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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. biggles

    I am always interested in getting things right. But I am not interested in being someone else’s fact check boy. And I’m certainly not interested in Murdock’s paranoid aspersions or the trolling of her fanatical followers. Do keep that in mind." r carrier

    March 25, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • biggles

      I will conclude with this: it is precisely because of these threads of research and analysis, which tediously take up my time for no purpose, only to reveal how unreliable Murdock is,

      March 25, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • End Religion

      next time start by concluding much earlier.

      March 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
  2. biggles

    you know what happens next

    March 25, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • End Religion

      you'll change your moniker again, report some posts, and continue your maundering?

      March 25, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
  3. Ken Margo

    This guys money doesn't make people atheists. Just like money doesn't make you a christian. Either you believe or you don't. Money wont change that. The way atheists can make more people atheists is by asking questions and not just sitting back and accepting what someone says to you. Even god has to use common sense and logic. No logic, no god.

    March 25, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Salero21

      God Created!

      March 25, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Created what?

      March 25, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
  4. Shrubbery

    All I can say is that one day, every knee shall bow and tongue confess...

    ...not trying to damn anyone, but when that day comes, you won't be able to say you weren't told. These forums are nothing...your heart is all that God cares about. Posture in here all you want, your decision for Christ is your decision and is solely between you and God.

    Everything else is just scenery...

    March 25, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      blah blah blah

      March 25, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Bullsh!t. Just another unfounded threat. You are sick.

      March 25, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Juno What

      Shrubbery,

      "There is no god but Allah, and Mohammad is his Prophet"

      Now, you can't say that you weren't ever told!
      (neener, neener)

      March 25, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Shrubbery

      Unfounded? No...the Bible is quite clear. If you choose not to believe in the Bible, that is your choice, but you were told.

      Threat? Far from. It is God's desire that NONE should perish. Read 2Peter, Chapter 3. Again, scoff as you will, but God's desire is clear.

      March 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      The bible and the Qur'an are fiction. they are books like just like Harry Potter.

      March 25, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I must have missed the definitive proof for some god and that The Babble is in fact "his" word. . .

      No proof for your cult's idol and book equals unfounded assertions and threats.

      March 25, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Juno What

      Shrubber,

      The Quran is Perfect. It is the Word of Allah, through his Prophet Mohammad.

      If you choose not to believe in the Quran, that is your choice, but you were told.
      (neener, neener)

      March 25, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Answer

      Go go book fight.

      March 25, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Shrubbery: How exactly does that make sense to you? The whole believe or else crap is a scare tactic, nothing more. No matter how many times you spew it, we're still not going to worry b/c you're wrong-you have nothing to back your claims (the buybull doesn't count).

      March 25, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • Juno What

      Ken Margo,

      Ya'... I am just rustling the Shrubbery...

      March 25, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • Shrubbery

      The replies to my posts are...sadly...predictable.

      Think what you will of the Bible...that does not change its meaning...nor does it change God's desire for your life.

      March 25, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • Answer

      "I can't win with my flawed book. Damn."

      March 25, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @shrub..................Since you are a great fortune teller, why bother to post? Do you think god is bothered by what is written?

      March 25, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Shrubb, you have not proven that your god exists, that The Babble is true or that you are not mentally ill. Why should we believe anything you say?

      March 25, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • Juno What

      I wonder if apples grow on this Shrubbery?

      March 25, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • .

      The Knights of Ni reject you, Shrubbery.

      March 25, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • Pete

      Shrubbery
      As the old joke goes, for all of us who lost our teeth, or lost our knees in the war, God will have to supply new ones just so that we'll have something to gnash and bend when that day comes. Too bad he doesn't replace these things as part of his regular miracle cure working, isn't it?

      Personally, I think that the day will come when the religious Right will be regarded like slave owners and those who burned witches. You may not be around then, but your ancestors will have plenty of reason to be ashamed of having you in their family tree. Just think about that, OK?

      March 25, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
  5. revmichaelhafele

    We relegate ourselves to pithy 'anonymous' statements instead of actually taking the time to carry on serious and informed dialogue between those who do and do not ascribe to a religious tradition.

