I've been thinking about this for a while and wanted to ask you're opinion: a lot of the fandom concludes that Mulder is an atheist but wouldn't it be more accurate to say he's an agnostic? It's clear he believes in something or some higher being, just not religion as a whole. Plus he acknowledges demons (but not angels which has always bugged me) which are inherently religious by nature. Idk, it just irks me every time I see him characterized as an atheist.
This is a really wonderful and thought-provoking question, Anon. And I’m sorry it took me awhile to get back to you. I wanted to rewatch a couple of religious-themed episodes to refresh myself on Mulder’s ideas about faith.
Fanon holds that Mulder’s mother, Tina Kuipers, was Jewish, making Mulder Jewish as well, although not practicing. Kaddish and Drive both kind of sort of hint that Mulder lays some kind of claim to that history.
Then, when I rewatched Revelations the other night, he said something that really got me thinking, and also lends itself to your theory that Mulder is agnostic rather than atheistic.
MULDER: That was in the Bible. It’s a parable, it’s a metaphor for the truth, not the truth itself. Why didn’t Kevin conveniently bi-locate when Owen Jarvis abducted him from the shelter?
SCULLY: How is it that you’re able to go out on a limb whenever you see a light in the sky, but you’re unwilling to accept the possibility of a miracle? Even when it’s right in front of you.
MULDER: I wait for a miracle every day. But what I’ve seen here has only tested my patience, not my faith.
To me, this means that Mulder does acknowledge the possibility of a divine creator. I think he probably just dismisses the rigidity and dogma that often come along with organized religion, of any kind.
Mulder and Scully also always seem to switch their traditional roles of Mulder as believer and Scully as skeptic whenever it comes to God and religion. And while Mulder doesn’t ever outright mock Scully for her faith, I think it’s one of the things about her that perplexes and frustrates him. Understandably. She’s so stringent in her adherence to the scientific method, to supporting theories with evidence. She demands that of him, constantly. And yet she’s willing to accept on blind faith the idea that miracles happen and that they happen at the will and behest of a divine Father God.
Scully, also understandably, gets irked at Mulder when he wants to find more terrestrial explanations for cases that have even the slightest hint of a religious overtone, when he is capable of giving credence to any nutjob who claims to be an abductee. I always get so irritated with Mulder that he’s so dismissive of his partner and best friend when she thinks that God is speaking to her, or that she has experienced miracles. It’s yet another source of tension that I think the show sometimes effectively utilizes, and there are other times when some of the things Mulder says to Scully make me want to punch him in the throat.
(From All Souls)
MULDER: And why would God allow this to happen? Why do bad things happen to good people? Religion has masqueraded as the paranormal since the dawn of time to justify some of the most horrible acts in history.
SCULLY: I was raised to believe that God has His reasons, however mysterious.
MULDER: He may well have His reasons but He seems to use a lot of psychotics to carry out His job orders.
MULDER: So, what? You think that God directs him to … let the prisoners out to kill?
SCULLY: No, but I believe that the Reverend believes what he’s saying– that’s it’s God working through him.
MULDER: Well, plenty of nut bags do. Has he ever spoken to you?
SCULLY: (looking wounded) I’m trying not to take offense.
MULDER: (incredulous) What did he say?
It’s the above interactions that I think have lent themselves to the idea that Mulder is an atheist. But that runs counter to everything we know about Mulder. I don’t think he would ever outright deny the possibility of the existence of a God. Especially not when he finally got to witness a miracle of his own: