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The Billboard Wars: Good Without God

Updated on August 10, 2017
CatherineGiordano profile image

Catherine Giordano is a writer and public speaker who often writes and speaks on topics related to science, philosophy, and religion.

Good Without God

Did you ever hear the expression “an idea whose time has come.” It means that somehow an idea, once too undiscovered or too controversial, is finally becoming mainstream. The notion that people do not need God in order to be good may just be an idea whose time has come. Let’s call it the “Good without God” idea.

A billboard announcing that millions are good without God.
A billboard announcing that millions are good without God. | Source

A conversation started using billboards and bus ads. It got a little crazy and a little funny. And it got people talking. Let’s call it “The Billboard Wars.”

For, lo, it came to pass that all of a sudden, out of nowhere, and for no godly reason, signs of freethought started springing up all over the United States.

— Fred Edwords, Director, United Coalition of Reason

Beware of Dogma

The first billboard appeared on October 2, 2007. It was put up by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. A 18-foot billboard, in blazing color, mimicked a stained-glass window and warned, "Beware of Dogma."

This billboard which states "Beware of Dogma"  won a 2008 "Addy" Silver Award from the American Advertising Federation.
This billboard which states "Beware of Dogma" won a 2008 "Addy" Silver Award from the American Advertising Federation. | Source

The billboard appeared to be taken as a shot across the bow by some religious groups. They put up a counter billboard showing a black child saying the Pledge of Allegiance along with the words “Why Do Atheists Hate America?”

The "Why Do Atheists Hate America" Billboard

 A billboard insults atheists by  asking "Why do atheists hate America?"
A billboard insults atheists by asking "Why do atheists hate America?" | Source

Wow! Low blow! And a non-sequitur, to boot. The Freedom from Religion (FFRF) billboard didn’t say anything about hating America. It only offered a suggestion reminding people to be careful about dogma. Dogma is defined as "a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true." Maybe it is not a good idea to trust an authority that insists something is true, doesn’t present evidence, and refuses to answer questions. Maybe people should beware of dogma.

The FFRF was not deterred. Their billboard brought in contributions, and they were able to erect many more billboards in cities all across America.

A New Billboard Goes Up in Philadelphia

Soon others got into the act. A Philadelphia businessman funded a billboard using a design, developed by Jan Meshon and Joseph Stewart. It went up May 1, 2008, which just happened to be the National Day of Reason in Philadelphia.

The businessman arranged for the billboard to be cosponsored by a number of atheist and humanist organizations, both local and national, that came together as the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason PhillyCoR).

The billboard got a lot of publicity and more donations flowed in to pay for more advertising.

The "Don't Believe in God?" Billboard

A billboard tells people who do not believe in God that they are not alone.
A billboard tells people who do not believe in God that they are not alone. | Source

The PhilyCofR Billboard Brings an Irate Response

Shortly after the PhillyCoR billboard went up, the group received an irate e-mail from an offended woman who was a member of a church called the Lighthouse of Oxford Valley. It seems that, just up the road a piece, that church had earlier erected a similar billboard of its own featuring a blue sky background. However, the church’s billboard said “Experience God.” They thought that the PhillyCoR billboard was deliberately mocking theirs.

The similarity in design was just a co-incidence. It’s not surprising that two different artists would do a billboard referencing God with a picture of blue sky and white clouds since this is a visual synonym for heaven.

The "Experience God" Billboard

A billboard erected by a church invites people to "experience God."
A billboard erected by a church invites people to "experience God." | Source

The Philly "Miracle"

This story has a happy ending. A dialogue began between PhillyCoR and the Lighthouse of Oxford Valley church. This in turn led to the two groups joining forces to feed the homeless at Philabundance, a local food pantry. And, because PhillyCoR drew from the combined membership of all the groups in the coalition, they were able to get out as many people to the project as the church did. Each of the two factions wore its own T-shirt to the event.

The event brought more favorable publicity to PhillyCoR.

London's “Atheist Bus Campaign”

Meanwhile, across the pond, some atheists in London decided they were going to put some ads on buses. They were tired of being threatened with damnation, so they decided to fight hellfire with hellfire.

