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
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

(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. An Avowed Athiest

    As an avowed atheist, I am ashamed of what atheism has become: a pseudo religion of hatred, ignorance and intolerance. I have never worn my beliefs on my sleeve, I believe in the right of all people to worship as they choose and I am disgusted when I read some of the hateful things that are being posted on this blog. My sincerest apologies to all Christians.

    March 24, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • mark

      Thank you, and sincerely God Bless you!

      March 24, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • At least Thank the Sun

      No apology necessary. You are correct. This is a private matter.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • At least Thank the Sun

      But Mark, with all due respect, do you see what you just did there? he was stating that he does not like to see people insisting on any form of Dogma. He was not asking for God's Blessing. Feel free to say a prayer for him...in private. You just did exactly what everyone on this board is angry with Christians for...Blessing them when they were not asking for such. This guy just went out of his way to apologize for Atheists evangelizing. Wish you didn't do that.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • mark

      At least....I'm sorry! I just felt it.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:09 am |
  2. Ray

    The four gospels of the New Testament were written *decades* after Jesus' death by people who never even met him. They got their information orally. The original manuscripts don't exist. Only copies of copies of translations of copies, which leaves plenty of room for editing and later interpolation; evidence for both is there. There are over 40 gospels in total and yet only 4 were selected, which means they were cherry-picked. The gospels contradict each other numerous times as well.

    This guy obviously saw the problem with the Bible and came to a rational conclusion that they like all other religious manuscripts are man made. This doesn't mean there isn't a god or creator, but it shows that theistic gods like Yahweh, Zeus, Horus, Thor, Shiva, Apollo, etc., are constructs of man.

    March 24, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • Myopic

      Do you realize the world over tells time by Jesus' birth? We live in 2013 AD. It's not an accident. You believe what you want and I'll believe what I want, there is more proof on the side of Jesus. You just choose not to see it. But as you enjoy Eatser dinner this weekend ponder what that is.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • Phazon

      Easter is a Holliday riddled with pagan traditions the rabbit the animal of fertility also symbolized by the eggs was traditions in worship to the Goddess of fertility so now you know there is eggs and rabbits on easter.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • Ray


      That's because the most influential peoples of the word (Europeans) happened to be by and large Christians. Do you know how all the natives of the America's became Christian. Because men from foreign shores brought the sword and said you either convert or die.

      If you think this argument validates the truth of Christine doctrine then you're kidding yourself.

      You didn't refute anything I said about the four gospels of the New Testament because you can't.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:30 am |
  3. Tom

    I'm continue to be puzzled by proselytizing atheists. Who are they building up credit with by saving souls from religion?

    March 24, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • Face-Palm

      Truth and honesty puzzle you?

      March 24, 2013 at 8:32 am |
    • yo yo

      You said it my friend "building credit." So that's what it's all about uh, CREDIT. Now I see what motivates you and many other believers.

      March 24, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
  4. Biggi

    I am an atheist but never felt discriminated here in the US. Maybe because I don't hang out with very religious people and growing up in Germany, nobody really cares about religion over there.

    March 24, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • JH1

      Fettuccine 42:42

      Whoever believes in FSM, reason and logic is not condemned, but whoever disregards these things to acquire delusions lacking evidence is condemned already.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:48 am |
    • JH1

      Christian 7

      Circular logic. Look it up.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:55 am |
  5. Yorgos

    George Carlin SAYS IT BEST!

    March 24, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • Christian7

      John 3:18

      Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

      So Carlin is condemned to hell. Do you want to follow him into hell?

      March 24, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • Yorgos

      There is no 'hell' fool. It is a MYTHICAL place. It astounds me how so many presumably mature, intelligent ADULTS can believe in this utter NONSENSE that was CONCEIVED OF AND WRITTEN BY MORTAL MEN!!!!!!! Figuratively speaking though, 'hell' is co-existing with millions of you close-minded, hateful, judgemental MORONS!

      March 24, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • Christian7


      "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death." Proverb 14:12

      March 24, 2013 at 8:53 am |
  6. PR

    To any deists, theists, or other religious folks out there...

    I think the most laughable misplacement of your moral superiorities comes from thinking you are better, freer, safer, smarter, or "in a better club" than us atheists and humanists. I have seen SO MANY MORE HORRID "sins" committed in the name of religion, in the name of one's "God"...more than anything else. When was the last "atheist war" started? When was the last "atheist Inquisition"? When was the last time a bunch of atheists STONED A WOMAN TO DEATH to please their "Sky Father"?

