'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An atheist billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel that declared Christmas a "myth" has been replaced by a pro-Christian billboard.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. World Without End - Scientific Pantheism - Philosophic Restore

    LOL@God... Who gave you the right to determine what is good and what is bad? You don't actually think that because you think something is bad for you, that it therefore is bad for the entire uni-verse do you? Are you making yourself the center of the universe or allowing someone else to convince you that they either are the center, or that they have the right over God to determine what is god and what is bad?

    LOL@GOD: I'll use Christianitys sacred book The Bible to determine what is bad how about that World Without End?

    WORLD WITHOUT END: That's one book of many as you have noted above, but what you don't seem to grasp is that they were aimed at the people of their time in language they understood and aren't necessarily as literal as it seems you and those you're angry at, believe. They're filled with parables and allegory etc., and what some might call myths, that you have to think a bit about to understand. They are understood on different levels by people according to their abiliy and a myth is like a parable, a story with a moral, not necessarily something that historically happened.exactly as written. That being said there is truth in them.

    LOL: Ok, so this bad I talk about is murder, which the bible says is wrong does it not? God allows murder to take place every minute of every day just about does he not? How about stealing, yep says it is wrong in the bible...

    WORLD: So it seems you agree at least somewhat.

    LOL: yet people are victims of theft every day.

    WORLD: Agreed.

    LOL: If God is all omnipotent....

    WORLD: Agreed.

    LOL: and benevolent....

    WORLD: this is where the argument strays if its meant as in benevolent to LOL, or atheists, or non-atheists or humans in general. We are just a small part of the much bigger picture that has to be maintained in balance according to God's laws. Doesn't mean God isn't beneficial to you though, if you consider all the complexities in cause and effect over millions of years to result in the wonder that is you, I, anyon and everything else currently in existence .

    ., then why does he allow these acts to be committed against the very creatures he created?


    Are miracles not God's intervention to change what would have been? So why can he not allow so many miracles to occur that we do not have our loved ones murdered? I could go on with examples but think my point is proven of what is good and bad. Your rant about me being the center of the universe really had no bearing on anything I said.

    December 25, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      God allows evil and uses it for a greater good.

      December 26, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  2. exe

    I like that the American Atheists sent a thank you note to the Catholic League. It's been my experience that atheists are generally kinder people than theists.

    December 25, 2010 at 10:59 am |
  3. Mel

    Forget trying to convince someone that believes in God that they are not thinking logically. If a little boy is hit by a car the faithful cry "it was God's decision to take him at this time" but if the same child is saved from the car the faihful cry "Its God's miracle he was saved!" You can't win.

    December 25, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  4. HLM

    Well, as an Apathetic I can't say I care too much either way, but I guess it's good for the people who need/ want to believe and it's pretty inoffensive.

    December 25, 2010 at 5:11 am |
  5. Ian

    Jesus loves you! Love him back, or he'll send you to burn in hell!

    December 25, 2010 at 4:40 am |
  6. Sachin

    Can anyone see the word "controversial" on that billboard?

    December 25, 2010 at 3:51 am |
  7. Brandy

    Merry Christmas to all! Thank you Catholic League for putting up this Billboard!

    December 25, 2010 at 1:57 am |
  8. Paul

    Please allow a 15 year old to explain to all you Christians why the arguments you're giving all these non-believers isnt working:
    1.) There is a spiritual war going on, God vs Satan, and it will never end until the day the world ends(Atheism) or the day when Christ comes back(Christians). This spiritual war and because of it, will mean that there is ALWAYS SOMEONE, even if only ONE PERSON, who will be on the opposite side of Christians.
    2.) Our reasoning isn't logical at ALL!!! How about you give some archaeology, or worldly evidence of God's existence, such as old cities uncovered by months/years of studies in places such as Iraq, Syria, Egypt, etc. Give proof of wars that happened by explaining the ruins or appearances of broken shields, spears, swords that are appearing in excavations...
    3.) Most of us aren't using Christ-like love(most, not all). If you want any chance of changing these peoples' beliefs, try showing the true essense of it. God is love (1st Corinthians 13).
    -To all you nonbelievers:
    -True Christians will not judge you or try to radically change you. TRUE Christians will be your best friend. They will help you when you need help, and most importantly they will be HUMAN. True Christians won't be a repeat act of Jesus. That's impossible. Please everyone have a Merry Christmas, and to all the believers... Please get a grip. We're all hypocrites, in the loosest sense of the term.

    December 25, 2010 at 1:13 am |
    • me

      It seems you have been brainwashed to think that your religion doesn't use scare tactics. Do religions use scare tactics because people living in fear don’t think rationally? Fear is probably the most basic emotion that humans can feel. It’s a primitive emotion, an emotion that does not involve complex analysis and realization; something just triggers the fear and that’s it, fight or flight; there’s no thinking or reasoning until the adrenaline stops. Fear is an animal emotion that is a legacy of the lower life forms from which humans evolved but have modern religions learned to capitalize on this animal emotion? Have religions learned to trigger this fight or flight fear response in people with a story about a bogey man, and some people choose to fight and they reason through the nonsense and realize that the religion is trying to exploit them. But most people choose flight and they run from the imaginary bogey man straight into a church where they shut up and do as they’re told like good little sheep?

      June 10, 2011 at 4:55 am |
    • me

      Also you don't have to be Christian to be human, that is logic fact. All humans are humans. No logic in your post at all.

      June 10, 2011 at 4:56 am |
  9. Alan

    Stalin attended seminary school to become a priest on full scholarship for five years. He chose to become a revolutionery instead, to free Russia from the corrupt collusion of its government and church. He dealt harshly and cruelly with any opposition including the churches that opposed his farm collectivization program which was needed to feed the workers of his industrialization program, which allowed Russia to compete against western industrialization, as well as to defeat the German invasion that killed millions of Russians. To blame Stalin for all the deaths caused by German invasion is ignorant, as it is to say that his years of Christian training were of no consequence.

    December 25, 2010 at 12:34 am |
  10. Herc2362

    What would be nice in this world is for people to have FAITH in people. Whatever happened to "Love Thy Neighbor". I believe in living a "good" life treating people decently and with respect regardless of religious beliefs. Is it so hard to see how the crusades ever happened? Just read the above posts. As with anything in life, believe it if you want, or, don't. Supposedly, God gave us free will, and told us not to judge anyone. Now that I have said that I will take the brunt of both sides I am sure. So let me be obvious. I am Christian(by Baptism), but Agnostic by choice. Blast away & Merry Christmas.

    December 25, 2010 at 12:27 am |
  11. pplr


    I believe MEME was trying to tell fundamentalist Atheists and fundamentalist Christians to all chill and accept the fact that somewhere somebody else has a different opinion than they do.

    December 25, 2010 at 12:22 am |
  12. Alan

    God is organized crime's most lucrative confidence scam. It is the height of human self aggrandizement to think that a human-like persona could do a better job of producing all of nature, than all of nature does producing and reproducing itself every day. We would be better off admitting that humans are part of nature, not separate from it.

    There is no war on Christmas, only an attempt to eliminate or de-emphasize the solstice as the original reason for the season, and the fight back against theocracy.

    December 24, 2010 at 11:38 pm |
  13. markrad

    I stilll say LOVE is the answer

    December 24, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  14. markrad

    regerdless of your belief I LOVE YOU ALL!! love is truly the answer to all

    December 24, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
  15. TheRationale

    Here's the one they forgot that actually matters most:

    Not real.

    December 24, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
  16. Don

    "They will attempt to "convert the heathen" whether the heathen wants to be converted or not"

    Know how rude that is? How completely, utterly, and totally rude and ill-mannered that is?

    December 24, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  17. Iqbal khan

    Check this one....

    December 24, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
    • Reality

      Saving Muslims 24/7 is quite easy!!!

      The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:
      ( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)

      Are you ready?

      Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.

      "1. Belief in Allah"

      aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your cleansing neurons.

      "2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."

      Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".

      "3. To believe in the existence of angels."

      A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

      "4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."

      Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.

      Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.

      Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.

      "5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone."

      Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

      Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

      December 24, 2010 at 11:52 pm |
  18. Zeus

    The bible was written by abunch of dopes from the armpit of the world that believed the earth was flat.

    December 24, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
  19. Reality

    The Apostles' Creed 2010: (updated based on the studies of historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

    I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created state of bliss called heaven.

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary.

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension story was promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.


    December 24, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
  20. Jo

    I`m an EMT and always wanted to know WHY religious people are so desperate to stay alive ?? Want painful treatments, CPR ? Time to go but don`t feel like to ?
    I though you guys are waiting for your death and go to the Heaven.
    Not so sure, maybe ?

    December 24, 2010 at 5:13 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.