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An atheist billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel that declared Christmas a "myth" has been replaced by a pro-Christian billboard.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

    Patrick wrote:


    Whenever anyone can give EVIDENCE of the existence of god that is admissible in court, let me know.

    Anecdotal parables – no
    Hearsay/Bible/ – no
    Feelings – no
    Voices in your head – no
    You just KNOW – no

    Let me know. Btw there are more holidays around Xmas time than JUST CHRISTIAN ones. Happy HOLIDAYS!"

    December 23, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |

    Your 'reason' doesn't hold water. It is just as easy to say the opposite – i.e. 'Whenever anyone can give EVIDENCE proving that God does not exist that is admissible in a court of law, let me know.'

    Like either side of this discussion, faith is not a simple logic problem or something that can be rationalized. That is why it is called 'faith'!

    You can no more disprove God than I can prove Him in a way that is 'admissible' in court. So why use such a limited litmus test? Unless you actually believe that decisions that come out of our courts (or those in other countries) are representative of truth? Or perhaps justice?

    Not sure if I would use that system as a reliable measure of anything other than how greedy and corupt people really are.

    December 28, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
  2. gamutman

    BTW, when I was in commercial art school, one of the first things we were taught about billboard design is that the design should be simple, uncluttered and easily read by a driver going fifty plus miles per hour. This billboard would have received a failing grade just on the merits.

    December 28, 2010 at 11:05 am |
  3. gamutman

    Einstein, Isaac Asimov, John Lennon, Ricky Gervais, Ani deFranco, Douglas Adams, Shirley Manson, Francis Crick, Mark Twain, Katherine Hepburn, Charlie Chaplain...

    All good people who have made the world a better place. None believe(d) in the Christian God. None would think less of you if you do. Show them the same respect.

    December 28, 2010 at 11:01 am |
  4. Carol Townsend

    I had rather live my life believing in God and living for him. Because if I am wrong then my body will simply rot in the ground. However, if those you do not believe are wrong there is a hell waiting.

    December 28, 2010 at 10:51 am |
  5. student

    I must admit.. that is a very catchy billboard.

    December 27, 2010 at 10:46 pm |
  6. Wayne

    Is Christianity really so dangerous, or is the real danger of Christianity how it is exploited (and what it reveals) about politicians and politics?

    If atheists were ever too successful in reducing Christianity, you'd only end up turning on the news to see "Cardinal Innocent, the most wanted man on the planet today caused chaos in France in a suicide bomb attack that killed 2000 people. At first it was believed to be the work of Muslim extremists, generally dormant since France adopted Sharia law, but a crusader cross (made of the toughest nanofiber known to man) was found still intact near the central blast radius and experts have confirmed it was the Innocent's".

    Just because the guy on the TV says he believes in god or doesn't should not affect your voting choices. If he promises to give a few "moral" concessions such as preventing gays from getting married to prove his credentials and make the world a better place, that doesn't delete the sin of going to a country and killing thousands of it's civilians. "Thou shalt not kill?" Or were the 10 commandments just a bit of a joke you can pick and choose from as you like, so long as the nice man on TV keeps saying he believes in god?

    You do so much harm to the world by voting along "god lines". Anyone can stand up there and say they are a man of god. It's meaningless, no politician in the US who has an eye for the whitehouse would ever admit to being an atheist due to your block voting on "not having a heathen president". Nevermind if he really is a heathen or lot, so long as he says God a lot and can quote a few bible passages, he must be the man for the job. God works in mysterious ways, but he'd never choose to work through a non-believer (or has he already...)

    Wake up people. Before it's too late.

    December 27, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
  7. NM


    December 27, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  8. Jeff

    These posts make it very clear, we are NOT one nation under god.

    December 27, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  9. NL

    "if I give a gift to another person, that person does not have free will?"
    No, it's more like the vacuum cleaner salesman coming to your door and telling you that you must choose between the Electrolux and the Dirt Devil. That's not really a choice, especially when you don't have any carpets in your home. 😉

    December 27, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  10. Veronica13

    David, regarding your free will statement: Using that logic, if I give a gift to another person, that person does not have free will? Of course they do. Free will is the will to chose to SERVE God or Satan. You've chosen, I've chosen. God does not make you serve Him, obviously.

