Atheists Vs. Christians – The Billboard Wars

Laura Dolan reports from the front line of the atheism-religion war taking place in New Jersey, for CNN:

‘Tis the season to be jolly? Not entirely.

An atheist billboard that calls Christmas “a myth” has sparked a growing controversy near the Lincoln Tunnel, a 1.5-mile-long twin tube that connects New Jersey to New York.

The full message, which appears with a nativity scene, reads: “You know it’s a myth. This season, celebrate reason.”

Its $20,000 price tag was paid for by American Atheists, a New Jersey-based atheist advocacy group, David Silverman, the group’s president, told CNN.

“We are addressing the 50 million atheists in this nation,” Silverman said.

He said the group erected the sign in a high-traffic area in an effort to challenge drivers to “think hard about whether or not they actually believe in what is, in reality, an invisible magic man in the sky.”

Silverman said he is uncertain if it will stay through Christmas or come down on December 21.

The sign, located near the tunnel’s New Jersey entrance, has stirred controversy among Christian organizations, prompting one group to erect its own pro-Christmas billboard.

“We decided to counterpunch after a donor came forward seeking to challenge the anti-Christmas statement,” said Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, a New York-based Catholic advocacy group.

The League’s billboard reads: “You Know It’s Real: This Season Celebrate Jesus.”…

[continues at CNN]

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  • DeepCough

    Let the real War on Christmas begin!

  • DeepCough

    Let the real War on Christmas begin!

  • Adaugeo

    Part of the reason I’m an atheist is I don’t want to be involved in religeous wars. Good luck on getting us to start rioting in the streets because Catholics etc. don’t believe in my lack of a God.

  • Adaugeo

    Part of the reason I’m an atheist is I don’t want to be involved in religeous wars. Good luck on getting us to start rioting in the streets because Catholics etc. don’t believe in my lack of a God.

    • Andrew

      Yeah, disbelievers are never victims of religious wars. That’s exactly how it works.

      • Kringlangidoodie

        Sarcasm won’t work.. we must take up arms.

  • Anonymous

    Meanwhile, everyone is running around like mad spending lots of money on gifts for people, and paying no attention at all to the billboards of either party.

  • http://drwho.virtadpt.net/ The Doctor

    Meanwhile, everyone is running around like mad spending lots of money on gifts for people, and paying no attention at all to the billboards of either party.

  • Hadrian999

    most entertaining part of the season

  • Hadrian999

    most entertaining part of the season

  • Hjju

    Pagans should join in and try to take back christmas.

  • Hjju

    Pagans should join in and try to take back christmas.

    • Tuna Ghost

      “You KNOW the sun was going out, celebrate the fact that the world is no longer growing dark”

    • Hadrian999

      most pagans I know don’t need to, they are enjoying their holidays just fine without needing to worry about how other people enjoy themselves on their holidays.

      • observer

        If only everyone did that.

  • Tuna Ghost

    “You KNOW the sun was going out, celebrate the fact that the world is no longer growing dark”

  • Tuna Ghost

    It’s like a very slow message board, but located entirely in New Jersey.

    …that’s not as awful as it sounds, actually.

  • Tuna Ghost

    It’s like a very slow message board, but located entirely in New Jersey.

    …that’s not as awful as it sounds, actually.

    • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

      LOL…how about “Hey! You’re in New Jersey…obviously there is no God.”

  • Hadrian999

    most pagans I know don’t need to, they are enjoying their holidays just fine without needing to worry about how other people enjoy themselves on their holidays.

  • Andrew

    Yeah, disbelievers are never victims of religious wars. That’s exactly how it works.

  • Anonymous

    Religion killed God. Athiests merely acknowledge the fact…….LOL

  • GoodDoktorBad

    Religion killed God. Athiests merely acknowledge the fact…….LOL

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    LOL…how about “Hey! You’re in New Jersey…obviously there is no God.”

  • observer

    If only everyone did that.

  • http://worldwithinsight.com/ Kyle Greggory

    I don’t get why both sides get up in arms about whether or not “it’s a myth.” I think people on both sides just want some conflict to argue about, whereas if anybody actually took to heart the messages of [most] religions, they wouldn’t be trying to start conflict at all.