    March 25, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Whadya

      mean by that? Chad is the font of all knowledge, ask him anything, good luck with getting an answer.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • sam stone

      In that sense, he is like Gopher

      March 25, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • SarahMax

      revmikey you never said anything pithy in your life.

      March 25, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • End Religion

      You either choose to live by fact, reason and reality, or you choose magic. If you choose magic we really don't have a whole lot to discuss.

      March 25, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
  6. Austin

    Ken, should I encourage everyone to be drunk since I earned a dui? Is that why you want to throw cheap shots? when I cut out the source of the trouble. I dont drink.

    Why do you and end religion like to remind me of a mistake I made? Do you think there is no God because I made a mistake? You see this is trickery and exploitation for a selfish means. That is evil.

    March 25, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Right on Austin

      Switching to mainlining window wiper cleaner is way better than booze and cheaper, you go bro!!!

      March 25, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      A lack of self control isn't evil, it's just lazy. If god helps you be more disciplined in your life, well then that's great for your body, but you've only traded one addiction for another. The laziness just moved up to the reasoning part of your brain. Personally, I find the maturity to work out, eat right and manage my vices comes from understanding my place in the world around me. Since, as long as I live, the concept will be present with me, I find it far more sustainable and doesn't require believing in things without sufficient evidence.

      March 25, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Austin

      @Godfreenow
      If god helps you be more disciplined in your life, well then that's great for your body, but you've only traded one addiction for another. The laziness just moved up to the reasoning part of your brain.

      The last thing I would ever do to deal with vice, is register my brain with "religion." I was a believer when I got a dui.

      I have experienced spiritual revelation, because of God's plan and mercy, not my righteousness.

      Paul the Apostle was no different, he persecuted christians and managed the killing of many.

      So when I say, I experience revelation, or simply, I believe in the resurrection, talking about sin does not nullify my belief. The reason pick up on the dui and my past is just like seventh grade popularity gossip.

      Do you understand the retardation of someone who says, "this guy believes in God,......pschhhhhh ya right, he got a dui!"

      Only someone who is truly stupid and childish acts like this. This is not worthy of a seventh graders mentality.

      March 25, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • End Religion

      I remind people of your supposed felony and DUI convictions less than you do yourself. Why is it horrid for me to mention them and not you?

      March 25, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
  7. biggles

    He reigns supreme. The one and only true god.

    People have gambled on drugs to get high with less evidence.

    March 25, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      "People have gambled on drugs to get high with less evidence."

      You want to flesh that out a little bit? At this point, it doesn't make much sense.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • bobk52

      Sounds like boggles has big brain envy!

      March 25, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • biggles

      That's him. Fleshed out. Come to me!

      March 25, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • biggles

      what happens if someone responds and "goes to him?" HE RESPONDS.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      I think we're dealing with a language barrier here. Sorry, but I'm having a hard time understanding.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "Biggles Flies North"

      "Biggles Files South"

      Next week part two – "Biggles' Fly's Undone".

      March 25, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      See Monty Python's Flying Circus, episode 33,

      "The Adventures of Biggles. Part one – Biggles dictates a letter."

      March 25, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
    • biggles

      if he doesn't exist, he doesn't.

      go to him all you want, as often as you like, and nothing can happen.

      if he exists, if god almighty is, and he is inviting you to come to him so that he may offer you rest, then he is capable of providing you with rest.

      March 25, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • biggles

      ask him

      March 25, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • End Religion

      Whew, I just made it here with biggles' big, fresh bag o' pills. He should be OK now.

      March 25, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "if he exists, if god almighty is, and he is inviting you to come to him "

      Woah, woah, WOAH! One unjustified assumption about invisible sky wizards at a time, please!

      There's only one god? The Hindus say NO! Why are you right?
      He's male? Several West African traditional religions say NO! Why are you right?
      He is almighty? Several Christian apologists say NO! Why are you right?
      He's inviting you to come to him? Spinoza says NO! Why are you right?

