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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. JW

    I wonder if they have taken into account leap years. Hummm. I guess god is going by their schedule now.

    If I can get him to go by my schedule I'd have him hold off until I get to see the new transformers movie this summer.

    Here's an idea. They can pull a heaven's gate and go on the 21st. The rest of us will go in our own time.

    April 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  2. Drew

    Can someone please explain to me the comment of "this is how religion hurts people." Sure the claims are fairly out there, and will probably come up empty, but who in the world are they hurting? They are spreading a message they believe in, not trying to force it down anyones throats, not threatening peoples lives, they are completely benign trying to do what they personally believe is good. If someone is getting hurt by this, then I think that they have bigger issues in their lives than some group claiming the end of the world is near.

    April 25, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • bIgT45

      I think it is really funny how people blame religion, when it is not the religion that is evil or misguiding but (some of) the people

      April 25, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • YBP

      @ bigT45: Those same people invented religion. And all people who adhere to religion are misguided.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • BR

      @Drew – The harm comes from activly disuading people from critical thought and is a core concept of all religions. These nuts, in and of themselves, might be fairly harmless but one has to question the stability of someone who is convinced their existence is at an end. It's rational to question their motives as well as their potential actions regarless of their professed religious doctrine. The classic example would be charging up ones credit cards, but there are far more insideous and violent things one can be led to do if the are of the concrete belief that their time is up.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • BR

      @bIgT45 – look up the logical falacy, "No True Scottsman"

      April 25, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • gremlin

      Religion is a man-made construct of a set of laws and customs centering on a deity of some sort. You cannot separate the religion from the people because the actions of the people in part define the religion.
      I can give specific examples of people that follow those rules discriminating against people (that I know personally) and I have on page 11 of this board. Apartheid was justified using religion. Religious differences are responsible for numerous wars.

      Religion, especially those founded by the Hebrews (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) was used to clearly differentiate the believers from others around them. They are often exclusive and intolerant of people who do not believe in their tenants according to their own scriptures.

      That said, I am not anti-religious, but I do agree that religion can hurt people.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  3. Wily

    The Rapture is kooky! Though I consider evangelical atheists no different than their rabid theist counterparts, at least the atheist crowd hasn't concocted anything like the Rapture. Sweet jimminy on a stick – The R is escapist medication at its most tragic. At least a bottle of booze gives you a buzz.

    April 25, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  4. bIgT45

    Funny how non-believers are so quick to doubt what PEOPLE have written about christ and god and yet they believe the PEOPLE who tell them that a big bang created the universe. You weren't there to see it and have only read it in textbooks, science after all is becoming the new religion. Looks like your in the same boat as the religious "nuts". I do believe in god but who is to say that they cannot both be true, if a great explosion could create complex organisms such as ourselves why couldn't it create a being such as a god, after all I'm sure that to creatures such as ants we would appear to be gods or godlike.

    April 25, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • stan

      non believers dont dispute that the big bang could ahve brought about intelligent creatures smart enough that we would think them to be gods. we dispute that the universe was created by some invisible all knowing, all powerful man in the sky who loves us so much he said 'worship me or you will burn for eternity'...

      April 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Religious sects

      Atheists do NOT "worship" science. We listen & learn from it just like you do.
      Also, I love the term NON-believer.. as though believer is natural & one must actively NOT believe.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • jeebs

      Why does there have to be an argument between Big Bangers and creationsists? Who is to say that when God said "let there be light", there wasn't a huge exsplosion of light that caused matter to suddenly come into being while at the same time, causing the outward expansion of the universe?

      Just a thought...

      April 25, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • gremlin

      Any scientist worth his/her salt is skeptical and examines the evidence. These things are measurable and testable. We can weigh the evidence, though nothing can be completely proven, we can determine the most likely mechanism.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • BR

      @bigT45 – First of all, physical observation is not requisite for scientific knowledge to be sound. Secondly, the difference is that everything I read in a text book can be independently verified. If I disagree with someone’s equations I have every right to contest it as long as I show my work. It’s only open to conjecture in as much as what can be demonstrated. Religion, by definition, requires certain aspects to be accepted in spite of contemporary understanding that refutes them.
      So the big bang happened, and created an instantaneously omnipotent/omniscient being? Ultimate 747 indeed.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  5. Maria

    I totally dissagree it does not say nothing about the rapture coming on that date or yr I mean if their.gonna use the bible verses to guareentee the rapture this is what ezekial 33 says
    Ezekiel 33:1-3

    The word of the Lord came to me: "Son of man, speak to your people and tell them: Suppose I bring the sword against a land, and the people of that land select a man from among them, appointing him as their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows his trumpet to warn the people. It says Suppose I came

    April 25, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  6. MS

    Religion is based on lies and hate. As long as people continue to believe such nonsense Humans will never get anywhere.

