I recently went to the cinema to watch Angels and demons. I enjoyed reading the book, which was a fantastic thriller, and enjoyed the movie, which is no less of a thriller than the book.
Cinematic emotions aside, I found it intriguing when Tom Hanks' character, Robert Langdon, gets asked by a priest "Do you believe in God, Mr. Langdon?"
His very diplomatic answer was "I am an academic... My mind tells me that I will never understand God." The priest then asks "And what does your heart say?" to which Langdon responds "My heart tells me I am not meant to...
In these days of personal domestic turmoil, my Angels and demons is stashed in a box out of reach so I could not inmmediately reference the dialog. But it seems that Langdon never uttered those words. Rather, it was CERN's scientist Vittoria Vetra who has a similar dialog in the book as you can see in this link. According to this article, Dan Brown is a believer which may be the reason his "atheist" characters are so reluctant to admit their lack of belief.
What Brown and the author of the article I am linking do not realize is that non-believers are many and are everywhere. As Richard Dawkins indicates in his http://www.outcampaign.org/ site "... atheists come in all shapes, sizes, colours and personalities. We are labourers and professionals. We are mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers and grandparents. We are human (we are primates) and we are good friends and good citizens. We are good people who have no need to cling to the supernatural."
Given the current state of affairs, I can understand why so many atheists can be so reluctant to admit their non-belief. We are demonized every week in church by the priesthoood and are, very unjustly, blamed for the crime and evil in our world.
Nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, religion may be the real culprit.
I place a strong emphasis on good friends, good citizens and good people. And it looks like popular media is now begining to portrait atheists in a more favorable manner - check the popular TV series House and Bones, where the main characters are very strong atheists.
Like the Gay movement did many years ago, non-believers need to begin working on our image to change the perception that we eat babies for breakfast. We are good people. And we are many.
Join the Out Campaign. Or, if you are a believer, don't hold it against us.