WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Batman #53
Batman doesn't believe in God... at least not in a traditional sense. The revelation comes at the conclusion of comic writer Tom King's first post-Catwoman/Batman wedding arc in Batman #53. Since Catwoman left him at the altar, Batman has thrown himself into his Bruce Wayne identity by serving jury duty - on a case where Batman might have gone too far.
It's during his efforts to prove that Batman isn't perfect that Bruce Wayne reveals some personal information to his fellow jurors. Bruce Wayne is an atheist, but that's a recent change, since Bruce just gave up the belief of his own personal god - Batman.
Batman's religious confessions begin with Bruce Wayne talking about his own theological background, raised as a Christian by his father Thomas. Though Bruce never quite believed in Christianity as a small child, he accepted it. That's until his parents were murdered and Bruce, understandably, lost faith in everyone and everything.
This isn't all too shocking to comic fans. True, Batman's religious background has shifted over the years, and members of the Bat-Family have starred in stories including their personal faiths. While he's never been portrayed as Jewish like his cousin, Batwoman, Batman is generally implied to be some denomination of Christian (be it Catholic or Protestant). The area where things become complicated (and most interesting) is where Bruce landed religiously AFTER the death of his parents.
Though Bruce Wayne doesn't out himself as The World's Greatest Detective to his fellow jurors in Batman #53, he does explain that a deep belief in Batman saved him. Batman became the symbol of morality, goodness and faith in Bruce Wayne's world. In Bruce's own words, "God is above us. And he wears a cape."
However, this is all past tense for Bruce. The break-up with Catwoman has turned everything upside down, and proved to Bruce that Batman isn't God after all. Batman couldn't save Bruce from his despair over losing Catwoman. Batman, or more accurately Bruce, is just a man. He can make mistakes, get hurt, and be just as vulnerable as anyone else. Batman isn't perfect, or even a true symbol... he's just a man. It's a complete reversal from the predominant view of Batman after Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, where the character was specifically designed to be a modern mythical figure.
Batman identifying as an atheist certainly informs the character's personality and how he can and will be perceived. However, Batman #53 isn't the first time that Bruce Wayne has hinted at being an atheist. He's just never been so explicit about it. It's important to emphasize that Batman denying former beliefs isn't portrayed in a distressing, or even negative light. Batman #53 doesn't leave Bruce Wayne in a much better place emotionally than he was immediately following his wedding to Catwoman. He's still on a long road to recovery, but Bruce Wayne now reaffirming his atheist isn't a hopeless position.
Batman is returning to his classic costume in an effort to build himself up all over again, and find a way back to what he once believed. Batman is no longer an unstoppable force of intelligence and brute strength. And he's more fascinating as a result.
Batman #53 is available now from DC Comics.