In October 2008, they launched the Atheist Bus Campaign. The media story went global about how, under the sponsorship of the British Humanist Association, the campaign was planning to put ads on London buses that would read: “There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

The "There's Probably No God" London Bus Ad

A London group sponsors a bus ad asserting that "there is probably no God."
A London group sponsors a bus ad asserting that "there is probably no God." | Source

The announcement alone generated tremendous publicity--so much so that the group raised--in a single month--a whopping £120,402.00 (about $180,000 U.S.) all before the first bus ad actually appeared in mid-January 2009. This gave them enough money to launch a full advertising campaign across the entire country.

The American Humanist Association Response

The success of the bus campaign in London lit a fire under the American Humanist Association (AMA) in Washington DC. It developed its own slogan and hosted a well-attended press conference on November 11, 2008. The group began enjoying non-stop publicity with a Metro bus campaign that asked rhetorically, “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness’ sake.”

A little take off on the Christmas jingle just in time for the holidays. The ad was adorned with little snowflakes in keeping with a winter holiday theme.

The "Why Believe in God?" Bus Ad

A bus ad in Washington D.C. conveys the message that a belief in God is not necessary for people to be good--it says be good for goodness sake.
A bus ad in Washington D.C. conveys the message that a belief in God is not necessary for people to be good--it says be good for goodness sake. | Source

The deluge of media attention led to such a spike in the volume of visitors to the special campaign website that the web server crashed twice. The AHA received a deluge of interview requests. Representatives of the AHA appeared on Fox and Friends, CNN Headline News,The O’Reilly Factor, The Laura Ingraham Show and many others.

The AHA received a thousand new memberships by the end of the year.

More Publicity From The Counter Response

A local Catholic stay-at-home mother of four decided to launch a counter campaign: same type of bus advertisements, same number of buses, same topic. Her slogan? “Why believe? Because I created you and I love you, for goodness’ sake.” The sentiment is signed, “God.”

The "Why Believe?" D.C. Bus Ad

An counter ad proclaims that the reason to believe is that God loves you, for goodness sake.
An counter ad proclaims that the reason to believe is that God loves you, for goodness sake. | Source

The AHA loved this ad. And why not? Her ads kept the AHA name in the news and the new memberships flowing in.

The Iowa Campaign

About a month after the British ads first appeared, the United Coalition of Reason was created to export the PhillyCoR revolution all over the country. The UnitedCoR launched its first billboard campaign in late March.

Later, in August 2009, UnitedCoR worked with a local group in Des Moines, Iowa, called Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers, to put ads on buses that would run the route that took visitors to the Iowa State Fair. The ads went up and received a lot of publicity.

Then the bus company got complaints. So they took the ads down. Initially, the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers were angry, but it turned out to be a good thing for them. More publicity. The UnitedCorR got a lawyer to call the bus company, and the local ACLU leaned on them. And the ads went back up! You can’t pay for publicity opportunities this good!

The "You Are Not Alone" Iowa Bus Ad

A bus ad says "Don't believe in God? You are not alone."
A bus ad says "Don't believe in God? You are not alone." | Source

Next Stop, New York

Would the ads work in New York City or would the Big Apple media be too sophisticated to go after a subway ad campaign? When the New York Times announced on October 19 that BigAppleCoR was putting up ads inside select subway stations declaring, “A million New Yorkers are good without God," the press coverage went through the roof. Reports were not only citywide, but nationwide and worldwide. Even Al Jazeera and the China Daily covered it!

Around the same time the UnitedCofR put ads inside subway cars in Boston and put up billboards in New Jersey and Chicago, all continuing the “good without God” theme.

The "New Yorkers are Good without God" Bus Ad

A New York City bus ad says: "A million New Yorkers are good without God."
A New York City bus ad says: "A million New Yorkers are good without God." | Source

The “One Nation Indivisible” Campaign

In late June 2010, the North Carolina Secular Association launched its “One Nation Indivisible” campaign in five cities across the state. Simultaneously, and without their awareness, a local Florida group launched its own “One Nation Indivisible” campaign with similarly-designed billboards. This lucky coincidence enhanced the publicity efforts of both.