      March 25, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
  8. AverageJoe76

    Being agnostic is the most comfortable for me. It relieves me of any arrogant statements involving some 'Ultimate Truth'. My religion = 'I don't know'. Which is, in fact, is the reality of all humans. We just don't know. But we act like we do. Science at least offers a methodical approach to answering questions. Religion.......... not so much. VERY RIGID. No wiggle-room. And did I mention, 'boring'? OMG..... it's like a book-of-the-month club for the REST OF MY LIFE, about the SAME book. Geeeez.

    March 25, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Yep

      My religion (Christianity) asks me to be agnostic on some issues.

      The opposite is arrogance – which is not good for me.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Yep

      agnosticism > self-interested certainty

      March 25, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Madtown

      Well said. Agnosticism is really the best position to hold, because we truly don't know the real answers to any of these questions. Not yet, at least.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • OTOH

      @Yep,

      What is more arrogant and self-interested than believing that YOU are SO special to the almighty, whiz-bang, creator of the freakin' UNIVERSE, that YOU will get MORE than this life... and not only MORE, but an eternal, blissful MORE?!

      March 25, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Yep

      @OTOH

      He loves us all equally. There is nothing I can do to earn more love than you.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      I'm sure it comes down to semantics, but atheism doesn't require that you deny gods exist. There should be a different word for that. It's only that you do not believe they exist. Most atheists I know hold to the possibility that a god/gods can exist, just that there is no evidence to support it.

      Also, I would ask you... are you also agnostic about zeus and the other thousands of gods that are out there?

      March 25, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Yep

      @OTOH

      He lets rain fall on them whether they are just or unjust.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Yep

      I don't pray to zeus and the other thousands of gods that are out there.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  9. SevenPup

    I always wonder why people like Live4him think they are able to recognize The Truth when they cant recognize the gaping flaws in their logic.

    March 25, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Always?

      March 25, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Bill Deacon
      Is irrelevant. Billy is an obsequious papal troll. So tell us Billy boy, do you think the media ragged on the story of the new pope or did they just report the news as it unfolded?

      March 25, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • SevenPup

      @Bill Deacon

      Yes, always

      March 25, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I only ask because I sometimes periodically wonder about why people think the things they do and behave the way they do but i almost always never do anything always.

      March 25, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • SevenPup

      Bill Deacon

      You do lots of things always youre likely never aware of

      March 25, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • *

      Bill Deacon,
      "Always"?

      You remind of my silly mother-in-law who, when I said one day, "I have a million things to do today", said, "A million? - really?".

      March 25, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • The Demon Deacon

      Bill Deacon
      Is irrelevant. Billy is an obsequious papal apologist troll. Always, Billy, did you not have to confess to the priest even as a boy that you were spa-nking the monkey, or eyeballing some comely girl that er-ected you, now be honest. I hope you did not encounter the priestly reach around, Any way you constantly bit-ched about media coverage when the stories were about the RCC in the toilet, but zero comments about the mostly decent press on Franky the new guy, comment please.

      March 25, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • Goodfella

      Depends what you mean by always Mr. Deacon but lets hope you take a crap at least once a day or you are full of it.

      March 25, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      I'm guessing L4H is someone living back on the farm and has never left his rural community, the only life he knows is that of his family and close church friends. It seems like an impermeable bubble they reside in. Slowly things are changing. 🙂

      March 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
  10. SisterChromatid

    Rational people like to gather with other rational people so they don't have to tiptoe around peoples' magical beliefs.

    Not everyone thinks it's a good idea to keep on pretending the emperor might be wearing magical robes that only the chosen can see. You are free to tell your kid that Santa is real or that a loving god will torture them forever if they don't believe the right magic story, but it's unseemly to force others to play along.

    March 25, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • The Non Believer

      Is telling your children they'll burn in hell forever really ok or is it a form of child abuse?

      March 25, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Madtown

      I say it's a form of emotional abuse, if they use that imagery, fire, devil, eternity, burning, etc.

      March 25, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.[595] Roman Catechism

      March 25, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • Ted

      Bill, those weren't chocolate covered almonds you just ate. They were deer droppings.

