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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. lola_bbg

    I look forward to May 22nd, when nothing happens....then again, they'll probably continue believing in the person who is misleading them They are making fools of themselves and making a mockery of all who believe in a Creator.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  2. Doc Vestibule

    Said it before and I'll say it again:
    When The Rapture comes and God bodily transports all of the truly compassionate, humble, loving, pious, non-judgemental Christians up to heaven, I'm sure the world will miss both of them.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Andy666

      If God has the power to forgive anyone, he's sort of mean to just let everyone else go to Hell. That's like a scare tactic I don't approve of. Also, if he can do all he wants, why did he make Hell? That's not very nice at all...

      April 25, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  3. wow

    "The reason we have to spend time on silly arguments is because Christians feel like they have to "save" everyone even those of us who know better. If you stopped trying to indoctrinate people we could spend our time on more worthwhile endeavors." And you feel like you have to come on a belief blog and spread your atheism hypocrite. Take your own words as advice.

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

    Religion....what a pack of lies.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  5. Your Wrong

    Um.... If all the religious people are so faithful. We can explain where the universe came from, however who created god? Did he make himself? Oh wait you will say he has been around forever... why not just say the same thing about the universe?

    April 25, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • Ed

      Because science says the universe is only about 14 billion years old. First you tell us we ar stupid because we believe in God and should belive in science then you say ignore science seems like you're losing your faith

      April 25, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  6. Sagian

    There is a distinct difference between 'faith' and running around like Chicken Little announcing the sky is about to fall.

    Seriously, this behavior is indefensible and just plain psychotic.

    What are they going to come up with on May 22nd when all of the sane folks are pointing and laughing?

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

      They pick another day in the future. They have already done this more than once. This is why they need to be ridiculed and mocked. They don't say, "Oh we were wrong", but blame it on something else.
      Believe what you want, but take responsibility for what you believe and convince others to believe.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  7. Jesus 2.0

    Somebody please tell those people I have a kegger planned for 5/20/11 so 5/21 won't work as I will totally have a hang over.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  8. Bob

    Instead of "You KNOW it's nonsense," a more honest message would be "We believe it's nonsense, and we think you should believe what we believe." And, no, I do not think the rapture will occur on May 21. But that does not mean that it won't occur.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Andy666

      I don't believe that on May 21st a large meteor made entirely from Spaghetti will slam the earth and cause mass drowning in tomato sauce. But that doesn't mean it won't occur.
      (Plus I guess the chances are about equal to that of the so-called end-of-days).
      (Watch out for meatballs)

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

      Bob, I assume then you would agree that it would be more honest for believers to say "we know that some believe our book of tribal myths is nonsense but we think it is true and and we think you should believe what we believe" rather than agressively stating that their way is the only way and all others are damned?

      April 25, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Lettuce Prey

      You may be right, Bob, but shouldn't that be a two-way street?

      April 25, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  9. Ben

    There the atheists go again, assuming if I contradict them I must therefore be a Christian and must therefore believe in all the anthropomorphisms and iconographic personifications that go along with it. Religion is cool in that it gives us a language (a way of modeling) realities of an irrational nature. I look at religion as a form of collective dreaming. Dreams use the raw material of experience as a language to express what about our natures (or about experience) is unknown or cannot be apprehended directly or perceived with the five senses. As a PhD psycholofist, I have spent my entire life interpreting my 3,000 typed page dream diary and have discovered some rather fascinating things about the language of dreams and what I like to call the "hidden infrastructure of human experience." Many dreams can even be argued to be symbolic blueprints of future events / eras, which is to say a "future sequence of events as they are endowed with meaning by the consciousness of that time" (i.e., the events as indistinguishable from what those events mean to the mind's eye of that particular individual). I could turn your hair white with some of the wisdom. And it can all be traced to the facts of experience with the dots connected and in some cases subject to some phenomenological research (i.e., science).

    For me there is no conflict between science and religion. I am able to affirm both equally and view them as complementary. And my view on the major religions is that whether they speak a language that resonates with you or not, they are valid in their own right. Some people get into trouble when they attempt to translate the language of a particular religious scripture into the language of experience. The language under interpretation may contain timeless truths about the human condition and possibly even point in the direction of supernatural realities we cannot possibly apprehend directly with our finite sense organ called consciousness from our very limited place in space and time. That's why scripture often speaks in imagery and parables rather than speaking 21st century english.

