An atheist activist has erected 20 billboards throughout Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and he's hoping that those messages — which take aim at faith and belief in God — will make people think differently about religion.
"Why are so many believers filled with hatred of others?" Dale Hemming, founder of Sioux Falls Atheists and Sioux Falls Free Thinkers, asked during an interview with KDLT-TV. "Why are so many believers intolerant of others' beliefs?"
The billboards, which will be on display for the next six weeks, carry a variety of messages, including "Are you good without God?" "Praying doesn't work" and "God didn't create man." Another billboard reads, "98 million Americans are living without religion. Being a good person doesn't require a God."
These are sentiments that Hemming is hoping resonate with the local residents who see them.
"I really want people to start thinking about this stuff," Hemming said of religion, continuing with a chuckle,"Just parroting what you've been taught as a child is not a very good way to go through life. You have to think beyond what you got told when you were 6 years old."
The billboards have predictably sparked reaction, with some residents less than content with the messages being presented, but one local preacher told KSFY-TV that he believes that Christians should simply respond in prayer.
"I think it's good for Christians to have a reaction and we can be negative toward the Free Thinkers but I think we should just pray for them and just believe that, wow if there is a god, is he big enough to reveal himself to them," said Pastor Jeff Hayes of Faith Temple Church.
Hemming plans to add even more billboards in the coming weeks.
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