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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. vocalatheist

    "...the 38-year-old has made an indelible impact on the nation’s fastest-growing “religious” group: the nonbelievers."
    While the article is fairly informative, the above quote is just pure laziness. Atheism is now a religion? Ridiculous. I also find it slightly amusing that a wealthy atheist using his money to advance skepticism and reason would even be noteworthy. I mean, it's not like he can claim tax exempt status, blather incessantly from the pulpit of his mega-church, and through his money around in an attempt to undermine the separation between church and state. Now that is a story I would love to read about in the CNN "belief blog."

    March 24, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
  2. Mitch Miller Guentry

    Quick, quick, quick....everybody, look at meeeeeee. I'm an atheist, which means my biggest claim to fame is that I don't believe in God. I need attention. Please, everybody...look at meeeeeeeee!!!!!

    March 24, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • Answer

      The christian came mocking. Very christ-like.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • .

      Yawn.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Mitch Miller Guentry

      Oooh look at me everybody. My boyfriend left me. He was an atheist. So now I attack atheists.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • Steve

      I love how the hypocrisy of how just about every christian anywhere ever has ended there public pronouncements, whether they be at the local post office with friends or on national television at the end of a Superbowl, with "God bless" or "I wanna thank God" is lost on Mitch here.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • == o ==

      Dumb-ass Poe.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
  3. FakeItGoodNASA

    Hey I have a question...

    Nothing against atheists, but does atheism require belief in evolution? If so, then what will happen to their 'belief' when Darwinism, the Heliocentric myth as well as all of NASA's fakery bite the dust?

    March 24, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • Answer

      Nope.

      You can skip even evolution if you want to. But that is just plain being ignorant if you want to be educated on the world.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Don't forget about the gravity myth.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • Allan Boise

      To turn your question around, FakeIt, what do you think should happen to Christianity, since time and time again its tenets and claims, such as a flat young earth, and the absence of thousands of extinct species from its creation myths, as well as a large set of medical nonsense, has been proven just plain wrong?

      March 24, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
    • Sue

      Brilliant reply, Allan.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • freethinkr

      Maybe you can tell us via telepathy when the aliens come to take you away.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • Tyler

      You believe that heliocentrism is a myth? Then I guess you just don't believe in science then. And I'm sorry but you are living a lie if you don't believe in these proven facts.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • The Tin Foil Hat Brigade Is Here

      Another moon walk denier, amonst other things...if I see you bring up Sandy Hook as being a gov't conspiracy, I will come and adjust your hat personally.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • Answer

      I wonder if moon walk deniers teach that same thing to their kids, like a religion?

      March 24, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • vocalatheist

      Let's see... you don't believe in evolution, you don't believe the Earth actually orbits the sun, and you don't believe NASA really landed men on the moon. But you do believe in an anthropomorphic deity who has numbered the hairs on your head and think he actually listens to and answers your prayers. Yikes!

      March 24, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • JWoody907

      No, there's no requirement to believe in evolution, and really no requirement to believe in anything at all. There's also various beliefs inside the atheist community, including the support of the theory of evolution, people who don't really have a consideration of how we as a species came to be but argue that human efforts and focus should be placed on advancing the species and the common good, rather than hailing a fictional deity.

      Really, atheism is nice in that there isn't a requirement to believe anything, it's just a collection of people who don't believe in a god or gods.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:01 pm |
    • cmt123

      Allan, perhaps you should read the Bible before dispelling its beliefs....nowhere in the Bible does it say the world was flat...in fact, if you recall, the Bible references sin being cast from East to West, an obvious depiction of a globe...if sin were to be spread from North to South, you would eventually head in the opposite direction, which you do not if you go East to West...I would love to mentor you in the ways of Christ...have time?

      March 24, 2013 at 8:06 pm |
    • The Vocal Atheist

      Genesis 1:16
      "God made two great lights–the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars." Oopsies!

      March 24, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
  4. Bostontola

    Religious people still discriminate against atheists in the workplace.

    March 24, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • Answer

      I wonder if being a black, and openly gay atheist is the worst of all things in this current environment?

