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An atheist billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel that declared Christmas a "myth" has been replaced by a pro-Christian billboard.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

    It's absolute comedy how childish we all still are. My god's better than your god! As a *sometimes* civilized society, the quicker we can break away from the archaic ideals the quicker we will progress as a species. Repeat after me, we can be good without an invisible man in the sky scaring us.

    December 24, 2010 at 12:24 am |
  2. Steve

    Wow...amazing to see how many of God's children are misguided. It's ok though, because we're praying for you! God bless you all and Merry Christmas! Celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior who has died to forgive our sins. And when you idiots are ready to come around, God's grace and mercy are there for you. Now keep the change you filthy animal!

    December 24, 2010 at 12:20 am |
    • David

      But who prays for Satan? Who in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most, our one fellow and brother who most needed a friend yet had not a single one, the one sinner among us all who had the highest and clearest right to every Christian's daily and nightly prayers, for the plain and unassailable reason that his was the first and greatest need, he being among sinners the supremest?
      – Mark Twain's

      December 24, 2010 at 2:10 am |
    • Lisa

      I don't know why people who do not believe in God are so quick to judge Christians and believers of God. I hope you all find the truth through the word of Jesus Christ. For if it weren't for him, you wouldn't be allowed to live the life you do today. Jesus loves you. God bless and Merry Christmas to all. And I do believe you can keep your CHANGE!

      December 24, 2010 at 12:20 pm |
  3. sherry

    Atheist choose not to believe in God and that is their choice. However, the day will come that even they will believe in God. THe question is.....will it be too late? People can say what they want due to freedom of speech. But that also goes for me and I choose to believe in God and His Word. I'm not an idiot or a fool. I am a child of the creator of the universe, which is God. People can say or do whatever and rip apart my beliefs but in the end I know that I'm going to be ont he winning side. Satan has a lot of people helping him out in forums, press and many different avenues. He's laughing his butt off at all the people that he has fooled into believing that they are so smart and doing his work for him. He's going to take as many people with him as he can and all those that reject Christ and find my faith foolish will remember this one day but it will be too late.

    December 24, 2010 at 12:20 am |
    • Terre08

      Well you are certainly a fool. Pass the drool bucket.

      December 24, 2010 at 1:20 am |
  4. charlotte

    As stated previously, the Bible does not state the date Christ was born. Therefore, if you use a "man made" tradition you are adding to the Bible and the Bible clearly states in Revelation neither to add to God's word nor take away from God's word. There is no evidence in the Bible that Christ was born on December 25. We are to celebrate his death, burial and resurrection every first day of the week according to scripture. Everything must be proven with scripture....if the scriptures do not provide proof then there is no authority by God. Remember, Christmas was a pagan tradition that our culture adopted blindly without authority from scripture.

    December 24, 2010 at 12:18 am |
  5. hawk

    This country will overcome all these things that are around us. good will over power evil, and by the way, we are not an accident.

    December 24, 2010 at 12:17 am |
  6. Jason

    When will people grow up and realize that religion is just a way to control people of lesser intelligence? This season look at all the murder that is committed in your "God's" name and let's make this the season that people put religion behind them and the Earth can finally become a better place. Religion impedes human progress and ruins people's lives.

    December 24, 2010 at 12:17 am |
  7. NL

    AfghanSoldier-
    "and none of the Atheist have any reason to want to destroy the Christian faith"

    Destroy is too strong a word for many atheists but, in twenty years or so, a whole lot of people might start wondering what put us so far behind in stem cell research and gay rights in this country and, when trying to account for all that needless harm, we will have to be honest and point the finger at Christian faith.

    December 24, 2010 at 12:14 am |
  8. BOB

    ATHEISTS are the WEIRDEST. To be alive and conscious on this earth and deny the creator is just the dumbest thing you could possibly do. These ODDBALLS seriously need some good old fashioned psychedelic eye opening therapy to get them to realize life is directly connected to GOD!!!!! WAKE UP YOU MORONIC ATHEIST!! Your disbelief in the obvious is EMBARRASSING and DISGUSTING!! If your so DUMB that you can't see reality for what it is, at least have enough sense to keep your mouths shut!!! Take your NEGATIVE VIBES to some other planet you WEIRDOS!!! I think most of your problem is the fact that you don't THINK DEEP, your on the surface of your mind instead of deep within. So it's probably IGNORANCE instead of STUPIDITY for most of you. Whatever the cause I hope you find GOD. Its not hard just use your head and heart and common sense and stay away from NEGATIVE, EVIL PEOPLE who say that GOD is not real. That statement is the worst possible thing you can say!!! Think of it this way, the ATHEIST offers you NOTHING, GOD OFFERS YOU EVERYTHING. As you travel through life what kind of people are you going to want to be around? Will it be the negative atheist that tells you there is no GOD to hope in, to help you along your journey in life, or the positive person who tells you GOD is real and he loves you and he longs to help you along your journey in life!! Come on the choice is SO OBVIOUS!!! There are many ways to connect with GOD. PRAYER being the top option, MEDITATION and the use of psychedelics for spiritual purposes are very effective as well. OPEN your MIND AND HEART and you will see the TRUTH!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!!! Yes, even the ODD, WEIRD, STRANGE, IGNORANT ATHEIST.

    December 24, 2010 at 12:14 am |
    • NL

      BOB-
      "ATHEISTS are the WEIRDEST. To be alive and conscious on this earth and deny the creator is just the dumbest thing you could possibly do. These ODDBALLS seriously need some good old fashioned psychedelic eye opening therapy to get them to realize life is directly connected to GOD!!!!! WAKE UP YOU MORONIC ATHEIST!!"

