Since someone posted a quote from the great TV Show 'Orange is the New Black', I began to wonder: How many atheists characters have you seen or read in film, TV shows, literature, etc? How were they portrayed? Is there a negative, positive, or in between connotation? Has literature (fiction) been harmful to science or hostile towards atheism? Or is it more than we live in a religion majority world, and therefore a romanticism of religion is in play?
The characters have not to be openly atheists for you to mention it. If you suspect that a character is an atheist you can mention him/her/it.
Derek, a character created by Ricky Gervais in a show named the same, is an atheist. I think Gervais did a wonderful job portraying a wonderful, sweet, and kind character, who happens to be atheist.
I think that Literature is often very harsh against science (Frankenstein, Brave New World, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, etc.) making fallacious arguments without acknowledging the importance of science and reason.
Gregory House. Duh.
He's a lovable asshole.
Michael 'Meathead' Stivic - All in the Family. He was the first Atheist TV character I ever saw. Ahead of his time, he was portrayed as a modern liberal-Atheist: college educated, equality supporter (of every flavour), scientifically knowledgeable, and perhaps a bit unable to restrain his opinions when faced with religion.
This is going waaayyy back. As a Child, I remember seeing an old black & white movie on TV. Bing Crosby was a priest in pre-war China. The only scene I remember, there is some sort of battle going on. Bing and his side kick nun and some secular friend are dodging bullets. The secular friend and priest are apparently very close and have been friends for years, The friend gets shot. His last words as he speaks to Father Bing Crosby as best I can remember: " Funny. Here I am going into the valley of the shadow, and I still can't believe in God." The nun turns away obviously offended. Fr Bing holds his friend in his arms as the fellow quietly dies. Later he gently lectures the nun on her poor behavior. Had to be an early 50's flick. Anyone else out there who's old as dirt like me and saw this?
I know Bing Crosby played a singing priest a couple times - and I remember several road movies that he did with Bob Hope - but I don't recall a combination of him being both a priest and on foreign soil.
The link, below, used to be on Wikipedia but it's gone now. I don't know why. Fortunately, I have a copy :-)
It's at least 3 or 4 years old now.
I cannot think of a single "good guy" character in an Ayn Rand book who was not an atheist. The bad guys, for the most part, also didn't seem to betray much theism (though many theists don't either). Ayn Rand herself was such a thoroughgoing atheist that I don't think she ever really considered putting religion into her books, it was never important enough to her and she died before the Religious Right really got going.
I don't think she could have written a character who really thought that way, and I suspect she realized it.
I don't watch enough TV to really recognize the characters people are bringing up, but I wonder how many of them are accurate depictions of atheists as opposed to just conforming to the theist's stereotype of atheists as being "broken" people somehow.
Bones is my favorite fictional Atheist.