Bible-Quoting Billboards for the Atheist Crowd April 23, 2011

Bible-Quoting Billboards for the Atheist Crowd

These billboards weren’t put up by atheists. In fact, they don’t even exist.

But I wish they did…

(Thanks to Dylan for the link!)

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  • Steve

    Those would make great billboards. It should also include more of the immorality and crap in the NT, so it isn’t so easily dismissed.

    The second one though isn’t by god. It’s by Paul, who was a sociopath with some truly screwed up ideas about people and society. It’s a shame Christianity based so many of its teachings on him.

  • Muxika

    Awesome! I love this, man. Absolutely love it. Ever since my Bible Lit class, I’ve been shocked at the bullshit in Deuteronomy, about the “Curse of Destruction.”

  • Defiantnonbeliever

    If billboards were to be graded on a curve I think it may have just been broken. 🙂

  • LifeTrekker

    Not to be a party pooper, but there is a lot of disagreement as to the authorship of 1st Timothy. It has traditionally been attributed to Paul, but is now widely believed by many scholars to be a forgery, written at some time after Paul’s death by someone using his name in order to push their own theology and agenda.

    Not that this really makes much of a difference anyway, as the evangelicals and fundamentalist Christians believe Paul wrote it, and it did get included in the Bible when it was canonized 1600 years ago, so it is still considered “God’s Holy Word” by most Christians. A billboard like this would still have a lot of impact on your average Christian Sunday churchgoer that never bothers to read their own Bible.

    I, for one, would love to see these kinds of billboards going up all over the country. I have even thought about posting some of these verses and the many others like them on my Facebook page in order to counter all the feel good passages posted there regularly by my Christian friends and family. I don’t think I would get all that many “likes”, do you?

  • Or my personal favorite:
    All fat belongs to the LORD. Leviticus 3:17

  • @Steve, well, most Christians would say it is by Paul, but it is most definitely a Pseudographia (or a forgery)

  • Good stuff, but Ezekiel 21:33 is incorrect.

  • gets people thinking. brilliant! and just in time for easter.

  • That is to say, there is no Ezekiel 21:33 and rest of 21 does not contain those words.

  • Paul

    Ezekiel 21:33 does exist in the Hebrew text.

    Ezekiel 21:1 In Hebrew texts 21:1-32 is numbered 21:6-37.

    NIV says: I will deliver you into the hands of brutal men,
    men skilled in destruction.
    You will be fuel for the fire,
    your blood will be shed in your land,
    you will be remembered no more;
    for I the LORD have spoken.’”

  • Pony

    Actually bobby, it’s Ezekiel 21:31-32. But I imagine there may be variations between editions. KJV vs NIV vs GNB etc.

  • Alex

    One of my favorites has to be Ezekiel 23:19-21

    Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. 20 There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. 21 So you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when in Egypt your bosom was caressed and your young breasts fondled.

  • mb

    “The second one though isn’t by god.”

    Not to nitpick but NONE of these were “by god” since there is no god and nonentities have trouble expressing ideas. However, FWIW, Paul claimed to have god’s inspiration and that his words were, in fact, god’s. So to the extent that any words in the Bible can be attributed to god, these can as well.

  • Trace

    Infinite justice and infinite love, or something.

    Oh, and happy Easter!

  • Roxane

    If all fat belongs to the Lord, I seem to have some of his property.

  • MaleficVTwin

    [godbotherer]But, you’re taking them out of context!![/godbotherer]

  • Luther

    These billboards are God’s punishment for how we have treated women, children, men, gays, animals, other beings, science, truth, and the earth.
    – Pat Robertson*

    *Not necessarily intended as a fact based statement.

  • For Satan I Sing

    Doesn’t matter which book, which chapter which verse, which author; if it is in the Bible, Christians should consider it the word of God, else, why would he endorse it? Oh right, because they can pick and choose.

