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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.

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

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

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

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

Walking the line

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

Stiefel speaks onstage at the Reason Rally.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Evidence of that is his work on cancer fundraising.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Expanding the community

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism

soundoff (7,617 Responses)
  1. Pancake House

    If there were a Yeshua and he were alive today, he would not recognize Christianity has having anything to do with him and vice versa.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
    • Pancake House

      I actually WANT to spend eternity with Satan so leave me alone.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
  2. Kim Jung Il

    Herro, We in North Korea fully support american atheists. Why can't the whole world see how awesome and rational we are!

    March 24, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
    • Answer

      Says the christian troll.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Heaven is the religious equivalent of "North Korea"

      March 24, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
  3. jonnyprecious

    It saddens and frightens me that I have to watch the western world controlled, to a large extent, by a group of people that actually believe that an invisible person, for many an old man, actually controls and creates existence. Moreover, this entire system is based on a collection of ancient stories that has been picked over, edited, and censored by the "leaders" of these factions so that the other accounts do not infringe or contradict what they have been promoting. In other words, most followers of these organized religions are victims of false advertising anyway. It's utterly ludicrous and controlling by the people promoting it, and it's sad to watch people live in that world because they are afraid not to, if I may be frank. If you want to be good, be good and imitate Buddha, Jesus, the Dalai Lama, Ben Franklin, Abe Lincoln, and Oprah, just to name a few to start. And one last thing: according to the Bible, Jesus loved everyone, so at least follow that one, you bellicose crusaders, and maybe you'll feel better all around. And atheism isn't a religion. It just is.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • THE REALIST

      *****
      *****

      Your GODisIMAGINARY.com (please visit the site) and thank goodness
      ... because he emanates from the EVILbible.com (visit this one as well).

      *****
      *****

      March 24, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
  4. kyle

    there is a lot of anti christian sentiment on this page right now. And i can see why because obviously an article about an atheistic leader would draw **drum roll** lots of atheists. However, I have been reading through your comments and I have to say that many of you are so blinded by your own bias that it is absolutely disgusting. You are quick to rip on the weaknesses of Christians, and yet you do not acknowledge your own bias, hate, etc. Example: somebody posted that raising kids to believe in religion should be considered a crime because it gives them false hope. Another happily posted that religion is going, going and almost gone. Atheism is your OPINION. Just like my christian faith is MY opinion. I hear atheists complain all the time about how intolerant religious people are yet a few weeks ago a professor made a class right Jesus' name on a piece of paper and stomp on it. When a student refused he was suspended. This is a complete violation of rights by an atheist, so before all of you continue to act as if religion is the bane of all that is good, take a good hard look at yourselves and the rude comments being posted on this page and understand that none of us, theists and atheists alike are perfect. We are all guilty of some wrongdoing, so be respectful of other people's beliefs and have some intelligent, respectful conversation in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of everyone else.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • Answer

      What's the matter? Can't take it that religion is getting what is due?

      A revolt is under way to just make religion crawl back into it's churches, not fair?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      All things are opinions. As long as they are generated by humans. The difference though is whether or not those opinions are supported by evidence or baseless. THAT is the difference between Christian opinions and atheist opinions. Atheists just refuse to jump to conclusions.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • Answer

      By the way, I realize that by not being a Christ follower, I am in fact a child of Satan and will spend all of eternity with him.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • THE REALIST

      *****
      *****

      Your GODisIMAGINARY.com (please visit the site) and thank goodness
      ... because he emanates from the EVILbible.com (visit this one as well).

      *****
      *****

      March 24, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • Answer

      Spoken like the christian c-o-c-k-s-u-c-k-e-r who likes to pose as someone who can't win an argument.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • Answer

      95% of us on this board will spend all of eternity with Satan and LOVE it!!!!!

