolution.."

      March 24, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Demorrhoid

      @Horses A$$. You're not hard to follow, you're just pompous and a little slow.

      March 24, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  5. IT ISWRTTEN

    The fool has said in his heart 'There is no God.'

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

      "... but whosoever shall say, Thou FOOL, shall be in danger of hell fire." —Jesus Christ, Matthew 5:22

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

      what's your point, of course there is no god.

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

      God said it, not the poster

      March 24, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Tax Damned Churches NOW

      Hearing voices...no paranoid schizophrenia there....

      March 24, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • John P. Tarver, MS/PE

      It is also Proverbs 1:7, a verse many Christians should visit.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • Lenn

      Maybe long ago, back before modern science, you could call us fools because there wasn't an alternative to some god creating everything, but now it's a completely different situation. Now you're the fools for denying science.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Opposing View

      Emma... Prove it. Please show us your proof there is no God. Answer: You have none. All you have is your own personal opinion which don't mean a thing...

      March 24, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • bill walker

      Any fool can quote scripture, & usually does. Pat Robertson has a 'worth' of 100s of millions of dollars doing just that.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Yakobi

      I guess Tarver ran out of arguments for his religion as all he's left with is quoting scripture (as if that does anything but give him a warm fuzzy feeling that he's right all along).

      March 24, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Nicodemus Grumpschmidt

      There's nothing foolish in lookng for proof. Now, who's the fool?

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

      No matter what you believe. The absence of proof is not proof of absence.

      March 24, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
  6. Apple Bush

    Really if he can just rattle the cages of atheists stuck in their confort zones and get them to be honest in public, that wold be great.

    March 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  7. afreefish

    Reblogged this on A Free Fish.

    March 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
  8. Nicodemus Grumpschmidt

    Devout religious people are more than willing to go out and kill and maim in the name of their god and religion. Funny, but I've never heard of a group of agnostics taking up arms against a group of atheists. Just sayin'. 😉

    March 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • .

      Yep.

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

      I guess you missed the whole pogram system in the USSR, and the niceties visited on Chinese by their atheistic government.

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

      That's because agnostics are atheists. They just don't know it because they choose not to think.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Journey

      Uh....Soviet Russia...Communist China...etc...etc...etc...do your homework.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Nonessential

      You need to look at the USSR, China and North Korea. 10 of millions, maybe over 100 million killed in atheist countries (many shoveled into mass graves). I would objectively argue man is capable of bad regardless of belief system. In the 20th century more people were killed because of there beliefs in atheist countries.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • .

      Guess you missed that it wasn’t atheism that killed these people, it was totalitarianism. Nice try, Sue.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Demorrhoid

      Uhh ... and I think you're talking about Islam, not Christianity, Judaism, or Buddhism (yes, more of a philosophy) than a religion. And yes, Israel follows the Hebrew tradition by and large, but I REALLY don't think all the problems are because they want to convert the whole middle east to Judaism. They're just funny about having mortars dropped on them from the west bank. I guess if you want to go back as far as the Inquisition and the Crusades, we're guilty. In that case, I blame all Italians for the atrocities perpetrated by the Romans.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Blaming atheists for the crimes of the Communists (like Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot) is like hating Tom Selleck and Geraldo Rivera because both Hitler and Stalin had mustaches.

      The correct question to ask is WHY they committed their mass murders. It wasn't because they were atheists, it was because they were totalitarians. They were perfectly happy to kill atheists right along with religious believers whenever they felt like it.

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

      It was called the Cold War.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Despite the predictable references to communist countries – which certainly have had their share of atrocities – I'm not seeing any suggestion that atheism drove their actions, while religions have plenty of examples of massive bloodshed directly inspired by their faith. There's a rather large difference between acting while being an atheist and acting because of your atheism.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Etch A. Sketch

      Ah ... in case you don't understand ... the Soviet Union and China ... did not kill in the name of "NO GOD" ...

      They killed for POLITICAL REASONS ... to maintain power ... and to remove western and democratic ideology and influences from the minds of their citizens.

      One of the purposes of the Western "Gods" is to cause people to rise up against their gov'ts so that Western countries can gain influence and power in those countries ... you know, to come steal the resources of that country.

      Lastly, the Chinese may not believe in a white jewish "God" ... but they believe in the afterlife and the "God of Ancestry".

      March 24, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • fiftypercenthollow

      It's because they have a high oppion of themselves yet cannot decide who to kill first, stupid indecive agnostics.

      April 15, 2013 at 1:05 am |
  9. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    Atheism is not a religion or a cohesive group. It is simply a word to describe people who don't believe in theism (poly or mono). Todd Stiefel does not represent "Atheists", he's just using his resources to help other non theists fight the imposition of oppressive beliefs on the rest of us .. for that I appreciate what he's doing.

