Christian Ads Hit NYC January 19, 2010

Christian Ads Hit NYC

After the New York City atheist ads made such a media splash, Christians in the area are coming back with this ad:

That ad is on around 1,000 subways cars as of Friday.

Looks pretty, but there’s little substance to it. And I suspect it won’t raise a lot of attention. It’s a pretty bland ad when it comes right down to it. Nothing we haven’t seen hundreds of times before.

But I don’t mind Times Square Church for doing this. Whether it’s a response to the atheist ads or a separate idea, they have a right to advertise this way.

I *really* hope the ads don’t get defaced because that’s when fingers would point our way and the media would start to pay attention.

I’m curious whether NYC Atheists plan any rebuttal ads…

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  • Olivia

    I’ll keep my eyes peeled on the subways. I’ll give them this, though: it’s got better graphics than the atheist ads.

  • littlejohn

    They’re in New York, dude. I’ll cover any bet from anyone who thinks someone won’t spray paint “dead” or “an asshole” or something similar under “god is” within a week.
    And it’s a shame, because it will give xians an excuse to deface our stuff.
    And so it goes.

  • Matt

    I’m glad they went with such a fabulous color scheme. Made me think of the gay Southern Jesus skit by David Cross. “Oh! Hey, Luke. Hey, Mark. Y’all come on in. How was the bazaar? Don’t tell me. I’m going tomorrow. Oh, Lord… Oh! That’s me!”

  • They say God is the amswer ,and Alive ?
    Where can HE BE SEEN and INTERVIEWED.???

  • Is it just me or is it a bit of a contradiction to have an ad reminding you about a “God” that is supposed to be an all encompassing presence in your life?
    .-= David McNerney´s last blog ..Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics =-.

  • Jer

    Looks pretty, but there’s little substance to it.

    An interesting commentary on religion… oh, you meant the ad. Gotcha.

    I *really* hope the ads don’t get defaced

    A thousand separate subway ads in NYC and you think there’s even a possibility that they can all survive unscathed? I put the probability of that at somewhere around the level of me winning the lottery tomorrow – without buying a ticket. And all it takes is one defacement for some journalist with a deadline and no ideas to turn a bit of vandalism into a story.

    Actually if they all survived without defacement it would show that religion still has an overwhelming level of respect within the culture. I don’t expect that to happen – I don’t think religion has that kind of respect anymore. Nothing survives a public transit system unmocked, and I doubt these will be any different.

  • Aren’t there all sorts of pro-religion adds up all the time? Is this really news? Here in Boston there are at least two on the T now. One is a large one with a quote from C.S. Lewis the other is a borderline incoherent one with a link to AIG at the bottom.
    .-= Joshua Zelinsky´s last blog ..A Different Take on Ireland’s New Blasphemy Law =-.

  • oinonio

    Somehow I find the color and multiple typefaces a distraction from reading all the text. Perhaps that’s the intention. I would have made the main “God is” black, to represent absorption of all colors, etc. I’d also have included some other languages in addition to english, it is NYC after all. I think The American Bible Society did a far better job with their building, see:

    As it stands this could be mistaken as an ad for The Bahamas, which advertises a different sort of salvation in the NYC subway.

  • Ollie

    Incredible? I fully agree.
    The other descriptions? Incredible.

  • Valdyr

    I’d also have included some other languages in addition to english, it is NYC after all.

    If English was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for you and me, pal.

    You know, it’s funny… when you actually look closely at the text, it’s all just the same 6-10 phrases repeated over and over. I see at least three instances of “Husband to the widow” (damn, show some respect, God, the woman’s just lost her wife and all you can think about is getting in her pants!) and many repetitions of “incredible” (which is true, in the strictest dictionary definition as a synonym for “farfetched” or “proposterous”, but I don’t think that’s what they had in mind…)

  • mikespeir

    I agree with Olivia. That’s downright purty.