    December 27, 2010 at 11:33 am |
  11. Keycabird

    All of this is interesting. At the end of this it has still been up to interpretation. I realized I was interpreting info from other humans in touch with perimeters they Wanted from a all encompassing God. The God that some say has wants like a human. A male creator who has only made one example of what people should be. A creator who wants a perfect Christian world that is a perfect creator would have not failed. We are the imperfect existence of tons of little atoms and molecules ect working together and or working against ourselves. Genetic mistakes and Evolution. I see that an Atheist isn't a failure of themselves whereas A Christian who has a higher standard to live by is failing themselves as they try not to realize other truths. Hold on to the truth as a truth that humans heard the word of God and then interpret what they said anyway you see fit to prove you are deserving of everything a God has "promised" you. Make sure to get really mad too cause if you doubted your self its my fault not the lack of evidence from decades of no Real god. I know how there is only one "truth"

    December 27, 2010 at 2:50 am |
  12. World Without End - Scientific Pantheism - Philosophic Restore

    Marconi... the Christians and much of the religious line of thought they follow, has been developing for five thousand years, if we take it back to the Ancient Sumerian and Egyptian roots of the philosophical thoughts expressed in their myths... which by the way, a myth is not a falsehood or a lie, but rather a story that may or may not be based to some degree in historical fact, but still is intended to communicate a truth or a moral.

    I would hope you're not sugessting doing away with trutrh and morals, unless of course you have better ones to offer and methods/organization that will help the weak minded from tearing society apart without some moral system to follow. Anarchy never ends up as good as it sounds to a naive person that thinks everyone else can understand things just as well as they do. There will always be different levels of understanding within any society.

    I would suggest by the mere fact that such thoughts have evolved for so long and are still here, you have to admit 5000 years is a long time, that many of what you call unearned priveliges have indeed been earned by the mere fact of survival... That is if you believe in Darwin's survival of the fittest and how it's theory applies to human thought as well as human form.

    The philisophical thought has been developed over years of migrations between the great civilizations of the Egypt and Mesopoatamia, only to be influenced further by Persian, Greek, Roman, Celtic and possibly Hindu, Buddhist and Chinese philosophy through trade routes like the Silk Road through Afghasnistan into India and China... and the Persian/Red Sea/Indian Ocean trade routes... along which ideas as well as trade goods travelled for thousands of years altering those thoughts just like science discoveries alter prior understandings. And then there were to forced ideas of the conquerors that caused differnt undertandings to be considered,

    The Romans had a port on the Red Sea trading with India near Jesus's time, that was as busy as New York is today, and I was surprised to learn recently that the desciple Thomas had started 7 churches in India only a few decades after the crucifixion. Even after that it survived its thought evolution, morphing through hundreds of years of Barbarian invasions adoption and assimilation of their thoughts into what we have today.

    So its seems a bit unjustifiably envious to classify the priveleges gained as "unearned".

    However, no accomodation should be required for anyone with valid questions and substantiated as-sertions, instead of feel good juvenile rant downs . Religion does not need to be "forcefully clensed" to make us better off, but rather religion, phisophy and science need to all be reconciled to make things better off for everyone. Reconcile where disagrreements occur. No surrender. HardNazis headedness and puffef up egos,get neither side closer to the truh.

    December 27, 2010 at 1:30 am |
  13. David

    This sort of atheist propaganda makes me soooooo angry!

    I am angry enough to hate my enemies, take from the poor and give taxcuts to the rich, stomp on the meek, never forgive those who sin against me, serve mammon day and night and kick the least amongst us – illegal immigrants out of the country.

    Boy, do I believe in God and am such a gooood Christian!

    December 26, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
  14. LAWL

    look at all the atheists trying to "comment" Christianity away. There's like a 1,000 posts here. It seems like Atheists can't leave Christians to their own devices.

    December 26, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
    • NL

      "look at all the atheists trying to "comment" Christianity away. There's like a 1,000 posts here. It seems like Atheists can't leave Christians to their own devices."

      Choosing not to comment tends to confuse believers into thinking that we don't have any criticisms to make, which adds to their belief that they are right. The emperor will go on believing that he is clothed until someone is brave enough to correct him, right?

      “To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today”
      Isaac Asimov

      December 27, 2010 at 1:12 am |
  15. 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 2:59 pm |
    • Don

      Rather, it is the christians who attack everyone who doesn't believe as they do, NHK113. But if it makes you feel better to feel persecuted by people who just want to be left alone–fine. Feel persecuted. You won't be correct, though. But you will be deceitful. And you will be twisting the words of others.

      Which is par for the course for the average theist.

      December 26, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
    • World Without End - Scientific Pantheism - Philosophic Restore

      Real Christains turn the other cheek and cast not pearls before swine. While they don't hide their candle under a basket though, they don't try to burn the town down with it either. A person is polluted not by what goes into them, but what comes out of them. A tree is known by its fruit. You reap what you sow. Both sides need better planters if they expect to reap the fruit they seem to hope for so dearly. Its like watching an infinite round boxing match, where all the boxers do are eternally bob and weave and whiff and whiff and oops there's another whiff yet again and on and on..

      December 26, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  16. RightTurnClyde

    Joseph Campbell said "science is a myth." A myth is a metaphor (a positing process). Oh the math/science professor s scoffed. They alone knew truth (they thought). "well," Campbell told them "some absolute truth today becomes overturned tomorrow and then how true was it today?" [example "chaos physics" overturns "Newtonian physics" and now Newton's linear physics is just a mythological explanation that did not prove to be true] Well recall then Plato's allegory of the cave .. we cannot perceive reality THEREFORE everything we posit as true is myth (metaphor). It's not a lie; it's metaphor. We function with it .. build nuclear power plants, operate railroads, fly, communicate .. but it is all merely a myth. LOL .. pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.

    December 26, 2010 at 12:58 pm |
    • World Without End - Scientific Pantheism - Philosophic Restore

      Isn't chaos physics just built onto Newtonian Physics to explain our inability the fully explain what is beyond Newtonian Physics? Kind of like Quantum Physics says we can't fully predict what matter will always do, because (I am guessing) there are still elements of matter infinitely smaller than what we can perceive... so rather than stating it as so, scientists make human perception the limit of what is and what isn't true, which is conceitedly biased or unscientific in itself. Either way you are absolutely correct about how science's cold hard facts do not and probably never will explain truth entirely – and if it ever did, it would be so beyond the average person's ability to understand... Very good points you made.

      December 26, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
    • NL

      Still, our 'partial' understanding of nature through science is still a vast improvement over the complete conjecture that religion has presented as 'truth' for thousands of years.

      It also depends on what you consider the more practical approach to finding the truth, the actual truth: Either methodically searching the dark by shedding light into one corner at a time (the scientific approach), or taking wild stabs into the dark based on hunches, then claiming that you've hit the mark knowing full well that the target still cannot be seen (the religious approach).

      Skeptics of religion are just calculating that, when science finally sheds light into all corners, chance are that religions' wild stabs have completely missed the mark.

      December 26, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
    • World Without End - Scientific Pantheism - Philosophic Restore

      Campbell's Power of Myth... one of many revelations... for me at least.

      I don't remember if it was from that or not, that I learned the "Wages of Sin are death" probably came from when the Israelites were captives of the Babylonians who had a goddess called Sin. Just disgruntled slave workers talking in code maybe to make a point 🙂

      December 26, 2010 at 2:31 pm |
    • World Without End - Scientific Pantheism - Philosophic Restore

      NL...kind of sounds like you totally missed RightTurnClyde's point and you're just as stuck with dogmatic idols as those you try to discredit. How else could one categorize an unbiased statement like "taking wild stabs into the dark based on hunches, then claiming that you've hit the mark knowing full well that the target still cannot be seen". Like RTC was inferring, both sides are guilty of such. You just proved the point.

      December 26, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
  17. There are no gods!

    They forgot one. . . God is. . .not real!

    December 26, 2010 at 10:35 am |
    • World Without End - Scientific Pantheism - Philosophic Restore

      Like God or gods, Real is only a relative concept, limited by mental abilities and perception. So what was your point?

      Does Real exist? If so please explain so everyone can understand, but include as part of what's Real, religion's positive affects on psychology, sociology, government etc., in the objective manner of a scientist that would incllude both the positive and the negative affects...not just the negative ones.

      Please exhibit the scientific objectiveness that is championed, so we all can benefit from such knowledge. I think the same goes for both sides in these discussions, but I know that takes all the instant feel good fun out of it. Sorry. Thanks.