    Never. That's right.

    If YOU believing in your mythology helps you sleep at night, so be it. However, before you DARE to think you know what someone OUTSIDE your "faith" believes or doesn't believe make sure that you don't rest all your opinions on whether or not I believe in your imaginary friend, too. And as for your JUDGEMENT? Yeah, that's helpful...


    March 24, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • Apatheist

      You should probably leave deists out of it.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • Science

      It would be NICE......... but
      Maybe they should not have created the wedge !!!
      The wedge strategy is a political and social action plan authored by the Discovery Insti-tute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. The strategy was put forth in a Discovery Insti-tute manifesto known as the Wedge Docu-ment,[1] which describes a broad social, political, and academic agenda whose ultimate goal is to defeat materialism, naturalism, evolution, and "reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic


      Please watch what the Discovery Inst-itute is trying to prevent.......................... evolution



      Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.

      Below are the complete transcripts from the Dover Trial. Thanks to our friends at the National Center for Science Education for helping us fill in the missing transcripts.


      March 24, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • A dose of reality

      Thanks PR. Very well stated

      March 24, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • PR

      Depends on the deist.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:32 am |
  7. Trevi

    I belive in JH1.JH1preaches the TRUTH

    March 24, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • JH1


      March 24, 2013 at 8:35 am |
  8. David

    I did not realize there was a need for atheist to be "in the closet". I will go out on a limb and say there probably aren't that many out there how have not already come out and stated a dis-belief in religion.

    I also have absolute faith that one day "every knee shall bow" Phil 2:10. In the meantime I hope to continue to show the love of Christ to all.

    God Bless

    March 24, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • A dose of reality

      Top Ten Signs You're a Christian
      10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
      9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
      8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
      7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
      6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
      5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
      4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
      3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
      2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
      1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magic Underwear

      Actually, David, there is still an enormous amount of prejudice against atheists and agnostics. Imagine if a Presidential candidate openly declared that he or she was an atheist? Religion has a vested interest in suppressing atheism and free thought.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • Bob Carlson

      Au contraire David. I, like many others, feel a certain discrimination against speaking out in public about our non-believe. I think I feel very much like an in-the-closet gay back in the 70s and am fearful in expressing or letting out my true thoughts. I noticed, as I have done this in the past, that other believers (even long time friends), begin to separate themselves from me once they are aware of my true beliefs.

      Something to ponder; Do you think, in the world today, there would ever be elected a non-believer as President of the USA?

      March 24, 2013 at 8:43 am |
  9. Phazon

    And upon seeing the son of God they will slap there heads in lamentations at the sight of him.

    March 24, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • TOOZX5

      or slap their heads at the sight of sheer stupidity of the same believers who claim to see the son of god in that piece of toast.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:32 am |
    • Jeesh

      Phazon seems like you have been slapped upside the head enough already, pray you jesus doesn't show up, multiple concussions are dangerous.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:35 am |
  10. Ricardo Montalbon

    Atheists just aren't the brightest bulbs in the pack.

    March 24, 2013 at 8:25 am |
    • rick

      he seems to be brighter than you

      March 24, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • A dose of reality

      Yea, all you religitards are BRILLIANT!

      March 24, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • PR

      And deist trolls are the mensas of the world, right? Foolish.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • Apatheist

      @PR, you really need to look up the definition of deist/m....

      March 24, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • TOOZX5

      So let us all go back to thinking a human grew from a rib. That makes sense. Can't forget those talking animals. Its like a fairy tale. Who needs Disney.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:35 am |
    • Martin

      Funny-Einstein was an atheist.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:50 am |
    • PR

      Oh, I know what deism means. And theism. And religion. And all those fun "God" or "gods" associated terms. The reason I go for deism, because it generalized the whole belief in deities to a larger focus, more encompassing. Deism, as you are thinking, has much less religious feeling than others...but not all deism is created equal. I know you want me to use a different term, but I have my reasons...

      As a person who doesn't believe in any "Sky Fathers or Sky Mothers" and knows that none exist, the challenge is with ALL those who believe in mumbo gumbo and mythology...