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

      bravo!

      March 24, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
  10. Demmorhoid

    "“I consider myself working on the next civil equality movement" .... Yeah I was just thinking it's time for another civil equality movement. I'm thinking you need a hobby ... maybe golf or ant farm.

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

      Difference is .. he's right and you're Demmorhoid.

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

      They have laws on the books preventing atheist from holding political office. If you don't think that is a violation of civil rights, you don't know what civil rights ARE.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Nicodemus Grumpschmidt

      Touchy, touchy!

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

      Period ... examples please.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
  11. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    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,

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

      you sound like Cornell West on LSD and malt liquor...

      March 24, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • Nicodemus Grumpschmidt

      Come back when you reach coherence and can stay on topic.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
  12. Fundies Gone Wild

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVkoQHCXSK8&w=640&h=390]

    March 24, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
  13. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    I wonder that Christians feel persecuted when people correct their spelling. They are so touchy about so many things. Back in the day they were stoic (and silent) in the face of lions, frightfully ingenious torture devices, and burly pagans with swords. At least they like to say they were.

    March 24, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      If they don't feel persecuted they don't feel pious .. and they may not earn brownie points for God!

      March 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
  14. el_incr

    Yakobi, Hitler was a Roman Catholic among other things! Roman Catholicism is NOT Christian. It is thoroughly pagan to the core Why do you think all of these priest are hammering little altar boys? Is that your understanding of Christianity? True Christians don't kill people. Murderers kill people. True Christians are simply sinners who have agreed with God's indictment against them and have been pardoned for eternity by the shed blood of His Son on a Roman cross.

    March 24, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Shed blood on a Roman cross – how does that work, exactly. If a man does something to injure or offend me, can I make it right by having him kill my dog?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • End Religion

      Christians are just people who've bought a fairy tale to hide their fears within. It is also a convenient cloak behind which to abuse others.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Sorry, my master in hell expects me to point out that you are guilty of the No True Scotsman fallacy.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • One one

      True Christians don't kill people ? Does that mean Jesus is not a true Christian because he killed everyone with the great flood ? What about when he sent himself to earth to be killed on the cross ?

      March 24, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • One one

      I shall now pray. Dear heavenly father, I give thanks for torturing and killing your son to end the eternal curse of your wrath & vengeance you put upon all of humanity because, in the beginning, two people wanted knowledge. Unlike the unsaved godless trash who deserve to burn forever, I do not seek knowledge. I seek only your approval by submitting to your absurd and egotistical demands so that I may live forever in heaven. And though you never show yourself, I believe in you, for if I have thoughts of doubt, you will send me to hell to be tortured forever… because, although you love me, you hate my thoughts. Amen.

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

      Next, why don't you fill us in on what "No True Scotsman" is and isn't.

      If you don't get the reference, look it up before you make an even larger fool of yourself.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Yakobi

      Um, that would be news to the Roman Catholics, that they aren't xtians.
      I do enjoy the various flavors of religions and xtian denominations arguing about which is the "one true" religion. It only serves my point that ALL religion is wrong.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      (1) Hitler was a murderer.
      (2) No (true) Christian is a murderer.
      Therefore:
      (3) Hitler was not a (true) Christian.
      Therefore:
      (4) Hitler is not an example of a Christian murderer.

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

      Tom–
      1) According to your bible, your god murdered lots of people.
      Therefore, 2) your god is not a true xtian.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I don't have a god, Yakobi.

      March 24, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
  15. akmac65

    Religion will exist as long as some people need explanations for reality and refuse to look beyond their own restricted world view. Many of the religious use their god as something to blame to absolve themselves of responsibility for their choices. It is also a way to accept the unacceptable by stating it is god's will rather than accepting reality for what it is, usually random in nature.

    March 24, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
  16. pauleky

    Great man – need more like him. Time to come of the Dark Ages, people of the world.

    March 24, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  17. ScottCA

    Good man, battling against the insanity and irrationality of delusional cultist religious fanatics.

    Atheism is simply the sounds that any rational person makes in the presence of religious nonsense.
    An Atheist is just someone who understands how to apply logical deductive reasoning.