      March 24, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • kyle

      You all realize that this does not help your cause? The hypocrisy and blatant disrespect of your comments is astounding. And I am a science major I do not jump to conclusions either. We happen to reach a different one but you are too close minded to respect mine. I have friends that are atheists that are very intelligent and we love to talk about life and religion and we mutually agree that we gain a lot by talking together. and then I know those of you that are so full of hate that its like talking to a brick wall. You're biased. You're boring. Next please.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • Answer

      Answer

      95% of us on this board will spend all of eternity with Satan and LOVE it!!!!!

      =====The christian c-o-c-k-s-u-c-k-e-r with their endless exclamation points. Classic.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • kyle

      lol are you going to talk intelligently with me or are you just going to talk about my genitals all day?

      March 24, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
  5. Cup Noodle

    If there were a god, I would be made at it.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Cup Noodle

      If I could type, I would start over.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
    • trueguy4ever

      LOL, an honest guy.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
  6. Journey

    Remember...ugly looking...ugly thinking. That guys looks like he is mad at God for not making him cool and attractive...I'd be an atheist too if I had these sorts of burdens.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • Answer

      Concerned about your own looks and then projecting.

      You must be on fugly dude.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      You must be made at god for making you an idiot.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Hollywood

      Are you talking about the unkempt facial hair? Does not give him a polished look!

      March 24, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • Cheryl

      Ugly looking, ugly thinking? Really? All ugly people think ugly? Wow. I hope you don't consider yourself a Christian.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
  7. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    GodFreeNow
    Nobody created dark matter to make formulas work better. That's nonsense. Your statement lacks a fundamental understanding of both dark matter and formulas.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
  8. The Truth

    Why do you atheists continue to reject the one true God, The Flying Spaghetti Monster? Is it because you are ANGRY at HIM, or too arrogant to admit that He created you to serve him on the pirate ship of eternity? Repent or be flogged with his noodly appendage forever!

    March 24, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • Answer

      Hey Zeus is the only god in town.

      Hold your sauce!

      March 24, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Rapsy

      How can you be angry at something that doesn't exist? It seems like a complete waste of time to me. Sorta like religion is a complete waste of time.

      Of course, if you have actual undeniable truth to the existence of your god, then you might have a point to this nonsensical question. Alas, you don't. Ergo, your question remains nonsensical.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • Rapsy

      Ramen, brother! Ramen!

      March 24, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • The Truth

      I have been touched by His Noodly Appendage. Anyone who denies my God is insulting me. Stop attacking my beliefs by daring to disagree with them. The Flying Spaghetti Monster LOVES everyone. If you don't believe that He will BURN YOU FOREVERRRRRRR!

      March 24, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • Cup Noodle

      There is no God. Only pasta.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • Answer

      Zeus and lightning!!

      A bolt up your kazzuh! XD

      March 24, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • Zyggy 2003

      So how do you explain this Genius. I suppose 70,000 people made this up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_F%C3%A1tima

      There are many stories like this, if you would care to look. As you or one of you colleagues said 'THESE DAYS WE HAVE THE WEB !! "

      Ha ha, They made their own bed and now they are going to have to sleep in it.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • The Truth

      Yes, millions of Muslims and Hindus claim to have seen miraculous things too. You just continue to deny His Noodliness and we will see where you go when you die.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Pancake House

      Zyggy 2003, LOL!

      I like the one last year where they convinced the whole town there was blood on their mary but it was cleary bird shit.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
    • TheSpeaker

      More of a Flying Spaghetti Monster worshiper myself. Your god is puny compared to his noodley awesomesauce.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • End Religion

      Religion wouldn't be complete without pews full of simpletons like Zyggy.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
  9. miguel

    So this guy thinks those of us that believe are praying to the air. What is the harm?

    Which of the teachings of Christ do those on the left find offensive?

    March 24, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "So this guy thinks those of us that believe are praying to the air. What is the harm?"

      The harm is in justifying bigotry and obstruction of government by bleating "The air told me to!"

