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An atheist billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel that declared Christmas a "myth" has been replaced by a pro-Christian billboard.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

    The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one..

    December 23, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Credit where it's due. That was from George Bernard Shaw.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:00 am |
  2. SCDad

    New billboard: "Yo Catholics! Molesting little boys is a bad thing!"

    December 23, 2010 at 11:24 pm |
  3. Jabez

    John 3:14-15
    "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life".

    December 23, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
  4. Jabez

    John 3:14-15
    "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life."

    December 23, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
    • Scott


      December 24, 2010 at 9:39 pm |
  5. scott price

    I side with the atheists of course on the issue of the sign but on the other hand, although I don't believe in NAY god or gods, X-Mas is my favorite time of year.
    - XMas has NOTHING to do with religion for me–I like the music,the food,the classic movies, the gifts, the decorations–those are all wonderful and I don't see why everyone assumes that religion is a necessary part of the holiday-I don't.


    December 23, 2010 at 11:13 pm |
    • Scott


      December 24, 2010 at 9:38 pm |
  6. randy S

    So funny...most everyone on this blog seems to think the world should think like they do. Truthfully, i see more athiest and agnostics trying to ram their beliefs or lack there of, down people throats than the other way around. It's America, we all have a freedom of choice. Use that freedom to choose as you wish...because we all know it's never works when someone tries to force their views on you. That goes for all sides.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:13 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Randy, as to that throat-ramming thing, I would like you to cite for me ONE — just ONE, any ONE — instance in which atheists have insisted that a school full of kids should stand up every day and say "There is no God.". Yet I can find you millions of cases where Christians have insisted on school prayers, Bible readings, and recitation of a pledge of allegiance including a reference to God as if he were real. Who's really doing the throat-ramming here?

      December 23, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
  7. Sir Craig

    Looking at that billboard, I don't see why atheists can't make use of it themselves by making some minor additions (other than adding "n't" to the end of "God is"). For example, we could add stuff straight from the Bible like:

    1. A genocidal psychopath
    2. A murderer
    3. A rapist (pretty sure "Mary" didn't have much of an option, you know?)
    4. Clueless (did he really not know where Abel was after Cain slew him?)
    5. Confused (day and night before sun and moon)

    Stuff like that. Any others?

    December 23, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
  8. gforcepow

    Religion is fascinating in that people actually believe this crap. Unbelievable.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
  9. Dale R

    Atheists are as smart as L Ron Hubbard and his retarded Scientology. What a bunch of Crock.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Dale, nobody ever claimed that L. Ron Hubbard wasn't smart. Dishonest, yes, but not dumb. Look how much money he made peddling the same kind of claptrap that had enriched so many religiots before him. He was fersher smarter than Joseph Smith, who got lots of ladies but not lots of money before he was lynched.

      FWIW, atheists are just as disdainful of Scientology as they are of any other religion, notably including Satanism, of which we are often accused. That's because, smart or dumb, it still makes sense to say "show me" when someone's trying to peddle snake oil to you.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:54 pm |
    • Rhubarb

      Richard, do you believe in evolution?

      December 24, 2010 at 12:20 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      Probably more accurate to say that I accept the natural-selection theory ABOUT evolution, based on the unbelievable glut of evidence supporting it.

      December 24, 2010 at 1:58 am |
  10. melton

    If I were most of you people I wouldn't believe in G-d either. And, you probably never will, and you can't go to G-d, only he can come to you. You didn't choose him, he chose you.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:07 pm |
  11. Christian, Non-Christian

    To all my fellow Christians, God bless you! To all Non- Christians, peace be with you...Live long and prosper! Point is, believer or non-believer, this is a season of peace and love, so let's try to show it for at least a little while

    December 23, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
  12. Ian

    Why not a few more ads from the so called Christians......

    "Trust you child to a Catholic Priest this Christmas"
    "Don't believe...go to Hell"
    "Kill all non believers"
    "Be a Mormon..sleep with a child"
    "Why stop at one wife"

    It's mythology..get over it.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
    • Scott

      Or my own favorite
      “Kill them all and god will know his own”

      December 24, 2010 at 9:32 pm |
  13. Matt

    LOL Good luck proving that God exists. Proof is a good thing, but I challenge you to do it, unambiguously. You conjure up proof, I'm sold. But this tired rhetoric falls on my deaf ears.

    December 23, 2010 at 11:05 pm |
    • Rhubarb

      What exactly would "prove" this to you?

      December 24, 2010 at 12:17 am |
  14. Rhubarb

    "For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus
    Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
    For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the excellent Glory: 'This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.'
    And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
    We also have the prophetic word made more sure, which you do well to heed as light that shines in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this, first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." (2 Peter 16-2)

    December 23, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      OK, if the Bible's prophecies turned out to be WRONG, would that convince you to abandon your faith? Because, you know, you're basically saying that people should ADOPT your faith because the Bible's prophecies are right, so are you willing to live by the same standards you expect of others?

      If so, good. Look up Matthew 1:23 and 25 and see how you aren't able to get out of the 1st chapter of the 1st gospel without a prophecy being directly contradicted within 2 verses of its utterance.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:49 pm |
    • Scott

      You do realize that 2 Peter was written by somebody else long after Peters death?

      December 24, 2010 at 9:30 pm |
  15. Joe

    I am glad to know God! 🙂 May everyone fiend peace and love in their hearts!

    December 23, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Oh, dear, a little Freudian slip with that "fiend", there?

      December 23, 2010 at 11:40 pm |
  16. R3dkat

    The problem with Atheists are they are a group that are defined by their "anti" beliefs. I don't think anyone would have a problem with an atheist billboard that defined what they "believed" instead of what they DON'T believe. I spoken with a lot of atheists and they really don't seem to have a real belief other than, there is no god.

    December 23, 2010 at 10:58 pm |
    • Scott

      Yes, Exactly, Now you understand. The only thing all atheists believe is that there is no god. Individually we all have all kinds of beliefs ; but, there is no other set of beliefs or commonalities to the group.

      We believe the statement “god exists” is false

      December 24, 2010 at 9:27 pm |

    I am shocked how many "Christians" in this blog say they believe in God because "they would rather believe and be wrong, than not believe and be wrong". Guess what, that makes you an Atheist, you are admitting that deep down, you dont believe this crap either ! You Jesus Junkies crack me up !

    December 23, 2010 at 10:57 pm |
  18. JesusisLord

    The Resurrection is real. Why some of us know, and others don't, is in fact a mystery, but we do know. The resurrection is the watershed moment of human history, the end of the old and the beginning of the new. How you respond to Him decides your eternal destiny. What about you? Where will you spend eternity? In heaven with Jesus Christ, or hell with Satan?

    December 23, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
    • Don

      There is no god. There is no devil. There is no heaven. There is no hell. Resurrection is impossible.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:15 pm |
  19. chris

    "Don't you believe in flying saucers, they ask me? Don't you believe in telepathy? — in ancient astronauts? — in the Bermuda triangle? — in life after death?
    No, I reply. No, no, no, no, and again no.
    One person recently, goaded into desperation by the litany of unrelieved negation, burst out "Don't you believe in anything?"
    Yes", I said. "I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I'll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be."
    — Isaac Asimov

    December 23, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
    • LM

      Amen! Oops, I mean right on!

      December 24, 2010 at 4:01 am |
  20. Vapor

    The fundamental flaw in the big bang theory: An infinite point of mass exploded...where did the point come from? What was the first cause?

    December 23, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
    • Don

      You really need to read up on the big bang before you talk about it. You have no idea what it was.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:14 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Replace "Big Bang" with "God", and you'll see the rest of the problem.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:32 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.