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

The money man behind atheism’s activism

By Dan Merica, CNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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From Catholic school to atheist millionaire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Just doing my part’

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

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

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

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

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

Walking the line

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

Stiefel speaks onstage at the Reason Rally.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evidence of that is his work on cancer fundraising.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expanding the community

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

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

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

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

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

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism

soundoff (7,617 Responses)
  1. But what about...

    Well, I guess all you agnostic/atheist/non-believers don't have to worry about hell, then? In that case, go right ahead while I bid farewell. Be careful not to trip. It could be a painful fall.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • Reason Rules

      Ohhhh. Another "you'll burrrrrrrn in helllllllll" post. So original. If you have to resort to empty threat to defend your dogma, it is resting on pretty shaky foundations. Watch out! The boogy man is coming!

      March 24, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • Answer

      Do your best to comfort yourself yourself, while we'll gladly, "don't give a rat's a$$" about you freaks.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Neither do deists, nor Taoists, nor believers in thousands of other perspectives of god. Why is yours correct?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Michael

      There are so many places on earth where people currently live that are worse than any hell you can imagine. So, please, it is you that will be sorely disappointed when all that is left of you when you die are your bones buried in 4 feet of earth.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Bill Smith

      LIsten, and I know you don't want to hear this: when you're dead, you are dead. You will not have some special consciousness, and you have no reason to believe you will other than the idea of being truly dead with no afterlife whatsoever is very, very scary. I'm sorry you grew up thinking that there is a heaven and hell, personally, non-existence scares me too. Being afraid doesn't mean it's okay to lash out at people and tell them they will be tortured for eternity, it's a cruel thing to say, especially because you're implying that because a person doesn't believe as you do (since they haven't seen the smallest bit of evidence to support the idea) deserves to be tortured forever. I hope you understand that torturing someone because of their viewpoint is evil.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • Opposing View

      Michael... You should stop lying. Hell is like living on the surface of the sun. So please tell me anywhere on earth where humans beings are living in a condition like that?...

      March 24, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • Opposing View

      Bill Smith… And who exactly told you all that nonsense and where did you get it from? And what proof do you have to back up your claims? Answer: You have no proof at all. All you have is conjecture and your own personal opinion. Which don't mean a thing. That's the one thing I've long hated about atheists – they love to make bold statements and outlandish claims and to say it as though it's true. When the reality is, it is not truth at all, and is nothing more than their own personal opinion. Yet, they're too arrogant and proud to admit that fact. Instead, they prefer to continue to lie to people and to continue pretending that it's true, even when the reality is they don't have a clue…

      March 24, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
  2. bobby jones

    thank you Todd Stiefel

    March 24, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
  3. lionlylamb

    testyrntwi?

    March 24, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
    • psych ward staff

      Uh oh, someone threw up their word-snack. Clean-up on page 54.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      He Returns!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      March 24, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Hi Mr. Lamb, you crazy old fuck.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
  4. Mark Knight

    Before Christianity there were plenty of other religions, and with so many religions why does one religion get to claim itself as being better than the other? Why do Muslims feel their religion is better than Christians or Christians feeling their religion is more right than Judaism?

    Religion was invented by human beings during the Neolithic period, that's the time frame where humans went from roaming hunter gatherer groups to small permanent farming villages. Religion is a tool of mankind, just like guns and alcohol. All 3 of which have been used to kill a lot of innocent people.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • Brice Trumey

      I'm on your side, but sources re the Neolithic switch please?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
    • Opposing View

      Whoever told you religion was invented by man, lied to you. The idea of man worshipping a higher power started in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. So learn some truth...

      March 24, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • Thom

      Religion is a necessary part of the human experience and is a function of the psyche. Religion is a Latin word composed of two roots, "re-ligare", meaning to "reconnect". Since the evolution of self awareness, we now are separate from the original nature that other animals benefit from who don't have this.

      For an excellent look at this from a depth psyche angle, read "Ego and Archetype" by Edward Edinger".

      Stiefel "thinks" he found something new when he realized that many of the stories in the bible have been similarly told by other religions. What he discovered have already been discovered and realized by others long ago. He did nothing but became aware of archetypes and does absolutely nothing to discredit the meaning behind why we need to have these stories that tell us about ourselves and is the psyche trying to describe its own nature.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
  5. gwave65

    1 Corinthians 1:18

    March 24, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • Rapsy

      Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, page 418.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • vinster76

      gwave65: i just looked up the corinthian verse: I could not have picked a better one, except the one in Psalms that says, "the fool says in his heart there is no god"....now just wait.....the ugly comments from the tolerant "free thinkers" will return with a vengeance......wait for it, wait for it........