    So fundamentalism has its shortcomings for sure. But atheism throws quite a beautiful baby out with the bathwater. Both schools of thoughts are similar if you think about it. They are both "I give up" reactions to something they can't immediately understand without scholarship, research, and great contemplation.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Lettuce Prey

      Ben, you seem to have given this a lot of thought, which is more than I can say for many. As for the 3,000 page dream diary, everyone needs a hobby.

      Since more than 90% of the world's humans believe in god in one form or another, I have also given the subject much time and contemplation, and have come to the following conclusions:

      1) We evolved into thinking beings, able to look around us in wonder at it all, and to look at the stars in the night sky and wonder at their true nature. We became questioning beings.

      2) Life is often short and harsh. Is it any wonder that as a species, we needed to believe in something beyond this, some better place?

      3) It then follows that in growing populations, religions developed with certain rules of behavior, and that only those who followed that behavior would be allowed into paradise when they died. It is much easier to control a population when you lay out specific ground rules.

      This is a simplistic answer, and is in no way intended to cast derision on believers, but I think the atheists in Oakland are part of a group that would like us all to really think for ourselves, as you have.

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

    Both billboards are nonsense.

    Regarding FamilyRadio:

    Matthew 24:36 (In context of the last days ) "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

    Regarding the atheists:

    2 Peter 3:3-4 "...knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." (did the atheists read this and then make their billboard? )

    April 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  11. Frumpy Jones

    Okay, here's my offer: on the eve of judgment day, I would like anyone who believes to transfer their bank account to me. They're obviously not going to need it. If, by some crazy random chance it doesn't happen (again), I'll give them half their money back the next day.

    Sounds fair to me but I have yet to have anyone take me up on the offer. Seems their faith is less sure than they put on.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Lettuce Prey

      Jones, I tried that back in 1999, couldn't get any takers then, either. None of these nut jobs are willing to put their money where their mouths are.

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

      Don't give your money to Frumpy – he's just trying to rip you off! Let me handle it and I'll give you back 51%!! :^))

      April 25, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      I keep asking people that believe the rapture is going to happen duiring their life time to write out their will leaving everything to me when they die. No one has so far taken me up on the offer. I guess they just dont have enough faith that they are going to accend before they die.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  12. Tyler V

    Phil, the inquisition killed somewhere around 3000 people over a span of 300 years. The crusades (which are actually a mixed bag of religious and political motivations) killed somewhere in the ballpark of 100,000 to 400,000 (though casualties of war is not quite the same as genocide), the witch hunts killed soemthing like 12, and on and on. Whereas Stalin's Russia killed around 100 MILLION, Mao's China killed around 20 MILLION and then even if you throw in the crimes of Lenin, Kruschev, Pol Pot, Castro, Hoxha, etc. then you have another cool 5-10 million as icing on the cake.

    So we have the crimes of Christianity over 20 centuries totalling just a little over a few hundred thousand (in laregly non-repeatable ancient examples – what are the chances of the return of the inquisition to Madrid for example) and in stark contrast to their own worldview (genocide is clearly contrary to the teachings of Jesus and is a prime example of wolves in sheeps clothing) whereas the crimes of the secularists are modern, easily repeatable and not in contradiction to their worldview (since atheism is unable to ground any concept of inalienable human rights or objective morals and thus genocide cannot be thought to contradict because their is no set standard to violate).

    April 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Lettuce Prey

      Tyler V, you write "atheism is unable to ground any concept of inalienable human rights or objective morals" – indicating that in your estimation, belief in god/Jesus is required for moral behavior. I beg to differ. One does not need religion to govern one's behavior towards others. One needs only common sense and basic human empathy. Those who have committed atrocities as cited in your comment were sociopaths, distinctly lacking in empathy and living under the illusion that they were important and the rest of us were not.

