October 9th, 2013
02:27 PM ET

Creationists taunt atheists in latest billboard war

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='EricCNNBelief']

(CNN)– A new video billboard in New York's Times Square has a message from creationists, "To all of our atheist friends: Thank God you're wrong."

The video advertisement at 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue in Manhattan is one of several billboards going up this week in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, paid for by Answers in Genesis.

Answers in Genesis is best known as the multimillion-dollar Christian ministry behind the Creation Museum outside Cincinnati.

The museum presents the case for Young Earth creationism, following what it says is a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis, which says the Earth was created by God in six days less than 10,000 years ago.

Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, said the idea for the advertisements came from an atheist billboard in Times Square at Christmas.

During the holidays, the American Atheists put up a billboard with images of Santa Claus and Jesus that read: "Keep the Merry, dump the myth."

“The Bible says to contend for the faith,” Ham said. “We thought we should come up with something that would make a statement in the culture, a bold statement, and direct them to our website.

"We're not against them personally. We're not trying to attack them personally, but we do believe they're wrong," he said.

"From an atheist's perspective, they believe when they die, they cease to exist. And we say 'no, you're not going to cease to exist; you're going to spend eternity with God or without God. And if you're an atheist, you're going to be spending it without God.' "

Dave Silverman, president of the American Atheists, said he felt sad for creationists when he saw the billboards.

"They refuse to look at the real world. They refuse to look at the evidence we have, and they offer none," Silverman said. "They might as well be saying, 'Thank Zeus you're wrong' or 'Thank Thor you're wrong.' "

Silverman said he welcomed another competitor to marketplace, noting that after atheists bought a billboard two years ago in Times Square that read "You KNOW it's a myth," the Catholic League purchased competing space at the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel for a sign that read "You KNOW it's true."

"I would suggest, if they're actually trying to attract atheists, they should talk about proof and reason to believe in their god, not just some pithy play on words," Silverman said.

Ham says part of the goal of the campaign is to draw people to the website for Answers in Genesis, where he offers a lengthy post on his beliefs for the proof of God.

Ham insists that this campaign is in keeping with their overall mission. "We're a biblical authority ministry. We're really on about the Bible and the Gospel. Now, we do have a specialty in the area of the creation account and Genesis because that's where we say God's word has come under attack."

Ham said Answers in Genesis made the decision to split its marketing budget for the ministry between a regional campaign for the museum and this billboard campaign, rather than a national campaign.

IRS filings for the ministry in recent years have shown a yearly operating budget of more than $25 million. Ham said the marketing budget is about 2% of that, about $500,000 a year. Though they are waiting for all the bills to come due for this campaign, he said he expected it to cost between $150,000 and $200,000.

Silverman noted that his billboards were not video and cost approximately $25,000 last year.  He said another campaign was in the works for this year.

"They're throwing down the gauntlet, and we're picking it up," Silverman said, adding that his group would "slap them in the face" with it.

Ham said that despite criticism from other Christians for being negative and the usual criticisms from secularists he received on his social media accounts, the advertisements have been a success.

"We wanted people talking about them, and we wanted discussion about this. We wanted people thinking about God," Ham said.

The Creation Museum and the theory of Young Earth creationism are widely reviled by the broader science community.

In a YouTube video posted last year titled "Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children," Bill Nye the Science Guy slammed creationism, imploring parents not to teach it to their children. "We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future," he said. "We need engineers that can build stuff and solve problems."

The museum responded with its own video. 

For the past 30 years, Gallup Inc. has been tracking American opinions about creationism.

In June 2012, Gallup's latest findings showed that 46% of Americans believed in creationism, 32% believed in evolution guided by God, and 15% believed in atheistic evolution.

For as long as Gallup has conducted the survey, creationism has remained far and away the most popular answer, with 40% to 47% of Americans surveyed saying they believed that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years.