  • e-man

    I’d rather live with a good question than a bad answer.
    —Aryeh Frimer

  • Carlie

    I think that would get more attention than the “you KNOW it’s a myth” billboards, and be even more unassailable. What can any Christian complain about? It’s right there in the Bible!

  • gwen

    Carlie, it WOULD except, Dave Silverman has said over and over, that he is aiming at closeted atheist in the pews, but I have a feeling that something like this will be popping up somewhere down the line…

  • gwen

    PioneerCynthia Says:
    Or my personal favorite:
    All fat belongs to the LORD. Leviticus 3:17

    And I have about 50lbs of his valuable property. I am very willing to give it back to him anytime!!

  • LifeTrekker

    I have to agree with you Carlie. I think they would have much more impact that the current crop of atheist billboards.

    I think a good way to do a billboard campaign like this would be to post them anonymously, at least at first. You could then do a reveal campaign. Post the scripture quotes with just the references and “God” signature. Wait 2 – 4 weeks for everyone to start talking and for the media to get all in a ruckus wondering who posted them. Then add something like “Brought to you by the Freethinkers, Agnostics, and Atheists of America.”

  • Rich Wilson

    I’d add

    Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.

    — God
    Gen 22:2

  • Peter Mahoney

    awesome. simply awesome.

    It would totally put the preachers on the defensive.

    Also, I know that when I was a believer if I had heard that God endorsed slavery, smashing babies on rocks, and anti-women rules, I would have started questioning the whole religion a lot sooner.

  • David Moss

    I hate to rain on the parade, but these are computer-generated. You can tell they are photos of the same three or four billboards, but with different text on them. It’s a shame, because it would’ve been really cool to see billboards like these.

  • There is nothing wrong with seeking God… The problems only begin when someone finds him.

  • Bargain

    Interesting. Most of these are things that people in the Bible said, not God. Atheists like to read the Bible out of context. It can be fun, but it’s no good. But if you want to think you have something here, go ahead. It means nothing to anyone who likes to think.

  • Jamie

    gwen: Yes, Dave Silverman and his crew are aiming at closeted atheists, and they should! But it would be great if they got Christians to question the bible. It would be great if those Christians, after reading the billboards, looked the verses up in the bible and found out that the billboard was right! That the word of “God” endorses slavery, prejudice and murder. It would be great if preachers and some politicians start saying that the verses are being taken “out of context”, only to have people read the whole text and find out that the verses in question are very literal even within context!

    Penn Jillete said it on a Bullshit! episode: “Whatever you do, don’t read the Bible for a moral code: it advocates prejudice, cruelty, superstition, and murder. Read it because we need more atheists, and nothing will get you there faster than reading the damn Bible.”

    The billboard pictures posted by Hemant are computer generated, yeah, but secular/atheist organizations SHOULD put up billboards like these. It’ll be great to build up support for the 2012 Reason Rally.

  • KPL

    @David Moss: Look at the first sentence of the post… “These billboards weren’t put up by atheists. In fact, they don’t even exist.”

  • Daryl

    Well clearly these have been taken completely out of context 🙂

    Damn, Bargain beat me to it. Oh, he/she actually seems serious…

  • Daryl

    The only ‘context’ for the bible is as an ancient, obsolete document whose morals were pretty medicore even for its own time. If this were so I and probably a great number of people on this site would gladly look the other way. But as the considerable majority view it as the inerrant word of an omniscient and omnipotent deity, it’s becomes fair game to show what the bible actually contains.

  • Steve

    Again, this is helpful when it comes to biblical context:

  • Silas

    Yes they are great…to bad they can’t get up on billboards. Some day it will happen.

  • Glenn

    @Bargain That’s perfect, because these billboards would be directed at those who are being told what to think. Those of us who already do so for ourselves realize the truth about the christian bible.

    That it was written by men almost 2000 years ago. Using stories that were passed down verbally through generations. From people who weren’t even alive during the time that most of these events were to have transpired.

