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An atheist billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel that declared Christmas a "myth" has been replaced by a pro-Christian billboard.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

    Why is there no book of Jesus?!

    December 24, 2010 at 5:45 am |
  2. Carla

    I am a Christian, and of course I have questioned God's existance in the face of tragedies in my life and other's lives. But I believe, I try to lie a good, Christian life. Sure I mess up, but I repent and go on.

    But you know what? So what if I'm wrong, and when I die, I just die? Being a Christian has kept me out of trouble like drugs, drinking, etc. and keeps my children from doing the same. If I am wrong and there is no God, what I am really out? Nothing. I kept myself out of trouble and going to jail, and its made a good, moral person, and a shining example for my kids and others.

    If you athiests are wrong and there is a God, well, you are far worse off than I am.

    December 24, 2010 at 5:45 am |
    • Noah

      Oh, so people who are non-Christian do drugs and drink and are generally bad while Christians are absolute saints? And you wonder why atheists generally despise religious people's convictions...

      December 24, 2010 at 8:05 am |
    • Paulie

      Dont worry Carla when they are saying goodbye to their spouse and kids on their deathbed they will have second thoughts about God. I have to bury a close friend this christmas. If their wives of children died I wonder how many of these guys would miss the service, wake and funeral and not bury their own family members. They are just full of it.

      December 24, 2010 at 11:32 am |
    • Scott

      If Christianity keeps people out of trouble why are there so many Christians in jail and so few atheists?

      December 25, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  3. KidCanada

    God is a man made system that dissolves all humans of thought and free will; it blinds human's true calling and quest for knowledge!
    It poisons our brain!

    December 24, 2010 at 5:40 am |
  4. mb

    Uggh don't care.

    December 24, 2010 at 5:06 am |
  5. Justmyview

    I have no problem with Atheists. I don't wish to cram religion down anyones throat, nor do I wish it done so to me. I do believe in God, which is my right, just as those have the right to not believe. My relationship with God is personal and between noone else but Him and I.
    If you don't wish to believe, thats perfectly fine. If there truly is no God, then I have lost nothing, but if there is, those non-believers have lost out on eternity.

    December 24, 2010 at 5:05 am |
    • Evolved DNA

      Hey, thats great i agree with you.. but with groups like the Tea party which has primarily a religious, god based ideology will be forcing religion down the throat of all others.. thats the problem. Atheists only have one common view.. that gods do not exist until proven other wise. Beyond that we may not agree on much else.

      December 24, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  6. Wanderer

    1. 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
    o chad
    then you really don't know anything do you?? search for HIM and HE will reveal HIMSELF to you
    Word does not at all have any validity and cannot validate anything. So if God can be revealed merely by words then God has no validity. His validity or existence can be proven only if someone can bring him to earth and stand before people. Until then, God is still an unknown and whatever going on in his name is meaningless and delusional.

    December 24, 2010 at 4:58 am |
  7. Vnouvelle

    You people kill me. I've never heard so much crap in my life on one blog. I believe in God, always have always will. I don't shove that down anyone's throat, its my private personal choice. To bad you non believers can't do the same. Every time you type or open your mouth, all I hear from you is your ignorance. Christmas is an important Holiday. You don't like don't freaking pay attention to it. Or are you too slow to figure that out. Yes I think you are. Oh and No Ones Fool.. you spelled Santa Claus wrong. Santa Clause is a movie. Guess you are up on all the spellings huh?

    December 24, 2010 at 4:56 am |
  8. shaan

    There is always an age limit to drink, vote, smoke, marry etc. We should also have age limit to select which religion to follow if at all. All religions should be taught along with athiesm.

    December 24, 2010 at 4:44 am |
  9. LM


    December 24, 2010 at 4:35 am |
  10. David in Cincinnati

    Is not!

    December 24, 2010 at 4:24 am |
  11. igrewabrainyearsagoyoushouldtryit

    Hahaha, funny sign, you silly, silly religious fanatics.

    December 24, 2010 at 4:05 am |
  12. Matt

    Why did they send the Catholic League a thank you letter? What a bunch of idiots! Catholic League didn't help convert anyone to atheism. They simply helped funnel non-believers to an organization that feels the need to send hate letters to an organization minding their own business.

    December 24, 2010 at 3:36 am |
  13. Nate from Atlanta

    Goes to show how gullible people can be to worship and go to war over fairy tales.

