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The Top 20 Atheist-Friendly Movies

Updated on July 22, 2016
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Nerd, cinephile, TV-junky, research-loving, left-leaning, science-fiending, atheist from the gutter. Follow me on Twitter @TheGutterMonkey.

Whether it be by questioning, satirizing, pointing out faults, or simply making light of the whole kit and caboodle, the following atheist-friendly movies have done their own small parts in bringing religion down a peg while putting science and skepticism in the limelight.

Now don't get me wrong—there are very few atheists out there who would completely condemn (or outright refuse to watch) any film based solely on the fact that it has religious undertones, or even one that's completely religious in nature. But every once in a while it is a breath of fresh air for a rationalist to see a film with the brass to stand up and call out religion for what it is, and/or give secularism, science, and reason a voice.

The pickings may be slim but, believe it or not, these movies are out there. One just need know where to look.

20) Salvation Boulevard (2011)

What's it about?

During a debate between atheist Dr. Paul Blaylock (Ed Harris) and pastor Dan Day (Pierce Brosnan), Day singles out ex-deadhead Carl (Greg Kinnear) as an example of a convert who left sin behind and accepted God's grace. When the trio gathers later in his office, Pastor Dan accidentally shoots the atheist with an antique gun and covers up the mess to make it look like a suicide. Then Carl (the scared, confused, suddenly disillusioned innocent bystander) becomes drawn into a criminal web as he tries to set things right. But in the process, he must elude murder attempts, kidnapping, blackmail, and temptation of all sorts.

What does this have to do with atheism?

Salvation Boulevard is a dark comedy that pokes fun at the uber-religious evangelicals at almost every single turn. And while it only had a limited release (and was overlooked by pretty much everyone), it was actually a fairly decent movie with a star-studded cast and lots of laughs.

19) The Ledge (2011)

What's this about?

A thriller in which a battle of philosophies—fundamentalist Christian against atheist—escalates into a lethal battle of wills. Ultimately, as a test of faith (or lack of it), the believer forces the non-believer onto the ledge of a tall building. He then has one hour to make a choice between taking his own life and someone else's. Without faith in an afterlife, will he be capable of such a sacrifice?

What does this have to do with atheism?

The Ledge was widely promoted as being the Brokeback Mountain for atheists. And while the film may have failed in delivering on this promise (mostly due to poor dialogue and a somewhat contrived storyline), it nevertheless did grace the moviegoing public with two rarities in film: an openly atheistic hero and a representation of just how dangerous the wacky delusions of fundamentalist Christians can be.

18) Creation (2009)

What's it about?

Creation is a partly biographical, partly fictional account of the emotional and marital problems faced by Charles Darwin after the death of his eldest child, and his struggles to write the book that changed the world, On the Origin of Species.

What does this have to do with atheism?

With a film about the man who "singlehandedly killed god," you really have no other choice but to venture into atheist territory. Creation not only does this, but it goes into it head first as we watch Darwin (played by real life atheist, Paul Bettany) struggles to overcome his guilt and anxiety over the effect his discoveries may have on the world and his marriage and personal life, as well.

17) Paul (2011)

What's it about?

Two science fiction nerds (Shaun of the Dead's Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) take a pilgrimage in an RV to America's UFO heartland, where they happen upon a wise-cracking space alien named Paul (played by Seth Rogen), who has recently escaped a 60-year imprisonment from a top-secret military base. Paul convinces the two to help him in his endeavor to evade federal agents in order to escape to his mother ship. And with this, ladies and gentlemen, let the comical hijinks commence!

What does this have to do with atheism?

  1. The two leading actors, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, are avowed atheists.
  2. The film directly ridicules the unfounded views of creationists, while repeatedly defending the scientifically supported theory of evolution.
  3. The film repeatedly pokes fun at the closed-mindedness of Christian fundamentalists. This is most notably demonstrated in the character of Ruth (played by Kristen Wiig), a Christian fundamentalist who has her faith shattered after Paul shares his vast knowledge of the universe via a telepathic link. While at first she's horrified about having lived a lie her entire life, Ruth soon feels liberated by the realization that hell doesn't await her if she curses, has sex, or sins in other ways.
  4. In BBC Radio interviews, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have alluded to the fact that they intended to delve deeper into the controversies of Darwin and evolution vs. religion and creationism, but several scenes were cut in favor of flow and timing.

16) Agora (2009)

What's it about?

Agora is biopic about Hypatia, a female mathematician, philosopher, and astronomer in late 4th century Roman Egypt, who investigates the flaws of the geocentric Ptolemaic system and the heliocentric model that challenges it. Surrounded by the religious turmoil and social unrest arising from the disputes of the pagans and the Christians, Hypatia struggles to save the knowledge of classical antiquity from destruction. The story uses historical fiction to highlight the relationship between religion and science amidst the decline of Greco-Roman polytheism and the Christianization of the Roman empire.

What does this have to do with atheism?

There are these beautiful scenes where we see the camera pan out to a godlike POV which allows us to look down on the battles which ensue during the Christianization of the Roman empire and see those ancient people as if they are ants gathering into various groups (religions) and scurrying through the streets and buildings, waving their weapons toward the sky, killing each other, destroying everything, and shouting passionately about whose invisible deity is better. It's through this clever technique that the film helps us gain a large, impersonal view of the human species, one that really puts our small disputes (in relation to the universe itself) into perspective.

All of this religious turmoil is interspersed with scenes of the innocent people who are affected by it. In Alexandria, pagans and Christians live together as friends and neighbors, but when the higher-ups decide that a religious war should begin, those people are forced to fight against each other. We see the Christians' destruction of an ancient library (the greatest treasure of human knowledge in the world at that time, from which only a few scrolls were saved, including texts from Aristotle and other Greeks). We see how the protagonist, Hypatia (a female mathematician, philosopher, and astronomer) has her scientific research continuously hindered by the madness religion has caused around her.

15) The Invention of Lying (2009)

What's it about?

The Invention of Lying takes place in a world where everyone tells the truth. Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) is a screenwriter, about to be fired. He's short and chunky with a flat nose, genetic traits that mean he won't get to first base with Anna, the woman he loves. On the spur of the moment he blurts out the first ever fib, with eye-popping results.

What does this have to do with atheism?

In an imaginary world where lying is nonexistent and every word out of everyone's mouth is an absolute, unfiltered truth, it should come as no surprise that there's a complete lack of religious belief. But when Mark learns to lie, the invention of religion isn't far off. It starts out innocently enough when he lies to his mother about the afterlife as she lays on her deathbed, worried about the eternal void awaiting her. But things soon escalate when the hospital staff overhears his description of heaven, believes every word, and spreads the good news to others. Not long after, Mark is called a prophet and religion is born.

14) Religulous (2008)

What's it about?

Written by and starring television's most famous atheist/agnostic, Bill Maher, the critically-acclaimed documentary, Religulous (an amalgamation of the words "religion" and "ridiculous") gives an insightful, clever, and oftentimes humorous examination of religion and religious belief through interviews with believers of various faiths, analyses of religion's history and evolution, and pilgrimages to an assortment of religious destinations.

What does this have to do with atheism?

C'mon.... Seriously?

13) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

What's it about?

Beginning with the dawn of man in Africa four million years BC and spanning all the way up to the "near future" of 2001, Stanley Kubrick's epic 2001: A Space Odyssey could be called a story of man's evolution and potential and an exploration of the mysteries our universe contains. In the film, the progress of this evolution is marked by recurring appearances of several mysterious black monoliths which appear to have the strange ability to nudge man's intelligence and evolution further along. But to discover where these monoliths came from, who (or what) made them, and what their purpose is, you have to watch.

What does this have to do with atheism?

While 2001: A Space Odyssey was a collaborative effort of two well-known atheists, Stanley Kubrick (the revered director of such films as Dr. Strangelove and A Clockwork Orange) and famed science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, this film unfortunately has no overt criticisms or statements pertaining to religion. So, admittedly, I was hesitant about adding it to this list (in fact, it's probably the least atheistic movie included here) but that being said, the film does imply atheistic viewpoints.

