.

Sign From Above? Non-Believers Put Faith in Billboard Overlooking Route 94

San Diego Coalition of Reason, other atheist groups launch monthlong effort tied to talk at UCSD.

Updated at 9:55 p.m. Jan. 31, 2013

Westbound motorists on state Route 94 see a Stella Rosa wine ad on a billboard west of Lemon Grove. Eastbound travelers savor a different message: “Atheism: A Personal Relationship with Reality.”

“It’s the first time we’ve used that slogan,” said Jim Eliason of the San Diego Coalition of Reason, an umbrella organization of 18 nonbeliever groups. 

“We’re hoping to create a lot of buzz. Every time we put up a billboard, we get a tremendous response.”

Four years ago, one was up in La Mesa.

The latest billboard was posted early Thursday morning. Costing $4,000—with $1,500 from American Atheists and the rest from community donors—it will stay up for a month, Eliason said.

Why state Route 94 in the College Area?

“It was time do a billboard again, and … American Atheist President David Silverman” will speak Feb. 24 at UC San Diego, Eliason said.

A 50-year-old North Park resident raised in a Christian household, Eliason was out with a young colleague taking pictures of the billboard about 9:15 a.m. Thursday.

 “There’s a big difference between respecting people and respecting their beliefs," Silverman told KPBS. "I respect every person, but I do not respect the belief in an invisible man in the sky, because that’s ridiculous.

Debbie Allen, coordinator of the Coalition of Reason, told U-T San Diego that the 2009 billboard along Interstate 8 said: “Don’t Believe in God? You are not alone.”

“In part because of the publicity, the coalition has grown from nine groups to 18,” the U-T reported. “It now boasts about 2,000 members.”

Depicting a stack of books holding up a curtain, the billboard was “very clever,” Allen told the U-T, adding:

Obviously, we want to get across the message that when you pull up the curtain on the universe or on reality, first of all you do so through education, science, etc., which is what the books symbolize. But on the other side, it’s just the natural world. There are no wizards or goblins or supernatural beings behind the curtain.

Eliason, speaking loudly (see video) to be heard above the din of passing traffic, said atheists meet Saturdays in Balboa Park as an “outreach to nonbelievers.”

“Most of the believers who come talk to us are very respectful,” he said.

For himself and like-minded people who come from religious backgrounds, “Somewhere along the way we realized we didn’t believe anymore.”