      March 24, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "the fool says in his heart there is no god"

      The wise man shouts it from the rooftops!

      March 24, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
  6. Mortoch

    To Bob,
    So well said, CSN, Cathedral, "So many people have died in the name of god that I cannot believe at all."

    March 24, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • Thom

      There's been so much death in nature and the cosmos so why even have those things any more.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
  7. Renegatus

    What a fool; he should have started a religion... there's much more money in that business.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
  8. MO

    I continue to be amazed at the number of individuals who try to disprove the existence of God by using the world they live in as their framework. For example, someone earlier presented a medical scenario of what physically happens when you die. Their conclusion: there is no 'soul' because it is scientifically impossible. While brilliantly presented, they left out the most important consideration. God does not need to play by the physical rules of our world, if He did, He wouldn't be God.
    That is why you will never be able to prove or to disprove the existence of God. Only when you close your eyes for the last time will you see for yourself.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • End Religion

      Your god doesn't exist. I fart in his general direction.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • Janica

      Pascal's Wager.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • akis lak

      although an atheist i agree with you. turning the existence of god in a matter of taste should be enough for an atheist. but atheists and theists can find a common ground for everyday issues.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • Brian

      I am an atheist but i dont believe for a second that it is a religion and i wish people would stop calling it one.

      If people want to believe in a god let them i believe in science and we are all allowed to our own believes.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • Brice Trumey

      How do you know, MO?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • rafael

      Atheists don't need to prove non-existence, which is impossible. The burden of proof is on the theists. They are merely striving for non-discrimination and evidence-based decision making.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • Bill

      BO:
      Amen.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
  9. Adam

    Why cant we stop judging people ??? This goes for people who believe in god and those who dont. Agee to disagree and move on. There are to many problems in todays world to be bickering about every damn thing.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • End Religion

      Sorry, we practiced "live and let live" for 2000 years while were burned at the stake, hunted and killed. Christians threaten this country. I'll be quiet no more. I will be gentle no more.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • Bob

      What ER said. Right on. And I will do the same.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • Brice Trumey

      I'm with ER, too.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • trueguy4ever

      End religion, I notice that very few atheists trash Islam. You guys pick on Christians because you know we will not kill you.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • Bill

      End Religion:
      You are so correct. Christians are a huge threat to this country. Christians feed and clothe the poor. Minister to the sick. Help when disasters strike. Try to be a voice for the unborn. Christians are a real horrible threat.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • clarity

      @trueguy4ever

      I think the readership here is primarily U.S. I'll trash anyone who pushes too hard on the wall of separation with their beliefs. Since it was put up until now at least, fundie Xtians have been the predominant pushers.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • End Religion

      @trueguy4ever said "End religion, I notice that very few atheists trash Islam. You guys pick on Christians because you know we will not kill you."

      I don't know that anyone won't kill me. In the U.S. we are most familiar with Christianity. Every religion is just about as bad as the next. They're all on the chopping block.

      ***
      @Bill said "You are so correct. Christians are a huge threat to this country. Christians feed and clothe the poor. Minister to the sick. Help when disasters strike. Try to be a voice for the unborn. Christians are a real horrible threat."

      Christians help the poor; Christians go to war over religion. Christians minister the sick; Christians burn and kill those that disagree with them.

      The threat is simply religion's own relentlessness. I'd be happy if you prayed in your home or church and stayed there, but you don't. It isn't enough for Christians. They want to replace reality with their delusion. They want to weasel their way into government and education where they do not belong. Reasonable people gave you space but you want more. It's clear you won't stop unless someone stops you. We're stopping you. Get used to it.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
  10. er

    Finally good to see slow but steady progress against the total lunacy that is religion, we need more money guys on our side making awareness possible.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • wilzborne

      so heathen, why is there something rather nothing?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • rafael

      I don't know, wiz, what made god out of nothing? Enjoy your recursive loop.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
  11. Travis

    My problem with atheism is the same problem I have with any religious fundamentalist...self-righteousness. Devoutly religious people are absolutely certain that there is a God, and that their way of worship is the only correct way. Conversely, atheists are absolutely certain that there is no God, and that any worship whatsoever is foolish and pointless. Personally, I don't know if there is a higher power. I would like to think there is, but I can't be sure. And here's the big secret...NONE OF US know for sure! Believing something is not the same as knowing something. I won't hold a person's personal belief in God (or lack thereof) against them. They can choose to believe whatever they wish. It's only when they start saying that everyone else is wrong that I have a problem. We human beings do not have, nor will we ever have, the capability to know what is beyond this life. Pretending that we do only serves to divide us further, which frankly may be their ulterior motive for having such beliefs in the first place. Keep your faith to yourself.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • clarity

      I agree. Unfortunately though, when the fundies try to push the wall of separation too hard, it must be defended. As an agnostic atheist, I have had arguments against both extremes, but the arguments with hard-line atheists have been easier since that's probably closer to my belief.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "Conversely, atheists are absolutely certain that there is no God, and that any worship whatsoever is foolish and pointless."

