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An atheist billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel that declared Christmas a "myth" has been replaced by a pro-Christian billboard.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

    I will defend freedom of people in the USA to worship whatever they choose. I will also defend the right of people that think religion is medieval mumbo-jumbo. One of the great things about the USA is that we can – usually – accept people and their beliefs without becoming hostile.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
    • Jesus Cristo

      yeah just like any other American. So lets TAX chuches!

      December 23, 2010 at 9:18 pm |
    • Kevin

      I totally agree with you...
      (BTW I am starting a new religion...give me all your money or you will go to Hell...Oh wait that's Catholicism...
      OK The Church of The Paper Cup On The Corner...donate today!!!)

      December 23, 2010 at 9:25 pm |
  2. Sherey

    lol... good luck "proving" god

    December 23, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
  3. Sister Mary Nonsense

    I think christians take everything in the bible out of context. merry x-mas.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
  4. Sister Mary Nonsense

    "God is" stupid, "God is" fake, "God is" silly, "God is" dog spelled backwards, "God is"...

    December 23, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
  5. cm

    Of course I suck just like the rest of humanity. The joys of being flawed.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
  6. Pedal

    I stick by what I said earlier: in many situations, only the extremists are heard, regardless of what they believe in, or want us to think they believe in, or what they want us to believe in. Humans have the capacity to think, perceive, analyze, feel emotion, and believe in some thing or someone. Why is it beyond anyone's comprehension that there are forces or powers that can impact what we as humans cannot? I believe Bono sings with U2, yet I've never actually seen Bono in person. I've seen medical miracles occur when all of the odds were against success. The argument that if God really exists there would be no human suffering has no basis because humans make the decisions on this earth based on their beliefs and not His. Humans decide how to interpret what they feel or believe, and they live or die by the consequences.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      The idea that an ALL-LOVING God really exists is incompatible with suffering.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:10 pm |
    • Scott

      How come all the medical miracles are things that could have happened anyway. Why does god hate amputees? Why is there never a miracle of a re-grown limb?

      December 24, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  7. cm

    Athesists suck! A deep thought from a daughter of an athesist.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
    • Jesus Cristo

      and let me ask you do you suck?

      December 23, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
    • Aarrgghh

      Actually that thought is not very deep at all

      December 23, 2010 at 9:12 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Boy, I'm sure glad I dodged being an athesist, if only by 1 letter.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
  8. Jesus Cristo

    bible stories are from the Sumerians. But try to explain that to the ignorant blind

    December 23, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
  9. Jesus Cristo

    god = no on on the other side "Comprende" LOL

    December 23, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
  10. Jesus Cristo

    god=no one out there! LOL

    December 23, 2010 at 9:04 pm |
  11. Garden_For_Life

    I think that atheists take everything in the Bible out of context. No one can claim that they understand everything in the Bible, the Bible is studied – even by holy men and over the ages. It is a guide and contains parables/fables and psalms to make points and are not meant to be taken as fact. The Old Testament was written thousands of years ago. Don't you think life was different then? Same with the New Testament. It is like gay-haters who misquote the Bible to support their beliefs and don't know what they are talking about. And anyway, you don't have to support everything 100% about your relegion and still be a believer. Of course I don't believe everything the Catholic church/Christianity teaches & does but that doesn't mean it has no value. There is not a single relegion that is flawless. After all, denominations are human made. We are humans with strengths and weaknesses and God gave us free will – freedom to do as we wish. He does not make evil things happen and shows mercy and forgiveness to all, including the evil. I have feltGod's prescence 3 times in my life and I am 53 years old (including as a child when I didn't understand it then) and no one can tell me otherwise no matter what. I respect everyone else's religion, including Muslims, and I think that the afterlife, whatever it is, will involve Allah, Buddah, Jesus or whoever you worshipped in your lifetime. Aethists, I don't know – but my husband is one and my Catholic priest, when I asked what would become of him, said "while he is unchurched, he is a good man and will not be condemned or rejected. Anyway, if my husband and I can get along just fine and respect each other's beliefs, then anyone can. Nobody knows everything and I certainly don't pretend to (I have been wrong from time to time LOL) but it is okay to have differences and not attack each other. Sorry if I sound heavy-handed, it is emotional 2 days before Christmas (and yes, we know that Christ wasn't really born on Dec.25 but probably in the springtime).

    December 23, 2010 at 9:04 pm |
    • Jesus Cristo

      too long and no one is reading!