We're shown a beautiful and thought-provoking picture of a seemingly godless universe where man evolves from early herbivorous, ape-like humans and where the closest thing to a sky-daddy isn't an omnipresent, omnipotent magical figure, but rather, a more highly evolved alien species whose mysterious goals have no apparent connection with magic or superstition, but only with science, evolution, and the exploration of the mysteries of space.

If that ain't atheist-friendly, I don't know what is.

12) Planet of the Apes (1968)

What's it about?

After a six-month voyage through deep space (six months for them, nearly 700 years for the planet earth due to time dilation), a small group of US astronauts goes into deep hibernation to await their trip back to earth. Upon waking, they find that their spaceship has unexpectedly crash-landed on a mysterious planet 2006 years in the future (although they themselves have only aged 18 months). Upon exploring the planet (which appears to be sustainable and much like their own), the crew is astounded to find that its society is ruled by intelligent apes who speak, ride horseback, use tools, brandish firearms, and treat the planet's indigenous human population (who are mute, uncivilized, and primitive) as wild animals (they're caged, tested, hunted for sport, and enslaved for manual labor). Before long, the crew is captured by the apes and forced to fight for their freedom.

What does this have to do with atheism?

Paralleling our own world, the apes in charge in the Planet of the Apes, the political and religious leaders, base all decisions on faith, without reason. Prompted to a religious belief (that, according to the Second Article of Faith of their Sacred Scrolls, humans have no soul), they guiltlessly hunt humans for sport, run tests on them, and take them for slaves.

The parallels don't end there, though. The film also gives examples of how religious faith flies in the face of science. There are several scenes when scientists present evidence (ancient artifacts and fossils) that their evolutionary ancestors may have been human-like. This idea is immediately rejected because it runs contrary to their faith and the writings in their Sacred Scrolls, where the First Article of Faith states that "the Almighty created the ape in his own image." When scientists present further evidence of evolution at a court hearing (giving us a kind of reverse version of the Scopes Monkey Trial), the court refuses to listen and indicts the scientists on the charge of scientific heresy.

All in all, The Planet of the Apes does what good science fiction should do: it gives us a fun and interesting story that not only entertains, but makes us reevaluate ourselves in the process.

11) Jesus Camp (2006)

What's it about?

Jesus Camp follows several young children as they prepare to attend a summer camp called "Kids on Fire" where they will get thrown in the deep end of evangelical Christianity. Through interviews with camp employee Becky Fischer, the children, and others, Jesus Camp illustrates the unswerving belief of the faithful religious right. A housewife and homeschooling mother tells her son that creationism has all the answers. Footage from inside the camp shows young children weeping and wailing as they promise to stop their sinning. Child after child is driven to tears.

What does this have to do with atheism?

We see parents homeschooling their children to shield them from the teaching of evolution and the influence of sin, pastors telling kids to stretch their hands out in prayer to a cardboard cutout of George W. Bush, and children who have their mouths covered with red tape with "LIFE" printed across it as they're shown a series of plastic models of developing fetuses and are urged to fight to end abortion. There's even a brief scene where the children are brought to see Ted Haggard (prior to his homosexual sex scandal) where he delivers a sermon over the evils of homosexuality.

This film is an infuriating, sad, frightening, and disgusting look at how the extreme religious right are indoctrinating their children to be fanatical "soldiers of god."

10) Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

What's it about?

Crimes and Misdemeanors consists of two connecting stories. The first is that of Judah (Martin Landau), a wealthy, highly respected ophthalmologist whose mistress, Dolores, wants him to leave his wife. Dolores tells Judah that if he doesn't, she will tell his wife about their affair and also about some of Judah's shady business dealings. Not wanting to leave his wife and incapable of convincing Dolores not to talk, Judah turns to his mobster brother who has Dolores killed. Overcome with grief, Judah contemplates his life, god, and the meaning of right and wrong.

The second story is that of Cliff (Woody Allen), a documentary filmmaker who is struggling to make a film about a philosopher whose worldview he admires. To help finance this project, Cliff reluctantly agrees to direct a complimentary documentary about his brother-in-law, whom he hates. While filming the documentary about his brother-in-law, Cliff falls in love with a woman who is producing the film.

What does this have to do with atheism?

Crimes and Misdemeanors can be seen as an examination of the meaning of life and a search for morality in the absence of god (a subject addressed throughout the film). It's difficult to go too into depth in this examination without spoiling the film, but I believe the following quote from the final scene (taken from the philosopher Allen's character admires) finely sums up the ambiance of the entire movie:

"It is only we, with our capacity to love, that give meaning to an indifferent universe. And yet most human beings seem to have the ability to keep trying and find joy from simple things; from their family, their work, and from the hope that future generations might understand more."

9) Letting Go of God (2008)

What's it about?

Letting Go of God is a humorous autobiographical monologue by Julia Sweeney which chronicles her search for god. She begins in the Catholic church, the religion her family raised her in, and takes a Bible study class. What she learns there leads her to new questions, and in search for answers she explores meditation, Buddhism, and New Age gurus, then describes what she learned from the sciences and from sharpening her critical thinking skills. She discovers that to accept the truth leads to surprising revelations. She concludes by sharing how these affected her relationship with her family.

What does this have to do with atheism?

Julia Sweeney's account of her own search for god which led to her conversion to atheism is an honest, sweet, funny, and moving story of how reason and rationality can overcome even the strictest religious upbringing. It's not overly hostile or condescending toward religion or the religious and it gets its message through loud and clear. If nothing else, this film is a great inspiration for any atheists who are in the closet and terrified of what will happen if they ever come out.

On a side not, this monologue impressed and inspired world-renowned atheist biologist Richard Dawkins so much that he referenced it several times in his bestselling book, The God Delusion.

8) Inherit the Wind (1960)

What's it about?

Inherit the Wind is a dramatization of the famous Scopes Monkey trial of 1925. A biology teacher was arrested and brought to court, where he challenged a law passed by the Tennessee State legislature which made it a crime to teach anything other than the account of creation as set down in the Book of Genesis.

What does this have to do with atheism?

While on its surface, Inherit the Wind may appear merely as a battle between creationism vs. evolution, but the real battle is between knowledge vs. repression of knowledge (in this case, due to contradicting religious belief). The film's protagonist, defense attorney Henry Drummond (Spencer Tracy), is an avowed agnostic with a vendetta against the closed-minded ignorance which religion has the tendency to spread. When he is asked if he finds anything holy, Drummond replies, "The individual human mind. In a child's ability to master the multiplication table there is more holiness than all your shouted hosannas and holy of holies."

Looking back at it now, the most astounding thing about this film wasn't its willingness to take on these issues, but the fact that these issues, over fifty years later, are still relevant. In 1960, when the film was made, director Stanley Kramer knew that the fight against evolution was an archaic one; yet, even now, that fight continues to persist, regardless of the fact that courts have consistently ruled against the teaching of creationism in schools. One can't help but wonder what the backlash would be if a film like this were to come out in America today, where over half of the population have been shown to believe that creationism is definitely or probably true (an amazing statistic, considering well over 90% of the world's scientists accept evolution as fact). Suffice it to say, Inherit the Wind's relevancy has never been more important than it is right now.

7) The Sunset Limited (2011)

What's it about?

A nameless intellectual white atheist attempts to commit suicide by diving in front of the Sunset Limited, only to be rescued by a nameless, devoutly religious, black ex-con who takes the atheist to his apartment where they discuss religion, philosophy, and whether or not life has meaning. This room, and the discussions within it, are the sole setting and action for the entirety of the film.

What does this have to do with atheism?

While in the end The Sunset Limited gives no answers (neither character, the atheist nor the theist, wins the "debate"), the topics they hit on are still extremely relevant and thought-provoking to those interested in the subject of religion and life's meaning. Other than the stereotype of the depressed, intellectual, and suicidal atheist, the film handles the strain between atheism and theism in a fair way while making no major generalizations in either direction and never taking sides; you simply watch and listen as two men have a verbal boxing match, and in the end you come to your own conclusions about what you just witnessed.