      March 24, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • The Tin Foil Hat Brigade Is Here

      Only is he is engage to be married, Answer.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
  5. John P. Tarver, MS/PE

    One of the key differences between religion and science is that over time science changes. Notional hypothesis such as the big bang and evolution as a means to species have been found to be false and once that happens the believers in these ideas are beyond a leap of faith. This is why seperation of church and State must do something to remove the atheist religion from our public schools; as a matter of seperation of church and State.

    March 24, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • Allan Boise

      Yeah, John, nothing will change the biblical statements that the earth is flat (as well as round), and is young. Wrong, as well as self-contradictory and inconsistent.

      The bible actually has changed significantly over centuries, but large parts of it are just simply and obviously wrong.

      Do get over your delusions. It's high time.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • John P. Tarver, MS/PE

      Allan- Is it your position that the bible was once science? Perhaps your claim is true, but like the big bang and the notion that evolution is a means to species, there is no place in our public schools for teaching religion as science.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • Answer

      Religion belongs in a church not in schools.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Sue

      Careful, Allan. John Tarver is a slippery eel. Now he is trying to slip in an attempt at making his bible stories equivalent to evidence-backed science, which they are not.

      Shame on you, John Tarver, you deceptive slimeball.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • clarity

      @JPT: No, what is, in fact happening, and has always been happening since its inception, is that the more your ilk pushes to limit advancement and attempt to inject religion into government and its domain, the more the wall of separation is in fact, spread and applied. If you read Madison's notes and thoughts on his handiwork, it's quite obvious that is what he intended.

      But also, I have to ask – can you give an example of, what you refer to as, the "atheist religion in our public schools"?

      March 24, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      John, I can't believe that you really believe that; you certainly have no evidence. Post here what has shown the big bang and evolution to be incorrect.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:43 pm |
    • clarity

      Sue – he has been rattling off BS all day.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:44 pm |
    • John P. Tarver, MS/PE

      I equate obsolete science revered as religion as a violation of church and State, where the religion of obsolete science is taught.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • A PhD (Emory University, Neuroscience)

      John P. Tarver, I'm sure you're not as moronic as you seem. I'm not a believer, but it causes me pain to see you prancing around pretending to be a believer and abysmally stupid as well. I don't believe you. Go find another hobby.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      JPT
      What science do you feel is obsolete and why? Where is the religion of obsolete science taught?

      March 24, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
    • clarity

      Yeah – let's get a follow-up on this from JPT – maybe just for once, he'll provide something besides a deluded headline.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • John P. Tarver, MS/PE

      phd- If you don't believe me then you can read the 1400 page tretise on the subject written by Dr. Gould. Gould does go on to support rapid, or random mutation evolution, but of course without evolutipon as a scientific basis, punctuated evolution is a baseless assertion; under the scientific method.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:59 pm |

    • Tarver, I can't guess what Stephen Jay Gould would think of current theories and evidence. Even Chad knows he's been dead for over a decade.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • JWoody907

      Save for the factual point that the Big Bang and evolution have been shown to have evidence to support them.

      As you pointed out, science is willing to evolve overtime. When hypothesis are proven incorrect or in need of change, science changes them and then tests again to see how it works. Religion exists in the absence of change, you can show that religion is wrong and it will continue to claim it's infallibility without end.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • clarity

      So THAT's what all this is about, Tarver?? That has been argued he time and again by those who don't keep up to date with science. You're talking about out of date science and you're the one who can't keep up. Jeez.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • John P. Tarver, MS/PE

      Jay Gould's life work is his attempt to reconsile evolution with the hard physical evidence from geology. The layer of iridium 24 between eras with old species on one side and new species on the other caused Dr. Gould to try and create a means whereby evolution might be true. Consider for a moment that only 1% of species exist from the last mass extinction barrier and then try to see the logical paradox that species evolve over a long period of time.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • Skarphace

      Science was meant to change over time as new technologies and evidence becomes available. This is why scientists call their conclusions 'theories' instead of 'facts'. A theory is only valid as long as it has not been disproven. Contrary to what you seem to believe about scientists, they do not hold onto theories that have been disproven through scientific method.

      This highlights the difference between science and religion. While new theories are developed and disproven theories are discarded, science progresses and becomes more and more accurate. Religious teachings, on the other hand, are regarded as fact, not theory, as they supposedly come from a higher power. These teachings are not discarded as they are disproven and therefore religion stagnates and does not progress.

