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An atheist billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel that declared Christmas a "myth" has been replaced by a pro-Christian billboard.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

    @ Fabiola But WHY Give man this freedom to choose between eternal life and eternal damnation? Is God THAT bored with heaven? Why is there strife and challenge at all? Or did He truly not have complete control over all of His creations? Why even GIVE humans a choice between Him and damnation if his goal is to then convince humans that HE is the right choice? Wow...sounds like an insecure person to me. WHY does good need continual affirmation that he IS God? He should already know it, right? Why does He even NEED us simple, stupid apes to SAY we love Him, adore Him and follow Him? Why should he care at all? Last I checked, an all-powerful god who can dictate the terms of life and death has no need to be concerned with what others think of him...unless he is insecure of himself.

    December 24, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  2. mtnmedic

    "God is all-knowing and all-powerful." Cool.

    But...it must've been a SHOCKER to God when he found out one of his best (if not THE best) angels stood up, though for himself and said "I'll be like the Most High." Wow. He didn't see THAT one coming, huh? What a surprise! Imagine that...something even GOD didn't know about beforehand!

    Or is it just a convenient story to cover up the fact that God CREATED Satan and loosed him upon the Earth for whatever reason. Why make up a little story? Just come right out and say "Hey, I created a huge challenge for you...it's called SATAN. Get around him and I'll call you good." Why the whole diatribe that is the Bible?

    Better yet, why even CREATE Satan? And Satan came before the Earth and Man. So, either something wrong happened at the top or God's agenda INCLUDES evil, sin, hatred, war, disease, killing, greed, etc. What kind of benevolent god uses EVIL as an instrument to achieve whatever end? Weird.

    December 24, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
  3. Sven Thorensen-Sudquist

    Santa Claus is a false idol, a violation of the First Commandment. Christians sin by by honoring him. God has said he is a jealous god and punishes those who do not obey this, to the third and fourth generation.

    However, the one true Lord, Flying Spaghetti Monster, is quite comfortable with the worship of Santa, as long as you share some of your chocolate with the Lord.

    December 24, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
  4. BamaBelle

    After reading all of these posts at work I am just amazed to see just how many people that do not believe in God! I'm not familiar with "atheist's" or any other religion than being a Christian. I'm not trying to judge anyone of you for having your own choices and beliefs but, it's wrong for someone to judge anyone for being a Chirstian also. If you don't believe in God its your decision and I pray for you. If you do, I pray for you also, (because you are a fellow brother or sister). Someone on a past post put, "if God comes back he will admit that he so call Goofed....".....but if you wait to believe until he comes back I pray God will have mercy on your soul. I'm not trying to judge really, but I guess it's just the holy spirit and God in my heart that makes me want to be a witness to all of you that are chosing to go down a path other than the path to God and to heaven.
    I really hope all of you have a blessed and Merry CHRISTmas wither you are a Chistian or not. We will all be judged one day and I just pray for all of you.
    *****Please do not "dog" me for posting any of this, like I said not trying to judge or be judged!!!!*******

    December 24, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
    • Don

      But you are judging, BamaBelle.

      December 24, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
    • Joy

      You say, you hope god has mercy on our souls. If your god is so good, why would he/she/it not have mercy? Believers can not make their minds up. Is your god someone to fear if you don't believe, or is your god kind and loving? No one kind and loving would send someone to hell (where ever that may be) to burn forever if you don't obey or believe in him.. This makes me wonder why anyone would even want to follow someone so cruel and murderous. Your god in an invention by leaders who want to control the people with fear. Obey or else.
      I met a man, who at one time had been a preacher. He had a business next to mine, years ago. He left the church when he found out it was all a hoax. One of the best ever...look at the money and power these church leaders have. You notice how wealthy most of these churches and leaders are. They will keep preaching their stuff, as long as the believers keep supporting them. I am free from religion. Any act of kindness or love, is given freely, not because I fear going to hell.

      December 24, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
  5. oktoss

    Nowhere on the sign do I see the only true statement about gawd, i.e. God is big bucks.

    December 24, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
  6. Ral

    I was always told the 2 Topics you can't ever agree on is Religion & Politics.
    Faith is something you either have or don't have proving it is impossible.
    God exhists for some while others question his being and all that he represents .
    That is free will thinking or Choices which he gave to Adam & Eve and us...
    I see in these comments alll the above have been utilized.
    To believers and non believers
    Merry Christmas.

