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An atheist billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel that declared Christmas a "myth" has been replaced by a pro-Christian billboard.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

    Merry Christ-mas everyone 🙂 Let's all celebrate this wonderful day. Share the love of God with others and be happy, and not only today of course, but everyday.

    And I hope those who don't believe in God don't feel offended. This day is very especial for us because we remember how God became flesh and died for our sins, and thank him for that and for how much he blessed us, for all the good and bad.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
  2. mtnmedic

    @thorrsman. Okay, fine, life is suffering and death. There's a cycle. There's challenge and growth in the cycle. I get it. So WHY does anyone NEED an imaginary god to "help" them with their learning and their challenges? They pray and pray for help, they do EVERYTHING God wants them to to do and yet they suffer horribly.

    Besides all of that, WHY does life, GOD, have to BE about suffering and death? Yet this is the same God who you say is all about peace, love and everlasting life.

    You folks are contradicting yourselves at every turn.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
  3. Ramgolfball

    I believe there is no god. But I am open to the possibility that I am wrong. The difference between my view and that of most people of "faith" is that they are not open to the possibility that they might be wrong. Therein lies the essential core of intellectual dishonesty that characterizes religious thinking.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
  4. dike

    Did you forget the priest working on how to molest children and the head priests working harder to cover up.....

    December 24, 2010 at 1:31 pm |
  5. Steve

    Christians can squirm all they want, but organized religion is on its way out. Fact.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:30 pm |
  6. thumpthump

    I couldn't get through the whole article but he was he adorning and covering for the pedophiles again?

    December 24, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  7. Robert

    While you are all reading and reflecting on your billboard's effect; I will, like a true New Yorker (bridge and tunnel variety), slip my car in front of you by two inches and enter the tube first! Merry Christmas to all and God Bless us everyone!

    December 24, 2010 at 1:26 pm |
  8. joe

    It must be scary for people who don't believe – living life alone. It's no wonder their bitterness is starting to show. Love god and love life and you"ll find peace.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
  9. Valerie

    For those who believe in God, no explaination is necessary. For those who do not believe in God ,no explaination is Satisfactory.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
  10. mtnmedic

    One of the best-kept secrets in the discussions on the Ten Commandments concerns the fact that (according to the story) Moses smashed the first set of tables in a fit of anger, because the Israelites chose to worship the golden calf. (That this would happen or would be told casts doubt on the whole Exodus tale, but we will not cover that here.)

    As the tale goes, Moses smashed the tables of stone, and God said he'd make a new set of tables containing "the words that were on the first" (Exodus 34:1). However, as we see on the second page, the second Ten Commandments in no way resemble the first set

    Gee, sounds like someone else we know....JOSEPH SMITH....and we all know what a crock HIS story is. "You LOST the sacred transcriptions? God is MAD! Now he's going to make me look into the hat with these seer stones and read you a NEW set of testaments that you must write down!"

    If anything, God sure as heck isn't CONSISTENT!

    December 24, 2010 at 1:24 pm |
  11. ChollyGee

    Funny how "G"od is right, correct, "Omniscient" but EVERY instance of atheism MUST be immediately countered by mere humans. IF "G"od is all that "H"e is said to be, then it would stand to reason that godpeople would find atheistic efforts to be merely amusing, considering how right they are and all. godpeople are one of the reasons why the world is so screwed up.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  12. Den K

    That's alright, I have an imaginary friend too – his name is Pete.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:23 pm |
  13. mtnmedic

    HERE is an interesting point: God, yes GOD, is guilty of violating the sixth commandment-"Thou shalt not kill/murder". See: the Flood, Sodom & Gomorrah, the Exodus through the Red Sea, the Passover, and on and on and on. Okay, so he doesn't "murder". Fine. But God KILLS. Oh, but you Christian kooks say "hes PUNISHED them." Call it whatever you like, but at the end of the day, those people were DEAD and their blood is on God's hands!

    December 24, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
  14. Lao T.

    God is. God isn't. Yin yang makes the world go round.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
  15. Nick

    I don't even bother talking to Christians about religion. It's like talking to your dog about math.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  16. Fabiola Ribeiro

    We are not trying to proof anything really. We just want to share our own experiences, what God means in our lives. He does bring joy to our lives, if an earthquake were to happen at this exact moment, I know God will protect me and If I die, I know I will be happy as well since I will be with him at last ^^ So, we don't gain absolutely ANYTHING if you believe in God or not, we are just sharing how fulfilled our lives are with God. Just look at it this way, if I am wrong and you are right (although this not about who is right and wrong), you don't gain anything (well maybe the satisfaction that you are right? I don't know) but If I am right and you are wrong (what do you lose?... I'm afraid a lot) cus judgement will come one day, things will turn very bad, worse than now, and only those who believed will be saved. Those were my two cents. Merry Christ-mas everyone ^^ hope you enjoy this day with all your loved ones ^^ for there is a lot to celebrate 😀 Blessings to all

    December 24, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  17. lance corporal

    because modern christians worship symbols and idols.... this golden calf included..... any sense of God, good or love has long since gone missing to be replaced by snarky self righteousness and hate for those outside their group, it's a stooopid road side billboard..... who f'ing cares????

    December 24, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  18. Hank

    We should all be proud to live in America, where both sides can put up a billboard stating their point of view!!! I'll take the God billboard, thank you!!!

    December 24, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  19. CarlSaganFan

    If "Gods" do exist you must then ask the next question, who or what created the "Gods"? The simple answer is that Humans created them out of ignorance and fear of death. End of Story.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  20. AJ

    I do not believe in invisible magic sky people. Adults with imaginary friends are sad.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:15 pm |
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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.