      If you want religious teachings to be taught in school instead of science, merely enroll your child in a school that teaches the religious ideas you adhere to. It is as easy as that. Leave science to those who value reason over dogma and leave religion to those who want to keep believing what they were taught to believe regardless of any evidence to the contrary.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Tarver, species don't evolve at a uniform rate. You should think of evolution as landscape with selection pressures as mountain peaks. The mountain peaks are scattered and isolated. Genetic information is moving along the landscape. Most of the time nothing much happens – stability and gradualism. A peak is encountered and the genetic information is significantly transformed by going over it – speciation or extinction.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
    • John P. Tarver, MS/PE

      The scientific method requires a theory to be demonstrable and repeatable, like relativity; a standard Darwin's notional hypothesis never met. Yet "origin of species" is still taught falsely as a theory, even though the core notional hypothesis has been proven false by geology. Therefore taching evolution as a means to species in public schools is a violation of the seperation of church and State.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Here John, you need a spell checker. It's separation (not seperation) of Church and State.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • Impman

      If god is real then only Atheists will be in heaven. Live in the moment and start to love each other and yourselves now because this IS your life NOW. there is nothing else. Get a grip on that then enjoy your life and treat others life just as precious.

      March 25, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  6. Heythere

    What i see in these comments are Atheists being much more up front and honest with what they believe, even if it comes of sounding harsh. Theists use huge amount of passive aggressive wording when they right. since there only proof is a man made written book there is not much to be able to argue. With Atheist and not having to use another persons words to argue their case, feel this give atheists a much broader spectrum to argue from. I don't feel that i am an Atheist but reading what some people keep writing about religion and how it is suppose to serve them, makes me want to belittle those people to. There is believing in a hire power and then there is believing fully in a bible that was written by kings to control the masses. The first one is respectable, the second is believing in a fairytale or harry potter, just because you have never seen a wizard as long as you have faith in wizards then they are real:)

    March 24, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • Saving the earth,one pithy comment at a time

      Perhaps it is time you strolled on down to the local library and TRY? to take out a book on atheism..Sam Harris-end of faith..The god delusion by Richard Dawkins or god is not great,by the late,great Christopher Hitchens.Go for it.What do you have to lose my friend?

      March 24, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • ..and for the good news;there is no Satan either !

      .or slide over to youtube and check out Sam Harris @ U of Notre Dame.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
  7. Bostontola

    --–

    March 24, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
  8. Adam

    Atheism is NOT a religious group. But that is not to say that atheists do not have their own personal beliefs. Atheism is just one part of a persons personal ideology. This is what is so confusing to Christians. They see their religion as interchangeable with their ideology. They say they don't just believe in Christianity, they ARE Christians. Atheists simply do not believe in any Gods because of the lack of evidence for them, however that is not the core of their belief system that they would say makes them moral or informs their choices, that would be "being human" which is by far the larger part to most atheists ideology.

    i·de·ol·o·gy (d-l-j, d-) n. 1. The body of ideas reflecting the social needs and aspirations of an individual, group, class, or culture. 2. A set of doctrines or beliefs that form the basis of a political, economic, or other system.

    As you can see, the absence of God does not remove a persons ideology and you can have all the same "social needs and aspirations" without proclaiming your devotion to one invisible deity or another..

    March 24, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
    • John P. Tarver, MS/PE

      Atheism became a religion when the global geological record proved species occur rapidly following a mass extinction, the opposite of evolution. For th past 40 years the athiest religion has been falsely taught as science, when it is not.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      John, None of what you say is true. Atheism is not a religion. Evolution is a fact; if you have more information than the world's scientists, do share with us.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • John P. Tarver, MS/PE

      The global geological record proved evolution as a means to species false 40 years ago, but Saint Nicolas is real.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
    • Skarphace

      John: "the global geological record proved species occur rapidly following a mass extinction, the opposite of evolution."

      Wrong. Speciation is a part of the theory of evolution. The opposite is the theory (Christians would call it 'fact') of creationism. The theory of creationism states that God created all species on the same day. Therefore, according to creationists no new species have come into being since species were first created. Creationsists hold that there is only subspeciation, not speciation. In other words, all forms of feline came from the first species of cat that God created. If two species can in fact produce offspring then they are in fact subspecies of the same species.