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

      Tyler,

      Please go back and study history a little more before you begin slinging facts. The "inquisitions" were not only 300 years and did not only kill around 3000. The inquisitions started around 1230 and continued in 4 different incarnations for the next 600+ years, until 1860. These inquisitions did not only single out heretics and blasphemers but so-called witches and seers as well. So your first example is factually incorrect. The actual number that were executed in the inquisitions is also a very difficult historical bit of information to find. In all my years of history/religion/political research I've come across anywhere from 3 people executed up to almost 10,000. The crusades are another fact you have wrong. There were a total of 8 crusades spanning almost 200 years. Most estimates are around 200,000 killed during the crusades. Then we get to the witch hunts. You stated that a total of 12 people died, but in Salem it was 19 tried and executed as witches. There are still many more examples of witch hunting in history and not just Salem or the United States. You seem to be overlooking all those historical wars outlined in the Old Testament as well, where it was not only godly to go to war, it was commanded of that same deity. The Old Testament even points out many cases of genocide, where the people were ordered to wipe out entire "ungodly" civilizations/societies/communities/people. When speaking of historical events, especially long drawn out events such as these, it is hard to determine how many casualties were actually caused by these events. However, you are missing the point of how many religion has killed. We only need to look at every major war in history and we find that many of them were drawn not only along religious lines but political, ethnic, and many other divisions men create. The point of the argument is that man and man alone will commit atrocities, religion is just another tool they use so they have a convenient escape from the judgment of public opinion. Men justify killing anyone not like them and many times point to the Bible or some other religious text to justify their actions. Men will always look for an excuse for the atrocities they commit, religion is just an easy concept to abuse.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  13. Kevin K in Texas

    Jesus was an alien.. This is how he was able to manipulate water on a molecular level and change it into wine. Alien technology is far advanced and they have given us technologies in the past that has sped up our techonology advances.. His ability to heal and preform miracles came from his ability to manipulate the physical world around him. He didn't have "powers", he had abilities and knowledge that far exceeded human ability or comprehension of that time.

    In this case, the earth will become unlivable at some point in time.. At that time the aliens will come back and take those of us they deem useful back to their alien civilization. That is the rapture ppl... I still want your car..

    April 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Kevin K in Texas

      and on top of all that, the bible i written by men, who claimed to have been writing with divine power.. BS... I can write a book.. claim that my god wrote it thru me.. start a bunch of wars..... kill some of my own followers for my percieved notion of them not following my errrrrrrrrrrrrr... my god's book..and on and on and on...

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

      So who made the aliens? .......and on it goes.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Kevin K in Texas

      who made GOD!!!! oh yeah, man did..

      April 25, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Lettuce Prey

      @Kevin, your "truth" is no crazier that the one most Christians believe. 😉

      April 25, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • lola_bbg

      Call me crazy but I'm guessing your book wouldn't make much sense or offer any real insight into anything worthwhile, therefore, it likely would not be read or valued by anyone with any shred of common sense.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Kevin K in Texas

      much like the bible than?

      April 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Kevin K in Texas

      George W is a bible thumper.. he doesn't have much common sense... OH THATS RIGHT... that b/c the bible is full of hate, denegration of women, war, death, deceit, lies and BS....which is what GW also believes in.. thanks have a nice day lola... can i have your car too? I mean i like mine just fine but if your not using yours when the rapture comes i could always use another...

      April 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Standing Up

      Wow. It's amazing to me how people will fabricate amazing stories so they have ANY explanation other than God. Really? This is more believable to you?? That's just sad.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Kevin K in Texas

      so what is the bible? a fabricated story.. Why is my truth any less provable or less believable or less fabricated than the bible...everything we know is history WRITTEN BY MEN.. so my story, your story, this apparent GOD story... all fabrications... so my fabrication is just as good as any other religous fabrication... i just dont try and indoctrinate your children in my fabrication.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  14. Holyground

    "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit orphans and widows in their afflictions, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27)"

    Basically, take care of those who are in need. Stay out of politics, and other people's business. Live as an example for others to follow.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  15. Charles Darwin

    I know its nonsense. But I still don't want to spend May 21 hanging around a bunch of angry atheists. Why would they even bother with a counter-sign? Apparently they don't have anything better to do.

