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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. Cant believe its not butter!! haha

    Welll being a Christian God says no one knows the day nor the hour, not even Jesus or however that God head thing works but the point is I like that these people are trying to spread the word, but I takes sides with the American Aithiests on this one, this is how religon hurts people, however I don't believe Jesus came here to start a religon but to "finish" our salvation.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  2. A

    I dont call myself an ATHIEST, i just decided not to follow any religion and to raise my family on values that are important to us, like love, respect, compassion not cuz of religious reason but cuz of humane reasons. We respect all races, colors, nationalisties etc. The point is, this world would be a better place if religion didnt exist. If we lived life and respected life just for what it is LIFE. There is so many religions that it really has to make you think if any of this preaching is real. Being raised as a catholic i noticed many things i didnt like about religion, the biggest was on how ignorant the religious was towards other that were not like them. To me the church suppose to welcome anyone, but they didnt. This billboard wont change anything, just like religion wont go away. Maby one day we can live in a place where we appricaite life for wht it is and respect each other and live in peace. Until then this battle wont end.

    And "pguru79" you are a perfect example on why i have decided not to follow religion, cuz of ppl like you. I know for a fact that Athiests are more understanding and more open to religious ppl then religious ppl to athiests. Athiest dont really go around telling you your an Ass*&^%. You choose to believe in a man that lives in a sky that noone has ever spoken to or saw, some of us dont.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  3. Colin

    Why is it that believers have come to consider calling atheism a "religion" the worst insult they can hurl at us?

    They are essentially saying, "look, you are just as bad as us.".

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

      No just showing that you're a hypocrite

      April 25, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Dave

      It isn't an insult. It is just confusion between the definition of belief and religion. It's a pretty easy mistake since religion has beliefs but a belief is not always religion.

      A good example of this is Buddhism:
      Religion: Buddhism
      Belief: There is no God (Atheism)

      April 25, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'meh – No just showing that you're a hypocrite'
      lol, ok then.

      April 25, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Bob

      Atheism is more of an informed opinion developed by crosschecking multiple sources. I don't bother with it in daily life unless, well, someone claims that something significantly religious is about to happen. I pay attention only until the religiously significant thing fails to happen, as is always the case, then I go back to my life. I don't hang out with other athiests, I don't read athiest newsletters, I don't feel a kinship with other athiests, or anything like that. I subscribe to no book of atheism. I neither seek the approval of other athiests nor do I bestow approval on other athiests, except to agree with the general presence that there is no supernatural force at work in our lives. Atheism is NOT a belief in a thing, it is the absence of belief in a thing. But if we can wrangle tax-exempt status, we're listening. 😉

      April 25, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  4. Sara

    And when it DOESN'T HAPPEN on 5/21, they will just come up with another date, never admitting they are wrong, so frustrating!

    April 25, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Bob

      I can see it now–"Hmmm, let's see, we carried the 3, changed the "y" to "ies", divided by January, ohh, there it is. Shoulda been July 11, 2017. Reset those calendars! He's 'a comin' now!"

      April 25, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  5. Tone

    crucified
    "Wow.. well I would like to examine the motivation behind the Billboard.. He says this is just one way that religion hurts people.. so he retaliates by putting up a billboard of Blasphemy..I would say at a cost of $27,000 He must be a very angry person at religion.. Why would someone ever follow someone who is motivated by anger? and self interest? hate? retaliation? beware atheist where this guy is leading you....!"

    He's just a hate-monger who thinks religion is too mainstream for his tastes. Just like any other preacher/spiritual leader that preaches hate and intolerance. Stupidity takes all forms.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  6. samurai_lincoln

    The next person who starts quoting bible references in order to prove that their book is the only way will be responded to with me quoting lines from Lord of the Rings.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Cant believe its not butter!! haha

      Which is actually a book based off the Bible so whatever

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

      You shall not pass

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

      @butter Lol. Funniest reply of the day!

      April 25, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  7. meh

    So they are having a party, a get together, fellowship with other atheists spreading and talking about their non-beliefs with one another. Probably have some food and collect money and have a 50-50 raffle. A speaker will probably be there too. Sounds like another organized religion to me.

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

      Or at least a volunteer fire department.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • crucified

      That is funny... I kinda imagined that for a second.. 20 people in a building spending all their time talking about something they don't believe in....... I think they are scared!

      April 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'So they are having a party, a get together, fellowship with other atheists spreading and talking about their non-beliefs with one another. Probably have some food and collect money and have a 50-50 raffle. A speaker will probably be there too. Sounds like another organized religion to me.'
      Sounds like any other typical organization to me. Now if they pray to some diety for some blessing or miracle to occur then maybe you have a claim.

      April 25, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Lettuce Prey

      Perhaps they should apply for tax-exempt status, like organized religious are allowed to do.

