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An atheist billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel that declared Christmas a "myth" has been replaced by a pro-Christian billboard.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

    God want you to solve your own problems and sort your own crap out....

    December 24, 2010 at 2:34 am |
  2. Kashtin

    Damn...and just when I thought reasonable people ran the billboard company whatever thing and wouldnt be bought out by a group of determined christians...

    December 24, 2010 at 2:32 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      Based on the picture that ran with this story, it's the Lamar billboard company, and I'm delighted to see that they're willing to take money from a wide variety of people with a viewpoint to promote. The real danger comes when some ideas are suppressed, like what the Catholic Church did with Galileo.

      December 24, 2010 at 3:56 am |
  3. aselfishpoet

    cnn = cowardice not news? what's the matter moderator, can't handle a little rhyme? too clever for you? too offensive for you? don't get it? can't deal with a better writer? funny that you let my second one go up uncontested


    December 24, 2010 at 2:27 am |
  4. chad

    to richard russell: do you really believe theat nothing exploded and life began from non-living material and that animals have changed from one kind to another???? Really??? talk about fairytales

    December 24, 2010 at 2:17 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      Yes, Chad, I believe all of those things, with a possible quibble over what exactly it was that exploded in the Big Bang. It may have been "nothing" but maybe not. All the evidence was destroyed in this large explosion, you see.

      Surely you can't be saying that you can look at all the similarities between, say, chimps, bonobos, and humans and FAIL to recognize that they all have various features of their anatomy in common with each other? Have you ever heard of the phrase "family resemblance" or seen examples of it? Just multiply by millions of generations, and it becomes obvious how one kind of critter turns into another over time.

      December 24, 2010 at 3:53 am |
    • JT

      Richard, you've fallen for the Christian's vocabulary which is tailored towards the only way they see the world. The theory of evolution isn't something one "believes" in as one believes in a myth/religion. One "accepts" the theory of evolution just as one accepts all sound, scientific facts. One doesn't believe in gravity, we all accept the theory of gravity. There are thousands of theories that we all accept and Christians have no problem with. It's this one major threat to their faith that the flat Earthers still attack even now as we approach 2011.

      December 24, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  5. RichardSRussell

    Just a little tip for people returning here to see if anyone has replied to their comments from yesterday. Go to the "Edit" menu in your browser, choose "Find", and enter your handle. It'll take you, 1 at a time, to your prior comments. (Or, he said immodestly, you can type in MY handle and graze thru all the pearls of wisdom I've dropped for your edification.)

    December 24, 2010 at 2:16 am |
    • chad

      evolution vs. creation?? are you ready?

      December 24, 2010 at 2:19 am |
    • chad

      I don't see ant edifying coming from you

      December 24, 2010 at 2:21 am |
  6. David

    Hey I am no Atheist. I am a polyatheist, there are many Gods I don't believe in.

    December 24, 2010 at 2:12 am |
  7. Tom

    Christmas is not really Christian. It wasn't the birthday of Christ, but Christ really is the Son of God.

    December 24, 2010 at 2:07 am |
  8. barnrney

    I've been told by a couple of investment advisors that I should join a church to take advantage of the many tax rite offs.I thought we are all equal under the law of the land? Boy was I wrong.

    December 24, 2010 at 2:05 am |
    • Anita

      Your investment advisors need to go back to school. Those tax right-offs can be gained without going to church. Whether you belong to a church, give to a church, or give to some not-for-profit charity that has no relation to a church, your tax write off is limited to a percentage of your income each year. At some point, if you have good investment sense and advice, you will do better investing your money, paying taxes on the gains, and reinvesting. You should give, whether to a church or to a not-for-profit, because you are behind what you are giving for. I will give, whether or not there is a tax write off.

      December 24, 2010 at 4:33 am |
  9. David

    Today's religion is tomorrows fable and myths.

    December 24, 2010 at 2:02 am |
  10. MOJ

    I'm always surprised when someone fails to see the hypocrisy in their point of view. "You KNOW it's a myth"? Seriously??? How can you KNOW it's a myth any more than a believer KNOWS it's true? If REASON were really the core of atheists' position, wouldn't they be agnostics instead?

    Since no one can PROVE the existence or nonexistence of the metaphysical, atheism is no more verifiable (and thus rational) than faith. Atheism is a philosophical position that (1) masquerades as a rational position then (2) denigrates other philosophical positions for being irrational.

    Atheists, you're cracking me up!!!