The Creation Museum said it recently welcomed its 2 millionth visitor since its opening in 2007.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • Creationism • New York • Science

soundoff (8,748 Responses)
  1. amy

    This is showing in Times Square? How will it not get egged? New Yorkers don't put up with this crap.

    December 2, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Paul

      Are you saying that New Yorkers like to break the law by vandalizing advertisements?

      December 2, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
  2. Gezus

    Jesus existed.
    History proves it.
    How is that myth?
    Refuting his words is choice.
    Show me a man of equal character.

    December 2, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • JA

      History proves it? Then let's see a historical source from the time of Jesus and not a couple centuries after he lived that says he existed. I mean, a guy bringing a person back from the dead, feeding a few thousand with a couple loaves of bread, etc...that'd have been big news that would've been reported all over the Roman Empire. Yet not a peep to be found anywhere about some guy named Jesus...

      December 2, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  3. Blocked_ID

    That billboard pretty much encompasses the creationist argument: We're right, because we're right!

    December 2, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  4. ezim

    i guess Bob, since you know all, that actually would make you God.

    December 2, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
  5. james wallace

    To hell with Jesus, it's Leviticus they really believe in. None of that pantywaist acceptance & forgiveness – stone 'em all!

    December 2, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
  6. bp

    "I like your Christ. Christians, not so much. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." – M. Gandhi

    December 2, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Jarvis

      Christ is the ultimate judge of mankind, Christians are not!

      December 2, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
      • Soulone GodKiller

        LOLOL oh look another serial killer cultist, i.e Christian

        December 2, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
      • urnotathinkerareu

        Prove it! As of yet no christianity has ever and has not and cannot prove this. I think  Allah will send his prophet mohammad to reign jesus in......the qu'ran says so. This is the ONLY truth.

        December 2, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Templeton

      Christ is the ultimate judge of all mankind, Gandhi is not.

      December 2, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
      • Piccolo

        Mankind is the ultimate judge of mankind. Either we get our acts together and start showing empathy and compassion or we don't and we put our future in jeopardy.

        December 5, 2013 at 10:24 am |
  7. Salero21

    One more piece! 😀

    December 2, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
  8. mark

    "taunts" or responds?

    December 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
  9. tx

    and what's the opinion of the Jewish guy who owns the billboards? Mazel Tov!

    December 2, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  10. DaveM

    And the "Creationists" think that this is how Christians should respond? I would suggest that they sit down and read the New Testament paying particular attention to the teachings of Jesus Christ. This is another example of lower-case "c" christianity. It's truly sad how damaged Christianity is due to politically Conservative influences...

    December 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
  11. Salero21

    The mountains of evidence that point out the Total stupidity of atheism is now larger than the Himalayas range.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • One one

      Such as ?

      December 2, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
      • Salero21

        You!! 😀 😀

        December 2, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • moo

      Ironically, the Himalayas as we see them today have been forming for the past ~50 million years... and their formation directly influenced the evolution of bipedalism on the African continent.

      December 2, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
      • Salero21

        Were you able to move the Himalayas from Asia to Africa?? How was that?? 😀 😀 😀

        December 2, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Simon

      Perhaps you'd offer some. I'm interested in your idea of 'evidence".

      December 2, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
  12. watergirl

    What disturbs me most is not the doctors denying, or lying about needing the transplant, but the baby thrived when transferred to another hospital.
    Was the hospital deliberately keeping the baby unwell?

    December 2, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • James

      What story do you think you're commenting on?

      December 2, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
  13. cross eyed mary

    Obviously there is no logic, reason or facts to support faith in Christ. Duh.

    December 2, 2013 at 4:33 am |
    • Rio Lee

      Obviously there is no logic, reason or facts to support faith in Christ. Duh.

      - like Duh? why I do need facts to support Faith? That is why it's called FAITH.

      December 2, 2013 at 6:52 am |
      • dalewalk

        I once had 'faith' in Santa Claus too. And then I grew up.