      April 25, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  8. Shamrock6

    Why does anyone care what anyone else thinks or believes? Maybe I'm too much of a sociopath but outside of my wife and kids....and maybe my siblings and parents I could not care less what anyone believes or doesn't believe. You want to believe in god....cool. You don't believe in god.....whatever. Either way...knock yourself out.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  9. Tone

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

    Truer words have not been spoken... Believe what you believe and stop forcing it on other people, live and let live...

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

      Thank you Tone!

      April 25, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Tone wrote: "Believe what you believe and stop forcing it on other people, live and let live..."

      I'd love to!!! Get your imaginary Deity off the country's currency, out of the Pledge of Allegiance, court houses, government buildings, schools, make Palaces for the Promotion of Ignorance (churches) pay taxes on their real estate, etc...

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

      @Praisethe___ or how about you just move!

      April 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • LinCA

      @crucified. Nice. So what you are saying is: "believe as I do, or get the f#(k out"?

      And you wonder why people are trying to save the world from vermin like you.

      April 26, 2011 at 12:01 am |
  10. RP

    @ Milhouse: I didn't hear that one. I like that one better. Way to go. i smiled.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  11. Pookie

    What if the rapture has already happened and these people just didn't get picked?

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

      So their punishment is to forever await the rapture? If so, God has one ironic sense of humor.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  12. gremlin

    Sooo, what exactly do people who believe in specific dates for the rapture do when/if it doesn't happen? I've always wondered about that. I seem to remember the Seventh Day Adventists (or some division of them) having a similar problem some years ago.......

    April 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  13. The Jackdaw

    What will these people say on May 22nd?

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

      "Ummm...... oops."

      April 25, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  14. crucified

    Wow.. well I would like to examine the motivation behind the Billboard.. He says this is just one way that religion hurts people.. so he retaliates by putting up a billboard of Blasphemy..I would say at a cost of $27,000 He must be a very angry person at religion.. Why would someone ever follow someone who is motivated by anger? and self interest? hate? retaliation? beware atheist where this guy is leading you....!

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

      All those alter boys have a reason to fear and be angry. Maybe he was one?

      April 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • HA25

      You make an Assumption that he is angry then build upon it. Flawed reasoning, but then you seem to be a believer so logic may not be your strong suit...

      April 25, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • crucified

      @Ha25 it was a rational assumption based on his comments..maybe you should watch the video.where his opening remarks where not focused on what they are doing to improve society in their eyes.. but attacking the hurtful religious society.. It was pretty plain as day.. no need to build on.. The Athiest have a pretty poor spokes person.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • gremlin

      There are many people that truly believe that religion hurts people, and for some people that's true. For many people religion brings comfort, community, and purpose. But I know people that have had their entire family thrown out of the church (including children) because of something one member of the family did. I've known people that have been thrown out of classes schools that were supposed to be non-denominational explicitly because they are Catholic and not protestant. In my own family, entire groups of the family wouldn't speak to my parents for decades because my mother left the Catholic church to marry my father. I am not angry at religion and I do know many people that are very positive about it and are terrific people that are a credit to their faith (Jewish, Islamic, Christian, Buddhist, and others), but I totally understand why some people are angry at it. I've actually studied comparative religion as part of my college career, and it is apparent that the almost universal rise of religion in cultures indicates that it has a definite function in the structure of civilizations. There is the argument that the function is fluid and changing and that it may eventually become outdated, but I don't know that I agree with that.

      But there are general problems with religions. It does separate people. This type of apocalyptic preaching in the article causes people to give up on many things in their lives. What happens if/when it doesn't happen? Most wars have a religious undertone. It's used as an excuse for persecution and discrimination. It is used to avoid problems. It's used to prevent progress. It's used as a tool to gain power. So yeah there are many negative things that can be said about religion even if you don't feel very strongly about it.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • crucified

      @Gremlin Just because religion is used as an excuse for wars and other things by MEN... does not mean that religion is the fault.. It would be like blaming a chair if I fell on the floor..The Athiest used flawed reasoning in blaming the chair instead of the man who either designed the chair or the person for not sitting in the right place.. The truth is they are angry at GOD, the designer and anger, such as the one in the video toward religion..is an admission of belief for you can only be angry at something you believe in. Therefore Athiesm is Rebellion.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • gremlin

      I sort of see your point, except that Religion is a human construct. Divinely inspired or not, the organized structure of a system of beliefs is created by man and that is what is often distorted and misuses. It's the difference that Kierkegaard distinguished between Christianity and Christendom. One is the truly living like Christ intended and the other is the distorted system of rules used to impose conformity. There are very few Christians that actually practice the faith and works preached in their own book.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • ak

      crucified:
      you are talking about religion as if it was a rock/moon/sun which is just there. oh yeah, wars are to be blamed on men and not on religion. you should ask this instead: who gave the very concept of religion, who wrote your religious books, and who preaches religion? men. religion is AT fault if the men who designed/practice it are. religion is not a perfect thing-in fact it is as imperfect as it could be. the very first "requirement" of religion is that you have to believe in a god.