6) Whatever Works (2009)

What's it about?

Whatever Works is the story of the cantankerous New York intellectual, cynic, and atheist ex-professor of quantum mechanics, Boris (played by Larry David), who reluctantly finds himself allowing a beautiful, young, naive southern runaway named Melody (Evan Rachel Wood) to move into his apartment. After a surprising series of events, Boris and Melody find themselves in an unlikely relationship. Eventually, Melody's repressed Christian parents come looking for her to bring her home, but they, just like Melody, begin to find themselves wrapped up in the cultured environment.

What does this have to do with atheism?

Through his characters, director Woody Allen has always managed to bring a keen sense of wit and rationality into his movies, and he's never once hesitated to openly address and question the absurdities associated with religion and the religious. But it was with 2009's Whatever Works that he really went all out.

The film is a humorous (albeit exaggerated) example of what may occur if individuals of the conservative, religious right were to step outside of the constraints of their own environments, religious background, and upbringing, and open themselves up to a world outside of their familiar comfort zones. In Melody's repressed, right wing, Christian fundamentalist family, we see the epitome of closed-minded irrationalists who, when removed from their small town ways and exposed to an environment of culture and intellectualism, not only open their minds and unchain themselves from their religious beliefs but also learn to better understand themselves. In the end, they grow to be all the more happier and fulfilled because of it.

5) Marjoe (1972)

What's it about?

The 1972 Academy Award-winning documentary Marjoe is one of the most fascinating, eye-opening documentaries to ever come along. The story follows Marjoe Gortner who, as a small boy, was pushed into being a child evangelist preacher by his parents, who trained him to be a manipulative showman to perform in the church tent revivalist circuit, earning them large sums of money. Despite his lack of religious belief, Marjoe rejoined the ministry as a young adult to support himself by using his fame and status to defraud money from devout religious followers through tent revivals and televangelism. This documentary came along after Marjoe had an attack of conscience and decided to quit being an evangelist. During his final revival tour, he gave a documentary film crew complete access to him, his process, and the tricks of his trade.

What does this have to do with atheism?

Along with actual interviews where Gortner admits his non-belief and explains how he uses manipulation to swindle people out of their money, the film is also interspersed with scenes from actual revival meetings where we see Gortner preach and pray for people who genuinely believe what he says.

4) Contact (1997)

What's it about?

Dr. Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster) is a radio astronomer who has dedicated her life to the cosmological field of SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) where she points huge telescopes to the sky in an ongoing attempt to make contact with alien radio signals of some kind. One day, when she's on the verge of losing her job due to budget cuts, a radio signal is finally found.

From there, the film becomes a story about the road science and the government takes to making closer contact with this alien civilization. But more than that it's about Ellie's struggles with her own past, her colleagues, and her clashes against a religious public that doesn't want an atheist to be the first ambassador from earth.

Why is it good for atheists?

Many atheists have complained about how much leeway religion gets in the film and how certain portions of it seem to present atheism as a sort of faith-based religion similar to that of any religion. While these assertions may not be completely without merit, they do ignore the more positive aspects of how atheism is presented in this fun and fascinating film.

Contact appeals to atheistic sensibilities for numerous reasons. For one thing, it's about space (the only true "heaven" there will ever be) and its protagonist is a stern, intelligent, likable, and sympathetic character who happens to be an atheist (just as is the actress who portrays her). What gives the film top marks is that it tosses out the cliched cynical and depressed atheist stereotype and gives us a fine example of how hopeful and awe-inspired by the universe a person can be, without any need of a deity or promises of an afterlife to spark their passions and interests.

The film was based on a novel by the late (non-believer) Carl Sagan, who was perhaps one of the greatest and most well-known science popularizers of modern times. Anyone familiar with his writings, television shows, and other work knows that Sagan was an extremely optimistic figure who, while in no way a believer in religion, did do his best to try to find a common ground on which religion and science might meet. And at its core, this is what Contact attempts to do.

3) Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)

What's it about?

While the Monty Python gang may not have intentionally set out to make an atheist film, they sure did manage of make a lot of atheists happy (and a lot of picketing Christians peeved) when they came out with this gem.

In Judea, a boy is born in a manger a short distance from, and at about the same time as, Jesus Christ. Three wise men from the East are for a time deceived by this proximity into believing that he is the promised Messiah, but it soon becomes apparent that he is, in fact, only a hapless peasant named Brian. This is how things continue to go for Brian as he is continuously mistaken for the Messiah and, therefore, manipulated, abused, and exploited by various religious and political factions throughout the film.

What does this have to do with atheism?

The old credo, "the more seriously people take things, the more potential there is for comedy," was never more true than with Monty Python's Life of Brian. The film takes a hilarious look at the very viral nature of memes and belief. We watch as an ordinary man is confused as being the Messiah and how that belief spreads from person to person until eventually the man has mobs of followers.

2.) The Seventh Seal (1957)

What's it about?

Written and directed by atheist Ingmar Bergman, the revered classic, The Seventh Seal, tells the story of a medieval knight who seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God. The knight and his squire are returning home from the crusades in the 14th century as the Black Plague is sweeping their country. As they approach home, the Grim Reaper appears to the knight and tells him that his time has come. The knight, not yet ready to die, challenges Death to a game of chess to forestall his death. As they play their game, the knight and his squire continue on their journey, running into various individuals on the way.

What does this have to do with atheism?

Set during the Black Plague in the 14th century, when death was always around the corner and people had no other choice but to confront it on a daily basis, The Seventh Seal is a largely allegorical film which asks the questions one has when faced with their own mortality.

The films protagonist, Antonius Block, is at the end of his life and terrified at the prospect of the nothingness which will follow. Throughout the film we watch as he desperately searches for proof of god and meaning to life when his eyes and instincts continuously tell him that there's neither. And while Blocks search for god is inevitably a futile one, it's through his squire, Jons -- a sarcastic, cynical, yet gallant non-believer -- that we eventually do see a glimpse of life's meaning:

[An excerpt from the final scene of The Seventh Seal, when Death arrives at the knight's castle.]

Block: Out of the darkness we call to thee, O Lord! Oh, God, have mercy on us! We are small and afraid and without knowledge!

Jons: In the darkness where you say you are, there is none to listen to your lament. You are reflected in your own indifference.

Block: God, you who are somewhere, who must be somewhere, have mercy on us!

Jons: I could have purged your worries about eternity, but now it's too late. But feel, to the very end, the triumph of being alive!

1) The Man from Earth (2007)

What's it about?

John Oldman is a university professor who has decided to pick up and leave his friends, job, and town behind for a new beginning. While packing, his friends and colleagues -- all of which are intellectuals, well studied in various fields (biology, history, anthropology, psychology) -- decide to show up and throw him an impromptu farewell party. Curious as to why John is leaving them, they begin to pester him about his reasons for leaving. Before long, John finally informs them of his deep dark secret -- that he's a caveman who doesn't age.

What does this have to do with Atheism?

Containing no action scenes, no sex, no swearing, and with the only setting of the entire film being John Oldman's home (and mostly one room of the home), The Man from Earth manages to fascinate through the use of nothing more than deep intellectual discussions pertaining to history, religion, and how myths are made.

That being said, I'll admittedly agree that a movie about a room full of people sitting around discussing heavy topics doesn't sound like the most thrilling of pictures. But this movie really packs a punch and sparks the thought process in a clear, non-condescending way like nearly none other I've ever seen before (and I'm not just saying that).

Overall, I've only two complaints about the film: A.) The music which plays during the ending credits is horrible and almost unbearably corny and B.) It's impossible to explain the beauty of the picture without spoiling the entire damn thing.

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© 2011 The Gutter Monkey

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    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 4 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Excellent review. A few I have seen and others that need to get added to my "must-see list."

