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April 25th, 2011
01:41 PM ET

Billboard battle over Judgment Day

(CNN) - We've told you about the caravan of RVs touring the country to warn people about the end of the world, which they say will begin on May 21.

Now, the American Atheists are mounting a counter-campaign.

The group has posted a billboard in Oakland, California - home to Family Radio, which is spreading the "awesome news" that Judgment Day is near - declaring that such messages are "nonsense."

"The Rapture: You KNOW it's Nonsense," the American Atheists' billboard announces. "2000 Years of 'Any Day Now.'"

The billboard - which cost $27,000, according to the group's website - invites passers-by to "Learn the Truth" at the group's "Rapture Party" on May 21-22 in Oakland.

The atheists also plan to hold parties in Houston, Texas, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the website says.

"This is how religion hurts people, one of the many ways religion hurts people," American Atheists President David Silverman told CNN Oakland, California, affiliate KGO.

"Our hope is that those who are not suckered in will learn from the people who are."

Read the full story at KGO's website.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Death • End times

soundoff (2,436 Responses)
  1. HA25

    Mark I've seen the billboard for May 21 even in my hometown in MA so this is direct response.
    However, if you read the atheist literature – I ASSURE you that Muslims in particular and Judaism as well share equally if not more in the targeting. I think if you go to the website you'll see that a point IS being made.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  2. Edmund Jaja

    give it up for the freethinkers! yeaaaaaa! I'm going to the party.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  3. Jim

    Holy Cow. Religion is REAL. What if Mayans were Correct. Where's ISLAM & JEWISH BILLBOARD?

    April 25, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • Eric G

      If the Mayans were that bright, they would have built the center of their civilization somewhere with a sustainable fresh water supply.

      Islam takes it's fair share of abuse on this blog. It is very rare to see a post from Jews.

      If it makes you feel any better, they have presented as much verifiable evidence to support the hypothesis that their god exists as Christians have. There Gods are as non existent as yours.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Beth

      Eric – I would LOVE to see some proof that God doesn't exist. 🙂

      April 25, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  4. Beth

    Just goes to show that these atheists have no idea what the Rapture is all about/what the Bible says about it. Not that I'd expect them to understand, of course. 😉 But I'm curious – why do they feel the need to put up a billboard about it? I mean, if they don't believe in it, why do they care so much?!

    April 25, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • santos25

      Ask yourself that question!

      April 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Rob

      Here's the reason why we care and why we put billboards up. The truth is that people don't really change their beliefs on a dime. They don't usually change their beliefs after losing (or winning) an argument. People change their beliefs generally only if they feel they have support in their wider community. They want to know that there are like-minded people out there. We're fundamentally social animals, after all.

      Putting an atheist message on billboard reminds people that not everyone believes in Christianity. It reminds them that we're out there, and we have a voice. Heck, sometimes just having a voice and using it is important. But it's also important in that, should someone have doubts, they know there's a community of folks out there who don't believe in God. And that's comforting.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Beth

      Santos – FTR – I don't think ANY 'religion' should put up a billboard. Any decision on what to believe is very personal and individual.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Beth

      Rob – I disagree that people will only change their beliefs if they think there are others out there that support them. I have beliefs that my friends (and my HUSBAND) do not share. I'm ok with that because as I said before – I think what someone decides to believe in is very personal. Unless, IMO, they are SOLELY doing it for 'acceptance', in which case, they don't *really* believe it, do they?

      April 25, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'Just goes to show that these atheists have no idea what the Rapture is all about/what the Bible says about it. Not that I'd expect them to understand, of course.'
      Interesting, this billboard was put up in direct response to a group that says the rapture it coming May22nd. In what way does this billboard thus show that atheists have no idea about the rapture?

      April 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Beth

      The billboard says (I'm paraphrasing): "They have said 'Any Day Now' for 2000 years". That's not exactly accurate...

      April 25, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
  5. omair

    I think this means the carvan starts on May 21, not the end of the world.

    We've told you about the caravan of RVs touring the country to warn people about the end of the world, which they say will begin on May 21.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  6. Chanselor Jenkins

    @ George

    Yes, I believe science is in fact in the process of discovering the handwork of "God". Right on!

    April 25, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • George

      So could we say roughly, that science tries to tells us how the universe works and religion tries to tells us why?