In North Carolina, the billboard in Charlotte was put on the biggest highway in town—which happens to be called Billy Graham Parkway. The North Carolina Secular Association was accused of insulting the retired evangelist.

The "One Nation Indivisible" North Carolina Billboard

A billboard proclaims "One Nation Indivisible" against a backdrop of an American flag.
A billboard proclaims "One Nation Indivisible" against a backdrop of an American flag. | Source

This billboard attracted some graffiti. Someone wrote in “under God.”

The North Carolina Billboard with Graffiti

The billboard proclaiming "One Nation Indivisible" is edited with graffiti.
The billboard proclaiming "One Nation Indivisible" is edited with graffiti. | Source

There was also a counter-response.

A Billboard Response: One Nation Under God

A billboard proclaims "One Nation Under God."
A billboard proclaims "One Nation Under God." | Source

Dallas- Fort Worth Church Bus Boycott

The Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason had a UnitedCoR-funded billboard launch in March 2009, but in the winter of 2009, they decided to do another one on their own initiative and on their own dime. They were able to afford only four bus ads bearing their unique design that featured the faces of real atheists formed into an American Flag backdrop with their slogan: “Millions of Americans are good without God.”

The "Good Without God" Dallas-Fort Worth Bus Ad

A Dallas-Fort Worth bus ad proclaims "Millions of Americans are good without God."
A Dallas-Fort Worth bus ad proclaims "Millions of Americans are good without God." | Source

Once the ads appeared, some churches got together and launched a bus boycott, carpooling people to work for the full four-week run of this campaign.

Another religious group hired a billboard truck, displaying their opposing message, to follow one of the godless buses around. And a third group ran their own ads on Fort Worth buses. All of this brouhaha generated so much publicity that the groups in DFW CoR gained hundreds of new members.

After that the city council voted to ban all religious advertising on Fort Worth buses so that this could never happen again.

A Private Bus Follows the D-FW City Bus

A private bus follows the Dallas-Fort Worth city bus with the "good without God" message.
A private bus follows the Dallas-Fort Worth city bus with the "good without God" message. | Source

The "American Atheists" Response

The American Atheists are an in-your-face kind of group. They put up a billboard at one end of the Lincoln Tunnel in New York City with the bluntest message so far: “You KNOW it’s a Myth. This Season, Celebrate REASON!”

In reaction, William Donohue of the Catholic League placed an opposing billboard at the other end of the Lincoln Tunnel.

The publicity this campaign generated was overwhelming, resulting in the American Atheists president, Dave Silverman, appearing on numerous network television shows into the new year. Attendance at the American Atheist conference doubled that year.

The "You Know it's a Myth" New York City Billboard

The American Atheists put up a billboard saying "You know it is a myth. This season, celebrate reason."
The American Atheists put up a billboard saying "You know it is a myth. This season, celebrate reason." | Source

Law Suits are Filed

When the UnitedCoR tried to launch the Central Arkansas Coalition ofReason in Little Rock with a bus ad campaign during their May 2011 Riverfest celebration, the bus company threw up roadblocks and then finally refused outright. So a law suit was filed in federal court, charging viewpoint discrimination by a government agency. This was, of course, accompanied by a press release. And the local CoR got a lot of coverage. On August 11, a preliminary injunction was issued by the court to force the transit authority to run the ads. The news coverage for this was overwhelming.

In November 26, 2013, UnitedCoR filed a federal lawsuit against the Port Authority of Allegheny County for refusing to run $5,700 worth of bus ads saying that the text of the advertisements didn't comply with the Port Authority's ad policy. In the end, they agreed to settle, paying all of the UnitedCofR legal fees plus giving them enough money to take their ad campaign elsewhere. They also agreed to modify their ad policy so it more consistently prohibited religious ads.

Freedom From Religion Foundation Billboards

The freedom from Religion Foundation has several different billboards.
The freedom from Religion Foundation has several different billboards. | Source

What do you believe?

Do you believe that people can be good without God.