      March 25, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • SisterShrelk

      Yeah, Bill Deacon, and Zeus he gonna whip yo fat ass good for worshipping that other god guy.

      March 25, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • The Non Believer

      Thanks Bill for deflecting the topic. :/

      March 25, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
  11. Austin

    He looks like a monkey. The missing link? Take a dna sample somebody quick. take a blood sample right off his nose.

    He's Jewish.

    March 25, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Austin

      Don't use my handle on a comment like that please.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • ME II

      We're all very distant cousins to monkeys. What's your point?

      March 25, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • ME II

      Oops. Poe/Troll. never mind.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Pete

      ME II
      We share a very distant relation with monkeys, you mean?

      March 25, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • ME II

      @PETE,
      Yes, but also nth cousins where n is a rather large number.

      One definition of "cousin" from Merriam-webster:
      "b : a relative descended from one's grandparent or more remote ancestor by two or more steps and in a different line"

      March 26, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • Saraswati

      "Cousins" seems technically correct to me, but realistically I wouldn't use it for anything beyond 7th or 8th cousins, and only then to make some sort of historical point.

      March 26, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  12. The Truth!

    It’s nice to see moderate atheists; good counterpoint to the loud-mouthed angry anti-theists who we hear about so often.

    March 25, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • yes

      SPAM? anyone?

      March 25, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Sorry

      I should know that anyone who isn't an angry loud mouthed atheists isn't welcome here.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • And so you should be

      ever heard of Chad, fred, Live4Him, ....

      March 25, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Sorry

      Do they make up names for other people (like Choad, Gopher, Lie4Him)?

      March 25, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • PaulB

      It would be even nicer to hear from moderate Christians, ones who don't worship the literal truth of the Bible like an idol.

      March 25, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • PaulB

      Sorry
      People interested in making atheists look bad might make up names. It's in Christian theology that atheists just have to be vile and call Christians names so, when we come on here calmly discussing their beliefs, I wouldn't put it past some of them to use a strawman to try giving that impression. I'm personally skeptical about anyone claiming to be an atheist who can't spell worth a damn.

      March 25, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
  13. Quest ion

    Could it be possible that he is a descendant of the apes?

    Could he be a time traveler from Planet of the Apes?

    Do you see some ape like features in his face?

    Just asking!

    ???

    March 25, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Gandalf

      Too tall for a Hobbit.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Austin

      As many ape features as you.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • yes

      Austin ? thats your name?

      March 25, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • His panic

      Yes he does! However that's because he's in a total state of Panic.

      Apes do panic like people. That's because according to some scientists apes share up to 94% of some DNA traits or something similar to that. That's what they were saying last year.

      Anyways I'm his Panic!

      Panic is much similar to Hysteria, but Hysteria affects mostly women though some men act hysterical. Both men and women can Panic as well as the apes and all other animals. That's why is dangerous sometimes to be in places where there are a lot of people or animals, like stadiums, the zoo, the ranch etc. Hysteria and Panic can make people adopt a herd mentality which can be disastrous.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Austin

      99.4% ?

      March 25, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • His panic

      Gandal,

      Is it not a hobbit an imaginary character in a movie?

      Do you believe in imaginary products of the imagination?

      Do you understand the difference between an imaginary character like the hobbit and a real Created Creature like an ape?

      March 25, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Quest ion

      Wow! That was some questioning!

      Anything and everything that can be questioned ought to and should be questioned. I will question anything and everything that can and ought to be questioned. You cannot question apes, because apes cannot answers; or can they?

      March 25, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • PaulB

      His panic
      The Hobbit, the intelligent apes from the Planet of the Apes, and even God are all creatures created from people's imaginations, as far as we can tell. Real apes are not. Again, as far as we can tell.

      March 25, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
  14. Jeremy

    I have difficulty believing in, or supporting, a "god" that allows people to be hurt or hurts people directly. There is no difference between the two.

    March 25, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Mariane

      What doesn't kill me, only makes me stronger. Life is hard. Toughen up, buttercup.