      April 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • NS Indiana

      haha. Riiiiiight. I think what you mean to say is science is closing the gap on religion by explaining things that were formally "acts of God." The greater we know about science, the less room we have for fairy tales.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Wait .... the Earth isn't the center of the Universe?!?!?

      April 25, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    Good. My birthday is May 22nd. According to these half-wits, I will finally get to live out the lyrics from the Who: " Hope I die before I get old".

    Ok Christians, get your skivvies untwisted. It was a joke. Isn't that supposed to be a great defense againse Satan, or bombing abortion clinics better?

    April 25, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  8. Mark Kram

    Why don't atheist groups like this ever target the Jewish or Islamic faiths?

    Is it because they like to get press and poke fun, but are afraid to really make a point?

    April 25, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • displeased

      because the Christians are the most extreme in this country.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Kyle

      Because jews and muslims don't post billboards proclaiming their idiocy.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • santos25

      why don't you talk about how crazy this crap is and not talk about the atheist. Its religion in that makes this country turn its own people against each other.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Ryan Richardson

      I know why people attack Christians, before I explain let me say one thing.
      Have you noticed when people get mad or scared they say "Jesus Christ" you don't hear them say "Oh Buddah" or "Oh Ohamed" you hear them say "Oh GOD". GOD has power in it just as Jesus Christ does. I'm not here to bash an Atheist for the way they believe, that is their right to believe that there is no GOD. But please respect us and not bash GOD, some Religious people are Evil, but I'm not Religious but I am a Christian. I try to get closer to my Lord Jesus Christ so that I can see his face every day. I thank GOD for Saving my Soul from being Damned in Hell. But I will say this about the Bill boards, it is his right even though he's proclaming the wrong stuff. When we have a Bill board on the Streets it's to proclaim our Lord and Saviors Love for you.
      But you know it's okay with you non-believers/Atheist to have Bill boards about Adult Movies or it's okay to drink and do drugs, but if we have one about GOD were shoving it down our throat. I just wish we could all work together for the better of our Country. I'm proud to be a Christian and I feel for your Souls that are Lost. For YOU WILL NOT ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD UNLESS YOUR SAVED BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS!!!!! I'll Pray for everyone of you, Americans please Pray for our Country and the people in our Country, GOD knows we need them. GOD BLESS!

      May 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  9. Phil

    Remember Bibi Aisha? She was the girl that escaped her marriage to a taliban commander. Her husband, based on his twisted belief in RELIGION, had her nose and ears cut off. Dr. Peter H. Grossman, a man of SCIENCE, reconstructed her face.

    Religion 0
    Science 1

    Religion has successfully been batting a .000 average since it's inception.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • George

      Have to disagree, there have been many people who have helped this world in the name of religion.... Mother Teresa would be one, and my aunt

      April 25, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • NS Indiana

      One of my favorites was an atheist campaign in Europe:
      " Science flew us to the moon... Religion flew us into a building."
      Religion 0
      Science 2

      April 25, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Phil

      @ NS Indian

      I have that shirt!

      April 25, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • NS Indiana

      @ phil

      Where did you get it? Because I really want one!

      April 25, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • mary21

      personally most comments in here are childish. all attacking each other, I am not a religiuos person but I do believe in fairness and viewing both sides of a coin objectively not subjectivly
      well this is work of a man not religion per se, also we can talk about lots of people that got out of addiction or bad life styles through religion.
      I read to many blogs here nad realized that we are not as civilized as we think. before you go blasting hate vlogs, go back and read all the blogs eitehr side are full of nast attacks..peace bro I am ouuta here

      April 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Phil

      @ NS Indiana

      http://www.zazzle.com/science+flies+you+to+the+moon+religion+tshirts

      From Zazzle. If the link above didn't post, just google "science flies you to the moon shirt" and it should be the first on the list.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Simpkins

      Please do the Lord a favour, don't confuse religion with God. These days, the two are almost completely mutually exclusive.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Bob

      George

      *****Have to disagree, there have been many people who have helped this world in the name of religion.... Mother Teresa would be one, and my aunt**** I don't know your aunt, I'm sure she's nice. As for Mother Theresa, by teaching against birth control, that birth control was a sin to be punished by God, she caused 10's of thousands, if not more, children to be born into hopeless poverty, knowing that the children would starve to death. She also denied even plain aspirin to the people in her hospital, telling them to offer their suffering to God. She was cute like Granny Clampett, but a zealot just the same.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  10. HA25

