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An atheist billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel that declared Christmas a "myth" has been replaced by a pro-Christian billboard.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

    They forgot...... A figment of your imagination used to extract money and blind allegiance.....Wait that would be closer to the truth and another atheist billboard..... I bet the sign company is making bucks keeping this argument fueled....

    December 24, 2010 at 8:49 am |
  2. ReasonIncarnate

    Don't worry, just because you don't believe in him, it doesn't mean that he doesn't believe in you

    December 24, 2010 at 8:49 am |
  3. ReasonIncarnate

    Why does my belief in God hurt you so much? Insecure are we...

    December 24, 2010 at 8:47 am |
  4. ReasonIncarnate

    If athiests are right, noone will ever know (you die and it's over). However, when you find out that we, the believers, are right, you will have eternity to "think about it."

    December 24, 2010 at 8:46 am |
  5. ReasonIncarnate

    If the athiests are right, who cares. But what if we (the believers) are right?
    How long can you survive in a lake of fire....Answer: Eternity – longer than your worse nightmare, and then some...

    December 24, 2010 at 8:44 am |
    • Don

      *facepalms at "ReasonIncarnate" for using Pascal's Utterly Refuted To Death Wager*

      December 24, 2010 at 8:55 am |
  6. ramtruck2500

    The whole article is full of it. there is no way to escape religion in this country. public moneis subsidize their schools to the demise of the public system, faith based projects benefits only their own and on and on. Once a church preaches politics – right or left tax it just like anyhting else. I say YES to secularism and no to theocracy Dont agree then please put your tree someomewhere.

    December 24, 2010 at 8:40 am |
  7. ddrake

    This is oh so childish. I am a what you would say is a questioning believer. However, I do not take the bible as the official word from the big guy. I question Jesus being the son of God. And I do see Christmas as more of a myth than anything else. Christmas, for me, is a time to be with the ones you love and celebrate the end of the year and a new beginning of the next.

    If you want to believe, fine. If you don't want to believe, fine also.

    If you want to spend $$$ to stick up a silly billboard, fine, but why don't both groups use that money to help, gee, all the humans that need some help with food, clothing, utility payments, shelter, et. al. The believers can cite the teachings of Jesus and for the Atheists it will be a chance to help a human themselves instead of waiting for the big guy to jump in. A secularists dream!

    By the way, many of the enlightenment thinkers believed in 'something" so to argue that we need to use "reason" instead of "faith" is erroneous.

    December 24, 2010 at 8:39 am |
  8. Tumak

    The billboard should say "Nobody Knows."

    December 24, 2010 at 8:37 am |
  9. Me

    As a devout atheist, religion doesn't bother me a bit. I wish I could believe, but I don't. It just has too many holes and the old fallback of "take it on faith" is nonsense. That being said, how can someone be angry at something they claim they don't believe to exist? It's silliness.

    December 24, 2010 at 8:36 am |
  10. Shash

    I watched a history channel program many years ago about the life of Jesus. On there they had the Cardinal who is in charge of historical records. This man (who is Catholic and is within arms length of the Pope) said that he knew he shouldn't be a Christian, he should be a Jew, because Jesus was put on this earth to help the Jews get back on track from all the "odd behavior" they were doing at the time (ie praying to a sun god ect...). So if the Cardinal KNOWS we shouldn't be Catholic then why??? I don't get it. Never understood that. If people want to be like Jesus – then be a Jew.

    December 24, 2010 at 8:36 am |
  11. BC

    this is about a the believers trying to just share what they believe in while the atheist board is a direct attack on someone else.

    December 24, 2010 at 8:34 am |
  12. SeattleAaron

    God is......... MAKE BELIEVE; an illusion propagated by those who wish to maintain power over the dumb mass populace; cruel joke; an idiot; nonexistent; something pedophile priests believe in..... take your pick but simple logical thought processes yield that "God" does not exist and is only an explanation for stupid people as to why things are the way they are.

    December 24, 2010 at 8:34 am |
  13. Mark

    The concept of God is a child's play. Your God and your religion has not created a better man, but only a destructive man. Please grow up!!

    December 24, 2010 at 8:34 am |
  14. The Third Cell

    In the million trillion kilometer Universe, with 100 Billion Galaxies, each with over 500 Billion Stars, God would actually chose an obsure planet, in an obsure solar system, in an obsure galaxy and impregnating a poor Jewish woman and present to us his son! Walt Disney can’t make up stories that are this unbelievable. Then man in the height of conceit made God into his image and likeness!

    December 24, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  15. Shash

    I work in retail and it's funny to me when people get upset when I say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas". Looking back at all my religous ed classes (over 12+ years) I remember that Jesus was a Jew – The King of the Jews no less. SO around this time of year I say Happy Holidays so I won't leave out Jesus in my greetings because he will be celebrating Hanukka with God 🙂

    December 24, 2010 at 8:27 am |
  16. Manny

    Good job guys! Love the banner! We need a positive message in this world!

    December 24, 2010 at 8:22 am |
  17. Pat

    My, so much hate by man who God created...God does blind man and harden their hearts...It surely shows in these comments...

    December 24, 2010 at 8:15 am |
  18. tofie

    Atheists want the freedom to do whatever they please. God has given us the 10 commmandments and the bible to use- which gets in the way of human nature. No need to argue the point- just look at the facts- since m. murray forced (God) prayer out of the schools and abortion was legalized- look at the steady decline of our once great nation which was founded on Judeo- Christian values. Reason has been replaced by political correctness – the Media, GaGa, and Oprah have taken over. .History does repeat itself. The fall of the roman empire all over again, and it looks like anarchy is heading our way. Repentence and much prayer is needed for our nation and people. By the way I was an agnostic at one time.

    December 24, 2010 at 8:15 am |
    • Don

      "God" was never forced out of schools, the 10 demandments have nothing to do with morality, and anarchy doesn't mean what you think it means.

      December 24, 2010 at 8:57 am |
  19. Manda

    Wow, I wonder how much food this argue could have bought for needy families and children during the Holiday season. It would have been nice if the church just sent out a statement " Instead of arguing and spending large amounts of money on a billboard we donated 20,000.00 to a charity". Actions speak louder than words or in this case a billboard. It is also sad how the Atheists see it fit to donated 65,000.00 to these people when our food banks are empty. Way to go people.

    December 24, 2010 at 8:13 am |
  20. Mike

    God is a killer of children across the world. Ask your preacher or whatever....they will throw you a line of bs. God is nothing. I thought I saw him in a potato chip a few years back. Oh yea, and Jesus was just a man. No God. Fairy Tales. Ugh. Get over it!!

    December 24, 2010 at 8:07 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.