    Now there’s a text I would base my entire belief structure on. Happy Zombie Jesus Day!

  • Troglodyke

    Awesome. I am now trying to decide how believers would respond.

    No doubt they’d erect their own with their favorite verses, including the “only a fool says there is no god,” or some other such crap.

    Oooh! Maybe we should put up some with Jesus’ likeness and a quote bubble coming out of his mouth. Underneath, the text would read, “What Jesus said about homosexuality.” And of course the bubble would be empty. This could be done for any number of topics the fundies like to pretend mattered to god.

    Or, a set of quotation marks with only space in between, and the text underneath: “What the 10 Commandments say about homosexuality.”

    If god hated gays so much, why didn’t he forbid homosexuality in the 10 C’s? Or have his beloved murdered son say something–ANYTHING–about it?

  • i really wish at least one atheist group had the sense to launch a campaign like this. it could include ridiculous notions from the Koran and Torah, too, to be fair. just straight up quotes from “god” or whomever. think of the publicity. better even than a billboard which had the mathematical formula for the total volume and weight of “two of every animal” known, and the size of the wooden ship that was supposed to have preserved them during the “flood.”

    but whatever. i would pay money i don’t have to support this campaign, esp if it were in the south.

  • Tom Davis

    I’m jaded. As I age, celebrating the absurd and evil in the bible seems old, like shooting fish in a barrel. Still the good work must continue.

  • Oh, I just saw a billboard that is for rent! I should put one of these up. So which one is your favorite?

  • @Steve Thanks for the awesome You Tube video… had me laughing out loud.

    General comment – love these billboard ideas and wished I had the money to actually display them. Another idea along this line could be the production of video games that “take the Christian bible seriously” and present scenes from the Old Testament in which the player can take an active role: collecting foreskins, animal sacrifice, the genocide for non-believers, killing men for having sex with other men, killing people for working on the Sabbath… Given the violent nature of secular video games, on what ground could Christians object?


  • Kamaka

    @ Bargain

    Atheists like to read the Bible out of context.

    Oh, really? And just how did you come by this nugget of wisdom? Or are you just making stuff up as religionists are wont to do?

    This atheist has read the bible quite carefully. And I’m sure that I am not the only atheist who has done so.

    Go read Leviticus. From start to finish one can find such nastiness as quoted above in the fake billboards.

    Do us atheists a favor. Go read the bible very carefully from beginning to end before making such sweeping generalizations about us.

    Because if you did that, you would know the above quotes are not just in context, they are what the bible is all about.

  • Mark

    Its hard to complain about violence in the Koran after reading those Bible passages.

  • AxeGrrl

    Why the h*** hasn’t any atheist/freethinking group launched a campaign like this??

    They’re impervious to the usual ‘offensive’/’insulting’ criticisms applied to other campaigns….because, hey, if you’re critical of the message, you’re being critical of the source of the message, right? 🙂

    Honestly, this would be the best campaign ever. Someone should make it happen.

  • Claudia

    I love it. I think it’s much better than the über-irritating “You KNOW it’s a myth” billboards. Of course you have to think of the target audience. In this case I see it as less about closeted atheists (though I think they’d love it) and more about doubting Christians who are already very uncomfortable with the nastier bits of their religion. Confronting them with the manifest evil in the book they’re already uncomfortable with could work quite well.

    I wouldn’t mind contributing to this if someone wants to make it happen.

  • Carrie

    I live in a region where Jesus and God billboards are a daily sight. I would LOVE to see one of these in reality and would gladly donate to make it happen!

  • SWare

    I too would support this with a donation if a group comes forward to make this happen.

    As for “taking the bible out of context”, since these billboards are very much like ones that already exist where there are quotes from “god” but they are completely fabricated ones such as: “Meet me at church on Sunday before the game. ~God or “Keep using my name in vain and I’ll make rush hour longer. ~God” So it’s perfectly OK to completely make stuff up that god supposedly said but to quote correctly a passage from the bible is wrong??? Do explain.