      That is positive atheism, and it is only one kind of atheism, not the whole shebang.

      "I won't hold a person's personal belief in God (or lack thereof) against them."

      This movement is not about assaulting people for irrational belief. If that were the case, they would be piling on the hate on Bigfoot believers and alien abductionists as well. The problem is, religionists think their PERSONAL beliefs should dictate YOUR life. And so they routinely violate the principle of separation of church and state to get their beliefs imposed on all of us. That we should not allow, and that is what necessitates of movements like this.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Wrong Travis! Atheists are absolutely certain that there is NO EVIDENCE of a god. There is a vast difference. If there is a god, all he has to do is show some evidence of himself and all atheists will believe.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • clarity

      Hmm. I don't entirely disagree with the posts above, but my understanding is that for plain-old main-stream atheism, it is best defined by talking about belief versus lack of belief. The main-stream atheist does not believe in the existence of deities (most likely because, as the one responder said, for lack of evidence).

      March 24, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • clarity

      In fact, now that I've read them again, I really don't disagree with the other responders at all.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • Shawn

      Hello Travis, Im aways intrigued by people like yourself. Not an atheist but not a "believer". I too was like you in some points thinking it was arrogant of me to judge either way on such a complex and grand subject. However in college I started studing the bible. The bible has been preserved in part for some 4000 years. People died horrible deaths to preserve it and translate it into the common language. Its historical aspects have been proved true by historians and physical findings.Do you feel that was just by chance? Could only humans be so awesome and pull off such a thing? The reason that the person who the above story became an athiest was what? He found that religion was full of Pagan teachings. That is very
      true. Just Google orgins of Christmas or Easter. There is only one true God, not three (trinity). There is no Hell fire. Research orginal greek word Hades. It was hebrew for resting place or grave. same with greek word Sheol. We are not to worship Idos or saint , crosses or Mother Mary. We are not to fight in Mans wars or get involved in politics. A true Christian only has one responsibility. Preach the Good News about Christ Jesus. Thats it. So do your research. FInd the group the only group that is doing this world wide. There is only one. They have distributied the most bibles and the most bible based litterature in the world by far. There is only one trully United group that is doing Gods will. I wont make it easy on you and give you the answer do your research. Oh your not going to heaven either. The Earth is your eternal home look up Psalms 37:29

      March 24, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • clarity

      And while you're at it, Travis, Google "diabolical mimicry" and read all about that – it comes from some early Christians.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
  12. HeavenSense

    I hate Jesus. If he were real I would beat the shit out of him for being so stupid.

    March 24, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      Jebus is a zombie. He'll have your brains for breakfast if you go near him.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • G to the T

      As a formally avid D&D player, I believe the definition for Jesus' state as described in the bible would be closer to a "Litch" than a zombie... 🙂

      April 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
  13. vinster76

    Well Bob, let me try to be brief....the old testament is the history of the nascient people of Israel, and tells the story of the hammering process God used to mold them into His people.....They frequently adopted the gods of pagans and idol worshippers, and the OT describes how God so wanted them to be His people.....So many of the old testament prophecies actually point to a coming Messiah. Please read Isaiah 53 for a very accurate description of the crucifixion that would not occur for at least 700 hundred years. There are many of these prophecies in the OT. The NT is the death and resurrection of Christ, why He came to earth, His sole purpose for living.....Now, this is obviously an extremely short description, and while others could have been more literate in the description, I would suggest you go to any website for further clarification on why the NT was needed, prophesied, and Who it was all about......That is just a start....To be a "free-thinker" requires honest examination of both sides. When you have done that, come tell me where I am going wrong.....

    March 24, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • Dr. Harry Pointer

      Bob can only read certain portions of the Bible, his head is stuck in Leviticus.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "To be a "free-thinker" requires honest examination of both sides."