      March 24, 2013 at 8:50 am |
  11. jack333

    please keep donating your hard earned dollars to us that are to lazy to work so we preach

    March 24, 2013 at 8:25 am |
  12. A dose of reality

    Ten Reasons You Know you are an Atheist.
    1. You were likely brought up a theist (probably a Christian if you live in the USA) and had to do your own thinking to rise above the beliefs that still occupy the mind of the believer. This usually involved being smart and working hard at school and college so as to get a good, accurate view of the natural Universe and overcoming significant social pressure to dumb yourself down and conform. In short, you had the guts to ask the hard questions and the brains to spot the weak answers. The more you came to understand the Universe, the less reason there was to believe in a god and the more you came to appreciate human nature, the more you understood why billions of us still do.
    2. While rejecting the supernatural elements of the Bible, you nevertheless retain a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent you reject Christian morality, it is where it is mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, your basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – you just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over your head in order to act in a manner that you consider moral.
    3. You know a great deal more about the Bible than most believers. This is because you took the time to read it yourself and did not rely on the primary-color simple stories you learned in Sunday school. You have also probably done some research into the historical Jesus and have a good handle on where he REALLY fit in to the broader picture of the Middle East at the time. Needless to say, his miracles and other magic powers soon started to look pretty unlikely.
    4. Your knowledge of basic science and history is much stronger than that of your average believer. You likely have a basic working knowledge of physics, astronomy, evolutionary biology and cosmology and a good idea of the history of life on this planet. This acc.umulated knowledge puts you in a position to judge the claims of the Bible in a critical light and they are almost always found wanting. To the theist, this makes you “elitist” and ‘arrogant”.
    5. You relish your role as a religious minority in the USA, as this gives you an impetus to fight and you understand how others with unpopular, but doubtlessly correct views have felt throughout history. There is something altogether satisfying to you about having a deep conviction you are right and being viewed with disdain for your views by the errant majority. You feel a quiet confidence that future generations will look back on you as a member of a class of trailblazers, as religious supersti.tions go into inevitable decline in popularity.
    6. You are likely more environmentally aware than your theist friends and colleagues and unlikely to fall for claims of industry and wind-bag politicians concerning the impact of man’s activities on the environment. You could no more act in an environmentally irresponsible manner because “god will keep us safe” than you could jump of a ship, believing King Neptune will keep you safe.
    7. You generally have a live and let live atti.tude, but will fiercely defend any attempts by theists to thrust their views on you or your children, directly or through control of school boards, the legislature or the executive. While you are prepared to debate and argue passionately with the theist on an intellectual level, you would never wish them harm or ill will. You know you are likely to be smugly told you will “burn in hell for all eternity” for your healthy skepticism. This highlights what you despise about religion, as you would not wish a bad sunburn on another, simply because they have a different religious view to you. You have never heard of an evolutionary biologist strapping a bomb to himself and running into a church yelling “Darwin-u akbar”.
    8. You likely know more about other religions than your average theist. This makes you less fearful of them and enables you to see parallels. You realize that, if you were born in India, you would have been brought up with a totally different religion. You realize that every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. They cannot all exist and you see the error all faiths make of thinking only theirs exist(s). This “rising above” the regional nature of all religions was probably instrumental in your achieving atheism.
    9. You likely have a deep, genuine appreciation of the fathomless beauty and unbelievable complexity of our Universe, from the 4 nucleotides that orchestrate every aspect of you, through to the distant quasars, without having to think it was all made for you. You likely get more out of being the irrelevant ant staring up at the cosmos than you do in having to pretend that it was all made to turn in majestic black-and-white pirouette about you.
    10. While you have a survival instinct, you cannot fear death in the way the theist does. You know that the whole final judgment story, where you may be sent to hell if you fail, is Dark Ages nonsense meant to keep the Church’s authority. You also know that you were dead for 13,700,000,000 years before you were born. It is impossible for you to fear death, for the simple reason that you know the capacity to fear (or to feel pain or discomfort) itself dies. You will not even know you are dead. Fear of death is as meaningless to you as is the fear of a vacuum, the fear of not being born. You feel a lot more secure, and indeed a deep comfort, in this knowledge, than you would in trying to yoke yourself to some quasi-hope that every part of your intellect tells you is untenable.

    March 24, 2013 at 8:24 am |
    • Opinion8it

      You can also tell an atheist by how long winded they are, and padding themselves on their back.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • David

      After reading your "10 Reasons" I guess it's time to take my Mensa membership and college degree's and become anon-believer.

