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Many celebrities grew up just like us, in a household that prayed over dinner and went to church on Sundays. It’s definitely not uncommon for people to question their faith as their lives change with time and experience. In fact, it’s one of the oldest questions from the beginning of time! Why are we here? Who came before us? These questions have many different answers. For some these questions help solidify their face, but for others it causes them to lose their faith completely.
Some of these celebs traded their faith for fame, and others never believed at all. To each their own! You may be surprised to know which celebrities are atheists or agnostics, but it shouldn’t change your view of them. Personal beliefs are just that, PERSONAL!
Granted, not every one of these celebs is an outright atheist. Some are agnostic, and others choose to hold spiritual (but not religious) beliefs that would be described as a nontraditional interpretation of a higher power. While some keep their beliefs under-wraps, others are very vocal about their perspectives on religion and God. For better or for worst, this is a very personal, inside look at some of our favorite celebs. Hopefully, they can explain their belief systems for themselves in their own words.
Though Brad Pitt was raised Southern Baptist, in an interview with German newspaper Bild, Pitt responded to the question "Do you believe in God?" by answering "No, no, no." He then went on to clarify that he was "probably 20% atheist and 80% agnostic," making him somewhat on the fence about it.
For a while, Brad Pitt identified as a full-on atheist but has said that it was only because he wanted to feel "rebellious." He told GQ, "I kinda labeled myself that for a while. It felt punk rock enough. Then, I found myself coming back around to just belief in—I hate to use the word spirituality, but just a belief in that we’re all connected."
Radcliffe"s lack of belief in God may be even more problematic for people who find the Harry Potter series religiously troublesome. But don"t worry, he doesn"t worship Satan either - but then again, neither does Harry Potter. Recently, current Ohio governor John Kasich criticized Radcliffe for his atheism.
According to a report in Concord Monitor, Kasich asked" Why would a guy who has had all that success just, I mean, what the hell is wrong with him?" Of course, one can be successful without attributing all their success to a higher power. Radcliffe certainly had the talent, work ethic, and perhaps a little luck, too, that helped him get where he is.
Perhaps the most ironic entry on the list is Morgan Freeman. The actor is famous for playing the role of God on a number of occasions, but the man himself takes a more nontraditional outlook and would classify himself as spiritual. He even has a miniseries The Story of God on the National Geographic channel.
Of course, the real goal of his series is to better understand faith and why so many in the world cling to it. According to the Washington Post, Freeman"s belief is that man invented god and that while he doesn"t question the existence of God, he is interested in "merely how we arrived at the existence of God."
While having a Jewish background, Portman said in a 2011 Rolling Stone interview when asked about the afterlife, "I don"t believe in that. I believe this is it, and I believe it"s the best way to live." And regardless of your personal beliefs, she does have a point about living life to the fullest.
However, just because she doesn"t believe in the afterlife, doesn"t necessarily mean she is completely void of religious belief. In the past, she told Ynetnews that she wanted to raise her children Jewish, and in 2014, she had her husband in the process of converting, according to the Huffington Post.
In a Playboy interview (of all places), Sinatra laid out his belief system as, "I believe in nature, in the birds, the sea, the sky, in everything I can see or that there is real evidence for. If these things are what you mean by God, then I believe in God. But I don"t believe in a personal God to whom I look for comfort or for a natural on the next roll of the dice."
So, where should people find comfort according to Sinatra? To him: it doesn"t matter. Sinatra said to Playboy, "I"m for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniel"s." He also said that man"s relationship should be more personal and not involve a "witch doctor" - likely referring to a priest.
Interviews with Wright always moved toward the philosophical and ethereal, even if the intention wasn"t to start out that way. In a Mike Wallace interview in 1957, Wright stated, "I go occasionally to this one, and then sometimes to that one, but my church I put a capital N on Nature and go there" regarding church.
Frank Lloyd Wright"s philosophy and man in his relation to the world is best summed up by his own words, “Man is a phase of Nature...and only as he is related to Nature does he matter, does he have any account whatever above the dust.” At least that"s what he believed nearing the end of his life at 90-years-old.
Keira is not on the fence about anything and actually seems to look at religion with some contempt. In Interview magazine, Knightley once stated, "If only I wasn’t an atheist, I could get away with anything. You’d just ask for forgiveness and then you’d be forgiven. It sounds much better than having to live with guilt."
But just because Keira Knightley doesn"t have religion, doesn"t mean she doesn"t have a clear conscience. Knightley has supported a number of humanitarian efforts including the Amnesty International campaign, Women"s Aid and raising awareness for the global refugee crisis. She also attended a charity even promoting sustainability in the fashion industry.
Thompson is adamantly non-religious. In an interview with The Australian, she said, "I"m an atheist; I suppose you can call me a sort of libertarian anarchist. I regard religion with fear and suspicion." One reason she opposes religion is that many religions oppress women and is well-aware of the long history of it.