      March 25, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Austin

      what happens when the pilot gets drunk and sinks that t.itanic? God takes away his booze? I doubt it.

      you better get yourself ready.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Juno What

      Mariane,

      -or-

      That which does not kill you, makes you stranger.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Jeremy

      Mariane has a tough buttercup.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Ken

      I hope you aren't speaking from (ahem) first hand experience.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Jeremy

      Mariane, it could be argued that those who believe in a fairy tale that helps people feel better about life and is used to have some sort of order and control are those that need to toughen up.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Mariane

      Pressure makes diamonds.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
    • Jeremy

      Pressure also results in farts.

      March 25, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • biggles

      life is tough

      March 25, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Jeremy

      biggles, so where is this "god"?

      March 25, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • PaulB

      Mariane
      "What doesn't kill me, only makes me stronger."
      Try telling that to a cancer survivor. I'm sure they much prefer having this "strength" than avoiding the years of slow suffering.

      March 25, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • PaulB

      Mariane
      I forgot to ask you if you realized that you were quoting Nietzsche, or did you think Kelly Clarkson invented that saying?

      March 25, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
  15. Reality

    Some billboards for specific locations:

    For Salt Lake City:

    There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    For Mecca:

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • لم يكن هناك أي فشل غابرييل الإسلام كدين. فشل المسيحية جزئيا

    For Rome:

    There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • non erat Pascha ie Christianismus totaliter deficit sicut a religionis.

    For Jerusalem:

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • • ווי ווייַט ווי איינער ווייסט אָדער קענען זאָגן, עס איז קיין אברהם הייסט די יסודות פון יידישקייַט, קריסטנטום און איסלאם זענען ניט-עגזיסטאַנט.

    • ווי ווייַט ווי איינער ווייסט אָדער קענען זאָגן, עס איז ניט משה הייסט די פּילערז פון יידישקייַט, קריסטנטום און איסלאם האָבן קיין שטאַרקייַט פון ציל.

    March 25, 2013 at 3:29 pm |
    • Kev

      So, how is it that you can conclude that Abraham and Moses probably did not exist, and yet conclude that, Easter, Gabriel, and Moroni did not exist? For that matter, how can you conclude with absolute certainty that any of the above either flat out did not exist, or even probably not existed. You can make your own opinion, or conclusions based on evidence or what you choose as evidence, or what your spin of the evidence is, but how do you know with absolute certainty?

      March 25, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • Reality

      You will have to read the studies of contemporary historians and NT scholars to see how they decide the authenticity of historical events and passagess. Rigorous conclusions rely on the number of independent attestations, the time of the publications, the content as it relates to the subject and time period, and any related archeological evidence.

      References to these studies have been previously presented. Let us know when you have finished your perusal of said references.

      March 25, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • biggles

      don't know a person asked your question, with absolute certainty.

      you can't be absolutely certain that the earth will be here tomorrow or that what you think you have experienced as the earth, ever really existed.

      March 25, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • Kev

      Since not all scholars think alike it appears that the basis of the surety of your conclusions is not well founded.

      March 25, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
    • Reality

      Obviously, some people just don't like to read the studies of the experts.

      March 25, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • Kev

      Obviously, some people only like to read from certain selective sources. Otherwise if it were totally certain every scholar would agree.

      March 25, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
  16. lionlylamb

    The Periwinkle concordances are circulated non-sustainable issues. Eat, drink and dare to dream. Only the excrements of cultural morbidity may become the social landscapes fundaments being ever the excreted sustenance of pre-ambled succulence. We are emotionally centralized biological machines while intellectualism's emotionality ratios rises and falls in aged despairing ethnocentrism keeping taught most all whose psyche and/or ego abounds ever so saliently via leveraged cultivation around many perhaps most socialized centralizing normalizations. Think upon one's daring to dream and dare allow one's self to keep one's dreams alive.

    March 25, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • psych ward staff

      Uh oh – someone threw up their word salad again. Clean-up on page 63.

      March 25, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
    • Juno What

      Jumpin' Jupiter!

      Oh. My. Zeus!