      December 23, 2010 at 9:08 pm |
    • Aarrgghh

      zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
      Wake me for the next post would ya?

      December 23, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
    • Jesus Cristo

      there is NOOOO GOD get it! ask him to appear and nothing i mean NOTHING will happen!

      December 23, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
    • DrunkWithPower

      Did you just write that Christians shouldn't take the bible as fact?

      December 23, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
    • taildragon

      You know, you oughta put that on a billboard somewhere. Something like..."You know it's a myth"

      I think we're not that far apart!

      December 23, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
    • Scott

      I have no argument with any Christian that truly believes the bible is “a guide and contains parables/fables and psalms to make points and are not meant to be taken as fact” and lives their life accordingly. If that is what my church had been selling I never would have left.

      December 24, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  12. Jesus Cristo

    Ask your god to kill me and you will see i will still be typing the truth! LOL

    December 23, 2010 at 9:03 pm |
    • hijuh de putah

      you really think you're that special, huh? Just one piece of advice, lift your useless butt off that chair, go out that door and GET A LIFE!

      December 23, 2010 at 10:40 pm |
    • Paulie

      Explain it to God when you are dead.

      December 24, 2010 at 3:15 am |
  13. Tom

    Atheists are like bad dogs. They don't shut up when you want them to, but you can't beat them without getting in trouble.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:03 pm |
    • YBP

      Don't tell me...you're a Christian right? You want to beat my non-belief out of me. Yeah, right. Sign me up again. You know, once you've learned enough from Biblical scholars, philosophy professors, scientists, archeologists and historians, there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY FOR A WELL INFORMED PERSON TO BELIEVE IN CHRISTIANITY even if you wanted to. "Put away childish things," Tom. You'll be glad you did.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
    • Tom

      No, I don't want to beat your non-belief out of you. I don't care about you or your welfare for that matter. It was a statement that matched the tone of many of these comments, so lighten up nancy. And many scientists don't believe the mutations necessary to fulfill the evolutionary process are possible. How did the matter that formed the big bang just exist without a creator? How did this matter somehow form water, minerals, food, organisms, etc? I haven't had these questions answered yet, but you believe it somehow happened. Isn't that faith?

      December 23, 2010 at 9:27 pm |
    • john Pappas

      If we believed in what the religious leaders have told us, we'd still think the earth is flat. Remember how much proof it took for the religious to finally accept that the universe didn't revolve around the earth. We may not have all the answers yet. But the best part about science is it keeps asking to be challenged, and when you succeed in challenging it, logic dictates that the old answers be changed to what new discoveries we learned. Religion teaches the opposite. It shuns questioning the status quo. It shuns exploration. It pushes what a select few tell the masses. When you ask a question about the logic in religion it is quickly answered by "It was God's choice or God's way" or best ever, "it was a miracle" I can not follow that way of thinking.

      Just wondering what the religious will say when we find life on other planets. Will it be "that's Gods' creation?" Will that be "a miracle" or will they cop out and say " Well God must still be creating." I bet you some bozo greedy priest will quickly print a bunch of "the modern testament" and make million dollars from his "heard" BTW, how can you sleep at night knowing you're part of a heard. Yikes.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:55 pm |
    • Tom

      LOL. John I guess all of the theories and research that support your beliefs are your own work? You're just following a smaller herd. Everyone conforms to something, except Hubbard, that was all original.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
    • Oh, the irony...

      Tom –
      "How did the matter that formed the big bang just exist without a creator? How did this matter somehow form water, minerals, food, organisms, etc? I haven't had these questions answered yet, but you believe it somehow happened. Isn't that faith?"

      Where did "the creator" come from? How could a creator exist without being created. As for water, minerals, food organisms etc. of course we believe it "somehow happened". That's called observation, not failth. I, for one, do not know where the universe came from. Perhaps I never will. But if someone offers an explanation, I would expect some sort of evidence in order to accept that explanation. You offer the idea of a creator. What evidence do you have?

      Science does not answer questions. Humans ask questions and humans answer them. Science is a methodology by which we attempt to evaluate those answers. If there isn't an answer to a particular question at this time, it is a human failing, not a failing of science. And science cannot 'prove' non-existence. Science can only be applied to an observable phenomenon. (that's just my attempt to preempt the arguement that science cannot prove god doesn't exist).