    I’m not religious, but I find religious texts and concepts fascinating. I think people who adhere to religious institutions mindlessly are ignorant, and people who attack religions for the sake of attacking them are obnoxiously immature. It’s a big waste of energy. It makes me sleepy.

  • KG

    I don’t get why both sides get up in arms about whether or not “it’s a myth.” I think people on both sides just want some conflict to argue about, whereas if anybody actually took to heart the messages of [most] religions, they wouldn’t be trying to start conflict at all.

    I’m not religious, but I find religious texts and concepts fascinating. I think people who adhere to religious institutions mindlessly are ignorant, and people who attack religions for the sake of attacking them are obnoxiously immature. It’s a big waste of energy. It makes me sleepy.

    • Ironaddict06

      RIGHT! There are much larger issues to attend to. You would think that people #1 concern would be jobs and money.

    • Led_Zeppelin1975

      *You* don’t get why both sides get up in arms *because* you’re not religious…..which I’m guessing means you never were, and weren’t brought up in a family where you were taught/commanded to follow a certain belief. I’ll level the accusation that it’s obnoxiously condescending for an ignorant person such as yourself to judge either side of the debate. Obviously you’ve been asleep until now. Go back to bed, dude :-)

      • KG

        Actually, I was brought up religious and one side of my family is very religious. I attended Catholic school for 13 years. Further, I’ve read the Bible, the Tao Te Ching, the Upanishads (as well as selections from other Indian texts), the Kojiki, the Nihon Shoki, and numerous Buddhist texts many times. I am fascinated by religions in every sense, but I will not adhere to a single one because I believe most of them have something valid and valuable to offer, and I prefer to study them rather than follow them blindly. As a child, I was taught/commanded to follow a certain belief, as you put it. One side of my family still pressures me to do so, while the other side of my family is very supportive of my perspective.

        And, although it’s not a degree, I have a minor in Asian Religious Studies, and in a year I’ll be applying to attend graduate school in pursuit of a Masters in Religious Studies. Further, not only have I read the primary sources for many of our world’s major religions, but I’ve read a number of books that analyze and comment on them.

        Now, it’s nearly midnight here in Tokyo, and I have class at 9 AM tomorrow, so I will be going to bed, thank you very much.

        However, I’d like to make it very clear that, when it comes to this topic, I am not asleep.

  • Ironaddict06

    RIGHT! There are much larger issues to attend to. You would think that people #1 concern would be jobs and money.

  • Dom

    Both of these guys come across as douchebags.

  • Dom

    Both of these guys come across as douchebags.

  • Kringlangidoodie

    Sarcasm won’t work.. we must take up arms.

  • NYCguy

    Atheists are pathetic. The celebrate. . . what exactly? Reason? How nice. They celebrate reason. I do that every day when I prepare my for my classes and then teach. I’ve been doing it for 32 years. Thanks for joining me, atheists. Ah, but you don’t really contribute anything, do you, except to say, that X does NOT exist. A sort of negative belief. Sounds like a real waste of time to me–NOT believing. NOT seeking. NOT questioning the exclusivity of the reality of the five senses. How sad.

    • too sleepy to care

      Not really. The reason why atheist are so vocal is because other belief systems impact our daily lives. If all religions kept to themselves and didn’t try to change things for everyone to fit their own set of “values” then it wouldn’t be a problem. How often do you see Pagans shoving their beliefs into advertisements, government issues, or any form of sensory pollution? Very rarely if at all. Are Atheist up in arms against them? No. I live in Texas and for a long while there was talk about a mandatory prayer in school. As an Atheist, that, to me, would be pointless, a waste of school time, and offensive. That is a prime example of why Atheists are speaking out more and going toe to toe with religion in every way possible. Your belief system is impeding on my rights and I don’t have to shut up about it.