See results

This Chapter of the Billboard Wars Concludes…For Now

The billboard wars have helped to raise the public profile of the United Coalition of Reason and its affiliated groups. It got people talking. It made people aware that a person can be a moral person and a good citizen without a belief in God. And it proved the old adage, “There’s no such thing a bad publicity.”

Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe
Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe

Greg Epstein, former Harvard Humanist Chaplain, has written a great book about humanism as an alternate "life stance." He explains the moral and ethical values of humanism in a compelling way. I enjoyed his breezy style of writing--it felt like he was having a one-on-one conversation with me. Whether you are a long term humanist (as I am) or you are just discovering the topic, I think you will like this book.

 

Acknowledgement

I would like to thank Fred Edwords for his research and editorial assistance and for graciously permitting me to use his photographs.

A Short Video from Greg Epstein, Author of "Good without God"

© 2014 Catherine Giordano

I welcome your comments about the source of morality or about the advertising campaigns discussed above.

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    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Thanks Tony Paxton. I'm glad you enjoyed the article. It is hard to come up with a good poll questions. I think the first option fits for someone who is "good withoug God."

    • Tony Paxton profile image

      Tony Paxton 2 years ago

      Excellent article! I almost passed on the vote thing tho...should have another option for Good Without God...hehe!

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Paladin: You said it all perfectly. I just didn't want to get into that whole Nazi thing. Hitler was raised Catholic and went to a monastery school. He carried out his leadership of Germany as a servant of Christ. Thank you for your comment. There's no need for me to comment further.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      No, Markeli, the Nazis were Christians who believed in God (I could provide a link for you with a good amount of evidence for this, but simply consider the belt buckle that was worn by many Wehrmacht (army) troops that read "Gott Mitt Uns" (God is with us)).

      Incidentally, how were the Nazis any different from the Old Testament Israelites who consistently committed genocide with an efficiency and brutality that would make Himmler blush?

      To accentuate Catherine's comments above, if "man created in the image of God" gives dignity to human life, I'd say that's a direct contradiction to the Old Testament, where a bloodthirsty god constantly takes human life (including in the form of sacrifices, by the way). From worldwide floods to genocide, mutilation and every sort of cruelty imaginable, the OT is an endless litany of God's insatiable love of death and suffering.

      Then, of course, there's the New Testament, which teaches us that we're all worthless and evil, and are deserving of eternal horrific punishment (simply for the crime of being born). If this is what is considered "human dignity," then the world no longer has any meaning whatsoever!

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Markeli: The image of God in the bible doesn't sound all the difficult to me. For one, he says he is jealous. Then he urges genocide and whatever kind of "cide" it is when you kill your children. Jesus tells people to leave their families and follow him. He destroys every one on earth except for one family and some animals. It goes on and on. Have you every read the Bible? That is an image I don't want to be made it, thank you very much.

      A friend of mine wrote a book;"Bible Stories Your Parents Never Taught You" by Michael Scott Earl. Please read it and then we can chat.

    • Markeli profile image

      Marco 2 years ago from Italy

      Paladin: "Man created in the image of God" gives dignity to the human life, including the unborn and people with disabilities. The Nazi on the other hand believed in social Darwinism and the survival of the fittest.

      I can't see how human empathy could be the basis for defining what is good. It is completely subjective.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Paladin: Thank you for your excellent explanation about being good without God.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Markeli: I believe Paladin in the above comment has done my work for me. I use the values that go back to antiquity (for instance Buddha--I wrote two hubs about him) to help me define good and moral. I take the principles of secular humanism. (I wrote a hub about secular humanism, too) I look to philosophy and common sense. Sprinkle in the Golden Rule. I wrote a hub "Beliefs, Values, Morals and Ethics" to define this in greater detail. As you can see I've done quite a lot of thinking and writing on the issues. So if you really want to know my views about what is good, you can look to my writings. You'll find some of the links in the "Related Hubs" and in the "More by this Author" areas of this page. You may have to check my profile page for some of the others.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Actually, the "good" of the atheist and humanist worldview is MUCH more well-defined than that of the biblical god. By and large, I would wager that non-believers base their moral worldview on the ONLY genuine foundation of morality -- human empathy.