      December 24, 2010 at 11:32 am |
    • Scott

      That’s the truest and most honest Christian sentiment I have seen on the blog today. And a very good example of why I left the church

      December 24, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
  14. Billy

    If those so-called Atheists who are arguing here were *true* Atheists – well they wouldn't be arguing – because there is nothing to argue. However the vast majority of "Atheists" are really anti-religion zealots. They have their Holy Men, Seagan, etc – holy books, Good Delusion, Dragons of Eden. And blame all the evils of the worlds on people who believe differently than they do. Sounds like a religion to me!

    December 23, 2010 at 9:03 pm |
    • Scott

      .

      December 24, 2010 at 8:03 pm |
    • Scott

      ..

      December 24, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
    • Scott

      No Billy I blame all the evils of the world on the perpetrators. E.g. crusades, inquisition, 9/11, decades of opposition to condoms

      December 24, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  15. Tired of all you know it alls

    It's ok to be an atheist but some atheists are just RETARDS! The ones who paid for these billboards are definitely retards.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:03 pm |
    • YBP

      Yeah. First they had $20,000. And now they have $65,000. They more than tripled their original investement. How retarded!

      December 23, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
    • Aarrgghh

      Actually their mental faculties are probably;y much more intact than yours are. BTW: The term "retard" is offensive to your Momma Grizzly, is it not?

      December 23, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      And you undoubtedly feel exactly the same way about all the Xian billboards, yes? All put up by retards? And the fact that they outnumber the atheist billboards about 1000 to 1 must make them 1000 times as retarded? Feel free to jump in anytime with your "yes, that's exactly what I meant".

      December 23, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
  16. johnny

    Christmas began as a pagan holiday... Christan's stole it.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:02 pm |
  17. David

    To everyone that belives an that does not belive why do you argue seriously you all come up with the same answer o I cant fully prove it but here is half of a answer an this goes to all religons an atheist and if you all think you are trying to help some cause or whatever your not your just wasting the time you have to live its about now not whats gonna happen later and you all talk about peace when every religon has had a war in the name of there god and every atheist has preached some hate about a religon its all hate in what everyone of you guys do so why dont all you belivers and non belivers not push your beliefs onto us people that just want to live an enjoy our lives

    December 23, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
    • Aarrgghh

      Non believers are pushing their beliefs on you? LMAO WOW

      December 23, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
    • Tom

      Punctuation and grammar are your friends; stop neglecting them.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:06 pm |
    • Scott

      If you just want to live and enjoy your life, what on earth are you doing on this blog? If all you wanted was quiet would you go stand on the freeway ? If all you wanted was to be dry why would you go boating?

      December 24, 2010 at 7:59 pm |
  18. Pastor Evans

    There are so many ignorant people in this world. The Lord Jesus Christ preached and lived the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven. The spiritual revelation of this is GOD the Father bringing Heaven to earth through His Son by the Holy Spirit. Most people don't have any clue of this today. This has to be believed, recieved, and submitted to by grace through faith!!!
    Amen!!!
    Pastor Carlton C. Evans Jr.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
    • Jesus Cristo

      You are a snake oil thief and afraid of your racket being discover!

      December 23, 2010 at 9:02 pm |
    • YBP

      You're so right, Pastor Evans. There ARE so many ignorant people in the world. And judgemental. And misinformed. And just plain stupid. You seem to be at the top of the list.

      Anyone can be a Pastor. There's a website for it.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:05 pm |
    • Kevin

      "...and Jesus walked with Mastodons, Giant Sloths, and Sabre Toothed Tiger to the tar pits, and said..."don't go in there, Big Oil will be angry"...

      December 23, 2010 at 9:09 pm |
    • eas21

      Hey Pastor!
      Prove it!

      December 23, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
    • Wanderer

      Hi Pastor: I don’t think you understand the meaning of ‘Ignorant’. Please ask your God for help. If you cannot find him, the only way for you to get out of ignorance is looking for the meaning of ignorance within yourself.

      December 24, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  19. mightyfudge

    No one knows what happens when we die, and anyone claiming such knowledge is a liar who probably want's your money.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
    • Jesus Cristo

      I know what happens you die now give me 10% of your earnings!

      December 23, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
    • grist

      When you die, you are dead!

      December 23, 2010 at 9:18 pm |
    • ImLook'nUp

      @ mightyfudge
      .......I don't want your $$......some people (me) have had near death experiences and live life with a knowing that you continue after this body expires. Do I believe in God? Why, yes! I do.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:19 pm |
  20. Jesus Cristo

    Why the HELL churches dont pay taxes!

    December 23, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
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