Drivers passing on tthe I-44 in Springfield, Mo., will now be confronted with two new atheist billboards that state "Don't believe in God? You are not alone," in a call of atheist unity.
The message is supposed to encourage people who do not believe in God but feel pressured by family and friends to uphold their Christian faith to come together and speak up about their beliefs, according to KSPR 33. The billboards are sponsored by the United Coalition of Reason and will be up for about a month.
Steven Olsen, the president of the Springfield Free Thinkers group, said: “There's more heathens than you would be lead to believe."
The city, which falls in the “bible-belt,” hosted the fourth-annual Skepticon and gathered over a thousand people to talk about religion, science, and other issues.
"Naturally, I disagree with their system of belief,” said Pastor Jeff Paterson from the Central Assembly of God in Springfield to the Christian Post.
However, he shared that he understands the need for atheists to gather and discuss such issues, and that it can be an opportunity to remind Christians to pray for nonbelievers.
“The Christian faith has used billboards for decades for advertising churches and ministries; and actually, this might be a good challenge to Christians to both, learn to stand up for their faith and pray for those around them who do not believe in God,” Paterson said.
Kevin Short, the senior pastor at Christ Community Church, also expressed that the billboards might serve a good purpose by promoting an exchange of ideas between theists and atheists.
“As Christian theists, we believe the metaphysical reality of God can stand up to scrutiny and thrive in the scientific or philosophic arena,” said Short.
“We hope many theists could attend so that they can learn of the robust intellectual support for God's existence. There often can be no better place to bolster our views than to be in a friendly discussion with those who take an opposite viewpoint,” Short added.