I don’t agree with this cartoon.
It’s message is that atheism has the key to unlock the mind from religion. In other words, atheism is the key to free thinking and even intelligence.
This is ideological elitism, an accusation that can be made against the three religions represented in the drawing… Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Proponents from any one of those religions would claim the same supremacy and that their religion alone possesses the key to unlock the mind from limited and erroneous thinking. They all claim to have the key to intellectual freedom. So this cartoon betrays itself by lumping atheism in with all other ideologies. It just expresses another kind of fundamentalism.
So in an accidental way, it actually expresses the way different ideologies and religions believe, but this time portraying atheism as the elitist, fundamentalist ideology. Wait a minute! Maybe this is satire?
Chris Hedges offers his opinion on fundamentalism:
“The blustering televangelists, and the atheists who rant about the evils of religion, are little more than carnival barkers. They are in show business, and those in show business know complexity does not sell. They trade clichés and insults like cartoon characters. They don masks. One wears the mask of religion, the other wears the mask of science. They banter back and forth in predictable sound bites. They promise, like all advertisers, simple and seductive dreams. This debate engages two bizarre subsets who are well suited to the television culture because of the crudeness of their arguments. One distorts the scientific theory of evolution to explain the behavior and rules for complex social, economic and political systems. The other insists that the six-day story of creation in Genesis is fact and Jesus will descend format the sky to create the kingdom of God on Earth. These antagonists each claim to have discovered an absolute truth. They trade absurdity for absurdity. They show that the danger is not religion or science. The danger is fundamentalism (I Don’t Believe in Atheists)”
I would redraw the cartoon with the mind chained by atheism along with any other religion or ideology. In my opinion, the best thinking atheists would agree. They would not say that atheism led them to the truth, but that the truth led them to atheism. Perhaps then they might say that atheism enriches the truth for them. Of course, the best thinking Christians, Muslims or Jews would say the same thing, that the truth led them to their particular religion which in turn enriches the truth.
(***The artist is Edwin Espinoza Andino.***)