    December 24, 2010 at 1:58 am |
  11. Ben

    I highly doubt that most of you (on both sides) would talk to each other in real life the way you do on these blogs hidden behind this cloak of namelessness. If you are a Christian, accept that your belief is not logical in a worldly sense, and stop trying to make it so. Stop the useless debate and do what your Jesus taught you to do- go out and love people unconditionally. If you are a true Atheist, then stop being so afraid of people trying to change your mind. If you really do believe that there is no creator and no afterlife, then go do what your value system tells you to do without the cowardice of an attack billboard.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:57 am |
  12. mike

    as americans, we have to freedom to believe in god, or to not believe in god. as a civilized culture, we should feel obligated to respect what others do or do not believe. but for some reason, as individuals, we feel a need to make everybody agree with us. reading these comments, no matter what side of the argument, embarrasses me to be an american.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:52 am |
    • Scott

      Mike: I’m an atheist and I have no need to make any one agree with me. I do have a need that people not try to make me agree with them. As a sentient creature I will fight against all who would use force instead of logic to bend me to their ideas. Bu as an American I would die to protect their right to have those ideas no matter what my opinion of them

      December 25, 2010 at 2:20 am |
  13. chad

    what I don't get is if you dont believe then why do you care.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:46 am |
    • Evolved DNA

      Because the religious are influencing politicians to infect laws based on their totally unproven beliefs. There is big money behind these groups and if we are not careful ....

      December 24, 2010 at 11:14 am |
    • Don

      I don't care, chad. But believers sure have a problem being told there is no god! They want to stomp their feet and pout whenever someone dares question the existence of a god.

      December 24, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  14. Evolved DNA

    Question for the believers.. what happens to , say,a baby if it goes to heaven..does it grow or is it forever a baby?/ in which case when the parents get there, will they still recognize it? In fact does anyone age when they get to heaven? or are they the same age as when they die.. bummer if you go at 103.. and see some of you buddies who popped off earlier...

    December 24, 2010 at 1:43 am |
    • Scott

      More questions
      So if Christ is the “light of the world” come to “save us from hell” why did he wait so long? Why didn’t he show up right after the Garden of Eden fiasco? Or after god wiped out the world during Noah’s time? Why wait so many hundreds or thousands of years before fixing the problem? Did he have a minimum quota for hell? And all the people who weren’t Jewish after the flood and before Jesus? What are they, collateral damage?

      December 25, 2010 at 2:14 am |
  15. David

    The message doesn't mean much to me but the design and use of Typography are slick.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:37 am |
  16. Wanderer

    All I knew about God was words from someone’ mouth who knew about God was words from someone’s mouth who knew about God was words from someone’ mouth who knew … i.e. just words, words, words

    December 24, 2010 at 1:32 am |
    • chad

      then you really don't know anything do you?? search for HIM and HE will reveal HIMSELF to you

      December 24, 2010 at 1:54 am |
    • Scott

      @chad: I disagree! I was raised in a Christian home. I grew up Christian; but, the more I learned about reality the weirder Christianity seemed. I searched and I tried and I fought to continue to believe; but, the more I tried the more I could see that what the church said should happen (e.g. power of prayer) didn’t. I even tried to completely ignore the evidence. Ok I will stop looking, I will stop comparing reality to what the church says. I will just believe in spite of all of the evidence. But in the end I couldn’t ignore the truth. Prayer was no better than wishing upon a star. God did not protect the meek. Christians treated me worse than pagans. The only thing that was “reveled” to me is that Christianity is a lie, the bible is a myth and Christians are the most un Christ like people I have ever met

      December 25, 2010 at 1:59 am |
  17. chad

    JESUS is the Way the Truth and the Life thank you LORD

    December 24, 2010 at 1:28 am |
    • Scott

      @chad: "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do
      all these things." (Isaiah 45:7)

      December 25, 2010 at 1:43 am |
    • CatholicMom

      God permits evil for the sake of a greater good.

      December 26, 2010 at 2:47 pm |
    • Don

      God permitting evil for the sake of a greater good is both heinous and a way to rationalize your way out of nonsense, CatholicMom.

      December 26, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  18. dwayne

    christian mythology at its worst.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:27 am |
  19. dwayne

    How can the christian god be alive and cant text?

    December 24, 2010 at 1:26 am |
  20. Donidarko

    There is no God....can we please get past this so the human race can work together as a team and get beyond this crap fairy tale nonsense!!!!!!

    December 24, 2010 at 1:25 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.