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
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      The Gutter Monkey 10 months ago

      @ SainterSan

      Hi, StainerSan! I gotta say, I DO love Amadeus (what the hell ever happened to Tom Hulce, anyway? He was awesome!), if I tossed it onto our list, though, it would feel a bit too much like a stretch. Not to mention, it would set a far too achievable standard for what it takes to be an 'atheist friendly movie' — making this list a tad less selective than I'd prefer.

      It's not that your arguments are without merit (don't get me wrong) but, in my opinion, the religious aspects of Amadeus are a little too subtle to support the films inclusion here. The Life of Brian, for instance, may've not been directly atheistic in nature, but at least the entire movie had an obvious connection to religion that anyone could spot right away (by being a parody of Jesus Christ). That is to say, if I were to mention The Life of Brian to someone as being 'atheist friendly', they may not agree with me, but they probably wouldn't be surprised that it was something that came to mind. If I mentioned Amadeus, however, I feel like I'd just get a confused stare.

      I do enjoy your out-of-the-box thinking though! I've heard many suggestions for future additions to this list and this is the first I've heard Amadeus come up. Good job. Even if I don't include it here after a future update, at least people can get the suggestion here in the comments section if they want.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • profile image

      SainterSan 10 months ago

      Amadeus. Though not strictly an atheist friendly film (neither strictly is Life of Brian) it manages to mock God through the character of Salieri who resents God bestowing musical perfection on Mozart, a vulgar little shit unfitting of such an honour while making Salieri a second rate composer with, ironically, a first rate ear for great music. Salieri plans his revenge not just on Mozart but God him/her/itself and kind of succeeds even though going insane in the process. If this can be construed as atheist friendly then it blows every other movie away.

    • profile image

      Glen Wooten 11 months ago

      Wages if fear .is one of my favourites

    • profile image

      Nabu 15 months ago

      Very good list...someone mentioned that most movies trend to be more atheist friendly and many mock Christianity. Well this is to be expected (as Jesus warned his followers) Anyone who believes in this day and age in an ancient jewish zombie that is somehow a ruler of the entire universe is 2 chocolates short of the whole box.

      P.S. Religulous should Be required viewing...i dare anyone not to laugh at least once!

    • profile image

      anonymous 22 months ago

      you forget PK (2014) and The Unbeliever (2013)

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
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      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      @ M. T. Dremer

      No, no. Thank YOU, M. T. Dremer. I hope you found something you'll enjoy. ;)

    • M. T. Dremer profile image

      M. T. Dremer 2 years ago from United States

      I'm shocked by how few of these movies I knew about. Thank you for the list!

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
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      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      @ Oztinato

      Haha, right, right, sure thing. Anywho, thanks for visiting!

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Theres no point in talking with someone who repeatedly tries to tell me and others "what I am saying" in a consistently misrepresentational manner.

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
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      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      @ Oztinato

      What exactly is it that I’m misinterpreting, Oz?

      I’ve repeatedly stated that it’s okay to have your own interpretations of a film — regardless of how far-reaching they may be — especially one as open to interpretation as this one. You, however, keep speaking in absolutes, saying that “2001: A Space Odyssey” does have religious overtones and that Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick have intentionally made a story which reinforces some sort of religious message (i.e., a Jesus Christ alien, Scientology, and so forth). If your meaning is that you’re simply finding a parallel between the story of Christ and the Star Child from “2001”, that’s okay. But it’s merely the parallel that you, personally, have found and how you’ve chosen to interpret it. Just because it’s what you want to believe the film is about, though, doesn’t mean that’s what the film is about. Explain (pretty please!) why you feel this movie is undeserving of a spot on this list of Atheist Friendly movies.

      This whole thing somewhat reminds me of The Steven Spielberg produced mini-series “TAKEN”, which actually does give what seems like an almost exact parallel between a half-alien/half-human little girl and a Jesus Christ-type figure. She appears to be a savior, she has powers (due to her genetic mixture) that she uses to heal and help people, her mother was impregnated with the girl “from above” (by an alien) without the mothers knowledge, and eventually the girl grows a massive following from the community, while fighting against an evil government who is trying to capture her; then, to top things off, she eventually ascends back up to 'the heavens' (in space, with the aliens), while implying her eventual return. This all sounds very much Jesus-ish, doesn’t it? Of course it does! But does this mean that the story is telling a pro-religious tale? Heck no. It doesn’t mean it’s not, of course (although I both doubt it and can't figure how it could be), but it could also be nothing more than a parody or a parallel that’s borrowing from popular myths to tell an alternative, imaginative science fiction explanation to god and Jesus-type stories. Heck, this is something atheists could get on board with (not as a belief system, mind you, but as a good story that replaces the magic, miracles, and god myths with something a little more in tune with the universe as we know it). Thus, this miniseries — which actually does have an uncanny resemblance to the Jesus story and "alien angels” — could also be considered to be atheist friendly. Not because it’s an “atheist movie”, but because it could be interpreted as giving an alternative to the magic, god, and miracles involved in religions.

      I never said that you couldn’t interpret a film how you’d like (I’ve always explicitly and purposefully stated the opposite), yet you, on the other hand, are trying to say that anyone else’s ways of looking at a film (i.e., showing how it can be atheist friendly) are wrong, simply because you feel strongly about your own ideas. This is about as arrogant as it gets, as your both speaking for the creators of the film (who also just happen to have been outspoken non-believers) and you're implying that your interpretations somehow outweigh the interpretations of others.

      As for “Life of Pi”, I just told you with my last response, (seriously, not more than a day ago) that I have no recollection of a child getting ridiculed for their beliefs in the film. Yet, nevertheless, I went ahead and responded to you as if you were right in your statement (even though I can’t recall if you are). I did so for the simple fact that it’s completely irrelevant whether you’re right or not. The point being: if they do ridicule the child, what difference does that make in regards to anything we're talking about, Oz? As I stated:

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      I’ve not seen “Life of Pi” since the year it was released, so I can only speak to what I remember; so that’s what I spoke about. Generally, though, there’s no problem with ridiculing religion (as I’ve mentioned, re-mentioned, copy pasted, and then mentioned again), so if that indeed happens in the film, what of it? What’re ya expecting me to say? Hip-hip hooray? Good for them; I hope they gave it a real shot in the butt. We’re all allowed to criticize and make fun of things that we don’t agree with, whether it’s in film, music, literature, the internet, comedy, or anything else. Religions aren’t anymore off the table than politics and fatties. Simply because you find it offensive, or it contradicts views you cherish, doesn't mean that it's equal to "religious intolerance"; ya goofball. This, by the way, I’ve also repeatedly stated.

      ------------------------------------------------------------------------

      What’s so difficult to understand here, Ozzybear? What didn't I address? And why does it seem like you're not reading my responses? I seem to have to repeat myself quite a bit. Can you see this right now? How many fingers am I holding up?

      Oh! I almost forgot... the constitution thing (sigh). I’m still unsure of what your point is with bringing this up. Are you trying to say that it’s against the constitution to make fun of religion? If so, that’s about as absurd as a bird, Oz. Plain old silliness.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      GMonkey

      your ability to misinterpret me is amazing.

      There is no doubt the writers of 2001 have a reincarnated angelic messiah returning to earth to solve its problems: its written into the book.

      Life of Pi: still no response from you re the ridiculing of a child in that film.

      Constitution: religious or racial ridicule is opposed to the very heart of it.

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
      Author

      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      @ Oztinato

      Hmm. I never mentioned anything about the constitution, Oz. Not sure what your point is there.

      And I can’t say that I recall any moment in either the film or book versions of “2001: A Space Odyssey” where they mention a Jesus Christ alien (ha!). You may choose to interpret the film like that — that’s fine — but this is your own personal thing (or the personal thing of whoever you got that idea from). Don’t try to speak for the writer and director and act as if the parallels you’ve drawn represent the message they were trying to convey with the story. This is the very definition of something being your opinion. Also, weren't you saying it was about Scientology earlier? What happened to that idea?

