from LOL god
This is a cartoon about militants with the militant atheist portrayed as a rational person typing away at the keyboard while the agnostic buries his head in the sand and the Christian and Muslim both have weaponry. I assume it’s supposed to be a joke and I’ve seen it on some atheist blogs like Friendly Atheist where it seems to be presented as a joke. However, it reads like a smug “we’re better than them” banner. The statement it makes (serious or not) is that atheists are always so rational that even their worst adherents are better than anyone else.
Let’s look at this seriously for a moment because I want to focus on the message it conveys. The word militant means “1) vigorously active and aggressive, especially in support of a cause or 2) engaged in warfare; fighting.” Any time you argue about belief or disbelief, you’re arguing about what is most likely an unprovable viewpoint. When you argue over belief then you aren’t arguing over knowledge. One or both sides in those arguments have no interest in what is truly known or it wouldn’t last as an argument. An atheist could believe so much in their rejection of belief that their militant behavior and insistence on disbelief could be fought for with the same misguided passion as the militant believers. The term militant is about the behavior and tactics of the person and not about the belief or disbelief. Any person could be irrationally aggressive with weapons. Anyone that suggests that could never happen in the freethought community isn’t being honest about human behavior and the ability for some people to forcibly exert their will on others.
I support most of the efforts of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. However, I also see how freedom FROM religion could be twisted into a stronger and more militant stance to remove religion from the public entirely. This is similar to how some Christians want homosexuality to only be a private matter and not allow for any aspects of it to appear in public. On the extreme end of the spectrum are the Christians that don’t want to allow homosexuality in the private either. I believe in equal access in the “public square” for belief and non-belief. I don’t see how it helps society to remove or restrict religion from the religious. I just want to be free from having to support their religions with my tax dollars and from being forced to be more than a bystander as they do their thing. If we really value our own freedom from religion then I think we need to value everyone else’s freedom of religion.
I don’t ever want to see any militant people and that includes militant atheists or agnostics. Going back to that picture, the militant atheist and agnostic would also have weaponry. The militant believers want everyone else to believe as they do and the militant non-believers would also want everyone to not believe just like they do. The militant atheist would tell you that “you don’t believe” when they point the gun at you and the militant agnostic would say “you don’t really know.” I believe none of us really know or can know how or why existence came to be. All there is is belief or disbelief about such things and belief is definitely not knowledge. I’m atheist since I don’t know of anything about a creator or cause for existence that’s worth believing in. However, I don’t see the need for militancy on any side of this question since there’s no true knowledge on this subject to be defended by anyone. This is why I primarily identify as an agnostic “I don’t know, and you don’t either” instead of an atheist “I don’t believe, and you shouldn’t either.”