Didn't see a post like this offhand in the forums, but I only looked around a little, sorry if this is a repeat.
Anyway, I just came across a very well developed atheist character in Brandon Sanderson's 'Way of Kings' and was really thrown for a loop. Not only is she awesome and smart, she makes great rational arguments in favor of her position. It's interesting to me, because she's in a very religious world and has been branded a heretic, etc. What further interests me is Sanderson is a Mormon. I'm not sure why I'm astonished that a religious person could write a good non-religious person. But I'm very pleased. (I haven't finished the book yet, and its the first in a series, so I have no way telling if she gets eaten by snakes or zapped by lightning or something..).
It's fascinating to me to see an atheist in fantasy, in particular, because fantasy tends to accept that gods are real, along with magic and all that.
I was wondering if any other novels have atheist characters figured in. I mean, as of yet this isn't a major plot point, but its a central part of who this character is. So like that, not just something mentioned as an aside.
Edit: so she's apparently actually agnostic leaning towards atheist. But still
Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. The Millennium Trilogy.
Max Guevara in Dark Angel seems to be an atheist,
And Malcolm Reynolds in the series "Firefly" seems to be an atheist.
He's a tricky one. You'll notice in the pilot episode, he's wearing a cross. Then in the "years later" main part, he goes out of his way to show his non-belief, pointedly eating while everyone else stops for the preacher to say grace.
I thought the dealings with belief and doubt were dealt with quite amazingly in the Firefly movie, by the way.
I think Mal's cross was was more of a service medal from his combat days, than a religious symbol.
Oh, Dark Angel, why did that have to suck so bad? So much hotness in one show. Sigh.
Dark Angel ran for two seasons, and the first season plot lines were formulaic, However, the second season was very different, as the show went on to explore transgenic characters who were experimental.
For example, one second season episode featured a transgenic with greatly enhance brain function, intended to act as a human strategic simulation computer. With an intrinsic understanding of probabilities, could predict future events with uncanny accuracy. He also had such a plain appearance that he was ignored y everyone, as a means of camouflage /
I think Homer Simpson is an atheist .. isn't he?
But Homer actually met god (the only Simpsons character with 4 fingers) in the episode where Homer decided not to go to church and had the best Sunday morning of his life. Bacon and sausage wrapped with waffles, peeing with the door open, and public service programs interrupted by football. He even found a penny.
Yeah, but did he believe in God when he saw him? ;P
Jack Reacher from the novels of the British author Jim Grant aka Lee Child.
I know this is a bit of a silly one and probably not what you're looking for, but a lot of the time there are characters in the Terry Pratchett novels that are atheist. In a disc world where gods do exist and very often come into contact with said atheists, they always still remain stubborn in their disbelief in that they will say DIRECTLY to the god that they don't believe in their existence and then follow it up with a conversation with said god.
I love the nonsensical humour to it! It always makes me giggle.
I also love the fact that Terry himself is an atheist.
Surprised no one has mentioned the Eragon series...is that too "soft" fantasy for folks around here? The humans and urgals and dwarves have various gods, but the elves explicitly state that they only believe in the natural world, no gods or superstition. In this world magic is very precise, very controlled; nothing superstitious about it.
And it's interesting how there is almost no "natural magic" in that world. There are no forests that are magic just because, or magic that just happens. Everything magic is the result of a thinking being exerting his or her will on the world. A magic, sentient tree turns out to really be the soul of an elf whose body died a long time ago. The forest is magic because the elves made it so once upon a time. A mysterious force that seems to guide Eragon towards his destiny is caused by the souls of dead dragons that have been preserved and are still alive and influencing things.