      Anywhosers…

      I’ve not seen “Life of Pi” since the year it was released, so I can only speak to what I remember; so that’s what I spoke about. Generally, though, there’s no problem with ridiculing religion (as I’ve mentioned, re-mentioned, copy pasted, and then mentioned again), so if that indeed happens in the film, what of it? What’re ya expecting me to say? Hip-hip hooray? Good for them; I hope they gave it a real shot in the butt. We’re all allowed to criticize and make fun of things that we don’t agree with, whether it’s in film, music, literature, the internet, comedy, or anything else. Religions aren’t anymore off the table than politics and fatties. Simply because you find it offensive, or it contradicts views you cherish, doesn't mean that it's equal to "religious intolerance"; ya goofball. This, by the way, I’ve also repeatedly stated.

      You’re major focus here (as you’ve said) was to point out that atheism focuses too much on mocking or criticizing religion in films, as oppose to coming up with some alternative ways to express said atheism. I’ve already responded to this over and over again, and you’ve continuously acted as if I haven’t. The fact is, you haven’t because you can’t (ouch! I know!). But, just for old times’ sake, I’ll go ahead and quote myself (yet again):

      ------------------------------------------------------

      “A ‘good atheist film’ is not what this list is about. These are simply films that atheists may especially enjoy. The title, ‘Atheist Friendly’, was chosen for a reason. I don’t even know what an ‘atheist movie’ would be. As I’ve repeatedly mentioned, there are no beliefs for atheism to reinforce in a film — the entire concept of atheism is that it’s the opposite of a specific belief in theism (that’s why ‘theism’ is in the word, located behind that ‘a’). These are movies that atheists may enjoy, as they either focus on science themes that explore mysteries and the universe as we know it (i.e., they explore questions and possibilities related to the universe, using science and naturalism as the basis, without accepting god as the magical deus ex machina), or criticize and/or poke fun at religion. If one were to set out to make an ‘atheist movie’, though, they certainly couldn't do so without mentioning religion; because without theism, there would be no reason for atheism. Or, more simply put, atheism simply doesn't have a plot to make a story about; it can just remind you that your plot isn't supported by evidence.”

      ------------------------------------------------------

      Welp! Until next time, as-salamu alaykum. ;)

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      The USA constitution was founded on high principles inclding religious tolerance.

      As this hub is about movies I have and will continue to focus on that.

      2001 the movie is claiming in a creative way that a JC like alien (a kind of reincarnation ) is comig NOT ME. I am merely stating what the movie shows and its theme is not my opinion.

      I note with interest that the idea of ridiculing a child in Life of Pi has not been referred to by you.

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
      Author

      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      @ Oztinato

      Howdy again, Oz. As I mentioned before, it’s okay to theorize about, and make up your own interpretations for movies that you enjoy. You can believe “2001: A Space Odyssey” is about an alien Jesus Christ, Scientology, or even a Jovian witnesses (nerd pun!) if it makes you happy — that’s all fun and fine. I’m just clarifying that these opinions that you have aren’t irrefutable facts. And here, on this article, we’re explaining why that film (and other films) may appeal to atheists in particular.

      I believe on a previous article of mine, you initiated a rather long discussion about how morality and ethics may have come about. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like you had your heart set on religion being the be-all-and-end-all on the topic, while my general point was that religion probably did play a part in keeping order within society, but the inherent tendency (or the “feeling” if you’d like) not kill each other, steal, rape, “perform incest” (you threw that one in there), and so forth probably became ingrained in us through natural selection. Our species (and many others) depends on others of our species in order to survive. We must get along with each other and show a bit of altruism in order to find mates, raise children, and/or benefit from the pack. The more douchebaggy animals (not to get too technical) who go around killing and stealing from everyone will eventually go extinct either through retribution from the group, being ostracized from the group, not finding a mate who wants to be with them, etc. Therefore, their genes couldn’t go forth and spread. With that being said, though, even if religion were the only (cultural) force at work to help with morality, that still wouldn’t make god or the stories involved with religions at all factual. A religion involving the belief in two-headed leprechauns may involve the greatest, most beneficial message in the world; but that would hardly make two-headed leprechauns real.

      When I pointed out your intolerance toward atheism, I was doing so with a highly watered-down version of “intolerance” — in direct response to your equally watered-down version of “religious intolerance” that you’re claiming atheists’ exhibit by making movies that make fun of religions. Atheists don’t believe in religions, will make fun of religions, and will attempt to take religions out of government, yes, but this is hardly “religious intolerance”. Generally, we’re not cutting people’s heads off for being a believer; not trying to ban people from practicing religion in their own lives; not trying to outlaw religion; not protesting outside of churches every Sunday; not hanging out outside of theaters, chanting and pumping picket signs in the air just because they’re showing a Christian movie; not holding bible burning get-togethers, etc. The most atheists have in common with each other (aside from our non-belief in theism) is perhaps a shared passion for science and skepticism; but even that isn’t a doctrine of atheism. Someone could hate science and believe in bigfoot — and even hate being an atheist, for that matter — and still be an atheist, as long as they can’t bring themselves to believe in a magical deity or any of the various religions out there.

      The closest you can probably get to religious intolerance on a large scale, from an atheist, would be from the occasional dictator who wants to do away with religion in order to place themselves in the position of worship. But that, of course, is a dictator; making this quite an anecdotal example.

      As for “Life of Pi” and Quentin Tarantino movies being "atheist movies", I’ve already mentioned that there is no agenda for atheism to reinforce in film, other than either criticizing or ridiculing religion, or perhaps putting focus on science themes that explore mysteries of existence and the universe as we know it (i.e., they explore questions and possibilities related to the universe, using science and naturalism as the basis, without accepting god as the magical deus ex machina). The “The Life of Pi” was okay, I guess, and maybe if I could round up 4 more films I could add it to this list (I like my lists to be in five’s, haha); but just like with the film “Contact”, your interpretation of it could go either way at the end. [SPOILERS AHEAD] Some may say, like you did with “2001”, that it was very religious, where the story Pi tells turns out to be true, and others may see it as an example of how people make up nice stories instead of facing reality [END SPOILERS]. I’m more inclined to believe the latter (perhaps due to my own bias), but either way, I’ve already given a response about how if there were going to be an “atheist movie”, it would most certainly need to involve criticizing, making light of, ridiculing, or referring to religion. I’m really not sure how you’re seeing Tarantino movies as being atheistic (“Pulp Fiction” even incorporates divine intervention into its story), but, like I’ve said (over and over), you’re free to interpret things however you’d like.

      Annnnd... Hmm. I think that was it. Right?

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      GM

      I am not claiming to be an expert on 2001: A Space Odyssey just that I appreciate it for its originality and beauty on a totally different level to "atheism". At the end of the film we see a reincarnated angelic being who has come to save earth like an alien JC!

      On HP I have constantly reiterated my support for scientific atheism: that being atheism that does not turn its back on the principle of evolution regarding ethics (ie ethics evolved out of religions etc).

      I am certainly not intolerant of atheism, but I am only highly critical of "new atheist" hypocrisy. If a religiously intolerant atheist enjoys films about direct religious intolerance then of course you should expect strong criticism.

      As I have said, there are many atheists on HP and elsewhere who agree that the New Atheism is far more than just the old one line "non belief in God" and now involves political motives (such as films which depict religious intolerance as a good thing).

      I have no personal agenda only the desire to clarify what real atheism is: and that has nothing at all to do with explicit religious intolerance in films or books.

      I note with interest there has been no contradiction to my description of Life of Pi as a film which spends most of its time ridiculing a child's spiritual search.

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
      Author

      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      @ Oztinato

      Haha yes, Oz, I don’t doubt that you have a very high opinion of your opinion. But that doesn’t make your opinion the irrefutable truth. “2001: A Space Odyssey” happens to be one of my favorite films as well (incidentally, I just watched a screening of it last month, accompanied by a live orchestra which played the soundtrack; it was pretty fantastarastic). But regardless of how much I’ve seen it, read about it, adore the book series, and revere the director, what does that prove exactly? There’s a reason I don’t go around stating these things. That reason is that no one cares and most people on here are strangers who don’t know me; so why should they believe me? This is why we bite, not bark in these conversations and these articles. We state facts and sources to support our arguments, and then put that information on display for it to speak for itself. Simply stating or implying that you’re an expert in something doesn’t mean squat if all you’re exhibiting is poor arguments and bold statements. Even if you were someone of note (other than the actual writer or director of the film), it still wouldn’t make a difference when you’ve never made any noteworthy comment. The argument from authority is a fallacy, especially when the only person calling you an authority is yourself.