      March 24, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      1) Abandoning your family to follow him.
      2) Refusing to help a gentile woman heal her daughter until she compared herself to a dog
      3) The all-boys club.

      Need more?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      If there was a Jesus, he didn't say anything that had not already been said. What is the big deal?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • The Truth

      The harm comes when those "praying to the air" attempt to force their beliefs on others. If you don't think that is happening every day, you are not reading the news.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The idea that belief or non-belief (thoughts) should be a basis for rewards and punishments.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • Rapsy

      Which are the teachings of Christ that are offensive? How about those where the teachings of Christ were foisted on a culture, with zero respect for the culture the missionaries were destroying? What about all of those harmed in the name of the teachings of JAY-SUS.

      Harmless? I think not!

      March 24, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
  10. trueguy4ever

    So you guys believe in Science as a religion? It is an attempt to understand the natural world around us. But, in almost every field of study man gets so far and then hits a road block. For as much as we know, there are so much more that we do not know. Mr. Hawkins created dark matter to make his formula's work. A substance that is greater than 2/3rds of the mass of the universe, but it does not impair in any way light transmission across our universe. You can't see it or quantify it but it there.
    Do you guys believe in that stuff?

    March 24, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Science is not the source, nor the end, just a medium to learn truth absolute of a matter, having no value of its own, a source in mind of a hindu ignorant Atheist, self centered like an animal, Atheist. secular.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Nobody created dark matter to make formulas work better. That's nonsense. Your statement lacks a fundamental understanding of both dark matter and formulas.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • Rapsy

      Science isn't a religion, you tard. Same as atheism isn't a religion.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • clarity

      What I believe in is things that I can say to myself that I know. So, as an agnostic atheist, I have to be content knowing that there are many unanswered questions – even about things that both theists and hard-line theists around me feel are already answered questions, based on prevailing theory or clues extrapolated from other supposed knowledge.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Than who is source of Dark matter please, By the way, your computer invented itself, right, no one invented it, What a hinduism, stupidity of a hindu Atheist, ignorant self centered.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • trueguy4ever

      Godfellow, you have not stuided anything about Steven Hawkins are you would know better.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • clarity

      correction: both . . . and hard-line ATtheists around me

      March 24, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • Answer

      Islam, eating what he wiped, from b-u-t-t.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      So tell us why the religious theory of knowledge is reliable. Show us an instance of divine revelation providing any useful insight about anything. Tell us how we can blast off to the moon or eradicate polio by kneeling down and praying. Tell us, so we can cut funding to NASA and just appoint religious leaders to man our space program at a much cheaper cost. Tell us, so we can close all these expensive universities and other centers of learning, and just kneel and pray to god to deliver knowledge to our brains via AngelMail.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @TrueGuy,

      I think what you're trying to say is that scientists explain the math with a concept they believe exists, then yes, it's true. Newton did the same and we call the force gravity. Newton didn't "create" gravity to make his formulas work.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Truth does not ask to be believed. It asks to be tested. Scientists do not join hands every Saturday and Sunday and sing, “Yes gravity is real! I know gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down! Amen!” If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about the concept.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • clarity

      Steven Hawkins????

      Do you mean Coleman Hawkins – the jazz tenor saxophonist? lol.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Rapsy

      Uh-oh, that Islamic Foundation guy is attempting to argue the God-of-the-gaps concept. If science can't prove everything beyond a reasonable doubt, then GOD DONE IT!!!!

      March 24, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
    • Answer

      Islam, doesn't even have toilet paper.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      filthy secular s Answer, we have no toilet papers, and we don't want them, they are forbidden in Islam, but we muslims have invented dark matter, read Qur'an

      March 24, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
  11. fberry100@gmail.com

    “I was a cross-wearing, praying, religious-retreat Catholic,” Stiefel said. “You could say there were points that I felt the spirit.”
    If there is no God as he believes, exactly what Spirit did he "feel"?