    December 24, 2010 at 3:31 am |
  14. Hypocrites

    Let's think about this for a second...One of you nonbelievers biggest peeves/arguments is that religion is being forced down your throats. Now let's do a little research. Go down and read some more comments. How many more anti-god comments are their then Christian ones?
    Exactly. This is a religious blog and yet you feel the need to berate people anybody who believes different than you? Wait... thats kinda what you say Christians do huh?
    Christmas is about Jesus but for if you don't believe in his power to save, so be it. Celebrate it anyway because its a wonderful time of year. Have fun, be happy and spend time with family. Jus please let those of us that believe do the same
    For everyone out there, Atheists and Christians alike, have a Merry Christmas.

    December 24, 2010 at 3:18 am |
    • Scott

      What about attempts to force creationism and intelligent design to be taught in school? What about attempts to prevent the morning after pill from being sold in America? What about blocking stem cell research?

      December 25, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  15. timthetoolman

    How many homeless people could have been helped with the $20,000.00 these people have spent to lease a sign?

    December 24, 2010 at 3:14 am |
    • Evolved DNA

      I agree.. to go further think of all the money wasted on organized religion.. If as humans we worked together rather than try to further the cause of the supernatural wizards I am sure we would have cured many of the diseases we have still have today. We still as a society allow these groups tax free status.. why ??

      December 24, 2010 at 11:21 am |
    • Paulie

      how many homeless people have you helped today? its christmas eve? how about all year?

      December 24, 2010 at 11:27 am |
    • Scott

      And how many homeless people could Bishop Long have helped instead of buying a fancy car?

      December 25, 2010 at 3:11 pm |
  16. JacktheCritic

    Believe what you want to believe, just don't step on any one else's beliefs while your doing it. I wish there was a place like that...oh wait there is. I'm living in it.

    December 24, 2010 at 3:10 am |
    • Carlos

      As long as you keep in constructive, what is wrong with challenging illogical ideas? I thought that was how society progressed and improved.

      December 24, 2010 at 3:18 am |
  17. Paulie

    For all of you anti-religion people: Its Christmas. There is a God or at least some higher power. There may be an afterlife. Are you ready? If you dont believe in God or religion how about you leave strict instructions when you die that they cremate you and flush you down a toilet (without any last rites, a wake or a funeral) so you can spend eternity with the rest of the human waste rather than be buried in a cemetary with the rest of the decent, respectful, God fearing human beings. Merry Christmas.

    December 24, 2010 at 3:02 am |
    • Scott

      Thank you for the lovely sentiment Paulie. It shows the kind of compassion and love so often expressed by Christians and reminds me once again why I left the chruch

      December 25, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
  18. Carlos

    People wonder why atheists care about religion. It is because we think religion is a bad influence on human civilization. Usually religion gets a free pass from criticism, and that is part of the reason it perpetuates itself. Many atheists feel obliged to speak up for reason, and to challenge religion's loud but shallow claims of moral, social and political legitimacy.

    December 24, 2010 at 3:02 am |
  19. Paulie

    For all of you anti-religion people: Its Christmas. There is a God or at least some higher power. There may be an afterlife. Are you ready? If you dont believe in God or religion how about you leave strict instructions when you die that they cremate you and flush you down a toilet so you can spend eternity with the rest of the human waste rather than be buried in a cemetary with the rest of the decent, respectful, God fearing human beings. Merry Christmas.

    December 24, 2010 at 2:57 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      I am an atheist. When I die, I want all my usable organs to be harvested for recycling in the body of some living person who needs them, so I can go on helping my fellow human beings.

      December 24, 2010 at 3:58 am |
    • Paulie

      no problem they ought to donate your brain to science to see whats wrong with it – just make sure like I said no last rites, no funeral, no cemetary plot. Lets hope you die young too so the organs are nice and fresh.

      December 24, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  20. Mike

    Religion was created by the upper class as a tool to control society and to make money off of them.

    Religion is the cause of most of the worlds problems today.

    If you religious people want world peace or something like that, man you are doing one heck of a job doing it.

    Prove to us that "god" is real. Oh wait, you can't. Oh, and don't say "you can't prove that he doesn't". There is more evidence that he doesn't exist than there is saying that he does.

    People who rely on religion as a guide through life are blind tools.

    Do what you FEEL is right, not what some magic man in the sky says to do.

    December 24, 2010 at 2:48 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.