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An atheist billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel that declared Christmas a "myth" has been replaced by a pro-Christian billboard.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

    America is so filthy and abominable she almost makes all other nations look righteous in comparison – they are ashamed of YOU!

    December 24, 2010 at 11:59 am |
    • Paulie

      I will take America over any other country any day. Have you ever been to another country even?

      December 24, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
    • Hope

      @ underdogus
      I second that! .... How right you are! It has become an evil, wicked nation, it's people proud and arrogant whose stench reaches the high heavens! But when God lifts His hand of protection from it, then they will see whose blessings they have taken for granted, and in their affluence, many idolatries and gluttonies, they have shook their proud fists one time to many in His face!

      December 24, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
    • N-H- K111-3

      .....@ Don
      Any unbiased person who comes to read these posts will plainly see that it is the atheists who attack Christians with derogatory remarks, mocking and belittling whatevert they say, and are resorting to deceitful , and also bullish practices to twist anything Christians say, to throw mud at them...

      And just what do you think that you may have that Christians would be afraid of? Is this another one of your bluffs trying to prove yourself the be superior? If it is, your'e missing it by a long shot! ...

      It is pretty dishonest and very " intolerant " to twist and misinterpret other people's posts. Yet, you atheists do it all the time! Let those without bias see it for themselves!

      December 26, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  2. Jan

    I love the billboard!

    December 24, 2010 at 11:58 am |
  3. Marshall

    I wish to make the following comments regarding this ongoing challenge to faith.
    There is nothing that has been given to the planet that represents the ultimate in truth.
    This planet is going through great turmoil. Believe paradigms are losing control and religion siphons the system according to its own will. Pope Leo X, 16th century even said “It has served us well, this myth of Christ. You have been sold a version of reality, through overly valued educational systems you prize and reward yourself for the ability to repeat stories as fact – never questioning the content and method of learning.
    Religion is an insult to human dignity. Without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things it takes religion. I suspect that religion is simply a parasite on a much older moral sense.
    Religion involves manipulation of the human population to serve the need of others.

    December 24, 2010 at 11:58 am |
  4. Pete Bogs

    What's interesting is that Christians always see this is as personal attack rather than a First Amendment-protected expression of non-belief. If we can have "There is a God" billboards we can have "There is no God" billboards, and that's as it should be in the U.S.A. Why is it a "controversy?"

    December 24, 2010 at 11:55 am |
  5. Common Sense

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

    December 24, 2010 at 11:53 am |
    • Paulie

      Just because you want certain things it doesnt mean God wants them.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
    • Common Sense

      so what you're saying is god WANTS babies to die?

      December 24, 2010 at 2:20 pm |
  6. whocares

    You people are all idiots. I'm so sick and tired of religious fanatics preaching about faith, god, and the freakn church. It's all a scam. People only believe and pray when it suites them. Most of you are arrogant, lazy, and selfish. But when you see a billboard about another person's beliefs you attack in the only way you know, HATE. How is that christian like? Please tell me, better yet, you can all go straight to hell!

    December 24, 2010 at 11:53 am |
  7. Tony

    I find it interesting that people that do not believe in God are very defensive about their disbelief. I have almost always seen one emotion from Atheists and Agnostics when the topic of God is introduced, and that is anger. Why do they get so angry and defensive? What is it that makes them angry? I believe the answer is fear. They are afraid there is a God, and they are afraid that their disbelief is wrong. They believe that when they die, they will meet him, and they will have to explain why they didn't believe in him. Simply, its because if there is a God, then they can't do whatever they want, and they will have to pay for the wrongs they do. No God means complete freedom.

    Lets say there is no God, that we all came from nothing. What do certain things in life have anything to do with survival, then? Why do we have a conscience? There is no reason for a conscience when it comes to survival. If I see something I need, I should just be able to take it without a conscience. There should be no right or wrong. Survival of the fittest.

    How about taste, seeing in color, emotion? The only thing we would need in regards to evolution and survival is the taste of bitter to tell me something I eat may harm me and the sense that I am hungry or full. I don't have to enjoy taste to survive, it seems to be an unnecessary sense. Seeing in color? Not necessary, I can see something is going to harm me without color. Many of the emotions we experience are unnecessary for survival. Yet, we have them.

    To say that we were created by a big bang would be like saying a car was created by slamming sand, air, and metal together and miraculously a Model T was born. I am pretty sure an intelligent engineer needed to create the first car, and I am also pretty sure a human body is far more complex than a car.

    In summary, when you think about all this, you have to realize that no matter what you call Him, he exists, and this makes Atheists and Agnostics very, very afraid.

