In the long run, will The Da Vinci Code be a good thing for atheism? Certainly, to the extent it fosters competing views on the origin of Christianity and weakens the influence of rigid, unbending faith on society, it will help our cause. But in the long run, it is not solving the basic problem of faith being used as a basis for decision-making, only adding another alternative to the multiplicity of faith systems already in existence. What we really need is a movie that draws on the same narrative themes to teach the virtues of skepticism and the value of decision-making based on evidence.Honestly, do you really think a movie is going to bring intelligent thinking to the American public? Given the current available fare, one suspects that stupidity is inherent to the genre. Books work better. We should seriously consider a Gideon-esque campaign to put copies of Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World in hotel rooms across the nation. I think Sagan's general promotion of reason is preferable to something out of Bertrand Russell. The great thing, though, is that it would be impossible to miss the contrast. The campaign would be subtly anti-religion while the overt message would be positive, pro-reason.
On the other hand, someone might try a movie modeled on George Orwell's 1984. 1984 is a wonderful book because it presents easy-to-hate bad guys who are defined by their opposition to reason. As I've said, we wouldn't have to look very hard to find models for the villains. Somewhere in there, we'd have to slip in this quote from Adolf Hitler: "We stand at the end of the Age of Reason. A new era of the magical explanation of the world is rising."