      March 25, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
    • Austin

      this person could charge people money for his art. was that a free read?

      March 25, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Dippy

      Uh-oh. Lionlylamb escaped from the loony bin again.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
  17. my own personal reaction to this story

    Jesus wept.

    March 25, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Larry

      If he actrually had existed he might have.

      March 25, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
    • Doris

      Jesus is dead. John Boehner maybe.

      March 25, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  18. End Religion - Answer - ReligionisBS called out!

    “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.”

    March 25, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Chad

      Interesting that he acknowledges he is anti-theist..

      March 25, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • EJR17

      And why is that interesting? He is honest. And so...? Mant Christians are anti-atheist. And so?

      March 25, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Except

      Chad
      You would expect a self proclaimed atheist to be pro theism rather than anti theism, is there some where in between?

      March 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Chad

      Interesting because atheists are always quick to proclaim they arent "anti-theist" at all they claim, "how can someone be "anti" something that doesnt exist?"

      🙂

      March 25, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Chad the disingenuous – at it again.

      Clearly many athiests are also anti-theist and express a anti-religion point of view. That's their perogative. Anyone actively supporting David Silverman's antics is clearly anti-theist.

      It does not mean that everyone who accepts the label 'atheist' is also "anti-theist".

      Do you need us to draw you a Venn Diagram, or will will try to draw people into pointlessly semantic arguments per your usual M.O.?

      March 25, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Chad

      Ah GOPer, the master of the baseless accusation 🙂

      Every single atheist that I have encountered on this thread is indeed anti-theist. I have posted that before, and received dozens of "MORON!!! how can we be anti-theist when there is no such thing as an object to be anti towards!!!!"..

      March 25, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • End Religion

      Chad lies so often he has no idea when he does it. When being accused of "hating god" an atheist may say "how can I hate that which does not exist." That of course has nothing to do with antîtheists, who are opposed to belief in the existence of a god. No wonder your parents don't like you.

      March 25, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
  19. Fundies Gone Wild!

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

    March 25, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • EJR17

      Inasmuch as they're both human.

      March 25, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
  20. Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

    Some believe the Pope is the Anti-Christ. Some believe Obama is the Anti-Christ.

    Some believe that celibacy is appropriate for certain people, or for certain positions. It's ridiculous. Celibacy is unnatural and will continue to cause problems for the religious institutions that employ it.

    Many of the people from these same institutions advocate against abortion, but don't understand the realistic benefit of the morning after pill or even basic contraception; their unrealistic wishful thinking is causing the death of many at the hands of disease.

    In the U.S. recently we learned of the head of Lutheran CMS chastising a minister of that church for participating in a joint service for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.

    One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage.

    One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags".

    One sect believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri.

    One sect believes women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.

    Unfounded and conflicted right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create divisions and more extremism as time goes by.

    March 25, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

      When challenged that the anonymous gospel writers plagiarized, all that several early Christian apologists could come up with as an excuse was that the devil had set up things to look bad. They claimed that he disseminated the fake pagan stories to come before the "real" gospel stories. They may have just as well had said "Don't look at that man behind the curtain, we are OZ!" wink wink

      Read about 'plagiarism in anticipation' (Justin Martyr and others).

      March 25, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • What kind of atheist are you?

      There are many different types.

      March 25, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
    • clarity

      @What kind: agnostic atheist. Credible evidence for the Abrahamic God is nil.

      March 25, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • What kind of atheist are you?

      How do you explain the people that believe in that God?

      March 25, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @What kind

      Depends on the god claim. In terms of the god of the bible, I am definitely gnostic atheist.

      March 25, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • clarity

      How would someone explain someone that believes in a different one – it's belief – conjecture.

      March 25, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • An Awesome Message from P.W. Swivel

      People are People

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbD3Hlbvafo&w=640&h=390]

      Thanks for watching.

      March 25, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
    • What kind of atheist are you?

      So, atheists and Christians have a lot in common?

      March 25, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @What kind

      Many people with different stances can have a lot in common in other areas. What's your point?

      March 25, 2013 at 4:31 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.