  • Tony

    Anybody handy with photoshop can make their own “God is…” ad with “jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully”

  • Paul

    God is aware of your struggle. He chooses to completely ignore it, but he’s aware of it.

  • Ian

    The best rebuttal ad I can think of would be to simply have the words “God Isn’t” with nothing in the background.
    .-= Ian´s last blog ..Elders speak up for women =-.

  • oinonio

    You make god sound like my health insurance provider.

  • God, if you’re aware on my hangover, can you make it go away please?
    Thank you.
    .-= Lagunatic´s last blog ..Fractional Entertainment =-.

  • Casimir

    Any New Yorkers reading this? Because I’ve been on NYC subways and I’ve seen plenty of ads for Christian churches/services/books. And I don’t remember any particular Christian ads being vandalized.

  • Parse

    I would rate this ad as an overall ‘meh.’ It would be better, as somebody else said, if they had left the ‘GOD IS’ in black, and left each of the phrases in their own color. With everything masked with the gradient, it looks more like a color splotch than an actual message. It also would be much more effective if it didn’t repeat phrases – I see at least three repetitions of ‘Merciful’ and ‘There when no one else is.’ Since Carter Conlon, the senior pastor of Times Square Church says that “the ads describe God in just a few of the infinite ways He proves His presence to us every day,” (emphasis mine) there shouldn’t be any need for repetition.

    Another quote from the linked article:

    In its latest attempt to get people talking about God and religion, the church hopes to not just draw unbelievers, but also former believers.

    “We are praying that people who don’t know God and would like to know Him, would be moved by these ads to visit Times Square Church or any Bible believing church in New York City and find God through the forgiveness freely offered through His Son, Jesus Christ,” Conlon said. “And to those who once knew God and need to get back to God, we want to say simply this: His arms are open wide always ready to welcome you home.”

    Call me evil, but I actually laughed at the naïveté and optimism shown here. First off, like most evangelistic materials, this ad would only work on those already convinced of its veracity – proof by assertion only works when your audience agrees with what you say. Secondly, I ran away from God’s abusive household by choice. This prodigal son has found success, love, and happiness away from his shadow, and I’m not about to fall into a guilt trip like ‘His arms are open wide always to welcome you home.’

    (On a side note, in the bottom right corner, the ad asserts that God is ‘Husband to the widow.’ By definition, a widow is one whose husband has died. Is the ad saying that God is dead?)

  • I fully expect Sean Hannity to issue a full apology for saying that there is no way a Christian ad would be allowed in the NYC subway system. Aw, who am I kidding? Hannity doesn’t have enough integrity to do that.
    .-= Iason Ouabache´s last blog ..The Known Universe =-.

  • flatlander100

    So, the message is “God Is.” But an atheist bus ad that said “God Isn’t” would be denounced as “in your face” and “aggressive” and “confrontational.” But “God Is” isn’t.

    And the beat goes on….

  • Matto the Hun

    I don’t think we really need a response to this ad specifically. While it’s very nicely done, the message is nothing more than the insipid drivel that appeals to the already convinced.

    We should keep plugging along with out message. Letting other atheists know that they aren’t alone, that we don’t believe there’s a god(s), and that we are moral w/o god(s).

    Those messages, no matter how reviled they are by the faithful, are new and difficult to combat with out either intolerance, which has been tried with little success, or with the same, tired old tripe.

    For people really thinking on their belief, or who may be on the fence, we have something new (because it’s been suppressed for so long). The Christian ads trots out an unconvincing message that’s so played out it’s likely the sort of thing that pushes people to consider our message more by contrast.

    or maybe I’m bat-shit crazy, but I don’t think so, at least not entirely.

  • WK

    So, in response to the atheist billboards and ads, that were a response to religious billboards and ads, they’re putting up more religious ads. Okay, and this is news… why?

  • Richard P

    But…but ….. it is a sign full of lies…

    Ready to help… cares about your struggles… Husband to the widow…. Give me a break, where was god when the earthquake struck… Where was god when my mother needed help after the old man died… he didn’t bring in the wood.