    April 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • girl1

      Theres militant everything. Probably even militant knitters. I'm sort of happy there are militant atheists out there fighting against religious stupidity. Religion affects every aspect of american society and I find that really annoying.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Lettuce Prey

      Where are you getting the notion that these atheists are angry? I get the sense that they just want people to think for themselves; not stop believing, just challenge those beliefs.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Standing Up

      Yes, isn't it amazing how these atheists fight so hard against something they claim doesn't exist. No other religion in the world draws the violent reaction that Christianity does. You don't see them shelling out money to proclaim that what the Taliban teaches is nonsense, for instance. And yet, the Taliban is an example of a sect that's actively trying to kill anyone who disagrees with them. And yet, here the atheists are, spending their money to mock "Christianity". Quotations because the joke's on them, real Christians know these people are mislead and misleading, so I actually applaud the billboard, just wish it had been done by a Christian group. Christians should be the ones crying out against false prophets, so they don't mislead others. My point is, Christianity draws more antagonism for less reason precisely because it is Truth and Life. That's just the tip to a whole discussion as to why that is the case, but Christ told us this would be true, because most of this world has been in rebellion against God since sin entered the world.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'You don't see them shelling out money to proclaim that what the Taliban teaches is nonsense, for instance'
      Yeah, that would make sense to do in the states wouldnt it? sigh.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  16. newsie

    I think its all right for these people to post this have you been the south these days. You can't get off the hwy system without seeing one Jesus Saves posting. IDK about any of it, but I think these people should have a right to speak their mind too! Maybe its all a myth maybe not who cares. To each his own I believe in ethos. FYI they bible was written long after jesus died and you know how writers like to expand the truth. Belive what you want go your own way.....

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

    There is one little church, not connected to any Apostolic church, or any tradition, saying that May 21st 2011 is THE day. And then atheists say that if the world will be around the next day, it proves atheism? No, it proves that the traditional churches have always warned against delusions and false prophets.

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

      Well said!

      April 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Lettuce Prey

      Atheists aren't trying to "prove atheism" Elizabeth, just trying to disprove this particular apocalypse. There's a new one announced by some religious faction or cult every couple of years, and the proponents of a particular date never seem to be around to answer the "why are you still here" question once that date has passed. No one is asking you to stop believing; only to challenge your beliefs and make sure they aren't based upon fear and uncertainty.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Standing Up

      Amen! In fact, the Bible says no man will know the day. Jesus didn't even know the day, he said only the Father knew. So this cult is NOT Biblical, and I'd say they've really lost any claim to Christianity. (The definition of Christian is a follower of Christ...what they are doing is not what Christ told us to do or did himself.) So, yeah, hmm. Maybe Christians ought to go to those parties, and see if we can introduce a few of the lost to the Living God. Now THAT would be fun to see!

      April 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Andy666

      I Agree. There are so many other profs that takes care of debunking religions, this is but a drop in the sea.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  18. NoProblem

    I don't mind admitting that I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior and acknowledged that he died on the cross so that my sins would be forgiven. Life is great!

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

      I guess it's true, then... Ignorance really is bliss...

      April 25, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Andy666

      Why would he have to do that? Couldn't a super nice God just have forgiven your sins without anyone having to die for them?

      April 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Mike

      So he died for YOUR sins, thousands of years BEFORE you sin? Right. BTW, Santa Clause comes in 243 days.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • TRouble

      Way to CYA man!!! CYA!!

      April 25, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • Karen

      Amen Noproblem !!! Jesus is Lord and I pray for all that do not believe.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • NoProblem

      I find it ironic that those of you without faith spend most of your time insulting others (behind a keyboard I might add). No worries though.

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

      I find it ironic that those of you without faith spend most of your time insulting others (behind a keyboard I might add). No worries though.
      News flash - Pot calls kettle black!!

      April 25, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  19. Chanselor Jenkins

    I am waiting Colin. I would like to know how the universe got started?

    April 25, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • dave8950

      If you tell me how god started, I'll return the favor with the universe.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • girl1

      let me make you familiar with a magical tool that will answer all your questions:

      http://www.google.com

      April 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Colin

      look back a page or two

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

      this has been a scientific debate for centuries. science still cant explain this.
      theoretical physics have an abstract theory which some of the biggest minds in the world can't come to a conclusion so anybody here thinks we can solve it in this blog?!?!!?!?

      April 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      That is because the answer is bigger than science can answer right now. However, answering the question with a fairy tale is just an ignorant cop-out. The whole argument that if humans haven't been able to adequately explain something scientifically then it must be created by a god makes absolutely no sense. That is simply superst.ition and magical thinking and explains nothing at all. It merely highlights our current level of ignorance and the level of silliness humans are willing to endure in order to have an answer RIGHT NOW. All very childish really.

      April 25, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  20. dwerbil

    Couple of my favorite bumperstickers....
    "In case of rapture, can I have your car?"
    "Honk if you eschew Jesus"

    April 25, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
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