        December 2, 2013 at 10:26 am |
        • LeRoy_Was_Here

          You no fool me! There ain't no Sanity Clause!!

          December 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
        • greg

          yeah, good for you. a person such as yourself is better off being an athiest because your soul is poisonous.

          December 2, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • Salero21

      Another piece of evidence as to why atheism is Total stupidity all over, anywhere, everywhere, here, there, anytime, all the time, every single time and forevermore.

      December 2, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
      • One one

        Are you capable of providing specific examples as opposed to name calling ?

        December 2, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
        • Salero21

          Your own self!! 😀

          December 2, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
      • One one

        Same answer for Hitler ?

        December 2, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
        • Salero21

          One more piece! 😀 😀

          December 2, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
  14. cross eyed mary

    Point being

    December 2, 2013 at 4:32 am |

    "I would suggest, if they're actually trying to attract atheists, they should talk about proof and reason to believe in their god, not just some pithy play on words," Silverman said.

    Here is The Ultimate Proof and Reason:


    December 2, 2013 at 4:09 am |
    • Science Works

      Good News

      This MIGHT help you OR if you would like to help make sure to visit the link below.

      Teaching evolution with animations, Stated Clearly



      December 2, 2013 at 6:10 am |
  16. Bob

    To Sqeptiq and many more intellectually enlightened posting here...I totally agree. There are no Christian scientists, doctors, lawyers or inventors...educators, entrepreneurs or philanthropists. Christians have never made a positive contribution to anyone or anything, anywhere...ever. Christian/Creationist don't possesses the ability to think critically, especially about their fractured beliefs. They are mindless trolls...under-achievers...every one of them. Even more, there is not one shred or shard of evidence anywhere in the entire universe that could even remotely suggest that just maybe there might a God out there somewhere. God is totally out of the realm of possibility. Any idea of God can only be held by the dumbest and lowest. Let's make sure we get this 100% right and ingrained in the minds of all Americans.

    December 1, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
    • Dandintac

      Now–did anyone actually say all this, or are you just putting words in people's mouths?

      December 1, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • watergirl

      Actually that is not correct. Search for Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, there is a priest who is a paleontologist who worked on the dinosaur mummy but I don't remember his name.
      Darwin was very religious. In fact, he spent 20 years trying to decide if he was going to reveal his findings on evolution because he felt like he was betraying his own religion. If you search famous Christian Scientists, you will get hundreds of names. To claim that there is no such thing makes you sound as ignorant as the people you are trying to slander.

      December 2, 2013 at 9:49 am |
      • urnotathinkerareu

        Watergirl...cite your sources about Darwin's struggle wit christianity. Ive never heard this before.

        December 2, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • ezim

      I guess, Bob, since you know all....that would actually make you God.

      December 2, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Piccolo

      Haha I wish. It sure beats the religious indoctrination that forced young impressionable kids to follow a faith as absolute fact, damaging their psychological development and sense of logic for life. There are plenty of good Christians out there, as well as Christian scientists and inventors, but the thing that separates them from the creationists is that they don't let their sense of logic run out the door every time they discover something that doesn't exactly agree with an ancient text that's been rewritten and translated multiple times. I consider indoctrination child abuse. It shouldn't happen. Every person should be given the freedom to believe what they want and without the cycle of indoctrination religion would be dead. It's a disgusting practice.

      December 5, 2013 at 10:31 am |
  17. shawbrooke

    Most people realize that daily life is not affected in any way by whether evolution is true and they do not care who is right or wrong. But tons of people care about the freedom that makes our society so attractive to so many. That freedom rests on several things, one of which is that every person has the right to public space. The atheists are wrong to want to shut down the creationists' museum, since practical on the ground freedoms rest on allowing everyone access to public space. The second is that atheists supposedly with all that education must, apparently, resort to name calling.

    Let people be. So what if people don't believe the evidence that you think is sufficient for your argument. That's real life and when you are in charge of what people think, we've reached totalitarianism.

