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An atheist billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel that declared Christmas a "myth" has been replaced by a pro-Christian billboard.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

    That billboard owner is raking it in while stupid people argue. ; )

    December 23, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  2. Kevin

    ...God is like Pteranodon
    Flew above everything on earth
    Until he became extinct...

    December 23, 2010 at 10:23 pm |

    Attention all Jesus freaks, just one question : How can you possibly believe in this crap when so many child molesters are priests ? That alone should wake you up from your coma of stupidity. Religion is the most succesful pyramid scam of all time. I will never understand how citizens of a nation that thrives on science and technology can still subscribe to this bucket of BS. like someone else said earler, it is just fear and nothing else. You religious nut are just afraid of your own mortality. Idiots !!!

    December 23, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
    • Rhubarb

      Priests that abuse children are not representative of Christianity and the conduct of our Lord Jesus Christ, who stated that if anyone harms a child, it would be better that a millstone were hung around their neck and they were drowned in the sea (Matt.18:6). You also make a classic, erroneous connection between the (Catholic) priesthood and Christianity – one has nothing to do with the other. Incidentally, Roman Catholic Canon Law teaches salvation by works (such as baptism and the eucharist); the Holy Bible only teaches salvation by grace: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." Please consider these facts before making the statement that others are "idiots".

      December 23, 2010 at 11:33 pm |

      Considering ..................................... Conclusion : your a F#$king moron.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:29 am |
    • Rhubarb

      No, on the contrary, I'm reasonably intelligent. And nothing screams "I concede" like profanity.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:48 am |
    • chad

      isn't it amazing GOD even loves someone as close-minded and ignorant as you sound What a great GOD we have

      December 24, 2010 at 2:05 am |
    • God Is Love

      You're confusing churches with the belief. Yes, many Christians attend churches and lot of those churches are corrupted- by man. I'm Christian- I believe in Him, but I have elected not to be associated with anything that even remotely might be using the church for power & greed...my church is in my heart. Free will, Captain..Free will.

      December 24, 2010 at 7:01 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Baptism and the Eucharist are Sacraments inst!tuted by Jesus Christ and are means by which we recieve grace...they are not works.

      December 26, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
    • Know What

      The Sacraments are simply another version of the many, many tribal rituals - eg., baptism = initiation. Visible ones, such as a bone in one's nose or a specific tattoo might cause an att!tude adjustment or cause others to treat the bearer differently, but there is no magical transformation that proceeds from them.

      December 26, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
  4. joebean

    Why are people telling people what God is or isn't...if you have to be told or tell people one way or the other, then you are not really enlightened nor enlightening those around you.

    December 23, 2010 at 10:19 pm |
  5. Marco555

    They're both boring, but I'm glad the Christian one won out.

    December 23, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
  6. Kevin

    Ok, how many Christians believe in dinosaurs?
    And if you do, how many of you think they went to hell because they pooped in temple?
    (Couldn't help themselves...all that plant matter...)

    December 23, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
    • (yet another) Steve

      Fundamentalists will tell you – and they truly believe this – that the debbil put the dino bones in the earth to fool us silly humans into believing the earth is millions of years old. Now THAT'S delusional. Trust me, these people have an answer for everything. It may be a stupid answer, but it's an answer – sort of.

      December 24, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
  7. Garden_For_Life

    Hmmmm... wonder what made Jesus Christo such a bitter twisted person? Perhaps you were molested as a child or maybe your mother didn't breastfeed you. Can't help but wonder why atheists are so hosstile and defensive. Truly intelligent people are open minded and able to hear a different point of view. My guess is that your mind is nailed shut. Too bad for pathetic, enraged you. My guess is that you are going to 'blow' the day after tomorrow from the mere fact that some are celebrating the birth of Christ. And BTW to stupid people that want to tax churches – get a clue and realize that churches provide more aid, monetary and otherwise, to more nations than the government does.

    December 23, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      In point of fact, most of the money that Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, and the Salvation Army hand out is what they get from government sources. They are merely acting as administrators — tho they are dishonest enuf to want to take all the credit for it. You have obviously fallen for the scam, but that's only to be expected from someone gullible enuf to swallow all the religious lies in the 1st place.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
  8. Martin

    Poor thin skinned Christians.