However, Thompson has clarified that she is only an atheist insofar as her belief in world religions. According to Inquirer.net, she does believe in having a spiritual life. Thompson is liberal and a supporter of the Labour party in the UK. She supports human rights and is an environmentalist.
The famously frank British actor told the Daily Express that "I"d describe myself as a Christian who doesn"t believe in God. I can"t help being Christian because I was brought up in Britain and the morality of Christianity is part of the fabric of this country. But I don"t believe in God."
So what does she believe in? Well, nudity for one thing. Helen Mirren is a self-proclaimed naturist. She likes going to nude beaches and being naked. But get the dirty thoughts out of your head, she describes it as "unsexual" and "liberating" in a British Naturism article. So, that"s something!
Clooney is fairly tight-lipped about his personal beliefs, but he did state "I don"t happen to have those beliefs as much. I don"t believe in those things." on a Larry King interview. In 1997, in an interview with The Washington Post, he also said "I don"t believe in Heaven and Hell."
Additionally, George Clooney added that "I don’t know if I believe in God. All I know is that as an individual, I won’t allow this life — the only thing I know to exist — to be wasted." Like Portman, he believes in living life to the fullest, making the best of the time you have..
The Silence of the Lambs actor once flatly told Entertainment Weekly that she was an atheist and that she hadn"t found her own proof that would make her believe in God. But while she doesn"t quite believe in God, she does like to partake in religious rituals and observes holidays.
Jodie Foster celebrates religious holidays like Christmas, putting up a Christmas tree and giving her kids advent calendars. However, they don"t identify by any one religion. And she told Entertainment Weekly that when her kids turn 18, they can choose any religion they want. She just doesn"t want to impose any one thing on them and there is nothing wrong with that.
In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2007, Efron noted that he was raised agnostic and that his family never practiced religion. He is, however, of Jewish ancestry but his family never exposed him to it and therefore he doesn"t really have any ties to it other than blood relation.
Nevertheless, Zac Efron does have some holistic practices and rituals that are a part of his life. For one, he"s used transcendental mediation which helped him disconnect from his serial killer persona in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile where Efron played the infamous Ted Bundy. Additionally, Efron loves nature and lives a vegan lifestyle.
In an interview with GQ, while doing press for the James Bond movie he was in, Bardem stated that “I’ve always said I don’t believe in God, I believe in Al Pacino.” Additionally, he doesn"t look fondly at the Catholic church, saying - following the legalization of same-sex marriage in Spain - that if he were gay, he would marry immediately just to mess with the church.
Although Bardem was raised a Catholic he no longer holds those beliefs as an adult, but that doesn"t mean he believes there is nothing else out there. Javier Bardem does not believe strongly in the supernatural per se, but he does believe they may be more beyond the physical world. Moreover, he told CineNews "We are just this little tiny spot in the whole universe, so of course there must be other things, other people, other creatures, other lives and other dimensions."
In an interview with Ladies" Home Journal, Hepburn proclaimed, "I"m an atheist, and that"s it." She also said that I believe there"s nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for each other," making her at least somewhat open to the idea of a higher power.
Additionally, in an interview with Dick Cavett, she stated, "No, I don"t think you go anywhere when you die. I hope you just lie in the ground happy, at rest at last." While many find comfort in the idea of the afterlife, Katharine Hepburn had said she was not afraid of death.
Julianne Moore might not believe in God, but at least she’s keeping a somewhat open mind and sense of humor about the whole thing. When asked what God would say to her in heaven, she replied, “Well, I guess you were wrong. I do exist.” And that certainly sounds reasonable!
Julianne Moore does believe in a creator though - just not the kind you are thinking. Rather than god dictating people"s paths, Moore believes that we do, saying "The idea that you’re the center of your own narrative and that you can create your life is a great idea" and she herself "created [her] own life.”
Honestly, it"s not going to be too much of a surprise to most people that Hugh Hefner was not a religious guy. Hugh Hefner definitely didn’t thank God for all the beautiful women in his life. The Playboy founder regarded religion as “a myth” and an attempt to explain the unexplainable.
Interestingly, Hefner does have a religious background. Growing up, Hefner was raised as a methodist. The strict views of his family were that sex was from procreation only and that smoking, drinking, hugging and kissing were big no-nos. He has also described his mother as somewhat cold. Undoubtedly, this turned him off from religion.
Joaquin Phoenix doesn’t just have harsh words for God--he’s got something to say about all sorts of metaphysical claims. Phoenix has been quoted as saying, “I don"t believe in God. I don"t believe in afterlife. I don"t believe in soul.” He does, however, support others having a different option on the matter.
