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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. Jeff

    I guess I can choose the atheist option – I die and that's it, or the Christian option – my faith in Jesus Christ allows eternal life after death. If I live life with the Christian option and I die and there is not a God, what have I lost? I'll be dead and buried. But if I chose to live as an atheist and I die and I'm wrong, it is really a shame that I didn't believe.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Paul

      Maybe if you don't believe in Odin you go to the paegan version of Hell. Choosing a God based on how they'll punish you is no way all religions are nuts.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Jeff
      Pascal's Wager is a poor argument as it can extend to ANY conception of the afterlife and associated dieties.
      Do you seek to die gloriously in battle so that you can get to Valhalla?

      April 25, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Breadmold

      So you're saying that instead of believing in something that you feel is right, you're being bribed into believing in it? Not exactly what I would consider a "God" method for gaining believers.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Well as has been said before, you had better hope that the third option...'there is a god and it isnt the one you are worshipping and thus are as hosed as the rest of us' isnt true as well then.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  2. Jeremy

    I hope it does start on May 21st! I will be in Columbus enjoying Rock on the Range. How much more fun that weekend will be if the sky starts falling. Maybe the promoters will have a chicken little costume running around the crowd!

    April 25, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Just Sayin

      Too funny. I'm going to Carolina Rebellion and I would feel the same way if everything was going down on May 7th!!

      April 25, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  3. cadecker

    no one knows the time... if the guy on the video knew any better of the bible it says no man knows the time nor the hour... and setting times is dangerous... judgement day is after the tribulation as well.... also god wont close the door...there are people during the tribulation that will be saved as well ... relyin on a human dating such as the mayans or the Gregorian calendar is just stupid ....they are man made timelines not god's

    April 25, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  4. Doc Vestibule

    “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”
    —1 John 2:18
    Christians have been waiting on tenterhooks for the Second Coming since the Bible itself was written.
    Many have prophesied the exact time of date of His return and ALL have been wrong.
    George Rapp said it would be September 15th, 1829.
    William Miller predicted October 22, 1844. Jesus’ failure to arrive is known as “The Great Disappointment”. Many of his disillusioned followers went on the found the 7th Day Adventist Church, who are still patiently awaiting His return.
    Charles Russell, 1st President of the Watchtower Society told his fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses that Jesus would be back in 1874.
    Rudolf Steiner maintained that from 1930 onwards, Jesus would grant certain people psychic powers to enable them to witness his presence in the “etheric plane”.
    Herbert Armstrong, Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God said 1975.
    Bill Maupin managed to convince his followers to sell all of their worldly goods in preparation for Jesus’ return on June 28th, 1981.
    Benjamin Crème stated that on June 21st, 1982 Christ would make a worldwide television announcement.
    Mark Blitz, Pastor of El Shaddai Ministries says it would be September 30th, 2008
    Jerry Falwell said it’d happen between 1999 and 2009.
    Harold Camping is telling everyone that the Rapture will happen May 21, 2011 after failing in his first predicted date of 1994.

    Conversely, many believe He’s all ready come in the form of Sun Myung Moon, Emanuel Swedenborg, Baha u llah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, David Koresh, Hailie Selassie, John Thom, Arnold Potter, William Davies, George roux, Ernest Norman, Krishna Venta, Ahn Sahng-Hong, Jim Jones, Mashall Applewhite, Hulon Mitchell, Wayne Bent, Ariffin Mohammed, Mitsuo Matayoshi, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, Inri Cristo, Thomas Provenzano, David Icke, Shoko Asahara, Hogan Fukinaga, Marina Tsvigun or Sergei Troop.

    It would appear that the much lauded Jewish carpenter has been thoroughly dead for 2000 years and will remain so.

    April 25, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  5. dinof

    "Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind."
    Albert Einstein

    April 25, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  6. The Jackdaw

    Religion looks at the the universe and says “eh, I dont need to understand, the deity I have no evidence of will protect me.” Science looks and says, “I want to learn and understand, so that with the knowledge gained, we may protect ourselves.”

    April 25, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  7. What a shame

    Religion is a disease, and it's unfortunate that these aethiests are giving those Christians just what they want: more publicity. Use that $27,000 to send a kid to college or give the homeless a hot meal... why waste it on a billboard. Everyone will know the truth on 5/22 anyway.

    April 25, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  8. I Am That I Am

    I've been wondering what these stupid Judgement Day signs were about. I thought it sounded like a Big Time Wrestling event. Hilarious to hear it's about the rapture. What absolute CRRRRRAAAAAAP!!!!

    April 25, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  9. Phil

    This, of course, is coming from a guy with HALF a mustache. What a fu*king moron.

    April 25, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  10. Tyler V

    Fred, Ha, well since the KJV is demonstrably a terrible TRANSLATION based on the limited manuscript evidence available in the late 1500's, my guess is that your citation of it as a viable option for critical evaluation of a text reveals more about you than the text itself. I would recommend scholarly translations like the ESV, NASB or NET if you are not able to deal with the original languages (like I can). Not to mention that nearly 1900 years passed in before anyone read those passages that you refer to as referring to a rapture but read them comfortably as refering to merely the 2nd coming. Sorry, but you really shouldnt try to say someone "failed" when you clearly just dont know.

    April 25, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  11. JoePub

    Modern Atheist = No respect for anybody else rights to believe what they believe. Derogatory comments belittling people of faith.

    Vile creatures they are.

    April 25, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Phil

      Religion is a lie, it always has been. Do you believe this moron with half a mustache as seen in the video?

      Believing in something such as a god is a waste of time.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • George

      Nice show of respect there....

      April 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Fred_M.