    March 24, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • what else?

      satanic

      March 24, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • Jeebusss

      He realized it was just in his head, as you fail to apparently.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • rational minnesota

      Emotion. Human emotion.
      Basically the same thing as when you meet someone and get that knot in your stomach, when you watch a scary movie and get that creepy feeling, when you lose a loved one and feel heart-broken, when you have a "eureka" moment and feel inspired..
      All natural. All human. All explained without need of the supernatural.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • Opposing View

      That's a good point. Because even if the "spirit" he felt was evil, that still should let him know God truly exists. For a person to be so blind that they can't even realize that, that's really sad...

      March 24, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
    • Opposing View

      To "rational minnesota"… Without any doubt, any person who has ever had a true spiritual encounter, they know that the encounter was "spiritual" and not natural. As for anyone who cannot seem to understand the difference between a natural feeling and a spiritual feeling, then that's a person who's never had one…

      March 24, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • G to the T

      Opposing View – "any person who has ever had a true spiritual encounter, they know that the encounter was "spiritual" and not natural. As for anyone who cannot seem to understand the difference between a natural feeling and a spiritual feeling, then that's a person who's never had one…"

      How DARE you try to trivialize my own experiences. Please try to understand that I (like most atheists) was raised a christian and whole-heartedly embraced by christian faith. I most definitely had (what I would decscribed at the time) as spiritual experiences. But in my study of the bible I found that it was a very human book. In my study of world religions I found that god looks very much like a product of the culture it came from. My journey was sincere and so are my conclusions.

      You are free to disagree with my conclusions, but please do not try to use that "never was a christian" crap as it simply isn't true. False witness mean anything to you?

      April 18, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  12. Celebration begins here

    As atheists celebrate their day on April 1st.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • Answer

      On any given day you religious people will be riled if any article shows a negative light on your religion.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • Bill

      You cant burn Atheists at the stake anymore so internet flame wars are all the religious have left.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
  13. Franklin

    If you have the audacity to disagree with the idea of gay marriage, you are a certified "bigot" and a threat to humanity.

    If you post billboards calling people's most deeply held religious beliefs nonsense and ridiculing them, you are a "free thinking hero".

    One thing drum beating atheists might accomplish is to drive people back to the Republican party.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Republicans run away from atheists?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • Chob

      ==If you post billboards calling people's most deeply held religious beliefs nonsense and ridiculing them, you are a "free thinking hero==
      Ah. So the argument here is, the more deeply you hold your beliefs, the more immune you are to criticism. Nice.

      I believe your religion is crap. I hold that belief very dearly.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • Opposing View

      I'd rather be a "bigot" and go to heaven, than a "free thinking hero" and wind up in hell, any day...

      March 24, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • Franklin

      @chob: that is because you are a bigot. Just a different sort of bigot, but a bigot nonetheless.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
    • Franklin

      @chob: By the way, Chobby, what exactly is my "religion"? You know, the one you think is "crap"...even though you have no idea what it is ?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
  14. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    It is shame human claim to be Atheist, self centered like animals. They may claim to be educated, knowledge able, but thier education is not more than an animal, Atheist.
    Letter D, means THE, Vowel O means QUANTIFIED, Letter N means established or enshrined. Letter K identifies function of a noun. Vowel E represents unity of an adjective and a noun in essence. Letter Y means Ye, from heart and mind, base of word Yes. meaning by self choice, with dis regard to truth absolute, a Secular, self centered or an atheist,
    As a matter of fact, word ANIMAL means nothing else, but a atheist, self centered or denier of truth absolute.
    Atheism, self center ism is way of animals and hindrance negativity to truth absolute GOD, foundation of consti tution of USA and universe and source for existence of every thing in existence, otherwise known as constant.
    Atheism is way of hindus, deniers of truth absolute, not of human, but animals observed by pot head hindu Swamis, ignorant goons, secular, self centered by their hindu soul, filthy desire and foundation of hinduism racism of hindu dark ages.
    Please visit Limitisthetruth.com to learn about truth absolute and hindrance of truth absolute by hindus, deniers of truth absolute, foundation of hinduism racism, product of Atheism, hindu secular ism, criminal self center ism of hindu Sanatans, crook goons to hind, fool humanity in to gentile ism, slavery of few.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • HarryGP

