Nearly a month ago, I introduced you to the Columbia Coalition of Reason, which had put up a billboard inviting local non-theists to contact us. The reaction from Christians was predominantly negative, but we also received a lot of very positive responses from both non-believers and believers.
This week, a local church decided to put up a billboard in the same location in the digital rotation along with our billboard as a direct rebuttal.
This is fantastic. One, it means we’re in the news again, and two, it means we’ve opened a dialogue with local people of faith.
Dustin Tucker, the guy who has coordinated the billboard effort, was interviewed by local TV station WLTX and spoke to how great it was that the opposing view was speaking up and expressed hope that the atheists would be able to do some sort of joint charity effort with Park Street Baptist Church, something that’s already in the works.
Unlike the responses to the previous news stories, the ones to this seem much more level and reasonable. Here are my two favorites:
Wow…if the billboards can co-exist..perhaps the believers and non-believers will find a way to co-exist as well.
If one wants to see God look into the eyes of a child and you will see Innocent little angels. Those who choose not to believe live very empty lives.
I love kids, don’t get me wrong, but they are definitely demons.
If you’d like to know more about the billboards you can go over to Friendly Atheist, where the president of the Pastafarians at USC has done a nice write up, go listen to the podcast I did at A Matter of Doubt, or:
TUNE IN TONIGHT! (Sunday, 12/18) at 8PM EST to Reason Podcast where someone from the group will be chatting about it live!
We sent out a press release this morning about the billboard, and by the afternoon we’d had coverage on some local websites and by tonight we’d had interviews on local TV.
The comments on the news sites have been pretty negative, but the people actually contacting us have been very positive and grateful. I’ve collected some of the angry comments from our e-mail and the news sites to share with you. Everything is copy & pasted with no editing for grammar, spelling, or logic.
We are hoping to do dramatic readings of some of these. I’ve numbered them so that you can easily comment on which ones are your favorites.
1. “To all atheists: If as a Christian I’m right …. then you lose. If you’re right … then you still lose. Good luck with those odds.”
2. “I would much rather live my life believing that there is one true God and find out later that there isn’t, than to live my life as if there isn’t, only to find out later that there is! I guess we’ll all find out for ourselves on judgement day. As for me, I know in my heart that Jesus died for my salvation and for the salvation of all sinners, and that one day I’ll join Him in heaven with the rest of the believers. Heaven or Hell is your choice… I’ll take the high road, thank you…”
ATHEISTS ARE ALONE
3. “Don’t Believe in God? You are not alone.” Unless you look at the really big picture and realize you are. Completely. Alone.”
4. “No, if you do not believe in God you are not alone. But you soon will be.”
5. “You’re not alone” are the atheists suicidal? depressed? I’m sure they are, i would be too if i were an atheist. let’s pray that they open their hearts and minds to God
6. “That true God. I was surprise why to say can’t believe God?! They people already know God is true in the Heaven. I believe GOD in Heaven! I never say that unbeliever God before. Should to be change post Believe God, and not say Godless period!”
7. “Madalyn Murray O’Hair, killed by one of her own followers and employees was the most widely known and hated of all Atheists. She, one of her sons, and grand-daughter were killed in a robbery gone bad committed by one whom she trusted. Her surviving son William J. Murray is the chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition, a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C., active on issues related to aiding Christians in Islamic and Communist nations. She felt so strongly about his becoming a Christian she had this to say about him. “One could call this a postnatal abortion on the part of a mother, I guess, I repudiate him entirely and completely for now and all times. He is beyond human forgiveness.” WOW! What a way for a mother to treat her own child over a difference of religious opinion in a country where we have a right to practice or not practice our religion freely. Way to go Atheists!”
8. What does the year 2011 mean?….. It means the age of JESUS. And he is coming back. Believe it or not.
YOU RUIN CHRISTMAS
9. “My question to the atheists and agnostics, what is the real purpose of the billboards during one of the most holiest times for Christian and Jews? Where were you in June?”
10. “”We’re your friends…” really? Friends don’t slam your beliefs during your holiest of months. If you’re our friends why not put the billboard up in June? The answer is because you enjoy slamming Christians. Give me a break. You have the right to do whatever you want, but have some class and put your signs up during another time.”
YOU GO TO HELL, YOU GOT TO HELL AND YOU DIE
11. “I THINK WE SHOULD PUT UP A SIGN RIGHT NEXT TO THAT ONE THAT SAYS “GOING TO ****? YOU ARE NOT ALONE” I WOULD DONATE. THE ONLY REASON US CHRISTIANS “PUSH” OUR BELIEFS ON ANYONE IS BECAUSE WE READ IN OUR BIBLES THAT JESUS CHRIST COMMANDS WE SHARE THE NEWS “SO THAT NONE MAY PERISH”. I SHARE JESUS BECAUSE I GENUINELY FEEL SORRY FOR THOSE THAT DO NOT KNOW HIM. TO KNOW JESUS IS TO KNOW PEACE”
12. “They might as well spend all their money on silly billboards…they can take it (to ****) with them…”
13. “The time will come when we can so OH WE TOLD YOU SO!! You say non Christians maybe be sitting by us in church-nah I don’t think so”
14. “**** is getting HOTTER as we speak! For those who don’t want to believe, that is your choice, but don’t beg for mercy on your day of Judgement!”
15. “People of all religious beliefs and backgrounds, remember one thing please. When it’s all over and you find that you were wrong, it’s TOO late then to make a change. So, be sure that what or who you believe in or don’t believe in is the right way to go, cause you only get one shot. I know where I’m going. Maybe I’ll see you there. If not, say hello to Hitler and Bin Laden for me, OK!”
