I was watching one of my favorite comedians Ricky Gervais on his hilarious show "Extras" the other day. There was a scene in which his character discusses with another the nonexistence of heaven and has to deal with some social ramifications of that understanding. Something seemed odd about that and it took me a while to make the realization that I couldn't think of a single other instance of a character in a TV series (not actor, mind you) unambiguously coming out as an atheist.

There was an episode of "Star Trek" where Picard describes how humanity improved when it moved past primitive concepts such as religion, so that almost counts, and a friend of mine says a character in "House" (which I've not seen) referred to himself as an atheist. I seriously can't think of any other examples. Can you think of any?

Tags: Extras, Gervais, Ricky, character, out

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Most of the characters in Star Trek are atheist. The Klingons are like Sikhs living by guidelines of a the first Klingon rather than their gods. Romulans and Vulcans are atheist. Humans are atheist as are the Dominon and Cardassia. Infact the Bajorans are regarded as "really backwards religious extremists" for their belief. The borg can be argued as believers in spinoza's god (order and mechanism) rather than outright atheists.

 

Religion isn't even mentioned bar the bajorans (however this is a universe where a lot of woo exists either as a function of technology or novel physiology) and any spirituality is done solely for cultural reasons. Chakotay does not count since by the equivalent of the universe the man is a raging religious lunatic. 

 

Star Trek is incredibly atheist including the very first episode of TNG where Picard meets an actual "God" and regards him as another alien species rather than as a deity to be worshipped actively defending actions rather than kowtowing to him. (It's a very enlightened show. We look at the original series and Uhura is technically one of the earliest instances of a black person on a show in any job of power. She is the third highest ranked person on the ship. Also one of the first interracial romances were shown as completely natural.)

 

The Characters in MASH were highly irreligious and probably lapsed christian. Infact I regard MASH as one of the best medical shows out there.

 

As "atheist" movie characters are meant to go John Constantine is supposed to be one but sadly the movie forgot completely. 

 

Gregory House is an atheist (as is Hugh Laurie himself)

 

Colossus is an atheist (X-Men)

 

So plenty exist. We aren't that common IRL ourselves so it's a pretty decent selection. 

 

Speaking of House, who never seems to have actually had a moment of "Yeah, I'm an atheist.", on one of the earlier seasons of the show (before the game-show-ish procedure of getting a new team) Cameron came out about it about as flatly and directly as is possible.
Did anyone see The Office last night?  Oscar refused to say 'god' in the Pledge of Alliegence (sp?), and  Gabe said he didn't believe in 'god' (then he backpedaled, because the girl he's in love with looked freaked-out about it).
I was thinking that too that most religious viewers didn't 'see' or 'get ' it.  They also probably thought that when Gabe was backpedaling because Erin was shocked that he said those things, that he meant it.   I was glad to see those two instances in one episode though.
Malcolm Reynolds on Firefly is an atheist. Unfortunately, he's the caricature "angry at god" atheist... so I dunno if that's a good thing.

In Battlestar Galactica, there are two notable atheists. Admiral Adama never says it directly, but his actions and words throughout demonstrate his non-belief well enough for me. Gaius Baltar is openly atheist through much of the first couple of seasons. The tricky part about BSG is that the atheists were wrong... there does appear to be a god at the end of the series, and the whole thing did appear to be part of a divine plan... so....
BSG most definetly did suffer from that. Thanks for mentioning it.

Maybe it is largely due to me being spoiled by how secular Star Trek was, but I found that resolution to BSG to be a colossal let down. I frequently posted on a BSG forum where there were a lot of Mormons. Often thruout the series events would occur that seemed inexplicable except for some supernatural intervention explanation. Always when this happened I posted that if this did indeed turn out to be the explanation, then I would be as disappointed as if Santa Clause showed up and provided the ship with needed supplies.

Well that was the explanation, and I was devastatingly disappointed. It ruined the entire series for me. They dealt with quite a few interesting ideas thruout its four year run. And all the mysteries are resolved by "god did it." And at their journeys end their final destination was to live in the dirt and embrace luddism, thus bringing on all the brutish ignorance of our pre Enlightenment history.

And another thing; so for whatever reason god chooses to get involved in the affairs of this conflict between this rag tag group of human and the cylons, led by Cavil. What I wanted to know was why in the world (or worlds) would this god hate Cavil so much?
I found the entirety of season 3 to be a let down. It felt like the whole plot, such as it was, had been invented for the purpose of giving everybody a paycheck for a season, not doing anything especially interesting or moving towards resolution.

Season 4 was actually interesting to me as the final five were introduced, and we got to see a lot more of the inner workings of the cylons fighting amongst themselves, etc. It had the potential for a lot of good things to happen.

But what does a Jimi Hendrix song have to do with turning on cylons? And what the hell are the bizarro 6 and Gaius? Angels? Demons? Ghosts? And what exactly am I supposed to think of God that his plan involves repeatedly killing off his creation and sending them into exile in the stars? And for Pete's sake, why didn't they do that show on HBO so Grace Parks could do a nude scene?

That's all I'm sayin'
Oh... also... Matthew Chapman has a movie coming out... "The Ledge." I saw the screening in Des Moines. Good movie with an openly atheist protagonist.
Found another, when Homer became a missionary he said "I don't even believe in Jeebus."
On the TV show "Community" the lead characture Jeff is agnostic. And his main love interest Britta is an atheist.
I forgot about Community.  I love that show!  I love how every character is a different religion plus an Agnostic and an Atheist.  I love how they make light fun of things like when Shirley had a christmas party and put Annie's "jewish-thing' (menorah) into the christmas tree. lol.  Also, they say Troy is jehovahs witness, but he's at all the parties.
Are any of the characters in "Big Bang Theory" atheists? It seems like they'd all have to be, but I don't know if any of them have said anything that would make it certain.

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