      On the other hand, the 'morality' of God (at least the god of the Bible) is vague and ill-defined. For every example of a 'moral' commandment issued, there is at least one (usually many more) example that contradicts it or countermands it, whether it's murder, thievery, lust, respecting one's parents or whatever.

      In truth, both believers and non-believers base their morality upon their comprehension of human empathy. The difference is that believers pick and choose those parts of their 'holy' books that conform to their own moral understanding, and ignore and discard the rest (for example, killing children who curse their parents -- which even Jesus still endorsed).

      (Incidentally, the Nazis were believers, who also apparently picked and chose which biblical 'moral' commands they would follow).

    • Markeli profile image

      Marco 2 years ago from Italy

      What does it mean to be "good"? According to what standard? Deporting a Jewish kid is good according to Nazi worldview.

      The morality of God is defined through his revelation, the Bible. What is the moral code for humanists or atheists? What we perceive to be good according to our culture we live in or grew up? But on what basis? What is the moral standard for the atheist and on which ground does it stand?

      Of course atheists can feed the homeless like in the above case of Philabundance, but ultimately being 'good' without God (and his standard) can mean something completely different from being 'good' in the Christian sense

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      You are right AKFletch, but I used the word in a non-technical sense. If you tell a religious person that you are an atheist, they will say "Where do you get your morality?" or "How can you be a moral person if you don't believe in God?"

    • profile image

      AKFletch 2 years ago

      Re: The survey at the end. IMO 'morality' is the wrong word. Morality implies a set of immutable rules which may not be appropriate in all circumstances. Atheists are obviously capable of appropriate behavior. In fact a perusal of crime statistics suggests that we are better at it than most possessors of morality.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      word55; Thank you for your compliment of my smile. And thank you for complimenting my hub. When I do one on a controversial topic I try to do it as an objective reporter. It's probably not to hard to guess which side I am on, but I try to present the facts in a fair manner.

    • word55 profile image

      Word 2 years ago from Chicago

      Hi Catherine, you have a special God-given smile. It's one of the brightest that I've seen here on Hub Pages. You are an excellent writer. You covered this topic very thoroughly. You are very talented and skillful. I enjoyed reading your ad coverage of believers and non-believers in God. You did it fairly. You didn't speak for nor against either side of the ads. Keep smiling like that. God has really blessed you with it.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Thanks so much ChristinS, for you comment, votes, and share. You totally understood the point of this hub. Most people are good and they are good with and without and religious belief. A religious person once told me if there were no God then he was being" good-for-nothing." Then he realized the double entendre and laughed. I think he might have been one of the exceptions.

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 2 years ago from Midwest

      What an interesting hub. I love that you showed all the different signs and the back and forth. I long for the day when we all realize that at our core, most of us are the same, most of us are decent, and that we all are seeking the same things and living this life as best we can. Voted up and sharing :)

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      CNN aired a special: Atheists: Inside the World of Non-believers. It began "One nation under God--it is who we are and religion is what we do." I disagree.

      The special showed some of the billboards I used in this hub and talked with the author of "Good without God" who is quoted in my hub. The tone was mostly objective, but I got the feeling that the host Kyra Phillips was shocked and just didn't get it. I'm recommending that she read my hub.

    • firstday profile image

      R Beggs 2 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      A forum is probably a better place for debate.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I'm fine with debate--but there is a time and place for debate. I don't think it is appropriate for people to debate each other in the comments of someone else's hub. Comments should be addressed to the author. I think I will start a forum discussion on this to see what other hubbers think, and how they respond if it happens with their hub.

    • firstday profile image

      R Beggs 2 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      From my earlier post for Catherine:

      "… everything in writing is a game of semantics, totally subjective. That is why there is no reason to argue over any of it." Don't you agree? Ha Ha…nevermind … just my humble opinion…not trying to debate and get caught into a senseless argument. Catherine says she is just a reporter for this hub showing each side….up to us to decide so that makes it subjective.

    • Joseph O Polanco profile image

      Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

      @Paladin

      I'm not interested in fighting with anyone. My only pursuit is the truth in all of its beautiful and wondrous forms :)

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Joseph, out of respect for Catherine's wishes, I'm not going to respond to your most recent claptrap -- even though you were the one who initiated this debate with your comments about "Mao's billboard."