      April 25, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • crucified

      @ak I would like to thankyou... You did a fine job of proving my point! That Athiest are angry at God, their designer. Your anger and the anger of the man in the Billboard. willing to spend almost $30000 to mock a belief..validates rational assumption.. By being Angry at God you are telling the World that you believe..because you acknowledge the existance of. There is no way around this logic. You are just being rebelious.

      April 25, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • gremlin

      @crucified–I think you need to go back and look up "anger" in the dictionary. None of ak's posts indicates anger, but rather a different viewpoint.

      April 25, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • crucified

      @gremlin actually ak is angry.. relook at the sentence... he said " who wrote YOUR religion" the your is the key word that gives insite into the anger... Psy 401 learned in Psych. peoples emotions are displayed in more than words..but in writing, body language and many other forms.. .look closer....

      April 25, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • gremlin

      @crucified, I guess we learned different things in psychology then because my dual degree in psychology and anthropology is teaching me that you are merely cherry-picking pieces from what each person is saying and selectively employing directed logic to re-emphasize your point. There is a difference between anger and emphasis. Sorry.

      April 25, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'The truth is they are angry at GOD, the designer and anger, such as the one in the video toward religion..is an admission of belief for you can only be angry at something you believe in. Therefore Athiesm is Rebellion.'

      I am sorry but your logic is flawed. There is no anger at god because there is no god. I could no more be angry at god than I could be angry at invisible pink unicorns. Any 'anger' is aimed at organized religion and those that want to use their faith to dictate to others how to live. Using your logic I would be angry at thor and rebelling against him if I complained about a bunch of thunder and lightning worshippers.

      April 25, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • crucified

      @Cedar Rapids actually the Atheist are the ones trying to change society... America was founded on a belief in God.. the Atheist want to remove that..Therefore they are the ones trying to dictate how believers live.

      April 25, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • gremlin

      For some reason my comment is "awaiting moderation." I don't know why, there are no questionable words. Hopefully it will show up, but for now I will say you are incorrect about the founders.

      April 25, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Helpful

      It won't show up you have to look for things like t-it, c-um, as-s, sp-ic, s-ex, etc.

      April 25, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • gremlin

      Thanks helpful that may be the problem!

      @crucified-Cherry-picking again. This country was founded by Deists that specifically left God out of the Const-itution because they did not want government interfering with beliefs and they did not want to give any one religion preference over the other. The First Amendment to the Const-itution was drafted to emphasize that point. Nowhere does the Const-itution mention God, religion or Christian values except in the First amendment and there only religion in general is addressed.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  15. Chanselor Jenkins

    As a true christian I can tell you, I will crap my paints if the lord comes back next month.

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

      As an agnostic individual, I too would do the same lol.

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

      And what would you do with your paints after you have crapped in them? They wouldn't be much good for painting...

      April 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  16. HA25

    Beth. Perhaps just becuse pursuit of the Truth is worh it. Speaking of which I LOVE "Mike- Believer" – "Check History" then he goes on to reference a LITERAL Adam and Eve... LOL!!!

    April 25, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  17. Tif

    The bible clearly states that NO one knows the day or the hour. I believe that these billboards are making a mockery of the Bible and Jesus Christ. People need to read the bible for themselves, and not allow OTHERS to brainwash them with misinformation. I think that we all should agree to disagree. Religion is a sensitive topic. I just think that we should respect each other’s beliefs, and not plaster it all over billboards, etc.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  18. oiy

    Gotta love CNN taking a small group of what 20 or so people and making it seem like all of this are this way.

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

      all of us sorry

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

      Isn't atheism a religion?

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

      your comment makes no sense...

      April 25, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      If atheism is a religion, at least we don’t have to give anybody money for it.

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

      You think the billboard paid for itself?

      April 25, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      I know my money didn't go for it.

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

      I don't pay money to go to church either and I am not forced too. So it likes like we have some similarities

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

      No. Atheism is a belief. Not a religion. There's a difference. For example, I am Catholic. That is my religion. However, I believe that God will ultimately forgive everyone of their sins in the end. That is a belief.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      Hitler walked on both legs and had hair on his head. Do you have things in common with him as well?

      April 25, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • haha

      Yes I do actually we have the same stache.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • AD

      Yes, it takes just as much faith to be an atheist as it does to be a Christian. Either way you really don't know what happens when you die and both sides need faith to stake out thier positions.

      April 25, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Lettuce Prey

      The difference between a religious group and an atheist group is that the religious group is tax-exempt.

      April 25, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  19. Nathan

    facepalm

    April 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  20. EMERSE

    If you are a true Christian then you should know that NO one knows when the end of the world will be! If you are a true Atheist then you should know better then to waste your time with trying to stop people believe in god. Who cares what people believe? If people believe that its the end of the world, let them screw their bills and family to spread the word! When May 21st comes and goes, they are the one's who will have to try to get their lives back on track!

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

      Thanks @ Emerse. I agree with everything you said. I some of these religious groups are wasting TOO much time, money, and energy trying to pound their beliefs on one another.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:33 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.