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
I just watched Cormac McCarthy's play "The Sunset Limited" on HBO. Its a story about a white collar upper-class atheist who attempts to commit suicide and is prevented from doing so by a lower-class ex-con christian. Spoiler Alert: the movie did not predictably end with the suicidal Mr. White converting to Christianity, instead he ran out to go off himself leaving Mr. Black wondering why God gave Mr. White the eloquent words to state his case but not to him.
The only complaints I had with this movie is that the atheist is portrayed as one with no positive outlook on the world and is morbidly gloomy throughout. Although, this is expected of one who is suicidal, the religious overtones of the movie makes a strong connection between Mr. Whites atheism and his decision to kill himself.
Meanwhile, Mr. Black has reformed himself though his belief in God and wants to convert the world. He is upbeat, remorseful, and empathetic despite living in a slum among crack-heads.
If you get the time, check the movie out. The dialog is rich and colorful and worth the watch.
What it boils down to is that people do things because of all the wrong reasons.
I read his 'the road' and I find it quit the atheistic book even thought I don't think mr. McCarthy is an atheist. Because the two characters talked about carrying the fire, nothing religious about that. And at one point they meet an old man who is an atheist.
For those who don't know what 'the road' is about, it's more of an allegory than anything else. Some want to call it speculative fiction because of dying world theme. The thing is, a great fire came and burned everything, there is almost no food, people or animals. Cannibals roam the country side while a man and a boy travel to south hoping something good will happen to them. This is practically the whole threehundred page story. The story is almost nihilistic in nature if there was no 'carrying the fire inside' motif, which to me doesn't sound religious because it just sounds like will to live against all odds. The characters hope there is a god because in this kind of world only god can help. I think McCarthy created this world to test our faith in god in nihilistic surroundings.
I mean, I would do things like this. Like, I would take a good old christian that believes in every bit of bible and you crash him on an island where there is almost no food or anything, not even a bible to remind him what he believes in and watch him how he turns atheistic because the god doesn't listen anymore. Simple experiment, immoral but scientifically correct.
Hi, I am the author of Rose's Will, a novel in which two of my main characters are non-believers. I think it's important to create characters in fiction whose lack of religious belief is not a big deal. I believe the same thing with homosexual characters. It's time that the world reads about characters who are real people who don't constantly have to make a case for themselves based on one aspect of their being.
So, if you enjoy reading a good, interesting, well-written book with characters who happen to be non-believers, give it a try. I was just published two weeks ago by www.48fourteen.com. The name of the book is Rose's Will by Denise DeSio. If you enjoy it, please leave a review in the review section under the purchase area of my book! Thanks you guys!
Blood Meridian, Judge Holden:
"The judge placed his hands on the ground. He looked at his inquisitor. This is my claim, he said. And yet everywhere upon it are pockets of autonomous life. Autonomous. In order for it to be mine nothing must be permitted to occur upon it save by my dispensation.
Toadvine sat with his boots crossed before the fire. No man can acquaint himself with everything on this earth, he said.
The judge tilted his great head. The man who believes that the secrets of this world are forever hidden lives in mystery and fear. Superstition will drag him down. The rain will erode the deeds of his life. But that man who sets himself the task of singling out the thread of order from the tapestry will by the decision alone have taken charge of the world and it is only by such taking charge that he will effect a way to dictate the terms of his own fate."
Difficult read, but it will stay with you for years.
In my opinion Judge Holden is one of the most fascinating characters ever created in fiction.
Jamie and Tyrion Lannister both say things that give a nod toward atheism in George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series.
Piers Anthony, a novelist, is a staunch atheist.
He wrote a series called the "Incarnations of Immortality", which centered around five "Incarnations": Death, Time, Mother Earth, Fate, and War.
The first book, "On a Pale Horse" had the new Death-in-Training. He would visit a person about to die, take their soul, weigh it, and determine whether to send it to Heaven or Hell.
Death visits an atheist committing suicide in a bathtub. He has a chat with Death, telling him he wasn't going anywhere after he died. Death tried to reap his soul and it disappeared in his hands!
I was looking up a thread about "On A Pale Horse" that I had replied to sometime around the end of December, but it looks like the thread got cut. Anyway, I mentioned Piers Anthony in it as well and decided to write him an e-mail, since he famously responds. Here is his response:
Has no one mentioned Dexter yet?
Our Dreamy, Delicious, Dastardly, Dark-dwelling Dexter?
Very much an atheist, though I do suppose his attachment to Harry's Code borders on religious. ^_^
In regards to film fiction, I'd have to go with the protagonist from "The Ledge".