      The false prophet of islam is a liar. He said that Jesus asked other men to take his place on the cross and asked 3 times for someone to go for him. One young man offered each time to go die for him, then Jesus floated through the ceiling. You have to believe that to be Muslim, and in believing that, you lose the forgiveness of sins made possible by Jesus's sacrifice, so you will spend an eternity with your false prophet you worship. Enjoy your stay. Bring a portable air conditioner.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • Bill

      Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
  15. Nate

    We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each others’ happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

    Greed has poisoned men’s souls; has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind.

    We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery ,we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in man; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all.

    I cannot foresee my destiny six feet underground and say to myself this is this the meaning of life? I believe cause I have faith there is something better waiting for me

    March 24, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "We think too much and feel too little. "

      I would like just one example of any important insight that has been achieved through "feeling."

      "I believe cause I have faith there is something better waiting for me"

      And I endorse your right to self-deception. But try to foist it on me, as the religionists who make atheist movements like these necessary, and we'll have a probem.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
  16. Rocket

    That's such a surprise that he was an ex-catholic. I guess he never truely was saved otherwise he would have never turned his back on God, God would have never given up on him. I guess when the Catholic religion started getting confused about what the Bible truely says about Christianity, so to did Todd and soo many other ex-Catholics. Atheism is lazy approach to Religion as a whole. Athiest do not show love, they show more hatred than they do love

    March 24, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • Peter Hoffman

      Please don't call atheists lazy, most of us actually know more about religion than the so-called "saved" because it was that very research that led us to conclude with a high degree of certainty that religions are fabricated and how they evolve over time.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • Opposing View

      Peter Hoffman... And that same research will send your soul to hell....

      March 24, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • THE REALIST

      *****
      *****

      Your GODisIMAGINARY.com (please visit the site) and thank goodness
      ... because he emanates from the EVILbible.com (visit this one as well).

      *****
      *****

      *****
      *****

      Your GODisIMAGINARY.com (please visit the site) and thank goodness
      ... because he emanates from the EVILbible.com (visit this one as well).

      *****
      *****

      March 24, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
  17. William Polhamus

    These guys are the new age atheist. Trying to prove that god does not exist thru science. What a bunch of hogwash.....Ayn Rand was crazy no doubt......but I put more stock in her line of reasoning. These clowns have no clue what they are talking about.....people will either make the choice to think or not by themselves. You can not buy reason, nor can you force it on people that refuse to think in the first place. My disbelief in god is my own, and I subscribe to no movement. What do people with power want? More power. And this is exactly what will bring these people down. I don't encounter any discrimination because of my non-belief. Again, atheism is not a movement, it is simply that no deities exist, and individuals must come to terms with that.. If you want to promote atheism, start teaching Aristotle in school instead of Kant, and get rid of the "it takes a village" mindset.

    March 24, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
  18. Simka

    "We are still in the early stages of eliminating discrimination against atheists and humanists" What discrimination???? Please shut-up about your belief system or lack of one. Nobody cares and really that's what you're putting your money into ....what about starving children, the poor and the sick? Oh wait that might make people think your a Christian! Don't want that...

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

      Look another pitiful christian speaks.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "what about starving children, the poor and the sick?"

      Ask Bill Gates.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • Reason Rules

      Athiests would not have to donate to orginizarions that protect the separation of church and state if Christians took your advice and "shut up about their belief system".

