Billboard wars: Creationists vs. atheists
October 9th, 2013
02:27 PM ET

Creationists taunt atheists in latest billboard war

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)– A new video billboard in New York's Times Square has a message from creationists, "To all of our atheist friends: Thank God you're wrong."

The video advertisement at 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan is one of several billboards going up this week in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, paid for by Answers in Genesis.

Answers in Genesis is best known as the multimillion-dollar Christian ministry behind the Creation Museum outside Cincinnati.

The museum presents the case for Young Earth creationism, following what it says is a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis, which says the Earth was created by God in six days less than 10,000 years ago.

Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, said the idea for the advertisements came from an atheist billboard in Times Square at Christmas.

During the holidays, the American Atheists put up a billboard with images of Santa Claus and Jesus that read: "Keep the Merry, dump the myth."

“The Bible says to contend for the faith,” Ham said. “We thought we should come up with something that would make a statement in the culture, a bold statement, and direct them to our website.

"We're not against them personally. We're not trying to attack them personally, but we do believe they're wrong," he said.

"From an atheist's perspective, they believe when they die, they cease to exist. And we say 'no, you're not going to cease to exist; you're going to spend eternity with God or without God. And if you're an atheist, you're going to be spending it without God.' "

Dave Silverman, president of the American Atheists, said he felt sad for creationists when he saw the billboards.

"They refuse to look at the real world. They refuse to look at the evidence we have, and they offer none," Silverman said. "They might as well be saying, 'Thank Zeus you're wrong' or 'Thank Thor you're wrong.' "

Silverman said he welcomed another competitor to marketplace, noting that after atheists bought a billboard two years ago in Times Square that read "You KNOW it's a myth," the Catholic League purchased competing space at the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel for a sign that read "You KNOW it's true."

"I would suggest, if they're actually trying to attract atheists, they should talk about proof and reason to believe in their god, not just some pithy play on words," Silverman said.

Ham says part of the goal of the campaign is to draw people to the website for Answers in Genesis, where he offers a lengthy post on his beliefs for the proof of God.

Ham insists that this campaign is in keeping with their overall mission. "We're a biblical authority ministry. We're really on about the Bible and the Gospel. Now, we do have a specialty in the area of the creation account and Genesis because that's where we say God's word has come under attack."

Ham said Answers in Genesis made the decision to split its marketing budget for the ministry between a regional campaign for the museum and this billboard campaign, rather than a national campaign.

IRS filings for the ministry in recent years have shown a yearly operating budget of more than $25 million. Ham said the marketing budget is about 2% of that, about $500,000 a year. Though they are waiting for all the bills to come due for this campaign, he said he expected it to cost between $150,000 and $200,000.

Silverman noted that his billboards were not video and cost approximately $25,000 last year.  He said another campaign was in the works for this year.

"They're throwing down the gauntlet, and we're picking it up," Silverman said, adding that his group would "slap them in the face" with it.

Ham said that despite criticism from other Christians for being negative and the usual criticisms from secularists he received on his social media accounts, the advertisements have been a success.

"We wanted people talking about them, and we wanted discussion about this. We wanted people thinking about God," Ham said.

The Creation Museum and the theory of Young Earth creationism are widely reviled by the broader science community.

In a YouTube video posted last year titled "Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children," Bill Nye the Science Guy slammed creationism, imploring parents not to teach it to their children. "We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future," he said. "We need engineers that can build stuff and solve problems."

The museum responded with its own video. 

For the past 30 years, Gallup Inc. has been tracking American opinions about creationism.

In June 2012, Gallup's latest findings showed that 46% of Americans believed in creationism, 32% believed in evolution guided by God, and 15% believed in atheistic evolution.

For as long as Gallup has conducted the survey, creationism has remained far and away the most popular answer, with 40% to 47% of Americans surveyed saying they believed that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years.

The Creation Museum said it recently welcomed its 2 millionth visitor since its opening in 2007.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • Creationism • Faith Now • New York • Science

soundoff (8,739 Responses)
  1. frankbeattys

    "An atheist is someone who is certain that God does not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the
    existence of God. I know of no such compelling evidence. Because God can be relegated to remote times and places
    and to ultimate causes, we would have to know a great deal more about the universe than we do now to be sure that
    no such God exists." - Carl Sagan

    April 6, 2014 at 9:49 pm |
    • Bob

      We can be sure, however, that specific gods such as the Christian god of the bible tall tales, do not exist.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.