      Therefore, your statement is a contradiction.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
    • G to the T

      @ John – I'll bite John, what's your proof that falsifies evolution? If you are referring to puctuated equilibrium, I believe you will find that it is complimentary to evolution and does not counter it in any significant way.

      April 18, 2013 at 11:10 am |
  9. Mark

    Unfortunately, "Bible study" in most churches is starts with the dogma of a particular brand of Christianity and interprets the Bible through that lens. Most Christians know nothing about 200 plus years of Bible scholarship. this is a disservice to the congregation

    March 24, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
  10. lesliedevereaux

    Internet atheistic approach: insult, slander, accuse, blaspheme. Psalm 14:1 says it best: "The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt. They do abominable deeds. There is none who does good."

    March 24, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • Answer

      Persecution complex. It works on you.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • .

      Time for a refresher course from Mathew 7. Get cracking, toots.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      lesliedevereaux, I don't say it with my heart. Hearts don't make language. Keep trying.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • Bob

      lesliedevereaux, speaking of abominable deeds, the Christian book of horrors AKA the bible is chock full of demands purportedly from the nasty Christian sky fairy to do all manner of violence including torture, rape, and murder, such as the following:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Leviticus 25
      44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
      45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
      46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      March 24, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • Allan Boise

      Awesome post, Bob. Good points. Christians, those quotes are straight from your holy book, before you go accusing us again of "bashing" or being mean. Get over that already.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      "They are corrupt" – I can't imagine how. I'm not aware of anything I do that would seem unfair or dishonest.

      "They do abominable deeds" – actually we probably do mostly the same things. Some of us just don't tack on god-worship in addition to our other deeds.

      "There is no who does good"- Most of us give to charities, volunteer, and do what we can to make the world a peaceful place where everyone will enjoy living.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
    • sam stone

      wow. nothing more impressive than being able to quote a book. good work on getting them synapses to fire, gash

      March 24, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • .

      Leslie's blog, which is touted as "lesliedevereaux
      The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!" has exactly one entry:
      "Hello world!" Apparently the world finds her as boring as I do; it hasn't answered in 7 months.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • ..and for the good news;there is no Satan either !

      OK.Thanks for the unfounded generalizations.Please don't pick on us for refusing to follow the great MAFIA-BOSS in the sky.Why do you insist upon insulting people who think differently than you.Does it make sense when Muslims insult and threaten you and your way of life?..anyhow STFU !

      March 24, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • G to the T

      Ironic that you manage to insult, slander and accuse atheists while claiming that they are the ones doing it...

      April 18, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  11. Phazon

    A house does not create itself you can suggest life came from nothing but yet you see evolution not creating houses come now your wisdom in the wisdom of men is what makes you ignorant.

    March 24, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • Answer

      Oh a square planet.

      Look at that in the sky. Did you find one?

      March 24, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Phazon' is an instance of the Argument from Ignorance fallacy

      http://fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      March 24, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      What you don't understand about evolution speaks volumes.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Evolution has led to many animals having shelter created by their own bodies, like the chambered nautilus. Other animals have evolved to seek shelter. Still other animals, us for example, evolved to create shelter by modifying the environment – we build houses from things we take out of the environment.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Evolution doesn't build houses, therefore the theory of evolution is wrong. Got it.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Life didn't come from nothing. It came from elements produced by the big bang forming amino acids; the exact mechanism is unknown but several experiments have proven that it is possible. So life was formed and then species evolved. Definitely no creator (or assembler) required at least since the big bang and probably not before that.
      Face it dude, that bible is factually incorrect – they just want your tithe, they have expensive lifestyles.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • sam stone

      and from where do you derive your "wisdom", phazon?

      March 24, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
  12. sippyjuice

    Hey CNN, non-believers are not part of a religious group.

    March 24, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • Answer

      Don't worry over it. Labeling attempts have happened countless times.

      Pigeonhole. Make anything stick. D-e-m-o-n-i-z-e.

      You'll learn the various tactics under wraps.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
  13. sippyjuice

    Hey CNN, non-belief is not a religious group...