      There are plenty of other hubs in which to challenge you, and we can take this fight elsewhere.

      Apologies to Catherine...

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Some people have been using this comment section for a heated back- and-forth debate about religion. This is not the place for that. Do it in a forum or do it via private email or do it in a hub of your own by linking to a hub that presents ideas which you wish to critique. It was getting out of hand with some comments being quite vitriolic, so, although it pains me to do this, I will not approve those types of comments any more.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Thank you for your comment and votes, Iris. I included the story about the Philly "miracle" because it sometime feels like a miracle when two groups can put aside their differences and just work together to do something good.

    • Joseph O Polanco profile image

      Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

      @Paladin

      "You've made it clear many times that God's ability to torture and murder on a whim come from his "eminence" as "creator of all.""

      What claptrap! When have I ever argued that God has tortured or murdered anyone?

    • Joseph O Polanco profile image

      Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

      @Paladin

      "The ONLY reason you believe the religious rubbish you do is because of the constant and ever-present RELIGIOUS indoctrination that looms so large in cultures worldwide."

      Please. Don't be so jejune:

      "It [] dawned on me that I had accepted evolution without really questioning it. For example, I had assumed that evolution was well supported by the fossil record. But it is not. Indeed, the more I examined evolution, the more I became convinced that the theory is more bluster than fact.

      Then I thought about my work with robots. Whose designs was I imitating? I could never design a robot capable of catching a ball as we can. A robot can be programmed to catch a ball, but only in precisely controlled conditions. It cannot do so in circumstances for which it has not been programmed. Our ability to learn is vastly superior to that of a machine—and mere machines have makers! This fact is just one of many that led me to conclude that we must have had a Designer.

      I became deeply interested in the many prophecies, or predictions, in the Bible. My study of those convinced me that the Bible really is from God. In 1992, Barbara and I were baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses." -Professor Massimo Tistarelli, former atheist (http://bit.ly/15xtINp) (Bracket mine.)

      "My doubts about evolution began when I was studying synapses. I was deeply impressed by the amazing complexity of these supposedly simple connections between nerve cells. ‘How,’ I wondered, ‘could synapses and the genetic programs underlying them be products of mere blind chance?’ It really made no sense.

      Then, in the early 1970’s, I attended a lecture by a famous Russian scientist and professor. He stated that living organisms cannot be a result of random mutations and natural selection. Someone in the audience then asked where the answer lay. The professor took a small Russian Bible from his jacket, held it up, and said, “Read the Bible—the creation story in Genesis in particular.”

      Later, in the lobby, I asked the professor if he was serious about the Bible. In essence, he replied: “Simple bacteria can divide about every 20 minutes and have many hundreds of different proteins, each containing 20 types of amino acids arranged in chains that might be several hundred long. For bacteria to evolve by beneficial mutations one at a time would take much, much longer than three or four billion years, the time that many scientists believe life has existed on earth.” The Bible book of Genesis, he felt, made much more sense.

      Every good scientist, regardless of his beliefs, must be as objective as possible. But my faith has changed me. For one thing, instead of being overly self-confident, highly competitive, and unduly proud of my scientific skills, I am now grateful to God for any abilities I may have. Also, instead of unfairly attributing the amazing designs manifest in creation to blind chance, I and not a few other scientists ask ourselves, ‘How did God design this?’" - Professor František Vyskočil - Former Atheist (http://bit.ly/K8lEip)

      "I had a deep respect for our body’s sophisticated design. For example, the way our kidneys control the amount of red cells in our blood is awe-inspiring. As you may know, red blood cells transport oxygen. If you lose a lot of blood or if you go to a high altitude, your body will lack oxygen. Our kidneys have oxygen sensors. When they detect an oxygen shortage in the blood, they activate the production of EPO, and the level of EPO in the blood may rise as much as a thousandfold. The EPO stimulates the bone marrow to produce more red cells, which in turn transport more oxygen. It’s wonderful! Strangely, I studied this process for ten years before it struck me that only God could design such an elegant system.