    April 25, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • jeebs

      Athieism is based on lies, fear and hate. As long as people continue to believe such nonsense Humans will never get anywhere.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • Religious sects

      jeebs... you're correct in that Atheism is based on lies, fear & hate... Atheism is the act of NOT believing and those listed are the reasons why.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      While "athieism" may be based on lies, fear and hate, atheism is based on the search for truth as opposed to blindly following snake-oil salesmen.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • YBP

      I agree with MS. If this world ever comes to an end due to human conflict, you can bet the warring factions in the Middle East will play a major role in the devestation.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  7. jeebs

    It's pretty darn amusing to listen to the "un-believing" few that peruse this website looking for a good time.

    Think about it you goofs, if the rapture does happen (which it will, eventually, although we are told that no one knows the time or date), the entire planet will be free of the parasitic hatemongers that you call Christians! The entire planet will be yours!! what a hey day you'll be having! Live it up, brother!

    Right up until the time that it finally dawns on you that perhaps there is something to what we've been so patiently trying to explain to you....but then it will be too late:(

    April 25, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • ARob

      I forget. When did Jesus mention the Rapture? Oh, that's right...never.

      So many of these concepts grew out of the Roman empire's corruption of the church. They're the tools of fearmongery.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • stan

      a world without christians? where do i sign up?

      April 25, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • MS

      You do realize that Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Jews are just as likely to be right as you are? You could spend your whole life dedicated to the Protestant Christian religion only to die and find out Mormons were right and everybody else is going to hell. It's all a big gigantic waste of time that promotes ignorance.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • BR

      @jeebs – "it finally dawns on you that perhaps there is something to what we've been so patiently trying to explain to you....but then it will be too late:( "

      Ooogie boogie....fiction and threats..."my big brother in the cosmos is gonna getcha!"

      Atheists could be wrong...any atheist worth his FSM will admit that point. What if we're both wrong? Us for not believing and you for picking the wrong horse? Cautious skepticism vs. outright heresy. The winner is?????????????

      April 25, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • pat carr

      no more christians left here? Don't tease us LOL. More likely you all will be here and never taken up by your "god" and as time passes, your cult will lose it's members, it's credibility and show the rest of us what a rediculous farce your cult has been for 2000+ years

      May 3, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  8. ThorGoLucky

    I look forward to the interviews with the believers AFTER May 21.

    April 25, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Religious sects

      YES, I want to see the before & after interviews. C'mon CNN pleeeeeeease!!

      April 25, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  9. John T

    A party in Oakland?... I think I'll pass.

    April 25, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  10. Ran

    Save us Jebus!

    April 25, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  11. Jack

    God did not give a date..at all..anywhere. I have no idea where they got that date. And when God gave the authors of the Bible the info to write as well as there own eye witness accounts, never was a date of the Rapture given. So the 21st will come and go and the non believers will say I told you so!! LOL, I will be the one to say I told you so, when the real day comes!!!

    April 25, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • YBP

      Have another shot of Kool-Aid.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • thatOneGuy

      I think it's selfish of you to assume it's going to be in your lifetime. Ask me, christians need to quit focusing so much on that particular section of the bible. 'I told you so'. Just so eager for irrefutable evidence of your beliefs to shove in nonbelievers faces.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  12. David

    When absolutely nothing happens on May 21 – specifically when there is no worldwide earthquake starting in New Zealand – it will prove absolutely nothing except that Harold Camping is not worth listening to. It will not mean that the Bible (which says that we cannot know the day or the hour) is wrong and it will not mean that the churches (all of which Harold Camping says are run by Satan) are wrong. In fact, if someone does believe in God and in the Bible and they have been listening to this idiot, when nothing happens, they should just go back to church and quit listening to Harold Camping's lying radio channel.

    April 25, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • ARob

      So many belief systems would receive more widespread approval if only the most insane representatives of such would be reined in by their more moderate brethren. Religion is only a problem to the non-religious because of that vocal minority of zealous lunatics. PHELPS...

      April 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  13. Kevin

    I feel very sad that my people, humanity, grapples with something so clear and easy. There have been thousands of religions over time. Yes....THOUSANDS. The big religions are big because they were backed by the ruling power of the time. Depending on where you're born, you have a OVERWHELMING statistical probability of being the religion of that land. I guess God just isn't good at math.

    If you actually read the Bible and give it any thought at all, you'd see it's completely fabricated crap and stories that doesn't even stand up to children's questioning.

    Also, chew on this....God killed millions of people in the Bible (you know, war, flood, etc), commanded Israel to go to war and kill and gave great judgement and vengeance. Satan, on the other hand, killed how many? Bet you can count them on one hand. God sounds pretty evil to me.