    December 24, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
  7. SCord

    I am an atheist. But I truly do respect those who choose to believe in God (or any other higher power). If that makes you happy and you feel good about all the things you do, that's really great. Go for it. I've read several of the comments above and have seen both sides reeling at one another. One side cannot blame the other for being meaner, more stupid or gullible. There are moderates and extremists everywhere you go. I can agree that the bible is not meant to be thought of as literal truth, but as stories to make a person think about their own morals and ways of life. I think that atheists, Christians, Muslims, and all other cohorts out there simply need to find a system that works for them and go for it. But leave the other guys alone. What works for one person doesn't work for everyone. Leave well enough alone.

    December 24, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
  8. interesting

    I think, so I am.
    I am, I was made.
    I did not make myself.
    Religion, Science, Atheism all want view with clarity mankind's presents.
    Religion is an organize review of personal, historical, philosophical data joining into a structured human instatution.
    Modern scientific method looks to observe from an external "unbiased view" the existing world in a search for order.
    Atheism wants to define God/gods/creator non presents by what He/they/it is not.
    When only Religion is looking for God. Only religious persons will find Him.

    December 24, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  9. frank carter

    WHY RESPOND TO AN ATHEIST, ONE IS ON HIS DEAD BED WITH THE BIG (C) THE OTHER TWO CLOWNS MATHER & HAWKINS ARE RUNNING SCARED, NEWS IS THEY HAVE TONE THEIR RHETORIC DOWN TO A SLOW PACE

    December 24, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
  10. Veritas

    As much as I think that people should be allowed to have their own silly religious delusions, it is hard to not be annoyed by the so obviously silly religions such as the three "Abramic" ones. There is no way to prove that there is no "god", or as never been any "god", but the kind of "personal god" described in the man made fairy tale books these three religions are based is just plain laughable.

    December 24, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
  11. George

    I will always prefer SATAN.

    December 24, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
  12. therm

    We start out in this world NOT crippled by religion, yet xtians seem to think that by not having the delusion, we are not 'normal'. Normal is NO religion; religion is baggage that some people store in their closet with their other skeletons, but it's not normal, and it's not real.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
  13. UgoT

    God died at Auschwitz. Next billboard, please.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  14. Sven Thorensen-Sudquist

    "I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents"

    Gosh, I really want to spend the rest of eternity worshiping a jealous god who unjustly punishes children for the doings of their parents.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  15. therm

    I don't understand when xtians say that 'atheists are cramming their beliefs down their throats". What the f-ck??? What beliefs are those? I didn't know we atheists had any codified beliefs, or anything that could be 'crammed' down anywhere, let alone someone's throat. Nope, we have nothing like that, trust me, I would know if we did.

    No, we stand back and look around us, and we write down what we see, and we compare it with what other people see. Then we look to see the majority of the people that wrote down the same thing. Then we look at it again to make sure the majority has it right. Then we look at the people who wrote down the wrong thing and we have a laugh about that. Of course, the people who wrote down the wrong thing usually come to their senses once the true thing is known and explained to them. The people who don't see the truth at that point are labeled crackpots and kooks, but they generally comprise just a small percentage of the population, and can reasonably be dismissed as inconsequential, even though they come up with a good idea now and then.

    That's it then, that's what atheism means to me. I don't see any beliefs in there, or a codification of anything that can be 'crammed', so I don't know what the worry is about. Atheists can't stand religion, not the people who are delusional over it. Honestly, we think you can be cured, and we are very concerned about the damage to all the young children that is going on with the continued forced acceptance of religion from an early age. But, with continued support of 'reason' over 'delusion', anything is possible.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
  16. mtnmedic

    If Jesus is the true Prince of Peace, then he needs to have a talk with his daddy about why he's KILLED so many people over the ages (see: the Flood, the Passover, the Exodus, Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.) and why so many religions around the world kill other people and start wars because "it says so in the holy scriptures".

    December 24, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
  17. JennyTX

    There are Christians who think God wants them to prevent gay marriage, and there are Muslims who think God wants them to kill non-Muslims. People make up whatever they want and say that's what god wants.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
  18. Sven Thorensen-Sudquist

    Santa Claus is a violation of the first commandment. Christians sin by honoring that false idol.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  19. Kenneth Godfrey

    This helps put Christ back into Christmas. Thanks.

    December 24, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  20. Sven Thorensen-Sudquist

    Okay, why does this board post comments in absolutely no order, and not attach replies to the post they are replying to?

    December 24, 2010 at 1:38 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.