The reason this cartoon is on my best-of list is that it simplifies the whole accusation that atheism is a religion. The idea that you have faith in nothing becomes absurd. Now I grant you there are what you call “hard atheists” who make an actual claim that God doesn’t exist and that’s about as close as you could come to presenting faith, but there’s no religious component. I mean what do those kinds of atheists do, hold candlelight vigils for no god. Pray to themselves? They may have an agenda such as Christopher Hitchens but he’s simply out to convince others of his viewpoint through books and debate.
The reason why Christians and other religions want atheism to be a religion is to have equal footing. If atheism is religous than it’s just one more unverifiable belief system on par with Judaism, Christianity, Mormonism, or Islam. The problem is that everyone else is making all the fantastical claims and atheists are just saying, “I don’t believe your claim.” Now it might be different if God were in a visible form, like a Japanese emperor as they all claimed to be gods, and you couldn’t deny he existed but only question his nature (does he do what a God does?) But God-claims are unverfiable–that’s why there is so much nauseating emphasis on faith. …And yet, Christians have a hard time resisting using science to back up their claims–they want God to be empirically verifiable thus dispensing with faith.
Well, I don’t have faith in the invisible unicorn, Zeus, leprechauns, fairies and a host of other claims. And there are people to this day that believe in such things, as my wife is now reading a book about a woman who went in search of fairies and thinks she saw them. Keep your faith, make your claims, but lack of belief is not on equal footing. Lack of belief is where every baby starts and some of us swallow the God myth for awhile (like myself up until I was 23) and puke it out, or some of us were never suckered in at all.
The only way to make a Christian who is flabbergasted that atheists don’t believe in their God is to ask them if they believe in someone else’s God. “Well, of course I don’t believe in Allah.” Then of course you can now experience atheism towards Allah and get a hint of what it feels like to not to believe in any of the currently available god selections.