      False dilemma. There aren't two sides. There are THOUSANDS. Why aren't you doing an "honest examination" of the myths of the Kickapoo people?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
    • Veritas

      Magic supernatural nonsense doesn't require any more thorough analysis than the synopsis you just provided. The bible does not provide answers to any questions of interest; it is a collection of folklore from 1,700 to 5,000 years ago. To me, finding out the origins of life and the universe through science is a whole lot more rewarding and truly exhilarating to the mind.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • Bob

      Here are some more choice bits from the Christian book of nasty, from both NT and OT:

      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 9:10 pm |
  14. nino

    I don't understand how educated, intelligent persons can believe in the Jewish Fairy Tales Book....Do they believe in Santa Clause too???

    March 24, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Of course

      March 24, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • thedylanmiller

      I'm confused by your post, but I do think it's safe to say that not many Jews are particularly concerned with Santa Claus

      March 24, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "Do they believe in Santa Clause too???"

      No. They mock us believers in the Red-Robed Saint. But show the obvious parallels between between belief in Santa and the Jewish zombie carpenter named jeebus, and they get offended.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Rapsy

      Thedylanmiller, you made me laugh heartily with your reply.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
  15. Doctorstrangeluv

    God bless Joe Stiefel for helping us Atheists

    March 24, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • Dr. Harry Pointer

      did you mean satan bless?

      March 24, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • Veritas

      @Dr Harry Potter: Satan bless or god bless, no difference. It is all the same nonsense fairy tale figures. And I guess you didn't get the poster's joke? You must be a "christian" 🙂

      March 24, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
  16. John P. Tarver, MS/PE

    clarity- the editor onbly allows posts of limited complexity. Only a week ago I was not allowed to post relativity and big bang in the same post. Your agenda is going nowhere as long as CNN has to assist your nonsense.

    March 24, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Absolute nonsense. Troll harder, Tarver.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • Answer

      Meanwhile back at the other Tarver agenda camp of making up shiat...

      March 24, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • Bob

      Nah, John, the CNN editor just doesn't like you. Couldn't be an automated word fragment filter that everyone else here knows about, nah...

      You idiot.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • thedylanmiller

      An atheist agenda that opposes rational discussion of scientific/mathematical topics? Could it possibly be that this post of yours was deleted for some misguided, hateful or irrational nonsense, and not because dah Illuminatis ar3 out to get u?

      March 24, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • clarity

      BS. Learn to use the reply button. Another sign that you're out of date and out of touch is how you blew off the responses from others regarding current theory. Regardless, of course science curriculum is going to change as we learn new things. Also, if you can't express your here with proper English, why should anyone trust you about anything having to do with education?

      March 24, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • clarity

      express yourself

      March 24, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Janica

      Tarver's lying again. Gee. Shocker.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
  17. Regina Spektor

    Yes, this thread has been kind and respectful, sort of. But other threads are not. Praying isn't fruitless if it gives me comfort.

    March 24, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • HS

      Pray for a brain.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      But that's all it will give you. Some people find meditation gives comfort; others find it in sport or activities.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • Rapsy

      As long as you realize that praying is only comforting yourself, and isn't actually doing any more than that, then I say giddy up.

      Whenever I see people offer to pray over some tragedy, I think ha -prayers – literally the least you can do.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
  18. Adam

    Religion and country should never be in the same sentence. Hypocricy in todays religion is the real problem. Say what you want the only thing Jesus promoted was peace and love. why cant we all exept each other for who they are ? Why do we have to be defined by what we believe in or look like ? At some point we have to agree to disagree, just because you dont agree with someones views or beliefs dosnt meen your judging them. At the end of the day were ll human, and we grow old and die, cant we just be peacable with each other ????????????

    March 24, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
  19. vinster76

    the interesting thing about so many atheists is their forceful description of themselves as "free-thinkers". I actually think that for many of them, there is no attempt made to investigate the claims of Christ, it is much easier to declare, "there is no God, Jesus is dead, there was no resurrection" yada, yada, yada. However, there is so much information out there, freely available, written by scholars both Christian and non-christian, claiming evidence. In fact there was a much heralded movement not long ago, to deny there was ever a Jesus of Nazareth.....Of course, the novements adherents came out in force, demanding we not believe there was such a person. Interestingly, even secular non-believing historians have debunked the "never existed" myth.....Jesus is still under attack today as He was two thousand years ago....Efforts to rid human history of His existence, and reason for coming here have failed, and continue to fail. Rather than parrot what some atheist physicist or philosopher spouts off, investigate the claims, look at both sides, examine the evidence.....truly be a "free thinker"......

    March 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Bob

      Actually, Vinster, your whole Jesus spiel is complete bunkum. How is it again that your omnipotent sky fairy being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

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

      March 24, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      "there is so much information out there, freely available, written by scholars both Christian and non-christian, claiming evidence."

      Evidence of what?

