Dale Hemming of Sioux Falls has financed billboards throughout the area to let non-believers know they are not alone, however, Christian residents are disturbed.
Locals of Sioux Falls, South Dakota have in the past week woken up to multiple billboards portraying atheist messages placed all around the town. The billboards, six of which are located on Minnesota Avenue, can be seen by motorists going either north or south.
Despite the controversy and complaints surrounding the billboards from some less than pleased residents, Dale maintains that the billboards will stay for six weeks and that there are more billboards to come. He intends to add more in about two weeks along 12th Street in Sioux Falls.
The billboards portray messages such as 'prayer doesn't work’, 'there is no God', ‘God didn't create man’, ‘98 million Americans are living without religion. Being a good person doesn’t require a God’ and ‘Are you good without God?’ among others.
Dale’s intention is to stir thoughts and discussions that seek to challenge religion among the residents who view the bold messages.
In an interview with KDLT-TV, he expressed his reservations with religion. He specifically questioned why many believers were filled with hatred for non-believers in addition to being intolerant of other people’s beliefs.
Moreover, he challenged people to start critically thinking about stuff instead of just parroting their childhood teachings on beliefs and religion. “You have to think beyond what you got told when you were six-years-old,” he concluded during the interview.
Dale hopes that those of similar belief as he will see the billboards and realize that they are not alone in their beliefs.
Those opposed to the ‘Godless’ messages have come out giving statements on the issue.
Pastor Jeff Hayes of Faith Temple Church, a local preacher, in an interview with KSFY-TV urged believers to simply pray for the Free Thinkers. Instead of harbouring negativity towards them and reacting harshly, he said that with prayer and believe that if there is a God, he will reveal himself to them.
Pastor Hayes also stated that there are many cases of Christians who were once atheists or agnostic, but after having a spiritual awakening, they became believers of God.
Randy Stewart, a former pastor, however, expressed concern on the issue, stating that if the church had been the one expressing the opposing view publicly, the situation would have been much different as Dale and his organization would have done everything to try and repress their efforts.
Dale’s move was definitely a bold one, only time will tell if his efforts have any major impact.