      The fact is that you’ve failed to make a valid point and have certainly failed to address any of mine. You’ve done nothing more than respond to me with the same old statements; all of which I’ve addressed:

      --------------------

      • You say that you’re waiting for an atheist movie that doesn’t talk about religion.

      I responded:

      “A ‘good atheist film’ is not what this list is about. These are simply films that atheists may especially enjoy. The title, ‘Atheist Friendly’, was chosen for a reason. I don’t even know what an ‘atheist movie’ would be. As I’ve repeatedly mentioned, there are no beliefs for atheism to reinforce in a film — the entire concept of atheism is that it’s the opposite of a specific belief in theism (that’s why ‘theism’ is in the word, located behind that ‘a’). These are movies that atheists may enjoy, as they either focus on science themes that explore mysteries and the universe as we know it (i.e., they explore questions and possibilities related to the universe, using science and naturalism as the basis, without accepting god as the magical deus ex machina), or criticize and/or poke fun at religion. If one were to set out to make an ‘atheist movie’, though, they certainly couldn't do so without mentioning religion; because without theism, there would be no reason for atheism. Or, more simply put, atheism simply doesn't have a plot to make a story about; it can just remind you that your plot isn't supported by evidence.'

      • You’ve said that “2001: A Space Odyssey” is very “spiritual” and is full of “religious overtones”. Scientology was one religion you mentioned directly.

      I responded:

      “Considering that the film follows the human species from 'The Dawn of Man' to the point where [SPOILERS AHEAD] we find out that an unimaginably intelligent and evolved alien species has been observing and helping our species progress for millennia, only goes to support Arthur C. Clarke's (the author of “2001”) third law that, ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic [a la, god].’ The director, Stanley Kubrick himself [who at one time even purportedly made a phone call to Stephen King, asked if he believed in god, and hung up on him when he answered in the affirmative], has even implied that such a highly evolved alien species is what’s driving the events in the film.

      It’s the thought-provoking nature of exploring the unknown and playing with the possibilities of a giant universe, full of billions upon billions of galaxies and planets, that makes the movie so inspiring (or ‘spiritual’ if you want to spin that vague term around). Especially to atheists, such as myself and others, who don’t worship or believe in anything. We get lost in the awe and wonder of the unknown and fascinated with the possibilities that can arise in this humongous, mysterious cosmos. Once again, I wouldn’t tell you not to believe what you want to about a movie, or not to theorize how you’d like (more power to you, in fact), but if you want to know what makes this particular film atheist friendly (and seem to want to ignore what’s written in the actual article), this is the reason.”

      • You’ve stated that atheism has limited creative potential unless it’s criticizing or making light of religion (which you don’t believe such criticism is original or creative).

      I answered this with my response to your first statement. Atheism is a label designed to say that someone is specifically not a theist. It’s a lack of a belief; it’s not bringing any new agenda to the table. Creativity is not necessarily to be expected from it. The most atheism can do, in terms of being an influence, is find ways to criticize theism.

      • You’ve said that atheism is preoccupied with “religious intolerance”.

      I responded by pointing out your hypocrisy:

      “You speak about atheists being intolerant toward religion, without even seeming to notice the hypocrisy you’re exhibiting, yourself, by being intolerant toward atheists. Heck, you’ve even gone out of your way to view an article written to suggest films that atheists may particularly enjoy (not ‘atheists films,’ whatever those would be) and proceed to use the comments section of that article as a platform to rant about your personal agendas (this isn’t the first article you’ve done that on, either). That’s analogous to me randomly hunting down a guy who’s praying, just to stick my head through his window and throw a science book at him.”

      --------------------

      And that’s about it. For every answer I’ve given you (then re-given you) you’ve done nothing more than repeat these same statements as if I’d said nothing at all in return. Well, either that or you’ve proudly exclaimed that you’ve seen a movie 50 times, and expected that to somehow be accepted as a valid support for an argument. I've told why atheists may enjoy these movies. If you disagree, that's fine. Like I said, everyone's entitled to their own theories and interpretations about the arts; but don't try to pretend your personal odd interpretations are the irrefutable facts. You rapscallion, you.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      PS 2001: A Space Odyssey is my favorite film of all time. I have seen it 50 plus times and studied it in detail.

      Life of Brian is also near the top of the list for its clever humor. Nothing wrong with jibes about religion and it also has some respectful depictions of Jesus in it as well etc.

      Life of Pi fails dismally with its constant ridicule of a child couched in pretty pictures. Awful awful atheist film.

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
      Author

      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      @ Oztinato

      And I suppose I shall patiently copypasta ;)

      A “good atheist film” is not what this list is about. These are simply films that atheists may especially enjoy. The title, “Atheist Friendly”, was chosen for a reason. I don’t even know what an “atheist movie” would be. As I’ve repeatedly mentioned, there are no beliefs for atheism to reinforce in a film — the entire concept of atheism is that it’s the opposite of a specific belief in theism (that’s why “theism” is in the word, located behind that “a”). These are movies that atheists may enjoy, as they either focus on science themes that explore mysteries and the universe as we know it (i.e., they explore questions and possibilities related to the universe, using science and naturalism as the basis, without accepting god as the magical deus ex machine), or criticize and/or poke fun at religion. If one were to set out to make an “atheist movie”, though, they certainly couldn't do so without mentioning religion; because without theism, there would be no reason for atheism. Or, more simply put, atheism simply doesn't have a plot to make a story about; it can just remind you that your plot isn't supported by evidence.

      G'day.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      I will patiently wait for an original atheist film that has nothing to do with criticizing religion or attempting to replace it with another religion.

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
      Author

      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      Yikes. This is some pretty far out rationalizing you’re attempting here, Oztinato.

      You can make a religion about anything. Heck, many even try to rationalize atheism into being one. So if you want to attribute aliens, Clarke’s third law, awe and wonder about the cosmos, and whatever else to the vague term of being “spiritual”, or try to associate it with a religion, you’re free to do so. But you’re clearly grasping at straws, playing with semantics, and struggling desperately hard to rationalize reality and the things you enjoy into fitting in with your pre-decided ideas, agendas, and apparent intolerance of atheists. I could perhaps call gravity my god and the awe and wonder derived from space as being a “spiritual experience” if I wanted to, but let’s get real: that would be nothing more than a poetical figure of speech, not a religion. Not to mention, the theists would misinterpret the bejesus out of it.

      Are there religions involving aliens? Sure. But that doesn’t make “The X-Files” a spiritual journey. Nor does it mean that the aliens in “2001” were analogous to angels. They were aliens. They left devices around the galaxy to investigate lifeforms and encourage evolution. A guy gets transported to the aliens. He’s put in a human zoo. He’s evolved into a species that can survive in space (among other things). Using a little pragmatism here, I doubt the intent of this, by the hardline atheist writer and director, was to promote or exhibit some particular ancient or new-age religion. It’s okay if you want to think that — weird, but okay — but give up on trying to sell that bologna to the rest of us, especially when you classify it as being a fact as oppose to your odd opinion.

      The fundamental flaw you have permeating the many kooky things you’ve been stating, is that you seem to genuinely believe atheists share a belief system of some sort. As repeated numerous times, we don’t. You speak about atheists being intolerant toward religion, without even seeming to notice the hypocrisy you’re exhibiting, yourself, by being intolerant toward atheists. Heck, you’ve even gone out of your way to view an article written to suggest films that atheists may particularly enjoy (not “atheists films,” whatever those would be) and proceed to use the comments section of that article as a platform to rant about your personal agendas (this isn’t the first article you’ve done that on, either). That’s analogous to me randomly hunting down a guy who’s praying, just to stick my head through his window and throw a science book at him.