    April 25, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • PhxLuke

      @Kevin: "God sounds pretty evil to me." - Based on what standard does God sound evil to you? If the punishment for say...shoplifting was a smack in the face, and you decided to shoplift a nice new pair of sneakers would it be evil for the judge to sentence you to a good old slap in the mouth? I am going to assume you would logically say "no". Now hypothetically speaking...if God stated that the commission of a sin was punishable by death (physical and spiritual), why would He be evil for requiring justice for the crime committed? Not saying you have to agree with me, but something to think about.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • Lettuce Prey

      I don't think most believers are evil, but I do agree with your assessment of the Christian bible. I was one of those children who, in Sunday School class, asked uncomfortable questions like "If Adam and Eve were the first two people, and they had sons, who did their sons marry?" and "If you have to be baptized to go to heaven, does that men that all the millions of children in countries like China and India go to hell when they die?"

      April 25, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • pat carr

      that's right. the "satan" of the bible is FAR less evil than god was, as described. I also asked the uncomfortable questions. my mother told me i had a "head knowledge" instead of a "heart knowledge". Probably some stupid thing her pastor told her.

      May 3, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  14. kaygee

    Your freedom of religion is fine until it steps on my freedom to be free of your religion. So get out of my schools and my government and my doctor's office. Until then someone needs to represent the sane.

    April 25, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • shinden58

      Great post, I agree with you 100%.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • YBP

      Excellent! Reminds me of the slogan: Stop praying in my school and I'll stop thinking in your church.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • Alice

      Stay out of my womb also!

      April 25, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
  15. Mike Descado

    Hey Christians, can I have all of your stuff since you're not going to need it?

    April 25, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Ranz

      Christians don't give their stuff away. What do you think they are, Democrats?

      May 16, 2011 at 1:44 am |
  16. Daniel

    Okay. I'm a Christian, but this crap really is retarded. First off, the billboard is partially right- People have been trying to predict this crap for hundreds and hundreds of years , and it never happens.
    And here's the reason:
    The Bible clearly states that NO one other than God the Father- not even Jesus himself- knows when the end is going to come. So why does this group of Christians think they are better than Christ? God is not going to tell anyone when it is coming. He is going to come "like a thief in the night." Read your Bibles Christians.

    April 25, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Colin

      So, is the belief any less silly, just because you will not commmit to a date?

      April 25, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Jack

      There is no date to commit to!! This is a date somebody just dreamed up!!! Nobody knows the last days date!

      April 25, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • YBP

      Don't brag about being a Christian.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  17. Joe

    I thought no man would know the date, Even Jesus didn't know the day and these idiots think they got it all figured out.

    April 25, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  18. Bopper

    Hey Nathan, wasn't the Rature invented in the United States about 100 years ago (give or take)??

    April 25, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • DW

      Actually I believe it was in the 1830's in the UK. It was popularized in the 1970's by Hal Lindsey among others. Most Christians today accept it because that is what they are told, but a good scholar of the Bible should see right through it and realize it is false interpretation.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • Dolores

      To say most Christians believe in the "rapture" is overstating. Christian theology coming from Catholicism or the reformed tradition, such as Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopal, etc. does not buy into the rapture theory. We don't hold to premillennial dispensationalism.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  19. BravesGal

    I love that the same ones who poke fun of believers(of whatever religion) are the first ones to buy into global warming. Gotta love the irony!

    April 25, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • Observer

      There's more proof for global warming.

      April 25, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • BravesGal

      Actually, there is more proof that it *doesn't* exist. Blind faith is blind faith...whether it be in Allah, Jehovah, the flying spaghetti monster, Al Gore or whoever.

      April 25, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Jesus

      Al Gore was right.

      April 25, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Daniel

      Actually there is more EVIDENCE that global warming is happening as opposed to religious dogma. Proof is for math and logic, not science.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • jv

      can you please provide us with all that evidence that it doesn't exist?

      April 25, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • John

      Sadly, you forgot the difference between being the focus of a conspiracy, on the one hand, and being supported by evidence.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • f

      They beleive in the wrong things. Man is all bad and God does not exist !!! What a miserable life they lead. Pray for them all.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • Alex

      The same scientists (or scientist... I think it's just one guy) who disagree with global warming also believe the world is 6000 years old and that The Flintstones is an accurate depiction of human history. But keep believing only the facts that satisfy your preconceived notions. I can see how being born into a belief system that is wrong nearly 100% of the time can get frustrating.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • Kevin Folta

      The difference is evidence, physical, scientific, peer-reviewed evidence. Scientists agree in that climate change is real based on evidence. There are people that fail to accept evidence. They are believers. Believers don't need evidence for their reality. Rather than steered by facts they are brainwashed by faith dealers and politicians that also accept belief over evidence.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • Alex

      And "f", you want to talk about a miserable life? Talk about spending your entire life apologizing to an imaginary "creator" for being created and thanking him whenever he punishes you. Pray all you want, you're just talking to yourself.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • f

      Back in the 1970's all the rage was talking about and predicting the next "Ice Age" is coming soon.!!!! Run for the hills! The sky is falling ! The temperatures are falling ! AAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! Then here comes Public Enemy #1 Al Gore. He should be arrested for fraud, inciting riots (remember the World Economic Forum and G8 meeting riots?) and stealing money from taxpayers to pay for non-existent "techinques to stop global warming". Snake Oil saleman of the Year Award goes to .....Al Gore! Oh yes, and grand theft for stealing $$$Millions of peoples money who paid to watch his movie. The "Blair Witch Project" was more real. He is just a petty thief and a fraud.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • gremlin

      @Daniel-Thank you!!! It's nice for someone else to point that out.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
    • Daniel

      What irony?

      April 25, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • gremlin

      @Daniel, no that science provides evidence not proof. As a scientist I feel very lonely when I try to explain that while a theory can be supported by a mountain of evidence and I won't say it's proven that it doesn't mean that it's false.....

      April 25, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • jeebs

      Personally, I think that there is some proof that global warming is happening. Mankind is smart enough to monitor things and measure change patterns, etc., so based on the evidence at hand, I would say that there is a trend towards global warming.

      However, I think what many people try in vain to iterate is that the idea that all of you "Al Gore kool aid drinkers" are trying to persuade us of, i.e. MANKIND is the cause of the global warming, is without merit. Until you guys can determine the difference between a natural cycle in the earth ecology and something that is not natural, you are simply reaching too far out there with your conjectures. Do I believe that mans influence on the earth is harmful? yes. Is that harmful behavior the one and only reason for the climate change? Hardly. Its laughable to try to pin something that has so many unknowns onto one single cause.

      Please explain to me what happened that caused the Great Lakes in our own United States to come about? They came about because of receding glaciers. How could a glacier be receding if the climate stayed the same? This is proof # one that global warming is a natural cylcle of the earth and that it does happen from time to time.

      I'm sure that the Al-Gorists among us will blame flatulance among the dinosaurs that caused the last global warming, because there weren't sufficient humans around to make it happen.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • gremlin

      @jeebs–so one cherry-picked interpreted example discounts a body of evidence? No. To address your question, the results of research to date indicate that while there are indeed cycles in the climate it is very likely that anthropogenic factors are introducing perturbations that result in fluctuations that are outside the normal cycles we have evidence for in the past. It is not possible to know exactly what the consequences of these fluctuations are, but we can make predictions using several types of models and extrapolate that common patterns emerging are more likely. Some people like to take the extreme viewpoints and argue those. It seems there is general agreement that more violent weather patterns are more likely and that there will be a general shift in rainfall, etc. that could impact agriculture in several regions throughout the world. Beyond that I am not well-versed on the subject, but I suggest that you read some of the peer-reviewed articles on the subject if you would like to know more.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • jeebs

      @ Gremlin

      I certainly hope that you didn't develop an anurism trying to spew all of those big words out...

      Your diatribe didn't address the point of my post, the proof that it is because of man....

      April 25, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Ranz

      Thats funny. More proof that it doesn't exist. Be careful where you purchase your science BravesGal. Its been rumored that Glenn Beck sells defective science on the fancy talking box.

      May 16, 2011 at 1:42 am |
  20. Nathan

    I'm a Christian, and I DO believe the Rapture will take place...SOMEDAY. But do my fellow believers in this story actually have a date? No. And the reason they don't is because Jesus Himself said, for instance, "But of that day and [that] hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father" (Mark 13:32).

    Unfortunately, May 21 will come and go, and then the atheists in this story will laugh it up. Ugh...

    April 25, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Yeah but it will be met with the tears of sorrow of those that went out and purchased a BMW M3 or Ferrari on the first of May not planning to have to make that first monthly payment. 🙂

      April 25, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • Daniel

      You typed the same thing I did like right before i submitted it. I guess we think alike 🙂

      April 25, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • Religious sects

      Much like Christians laughing it up when they believe Atheists are going to heII & they are safe...lol

      April 25, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • f

      @nathan – I agree with you completely.
      @religious sects – Christians do NOT beleive they are safe and are gong to Heaven automatically. That is the challenge God gave us all. Make sure you act and live in a way that makes you a CANDIDATE for Heaven. Even one of the two criminals hanging on the crosses next to Jesus believed right before he died and asked for forgiveness so he could go to Heaven. Believing is a first step. Denying God is the wrong way to start your journey to Heaven.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Daniel

      Then you're deluded.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Daniel

      Living your life for the next one is a waste of your life.

      If you MUST believe in God, then believe he wants you to live a Good life for the benefit to your soul and those of the people around you NOW, not after you die.

      April 25, 2011 at 6:32 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.