'God is' billboard replaces controversial Lincoln Tunnel atheist billboard
December 23rd, 2010
05:44 PM ET

'God is' billboard replaces controversial Lincoln Tunnel atheist billboard

By Emanuella Grinberg and Nicole Saidi, CNN

An atheist billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel that declared Christmas a "myth" has been replaced by a pro-Christian billboard.

The old billboard, put up in late November by the American Atheists organization, said "You know it's a myth. This season, celebrate reason."

The sign stirred controversy among Christian organizations, prompting the Catholic League to erect its own pro-Christmas billboard on the New York side of the tunnel that read, "You Know It's Real: This Season Celebrate Jesus."

The new sign, which was posted by the Manhattan-based Times Square Church, reads "God is," and includes a word cloud of religious themes.

See images of new "God is" billboard

The sign is a direct response to "atheist billboards near the Lincoln Tunnel declaring Christmas a myth," the church said on its website.

"We want to encourage people to seek God and prove that indeed He is," senior Pastor Connor Conlon said. The ad originally ran as part of a subway ad campaign Times Square Church ran in January 2010.

iReporter Lulis Leal noticed the new sign while passing through the Lincoln Tunnel and shared photos of it with iReport. She said people on both sides of the issue are talking about the latest billboard. She said she's even observed people arguing about it.

As for the old sign, an American Atheists spokesman said the organization's lease ran out on the space, as they'd only had it reserved for a month.

"They have First Amendment rights," spokesman Blair Scott said.

Since putting down $20,000 for the billboard, the group has earned $65,000 in donations, which Scott attributed to the national publicity it garnered - with a little help from the Catholic League.

"We received e-mails from hundreds of agnostics and atheists who heard about the billboard and had never heard about us who thanked us for being there and letting them know they're not alone, and that was our target audience from the get-go," he said.

"We sent the Catholic League a thank-you letter."

- egrinberg

Filed under: Atheism • Catholic Church • Christianity • Christmas • Holidays • iReport

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soundoff (1,586 Responses)
  1. dwayne

    The bible belongs in the comic section.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:57 pm |
  2. melton

    An interesting quotation:
    "To hold, therefore, that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name." [Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei, 1885]

    December 23, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
  3. rd

    cant we all just agree to disagree some people belive in a higher power some do not .....neither belief is better than the other i think there has been attacks from both sides and people need to grow up. Its Rude to call someones religion a myth . Its also rude to push your beliefs onto other people. Why not put up a supportive sign for athiests letting them know there not alone instead of one that is calling someone religion a myth.Thats not trying to get people to think, its a blatant attack on religion. Personaally I dont think this enitre universe is some random chance. but thats just me.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
  4. Terre08

    "With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

    Steven Weinberg

    December 23, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
  5. dwayne

    Listen at how christians describe heaven; sounds like a sick place to me; who in their right mind would want to go there?

    December 23, 2010 at 11:55 pm |
    • Scott

      An eternity in church. And most people can barely stand an hour every Sunday

      December 25, 2010 at 12:01 am |
  6. Ashley

    The discussion of whether or not their is or is not a one true God will go on forever. There really is no point in trying to push your beliefs onto people via this discussion board, simply because many people sound as if they are set in their ways. I think it is very ignorant of people to write short and brief comments that undermined people's beliefs. Especially at this time of the year, we should be focusing on the happiness of others, even if they believe in something different than ourselves.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
  7. dwayne

    christians worship dead jewish person; dont make any logical sense.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:53 pm |
  8. BCM

    God is.....fake, imaginary, and needless. His followers are shallow, hypocritical, idiotic, brainwashed lemmings. If you have a brain, you don't need a God.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
  9. dwayne

    The universes are far too complicated for any christian god to have had any part in. Christian god – pure myth.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
  10. God

    I do exist...I just don't really pay attention to Americans. I had to let the devil have something, so I let him have the USA.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
    • Zorn

      I am God's older brother. Don't pay attention to him. He can be bossy sometimes. I existed before he ever did. Live your life the way you want without fear or guilt. We don't care. PS.....we actually live in Long Beach not Heaven.

      December 24, 2010 at 2:27 am |
  11. dwayne

    The christian god is only another example of mythology.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:48 pm |
  12. Daniel

    Here's hoping that atheist group takes all that money the garnered in donations and spends it on the homeless or hungry instead of another billboard...

    December 23, 2010 at 11:48 pm |
  13. Ben

    I just read about 50 of these entries and the hatred being displayed by the Christians in here is incredible. The majority of the posts I've read in here from the Christian side is pure hypocrisy and the people posting them are doing their faith a complete disservice. Someone says something you don't like and regardless of how non-aggressive the criticism was, you immediately attack their views and lifestyle with irrational blabber that wouldn't hold water in a 4th grade book report, let alone an adult conversation.

    For those who are doing it, I'm not here to help you continue your spread of hypocrisy by arguing what you believe. In fact, most every single Atheist I know, however avid they are about their personal views on yours or any other's god, champion a good person for being just that...a good person, as do I.

    I went to a Catholic funeral last Tuesday and the Priest who oversaw the function was (and still is) an amazing man. At the funeral, he welcomed everyone VERY openly, knowing we were not all Catholic, let alone believers of any sort. See...he had it figured out. He loved and gave unconditionally. We should all learn from him and stop slamming others because they don't believe in the same thing you do. Being ex-military, let me assure you of this; I would give my life to save that man's any day of the week...and no...I don't believe in ANY god one single little bit.

    Point is, not all Atheists are bad people. In fact, most every Atheist I know, isn't and we don't all think that every person of faith is an idiot.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:48 pm |
  14. dwayne

    I rally don't like the thought of a christian heaven; and I refuse to go.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:45 pm |
    • Scott

      A celestial North Korea

      December 24, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      You are well on your way in the opposite direction, so don't worry about having to go to Heaven.

      December 26, 2010 at 1:34 pm |
    • Smite Me


      "You are well on your way in the opposite direction, so don't worry about having to go to Heaven."

      There are many folks of differing mystical, supernatural persuasions who think the same thing about you. How does that feel?

      December 26, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  15. Reality

    Saving Christians from the Resurrection Con:

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue, ( Professors Crossan and Wright are On Faith panelists).

    "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    So where are the bones? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:45 pm |
  16. dwayne

    The christian god has to be one of the sicker gods.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
  17. LouAz

    Believe my god . . . or I'll kill you !

    December 23, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
  18. dwayne

    Using god is a great way to control people. I just cant believe in any of the gods available.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:40 pm |
  19. susan Maddern

    I've been threw alot in my life time but what I do know that God has been their for me in good and Bad times. believe that he is real and that he died on the cross for my sins so I can live with him forever once I leave this world.I do know that when I've prayed to him when I'm having a bad time he has given me peace and comfort! I know.I do believe that their is alot of bad things happening in this world because satan has taken over and believe me he works extra hard on people who don't believe and are weak and yes he has tried on me to because we are all sinners but we can be saved if we want to because God send is Son to die on the cross for our sins if we believe in him.I'm not condeming anyone that doesn't believe that's your choice but if you want respect then respect my choice as I believe in my Lord and Savior!

    December 23, 2010 at 11:36 pm |
    • Terre08

      Too bad your lord didn't give you a proper education.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:53 am |
  20. Bringin the lulz

    Well religious America you may have won an insignificant battle but atleast I'm not living my life in order to appease the imaginary beneavolent magic man in the sky – y'all have fun with that.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:33 pm |
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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.