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

      butt-hurt atheist?

      January 3, 2011 at 4:09 am |
  9. Observer

    Far too often, the message is" God is...... gonna get you".

    December 23, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
  10. Ryan

    God is... a delusion.

    December 23, 2010 at 10:05 pm |
  11. Casey

    It is an unfortunate sign of the times that so many folks vehematly attack Christianity. I pray that one day, you will open your hearts and seek the devine light that is our Heavenly Father. On that day, there will be great rejoicing in Heaven, and the World will be a better place. In the meantime, Peace and Grace to all in this most Holy Season.

    December 23, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
    • Sir Craig

      The same can be said for us atheists. We hope those blinded by religion will one day open their eyes and see for themselves there is absolutely no shred of evidence for their beliefs, that all their hatred and bigotry is supported by a book of ugly fairy tales, that the religious will one day learn that their "god" is no better that the other guy's "god" and was never worth the fighting, the tears, the anger, the bloodshed. We hope the religious will one day discover that all it takes to be a decent person is to BE A DECENT PERSON and not the threat of some eternal torment for imagined "sins."

      Peace be with you as well, not just for this season but for the rest of your days. (See how easy it is to be decent?)

      December 23, 2010 at 10:08 pm |
    • John

      Oh please, spare me all of your sanctimonious garbage. BTW, what exactly is Grace? Never did understand the meaning of that word. FYI, neither you nor any of your xtian cohorts have any kind of inside knowledge of god or heaven. No one does, including the pope. Actually, I'm convinced that the pope knows for certain that god does not exist. I can see it in his eyes.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Pray all you want. It'll accomplish exactly what prayer has ALWAYS accomplished: nothing.

      PS: That's because there's no one listening.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:50 pm |
    • Casey

      Wow... I think that sort of proves my point. You guys are so angry. You say that I believe blindly, and yet you know nothing of my life, or how I came to my beliefs. I only wish for you all to find peace in your life, which is exactly what God wants too, and i beleieve the only way to find that is through God. You alude that you think the World will be a better place if there was no God or religion, but do you really believe the World is better now, that people have stepped away from God? I know lots of people, both believers and non-believers, and i can tell you that those who have opened their hearts have much more peace than those who do not. I hope for the best for all of you. I suggest you think about it, and study the teachings of the Church. You will find it is a place of Hope and Love and acceptance. Praise be to the lord Jesus Christ.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
  12. llibsetag

    "GOD is a concept, by which we measure our pain..."
    John Lennon

    December 23, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
  13. Steven Katz

    I pretty much summed up my opinion earlier today... http://bit.ly/eFjwHC

    December 23, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
  14. Lone

    Why CNN has religious articles with comments is beyond sense for all the result. Just an open field for rapid, hypocrite atheists to preach a self-prescribed religion, dance around their egos, and discard all opinion with no intention of hearing anything other their own words. There are softer places to be found in the average Westboro Baptist Church member, in all their terrorizing, anti-Christian error, than some of those here
    May Jesus Christ have mercy on you and give you the strength to tear down the walls around your heart. You know your hate and fear is irrational. That it has nothing to do with him, his promises, or those that believe. Ask now because that dark corner you call your own will not be enough when the hammer falls.

    December 23, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Hate and fear are indeed irrational, which is why churches — America's leading purveyor of irrationality — are so filled with them, to the point where people who attend those churches have to project those self-same sentiments on everyone else, because it's all they're familiar with.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:49 pm |
    • Pirate

      I wish I was Christian so that I could pray for your infertility. alas, God doesn't exist. woe is me.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
    • Jenn

      "Why CNN has religious articles with comments is beyond sense for all the result. Just an open field for rapid, hypocrite atheists to preach a self-prescribed religion, dance around their egos, and discard all opinion with no intention of hearing anything other their own words. There are softer places to be found in the average Westboro Baptist Church member, in all their terrorizing, anti-Christian error, than some of those here"

      Brilliantly said. These forums are like a cesspool of 4chan rejects. Streams of trolling garbage from atheist kids with nothing better to do. It's sad, but at any rate something that CNN should be discouraging for the sake of decency.

      January 3, 2011 at 4:07 am |
  15. _i2i_

    Beautiful. Happy Christmas, everyone!


