This past week was the twentieth anniversary of The Golden Compass, which was one of the most profoundly influential books I read growing up. (Hard to believe I read it 19 years ago, at age 12!) It's a re-telling of Milton's Paradise Lost, but it's also a wonderful adventure story, a thinly veiled critique of the Catholic Church, and a celebration of secular humanism. (At 12, I only picked up on the second.)
I love this quote from the book, which surfaced on this Vox article (also worth a read):
There are two great powers, and they've been fighting since time began. Every advance in human life, every scrap of knowledge and wisdom and decency we have has been torn by one side from the teeth of the other. Every little increase in human freedom has been fought over ferociously between those who want us to know more and be wiser and stronger, and those who want us to obey and be humble and submit.