      "psychedelic", as in drugs like LSD? Well, I guess that would get people seeing God, in a Cheech and Chong sort of way.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:19 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      Obvious? The Sun is obvious. Even blind people can detect it. Nobody here is claiming the Sun isn't real, but LOTS of people are pointing out that your God isn't real.

      Why isn't your God as obvious as the Sun? Indeed, why is your God not obvious at all? Indeed, why is there no evidence WHATSOEVER that your God even exists?

      Disagree with me? Cite me 1 piece of evidence that could ONLY be explained if your God is real.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:33 am |
  9. dandiwer@gmail.com

    boo jesus sucks

    December 24, 2010 at 12:13 am |
  10. NL

    Funny thing is, the Puritans would have agreed with the atheist billboard. They tried to ban Christmas because they knew it was based on a rowdy pagan celebration.

    http://www.biblicalfoundations.org/family/a-puritan-christmas

    December 24, 2010 at 12:09 am |
  11. AfghanSoldier

    A lot of hate coming from both sides in this room. None of the Christians in here seem to embody the teachings of love that Jesus taught and none of the Atheist have any reason to want to destroy the Christian faith....why don't you all go your separate ways and let people live their lives?

    December 24, 2010 at 12:08 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      Why do you come here to read if honest discussion frightens you? We're having fun. YOU go away.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:29 am |
  12. justsomeoneudntknow

    Athiests are trying to make some kind of a point. But here's one:

    None of us have ever seen God, right? So, for all we know, he could be real, he could be made up.

    But what if God is real? Then – when we die, we'll have some explaining to do.

    And what if he isn't real? Then, at the very least – our quality of lives may have been improved since we were striving to do the right things in life due to the perception that there might be some kind of consequences for our actions upon death.

    December 24, 2010 at 12:06 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      And if Allah is real, you'll have a DIFFERENT kind of explaining to do.

      And if there's a God of Reason who says "I don't care what you ended up believing, just so you did so on the basis of the evidence available to you and not on the word of some money-grubbing charlatan", then you're in a different world of hurt while we atheists are sitting pretty.

      And what if frogs had wings? Then they wouldn't whump their hinders when they jump. But, in the absence of any evidence for ANY of this, why should we believe Thing 1 about your religion or anyone else's?

      December 24, 2010 at 12:28 am |
    • Scott

      I think I stand a much better chance with the possible god as a person who analyzed all of the available information and honesty arrived at the conclusion that he doesn’t exist, than the person who chose to believe “just in case”

      December 25, 2010 at 12:24 am |
  13. dwayne

    Just laughable; the mormans believe that the dead christian god actually visited America. Dead christian gods never travel well.

    December 24, 2010 at 12:05 am |
  14. sarah

    It will never cease to amaze me why so many people continue to argue their beliefs or non beliefs, it is purely a PERSONAL choice what one believes.

    I am Christian and the billboard that the atheist group put up doesn't bother me one bit, I am secure in my beliefs and have nothing to prove to anyone. I am purely thankful to know my God and will pray for the lost, though it is up to God when ones eyes are opened.

    December 24, 2010 at 12:05 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      You believe as you do because someone TAUGHT you to believe that way. Had you been taught otherwise, you would have ended up believing otherwise. All atheists are trying to do is get you to consider a more reasonable alternative. In that way, we're no different than the TV commercials you see hawking the superiority of various brands of beer, trucks, cell phones, or churches. Why settle for less when you can have something better? And for free!

      December 24, 2010 at 12:24 am |
  15. Sam-CA

    From article: "We want to encourage people to seek God and prove that indeed He is"

    ok, so prove it.... Yeah I thought so.

    December 24, 2010 at 12:04 am |
  16. myklds

    Atheists have been discrediting God, Jesus, Prophets and the Bible in full force. Aren't they aware that they became the living proof of the prophecies in the book of revelations and apocalypse. About the coming of the marked beast "the Anti-Christ". As they are going out in the open now here, in the bus, at the tunnel, at the park, in the sports field (heard about a player penalized because of thanking God). They have been shouting on top of their God-allergic that there should be NO RELIGION and NOW there were (based on the comments here, especially on the monicker of RichardSRussel) implications that there should be NO GOVERNMENT.

    It only take time that you noone can buy anything without that mark and faithful are beheaded for not renouncing faith. It's horrible.

    December 24, 2010 at 12:04 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      I cannot fathom how anybody could possibly read my remarks and infer that I think there should be no government.

      But then, I long ago gave up trying to figure out the workings of a mind that could possibly swallow religion.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:20 am |
    • Don

      Of course there shouldn't be any government, mykids. Governments are the anti-thesis of liberty. They are coercive expropriating territorial monopolies. They are all illegitimate. They are all based upon the initiation of force against others. They are all immoral.

      December 24, 2010 at 11:52 am |
    • Scott

      Well it seems to me life would be a lot simpler if I could have a barcode on the palm of my hand. Just one, that would work at the store, the gym, the door at work, the door at home…

      December 25, 2010 at 12:05 am |
  17. dwayne

    gods only exist in the weakest of minds.

    December 24, 2010 at 12:03 am |
    • justsomeoneudntknow

      Not necessarily.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:08 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      Well, I wouldn't go THAT far. After all, Francis Collins, 1 of the 2 guys who deciphered the DNA code, is a sincere theist, and he's sure no dummy. However, I DO think it's safe to say that gods exist only in minds.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:16 am |
  18. mac

    Only way mentioned that there is no proof of evolution.. Ask your doctor about MRSA, debate over.

    December 24, 2010 at 12:02 am |
  19. dwayne

    The thought of a god just seems so dumb.

    December 24, 2010 at 12:00 am |
  20. dwayne

    christians will die; but because they are dead; they will never know that there heaven never existed.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
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