    March 24, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
  18. BB

    Only the topic of "religion" could bring about a discussion such as this, filled with passion on each side...it always has, it always will...it doesn't matter who is right or wrong, who has it figured out or not...it will always remain a matter of "faith"...a true believer or non-believer will never fill compelled to push his or her deeply held ideas or feelings onto someone else...they will just go about living out that "faith" in the everyday. It has always seemed to me, however, and I have been walking around this planet for half a century now, it takes more thought, action, trust, study and a far greater degree of intelligence to believe in something rather than nothing. To me, it seems easy to be an unbeliever...more risk is taken in deciding to step out in faith. How sad it must be to wake up every morning and know that this is it...this is all there is to life...life just happened one day and then it will end. This huge, blue planet is in existance just so we can be born, live, make a living, have a baby, then die...no connection, no spirit, no soul, no more appreciating the beauty around us, no more being astounded at the improbabilities, no more being amazed at the wonders of life...because none of that has any meaning any more, it's just a bunch of junk that happened accidently...who cares, we're just all going to fade away into nothingness...become one with the dirt, because we are actually no better than the dirt... I don't know about you, but I'm depressed now...but then that's what's great about our country, you can choose to believe or...not...in this...country...that has... no particular meaning...in the grand scheme of thngs...oh, yeah, that's right there is no "grand scheme of things"...so never mind.

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

      Only a religious person would ever claim that it doesn't matter who's right and who's wrong.
       
      OK, I'll give you the "who" part. It doesn't matter who originally came up with the idea.

      It very definitely DOES matter which IDEAS are right or wrong, as you will discover if you try to test the proposition that it's OK to stand in front of an oncoming semi.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • End Religion

      @BB: "it takes more thought, action, trust, study and a far greater degree of intelligence to believe in something rather than nothing."

      It takes more machinations to believe in something, that's for sure. You've got to constantly twist and bend reality to come up with something that aligns with some holy text. It takes ZERO study to follow religion - you're simply told to stop thinking and do what your book or preacher says. And that same old "atheists believe in nothing" tripe has been refuted over and over: how intelligent that you still trot it out.

      ***
      "To me, it seems easy to be an unbeliever...more risk is taken in deciding to step out in faith."

      First of all, what does risk have to do with any worldview appropriateness. Vapid argument. Who cares which is easier or harder? It is a matter of preferring to live within reality or magic. If facts don't matter to you religion is a great option; no responsibility for one's actions and the empty promise of eternal life.

      ***
      "How sad it must be to wake up every morning and know that this is it...this is all there is to life...life just happened one day and then it will end."

      Some of us find this life amazing and wonderful. What a shame you don't because it is all you have.

      ***
      "...no more appreciating the beauty around us, no more being astounded at the improbabilities, no more being amazed at the wonders of life...because none of that has any meaning any more, it's just a bunch of junk that happened accidently"

      Where is that intelligence you were talking about earlier?You don't need to believe in Bigfoot and other ghosts to appreciate the wonder of the universe, moron. Thanks for posting, so the world can see there wasn't any intelligence in your post to begin with. Just more religious maundering from an empty-headed nutter.

      Enjoy it while you can, caveman. Your religion is dying.

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

      To Mr. "End Religion"...that's MRS. caveWOMAN to you! LOL!! Wink and smile!! ; )

      March 24, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • BB

      To Mr. Russell...In response to your comme...your stateme...your line of reasoni...*starting again*... Mr. Russell...in regards to your thoug...your answe...your insigh...*clears throat, sits up straight, cracks knuckles, tries again*...Mr. Russell... *intake of air*...I got nothin'...except...Whaaaaaaaaa aaaaaat? Soooo, good luck with that and you have a nice day... alrighty then...she slowly backs away from her keyboard, making sure not to turn her back towards Mr. Russell until she is completely out of the room... ; )

      March 24, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
  19. Demmorhoid

    Dear Athiests – Just because you make a lot of noise doesn't mean there are a lot of you.

    March 24, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
    • oOo

      STFU and ointment thyself – that thing smells.

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

      That's true. We never claimed we were right because we could outshout you guys.
       
      We freely admit you've got a corner on that market.

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

      Oh, no, there are certainly a lot of us. In fact, there are a lot of us amongst you; sitting right beside you in your churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues. You demonize people who don't believe what you believe, so those under your own roof choose to remain silent. But that always changes - it did for me.

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

      Actually, the number of people moving away from organized religion is increasing: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/01/14/169164840/losing-our-religion-the-growth-of-the-nones

      People are starting to cough up all that religion that has been shoved down their throats and have a voice.

      March 24, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
  20. Faith-Isn't-a-Preacher

    Secular Religion.
    The ACA is the Bible of Statist. (Continually being defined, redefined, mandated, and is selectively being enforced by political fiat.)
    And Socialism is the religion of Statist.

    The Handbook of Human Ownership – A Manual for New Tax Farmers
    youtube.Com/watch?v=k67_imEHTPE

    March 24, 2013 at 3:12 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.