Atheist Group’s Billboard Borrows Message from a Local Church

This may be my favorite billboard campaign yet.

Back in August, the McElroy Road Church of Christ put up this billboard in Ohio:

Wha…? Sure, we all know what they’re trying to say, but at first glance, it looks like they paid money to spread an atheistic message. In fact, the Mid Ohio Atheists started getting credit for putting it up! Hilarity ensued all around.

Well, now the Mid Ohio Atheists are putting up their own billboard… and they decided to run the exact same message :)

It’s such a strong message and it worked so well the first time, right…? That billboard will go up the week after Thanksgiving and stay there until Christmas Eve.

Meanwhile, as the billboard notes and as I mentioned yesterday, the same group is joining forces with American Atheists to put up a couple more billboards in the Mansfield area:

They’re also putting out a “billboard calling card” to other atheists in the area:

No doubt that the trifecta of billboards will get lots of media attention. And there’s no better time to talk about the Joys of Rational Thinking than near the religious holidays.

By the way, here’s an interesting fact from all this. The Mid Ohio Atheists are putting up three billboards in their community. Yet their total membership doesn’t even exceed 20 people. You think you need to be part of a large group to make something like this happen? You think you need lots of people to raise the money for the ads? You don’t! An active group of a few people is far more powerful than a large group of apathetic people.

So what is your local group doing to promote reason this time of year?

(Thanks to Michael for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • BTA1138

    There just HAS to be some atheist graphic designers in Ohio that would LOVE to work on these billboard campaigns.  As a designer myself, I cringe at what I keep seeing coming from these atheist organizations.  Christians are usually the ones with the horrible music abilities.  Don’t let them trounce us when it comes to art, please!

    • Anonymous

      That’s what I was thinking.  All these examples look pretty low-rent to me. Even the church’s billboard at the top is looking good in comparison.

    • Gus Snarp

      Yeah, that church billboard has better design than the atheist ones, and that’s saying something. The billboards for the Creation Museum are fantastic, great design and they just show dinosaurs to lure the kids in. We’ve got to be able to come up with some billboards that are better than Christian ones in design, since we’ve already got better messages.

    • Anonymous

      I agree, all of these are tacky.

    • Drew M.

      This sounds like a good opportunity to make donations in the form of custom design.

    • Meika_B

      Ugh, seriously. Billboards don’t have to be graphically hideous to grab your attention; why don’t we do something simple, straightforward, and eyecatching that’s actually attractive?

    • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

      Strongly agreed. That mrccgrace.com ad actually looks really good. I’m loving the grungy detail of it. The atheist ones don’t have a theme or anything really. AA is getting sloppy. I actually liked the You Know It’s A MYTH billboards from last year. That looked pretty decent. Now it’s just an ugly plain blocky black and orange thing…

  • Gus Snarp

    So how much does a billboard cost, and how does the process work? If you have a design, does the billboard company then do all the execution as part of the price?

    • http://www.facebook.com/midohioatheists Mid Ohio Atheists

      Depends on the company, but most will do a design for you, the reply billboard was designed by LIND billboard company.  The AA Billboard was designed by  them and the calling card Bilboard was designed by our members. 

      • Gus Snarp

        What are they charging for the billboards?

  • http://www.facebook.com/midohioatheists Mid Ohio Atheists

    Geez, where were all you critical artist types when we were begging for designs over the last 4 months?    Anyone with any ideas for future billboard campaigns are more than welcome to submit them to midohioatheists@gmail.com.   However I hope you have a think skin because I hear people can get rather snarky if they don’t like what you come up with.

    • Gus Snarp

      Was your begging posted to Friendly Atheist? But let’s be honest, I’m the critical type, but not the artist type. I know what I don’t like, but I don’t know how to create something great. Besides, it’s easier to critique than to create. Much as I’d like to see more impressive billboards, you’re doing SOMETHING, and I’m not, so keep up the good work! Also, you should feel really good that he billboard you designed is still better than the American Atheists’ billboard.

    • Drew M.

      BTA1138′s criticism irked me as well. If I were a graphic artist, I’d offer pro bono design work for atheist groups.

      But it’s easier to whine than to help.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.zamecki Joe Zamecki

    “There is no god.  Don’t believe everything you hear.”

    That’s sounds as two-sided as “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone.” 

    I like flexibility, but I think in the case of billboards for our movement, clarity is better. 

  • Benjamin Kay

    That demon image looks terrible. Couldn’t they throw Thor up there or something?

    • dunkin

      I think the idea is that some people will point to the white god guy and Satan as “real” and Poseidon and Santa as myth.


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