      • Demian

        sigh…I am with you. I am a theist but a thoughtful one. It might even be ventured to call me a Christian. I know that it is the “other” christians who have incited so much anger against anything with Christian undertones and I am very pained by it. Despite my beliefs, actually, because of them, I stand on your side when I vote and when I am on any soapbox. What the religious establishment has done with what, seems to me, was intended to be a thoughtful, contemplative and inner-life changing spirituality, is blasphemy. I think Christ would be pissed :)

      • Vagabond78666

        I agree. People can believe what they want..but its the harassment from Christians and their constant attempts to hi-jack our democracy

  • NYCguy

    Atheists are pathetic. The celebrate. . . what exactly? Reason? How nice. They celebrate reason. I do that every day when I prepare my for my classes and then teach. I’ve been doing it for 32 years. Thanks for joining me, atheists. Ah, but you don’t really contribute anything, do you, except to say, that X does NOT exist. A sort of negative belief. Sounds like a real waste of time to me–NOT believing. NOT seeking. NOT questioning the exclusivity of the reality of the five senses. How sad.

  • Kasey

    Originally an end of year Pagan celebration claimed by the Church with the Christianization of the Roman Empire. Jesus’ birthday more to March/April span actually. Location and events likely mythical except the actual birth. But at least in a democracy the freedom to say so exists. Try a similar one challenging Muslim beliefs re Mohammed’s many facets of life and see what happens! Terror, murder and mayhem most likely. Yet all over an assumption of a creator entity by various names and associated themes, mostly unverifyable yet indoctrinated as fact to perpetuate the religion, rather than reason applied as to whyor how?

  • Kasey

    Originally an end of year Pagan celebration claimed by the Church with the Christianization of the Roman Empire. Jesus’ birthday more to March/April span actually. Location and events likely mythical except the actual birth. But at least in a democracy the freedom to say so exists. Try a similar one challenging Muslim beliefs re Mohammed’s many facets of life and see what happens! Terror, murder and mayhem most likely. Yet all over an assumption of a creator entity by various names and associated themes, mostly unverifyable yet indoctrinated as fact to perpetuate the religion, rather than reason applied as to whyor how?

  • Led_Zeppelin1975

    *You* don’t get why both sides get up in arms *because* you’re not religious…..which I’m guessing means you never were, and weren’t brought up in a family where you were taught/commanded to follow a certain belief. I’ll level the accusation that it’s obnoxiously condescending for an ignorant person such as yourself to judge either side of the debate. Obviously you’ve been asleep until now. Go back to bed, dude :-)

  • too sleepy to care

    Not really. The reason why atheist are so vocal is because other belief systems impact our daily lives. If all religions kept to themselves and didn’t try to change things for everyone to fit their own set of “values” then it wouldn’t be a problem. How often do you see Pagans shoving their beliefs into advertisements, government issues, or any form of sensory pollution? Very rarely if at all. Are Atheist up in arms against them? No. I live in Texas and for a long while there was talk about a mandatory prayer in school. As an Atheist, that, to me, would be pointless, a waste of school time, and offensive. That is a prime example of why Atheists are speaking out more and going toe to toe with religion in every way possible. Your belief system is impeding on my rights and I don’t have to shut up about it.

  • http://worldwithinsight.com/ Kyle Greggory

    Actually, I was brought up religious and one side of my family is very religious. I attended Catholic school for 13 years. Further, I’ve read the Bible, the Tao Te Ching, the Upanishads (as well as selections from other Indian texts), the Kojiki, the Nihon Shoki, and numerous Buddhist texts many times. I am fascinated by religions in every sense, but I will not adhere to a single one because I believe most of them have something valid and valuable to offer, and I prefer to study them rather than follow them blindly. As a child, I was taught/commanded to follow a certain belief, as you put it. One side of my family still pressures me to do so, while the other side of my family is very supportive of my perspective.

    And, although it’s not a degree, I have a minor in Asian Religious Studies, and in a year I’ll be applying to attend graduate school in pursuit of a Masters in Religious Studies. Further, not only have I read the primary sources for many of our world’s major religions, but I’ve read a number of books that analyze and comment on them.

    Now, it’s nearly midnight here in Tokyo, and I have class at 9 AM tomorrow, so I will be going to bed, thank you very much.

    However, I’d like to make it very clear that, when it comes to this topic, I am not asleep.

