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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 • New York • Science

soundoff (8,748 Responses)
  1. Christopher Humphrey

    And Atheists should post " THEN PROVE IT" lol

    October 10, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
  2. What is going on? FREEDOM

    Hahahaha. The problem with that is how can you religious folks justify we are wrong? We have hundreds and hundreds of years of science backing our statements, while you have a Bible that hasn't changed for years.

    October 10, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
  3. lewtwo

    Geee -- aren't they in for a surprise ?

    October 10, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
  4. NanookoftheNorth

    Hmmm, 5 pro-atheist signs in the pics above and only 3 pro-Religion. See the problem CNN ?

    October 10, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Frank

      With dozens of church signs in every town blaring out to the general population, nonChristians, atheists, and Christians from rival groups included, why do you think 5 to 3 is in any way "unequal"?

      October 10, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
  5. bman

    Boy not only juvenile but insane as well

    October 10, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  6. Leigh Anne

    Days were created BEFORE the sun and the moon that guides OUR time........so days can be ANYTHING time wise even billions of years......

    Also and most important....the creation story is a POEM....a work of art filled with metaphor meant to describe the indescribable relationship between creation and Creator.......NOT a science book.

    Finally......interesting how the POEM goes from light to earth to water creatures to animals on land...JUST LIKE EVOLUTION!!!!

    Deal with it.

    October 10, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Frank

      "Days" are measures of time specifically related to rotations of the Earth relative to the sun rising and falling, day and night. Science suggests that days were actually far shorter in the past because the Earth is slowing down in rotation. So, this inventive argument just doesn't make any practical sense but, I suppose, some will readily accept it anyway because they're more interested in defending their belief than discovering the actual truth.

      October 10, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • Frank

      @Leigh
      Problem is, the nut jobs over at Answers in Genesis don't consider it a poem, but the literal truth, regardless of the fact that there isn't a shred of evidence to separate the Jewish creation myth from any of the other ancient creation myths. That's what this fight is about, science vs superst ition.

      October 10, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
  7. Jeff

    I have a billboard idea! "Hey Creationists! Read a 2nd grade SCIENCE TEXTBOOK. Youre welcome! ~Athiests"

    October 10, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • somethingstellar

      Well. That could backfire in some states that think creationism is science-class worthy. They'll just crack open that textbook to state sanctioned misinformation lol.

      October 10, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • Larry

      I wouldn't trust any text book published for the Texas market.

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

      October 10, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • Gol

      Yes Jeff..that shows you are so much more mature than they are *rolls eyes*

      October 10, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  8. Jackson

    To the person that was responsible for that billboard, I have only one thing to say:

    We're both atheists. I just believe in one less god than you do.

    October 10, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
  9. Ryan

    And just think, all this advertising money could have gone to something productive that would actually help humanity....the paradox of it all.

    October 10, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • somethingstellar

      If history is any indication, the church has shown it puts it's own interests and it's need to feel "right" well and above the interests of everyone else.

      Why feed the hungry when you can tell everyone how right you think you are.

      October 10, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
  10. Ben Coates

    Why is this political? I know certain things - believe others - and I don't give a $#!% what anyone else has to say. The idea of spin doctors campaigning for or against God is more ludicrous than anything else.

    October 10, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  11. Jenny

    Yes, because we atheists really care about what you looney's think. They could at least be creative, jesus christ.

    October 10, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • WE atheists

      We do care. Hence we spend all day here.

      October 10, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
      • Question

        Why the word "we" whatever happened to the word "I"?

        October 10, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
        • WE atheists

          Good question. We atheists are superior and use logic and reason and are superior.

          October 10, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
  12. Ben Franklin

    A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

    October 10, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  13. Justaguy

    The godless are always trolling the belief blog to spew their "knowledge" or "prove it" mentality on believers – the proof will come to them one day when it hits them between the eyes a split second after they pass from this life..

    October 10, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • Texas

      ...and the great noodle monster wraps his noodly appendage around me and asked me if I said PASTA! to HIM daily and got together once a week with the neighborhood to talk about sacred and holy durum semolina?

      October 10, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Answer

      Live til you are 200 years old you freaks. Live long! Every day spew your garbage about the coming of your savior til your tongue drops out of your mouth.

      Live really long and regret your stupidity.

      October 10, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
      • Justaguy

        I do have regrets in my life but being a believer is not one of them as I have known and felt God's work in my life. And thank you for wishing me a long life – I appreciate that. 🙂

        October 10, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • Scary

      They say they have no souls.

      October 10, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
      • Justaguy

        everyone has a soul – some just don't believe they have one

        October 10, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
        • Just Call Me Lucifer

          Let me guess... you have no proof other than your "faith" that you have a soul, and that faith is based on a book written by men and the made-up BS of organized religion. PT Barnum was right... sucker.

          October 10, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
        • Truth

          You are soul. You have a body.

          October 10, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          Right, some don't believe they have a soul because some happen to care that what they believe is substantiated with evidence.

          October 10, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • Just Call Me Lucifer

      Yeah... lets all be afraid of what a non-existant god will do to us if we don't kiss its invisible butt. Its obvious you believe out of fear. I guess the lie is working well on you.

      October 10, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  14. Austin

    ouch! Topher get off me, that hurts and its ahrd ot ytpe

    October 10, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  15. NE

    Foolish waste of money, it will change no-one's view.

    October 10, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Texas

      Not true! I decided to get me a bible, a Koran, and a Torah.... and use them!!! ...but not for what youuuuuuu thiiiiiink.... 🙂

      October 10, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Gol

      Yep, just as foolish and a waste of time as when the atheists did it.

      October 10, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  16. requiemamindset

    critical thinking and deductive reasoning.................something that goes out the door when you read and believe stuff mud hut dwelling goat herders thousands of years ago wrote on sheepskin.......................

    October 10, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Gol

      Intelligence isn't measured by region or time frame one finds themseves in.
      I would guess that Jefferson was more intelligent that you and he lives 200+ years ago. Heck, even Lorenzo de Medici was probably more intelligent than you and he lived 500 years ago.

      Long story short..living in crude surroundings or having a less than desireable job does not mean one is dumb.

      October 10, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  17. guy

    I don't know what's with all this us vs. them behavior, it's rather childish and arrogant on both sides for trying to convert people so aggressively

    October 10, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Commenting

      Thank you. That was very well said.

      October 10, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • Texas

      I would guess that no ones true intention here is to convert.

      October 10, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • Ironicus

      That is a very stupid thing to say. This is sanity vs insanity, not an ideological war. Reality vs BS.
      You seem to think them equal when they are not. That's called a false equivalency.

      On one side you have rational people who oppose bad craziness.
      On the other side you have bad crazy people who oppose reason and common sense and also use their bad craziness to do every horrible thing ever known in human history. No evil is too bad for crazy people if they think their god says its okay.

      Sure, it may seem like a football game, but it's more like bystanders during a crime who protest and the criminal laughs and waves a bible. Religious people are sick in the head. If you don't have a rational reason for doing something, I want you kept the hell away from everyone else. Period.

      October 10, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
      • Topher

        TOUCHE!!!

        October 10, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
      • New thoughts

        What if people who thought differently from you were not bad or crazy? What if both of those terms need to go out the window and be replaced with terms like "understanding" "diversity" "free will" and goals that actually work together for the common good? What if each individual was accountable for his or her own actions and not the actions of a "group"?

        October 10, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
        • Ironicus

          Look, if your brain isn't working right, that should concern everyone, right?
          If you can't tell the difference between what is real and what is not, then you are likely to be a danger to others and yourself.
          Mental illness is a real issue, not something to be whitewashed. It is a real health issue.
          Allowing mentally ill people to damage everything and everyone around them is extremely dangerous to everyone.
          This is not about some ideology. Atheism is not an ideology you nitwit. This is not just a harmless game, this is extreme danger smashing the lives of children everywhere. Lives are destroyed from mental illness.
          This is not some damn game! These people do not have free will, are usually unable to understand how delusional they are, and diversity is not some wonderland where everyone is happy, but a nightmare of chaos where the dangerous and violent hide behind bleached smiles and say what you are too stupid to realize is BS while they defraud you out of your money, attack your children, warp your life and worldview until you are little better than a damn basketcase.
          Or perhaps you enable these monsters to reign freely, preying on innocent people, even murdering them and raping their children, because people like you have some dreamy idea of "diversity" or "multiculturalism" that helps psychotically violent people to literally get away with murder.
          No, this is serious stuff, dawg. You'd better pull your head out of your ass and realize how bad your ideas are about that stuff.