    Well, Chris – I look at it as $27,000 to help clear the way to ask questions about the Truth of man's spiritual needs, rather than assigning (as Chanselor does) all Spiritual needs to the God of the people of the desert of 2000 years ago (or more if you follow Abraham...).
    How much would a billboard saying 'The world is NOT Flat' have been worth to mankind 500 years ago or so? Forgetting of course that the Church at the time would have had the writer racked, tortured, and burned at the stake...

    April 25, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  11. geez

    I personally don't see the big conterversy in the billboard. everyone has their idea of religion or better put spiritual belief.
    what I don't understand all this offensive postings, believers calling aethist idiots and morons or aethist making fun of easter.
    extremes are bad no matter which direction

    April 25, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  12. TomD

    Jesus said no man knows the day or the hour, so any time anyone says it is going to be on this day you can pretty much bet it won't happen on that day! Besides, this pastor does not believe in the Jesus of the Bible as he believes the Holy Spirit is just a force and not God The Spirit! So some wack job makes a false claim and the devil uses it to blind the minds of more lost souls! I believe the Rapture is close due to the signs in the Bible are all over the news today, but we are told to keep ours eyes upward and our lives honest and a good witness until He comes! I kind of wish the Rapture of the true church would happen on May 21st, what a shock to old Harold when he's not taken! Maybe he will believe in the real Jesus of the Bible then! But I doubt it!

    April 25, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • Phil

      "but we are told to keep ours eyes upward "

      Keep them upward? That way you'll never see the truth and logic that's right in front of you...you'll keep running into things.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • TomD

      Upward means to be ready to meet the Lord of Glory when He interrupts human history again, but I totally understand why you didn't get it!

      April 25, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  13. George

    @Chanselor Jenkins
    Of course science can't explain everything, science is the discovery of the interactions of the universe or laws if you would like. Is science complete? No. is religion?
    BTW – if science is the discovery of the working of the universe and God created the universe, isn't science the discovery of the handiwork of God?

    April 25, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • Floyd

      Well yes it is indeed George. Keep studying. Keep researching. You will find God in the end anyway. It is quite a splendor to look through a telescope or microscope and see life and all things created. Just be sure to not discard facts or discoveries that contradict normal understanding because it is simpler or more convenient.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Peter F

      This here is what I like to call the difference between general revelation and special revelation. Everyone has some sort of testimony to the creative nature of God (general revelation) considering we are living in this world, breathing the same air, seeing and hearing the same things. But through Scripture (special revelation) we are opened up to the character and plan of God breaking through to humanity that cannot find the source of life, love and truth on its own. Science and God go hand in hand, people! 🙂

      April 25, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Well, its about time he shows his hand then, no? Will it be May 22? So far there is no evidence of a god. The only evidence given is pointing out human ignorance. Hardly a shocking revelation!

      April 25, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  14. Richard

    It's just more nonesense, every few decades some nutjob claims the world is gonna end and he is sure God has told just him. I am sure we will all be around to laugh this guy off the news stage when nothing happens. Oh well maybe next time....

    April 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  15. Ryan

    Militant Athiests are just as close-minded and annoying as Fundamentalist Christians. Somehow 80% of CNN followers are one group or the other.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • Rob

      The difference being that militant Christians have murdered and waged war for their religion throughout history.

      Militant atheists just annoy people on the internet.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • santos25

      so you are one that believes in this May crap?? and you are calling Atheist weird? lol

      April 25, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Kyle

      That's a stupid statement. Obviously only people who care about the topic are going to bother reading and commenting on the article.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Ryan

      Rob, please look up "Benito Mussolini" and "Adolph Hitler"

      April 25, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'Rob, please look up "Benito Mussolini" and "Adolph Hitler"
      They were not killing in the name of atheism. They were just power hungry killers, such as has been found throughout history.

