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An atheist billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel that declared Christmas a "myth" has been replaced by a pro-Christian billboard.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

    I am not an Atheist. I have my own belief in God. My God doesn't demand I get up in peoples faces every chance I get and try to force them to believe as I do. Rather, he instructs me to live my life as an example to others. To care for my fellow man. To be kind, loving and gentle towards others. To give his message when I am asked, not to seek to impose it when it has not been solicited. When 'Christianity' learns Jesus's actual message and starts to follow it. I will welcome you, my lost brothers and sisters.. with open arms. Until then. I will pray for you.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:25 am |
    • Scott

      If the only thing Christians tried to do to me was pray for me, I would have no argument with them and might be able to call them brothers

      December 25, 2010 at 1:41 am |
  2. Donidarko

    There is no god....will everyone please get over this so we as a human race ban get past this?

    December 24, 2010 at 1:22 am |
  3. dwayne

    It is so great to have no christian gods or devils.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:21 am |
  4. Matt

    I feel so bad for most of you on here... there definetly is a God!!! – JUST LOOK AROUND YOU! AN INTELLIGENT BEING HAD TO HAVE DESIGNED THIS UNIVERSE! ITS INTELLIGENTLY DESIGNED AND THAT IS OBVIOUS! IF YOU LOOK AT A WORK OF ART – YOU DONT EVEN QUESTION THAT IT WAS MADE BY AN ARTIST – PAINT DOESNT JUST SPLATTER ONTO A CANVAS AND JUST SOMEHOW END UP FORMING A BEAUTIFUL PIECE OF ART – THE WORLD IS A WORK OF ART – AND EVERY SINGLE LITTLE THING IN THIS UNIVERSE SEEMS TO BE MADE JUST FOR HUMANS! I UNDERSTAND IF MANY OF YOU DONT BELIEVE IN RELIGION – BUT YOU GOTTA REALIZE THERE IS DEFINETLY A GOD. THERE IS JUST NO WAY THAT WE COULD HAVE JUST SPRANG INTO EXISTENCE – SOMETHING (like the universe) DOESNT COME FROM NOTHING. AN EXPLOSION DOESNT JUST HAPPEN – SOMETHING CREATED US – NO DOUBT ABOUT IT

    December 24, 2010 at 1:18 am |
    • Don

      Well Matt, you sure convinced me with your use of ALL CAPS. Because ALL CAPS MAKES EVERYTHING TRUE.

      Oh wait–it doesn't.

      Nor do your fallacious appeals to awe and your blatant assertions make there exist a god.

      December 24, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  5. Matt

    I feel so bad for most of you on here. there definetly is a God – JUST LOOK AROUND YOU! AN INTELLIGENT BEING HAD TO HAVE DESIGNED THIS UNIVERSE! ITS INTELLIGENTLY DESIGNED AND THAT IS OBVIOUS! IF YOU LOOK AT A WORK OF ART – YOU DONT EVEN QUESTION THAT IT WAS MADE BY AN ARTIST – PAINT DOESNT JUST SPLATTER ONTO A CANVAS AND JUST SOMEHOW END UP FORMING A BEAUTIFUL PIECE OF ART – THE WORLD IS A WORK OF ART – AND EVERY SINGLE LITTLE THING IN THIS UNIVERSE SEEMS TO BE MADE JUST FOR HUMANS! I UNDERSTAND IF MANY OF YOU DONT BELIEVE IN RELIGION – BUT YOU GOTTA REALIZE THERE IS DEFINETLY A GOD. THERE IS JUST NO WAY THAT WE COULD HAVE JUST SPRANG INTO EXISTENCE – SOMETHING (like the universe) DOESNT COME FROM NOTHING. AN EXPLOSION DOESNT JUST HAPPEN – SOMETHING CREATED US – NO DOUBT ABOUT IT

    December 24, 2010 at 1:17 am |
    • hawk

      Matt, That was beautifull, I say again, we are not an accident.

      December 24, 2010 at 1:23 am |
  6. Dragon

    Atheists put up ONE sign in a city (covered by how many christian signs?) and 'Christians' go into apoplectic fit over it. Tell me. This city has (likely) hundreds if not thousands of signs promoting Christianity... so why do 'Christians' freak out when someone posts one sign that promotes an alternative view point? I ask you with all sincerity.. what do you have to fear from 1 sign? ONE sign. When you have hundreds of thousands of them up all over this country?

    This country allows the freedom for all people to be or not to be religious. This country allows us to each express ourselves (freedom of speech). So I ask you.. if you are allowed to express yourself with signs all over the place, why is it such an affront to you when people who believe differently chose to express themselves with a sign as well? You can't claim to be victims of persecution when you are actually the ones doing the persecuting by raising a stink over a sign that is only 1 -vs- your thousands.