    March 24, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
  14. Ed

    What surprises me isn't so much the article, but the people responding. Those who are believers, comment and respond without rudeness. Those who are atheist, or agnostic if you prefer, are responding to the believers with maliciousness. This is the way of ignorance, whether you believe or not.

    March 24, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • End Religion

      We've been polite for 2000 years as you burned us at the stake, hunted and killed us. We're not being so polite any longer. Your notion of deserving respect for worshiping an imaginary pedophile is disgusting and laughable. Grow up.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • Sue

      Actually, Ed, I can readily find both pleasant/polite comments and animosity/rudeness from both sides. Which posts are you reading?

      March 24, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • sam stone

      really, ed? you have not read believers bloviating proxy threats or insults?

      March 24, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • Nicodemus Grumpschmidt

      Ed, are you actually reading all of the responses? There's just as much vitriol on the believers' side as you claim there is on the atheists' side. Try to be a little more objective here.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
  15. Pallas Athena

    I'm not buying any of their atheist products. This is a form of Christian bashing and it's wrong. I believe in God and should be able to practice my religion as my personal faith dictates without someone always trying to convince me to do otherwise. To keep trying to downplay my faith is wrong and that is religious harassment. If you need facts, Sodom and Gomorrah fell and that HAS been proven. Also, from what I understand ALL atheists go to Hell without exception so if you think it's bad now....

    March 24, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • Answer

      You have those good christian thoughts of us burning. It works for your own little comforts.

      Go right on ahead with those fire and brimstone.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Telling us we are destined to an eternity of torture is exactly the kind of abuse we are fighting against. Teaching this to children is tantamount to child abuse. Your concepts of fair judgment are abysmal and immoral.
      That's just one example of what we abhor about your "religion".

      March 24, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • End Religion

      Your religion is childish. Grow up.
      Let me get this straight, Sodom and Gomorrah fell therefore a guy with a beard lives in the clouds? Completely logical...
      There is no hell, idiot. Your threats mean nothing. Take the thumb our of your mouth.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • Sue

      great points, AtheistSteve.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • Nicodemus Grumpschmidt

      Oh, you poor victimized christian. I feel so sorry for you. Do you need a handkerchief?

      March 24, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
  16. Justin H

    As an atheist, I am happy for his efforts. While I do not expect to see all Americans abandon their religion, I would like to see a revolution of secular reason invade the public square. I would like to see government decisions made on the basis of civil rights, rational thought, and scientific evidence. In the 21st century, there is no reason for the pervasive and archaic religious based thinking in the public square.

    March 24, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      What do you mean, when your say, RIGHTS? literal translation please.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • Yakobi

      stop shooting DARK mohammad matter from your ass

      March 24, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
  17. mrchumpy

    I HAVE COME TO THE INTERNET TO ARGUE ABOUT RELIGION.

    Let the reasoned debate commence.

    March 24, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • Answer

      You've came shouting.

      That's a classic troll.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Religions are hinduism, corruption of truth absolute by hindu Sanatans, filthy goons to justify hinduism racism by making human gods, a hindu filthy trick of hindu dark ages, hindus stupids still follow hinduism corruption of truth absolute called religions, even though almost no one believe Kings and their hindu Prophets fortune tellers to be gods of human. Shear hinduism, stupidity.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • Answer

      Islam, wipe time. Hands.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • Topher

      What would you like to debate?

      March 24, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • Answer

      As soon as the question is asked Gopher will leave. So let it begin and end at the same time.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      don't worry you atheist goon Answer, my father did and his father and his father they all used hands, and I am not ashamed of using my hands, I have no problem cleaning your ass too, with my bare hands, for an extra dollar, I would lick your dar matter too!!!

      March 24, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • Answer

      Islam came from camel, father. Oh good. Nice to see where, hands, filth, came from.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • sam stone

      topher: i would like to debate why anyone would want to worship such a vindictive petty pr1ck, if not out of fear

      March 24, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
    • Topher

      sam stone

      Hey, Sam. You getting any of this snow? It's like a blizzard here.

