Photo Courtesy Marvin Straus of The Boulder Atheists.
As a Colorado atheist group purchases space for three billboards in major cities in Colorado, one Christian research fellow refers to their efforts as "bad manners."
"They say their ad is intended to spark dialogue with people of faith on the existence of God, but you don't draw people into conversation by poking fun of the beliefs," Glenn Stanton, director for Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, told The Christian Post.
Stanton was referring to a billboard sponsored by Boulder Atheists that states, "God is an imaginary friend; Choose reality, it will be better for all of us."
"Pew reports that 92 percent of Americans believe in God or some higher being," Stanton pointed out. "And more than 70 percent say they have a firm, confident belief in God. And this atheist group equates that very widely-held belief to a small child having an imaginary friend to play with."
But the "real bummer" about the atheist billboard, according to Stanton, was that it replaced a billboard "of our area's beautiful Royal Gorge" with a "poor graphically-challenged ad."
The Boulder Atheists' ad will be posted on three billboards in Denver and Colorado Springs.
Marvin Straus, cofounder of Boulder Atheists, which is part of the Colorado Coalition of Reason, told CP that the purpose of the billboards is to "increase communications" between them and the general public.
"The goal of the billboards is to increase communications between The Colorado Coalition of Reason groups and the public, both believers and nonbelievers," said Straus.
According to Straus, Boulder Atheists did not have Focus on the Family in mind when they decided to have a billboard in Colorado Springs, where FOTF is based.
"If our budget had allowed, we would have had a billboard in every major city in Colorado," said Straus.
"We told the advertising agency the limits of our budget, agreed to take any locations they had, and that was the result."
Stanton of Focus on the Family explained that his organization had no plans to act against the billboards, saying "such things don't merit serious response."
The announcement of Boulder Atheists that they soon will be erecting these billboards has caused much conversation and some negative responses from Coloradans.
Many, both in interviews to local media and with comments to reports, have expressed their disgust with the conclusions of the billboard but nevertheless believe the group has a right to do what they are doing.
This is not the first time COCORE has stirred controversy through billboard advertisements. Over the past couple years the organization has purchased billboard space with similar atheistic messages.
In 2010, COCORE set up three billboards in Denver that protested a nativity scene that was put on government property, demanding that it be moved to a church instead.