          October 10, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
        • New thoughts

          Rushing to attack with personal insults is offensive and uncalled for. What evidence have you that the individuals in question do not have free will. Are you a qualified psychiatrist to make these assumptions about them? I neither enable nor disenable but look up the word delusion in the PDR sometime, I think you'd be very surprised what it says.

          October 10, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
        • New thoughts

          Also let me point out that religious belief is excluded from the DSM series. In addition I hope your realize I am perceiving your display of aggressive speech as indicative of something stronger and perhaps more dangerous than an ideological disagreement.

          October 10, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
        • Ironicus

          lol

          October 10, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
        • Ironicus

          @New thoughts
          You know, if you just tighten your sphincter a little bit more your head will come clean off....LOL

          October 10, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
      • Camus

        It's so funny and tragic...you actually think you are one of the rational people. HAHAHA.

        October 10, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
        • Ironicus

          That is clearly the lamest response to my post. Thanks for playing.

          October 10, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
        • New thoughts

          How do you define rational and sanity? Why are you qualified to judge?

          October 10, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
        • Camus

          Ah..that is a good question Nt but I doubt you will get a reasonable answer from the one that started this...right Ironicus?

          October 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
        • Ironicus

          Better, but still pretty lame. Better go back to surfing porn, kid. Soon all that's going to be shut off from everyone under 18.

          October 10, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
        • Camus

          More of the same from Iron, he pretends to be rational and intelligent yet look at this drek he throws about on here. pitiful. No facts just whining.

          October 10, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
      • ibelieve

        You said, "Look, if your brain isn't working right, that should concern everyone, right?" And who exactly is to decide if someone's brain isn't working right? You? And who says what is right or wrong? I could go ahead and say that it is in fact your brain that isn't working right. But that would just be ignorant on my part. What concern is it of yours what someone else believes in? Do my beliefs affect your life in any way? Nah, didn't think so. Just as your beliefs, or lack there of, don't affect my life in any way. A brain not working to your standards has nothing to do with freedom of religion....

        October 10, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
        • Ironicus

          Sounds like I hit a nerve there. Easy there, fella. No one's going to strap you down today. Your secret is safe with us on the internet....

          October 10, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
      • guy

        But atheism is ideology, you can't prove a negative and that works both ways

        October 10, 2013 at 6:33 pm |
        • Ironicus

          Nope. Atheism is merely the lack of any ideology that incorporates a deity or deities. A LACK of an ideology in that area.
          Get it yet? You really sound stupid when you say things that aren't true.

          October 10, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
        • Sara

          guy, I rarely agree with Ironicus, but he or she is right here. Atheism is just a lack of belief, or disbelief in gods. An ideology is a system of ideals. One's position on whether or not gods exist says nothing about one's ideals. An atheist might have no ideals, be a utilitarian, humanist, Unitarian, Buddhist or socialist. Who knows. But atheism itself is not an ideology.

          October 10, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
        • Ironicus

          @Sara
          I disagree with you disagreeing with me and can only wonder why you bothered to mention it.
          Trolling? Is that you, Tom? Still rubbed the wrong way on something? Want to talk about it?

          October 10, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Trying to convert – yeah, pointless.

      But – most atheist signs are not at all about conversion – you believe or you don't. It's about helping those who are atheist, but think that they're alone and have to stay in the closet, find out that there are others, and that there are even groups of other atheists they can talk to. That we don't have to hide, that we don't have to continue allowing religion to be pushed into our laws, our schools.

      October 10, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
  18. HotArroganceB

    Austin, is that me?

    October 10, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Colin?

      October 10, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        I did not post that, but I'm glad that Jesus likes his followers to be dishonest.

        October 10, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
        • Gol

          Seemed like a logical move of an atheist trying to add confusion to the board to me.

          October 10, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I'm not a Christian. Quit making logical fallacies. What are you, Colin?

          October 10, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
      • Colon

        Hi!

        October 31, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
  19. alpg49

    Just as a point of reference, Catholics are free to believe in evolution. Our bodies are "the dust of the earth". Our souls are the only important part.

    October 10, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Catholickers Lose

      And since the soul does not exist, you lose.

      October 10, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
      • Paul

        "And since the soul does not exist, you lose"

        What's your evidence for thinking that the soul does not exist?

        October 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  20. Austin

    Topher, is that me?

    October 10, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • Topher

      I'm hard to pin down these days. God keeps shuffling me around to post on different websites in different languages... ис но год тхат эксц аныщхере...

      October 10, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Colin?

      October 10, 2013 at 5:33 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.