      April 6, 2014 at 9:54 pm |
    • ellabulldog

      an agnostic says we don't know, whereas a religious person claims to know, both atheism and religion are impossible to confirm, only an agnostic can be right, currently. I can not tell where human knowledge will aspire to in the future. I do know that religion is cultural brainwashing and an atheist can never be sure a God does not exist. Only that one has never been proven to exist. Faith or old stories are not proof fyi. A mystery that we can not currently answer and may never because it comes down to a simple impossibility that either a god popped out of nowhere or the universe did. Both seem impossible but yet we are here discussing it which means one must be true. Unless there are other other possibilities our minds can not yet comprehend.

      April 14, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
  2. Reality

    Attacking and destroying all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!! (only for the new members)

    • 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.

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

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

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

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinker bells? etc.) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request

    March 2, 2014 at 7:24 am |
  3. Science Works

    February 5, 2014 at 1:01 pm |

    Atheist are not ever intimidated by what any fantasy beilieving bible back says or does.....what facinates me is that ever since the bible backs have been believing in their god NONE HAS EVER SEEN HIM....and they don´t think if they think that that is strange.....or better yet that they are INSANE.....WHICH TECHNICALLY THEY ARE.

    February 5, 2014 at 12:22 pm |
    • vmoore

      At least I can spell tyrannosaurus

      February 5, 2014 at 12:35 pm |
      • idiotusmaximus

        Maybe tyrannasaurus is a personal name and not the dinosaur called TyrannOsaurus?

        Or are you positive they don't know how to spell their USER NAME?

        February 28, 2014 at 7:06 pm |
    • And it goes way back ?

      Proceedings of the 1992 TC Creation Conference Manual 280 pages wasted !

      Sponsored by the Genesis Insti-tute – which was/is the ICR Old phone # 1-619-448-0900 ? Jim .

      and TC creation Science ?

      Nuff said !

      February 5, 2014 at 1:23 pm |


    That´s a TAUNT????????

    The joke is that if their god is real and so strong and in charge of everything why do dumb little humans have to fight his battles for him......is it that he doesn´t want to get his little white hands dirty?

    February 5, 2014 at 12:18 pm |
  6. urnotathinkerareu

    If you are serious about this subject then you need to see this video. This is the best video I have seen in a long while.

    February 2, 2014 at 4:39 pm |
    • igaftr

      I don't know anyone who would sit for 2 hours on a post from a blog.

      February 2, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
      • urnotathinkerareu

        I guess...if one is just an opinionated bigot I suppose.... or unless they have a good grasp on the subject area already. I will always check things out even IF I know I might not like the content. I always think I might learn something. I am in my late 60's now and consider myself a life long learner. Creationists do not seem to be that unless it's inside their own little worldview.

        February 2, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
    • urnotathinkerareu

      This video is a deal breaker. If you don't come out of this in support of the truth that is hands down apparent then it's YOU who has a serious problem.

      February 2, 2014 at 6:37 pm |
      • vmoore

        Whew, they really stretched that one to fill the time. I don't doubt evolution, but I don't want the federales in every local district mandating what is discussed.
        Both sides seem overbearing, perhaps it could at least be brought up as a societal controversy, even show this video as an example of the debate.
        Sadly, the kids being taught probably aren't paying attention to either side these days, which is where our efforts would be better spent.

        February 2, 2014 at 7:48 pm |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          Agreed. The kids likely aren't paying much attention. They really have no choice that is why it is important to teach them evidence. As for morality that could be taught as a Peace Education/Virtues curriculum. It would likely do a much better job than christianity or any other religion. People should keep their religion in the home and if they want to practice it that's fine.

          February 2, 2014 at 9:58 pm |
    • stymie1

      I watched this a couple of years ago, I think on Public TV. It’s pretty good stuff. Thanks for bringing it up.

      February 16, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
  7. urnotathinkerareu

    One of the characteristics of a "primate" society whom were the ancestors of himans if you notice they have a "dominant male that usually runs the group. I am not surprised to note that from early early times there is a male god who is in charge of everything. This is one of the hold-outs of those earlier societies that is masked as a modern ideology. It has it'a roots in dominant primate and submissive society.

    February 2, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
  8. Reality #2

    Dear Peyton,

    : (only for the new visitors to this blog)

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • 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.

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

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

    • There was no Moroni (or magic underwear) i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinker bells? etc.) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    February 2, 2014 at 7:26 am |
    • vmoore


      February 2, 2014 at 10:08 am |
      • urnotathinkerareu

        What is lame about what he said? If YOU can provide REAL evidence that even ONE of those biblical characters existed then we will call him lame ok? Until you do your "opinion" is lame and that's the only thing that IS lame.

        February 2, 2014 at 12:13 pm |
        • vmoore

          Because if you accept they're real then it scares you? It's a cop out to claim they don't exist because I don't have a birth certificate.
          So, yes, it is in fact lame and so is your hissy fit.

          February 2, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          Actually no. It doesn't scare me...why would it? If someone told me that if 'fairy tales" were real would that scare me?Nawwwww......a hissy fit....lmao....no explanation needed with your call on that one. It's no cop out to claim they are not real because it's on you to prove they are...which you cannot do.
          And it looks like many agree with it all having no basis in reality either...how could it? You simply do not know HOW to think. Watch this and you might learn something...or not...lol

          February 2, 2014 at 4:47 pm |
        • vmoore

          Um, what??? Nevermind

          February 2, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
        • urnotathinkerareu

          that.s what I thought...

          February 2, 2014 at 6:28 pm |
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    February 1, 2014 at 4:37 am |
  10. avtovivoz.ru

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    February 1, 2014 at 1:22 am |
  11. Salero21


    January 23, 2014 at 9:57 pm |
    • Science Works

      And heren is what is really funny – GENESIS 9:18-19- Ham was the father of who ?

      And a Ham owns the creation museum ?

      January 24, 2014 at 8:01 am |
    • Science Works

      Sal is Ham the owns the creation museum tied your bloodline then ?

      January 24, 2014 at 10:11 am |
      • Salero21

        Actually, Jesus said that's your bloodline!! :-D :-D

        January 25, 2014 at 11:23 pm |
        • Science Works

          Sal is the internet a gift from god – NO -and they want to control life ? The pope just proved there is NO god with that stat-ement.

          In comments that will likely rile the more conservative wing of the church, Francis suggested that in engaging in that dialogue, Catholics shouldn't be arrogant in insisting that they alone possess the truth.


          Looks like the Nye's and Ham debate is over before it began ?

          January 26, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
        • Science Works

          The DECEPTION of creationists and who Sal – Ken Ham ?

          Harvard Medical School. "Neanderthals' genetic legacy: Humans inherited variants affecting disease risk, infertility, skin and hair characteristics." ScienceDaily. 29 January 2014.


          January 29, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
        • Science Works

          Hey Sal you know ?

          February 2, 2014 at 10:30 am |
  12. Salero21

    Is CNN sending me Spam mail? That's one more piece of evidence of the Total stupidity of atheism!! ;-)

    January 21, 2014 at 7:07 pm |
  13. A little history on

    The hamster Ham and they are not the truth !

    Goddidit! NO god DID NOT DO IT !!!

    Icon creationism alt.svg
    Key claims

    Young Earth
    Old Earth
    Global flood
    Intelligent design
    Biblical literalism

    Truth fish transparent.png

    Fossil record
    Starlight problem
    Radiometric dating

    Random articles

    Arguments evolution supporters shouldn't use
    Ken Ham
    Kent Hovind
    Piltdown Man
    Popular quote mines

    The Creation of Adam.jpg
    v – t – e

    Creation Ministries International began life as the Creation Science Foundation, in 1979, when Ham quit his job as a public school science teacher to begin speaking on creationism. In 1986 Ham left Australia to teach at the Insti-tute for Creation Research; by 1987 his absence was causing leadership problems, and in February he handed control over to Andrew Snelling. In 1993, after 7 years in the US, Ham decided to start, with the assistance of CSF, the Creation Science Ministry, which later became AiG-US. By 1995 the CSF had become the Australian arm of AiG. They initially shared board members, but AiG-Australia suffered a hilariously acrimonious schism from its now much larger partner in 2005[1] culminating in accusations of witchcraft and hurt feelings all round.[2] They changed their name to Creation Ministries International as a result.

    Much like AiG, CMI is an ardent promoter of young Earth creationist claptrap. However, CMI attempts to take a rather more "scholarly" tone than does AiG, if that term can possibly be applied to any creationist organization; it uses the presuppositionalist style of argument, which along with the scholarly veneer may help to explain why CMI doesn't have its own ignorance museum, complete with saddled Triceratops.

    On the other hand, CMI publishes Alien Intrusion, UFOs and the Evolution Connection,[3] the author of which was featured on Coast to Coast AM. The description of the interviews says that "aliens are actually fallen angels who are not extraterrestrial in nature, but rather interdimensional. ... He noted that some people had been able to stop alien abductions from taking place ... by invoking the name of Christ. He suggested that this lends credence to the idea that the aliens are demonic in nature, and thus susceptible to invocations that run counter to them."[4]


    And a list of his cronies ?

    CMI list of scientists alive today who accept the biblical account of creation


    January 18, 2014 at 3:22 pm |

    GOD created everything through Cosmic and Biologic Evolutionary Creation.


    January 16, 2014 at 4:27 am |
    • Science Works

      Not at your place !

      January 16, 2014 at 10:29 am |
  15. Science Works

    As the skeleton comes out of the closet ?

    The Loom:
    3 hours ago

    How We Got On Land, Bone by Bone
    by Carl Zimmer


    January 13, 2014 at 5:28 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.