Church Responds to Atheist Billboard in Kentucky

A few days ago, the Bluegrass Coalition of Reason in Kentucky put up their first billboard:

And, just like that, the Lafayette Church of the Nazarene has put up a weak message of their own in response:

We believe in God. Join the right club!

What?! A church that believes in God?! I’m shocked, I tell you…

The purpose of the atheist billboard is to capture the attention of people who don’t know there are other atheists like them in the area. Everyone knows there are Bible-thumpers every few feet, so I don’t know what they’ll really accomplish.

Kudos to the church for capitalizing on the free publicity, but they missed the entire point.

Also, the pastor gave one hell of an awkward interview in this TV news segment:

The Church’s Pastor says he wasn’t offended by the billboard, but others might have been.

Pastor Jared Henry says, “Yeah, probably God. He was probably offended by it. There are other people who, I’m sure, were offended. I think it was kind of a…the Bible says, Proverbs says a fool says in his heart there is no God.”

I guess God was offended by the fact that atheists exist. How *dare* all of you bully Him like that.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • John

    That isn’t Proverbs, it’s Psalms 14…

    • Sindigo

      Well, if a bunch of Atheists putting up a billboard is going to offend the almighty than one would think one of his priests misquoting his magical instruction book is going to get him really pissed.

    • John Small Berries

      Also Psalms 53, which is just a blatant plagiarism of 14.

      Strange how they love to quote that verse, but always forget about
      that other one.

    • curtcameron

      Yeah, that was also my first thought when I read what he said. I know the pastor’s book better than he does.

      I see that line from Psalms quoted a lot, but I’d like to hear one of  them defend the second part of that verse, which says that “fools” who say there is no God are corrupt and incapable of doing any good.

  • Einmaliger

    I actually found the church sign quite funny. I don’t agree, but still it made me laugh.

    • Richard Wigton

       I found the church sign amusing too.  As if people don’t know that people who attend church believe in God.  “What? I don’t believe it! Really?”

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Leithiser/593361421 Chris Leithiser

         I feel certain that particular club HAS members who don’t believe in god but are there for the social aspects.  And they’re our target audience.

  • DougI

    At least the billboard company pays taxes and didn’t need the taxpayer to subsidize the message.

  • Glasofruix

    I don’t know putting a “we believe in gawd, join us” sign in the US is a lot like putting a sign that says “We have curry, come and get some” in front of a restaurant in India…

  • treedweller

    Team Church. They didn’t deface the billboard or protest it. They didn’t demand their sign go up in front of city hall. they just put their own message on their own sign on their own property. Wish more Christians would respond to us is way.

    • treedweller

      *this way

    • Gary

       And said they were right and atheists are wrong.  Lovely.

      • treedweller

        Does it surprise you that they believe this? Does it harm you when they claim it publicly? Let morons be morons, fools be fools, and believers be believers, I say. Easier to sort them out as I go about my daily life. And allowing them to do so is what makes this country great.

      • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

        The complete and utter right to say that some other person is wrong is the entire basis of the First Amendment and our concept of liberty.  Don’t knock it.

    • Blaphemous_Kansan

      Agreed.  Now if only my tax $ didn’t pay for their rebuttal then we’d be made in the shade!

      As I trek the beautiful Kansas countryside from my socially liberal oasis of a home to my hometown (which can be called ‘stereotypical’ Kansas for the purposes of discussion here), the only unpleasant sights lie on a stretch of road 3 miles long inhabited by 5 churches.   On any given day no less than two of them will have hate-filled messages of fire and brimstone directed at people like me and, more recently, at females who dare to have control over their reproductive organs.
      Free speech is wonderful.  The ability to express one’s opinion is wonderful, but no one else gets, or should get, a tax break on their hate speech.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      They kept it classy, and I can appreciate that while simultaneously disagreeing with their message.

  • http://twitter.com/GreenEyedLilo Jayelle

    Ah, I know what they’re accomplishing. Telling atheists they aren’t welcome and are wrong. That’s their main objective.

    I’d think that any God worth worshipping would be more upset by people killing in his name, and would be annoyed that some of his worshippers think he’s as petty as they are.

    I seriously wish that Christians like that could at least say “I’m offended” without trying to hide behind God’s robes.

  • Guest

    That is shocking.  Almost as shocking as atheist groups who don’t believe in God (though with the recent Pew Research polls that find almost a quarter of atheists praying, and a whopping 6% of atheists who believe in a personal God, perhaps there is reason to clarify the subject!).

