The Humanists of the Palouse announced last week that they have commissioned five billboards in Moscow, Idaho and Pullman, Washington that reads "GOOD works in non-mysterious ways." The signs are expected to go up this month.
The American Humanist Association said that the billboards "demonstrate the views of atheists, humanists and the millions across the nation who are good without a god." The signs satirize the popular saying, "God works in mysterious ways."
Humanists of the Palouse Regional Programs Coordinator Janny Stratichuk said that the spiritual phrase is used as a rationalization.
"['God works in mysterious ways'] is often used as a last excuse when theism fails to provide clear results in the real world," she said in a statement.
"While theism may offer hope and wishful thinking, human beings doing good makes a visible and tangible difference in our relationships, our communities, and our world."
"The Lord works in mysterious ways" is often quoted as scripture, but the phrase does not appear in the Bible.
The adage is a paraphrase of several verses that illustrate the mysterious nature of God, as seen below:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord," Isaiah 55:8 (King James Version) reads.
The Book of Isaiah also states: "Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour" (Isaiah 45:15, KJV).
"I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now," Jesus told his disciples before the crucifixion.
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come" (John 16:12-13, KJV).
Paul also wrote of the Holy Spirit's revelations in a letter to the Corinthians.
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
"But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God" (1 Corinthians 2:9-10, KJV).