      Why should I "respect" someone whose belief system is not based on reason?

      April 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Joel G

      modern christian = the irresistable urge to impose your beliefs on everyone around them

      April 25, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • JoePub

      No, I don't believe the clown in the video, but it seems that some of these posters here are not winning any new Atheist by backslapping people. To me, it's a PR campaign that has gone horribly wrong. This goes above and beyond people's beliefs, it now involves personal attacks of said beliefs. Now this whole debate has become a kindergarten schoolyard taunt and nobody learns anything of value.

      April 25, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  12. djcrystar

    all those people at family radio should put on nike sneakers and dress up like ninjas on may 21st....that way they can join all the other nut jobs in "heaven"...good grief...go away your disturbing me by your crazy talk

    April 25, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  13. Mimi

    Even the bible says NO MAN knows the DAY or the HOUR....and only a wicked generation seeketh a sign. Has anyone read Matthew 24:36-42 where the very bible talks about the rapture? It says, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth "no man", no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

    April 25, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      Mimi, see you in the rapture capsule with the unicorns. Don't forget to wear your nose ring. The big steel one that I padlocked the chain on with when we were practicing for the uplifting...

      April 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Jon

      Is not the bible the "word" of God? So surely it would know the time and the day of the end but it doesn't. What does that say to you? That it really isn't the word of God but the word of ancient man who knew little of the natural world around them.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  14. Idiots

    Ugh, I've seen these stupid signs in my town...

    April 25, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • SomethingFancy

      Ughh....I've seen the stupid rapture signs in my town. Get over it.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • Idiots

      I AM talking about the rapture signs fool.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  15. Mike-Believer

    For those who try to know the mind of God (FifthApe), 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 3:57 pm |
    • Remember

      Nice post showing respect for everyone. It would be nice to see more of this. Peace to you. 🙂

      April 25, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • The LORD

      Sad to see that someone who appears to be semi-reasonable and possibly even sane, is just off their rocker....

      April 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Civilization in the O.T. was brutal, and immoral beyond words
      Based on what? Do you really think the average civilian during that time acted any different from people today? They lived day to day and tried to look after their family. How do you think they were 'immoral' and deserved destroying?

      'God doesn't or never has created 'evil"
      So who created the concept and idea then? I mean if the devil turned bad guy before eve ate the apple and what not, it must have come from somewhere.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  16. hmm

    Atheism is the religion of: "There is no god."

    April 25, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Jesus

      wrong again numnuts

      April 25, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • darp

      correct.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • sigh
      April 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Sitnalta

      Atheism is the religion of "meh."

      April 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
  17. NordicSea

    Not to step into the this fine, fiery hotbed of religious argument or anything, but I have to side with the Atheists here. I'm moderately Christian, and it even bothers me when I see someone proclaiming the end of days with such vigor. I don't believe it, and all it serves to do is scare people and generally create a lot of negative feelings. People have been forecasting doomsday for as long as we've been on Earth, and it every time it's been completely unfounded and equally unproductive. It's extremists like these that give Christians, religious people, and Americans a bad name, imho. Oh, bilboards. How much confusion causeth ye?

    April 25, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Breadmold

      Ok, so for arguement's sake, let's just say it is the end of days. Nothing can be done about it, right? So why create panic among those gullable enough to actually believe this stuff if there's nothing that they can do?

      April 25, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  18. The LORD

    Wait...what? Rapture is coming in ust a couple of weeks???
    I need to check my Outlook calender, that can't be right...

    April 25, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Jeremy

      Hard to believe that we've been spelling calendar wrong all these years. Thank you for the correction

      April 25, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  19. Remember

    Wouldn't it be awesome if we could respect one anothers beliefs without being persecuted. I have the right to believe anything I want, as you do. Let's leave it at that.....but that would be no fun, would it?

    April 25, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • djcrystar

      the problem is not that you can't believe anything you want...it's that you stand on the corner yelling that crap out like a retard and i and many other people don't wanna hear that noise...

      April 25, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Agreed

      That would be great. now if the other side would stop forcing their beleifs on us, we'll stop, too.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Sitnalta

      You can't be persecuted by a billboard, dude. Somebody saying "your beliefs are silly and wrong" isn't persecution either.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Jeremy

      I second that djcrystar. Some dude was on my college campus last week screaming about god and harassing every student that walked by. He was the laughing stock of the students and accomplished nothing, other than to entice some of the kids here to make their own signs and make fun of him.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • dew44

      Well frankly it's not that it's just "not fun" to respect whatever anyone believes. It's that these people's beliefs are shaping policies that affect me directly. Stem cell research; a woman's right to choose; separation of chuch and state. You can beleive anything you want, but when some nut job blows himself up in a market somewhere and takes people with him becausehe thinks it's the day of the rapture - whatever that means - then, yes, I do have a problem.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • KD

      "djcrystar
      the problem is not that you can't believe anything you want...it's that you stand on the corner yelling that crap out like a retard and i and many other people don't wanna hear that noise..."

      If a man can can curse on the corner and many find nothing wrong with that then a man can speak his beliefs on the same corner.

      FYI – No man know’s the day nor the hour – Matthews 24:36

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

    My church, the Bleeding Heart Sacred Chapel of the Holy Fund to Benefit the Spiritualization Of Me is the only true church. The rest are CHARLATANS!! Please send donations to my post office box somewhere in Los Angeles California. I will answer your prayers, light a candle, and drink some distilled barley holy spirit in your honor.

    April 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Up Your Rear Admiral

      Praise you, Me. A check to Me is in the mail.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • SomethingFancy

      Sounds totally legit to me. Where do I send my checks? At least I know the money would be going to a real person.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:05 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.