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

      I find it interesting that you have to lie about atheists in order to make yourself feel better, Tony. You should work on your feeling of inadequacy. But don't blame atheists for your problems.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
    • Sven Thorensen-Sudquist

      Don is right – this is nothing but a lame straw-man argument. Straw man arguments are used by people who cannot debate honestly.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  8. hehehe

    Jesus is a dead corpse who could'nt save himself from some thugs and Mohmad was a pedaphile. We have 3 billion idiots who follow these 2 psychos and their fables of god. Is it any surprise the world has seen so much religious voilence in the name of Islam & Christainity

    December 24, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  9. Sean

    Sigh. Nothing like a religious debate on christmas eve folks. Christians, give it up. Seriously. You claim to be all tolerant and awesome and loving, yet your like that annoying telemarketer that calls every day the people who aren't interested in your package deal. Stop crying to the government for help with idealogy suppression. You are no better then any other religion. A flawed philosophy on life and what is. If god did exist, what would he think of you obessively trying to prove he exists. He's god. He doesn't need YOU to tell US what to believe. Because hes FRIKKEN GOD.

    December 24, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  10. Steve (the real one)

    I'm just joshin - god is fake

    December 24, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  11. Khaled Anntar

    To those who throw ignorant comments about God You are indeed ignorant. All your being talks about God and you are still blind listening only the sound of ignorance inside you. Like or Not God/Allah exists despite all your opposition!!! And to those who throw insults at Muslims again, put this aside and stand united, Jews, Christianns and Muslims all believe in one God, though it is not the very same way that Christians do and it is not the very that Christians believe that Jesus is a God or a son; there is still at least some unity among the three major religions that God exists. God does not make suffering; humans create suffering and wars. God has created humans empowered to do everything good to populate earth and make it flourish but on the other hand humans can make and create evil. These are the humans' fatal mistakes and not God's mistakes.

    December 24, 2010 at 11:50 am |
  12. Norm

    Faith and belief in God is a personal thing. People here are asking for proof or just claim to already be "sure" He doesn't exist.
    I don't feel I have to prove anything to anyone. This is my God. Maybe what most of these non believers just can't accept is that maybe they just aren't worthy. Maybe they just aren't good enough and God wants nothing to do with them. The belief in God is put into our minds by Him. All of our lives are in His hands. Denying God exists, doesn't make it so.
    Sorry for your loss. Go on preaching against Him. Be sure you will never know Him for your efforts.

    December 24, 2010 at 11:50 am |
  13. Dean

    Belief in God or religion is for those who cannot reason for themselves. You won't change those people because they don't have the capacity to change.

    December 24, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  14. Common Sense

    Tell a devout Christian that his wife is cheating on him, or that frozen yogurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that you give it. Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence what so ever

    December 24, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  15. HandymanBrandon

    If all the atheists in the US left the country, we would lose 93% of the members from the National Academy of Sciences, but less that 1% of our prison population.

    December 24, 2010 at 11:42 am |
  16. TonyF

    Wow. I am truly impressed by the activity on this. There is a lot of time and effort being spent on individuals trying to make a point and prove the other guy wrong on their beliefs. WHY. It is a total waste of time trying to convince someone who believes so strongly in their faith. I for one believe that God is GOOD, God is Love and that God is in everyone. So why can't we take the teachings of Jesus and LIVE them instead of arguing about them. Why not put this effort into feeding the hungry, clothing the needy, helping the homeless, caring for the sick, and on and on and on. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Why do those of you who are looking to blame someone and try to blame bad things that happen on God do something about it and do something GOD instead. GOD BLESS US, Everyone of us.

    December 24, 2010 at 11:39 am |
  17. Paul

    If the God of the Bible is just a myth, then why is it the most historically accurate, most tested and enduring and truthful book in the history of human beings ? If it was a myth it would have been dispelled hundreds of years ago. Humanity has had the same problem for years, we are too proud to be humble and admit we need and depend on God, and too self-centered to realize this fact. Anyone who uses logic and reason to investigate the claims of Jesus Christ will come to the same conclusion, he was who he said he was, and now its our turn to respond.

    “It is the nature, and the advantage, of strong people that they can bring out the crucial questions and form a clear opinion about them. The weak always have to decide between alternatives that are not their own.”

    December 24, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  18. Rhaptoad

    I'm sticking with the belief of our greatest scientists: Einstein and Newton believed in the God of the Bible and wrote about it in great detail.

    December 24, 2010 at 11:36 am |
    • OtherDon

      Einstein didn't believe in prayer, a soul, eternal life, or a personal god. Is that what you mean?


      December 28, 2010 at 11:26 am |
  19. richunix

    Whats was GOD name? (remember that the word GOD is a 6th century word of germanic orgrins) So what is his name?

    December 24, 2010 at 11:36 am |
  20. PassionRulesReason

    Still waiting for proof that God exists. That is all.

    December 24, 2010 at 11:36 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.