      March 24, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • John P. Tarver, MS/PE

      Most of these athiests are methamphetamine users who believe they are smarter than the rest of us. Unfortuenately for them the endorphin gland in our brains is there to kill the pain of thinking and their recreational use of the gland has reduced them to little more than dogs.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Actually most atheists have examined the facts and no facts point to a god or anything in the bible. Show us the proof of your god. And as you've obviously researched all religions to select the one you did, show us the evidence against the other gods and why you made your choice.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
    • The Tin Foil Hat Brigade Is Here

      The interesting thing is most atheists were theists at one time, so you logic completely fails. Try again. You didn't think this through.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • Austin

      It's not hard to be smarter than a tarver, my goldfish is

      March 24, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • Veritas

      Many studies have shown that atheists in general are more familiar with the biblical texts than "christians". Furthermore, most "christians" conveniently avoid the not so uplifting parts of the bible, either by never reading it or because the ministers in their church cherrypick from the book. It is indeed to be considered "free thinking" to always curiously trying to understand the origins of life and the universe through science rather than just accepting a 2,000 year old (or more) fairy tale.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "I actually think that for many of them, there is no attempt made to investigate the claims of Christ

      Why do you think so? How do you know they have not made such investigations? Do you have access to their minds? Does the christian god grant mind-reading abilities to those who follow him? If so, I will join his religion immediately!

      And what investigations have you done to determine that Jupiter is not the Supreme Ruler of All Things? How about The Jade King? Or Vishnu?

      March 24, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
    • Janica

      Tarver spews:
      "Most of these athiests are methamphetamine users who believe they are smarter than the rest of us. Unfortuenately for them the endorphin gland in our brains is there to kill the pain of thinking and their recreational use of the gland has reduced them to little more than dogs."
      This is the reason nobody takes this jerk seriously, no matter how many faux letters he puts behind his name. This is utter bull, and if this idiot proselytizes for God in this way, his abrupt departure for Hell right after he dies will be a shock to no one. Honestly, these blogs will be better off.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • laguna_greg

      The thing of it is, if you really, really investigate what Yeshua said, and not just what's in the latest translation of the white man's western Bible, You'd be forced to conclude that his followers perverted his teachings, and the whole thing was now being run as a confidence scam of the first order, to bilk billions out of the unsuspecting and influence social and political order at the same time.

      The more you actually know about the religion, the more such knowledge makes you want to run away from the church.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
    • Veritas

      @John P. Tarver, MS/PE: It is widely known that there is an inverse relationship between the level of religiosity in a person and the level of education that person has received. The majority of scientists are obviously agnostics/atheists.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
    • Dippy

      And he can't spell atheist.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • clarity

      Annnnnnnnnnnnnnd, for the 100th time today – what is your evidence of said drug abuse, Tarver?????

      He is THE king of BS.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      I'm still in awe of this "endorphin gland" that Tarver has discovered.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • Rapsy

      What claims would these be? The claim that he walked on water? Or cured the sick? Or that he was god?
      Check your local psyche ward and you'll find these same claims, not to mention a few Napoleans amongst the bunch.

      And by the way, there isn't any evidence to prove your Jesus was real. Just like their isn't any evidence of Jews being enslaved by the Egyptians or a mass exodus, or a worldwide flood that took place 6000 years ago, killing everything in the world. Unless you really want to believe that a 600 year old man floated around with a boatload of animals – stopping in Australia to release the marsupials before continuing on to Ararat.

      Telling me that 30 Helen's agree that Jesus was real without offering one iota of proof is what makes the religious so downright funny. But by all means, tell me more about how humans lived harmoniously with dinosaurs.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
  20. swohio

    To all atheists reading this: You need to repent and believe in the Lord. 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12 speaks of the end times in which there will be those who refuse to love and accept the truth which will save them. So God will send upon them a strong delusion, causing them to be deceived, and they will believe lies. This happens because they refuse to accept truth. Atheists refuse to accept the truth, and thus they will be condemned because they love evil rather than believing in the truth. You have been warned.

    March 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
    • Answer

      Or what?

      March 24, 2013 at 8:44 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      My Hindu friend says you're a filthy liar. Why is he wrong?

      March 24, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
    • Religion is

      Superstition!

      What will happen to those who ignore the warning?

      March 24, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • Veritas

      The truth is that you are full of s hit. The bible fairy tales were made up by men 1,800-1,900 years ago and is based on folklore that is much older than that. It is utter nonsense as anyone with a functional intellect realizes after they turn 8 years old or so.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • Bob

      swohio, sounds like your nasty Christian sky fairy threatening us again. What a surprise. No thanks, you can keep your disgusting delusions. To yourself, silently please.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:12 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.