Jon Hall February 04, 2013 at 08:01 PM
Eppur --- as naive as you appear to be on the subject of Spirituality seems to carry over to your reading comprehension --- the use of sarcasm and euphemisms is obviously beyond your grade level ... Oh, and as far as the *internet name* you are hiding behind --- I see I misspelled it the first time --- but that really isn't a big deal --- people who hide behind the anonymity of screen names should be used to being called things ... FYI: here is some good reading ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There_are_no_atheists_in_foxholes
Things I Learned February 04, 2013 at 08:10 PM
I should not use fake names unless I want to be called things.
Eppur si muove February 04, 2013 at 08:22 PM
"as naive as you appear to be on the subject of Spirituality" Oh, do I? What exactly did I say that displayed my naiveté in "spirituality"? Additionally, how is that a good argument; how does that back-up anything you've said; and how does that address directly anything that I've said? For the record, I've been thru seminary school, I've actually read and studied the BIble, many different theologies within Christianity, the Qur'an, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and many other fine books and philosophies. I'm afraid the lack of substance in your arguments that are dripping with irony don't put you upon any high ground to look down upon others. Now, you have to be kidding me with the amateur shot of "there are no atheists in foxholes," which can only be said without thinking. Without bothering to debunk this sophomoric challenge, allow me to simply re-direct you... to the EXACT SAME PAGE that you sent me to. I take it you didn't get all the way down to line 5, where it says: "Notable counterexamples"? How pitiful.
LG Joe February 04, 2013 at 08:30 PM
I am reading an interesting book titles “The Believing Brain” by Michael Shermer. “From ghosts and gods to politics and conspiracies – how we construct beliefs and reinforce them as truths…” It’s a good read for people on all sides of the argument about faith.
Things I Learned February 04, 2013 at 08:54 PM
There are no aphorists in Patches.
Eppur si muove February 04, 2013 at 08:59 PM
"I should not use fake names unless I want to be called things." -Things I Learned Ha-ha! Yes and apparently words no longer have meaning if they are posted under something other than your Christian name.
Jon Hall February 04, 2013 at 09:37 PM
I intended to continue this humorous exchange but God told me I have more important things to do with my life --- so see you in Heaven ... Oh wait --- no I won't ...
Eppur si muove February 04, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Oh Jon, you clever little boy. I see what you did there. Well you go on living with your fantasies, judging others on account of them, threatening others with eternal damnation and simultaneously think you're being a good person knowledgeable of "truth." I will make the most of this life, because it's the only one I'm sure to be lucky enough to be a part of; help others and be thrilled by all that reality has to offer. You pray for me Jon and I will think for you. I will enjoy the discoveries we find in the cosmos while you read about talking to a burning bush. You got me Jon. Thanks for the threat, very Christian of you. P.S. Also look-up why "Pascal's Wager" has failed.
Doug Curlee February 04, 2013 at 10:13 PM
eppi.. perhaps your master's thesis would be better addressed to those empowered to grant you that degree.. or not.. for our purposes here, i think it's way too much information.. way too much unneeded information.. doug
Things I Learned February 04, 2013 at 10:18 PM
The Great Way is quite level yet the people are much enamored of mountain trails.
Jon Hall February 04, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Eppur --- a few corrections/observations for you First thing --- I wouldn't waste a prayer on you --- your future is your business --- I *believe* it is called free will Second thing --- if the bush is burning I suggest you either slow down or use some lube Third thing --- in regards to Pascal's Wager --- as all non-believers eventually find out there is no harm in believing in the after-life --- if it exists then you get eternal life (option #1) --- if not you are worm food (option #2) --- however, if you insist on the notion that this life is all there is you assure yourself of option #2 Pascal was a very smart man --- his most valued writings were about his understanding of the unknown --- and as some might say he also was hedging his bet ...
Ed Sorrels February 04, 2013 at 10:40 PM
Shorebird, I think not on the military cemetary thing, I mostly remember it as being other oecognized religions that objected to them on the grave sites of the adhearents of their particulkar religions the sign of their religion on the cross is just not enough to make them happy !
Eppur si muove February 04, 2013 at 11:57 PM
Wow Curlee! Another impressive argument. Nice job avoiding every possibility of showing any intellectual honesty. I'll tell you what, if it's too much for you, just address ONE point made in response to you, but don't dare tell others about what is "unneeded" as that can obviously be reversed and with much more legitimacy.
Eppur si muove February 05, 2013 at 12:03 AM
