The group American Atheists has begun a new campaign posting billboards in Hebrew and Arabic that say, “God is a myth…and you have a choice.” The New York Daily News reports that according to their website, the group says the billboards aren’t meant to offend, but rather as outreach to atheists who may “feel particularly alone.”
The Hebrew language sign will be erected in Brooklyn, New York, close to the Williamsburg Bridge. The location was chosen because of the large orthodox Jewish community in the area. The Arabic language sign will be in Paterson, New Jersey, a site chosen for its proximity to the Islamic Center of Passaic County.
CNN spoke to Mohammed Elfilali, director of the Islamic Center, who seemed nonplussed by the billboards’ message. “It is not the first and won’t be the last time people have said things about God or religion. I respect people’s opinion about God; obviously they are entitled to it. I don’t think God is a myth, but that doesn’t exclude people to have a different opinion.”
Rabbi Kenneth Brander, dean of Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future, was not so sanguine, particularly with regards to the fact that the billboards spell out the name of God, a practice eschewed by Orthodox Jews. “It is an emotional word,” he said, “There will be an emotional response.”
American Atheists intends to expand the campaign to locations on California and is hosting a “Rally for Reason” on the National Mall in Washington, DC on March 24.
(Billboard image: Copyright, 2012 American Atheists)