      March 24, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • Liddy

      Totally agree! Discrimination? To even link Atheists "suffering" with the LGBT community whose rights are being determined shortly by the Supreme Court or to African Americans who actually at some point suffered from slavery to .... exactly what to Atheists suffer from? People not understanding their non belief? What else? No seriously....WHAT ELSE?

      March 24, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
  19. Michael

    It is truly unbelievable that we are in the year 2013 and billions of people still believe in these fairy tales. The only higher power that exits is within ourselves and the sooner that humans as a whole start to believe in their own potential, and not one given to them by another being, the sooner humanity can move forward towards peace and contentment.

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

      you are fairy tail

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

      Yeah, that logic sure seems to be working well in places like Syria, the Congo, Iran, and North Korea. Glad all the leaders of those countries "believe in their potential". Their people all enjoy "peace and contentment"

      March 24, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "Syria, the Congo, Iran,"

      All with overwhelmingly religious populations/governments.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • Ziggy2003

      maybe you should write a book since you are so smart.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Opposing View

      2 John 1:7 – For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist...

      I believe that scripture is referring to you, Michael...

      March 24, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
  20. Opposing View

    FACT: Most people have heard the story of how God created the earth in 7 days (or in 7,000 man years). But what most people don't know or realize is that God also decreed that the reign of mankind would also only last for about 7000 years. According to the scriptures, the span of time from Genesis to Revelation, from beginning to end, from Adam and Eve to Judgment Day, spans only 7,000 years. And we've blown through 6,000 of those years already (Jesus arrived on earth 4,000 years after the time of Adam and Eve, and it's been 2,000 years since). Therefore, it is biblical fact that the world will indeed end (meaning, Judgment Day will be here) in about 1,000 years from now. Or in about 10 generations…

    That's something to think about. And no use making plans beyond that point.

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

      L O L

      March 24, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
    • Reason Rules

      FACT: Simply typing "FACT" in capital letters in front of a bunch of made up baloney does not, in fact, make it a fact.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Opposing View

      ReasonRules... Nor does your opinion to the contrary make it not a fact either. In contrast, because the things I said are supported by scripture, that does indeed make those things a FACT. And you have no proof to the contrary that can make it NOT a FACT...

      March 24, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • The Truth

      Your claim that things supported by scripture is based on your belief that the bible is the inerrant, infallible word of god, which is your opinion. The bible is full of inconsistencies and errors. You are starting with the premise that the bible is inerrant and going from there. Read something else for a change. Or don't. Your living your life out in a delusion doesn't affect me, but it is surely sad for you.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
    • THE REALIST

      *****
      *****

      Your GODisIMAGINARY.com (please visit the site) and thank goodness
      ... because he emanates from the EVILbible.com (visit this one as well).

      *****
      *****

      March 24, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
    • Opposing View

      To "The Truth"… There are no "inconsistencies and errors" in the bible. The only inconsistencies and errors are in your own misguided understanding of it.

      Secondly, and everything you said is based on your belief and the premise that the bible is NOT the infallible Word of God. Who told you it wasn't? Where did you get it from? Whoever told you that, lied to you. And if you continue to believe that, it will only take your soul to hell…

      March 24, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I suspect that anyone who has studied the Bible's origins from the standpoint of historical criticism, who has made serious inquiries into how it accreted and changed through redaction, additions and deletions over many years, who has actually seen and read the earliest manuscripts and those thought most relevant to modern text, would be very unlikely to call the Bible infallible and the inerrant word of God. Only a peculiar suspension of rational thought about it,absolutely blind faith, would allow anyone to go on believing that it is unless the book was approached from the beginning with complete ignorance and that ignorance was meticulously maintained by excluding even the most natural doubts.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • Reason Rules

      Watch the series on YouTube "The Bible Unearthed". There are countless other examples of the bible obviously being a fictional work. You are basing your whole life on a lie. Threatening people with hell to get them to believe is like promising them virgins to martyr themselves.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:45 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.