Incredible Jon. You didn't even bother looking up all the reasons why his wager fails, did you? You simply repeated it. This is pathetic.
judith February 05, 2013 at 02:30 AM
So Eppur si muove, your opinion is the only one that matters or is valid? Insulting people will never win an argument. It only makes you look like an angry child. I know I won't waste one more minute reading any of your replies. Goodbye and God bless you.
Eppur si muove February 05, 2013 at 03:33 AM
"your opinion is the only one that matters or is valid?" Hey, thanks for not addressing anything that I said to your original comment. Now, as long as you are trying to insult me here, may I bother you to provide a single piece of evidence (any comment I made) where I stated something that could imply that I think my "opinion is the only one that matters or is valid?" Or do you just want to continue making comments with no validity, then when someone points out that there is no validity to your post, you just project your childish behavior on them? Very intellectual and mature of you indeed. "Insulting people will never win an argument." This is usually true, but then... why do you do it? Regardless, it sure does a good job of making a point.
Ed Sorrels February 05, 2013 at 06:14 AM
Wow !, I have an idea. We need to hook up Eppur si Muove with Michael Eckland and sit back and watch the show, The immoveable object meet's the irresistable force.
Eppur si muove February 05, 2013 at 07:21 PM
Who is Michael Eckland? If he has something to say on this topic, please send him an invitation. I am indeed passionate about not allowing confident ignorance to be publicly posted without rebuttal. So if Michael is fond of making profoundly foolish and/or simply uneducated comments with some strange authority, then I would be happy to provide a show.
Doug Curlee February 05, 2013 at 07:28 PM
eppur..ecklund is the person i've labeled the "jesus troll"..no matter the topic, he feels compelled to horn in with his take on the bible.. which is essentially fundam entalist, right wing, evangelistic in nature.. and extremely intolerant of any other religion..he calls my catholic church a "cult"..it's his way or the highway..to hell.. he horns in even when the topic under discussion has nothing whatever to do with religion.. so far as i can tell, his personal ideology would make him feel right at home with the westboro baptist "church"... doug
Jake February 07, 2013 at 07:32 AM
Does Eppur need a hug? Do you realize you just admitted the possibility that God exists ? 'Which is why you almost never find an atheist saying that as most atheists are agnostic about the absolute knowledge of a variably defined, supernatural' To say you don't know everything, means you can't know anything. 'You aren't trying to attack a fictional character only the respect & money given?' Why aren't you protesting Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny? These fictional characters have a ton of influence on today's culture. Is your life's purpose is to be intolerant of Christianity and then die? How did you evolve this process of thinking and how do you know its morally correct? Back to my statement above, atheists are not at the place where they can admit knowledge and truth because to admit we have absolute knowledge would require belief in a God. Without someone who knows everything, we are forced to say that we could be wrong about what we know. If we could be wrong about what we know, then we would have to say that we can not be absolutely sure about anything. Atheists deny the one who knows everything, so they are forced to say that they can’t know anything. Love ya, Jake
Eppur si muove February 07, 2013 at 07:58 AM
"Do you realize you just admitted the possibility that God exists ?" You got me Jake. Although, I also admitted the possibility of magical pixies in the garden and big-foot. It's called intellectual honesty. Please don't tell me we are about to go back and forth where I am very clear about my position on something and you just take one or two words as though that was all I said. "To say you don't know everything, means you can't know anything." Okay, I hope this is a joke. First of all, I was very clear, gave you a ton of information to work with and directly addressed every single one of your points. You seem to be ignoring things I've said, acting like I said things I didn't; and now quoting me, only to argue something I didn't say. However, I'm going to assume you just wrote this little argument down without thinking as there is simply no way a functioning brain can conclude that not knowing everything, means you know nothing. If one knows algebra, but not calculus, does it mean they don't know any math?
Eppur si muove February 07, 2013 at 08:05 AM
"Why aren't you protesting Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny?" I already told you why: There are many anti-theists on account of the "respect and money given, the foul behavior done in the name of and the blind belief in such a (personal god) character." Believing in Saint Nicholas, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, etc. does not influence people to kill witches, kill and/or discriminate against homosexuals, etc., etc., etc. Additionally, long before people turn into young adults, they grow out of believing in such fantasy figures. There are some adults that do still believe in ridiculous, superstitious nonsense though like UFO's, Big-Foot, the Living Elvis and many other fantastic claims. However, they don't get tax breaks for them; psychologically damage children with thought crimes on account of them; attempt to destroy scientific literacy and teach children pseudo-science or non-science on account of them; mutilate the genitalia of young children for them; fly planes into buildings for them; murder; discriminate; etc.; etc.; etc. Now, I beg that you please read and/or think before you respond next time.