    December 1, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Dandintac

      Shaw, How many atheists have you counted up that actually want the Creationists museums shut down through force? Mob action or government? Do you know this number to be very large? How so? You can always find outliers in any group of people who will make unreasonable demands. I'm pretty sure the vast majority of atheists would be happy if the Creationist museum went the way of the dinosaurs–quiet extinction on its own. I'm happy if they just get exposed as the frauds they are.

      However, you won't see atheists trying to force the churches to teach evolution, but you will see theists trying to force Creationism into the science classroom.

      December 1, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Actually, every person's life is affected by the level of education they receive. That is why is important that children are taught what is most scientifically accurate. The non-science of creationism is a cynical attempt to confuse the issue and to damage scientific education in our country, which in turn damages the ability of future generations to compete economically on the world stage.

      You can worship in any church that you like. I honestly don't care. But when a specific group deliberately tries to damage this country for their own profit, then I feel that it is my obligation to object.

      December 1, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • Now that's just stupid...

      The nonsense in the creation museum should be exposed for what it is. It serve to provide an good educational experience showing the stupid conclusions people can come to when avoiding the scientific method, ignoring logical, and pushing facts to support their own personal agendas.

      December 1, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • Now that's just stupid...

      The nonsense in the creation museum should be exposed for what it is. It serves to provide an good educational experience showing the stupid conclusions people can come to when avoiding the scientific method, ignoring logic, and pushing facts to support their own personal agendas.

      December 1, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • watergirl

      If I were to open the "First Church of the Goddess" tomorrow, how many days do you think it would stand before being burned down by a Christian?

      December 2, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Former Xtian

      The creationist museum is a business first and foremost. They aren't shutting down because smart people protest the scientific ignorance. They are shutting down because they are no longer making money. In other words, people aren't buying it anymore. There's so much knowledge and information out there that is just a click away. It's not like the old days where most people didn't have a clue what most others outside of their own community were doing. All research is peer reviewed and scrutinized. Anybody can attempt to disprove them. The museum goes beyond just faith. It involves outright lies and denial of real science.

      December 3, 2013 at 12:20 am |
      • Piccolo

        It's like if I decided I would make a "science" museum about the ancient Pastafarians and their struggles to find the sacred meatballs to revive the flying spaghetti monster, who created humans from ancient pesto sauce. Sure there's no evidence, but I have faith in this, so it's just as valid as Christianity or any other religious fairy tale. In most places an idea like that would be laughed off as stupid, but if you're a creationist they automatically expect everyone to be tolerant of their faith, even though they promote it with lies and deceptions to make money. They attack science constantly, and this attack needs to end. Evolution only conflicts with god if you take ancient text books as absolute literal truth, which isn't very smart.

        December 5, 2013 at 10:40 am |
  18. For creationists

    Top 10 Questions from Richard's Live Chat on Reddit

    posted on November 27, 2013 04:24PM GMT


    December 1, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
  19. Andrew

    Silverman is definitely a detriment to his organization. I mean, unless he wants a group that exists simply because of its hostility. He routinely in interviews offers nothing of substance. Even here, he uses the worn out "they may as well say Zeus" then turns around and says they need more than plithy words.

    ...come on, man. He's the president. Do better than that!

    The old "YHWH is no different than Zeus or Thor" is such an empty argument. No one would buy it unless they have no handle on religion, and for that matter human cultures outside their own. Setting aside that ignorance, just think of what it would sound like if religious people used that line of thought. Natural philosophy, Baconian induction, and alchemy are all part of the scientific method's grand heritage. Silverman's logic is no different than if a creationist said "well, evolution is no different than turning mercury into gold," or "vaccines are no different than an imbalance of the elements."

    The problem, of course, this article highlights very clearly. The loud mouths know next to nothing. There's very reasonable secular humanists and very compassionate faithful religious people. They just don't get the attention these clowns do.