      I’m not going to spend time rewording what I’ve already said in regards to “atheist movies”, as you’ve clearly either ignored everything else I’ve said, closed your eyes to it, or simply didn’t bother reading or trying to comprehend it in the first place. Instead, I’ll just copypasta it ;) :

      ------------------------------------

      A “good atheist film” is not what this list is about. These are simply films that atheists may especially enjoy. The title, “Atheist Friendly”, was chosen for a reason. I don’t even know what an “atheist movie” would be. As I’ve repeatedly mentioned, there are no beliefs for atheism to reinforce in a film — the entire concept of atheism is that it’s the opposite of a specific belief in theism (that’s why “theism” is in the word, located behind that “a”). These are movies that atheists may enjoy, as they either focus on science themes that explore mysteries and the universe as we know it (i.e., they explore questions and possibilities related to the universe, using science and naturalism as the basis, without accepting god as the magical deus ex machine), or criticize and/or poke fun at religion. If one were to set out to make an “atheist movie”, though, they certainly couldn't do so without mentioning religion; because without theism, there would be no reason for atheism. Or, more simply put, atheism simply doesn't have a plot to make a story about; it can just remind you that your plot isn't supported by evidence.

      ------------------------------------

      Peace, Oz.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      GMonkey

      many atheists need to get away from the narrow vision of spirituality/religion as a tiny microcosmic slice of right wing Christians from the USA.

      If they just took the time to look at holistic views of spirituality they will find that the Hindus and others had whole races of primitive men (monkey like) and serious historical and astronomy dates going back millions of years. Indigenous religions abound with myths regarding aliens.

      To have an example of Homo Sapiens returning to earth in an angelic form (re 2001) is a highly spiritualist vision of the cosmos.ie. aliens become the "angels"; the trip through space becomes the "spiritual vision" etc. It becomes Scientology. As Richard Dawkins has said, it is as if man can not help visualizing and thinking in "religious forms".

      My main point has been to throw light on the very real fact that the new atheist "no holds barred" films spend most of the time pointing out the alleged failings of religion: that is not Original in any sense of the word but only derivative, repetitive and intolerant.

      TO be truly original atheists need to create a film that does not draw upon religion in any way. According to Dawkins this can't be done and indeed has not been done as yet.

      Other purely atheist films usually focus on extreme violence (Tarantino) and even this is saying :"look, how can there be a god when this can happen?". Or "Life of Pi" which spends its time ridiculing a child's search for spirituality.

      If we look at atheist "great literature" (Kafka) its all about madness, hopelessness and suicide. In other words 'meaninglessness". As Shakespeare said when he put words into how a madman sees the world "it's a tale told by an idiot".

      The creative potential of atheism is so limited as to be already dying and leeching off religion in a negative sense.

      If we look at the history of religion in relation to the arts we can see tons of masterpieces of painting and sculpture, reams of positive/hopeful movies, literally millions of architectural wonders all over the world, a wealth of literature and gigantic earth moving philosophy etc etc.

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
      Author

      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      @ Oztinato

      Wowzers, Oztinato. Ya know, it’s fine to have your own theories and interpretations about a film — that’s one of the many things that make them so fun! — but to outright state that “2001: A Space Odyssey” has religious overtones, is a clear misdirection boldness. Especially when you take into account that it was written by an extremely well-known atheist author and directed by a man (known to be fascinated with science and the mysteries of the cosmos) who at one time purportedly made a phone call to Stephen King, asked if he believed in god, and hung up on him when he answered in the affirmative.

      Considering that the film follows the human species from “the dawn of man” to the point where [SPOILERS AHEAD] we find out that an unimaginably intelligent and evolved alien species has been observing and helping our species progress for millennia, only goes to support Arthur C. Clarke's (the author of “2001”) third law that, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic [a la, god].” The director, Stanley Kubrick himself, has even implied that such a highly evolved alien species is what’s driving the events in the film.

      It’s the thought-provoking nature of exploring the unknown and playing with the possibilities of a giant universe, full of billions upon billions of galaxies and planets, that makes the movie so inspiring (or “spiritual” if you want to spin that vague term around). Especially to atheists, such as myself and others, who don’t worship or believe in anything. We get lost in the awe and wonder of the unknown and fascinated with the possibilities that can arise in this humongous, mysterious cosmos. Once again, I wouldn’t tell you not to believe what you want to about a movie, or not to theorize how you’d like (more power to you, in fact), but if you want to know what makes this particular film atheist friendly (and seem to want to ignore what’s written in the actual article), this is the reason.

      A “good atheist film” is not what this list is about. These are simply films that atheists may especially enjoy. The title, “Atheist Friendly”, was chosen for a reason. I don’t even know what an “atheist movie” would be. As I’ve repeatedly mentioned, there are no beliefs for atheism to reinforce in a film — the entire concept of atheism is that it’s the opposite of a specific belief in theism (that’s why “theism” is in the word, located behind that “a”). These are movies that atheists may enjoy, as they either focus on science themes that explore mysteries and the universe as we know it (i.e., they explore questions and possibilities related to the universe, using science and naturalism as the basis, without accepting god as the magical deus ex machine), or criticize and/or poke fun at religion. If one were to set out to make an “atheist movie”, though, they certainly couldn't do so without mentioning religion; because without theism, there would be no reason for atheism. Or, more simply put, atheism simply doesn't have a plot to make a story about; it can just remind you that your plot isn't supported by evidence.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      2001 is a very spiritual film and has religious overtones.

      Life of Brian is funny and clever.

      Neither is atheistic.

      So when will we see good atheist films that have nothing to do with religion and are therefore "original"? Never

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
      Author

      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      @Oztinato:

      Righty-o. Well, look. There really is no system of belief, no rule book, no guidelines which I, or any atheist I know, adheres to as part of our atheism. Many of us may have similarities, but they're far from ordered, and the most prominent seem to deal with the inclination to promote skeptical thinking, a special affinity toward science, and the propensity to ridicule, be annoyed with, and vocally question silly ideas and beliefs. People are free to believe what they want to, yes, but that doesn't mean we can't giggle or scoff at those beliefs.

      With that being said, films such as “The Man from Earth”, “Contact”, “The Sunset Limited”, “The Seventh Seal”, “Letting Go of God”, “Crimes and Misdemeanors”, and “Creation” are not making fun of religion at all, but are, rather, thoughtful films that treat religion respectfully while still pointing out its flaws. “2001: A Space Odyssey” doesn’t even mention religion, “Marjoe” is a documentary about a specific preacher who swindled people using tent revivals and televangelism, “Jesus Camp” is another documentary simply showing indoctrination in action in a specific area, and “Inherit the Wind” is an early dramatization of an actual trial between creationism and science. This is 11 out of 20 films on this list which not only aren’t mocking religion, but are remaining respectful to believers (and usually to the beliefs themselves). 12 of 20, if you count “The Life of Brian,” which you said you enjoyed. Together, that's over half the movies on this list. What's the problem?

      As for the rest, just like politics, there’s nothing wrong with someone mocking, criticizing, or having fun with a belief; especially a silly or popular belief that’s so “omnipresent” (heh) in our society and government. Silly and popular things make for good comedy fodder, which is why most of the comedies on this list are making fun of, or at least making light of, religion. Many people may respect religion and put it on a pedestal, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is no more exempt ridicule than the democrat or republican parties are. It's not special.

      As for originality, 7 of these movies are either documentaries or true stories; 2 are movies which take place entirely in one room, completely driven by unique dialogue, using no CGI, violence, sex, or other cheap thrills as crutches (one of which even being about a man who hasn’t aged since the dawn of our species); “Contact” is arguably the greatest science fiction film about alien contact since “Close Encounters”; 6 of the movies have either been nominated or have won Oscars; and several (“2001: A Space Odyssey”, “The Seventh Seal”, “The Life of Brian”, “Planet of the Apes”, and “Inherit the Wind”) have been long held as revered classics in the world of cinema. It's fine to have your own opinions of the movies or not enjoy them, but to pretend they're unoriginal is a tad absurd.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Monkey

      there is ample evidence online and on HubPages that New Atheism has gone far beyond the simple old definition of atheism:there are many atheists on HP that agree with this. It is now a politically active movement.

