Atheist movies belong to that category of art-expression that negates the presence of a benevolent divinity and proposes instead a nihilistic philosophy. It is a world where chaos prevails over all efforts to unify. Mostly depicting disintegration and disorder or debates about the presence of an omniscient higher order; atheist movies propose their unique principles and propositions about human life that find their corresponding cult-following across all cultures and locations of life. Atheism as a philosophy is of course both profound as well as ancient,going back to the Greek Stoics right down to the present-day nihilists. It has assumed a cult status that was accentuated by the Darwinism of the nineteenth century that did its bit to question the erstwhile faith in divinity and the divine chain of beings by proposing instead the evolutionary animal chain sanctioned by empirical and scientific research. A recent atheist movie that directly question the fundamentals and the authenticity of Christian belief, The God Who Wasn’t There (2005), was filmed by Brian Fleming and incorporated a series of dialogues and discussions pitting mythical and religious beliefs against historical evidence, engaging a large body of famous scientists, historians and biblical scholars in a fascinating debate. In another related documentary The Root of All Evil, made by Richard Dawkins, the atheism is more direct and personal, arguing that the world and man would be better off without the faith in God Atheist movies continue the trend of doubt and nihilism,of disintegration and negativity that mark contemporary culture and its excesses and abortions. A perfect example of this trend may be found in the 1988 animated film Akira, directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, about the Tokyo of 2019 that with its dystopian designs and godless urbanity, becomes an allegory of atheism in cinema. Urban excesses and its violence in a disordered world is also the theme of the 1999 film Fight Club that with its mayhem and bodily violence in an urban consumerist culture becomes an exhibition of disorder. Although the exact scope and feature of an atheist movie is hard to define, one could generally consider the depiction of chaos, nihilism, nothingness and death of individual will as some prominently constant features of the atheist cinema. One distinguishing feature of many atheist movies is their allegorical nature that sees death and life, disorder and order pitted against one another in a world deserted by reason as in The Seventh Seal where a chess game with death becomes an allegory of the battle with chaos. What differs from film to film is of course the degree of disorder and questioning. Thus while some films present a very philosophical stance on the issue of atheism, incorporating profound debates on either side of the artistic and philosophical argument, many more go for a more direct and often stylized depiction of disorder using a wide variety of special camera effects and its associated technology. Some science-fiction films about extra-terrestrial science and its repercussions on ethics come under this category of movies, a good example of which would be the 1997 movie Contact, directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Jodie Foster in the lead role. Atheist movies and their references also abound in popular culture and media, often using celebrities and their star appeal to incorporate an apocalyptic message that often comes with a pinch of salt or ironic humor. Chiefly arguing against what they consider as spiritual complacency, atheist movies are often deliberately provocative and reactionary, meaning to cause shudder as well as discomfort with their arguments and premises.
The culture of over-abundance and its associated offshoots of boredom and fatigue are often associated with atheist movies. But what strikes a greater resonance is the culture of terror and terrorism that strikes with its ghastly fangs at various historical points in time. Thus the atheist movies post-9/11 attack often assumed a wholesale lack of belief and order in a world where causality could not exist and the good are not necessarily rewarded nor the evil punished in the end. Such treatment, although sometimes reductionist and simplistically stereotypical, come to mirror a culture under great spiritual threat from forces external as well as internal as atheism begins to have ramifications around religious and racial tensions. Atheist movies certainly add a fascinating facet in the world and aesthetics of cinema with their alternative takes on reality, culture and life as we perceive it around us. Seeking to disturb rather than comfort, atheist movies often receive massive critical acclaim for their treatment of themes and go on to enjoy cult-status in the minds of their audience.