  • Steve

    I’d like to know in what context rape, slavery, genocide or killing children can possibly be right.

  • SWare

    …by completely fabricated…I do mean to say that they do not exist in the bible. It’s all a fabrication to me regardless.

  • Dale Headley

    How about some billboards stating verses that showed that God not only said vile things, He DID vile things? For example: God didn’t like children making fun of a bald man (Elisha) so…”…there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.” (2 Kings 2, 23-24). A pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses at my door explained this grotesque verse thusly: “He was a holy man” as though that sufficiently justified the rendering asunder of rambunctious children. It is debatable, though, just how “holy” Elisha was. In any case, the children knew nothing of his supposed holiness.
    The people who compiled the Old Testament ravings were consumed by hatred for those who had enslaved and dominated them for so long. God was their contrived instrument of vengeance for their previous suffering; and He would return that suffering a hundredfold against men, women, and children.

  • bren

    Hmmm fair enough I suppose. The passages are of course pretty rough. But it is bit moronic really – and I’m sure you guys are a little more intelligent than this – to expect people from 2000-3000 years ago to have modern systems of thought equal to ours. How about some more modern thought on the matter. God is a progression of the development of humanity. It is probably worth noting that some of the biblical atrocities are totally revolutionary in context of its time period – but abhorrent when viewed 3000 years later.

    E.g. in the Bible Abraham is told to sacrifice his son to appease a God (there were many at the time and this practice was common across cultures) – and this God says “Do not sacrifice your son. I will provide”. Sounds dumb to us right. But at the time having one of these Gods/demons/spirits provide for you was unheard of. The bible is a list of totally revolutionary ideas that fly in the face of the society and cultural evolution at the time. It ALWAYS needs to be looked in historical and spiritual context. People always slag the apostle Paul off for his writings on slavery and womanhood. Yeah of course when we look at it now he looks like a belligerent tosser. Flick it back and look at the way slaves, women and children were treated at the time and you have a man who is teaching things unheard of and he is tantamount to a feminist. The first feminist even? Is the bible perfect?- not at a glance. But if you approach it negatively you’ll get negative stuff. Approach it positively and you’ll get positive stuff. It’s expectation theory. It should always be noted that not all Christians are fundamentalist nutters that love to hear about bears eating bald people. Some of us love to love for no other reason than that’s what we should do. Christianity was never meant to be a religion – we are to be spiritual and this is the ultimate angle of the Bible 🙂

  • Susan

    Let’s see some quotes from Stalin or Pol Pot. And while you are busy taking quotes out of their literary and historical context, how about mangling some Shakespeare?

  • Sven

    So the bible is not the word of god? Tell me something I don’t allready know.

    The passages are of course pretty rough. But it is bit moronic really

    I agree that quoting anything from the bible and believing it to be true is extremely moronic.


    Let’s see some quotes from Stalin or Pol Pot.

    Good idea, let’s show people what happens to a country when Free Thinking is not allowed. Or how dumb it is to teach docterine in schools, instead of real subjects.

    And while you are busy taking quotes out of their literary and historical context, how about mangling some Shakespeare?

    Also good idea, the whole context of the bible is that is writen in ancient times, and it has nothing to do with reality.
    And as the bible is a work of fiction, it should absolutely be sharing the same section as Shakespear.

  • Steve

    If you admit that the bible was written several thousand years ago by and for people living in a completely different environment, social circumstances, different religion and a widely different moral system, then OK! That’s exactly what it is.

    Here is the problem:
    Christians still try to apply some of those so-called morals to the modern time. When in fact nothing of it has any relevance anymore. They discard the really nasty bits (or try to lamely explain them away), but try to keep other bits that are still convenient. That’s just dishonest and doesn’t work. It’s all or nothing.