  • Demian

    If these are the spokespersons for either side then both sides are fudged. One moron answers with certainty about something that has perplexed and shaped humankind for eons (e.g. God); the other laughs at concepts that are almost certain to be true (e.g. The Big-Bang and evolution). Is this what a good, knowledge-seeking conversation looks like? Where is the humility and sense of awe that would seem to be necessary characteristics of both a scientific mind and a spiritual one? Extremists on both sides are too filled with their own egos and insecurities to take into consideration the wondrous mysteries that are Man’s quest for God and science. I won’t bother making a case for the fact that religious and scientific reductionism, fundamentalism and dogmatism appear the same when when viewed from the outside, as it is common knowledge in thoughtful circles on either side. And, that both the scientific and religious zealot find common ground on many ideas such as human exceptionalism and a fear of the unknown. The enemy, my friends, is this zealot, regardless of the lines from which they are yelling their zealotries behind, that wants to exclude and quite other voices who do not agree with them. It is the zealot and the false-dichotomies that he purports which should be feared.

  • Demian

    If these are the spokespersons for either side then both sides are fudged. One moron answers with certainty about something that has perplexed and shaped humankind for eons (e.g. God); the other laughs at concepts that are almost certain to be true (e.g. The Big-Bang and evolution). Is this what a good, knowledge-seeking conversation looks like? Where is the humility and sense of awe that would seem to be necessary characteristics of both a scientific mind and a spiritual one? Extremists on both sides are too filled with their own egos and insecurities to take into consideration the wondrous mysteries that are Man’s quest for God and science. I won’t bother making a case for the fact that religious and scientific reductionism, fundamentalism and dogmatism appear the same when when viewed from the outside, as it is common knowledge in thoughtful circles on either side. And, that both the scientific and religious zealot find common ground on many ideas such as human exceptionalism and a fear of the unknown. The enemy, my friends, is this zealot, regardless of the lines from which they are yelling their zealotries behind, that wants to exclude and quite other voices who do not agree with them. It is the zealot and the false-dichotomies that he purports which should be feared.

  • Demian

    sigh…I am with you. I am a theist but a thoughtful one. It might even be ventured to call me a Christian. I know that it is the “other” christians who have incited so much anger against anything with Christian undertones and I am very pained by it. Despite my beliefs, actually, because of them, I stand on your side when I vote and when I am on any soapbox. What the religious establishment has done with what, seems to me, was intended to be a thoughtful, contemplative and inner-life changing spirituality, is blasphemy. I think Christ would be pissed :)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XJEAO4IWMLHTPF7MUQRK3GXM2Y Sumner Solstice

    Both men are buffoons. I have never understood the need to attack religion, let them believe what they want. Such an argument only reinforces the distance i put between me and this sort of atheist. Just as Christians cannot prove that there is OBVIOUSLY a God, atheists shouldn’t try to prove there isn’t. Save this ridiculous, endless banter for satire.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XJEAO4IWMLHTPF7MUQRK3GXM2Y Sumner Solstice

    Both men are buffoons. I have never understood the need to attack religion, let them believe what they want. Such an argument only reinforces the distance i put between me and this sort of atheist. Just as Christians cannot prove that there is OBVIOUSLY a God, atheists shouldn’t try to prove there isn’t. Save this ridiculous, endless banter for satire.

  • Vagabond78666

    Its not an attack on believers,its a billboard holding a mirror up to Christians showing them a small taste of what Atheists have to view every day on every other corner. The message of GOD is everywhere. Unfortunately NOT from A GOD. We are fighting back that we are tired of having religion pushed upon us. The pamphlets, the door to door harassment. the eerie messages on church “signage”..the billboards,bumper stickers. roadside crosses. the t-shirts, the constant bombardment of televangelism.
    IMAGINE if there were as many media outlets displaying the Atheist message as there were the Christian one.

  • Vagabond78666

    Its not an attack on believers,its a billboard holding a mirror up to Christians showing them a small taste of what Atheists have to view every day on every other corner. The message of GOD is everywhere. Unfortunately NOT from A GOD. We are fighting back that we are tired of having religion pushed upon us. The pamphlets, the door to door harassment. the eerie messages on church “signage”..the billboards,bumper stickers. roadside crosses. the t-shirts, the constant bombardment of televangelism.
    IMAGINE if there were as many media outlets displaying the Atheist message as there were the Christian one.

  • Vagabond78666

    I agree. People can believe what they want..but its the harassment from Christians and their constant attempts to hi-jack our democracy

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