    December 1, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • Dandintac

      Andrew, you make a false comparison. First of all, please tell me–how is YHWH substantially different from Thor in terms of their evidence for existence? I haven't run across any arguments for YHWH that cannot be used for Thor–or at least similar arguments.

      However, vaccines are very different from "imbalance of elements". One works, the other does not. One can be tested, the other cannot. One can be verified and confirmed in controlled conditions, the other one demonstrated to be false. The same is true for evolution as compared to alchemy.

      December 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      The errors of science have been and are subject to correction; the errors of creationism are denied and perpetuated by its adherents. Science embraces improvement while creationists deny the possibility.

      December 1, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
  20. jorge

    If we evolved and evolution tends to keep in that individual only the best and most useful traits: Why do we keep this innate fear of the unknown? Why maintain the inner feeling that there is something greater out there? If that feeling is useless evolution has had plenty of time to get rid of it, yet we still posses it. Some claim a lack of education is responsible for this, So how do we explain the highly educated Christians? Some claim they can not have Faith in an unseen God, and yet they have Faith in other unseen things, Has anyone seen and Atom? NO but they do see the work of the atom, so do we Christians, we do not see God as it were, but we DO see the work of God, and our Hope through Faith is that we will see Him one day, I implore anyone please take what Faith you do have and seek education not only in the things of this world but in the things concerning God,and He will help you understand. It is not that God is wrong; its that we are wrong, let me put it this way: just because say Algebra is hard to understand does not make it wrong or non-existent, Is it? If you want to understand Algebra first you must understand basic equations, if you want to understand God first you must understand LOVE.

    December 1, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • igaftr

      An inate fear of the unknown is an evolutionary trait. It is difficult for any species to survive if it does not fear what it does not know....no gods required for that.

      Also, yes we CAN see atoms.
      Also Algebra is not difficult. It is logic.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:19 am |
      • Andrew

        Algebra is not logic. It's a symbolic extension of arithmetic. Logic is often presented symbolically as well. They are not the same thing. Tossing the word around instead of 'rational' 'straight forward' or 'universal' is actually a detriment to one's argument. It suggests you may not know the meaning of the other words you use, as well.

        December 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
      • igaftr

        To me all mathematics is logic. At least for what I need math for. Don't get too hung up on symantics. Logic is an integral part of mathematics, could not exist with out it. Computers could not do one single mathematic calculation without logic.

        December 1, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • urnotathinkerareu

      Comparisons between god and seeing his works is not the same as an comparison between not seeing an "atom" but knowing that it is there."Just like god" as you said. Totally incomparable. You are assuming 'god' is in the same way identified as the 'CAUSE' of the effect as the "atom" is the effect of an unseen force. They can 'split" an atom and have direct and scientifically unrefuted 'EVIDENCE" that it is there. The same CANNOT be said for god. Not even close. Please apply the exact same testing processes and applications to god as you would the atom..

      December 1, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Salero21

      It is all evidence that atheism is Total stupidity all over, anywhere, everywhere, here, there, anytime, all the time, every single time and forevermore. Atheism is also a Cult. 😀

      December 1, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
      • ryanrdb123

        Atheism is simply a non-belief in a deity and a self-pursuit of answers to the inexplicable questions of life, guided by scientific theories which are based in logic/reason/evidence – not a cult... You can keep saying that if you want to sound like an ignorant cretin though.

        December 1, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
        • Salero21

          😀 😀 😀 😀 One more piece of Evidence that of what I've been saying all along: Atheism is Total stupidity all over, anywhere, everywhere, here, there, anytime, all the time, every single time and forevermore.

          December 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
        • Dandintac

          WOW Salero–your moronic rants are just so persuasive! How can anyone not believe after reading one of your posts! You're a fine example of your faith. Keep up the good work.

          December 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
      • Now that's just stupid...

        It was stupid all the other times you wrote it, and it is now.

        December 1, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
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About this blog

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.