Eppur si muove February 07, 2013 at 08:16 AM
"Is your life's purpose is to be intolerant of Christianity and then die?" No, but thank you for asking. "How did you evolve this process of thinking and how do you know its morally correct?" What process of thinking? I strive to know as many true things as possible and the least amount of false things as possible. I strive to promote the well-being of conscious creatures and minimize suffering. I strive to enjoy the most that I can in this life and I am motivated to be sure my children are able to do the same. In a general sense, these things are my purposes and ways of thinking. I attempt to make sure my "morals" are correct by using reason, evidence and always being open to new information. I never check my moral compass to a book written thousands of years ago that mentions too many times to count how to create, steal, obtain, purchase, sell, beat, impregnate and manage other people as slaves and NEVER once says that you shouldn't do these things (only not to covet others); from a time when a wheelbarrow was emergent technology. How embarrassing.
Eppur si muove February 07, 2013 at 08:23 AM
"Back to my statement above, atheists are not at the place where they can admit knowledge and truth because to admit we have absolute knowledge would require belief in a God. Without someone who knows everything, we are forced to say that we could be wrong about what we know. If we could be wrong about what we know, then we would have to say that we can not be absolutely sure about anything. Atheists deny the one who knows everything, so they are forced to say that they can’t know anything." This is childish. Let me grant you for conversation's sake that God is real and he is omniscient. How does rejecting Him, therefore mean that you now suddenly don't know anything? What about those that believed, but now don't - have they forgotten everything? How does knowing Him mean that you are also omniscient? If this were true, why is it that 93% of the world's top scientists are non-believers and 99.8% of the prison population are believers? Wouldn't you expect something like the opposite of that? Now, spoiler alert - you can be wrong about what you think you know and you know this. You've found out many times in your life that you were wrong about something. Does this mean you are an atheist? Grow up Jake.
Jake February 07, 2013 at 06:52 PM
You are funny Eppur , did you get any sleep? Your insulting answers are as long winded as your theology. You haven't given a solid premises or foundation for your ideas. You state that read books and are influenced by demonic friends. How do you know what is right or wrong, dishonest or foul and where do you get your statistics?Who decides what is intellectually honest? You stated "I attempt to make sure my "morals" are correct by using reason, evidence and always being open to new information". Why do you put your trust in information that is always changing? Is putting other down a part of your changing philosophy and way of thinking? You say the Bible is a foul book because of slavery , murder, homosexuality etc, all things invoked by our sinful nature, but how do you know they are wrong? Hitler thought he was right for killing over 11 million people and a modern day holocaust exists in the US everyday with over 54 million abortions since 1973. Are these atrocities a mere exercise of a persons evolved morality? I know they are not from the Bible . I believe God created everyone with conscience and we choose to live in sin so we don't have to have an accountability to the Creator. Thankfully, Jesus died so you and I could be pardoned from an eternal separation from God. The Bible is the word of God and the foundational book for the existence of the universe. It has never changed, our culture is what changes.
Eppur si muove February 07, 2013 at 07:45 PM
"You are funny Eppur , did you get any sleep?" Thank you and yes, 10 hours. What a strange question though. "Your insulting answers are as long winded as your theology." I find it amusing that you write insultingly, but when you lose the argument, you then criticize others for being insulting back to you. Now, what in the world is my "theology"? Please understand that I am terribly curious as to what you assume my theology is, especially considering the fact that I never gave one and have repeatedly admitted my atheism. "You haven't given a solid premises or foundation for your ideas." What claim have I made or position have I put forward that lacked any foundation? Just saying things like this, without any example, is NOT a "solid premise or foundation" to make an argument. How ironic. "You state that read books and are influenced by demonic friends." No I didn't and no I didn't, but I'm not even entirely sure what you are even saying here. Not that I don't, but I haven't said anything like either one of those things. Look Jake, I've said a lot. Why aren't you using anything that I have said? Why are you simply making up things that I have said or just assuming things so that you can argue those strawmen? Why not address any number of points that I have made in direct response to yours and/or any question that I have posed to you?