    Too bad he doesn’t do a little less caring and knowing and a little more of… something, fuck… anything would be nice….
    Sorry you new yorkers need to subject to such bullshit…
    Sigh… i am going back to bed…

  • In looking at the ad, the “Tower of Babel” comes to mind.
    .-= Jeff P´s last blog ..Atheism described with Venn diagrams =-.

  • DDM

    They repeat “merciful” at least 3 times in the picture. Rather than ringing true, this seems like a case of repeating something to yourself until you actually believe it’s true.

  • I like it!

    It’s much nicer than other response ads. I remember one response ad that asked the question, “Why do atheists hate America?”
    .-= Robert Madewell´s last blog ..Malachi Madness! =-.

  • Shannon

    I think it’s really pretty. A lot nicer and more eye catching than most of the religious ads I’ve seen.

  • Casimir

    It’d be better to use God’s own description of himself , using quotes from the Bible.

  • Snuggly Buffalo

    “Looking at you” is also in there (starting right below the right side of the ‘d’ in God). That has a very creepy Big Brother vibe to it…

  • Casimir

    Hmm. Replying directly to other commenters isn’t entirely working. Shows up in the sidebar but not under the entry.

    Anyway, MikeTheInfidel, I tried to say that’s better done with using God’s own description of himself from Bible verses. (Plus some of his quotes.)

  • Ikkyu

    The first thing that crossed my mind, (I guess I’m a Graphic Novel Nerd).
    Darkseid Is” In a JLA episode there are posters that say that, when he conquers the earth in an alternate timeline.

  • Slickninja

    Husband to the widow?

    …. Really?

    All I can do is shake my head in disbelief (Yes, we atheists tend to have better puns)

  • Epistaxis

    God is “Jesus” and “A father?” Whose father is he, then?

  • LKL

    I like it. It’s not saying atheists are evil or that anyone’s going to hell; it’s supporting the ‘nice’ side of faith, saying basically ‘this makes me happy.’ It’s not a nasty, Robertson-esque holier-than-thou insult.

    Likewise, I really liked the buses and billboard adds that said, “Don’t believe in God? You are not alone,” and thought that the Virginia/Santa Claus ones were slightly overboard.

  • Kelsey

    Well, it’s…pretty.
    As well as pretty…repetitive.
    This add reminds me of that Family Guy episode where the toy factory is bought out by the cigarette company and when peter talks about the smoke ads, it goes to this one movie where every few seconds a bland man would pop up on the screen and go:


    “Are you smoking yet?”

  • muggle

    Eh, for a religious ad, it ain’t so bad. I’d see it and snicker at it but it wouldn’t piss me off like some of them do. Though I must point out there are some theists definitely gonna take offense at the God is Jesus bit.

    It’s NYC. It’s gonna be defaced. At the very least, I can see some real-life version of The Warriors painting their real-life version of a big red W over it.

    (If you say none of ours were, I am going to be shocked as hell, frankly, and probably ask you to prove that extraordinary claim.)

  • I do think the sign is quite pretty. It reminds me of one of those Word Clouds you can generate for your blog. The colors are nice, and the message, while it might make us roll our eyes a bit, isn’t hostile or threatening.

  • …Dead.

    Surely the designers snuck the famous Friedrich Nietzsche quote into all that mess. 😉
    .-= hoverfrog´s last blog ..Death List 2010 =-.

  • Carlie

    I like it, because the most obvious text shows “God is aware of your struggle”, to which the immediate reply of most people would be “Then why the hell doesn’t he do something about it?

  • Just add “may or may not be” to every one of those things, and you have a Karen Armstrong word salad!

  • ThilinaB

    First thing that comes to my mind when i see that is “it sure is a gay sign for promoting a homophobe”.

  • I added to it, a little:

    (I don’t think that counts as defacing.)

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