      " i would like to debate why anyone would want to worship such a vindictive petty pr1ck, if not out of fear"

      Well, we love Him because He first loved us. He left His throne so take the punishment we deserve. He gave His life so that we can live. And as to your point about fearing Him ... we SHOULD fear Him. Jesus said in Matthew 28 "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

      March 24, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • sam stone

      the punishment we deserve?

      wow.

      without guilt, your belief system is dead in the water.

      according to you, god created man knowing man would "sin". so, god would be glorified for his "justice" or his "mercy". basically, we are pawns in god's self-glorification fantasy. and you want to worship this pr1ck?

      March 25, 2013 at 3:15 am |
    • sam stone

      more blah, blah, fvcking blah empty proxy threats.

      your god is impotent.

      your guilt is self imposed

      you are a snivelling sycophant

      March 25, 2013 at 3:19 am |
  18. lesliedevereaux

    Well, at least there is an atheist that is doing something to improve various societies. While most atheists simply satisfy their desires instead of contributing to the community, this man is actually serving. BUT, if he is correct then all of his efforts - along with all people that have served throughout history - are pointless. Again: nothing matters if there is no God and afterlife.

    March 24, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • Answer

      What a surprise that you favor your delusion and say that. Couldn't have guessed you were to associate -out of need- to self approve that it came from god.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • .

      "Satisfy their desires?" You haven't a clue about what an atheist really thinks, do you? It appears you are just repeating the latest fire-and-brimstone pap you heard st the sermon you came from educate yourself. You know zip.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      We are in the position of defining what matters. We do that and work towards those things – generally by trying to make the world a place where everyone will enjoy living.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      How terribly limited is your evaluation of life if you think it's pointless without an imaginary overlord and some magic live-forever card. Inexplicably you've convinced yourself that you are worthless. Charming.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • darthjhova

      I'm truly sorry you can't see the beauty in the universe without the veil of God obstructing your vision.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • sam stone

      so, leslie: your current life does not matter? why are you here? would you not be happier on your knees in front of the savior?

      March 24, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • CMFJ

      "While most atheists simply satisfy their desires instead of contributing to the community..."

      You have a rather distorted, and likely completely speculative, view of atheists. Your assumption that atheists do not contribute to the community is wrong. I am an atheist and I contribute to my community through charitable work, but I also view my profession (medical research) as something that contributes to mankind. That my work in science could contribute to our civilization is very important to me.

      "BUT, if he is correct then all of his efforts – along with all people that have served throughout history – are pointless. Again: nothing matters if there is no God and afterlife."

      You are essentially saying that you cannot comprehend anything other than what you believe. In your construct of existence, apparently your motivation requires god and the afterlife. Instead of coming to the logical conclusion that atheists simply have a different paradigm for why life matters, you just assume that atheists do not care about anything.

      Atheists love their family and friends just like you do. They care about the world, about their fellow man, and about being good people. You many not be able to understand why, but they do. Just because you are do not understand why they do it, does not mean they do.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
  19. organically

    Religion is the biggest scam in the history of humanity

    March 24, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • Answer

      Filthy hands. No toilet paper.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      so true religions have created bhungs like me, I shoot dark matter from my ass, and use my hands to wipe it clean, but I would never accept paper towels because it is a creation of atheist goons

      March 24, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • Answer

      Make sure you wipe every bit. Most important hands.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
  20. Mel

    Im a believer in Christ. Ive never forced my faith on anyone that didn't want to hear. I never judged someone because they didn't believe. Its funny how there are all these atheists trying to force their beliefs on everyone else. Like I have said many times at one point and time in life, WE will ALL find out one day when we die. Ive come across many atheists and the first thing they do is mock others. How is that understanding?

    March 24, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • .

      I don't think you have met even one atheist, let alone many.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • Science

      Mind mapping NO GOD(S) REQUIRED!

      Gone but Not Forgotten: Yearning for Lost Loved Ones Linked to Altered Thinking About the Future

      Mar. 18, 2013 — People suffering from complicated grief may have difficulty recalling specific events from their past or imagining specific events in the future, but not when those events involve the partner they lost, according to a new study published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130318151631.htm

      Maybe the bible needs to be updated

      Have a great day !

      March 24, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • Noah

      No one finds out anything when they die, because one cannot think if they don't exist.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • jimbob

      Like serial killing and mass murder it is impossible to understand.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • Sue

      Mel, your post makes you a hypocrite.

      March 24, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.