      Probably not going to happen, but I will continue to pray for you.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:33 am |
    • Sense0326

      Hey this sounds like me! Except #5

      March 24, 2013 at 8:38 am |
    • Biff

      So, if energy is neither created nor destroyed, where will your 'essence' go after you leave your body here on earth?

      March 24, 2013 at 8:47 am |
    • Martin

      Hey Opinion8it-You mean "patting". Another demonstration of the lack of clear thinking one observes in most theists...

      March 24, 2013 at 8:55 am |
  13. Christian7

    A intelligent people born in the 20th century that did not fear what people think of their religious belief are as follows:

    "The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God" – John F Kennedy

    Alexander Polyakov (Soviet mathematician): "We know that nature is described by the best of all possible mathematics because God created it."

    Paul Davies (British astrophysicist): "There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all....It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe....The impression of design is overwhelming."

    March 24, 2013 at 8:24 am |
    • A dose of reality

      So? Does this somehow prove religion is correct and that GAWD exists? Nooooooooo

      March 24, 2013 at 8:26 am |
    • One one

      "So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is a damned fake... Religion is all bunk." [Thomas Edison]

      " I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator. "

      – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 2

      March 24, 2013 at 8:35 am |
    • Christian7

      A dose of reality, I strongly agree with you that it is not proof. It is possible that you will receive zero proof of God's existence and then the judgement. You will not be put in hell for not believing in something without good proof. You are already condemned because you have sinned. No sin enters heaven. Jesus is the only way to wash away the sin. Jesus Christ is the last off ramp. Mock all you want, and then the judgement. The first proof you have may be after you no longer can take that off ramp and avoid hell. You don't understand that you and I don't deserve to go to heaven. It is only by grace of Jesus that there even exists away out of condemnation.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:43 am |
    • Christian7

      One one, Politicians say a lot of things:
      "I’m pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office. " - Barack Obama

      March 24, 2013 at 9:37 am |
  14. Opinion8it

    I don't believe in atheism – their god (self), is all screwed up.

    March 24, 2013 at 8:24 am |
    • A dose of reality

      Well atheism still believes in you. Atheism bless you cause there is just No WAY that religion could be all screwed up. right?

      March 24, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • sjordan

      It's sad that religion teaches people that they are "screwed up" damaged, and born evil and that the only way to become a decent person is to get in line and think as you're told. No, Opinion8it, people are not so screwed up as long as you keep them out of religion.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:36 am |
    • ProudAtheist

      I don't consider myself any type of god ... how funny. I just don't need to believe in a myth to get through life. I don't need to believe that there is something out there that controls every life in the universe. I am confident in my decisions I make whether they are right or not I made them. I am very happy with my life and don't lean on a crutch of a book or run and hide under a myth.

      If there is a god as you claim then it only exists to cause suffering and pain because it's greatest power is cause from pain and suffering its greatest attraction is when there is pain and suffering. Then of course which god would you refer to Budha? Odin? Zeus? Charlie Manson?

      Your god apparently killed a million people because it was asked (stated in the bible so you can read it yourself) ... please ask it to do one more person ... me and see what happens. Every day I am here is further proof it doesn't exist

      March 24, 2013 at 8:38 am |
    • TOOZX5

      Atheism is the rejection of an already established unsupported claim of magical deities. A rejection of an unsupported assertion isn't a belief. The rejection of the claim of the existence of Santa Claus isn't a belief system.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:39 am |
    • De Odorizer

      You don't believe in "atheists' god (self)"???
      You might be surprised to hear how many good christians are fascinated by Ayn Rand's writings... who did nothing but worship 'self interest' and 'self'...

      March 24, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  15. jack333

    it's about time...think free

    March 24, 2013 at 8:23 am |
  16. DT

    Why do you call this section "BELIEF" and then give someone the platform who has none?

    March 24, 2013 at 8:23 am |
    • JH1

      Because there is no section called "REALITY."

      March 24, 2013 at 8:24 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Atheism is only the disbelief in gods. You too are an Atheist due to dismissing all other gods but your own.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:26 am |
  17. clee47ford

    1. Everyone worships something. 2. Life proves over and over that there is an order to everything – there is always a hierarchy. So even in an athiest's world something has to rein supreme. Mr. Stiefel no longer believes in The One who has the power to create the universe and the strength to humble Himself before mankind. Mr. Stiefel believes there is 'no god', he must therefore by default believe man is 'the supreme being'. Because if man isn't 'the supreme being', then who or what is? God of course. If man is the 'supreme being' then what is mankind's moral code based upon? I think... I feel... or I believe. All of which could be different from person to person. If man sets the moral code then the moral code is based on what the person(s) in charge think/feel/believe. No thank you. On the other hand God never changes. His morals and order of yesterday hold true today and will be the same tomorrow and the day after. I do not blindly believe this. My own life experiences over many decades bear out this truth. Chose now who you will follow. You might not have later with which to do so – and not making a choice, IS making a choice.