      As for the benign interpretation of how certain films are "questioning etc" I have to point out again that this merely shrouds an underlying disturbing hypocrisy with the direction of the said new atheism. It reveals an odd preoccupation with what is really atheism's "religious intolerance".

      Why don't they move on and create something that is Original? (for answer see my previous post).

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
      Author

      The Gutter Monkey 2 years ago

      @Oztinato:

      As explained right in the articles introduction, "Whether it be by questioning it, satirizing it, pointing out its faults, or simply making light of the whole kit and caboodle, the following list of atheist friendly movies have done their own small parts in bringing religion down a peg while putting science and skepticism in the limelight."

      Atheism isn't an actual thing, it's not a particular belief system. Atheism is the lack of a thing, the lack of a particular belief system. If there were no religion (theism) then atheism would not exist. With that in mind, what movies could be of special interest to atheists in particular unless they are directly referencing, opposing, contradicting, satirizing, poking fun at, or criticizing religion? The only options are purely down-to-earth, non-magical, non-paranormal, non-fantastical movies (which would be most dramas, except those which mention religion, which there's no reason to presume atheists in particular would enjoy), or movies with a person simply staring at the screen for two hours.

      Poking fun at religion and having anti-religious messages is simply one of the primary things that make these films something that atheists in particular would especially enjoy. What were you expecting when you read the articles title?

    • Oztinato profile image

      Oztinato 2 years ago from Australia

      Why are many of the films listed here mocking religion? Answer: atheism is generally bereft of original ideas and like its leaders merely leeches off religions for a quick buck.

      Ps I enjoy life of brian.

    • profile image

      Devil 2 years ago

      Great great list! May all we go to hell!! =)

    • tedwritesstuff24 profile image

      TedWritesStuff 2 years ago

      Just makes me smile to know I am not alone ;-)

    • profile image

      Film_addict 3 years ago

      Where's Kevin Smith's Dogma, should definitely be considered, great list overall.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Robert Rittner

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Something is wrong with18. Creation. It's trying to sale me a Lee Strobel DVD.

    • profile image

      BlowDryBar 3 years ago

      I loved Contact. The book aside, the movie was very underrated.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      This is a great list, but if you haven't seen Black Death (2010) you really should. Thank me later.

    • FrancesWrites profile image

      FrancesWrites 3 years ago

      What's number 2? I haven't seen all of these, but I'd put Dogma in for consideration since it challenges a lot of assumptions surrounding Catholicism and Christianity. When God turns up and it's Alanis Morrisette? That's just ironic.

    • Chrystalia profile image

      Chrystalia 4 years ago

      As a Deist, I agree that about 3/4 of these have atheistic/agnostic overtones. But a few I don't. None the less, this is an amazing lens, and I will be watching some of the movies that I haven't seen. By the way-- I loved the life of Brian, and 2001--and they affirmed my belief in a higher power of whatever kind. Science could never have created anything so ridiculous as humanity LOL.

    • BrandonCase profile image

      BrandonCase 4 years ago

      Yay!

      I always feel a little isolated,

      And love stumbling across other atheists :).

      Great post, I enjoyed reading about

      (and thus partially rexperiencing)

      This great list of movies :).

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Excellent work!

      I'd like to note that the movie "Contact" is terribly dumbed down adaptation of Sagan's book, especially of the "science vs. religion" themes of it.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 4 years ago from Ljubljana

      Thanks for the list. I have seen some of the presented movies, I'll try to check others:)

    • EllieHarper profile image

      EllieHarper 4 years ago

      Looks like I have some movies to watch... Beginning with Religulous.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My favorite movie on the list is Religulous

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Religulous was awesome...

    • audrey07 profile image

      audrey07 4 years ago

      I have watched a couple of them - Space Odyssey, Letting Go of God and Agora. They are okay for a night out but nothing profound that I can recall.

    • SpannerMontanna profile image

      Neil Spencer 4 years ago from uk

      What a great lens this is and a very interesting read ;-)

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
      Author

      The Gutter Monkey 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Sorry about that. It was an issue with the site. Everything should be working now.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      There's only one entry in the list, please fix.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Contact is the only movie on this list that I've seen...but when I'm back to watching more TV I'll definitely be checking out Netflix and Hulu to see if any of these are available.

    • profile image

      BrendanSanlatte 4 years ago

      I find most movies are pro atheist. Almost every other film makes fun of Christianity.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    • daniela-lofiego profile image

      daniela-lofiego 4 years ago

      I've seen most of those movies, and love each one of them, especially The Man From Earth!

    • SgtCecil profile image

      Cecil Kenmill 4 years ago from Osaka, Japan

      Awesome lens! Movies for thinkers. Well done.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      can't believe they didn't mention burt lancasters elma gantry,who was an atheist himself,who lives as a snake oilman,only to discover the gains of selling religion. an excellent movie that does lean to the religious at times, yet the ending sums it up. whoever wrote this top twenty overlooked a classic with lancaster at his best.an academy award winning performance to boot.

    • karen-stephens profile image

      karen-stephens 4 years ago

      thanks for the great list...for those interested in movies only with their thought process in mind. ... seems to be a trend in hollywood

    • profile image

      havokxtian 4 years ago

      Nice list!

    • LabKittyDesign profile image

      LabKittyDesign 4 years ago

      Could probably add just about everything Kevin Smith has ever done, especially (and ironically) Dogma and his more recent Redstate.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      Excellent lens, this is getting to be a trend! Pinned to movies I love - out by google plus and squid angel blessed.

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image
      Author

      The Gutter Monkey 4 years ago

      @TonyPayne: Hey, poddys. The Da Vinci Code did cross my mind while making the list, but it didn't seem quite atheist/anti-religious enough to make the cut. There were quite a few like that, actually, (one prominent one in my mind was The Stoning of Soraya M., but it, also, didn't seem quite the right fit).

      I do appreciate the recommendations though, as I'm excited about expanding the list. So keep 'em coming!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 4 years ago from Southampton, UK

      I haven't seen or heard of most of these, but there are a few I would like to see. I wondered if The Da Vinci Code might be a good entry, since it shows the corruptions in the Catholic church, and how it is more important that people believe what the church wants them to believe, rather than the truth. Most religions are comprised of man made rules after all.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I've not seen most of these. I'd like to see them all. Great lens!

    • avigarret profile image

      avigarret 5 years ago

      One of the best lenses I've ever come across not just in regards to atheism.

      The amount of thought put into this is noticeable. My personal favorite of the bunch comedy wise, is The Life of Brian. In fact I'm immediately going to feature this lens in my Monty Python Quoteslens.

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Have seen Creation and Monty P~ - interesting list! :>)

    • sudokunut profile image

      Mark Falco 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      I literally stumbled across The Man From Earth whilst browsing through Netflix one boring Saturday afternoon...amazing movie, and yes, hard to talk about without ruining the whole experience. I watched it with a Mormon member of my family and it provoked some interesting discussions as I'm sure you can imagine. I've seen most of the others on your list (The Seventh Seal is a personal favorite, good to see it here) but thanks for the recommendations on the others, there's a good 4 or 5 I'll be adding to my 'must-see' list.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Seen a few of these and, of course, love Monty Python. Nice to have a list to refer to. Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      And as Dangerous Dan the daredevil once said: "Whatever you're scared of - you have to inter connect with it and become buddies with it. Pals"

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

      Wow! Excellent, well-written article. I have seen a few of these, but will certainly look for more of them to view. May be a bit ironic, but Blessed!

    • CozyKitty profile image

      CozyKitty 5 years ago

      I love the layout of this lens - clean with a nice overview. "Life of Brian" is definitely one of my favorites!

      ;-)

    • chezchazz profile image

      Chazz 5 years ago from New York

      Great choices here. Have a couple I've missed so have added them to my "must see" list.

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