16. “WIS/TV… Fred Edwords, national director of the United Coalition of Reason, said “Such non-theists sometimes don’t realize there’s a community for them.” //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// In a related story—it’s reasonable to say that what the Coalition doesn’t know, as well Is…if they stay their course—they’ll find their community—a very hot place known as…**** !!!”
17. “Atheists cease to exist once they die. They then become believers. Dont believe in God? I’m sure your boss will let you work for Christmas.”
18. “why don’t they do this campaign in countries like Iran or Saudi Arabia, i bet those atheists feel even more lonely! American Christians don’t force their religion on people,they, just like the CoR, like to get The Word out, but what you do with it, its up to the individual. The USA still has religious freedom last i checked.”
20. “I believe in Him and I also believe I’ll boycott any advertisers that use Lamar billboards.”
21. “stupid tards why would you be sitting next to us in church if your not a believer ? i think you plan backfired instead of spreading your non existent belief in god anyone who quiestions gods existence will inevitably come to the conclusion there is a god.not offended, all things work to the glory of god.”
22. “This article made me sick and so do half of you posters. That’s what is wrong with the world today. You should be ashamed. I choose to praise God and if you choose not to, then that is your problem”
23. Its funny these people don’t believe in God but they use the money that says “In God We Trust”. Since you don’t believe in God try living without the money that has His name on it.
24. GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY!!! MAKE THEM TAKE THEM DOWN!!! SOMEONE CLIMB UP AND PAINT OVER THE DON’T! THEN IT WILL BE A GREAT SIGN!!
25. For those who dont believe will be the ones who when the time comes will be demanding to be let into the Ark when the world does come to an end. For the way of life is through Jesus Christ and for the way to Death is those who choose not to believe.
26. do believe in God: so people need to watch out what the put on a sign. boy if my sister get hold of this she will be calling on God to take it down:
27. Why is it important that you tell the world you don’t believe? This is the work of Satan, you better believe it. I am sadden by this display.
28. I just want to let you know I am very offended about your billboards. Why can you all put this up and we cannot have billboards with God’s name in it for the good? I really feel this is not fair. Just remember God is watching you.
Just read on your home page in which you wrote “people who don’t believe in a god or gods can be decent citizens…” Gods? Most people (around here) believe in just one God. I think when you wrote “gods” you were being patronizing, no?
I used to be agnostic, so I understand where you are coming from. But I was a little offended by the “gods” reference. You are making fun! Look, Christians and religious folk used to really annoy the crap out of me, especially being the pragmatist that I am. But I think in the end I was more jealous that people could “let go” and accept something that was contrary to rational thought. They were more open-minded than I was and that really got under my skin. So I would make snyde comments like “do you believe in fairies too!” But really, I was just jealous that others could accept something that I could not.
I’m not going to preach. But from one former atheist/agnostic to another, I’d like you to consider one question. This is the question that ultimately helped me to become more open minded in my search for “what is?” No laughing, this is serious stuff and I want you to do your research and really, really ponder it…like for a year or more. Here goes: Why do atoms attract? (and, no, the answer is not “because God tells them to”, lol….or IS it) Remember: question everything, and let your intelligence set you free.
I can assure you that we are not making fun of religious people, nor do we intend to seem patronizing. The simple fact of the matter is that there are, in fact, people in this very community who believe in multiple gods. Both Wiccans and Hindus live in the greater Columbia area. We apologize if you felt offended.
As for your question, atoms are attracted to each other through Van Der Waal’s forces, electronegativity, and ionic or covalent bonding. As an archaeologist, I cannot speak definitively on inter-atomic forces and subatomic particle interaction, but there are plenty of physicists among us who would be happy to discuss the finer points of the theoretical physics should you ever feel inclined to attend a meeting or event advertised on our home page.
I thank you for taking the time to write and express your concerns to us directly, and I hope that my answer has proven satisfactory.
Really? Hindus have multiple gods? They seem so nice, but that’s just crazy.
And thanks for the invite to your activities, but I’ve spent many hours participating in these types of discussions and the answers are always the same. But Justin, in your search for reason and understanding I don’t want you to forget about gravity. Its a big deal. That two objects are pulled together without a single physical, detectable thing binding them is quite the conundrum. Many physicist and scientist believe that there must be something there pulling these particles and objects together. However, this missing something is not detectable on our level or by our limited senses. Many believe it exists on a different plane or dimension all together. But it must exist. Otherwise, these objects are being pulled together by magic, and that’s not reasonable. Nonetheless, these things or invisible “forces” are well beyond our scope and certainly beyond our natural senses.
In reality, we are limited to only what we can see, hear, feel, touch and smell. To me, its incomprehensible to imagine what lies out there that we have no ability to know about or even comprehend because of our physical and sensual limitations. Science and reason are not equipped to tell us. Nor are they equipped to tell us they “don’t know” as that kind of defeats their purpose. Yet, the more we uncover, the more lucid it becomes that there is much more out there that we do not understand, including those things that we are unable to perceive. It could be anything. There is no denying this, it is simply a reasonable conclusion. Of course, what you do with that conclusion is up to you.
30. “I am a Christian; I belive in God and the bible, grew up in Church etc. I am not perfect and I do sin quite frequently. We as Christians believe we are forgiven and are entitled to believe what we choose just as everyone else is; there is freedom of religion and freedom of speech in place to protect everyone and their beliefs.”