    Sorry.. but your logic here, fails. I am not an Atheist. I have my own belief in God. My God doesn't demand I get up in peoples faces every chance I get and try to force them to believe as I do. Rather, he instructs me to live my life as an example to others. To care for my fellow man. To be kind, loving and gentle towards others. To give his message when I am asked, not to seek to impose it when it has not been solicited. When 'Christianity' learns Jesus's actual message and starts to follow it. I will welcome you, my lost brothers and sisters.. with open arms. Until then. I will pray for you.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:15 am |
    • Scott

      Amen... and I'm an atheist

      December 25, 2010 at 1:38 am |
  7. Matt

    I feel so bad for most of you on here. there definetly is a God – JUST LOOK AROUND YOU! AN INTELLIGENT BEING HAD TO HAVE DESIGNED THIS UNIVERSE! ITS INTELLIGENTLY DESIGNED AND THAT IS OBVIOUS! IF YOU LOOK AT A WORK OF ART – YOU DONT EVEN QUESTION THAT IT WAS MADE BY AN ARTIST – PAINT DOESNT JUST SPLATTER ONTO A CANVAS AND JUST SOMEHOW END UP FORMING A BEAUTIFUL PIECE OF ART – THE WORLD IS A WORK OF ART – AND EVERY SINGLE LITTLE THING IN THIS UNIVERSE SEEMS TO BE MADE JUST FOR HUMANS! I UNDERSTAND IF MANY OF YOU DONT BELIEVE IN RELIGION – BUT YOU GOTTA REALIZE THERE IS DEFINETLY A GOD. THERE IS JUST NO WAY THAT WE COULD HAVE JUST SPRANG INTO EXISTENCE – SOMETHING (like the universe) DOESNT COME FROM NOTHING. AN EXPLOSION DOESNT JUST HAPPEN – SOMETHING CREATED US – NO DOUBT ABOUT IT

    December 24, 2010 at 1:15 am |
    • LM

      All caps does not an effective argument make.

      Please, please, please try to learn the actual science behind evolution and cosmology before you go on living your life believing that everything was magically created by some omnipotent being.

      December 24, 2010 at 3:51 am |
  8. dwayne

    Why believe in a god – THE LIE? I refuse to go to christian heaven.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:11 am |
    • chad

      then trust me you won't be there

      December 24, 2010 at 1:49 am |
    • David in Cincinnati

      Have faith; nor will Chad.

      December 24, 2010 at 4:22 am |
  9. chad

    its amazing to me all the hatred coming from the non-believers. all you have to do is look around at HIS creation and know HE is real or do you believe in the real fairytale that long ago nothing exploded and life began from nothing and animals can change from one kind to another. really??? some of these comments are so ignorant it blows my mind. if the non-believers don't believe then why so angry??? let it go and keep drifting through your meaningless lives

    December 24, 2010 at 1:10 am |
    • Anita

      I am as equally sickened by the hatred from Christians that is spewed here. It is equally prevalent.

      December 24, 2010 at 4:28 am |
  10. dwayne

    christians changed the 1 god (old testament) to many gods (new testament)

    December 24, 2010 at 1:08 am |
  11. RichardSRussell

    Hmmm, somewhere along the line here, CNN.com stopped posting "Reply"-type comments directly under the original comment they were replying to and started treating everything as an original comment. Makes it harder to follow the discussion.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:06 am |
  12. hawk

    You atheists might get away with all your Bs up north and along the west coast, but we won't let it happen south of the Mason Dixon line.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:06 am |
    • OurPlanet

      The south is still a backwoods....

      December 24, 2010 at 10:37 am |
    • Scott

      Unfortunately FREEDOM OF SPEECH never seems to have really caught on in the red states

      December 25, 2010 at 7:40 pm |
  13. dwayne

    I think the christian god is a lot sicker than zeus or jupiter. (other big name gods).

    December 24, 2010 at 1:05 am |
  14. Tauron

    One could go on and on discussing at length the absurdity of dogma: the lack of reason, the circular logic, the total disregard for natural evidence, the fact that it's entirely built from a human perspective, and so on... Yet it's not the ignorance of those who don't know better than to adhere to such believes that I find most distressing, but rather the willingness of those who, having been confronted with the logical alternative, choose to dismiss it in favor of faith.
    Of course we are all free to be as wrong as we want. It's just a little sad how lost and alone and afraid so many people are, that they will take the solace that a myth provides them instead of celebrating the infinitely wonderful human mind.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:04 am |
  15. Richard

    People who believe in God and obey, go to heaven when they die.
    People who don't believe in God and die go to Hell.
    If God exists, Hell. If he doesn't. No problem. Might as well believe.
    Just in case.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:04 am |
  16. dwayne

    based on the infallible and inerrant evidence of His Holy Word; fabricated myth for the weak minded.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:03 am |
  17. dwayne

    Its amazing people of today believe in a dead christian god.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:00 am |
  18. cm

    GodIsForImbeciles your views and words are just as appealing as a pap smear. You clearly don't know your history. Write again when you grow up.

    December 24, 2010 at 12:58 am |
    • GodIsForImbeciles

      cm: truth is not about being appealing. Fantasy is about being appealing. Embrace the suck!

      December 24, 2010 at 2:46 am |
    • cm

      Oh GIF truth lies in stories. Too bad you enjoy ripping out pages for your own agenda. Sadly, you miss a lot being a wall.

      December 24, 2010 at 8:38 am |
  19. T

    Whoever says Atheists are aggressive or pushy, does not seem to understand what an Atheist is. They are sceptical and curious. They don't believe in theism. They don't want to be told to believe in Mohammad, Lord Kristna, Jesus or Buddha.

    You would think those that have found a deeply meaningful belief system would be over the moon with happyiness and joy, but they aren't. They can not be happy until the Atheist believes it too.. lol

    December 24, 2010 at 12:57 am |
  20. dwayne

    Life is no way connected to a sick christian god.

    December 24, 2010 at 12:54 am |
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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.