      April 25, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  16. Mike-Believer

    For those who try to know the mind of God you need to understand history and the people of history. God has never changed and will never change. Civilization in the O.T. was brutal, and immoral beyond words and God dealt with them in the manner which was fitting. Don't just read the words of the Bible and come to your own conclusion to justify your assumption. Read the Bible, study history, understand the 'whys' and 'hows' of everything and it just might make sense to you. Open your mind just a bit. God doesn't or never has created 'evil'. He allowed us free-will because He loves us, not wanting us to be robots with no choice. Unfortunately, human-beings, take free-will, freedom and their own selfish desires way beyond what was expected causing evil and misfortune to the world around us. Add that to the broken world of Adam and Eve's sin, causing our world to be corrupt and dying, then we need to look at the loving 'choice' that God handed us in Jesus Christs sacrifice in order for us to be saved from an eternal life separated from Him. Again, God gives us a way out, never forcing anything upon us. WE are the ones that make things difficult. It's your choice, and not choosing IS a choice.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • Jill

      Yes and Amen.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Kyle

      So god doesn't change and his only solution for thousands of years was death and destruction, and suddenly man had changed enough that god decided to send jesus who taught the exact opposite of everything god did the previous thousands of years.....yea I can see that.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • StClown

      That doesn't speak to well to the Big Guy's omniscience or ability to learn from mistakes. "Hey, Adam, you and Eve are to leave those apples alone. Never touch the apples. ...You did WHAT? I'm through with you." "Hey, Noah, I tried that free will thing, and it's not working. Let's do a hard boot to start this whole thing over again." "Here, descendants of Noah, here's this nifty free will thing. Use it, but live by my word. ...You did what? Again? Well, egg's on my face now, isn't it?"

      April 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'Civilization in the O.T. was brutal, and immoral beyond words and God dealt with them in the manner which was fitting'
      hey i replied to this earlier. So why do you think life during that time was more immoral? Based on what? Why do you think the average person during that time was doing anything different that people today? just trying to live day to day, and provide for their family. What on earth do you think EVERYONE was doing that was immoral?

      'God doesn't or never has created 'evil'.
      If the devil had become a bad guy before eve even bit the apple then where did the idea or concept come from then if god had not 'created' it?'

      April 25, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  17. aldo1968

    So where does the easter bunny and santa come from?
    I remember now, that dude that they tacked up on popsicle sticks name was actually santa and they stuck the end of the cross in the hole of a bunny rabbit's burrow.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  18. RP

    What did Jesus say when he was up on the cross?

    "This was one Hell of a way to spend my Easter vacation."

    April 25, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Milhouse

      I thought it was, "Mom, look. I can see our house from here."

      April 25, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Bob

      Actually, what he said was, "Now I know how a Cubs' fan feels."

      April 25, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Lettuce Prey

      Oh, you people are bad! BAD, I tell ya! 🙂

      April 25, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  19. kirk

    this is stupid...lol lol lol lol nothing i mean nothing i sat again nothing in the bible says the rapture is on may 21st...jesus said no man knows....i just love it when idiotic atheist groups pick out a non truth and says LOOK THIS IS PROOF THEY ARE WRONG

    April 25, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • cadecker

      Matthew 24:36“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,but only the Father."....

      you are correct...by them saying this they are calling God a liar for not doing as he said he would do.... these people make christains look bad

      and yes they just gave the athiests proof how dumb some people can be...but then again they are just as dumb

      April 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • cadecker

      would make them both look like noobs if jesus comes tonight ....LOL

      April 25, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • santos25

      I think the atheist have more proof that god doesn't exists than the Catholics do that his does.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Daniel

      This group isn't idiotic. They are pointing out that people use religion to manipulate others. This guy has people believing that the end of the world is right around the corner. Religion is a sham.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  20. Joe

    Gotta love America, the only country that you can speak how you feel/believe anything you want, and not worry about being killed for it. Love it.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • cadecker

      yet

      April 25, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Kyle

      Some accidental alcohol poisoning is possible at the atheist parties 😀

      April 25, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Charles Morre

      Joe, You really beleive you can say want. Bull, try saying something about a Jew and your labled anti-semetic. Now the zionist are trying to get a law passed that if you say anything against them it will be considerd a hate crime. Free speach is gone in this country. Want it worse keep voting for the Jewish politician.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Charles, please cite the bill you are referring to? Or are you just another foaming at the mouth nut?

      April 25, 2011 at 4:45 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.