    December 23, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  16. JUSTME

    So lets talk about organized religions, We have a place of worship, so the church requests money to help the church and its causes. (paying for billboard ads) but the hungry and poor are still hungry and poor. The church and bible says do not judge others however the ones that do not believe in the same things that the church does can not go to heaven. We can do all the good in the world but we can not get to heaven because we do not believe or agree. (blows the theory of a forgiving god) Now we have some churches that want to destroy some books from the public library, what gives them the right to decide what I can or can not read? Then we have some that molest kids and the church turns a blind eye to them but give us hell because we dont believe in what they believe in. Then the church take a Roman holiday and uses it for their own purposes. Christ was Not born on christmas day and the original origins of christmas did not have anything to do with celebrating the birth of Christ. One of thousands of lies that church uses to fit their needs and what is so sad is the amount of people the blindly follow the church and take every word as the word of god. (SHEEP)

    I am not against people worshiping what ever god the worship to, that is something that is between YOU and GOD but when you judge, condem and force your opinion and beliefs on to others, that puts you in the same boat as the taliban or any other evil religion that you are so quick to put down.

    Religion has NO business being involved in politics and the making of laws.

    If god is all mighty and powerful, why would he need you or anyone else to do his killing or to convert or to say what is right or wrong, I am sure he can do this himself. Now then we have the people that are trying to spread the word of god, did god come down and talk to you in person? Who is to sa that it is even the word of god and not some other religious nut claiming this? Again the sheep just follow, after all knowledge is power and thats the last thing the church wants is educated people that actually know the truth.

    So instead of helping the poor to find a home or food for their family, they feel it is more important to spend the donations on advertisements because the people that dont believe hurt your feelings. Its just sad.

    Next time you want to spread the so called word of god, try doing it through helping the ones that actually need and want the help.

    December 23, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  17. Rick, Denver, CO

    I was baptized Mormon a year ago after 40+ years without religion. I have a teenager proclaiming Atheism. One thing I learned is that whatever you believe religious or not, if it makes you happy, more power to you. As long as you have a good heart that's all that counts.

    Religion and politics are two things that should never be pushed in other's faces. The more you push the more people resist. Mahalo to all.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
  18. Justina

    What a wonderful, beautiful sign! Christianity is filled with meaning and beauty whereas atheism is pitifully empty.

    December 23, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
    • pete

      Amazing how much ignorance and arrogance can be crammed into one short sentence.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
    • hooter

      Pete...it's 9 p.m. and a school night. Just sayin' son...

      December 23, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
    • John

      Quite the contrary! Atheism is extraordinarily liberating. Give it a try sometime; you may find it to your liking. I did.

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

      "Quite the contrary! Atheism is extraordinarily liberating. Give it a try sometime; you may find it to your liking. I did."

      Liberating? I hardly see how, except perhaps for some narrow-minded religious folk who felt trapped by religion in the first place. I am highly educated and love life, God, and all of His intricate creation. If I gave up my faith, I fail to see what exactly would be "liberated". Would I suddenly grasp some additional mathematical or physical concepts? Would I be able to do something I couldn't before? Indeed I am curious.

      January 3, 2011 at 4:04 am |
  19. Semiahmoo


    December 23, 2010 at 9:52 pm |
  20. DrunkWithPower

    Sometimes I try to imagine where we'd be technologically if there had never been religion. Look at all of the lives and resources wasted throughout history on religion. Without religion, would cancer and other diseases have been cured? Would humans be traveling to other planets? It seems like such a waste. What are your thoughts?

    December 23, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
    • Semiahmoo

      And what about those medical scientists that have found cures that happened to be religious people? Not all people trying to find medical cures are atheists. †

      December 23, 2010 at 9:54 pm |
    • Tom

      Ask the Soviet Union. They were too busy being atheist to stop themselves from collapsing.

      December 23, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
    • DrunkWithPower

      No, I understand that. What I'm suggesting is that all of the resources used in religious wars over the last, say, 3000 years, with those resources, would the technology of any era be more advanced, say 1 or 2 hundred years more advanced, then it actually was? There's probably a lot easier way to put this so forgive me. Also, I understand the negative aspects of technology if used for harm but I'm just talking about doing good.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:06 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.