      December 26, 2010 at 1:29 pm |
  18. Tziggy

    I find it hard to understand atheists that feel the need to spew condescending and frankly ignorant comments on blogs like this. Arrogant, rude, perfidious, statements do nothing to sway opoinion and frankly reveal a lazy, shallow approach to an ageless question. Einstein himself could not mathmatically square random creation without an intelligent creator. IF minds like his turned to God when analytically contemplating creation, how can anyone take seriously trolls who do nothing but bash religion?

    December 25, 2010 at 10:49 pm |
    • Don

      I find it difficult to take you seriously, tziggy, when you just want the non-religious to STFU and go away, as well as your ill-conceived attempt at argument from authority via the fallacy.

      December 26, 2010 at 12:22 am |
  19. aurum79

    I don't know how I an say this politely. You Christans and people of faith are dumb for believing a pack of lies and trying to foist them off on all of our defenseless children. You are the main source of divisive hate in our world.

    December 25, 2010 at 8:39 pm |
  20. World Without End - Scientific Pantheism - Philosophic Restore

    This may have partially posted earlier by accident. Here's the rest.

    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. Though you must admit there are times when telling the truth like "yes mein Fuehrer, the Jews are in my basement" is just as evil as telling a lie might be.

    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. That's where my center of the universe argument came from – just trying to make the point too quick I guess. Sorry about that. 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, anyone and everything else, currently in existence .

    LOL: then why does he...

    WORLD: and here's the biggest part of the problem. Atheists and non-atheist limiting our concept of God with limited words that infer a more powerful human like, male or female, diety. That's a little conceited thinking God made me or you or whoever to look like him/her or vice versa. That's just another kind of limited idol but its probably a big waste of time to go back and forth about it too much because people can only come to complex understandings very slowly usually. To be THE SUPREME POWER nothing can exist outside of it, or be beyond its control (omnicient) and that would be everything known and unknown to humans. It has to be everything. That's why Pantheism.

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

    WORLD: these acts occur according to the Laws of IT/THIS (again limited names unless we consider IT/THIS contains things yet beyond our understanding). More than just humans were created, and creation still goes on every second as does destruction. Our concience is a part of that, not separate frome it, allowing for free will to deal with existing circ-umstances, but not necessarily to be solely responsible for the entirity of the outcome. I think that's why Jesus was a bit more mellow about passing judgement than some religious folks.

    LOL: Are miracles not God's intervention to change what would have been?

    WORLD: Mracles are just things that happen beyond our understanding. If God is everything, then yes God creates them, but the intervention part is only a result of our conceited perception again, thinking it happened just for me. Look around you at all the things in your every day life that people of ancient times would think were miracles and there may be even more tomorrow.

    LOL: So why can he not allow so many miracles to occur that we do not have our loved ones murdered?

    WORLD: Billions of Billions of miracles happen every day to sustain the life that goes on. Good and bad happen and we have to deal with it the best we can with our puny little conceited minds. To get through we do better to see the good as well as the bad and not think everything happens in terms of good and bad that we alone can grasp. I could wallow in why my children have disabilities, why loved ones have cancer, why my life hasn't been totally wnderful, but what is the point.

    LOL: 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.

    WORLD: Think a little deeper and I don't think your point was proven, and yes the center of the universe thing did apply as it was written though I apologize that perhaps I shouldn't have been so blunt. I come from a very fundementalist sect of Christianity which was stressed repeatedly in every day life during my childhood until I left home... and at every opportunity since, not much different than maintaining the party line in communism or Nazism etc.. So I know where you are coming from in a lot of your thought. God led me to Libraries, educational TV and other such things to better understand it. If others desire to blunder along in chaos it worries me because I know it can eventually hurt me as well, but I also know we all come to our own understanding of the "order of the uni-verse" in our own time as we can. I still respect what the ancients were aiming at and hope we don't throw the baby out with the bath water. That brings peace to me as much as I think is possible, but others can have their way as well... as long as they are civil about it.

    By the way, Happy Holidays is said out of respect for non-Christians since we don't all wear our beliefs on our sleeves. So if it upsets you, please look inside yourself, and ask if Jesus would approve of you disrespecting others over such trivialities.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all, each and every one ! ! !

    December 25, 2010 at 1:30 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.