    • http://mittenatheist.blogspot.com/ Kari Lynn

      Atheists don’t believe in God. Please post a link.

      K. Thx. Bye.

      • rhodent

         My guess is that he’s referring to this, at least for the “almost a quarter of atheists pray” bit:  http://www.pewforum.org/Prayer-in-America.aspx

        Of course, that doesn’t say that almost a quarter of atheists pray; it says that almost a quarter of Americans with no religious affiiation pray. 

        I’m not sure where he’s getting the 6% of atheists believe in a personal god thing, though.

        • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

           I think it’s more likely that 6% of atheists like to deliberately mess up surveys. 

          • makarios

            Ya, it’s the same as when I put down in a high-school survey that I’d done more than 5,000 hits of LSD. In reality, it was less.  I think.

  • http://aboutkitty.blogspot.com/ Cat’s Staff

    The problem with the pastor declaring that “[God] was probably offended by it” is that there will be people who think it’s their job to take things into their own hands and defend their god from offense.  It’s no different than an Imam saying that something someone said or wrote offends Allah or Mohammad…next thing you know people are breaking things and killing people.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      Well if God is offended, He can come down and tell us himself!

      BTW, I like your username.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_P5AGENZT7SGBGT54QN4QZRBNHY quattrone

    I don’t think that was an awkward interview.  Uninformed yes, not necessarily awkward.

    • David

       Yes.
      Poor pastor (and how young to be a ‘senior pastor) really didn’t seem to know what he was refuting.

      Remins me of Hitch – ‘paraphrasing ‘You don’t seem to have read any of the counter arguments to you case’

  • The Other Weirdo

    How did that line go?

    “A fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ A wise man says it out loud.”

    • Chakolate

       It’s “A wise man shouts it from the rooftops”, I think.

  • Vini Marques

    To be fair, our billboard wasn’t any masterpiece either.

    • woodwindsrock

       But it was far from ‘offensive’.

  • Gus Snarp

    The real news is that a church demonstrated a sense of humor!

  • MargueriteF

    Yay for the church. We spoke; they spoke. Everyone’s had their say, and no one vandalized anything. It’s a nice thing to see, really.

  • Alexandra

    I really didn’t get the point of atheist billboards, besides that they’re fun and useful, until I was driving to LA last week.  From the highway I saw at least 5 different “JESUS IS WIN!” kind of signs during the 40 mile drive.  It made me crazy.  Just one atheist one would have made my day.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Yeah, probably God. He was probably offended by it.

    I have never understood this whole thing about God being offended by anything.

    Human beings are offended by things that they are not mature enough to emotionally adjust to. So a one-year-old is extremely, devastatingly offended when he can’t have the candy he sees in the market, the six-year-old is very offended when he has to eat his vegetables, the ten-year-old is somewhat offended when he can’t watch the movie past his bedtime, the 17-year-old is slightly offended when the girl won’t go out with him, and so forth.

    But the All-Knowing, All-Seeing, All-Loving, Ultimately Wise Expander of Infinite Universes gets offended, annoyed, downright pissed off when a puny, carbon-based, ex-tree dweller with a hypertrophied frontal lobe isn’t convinced that He exists because He’s done such a good job of hiding Himself. That’s a bigger disparity between stimulus and reaction than the one-year-old shows.

    Maybe Christians actually believe in Zeus, who is essentially a human being with tremendous powers, and because he has always had such power, he’s just a nasty, ill-tempered, overgrown one-year-old.

  • woodwindsrock

    The response on the church sign doesn’t bother me at all. But he mentions that some people might have been offended by that atheist billboard. An billboard which merely says “Don’t Believe in God?” How in the world is that offensive?

  • Chakolate

    I think you’re being too harsh, Hemant.  It’s the mildest possible response, it shows just a tiny bit of humor (okay, it’s Christian humor, but still) and it’s inviting to all. 

    If all responses to atheist billboards were so reasonable, we wouldn’t get a fraction of the press we get now. 

  • Robyman4

    Yeah, yeah, and almost every last person in that church believes in God and says it’s unquestionably right to do so because of their parents. You see, their mom and dad are of course wiser and more knowledgeable than ALL the parents of EVERY other faith concerning the most significant question the human race has ever asked (you know, the one that concerns the fate of your immortal soul), and thus told them all they needed to know – oh wait, excuse me, to believe. That absolute certainty certainly explains why they call themselves the community of believers, and do not refer to themselves as a community of knowers or truthers or some similar notion, not that I’ve ever heard in 36 years… Soooo, just using their own label against them ;-)

  • JAN D WRIGHT

    rrr

  • JAN D WRIGHT

    How can anyone claim their is no God when they have no idea of how long they will live, God said from dust thou art and to dust ye shalt return that commandment has not failed yet. You want proof God is real take a look at a cemetery and then try to dispute the fact you will die. Man life span is that of a may fly compared to the eternal life and power of God, arrogance and stupidity run hand and hand with atheist thinking.