    March 24, 2013 at 8:23 am |
    • Devgil

      Your arguments are redundant. Go find evidence of there being God rater than regurgitating a very old theory

      March 24, 2013 at 8:47 am |
  18. Toltec1

    I believe in God. I believe God is so vast, so powerful, that It is manifest in every atom in existence, that I can't possibly know what It is. I believe that I can investigate, research, learn and grow by studying ALL the writings of ALL the messengers and prophets of God. I believe God is good! Always! I believe God suffices all my needs here on this earthly plane. I believe I can best serve God by serving others. I believe a relationship with God is a personal journey unique to each individual. I believe man has harmed organized religions by omitting the spiritual aspect and inserting self serving "dogma". Some atheists I've met seem more spiritual and good, more contributing to society than the extremists of many major religions. I believe God wants unity and oneness worldwide. In my belief, any actions not promoting unity and oneness of man is going against God. Peace

    March 24, 2013 at 8:22 am |
  19. Christian7

    How did life form on earth? Genetic information exists and random events do not create information. Random events create noise, not information. All information we know of comes from intelligent sources. Genetic code is quantized (Digital). Digital codes are interpreted. That shows design. Interpreters don't randomly occur. The digital code of DNA/RNA are none trivial. They have intermediate processes that create intermediate processes. Darwin had no idea what digital means. Even if you believed the absurd idea that you could form a digital code, how do you select from nothing to start the process? Life was designed.

    March 24, 2013 at 8:21 am |
    • JH1

      Random events create random noise. Noise is a formation of matter. Relatively (from our perspective) infinite time and space follows that if something is possible, it will happen. Earth and intelligent life is evidentially possible, therefore it happened.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • Robert

      Since the Earth is in negative entropy because of the sun, randomization will work in reverse. What do you think of that? I guess anyone can toss wild theories around.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "Life was designed."

      By who?
      Your lack of comprehension of evolution doesn't make you correct in your claim. There is not sufficient evidence to support a 'designer' but there is sufficient evidence to support evolution (96% of your genetic make up is shared with chimps...proven by science). You are entitled to your beliefs, you are not entitled to your own facts.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:30 am |
    • JH1

      For example. I give you a coin and tell you to record your flips. There's a 7.8886090522101180541172856528279e-31 chance of you flipping heads 100 times in a row. If I give you a thousand years to flip this coin day and night, you'd be a fool to say that will never happen. It will happen because it is possible.

      Now when it comes to the universe and intelligence it's the same concept, just on a scale trillions of times larger when it comes to time and space.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:32 am |
    • Xtof

      Read The Greatest Show on Earth and you will find out how it all makes sense.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • Devgil

      Your arguments are redundant. Go find evidence of there being God rather than regurgitating a very old theory

      March 24, 2013 at 8:48 am |
    • Bob Carlson

      Life was designed (by God). Then who designed God?

      March 24, 2013 at 8:52 am |
    • Christian7

      Bob Carlson, God exists outside of time. God invented time. When there is no time there is no beginning so there is no cause to create the effect. God existing outside of time makes Him completely beyond our comprehension. God described it like this: "I am, that I am." Yes, I too would like more but that is all He has said so far on the topic. He always existed. Something had to come first, that is God.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • Christian7

      JH1, It is more complex than flipping a coin. DNA is, part by part, more complex than the space shuttle. The combinatorics involved in having an organism form, store, and interpret a quantized (digital) code on how to build it with intermediate processes is mathematically impossible. It didn't happen. Life was designed. The creation proves the creator exists.

      March 24, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • Christian7

      Devgil, The truth is redundant? If it is said a trillion times, it is just as true as the first time. The truthfulness of an argument does not change as a result of the number of times it is stated.

      March 24, 2013 at 10:27 am |
  20. homleand

    It it weren't bankrolled by these multimillion dollar hucksters, atheism would get no attention, just like other intellectually bankrupt concepts.

    March 24, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Of course it would...we have the internet where people find common ground.

      March 24, 2013 at 8:31 am |
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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.