Eppur si muove February 07, 2013 at 08:05 PM
"How do you know what is right or wrong, dishonest or foul and where do you get your statistics?" I am not the supreme authority on right or wrong, but I already explained how I personally try and find the answers for myself, so I don't even understand your question. As far as statistics that I gave, you could try googling them on your internet, but if you need someone to do the work for you: http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html http://holysmoke.org/icr-pri.htm & http://www.pewforum.org/government/religion-in-prisons.aspx "Who decides what is intellectually honest?" Facts. "Why do you put your trust in information that is always changing?" Like what? I never said that I "trust changing information." I said that I always strive to be open to new information. It's called learning and/or following the evidence (rather than "knowing" the "truth" and manipulating your answers to fit or simply reject any opposing evidence that happens to come in). "Is putting other down a part of your changing philosophy and way of thinking?" If you meant "putting others down", I don't think that is a philosophy or even a way of thinking. However, compliments are not funny, I like to laugh; and confident ignorance should always be given the respect it deserves. I still have a hard time understanding this question though from the same person that started with calling all non-believers "ignorant," "pathetic" and immoral.
Eppur si muove February 07, 2013 at 08:28 PM
"You say the Bible is a foul book because of slavery , murder, homosexuality etc, all things invoked by our sinful nature, but how do you know they are wrong?" Okay, I don't think I can have a conversation with someone that doesn't understand how owning other people as farm equipment or murder is a bad idea. Additionally, I never said that homosexuality is wrong. I said that murdering and/or discriminating against others based on how they were born is disgusting and dangerously moronic. Finally on this, these are not things "invoked by our sinful nature" as you say, they are prescribed and taught for a number of reasons and in a number of ways in the Bible (as I mentioned them in murdering for homosexuality, not enjoying it). Have you even read this book? "Hitler thought he was right for killing over 11 million people" Yes, so did the Catholic church. What's your point? "a modern day holocaust exists in the US everyday with over 54 million abortions since 1973." Yes and since 1973 there have been 44,139,340,000 miscarriages in the U.S.. So if you seriously have this problem with the unborn, I strongly suggest you start talking to this god you claim to "know" so well about it. Don't bother praying though, because you know most of those parents prayed for their baby to have been born and we also know that prayer doesn't work (here's one from a Christian organization): http://www.templeton.org/newsroom/press_releases/060407step.html
Eppur si muove February 07, 2013 at 08:37 PM
"Are these atrocities a mere exercise of a persons evolved morality?" I don't think you actually thought about this and I really suggest you think about things before you put them out there. If our morality has evolved, we would expect a couple of things. We would expect that it would not be perfect; not be uniform across all populations or even individuals within; we would expect it to be changing (i.e. slavery, equality for women, etc.); we would expect it to be adaptable to an individual's environment and obtained information. If we expected morality to be objective from an omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, perfect creator - we would expect the opposite of all of that. We would also expect the book authored in the name of such a personal deity to be consistent, good and not have commandments like, killing your bride on your wedding night, at her father's doorstep, when she cannot prove her virginity (Deuteronomy 22:13-21). What is closer to reality? Come on out Jake, the reality is fine.
Eppur si muove February 07, 2013 at 10:28 PM
Referring to the "atrocities" of Hitler and abortion: "I know they are not from the Bible." Look, if you aren't even going to read the book, at least look this stuff up on your internet before presenting such claims. Try googling, "genocide" or "child murder" in the bible. Here's a few lines: "And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain." -Deuteronomy 2:34 Deuteronomy 3:6 Deuteronomy 7:2 Deuteronomy 7:16 Deuteronomy 13:15 Deuteronomy 20:16-17 Joshua 6:21 Joshua 10:40 1 Samuel 15:2-3 There are many more and I feel like I'm forgetting about a deluge in Genesis where maybe a large ark was involved. Anyways, I think you get the picture. These things are in the bible. Don't push the book on others if you aren't even going to study it yourself.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something