Mr. Turner, 69, said he had only made a few disparaging comments a long time ago and that he is "always developing" his thinking as he grows older.
"I regret anything I said about religion that was negative," he told The Associated Press ahead of a news conference announcing the anti-malaria program.
In the 1980s, the CNN founder criticized Christianity, wrote his own version of the Ten Commandments and in 2001 asked employees who commemorated Ash Wednesday whether they were "Jesus freaks," saying they should work for Fox. He apologized at the time.
Mr. Turner now says he does not consider himself agnostic or atheist, as he had sometimes described himself previously. He prays for sick friends because "it doesn't hurt," he said, and maintains several churches on his properties for employees and others who live nearby.
"As I get older, you know, I get more, you know, more tolerant," Mr. Turner said at the news conference. He has attended the churches, but isn't a regular.
On Tuesday, Mr. Turner's United Nations Foundation, which he started in 1997 with a $1 billion donation, launched the anti-malaria project with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the United Methodist Church. The Protestant groups have been working overseas to fight poverty and prevent disease for more than a century.
Mr. Turner's foundation had been working with many groups, including the Methodists, on the Nothing But Nets campaign, which provides insecticide-treated bed nets in needy communities. Lutheran World Relief also had been helping malaria-infected cities and villages.
WHAT HE'S SAID
- "What are you? A bunch of Jesus freaks? You ought to be working for Fox," Ted Turner said to CNN employees who had ashes on their foreheads for Ash Wednesday in 2001.
- Asked in a 1999 public appearance what he would say if he met Pope John Paul II, Mr. Turner said John Paul should "get with it -- welcome to the 20th century."
- In 1989, he called Christianity "a religion for losers," adding, "I don't want anybody to die for me. I've had a few drinks and a few girlfriends and if that's going to put me in hell, well, then so be it."