      I was intrigued by the way the Bible foretold the year of Jesus’ baptism. It shows exactly how much time would elapse between the 20th year of the reign of the Persian ruler Artaxerxes and the year Jesus would present himself as the Messiah. I am accustomed to doing research—it is part of my job. So I researched history books to confirm the dates of Artaxerxes’ rule and the dates of Jesus’ ministry. Finally, I concluded that this Bible prophecy had come true on time and that it must have been inspired by God." -Dr. Céline Granolleras, former atheist (http://bit.ly/1dNnE8I)

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Catherine, this is an interesting article. I was aware of some of the controversy and some of these legal and publicity battles but the history and broader view is very interesting.

      The "Philly miracle" as you called it was such a good addition. We should all take notice. If we, whether believer or non-believer, claim to be good and truly want to minister to people (to borrow a phrase from my religious youth) then we need to do it. If our goal is truly to do good with no ulterior motive then we should stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone with the same aim. I commend both groups for keeping perspective and for truly doing good.

      Voted up, interesting and useful.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Joseph, like Solzhenitsyn, you're confusing "atheism" with "anti-theism." This is demonstrated by the REST of his quote, which you conveniently omitted:

      "To achieve its diabolical ends, Communism needs to control a population devoid of religious and national feeling, and this entails a destruction of faith and nationhood. Communists proclaim both of these objectives openly, and just as openly put them into practice.”

      There is no "totalitarianism" in atheism, and to assert that it has always been "atheist" in scope is an outright lie -- as can be easily demonstrated by numerous examples of religious dictatorships from history and those still existing today.

      And don't even PRESUME to speak of "atheist" indoctrination. The ONLY reason you believe the religious rubbish you do is because of the constant and ever-present RELIGIOUS indoctrination that looms so large in cultures worldwide. But we'll break through that, as you exhaust your apologetic resources. ;-)

      Incidentally, I see you're cutting and pasting many of the same answers from hub to hub -- like your hair-splitting reply to my comments regarding God's supposed "moral" authority.

      You've made it clear many times that God's ability to torture and murder on a whim come from his "eminence" as "creator of all." I say you're claiming it's his authority. It's the same thing. You say tomaato, I say tomayto. But I quoted the essence of your absurd assertion correctly.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Paladin: I appreciate your comment about Mao's policies of government coming from someplace other than his views on religion, whatever they might be. I didn't intend for this comments section to be a place to argue about religious beliefs or non-beliefs. I was not criticizing anyone's beliefs not was I impugning anyone's character. If I was taking any position at all I was taking the position that people could be good without God, but mainly I was just reporting on the back and forth with the billboards. I thought it was all a little silly.

    • Joseph O Polanco profile image

      Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

      @Paladin

      "according to your own standard -- which you've applied to God repeatedly in our discussions -- if you're the boss, you can torture and murder anyone you wish, according to your own rules."

      That's a lie. I've never, ever claimed that All-Loving God has both the legal and moral authority to reward the good and punish the evil because he's all-powerful. As I've stated repeatedly, it is his eminence as the Creator of all reality which vests him with such authority.

    • Joseph O Polanco profile image

      Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

      @Paladin

      “It was Dostoevsky, once again, who drew from the French Revolution and its seeming hatred of the Church the lesson that "revolution must necessarily begin with atheism." That is absolutely true. But the world had never before known a godlessness as organized, militarized, and tenaciously malevolent as that practiced by Marxism.

      Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin, and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions. Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to Communist policy; it is not a side effect, but the central pivot.”

      ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

      So you see, Totalitarianism is by necessity atheistic which is why it has always been atheistic in scope.

      These brainwashed its populace with Atheism, teaching them that there was no such thing as God even though they had no evidence to support their positive claim. They also brainwashed children to believe atheists were more rational that theists because the latter suffered from insanity which is why they believed in God in the first place. The combinations of all this dehumanizing brainwashing fueled their psychotic bigotry and hatred for all theists just for being theists.

      Historically, that's how the indoctrination of the religion of Atheism was carried out (currently being resurrected by the likes of militants such as American Atheists Inc.). As such, Atheism is a savage enemy of freedom and a threat to all free-thinkers.

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      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Well, Joseph, for your ad to work, you'd first have to prove two things: First, that Mao's China was an atheist government (hint: "Communist" doesn't equal "atheist"). Second -- and most importantly -- you'd have to prove that Mao's policies were the result of some specific atheist philosophy, and not the result of his governing policies or personal flaws.

      Perhaps Mao administered his government using the model you've repeatedly applied to God in our other discussions: As long as he's the boss, he can torture or murder anyone he wishes, and isn't breaking any laws.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      If Mao wasn't a communist tyrant, maybe it would be.

    • Joseph O Polanco profile image

      Joseph O Polanco 2 years ago

      Here's my idea for a billboard ad:

      "If atheism were such a blessing for humanity, Mao’s China would have been an empire of sunshine, rainbows and frolicking bunnies, instead of a countryside of cadavers."

      Whaddya think? :)

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I invite people to comment on this, or any of my hubs, whether they agree or disagree. Not all my hubs are on issues, but maybe the quetzal isn't the most beautiful bird in the world.

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      R Beggs 2 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      This is a great hub and I am wondering why more people are not commenting. Thanks for writing this. It think another hub about the paranormal would be a hit no matter what anyone's beliefs are. It would give everyone a chance to voice what they believe. By paranormal for me it is probably something that appears out of the ordinary.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Perhaps I'll do a new hub about it.

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      R Beggs 2 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Catherine, I understand. Well said. However, I think there is a variety of definitions of God. Even the atheist may have a different definition. From your first sentence you say you do not believe in the existence of super-natural phenomena of any kind. Once again I do not know what you define as super-natural phenomena. The reason I am taking the pains to point this out is everything in writing is a game of semantics, totally subjective. That is why there is no reason to argue over any of it.

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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I do not believe in the existence of super-natural phenomena of any kind. I'm telling you because you asked, but I don't want to be drawn into a conversation about religion or the existence of God. People who have made up their minds on the subject will not change just because I say so. The only belief that I want to change is the one that says people who don't believe in God can not live just as moral and meaningful lives as people who hold a different belief. The American Atheists go further than I would go on the issue; but they are a militant group. I included their billboard in the story just because it was on the theme of dueling billboards. I was careful to take an objective tone in my essay just as a reporter for a newspaper might do.

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      R Beggs 2 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Catherine Giordano…Just curious…what is your definition of God?

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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Someonewhoknows: People believe different things about spirituality. It looks like we have different beliefs. My point, and the point of the "good without God" campaign is that it does not require a belief in God to be a moral person. There are billions of people who do not believe in the existence of "the God of Abraham", and they live moral and meaningful lives. I am not trying to "convert" anyone; I'm just reporting on the campaign.

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      someonewhoknows 2 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      Psychology is in it's infancy ! The thought's we have may or may not be the truth. Ask yourself a question ! Who am I ? Why do I believe or not believe something or someone to, be what it is, or who they are? If, you believe you are just an animal that has no other reason to exist other than to produce offspring and to eventually die without somehow existing in another way after the death of the body then you will live your life accordingly.Civilization may continue. You believe you will not! Your life story may be of importance to those still living and their offspring because of what you believe and have done while you were alive and that is, all that you believe.

      Yet there are those who believe that we do live on after death of the body and much has been written about it . Not ,just in religious books but, by individuals like Edgar Cayce who while under a kind of hypnotic state would respond to questions about such things and more including how to heal the body using unknown techniques that present day doctors had no knowledge of and much more.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      You got the joke, Paladin. If the people who didn't like the billboards just ignored them, the campaigns would have not been successful. If I prefer Pepsi, I just ignore the ads for Coke. Thanks for commenting.

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      Paladin_ 2 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Thanks for the informative and encouraging hub, Catherine! I was especially pleased to read that, in many instances, the resistance and responses to COR billboards just helped bring in more donations and new members to the groups.

      Awesome!

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      R Beggs 2 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Catherine you are right.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image
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      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      My impression is that billboards are generally about selling stuff. These billboards are selling ideas.

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      R Beggs 2 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Billboards are generally about pleasure and sex. So even if they don't mention God (to me the Infinite) on billboards we are all still a part of the creator.