    That they can see how horrific some of the stuff in the Bible is actually shows that their morality certainly doesn’t come from their god, but they are so wrapped up in the dogmatic nonsense, that they can’t let go of it and simple be decent people on their own.

  • warriorscrown

    Jesus says to love your enemy and bless those who curse you. Why not put that on a billboard? Also the culture was much different in the Old testament days. I find old testament verses like this troubling even offensive and horrible. Jesus however was nothing of the like. So who are you trying to expose, Jews, or Christians? Or as friendly atheists that want to discredit the belief in God Himself then are you also creating billboards to expose other religions,maybe using verses from the Koran? To be friendly, one must be fair. Thanks.

  • Yowie9644

    Steve said

    They discard the really nasty bits (or try to lamely explain them away), but try to keep other bits that are still convenient. That’s just dishonest and doesn’t work. It’s all or nothing.

    No, “all or nothing” is the fallacy of bifurcation. It is not dishonest and it works perfectly well if the person freely admits thats what they are doing.

    A liberal/progressive Christian can fully acknowledge that the Bible was written by men in a different time and culture and that some bits are now quite repulsive. That, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that the Bible should be dismissed outright, only that it should be studied as a number of texts written by different people at different times about their thoughts on, and (perceived) relationship with, the Jewish God and Jewish Messiah.

    People will get what they want out of it. If they’re seeking the ‘nice bits’, thats what they’ll find. Even The Skeptic’s Annotated Bible notes where there are “Good Bits” in so called Holy Texts.

    Then again, I’d suggest that such billboards (and indeed, this site) aren’t pitched at the sort of Christian that is OK with the Bible being written by ancient human beings. That type of Christian generally just gets on with their life and their beliefs, and feels no compulsion to bolster their own beliefs by convincing others of the same thing.

  • Kayla

    What about these texts placing God in a positive light?

    Exodus 22:21 (King James Version)

    21Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

    Proverbs 14:31 (King James Version)

    31He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.

    Isaiah 1:17 (King James Version)

    17Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

    And there are tons of others in the new testament.

  • Baconsbud

    Kayla I agree there are some good verses in the bible but how often do we actually see them being followed? Yeah when there is some disaster we see a good bit of compassion but that only last so long. You can also find those same types of messages in other ancient books that were written before the books of the bible. These types of teaching weren’t invented by christians but they act as if they are.

  • utalice

    How about some verses from the Qu’ran, and other religions too?

  • jonathan smith

    Well, There are christians like me, Its a fact that 1.) the bible was written by man who is fallible. 2.) the bible was written orignially in hebrew and aramaic and then translated into the respective langugages but not before it was edited by whatever king or pious happened to be in charge at the time. there are hebrew words that will not translate in to english (esspecially through german ,italian ect) My point is bassically this: Please dont confuse the bible with God, I KNOW that God exist, but I personally feel that the Bible ,while originaly written with good intent, cannot be taken litterally in this day and age. It is simply a guide to be used with interpetability.

  • Anonymous

    ok i know this was four months ago man, but if you can’t rely on the bible to tell you about God, then how the fuck do you know ANYTHING ABOUT GOD AT ALL? How do you know that the bible wasn’t actually written by Satan, and the actual God is, like, a three-headed mongoose or something who wants you to rape and pillage and who knows what else? Or that he’s a teapot orbiting the gas giant Saturn? of course you’re going to say something like, “I just know, I feel God’s love!” or something like that, but so do most of the people on the planet who are not Christians and “know” just as firmly that their version of a god is correct. if you really think the bible is fallible and that it can’t be trusted, you need to SERIOUSLY re-evaluate your belief system, because you’ve developed through whatever experiences a serious cognitive bias, your neural structures are deeply entrenched in belief, and now any evidence you see to the contrary just reinforces your belief, and you’re trapped in ignorance. free yourself, man. 

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