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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Will we ever see an avowed atheist as a cinematic hero?

Priest opens today in North America — it’s been playing in the U.K. for a week — featuring an action hero who is fueled by his faith in a very Christian God, and whose life and actions are directed and constrained by the rules of that faith. My review of the film prompted Johnny S. to write:

I was going to see this either way it looked like alot of badassery , I kind of expected it to be a total anti religion film though, completing the equality that Atheist can have a super hero too.

To which I responded:

It would be nice to have an avowed atheist as a superhero. But this definitely isn’t that film.

To which Dave Graham replied:

I’d wager Batman is not a religious man. :)

Which got me thinking. Batman may not be religious, but he has never come out and said anything like: “There are no gods, so we all have to look after ourselves, so we’d better get going on that.” (At least there’s nothing in the Batman movies like that, and it’s movies we’re talking about here.) Few characters of any kind on film (or TV) express any kind of religious belief, but it’s still far more common to see explicitly religious characters — people who pray, or attend a religious service, or make mention of a concrete belief in God — than it is to see explicitly areligious characters: people who say, “I’m an atheist” or “I don’t believe in God,” or who refuse to engage in a religious ceremony because it means nothing to them. Given that:

Will we ever see an avowed atheist as a cinematic hero? Can you think of any in existing movies or television series?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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