    • Anna

      You do not seem to understand that atheists do not believe there is evidence to suggest the existence of any gods. What you believe your god says is irrelevant to us because we do not accept any of your foundational supernatural assumptions.

      • JAN D WRIGHT

        Make’s no difference, the fact still remains you will die you can’t dispute that. That’s how dumb atheist are, ” YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH” death is the proof, don’t get me wrong I wish we did not have to die. However this is his commandment and we will comply, it’s your blind arrogance that makes you unable to concede to that proof. Only a human would puff them selves up in their own self knowledge and make such a claim. Mans knowledge is shear non-since to God, just has your comment is to me, all you are is dust in the wind. To tell you truth I’m glad he’s so loving and forgiving just like the parents who raised their children. Because if I was God we would no be having this conversation.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

          Yeah, we ALL will die. What’s your point?

          • JAN D WRIGHT

            It’s one you miss, if you were a detective you would never solve a case, you refuse to see the evidence when it’s in your face.

            • Fred

              Ohh are you trying to write a rap song?

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

              *yawn*

              Right. Evidence. Get back to me when you, you know, actually have some.

        • Anna

          Of course I’m going to die. You’re the one who believes you’re immortal, not me.

          • JAN D WRIGHT

            I never said I was immortal, however that is what the Bibles tell me I will be if I believe in him. I kind of want to get behind that thought because I know I will die, but God offers me life eternal. I don’t know about you but I want another chance at life.

            • FTP_LTR

              Jan, wanting something doesn’t make it any more real – no matter how hard you want it. My kids really, really want the tooth fairy to bring them money. It doesn’t mean that there’s a tooth fairy, even though there are books that say there is.

              • JAN D WRIGHT

                I hope you get what you believe since you say there’s no after life for you. And you don’t want to understand God is real and you have authority over your life span. That’s your right, however this is not about the tooth fairy.

                • FTP_LTR

                  If you can provide any evidence, any evidence at all that anyone has “have authority over your life span”, please do.

            • Anna

              Wishing for something doesn’t make it real.

              Atheists don’t believe there is evidence to suggest that any gods exist. We also don’t think the Bible is anything other than an ordinary book.

        • Fred

          Its odd to claim that everyone will die and Atheists cant handle the truth about that.

          We’re not the ones who made up a magical fantasy land and a god who will put all the “good” people there when they die.

          Are you sure that we’re the dumb crazy ones?

  • JAN D WRIGHT

    The major problem with man is, he is blinded by his own self knowledge he only believes what he can see, feel or taste. When he does see something he can’t explain he gets afraid and confused then try’s to deny it. The proof of God is you will die and the authority is with him to bring you back or destroy you completely. Whether you believe it or not, He’s not going to force you to believe that’s why he gave you the gift of free will. It’s your choice to believe in him or not, but the consequences will be yours to face, because the fact still remains you will die just as he has commanded. There is no way I would walk around and make the claim you have when there’s so many disasters and unexplained events which have been documented. The reason atheist don’t want to believe in God and his word is because they don’t like his condemnation of the sinful ways of man. Sin feels good to the flesh but condemns the soul and they are in denial.

  • JAN D WRIGHT

    Some of you people are really stupid! I tell you what’ stop saying OMG, God help them, or God it hurts so bad please make it stop, that only shows just how dumb you are. Case and point is death! it is the most simplest thing to see. You can deny God’s existence all you like but when you are on your death bed the evidence will be so clear to you, and you will understand what he meant when he said ( From dust thou art and to dust ye shall return) meaning all things on earth have an expiration date that only God knows and there’s nothing you can do or say about it. ( only the fool will say there’s no God) funniest thing to me is you dummies will deny it right up until your final moments. If you know your expiration date and have the power to change or stop it then maybe I’ll listen to what you are claiming, fact is you can’t your death is the proof stupid! you have no argument against that, your just a pile of dirt with a big miss lead mouth! all of you are so stupid, Bill Maher is the ring leader in you circus of ” Tom Foolery”.


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