Phoenix is of the sentiment that people should believe whatever makes them happy. He just personally feels that the idea is "preposterous." It is ironic, nonetheless, that Phoenix was chosen to play Jesus in the film "Mary Magdalene," opposite his finacee Rooney Mara. While Phoenix practiced no religion, Mara was raised a Catholic.
David Cross may embrace his Jewish ethnicity, but he doesn’t embrace the religion of Judaism itself. He’s talked about his atheism publicly on multiple occasions. He is married to Amber Tamblyn who seems to be on the agnostic side, having no clear views about whether there is or isn"t a God.
In jest, David Cross has described the Bible as the "oldest game of telephone" in that it"s a story passed down from one person to the next and is constantly being rewritten to where the original story is no longer clear. This is why many who don"t believe - don"t believe. It"s almost impossible to get the story straight.
It can be difficult to decide when Kathy Griffin is joking or being serious, so you might want to take her atheism admission with a grain of salt. In her Emmy acceptance speech, Griffin said, “A lot of people come up here and they thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. He didn"t help me a bit. ... So all I can say is suck it, Jesus. This award is my god now.”
Kathy Griffin"s remarks caused much controversy. While intended as satirical about celebrities thanking God in acceptance speeches, the Academy deemed her remarks as offensive and removed them from the telecast. On top of this, Griffin, who was set to star on Hannah Montana was fired. Although she is now an atheist it seems, she was raised Roman Catholic.
When speaking about his atheism, McKellen spoke of God more like a stranger than a non-entity. “I"m an atheist. So God, if She exists, isn"t really a part of my life.” It should be noted, though, that this statement is not an outright denial in the existence of a higher power but he certainly doesn"t seem to give it much power to the idea himself.
In an interview with Men"s Journal, Ian McKellen said " I don’t understand religion. I don’t get it at all. I understand why people need it, but I think they’re wrong." And on that note, he also doesn"t believe in any form of an afterlife, saying "it’s nice and comforting to think that they’re going to heaven and that they’re going to be wrapped up warm for eternity. But they’re not. Heaven doesn’t exist."
Musician Billy Joel had strong words about his lack of belief in God. During a Howard Stern interview, Joel remarked that he was an atheist who would rather “laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.” He is not totally against religion, however, as his song "The River of Dreams" has religious themes and its music video features Christian singers.
Billy Joel does identify with his Jewish heritage but doesn"t practice Judaism. Growing up, he was also exposed to the Catholic church and couldn"t get into that either. He said of the catholic church, "I viewed the whole business as a lot of very enthralling hocus-pocus. There’s a guy hanging upon the wall in the church, nailed to a cross and dripping blood, and everybody’s blaming themselves for that man’s torment."
Seth MacFarlane has never been one to shy away from his atheism nor the importance he places on it. Like the cartoon dog, Brian, he voices on Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane has vocally expressed his ideas for all to hear. He sees atheism as a cure for mysticism and New Age practices.
Seth MacFarlane told Steppin’ Out magazine in 2007 that “I do not believe in God. I"m an atheist. I consider myself a critical thinker, and it fascinates me that in the 21st century most people still believe in, as George Carlin puts it, "the invisible man living in the sky." ”
Kevin Bacon is an atheist who strongly believes in the separation of church and state. Unfortunately for him, his most famous atheist quote doesn’t quite capture his high-mindedness: “I don"t believe in God, but if I did, I would say that sex is a God-given right.” And that certainly tells us where his priorities are, not that there"s anything wrong with that.
Kevin Bacon has said more directly, in 2005, in The Times of London, "I don"t believe in God." But before he became an atheist, he was raised as a Catholic. His wife, actress Kyra Sedgwick is Jewish, but she does not practice Judaism - religiously if you will.
Patton Oswalt considers himself an atheist, but he can’t quite bring himself to condemn religion as forcefully as some other celebrities. “My feelings on religion are starting to morph. I"m still very much an atheist, except that I don"t necessarily see religion as being a bad thing.”
On Patton Oswalt Twitter"s account, he wrote about the bible: "It’s a cool book with some wonderful passages but it also has ghost sex & giants & super babies & demons. It’s why we don’t make laws based on Game of Thrones, My Little Pony or Legend of Zelda." In addition, atheism is often referred to in his stand-up comedy.
Comedian Ricky Gervais is another atheist comedian, which should surprise exactly no one--he really can’t seem to shut up about it. There’s never a time when he’s not cracking jokes, and that includes when he’s speaking about atheism. When actually asked about his atheism, Gervais says, "I always try to give a sensitive, reasoned answer. This is usually awkward, time-consuming and pointless. People who believe in God don"t need proof of his existence, and they certainly don"t want evidence to the contrary. "
Ricky Gervais does want to make it clear that atheism is in of itself a belief system. In a Tweet, Ricky Gervais said "Atheism is merely the rejection of the claim that any god exists. Saying it is a belief system is like saying not going skiing is a hobby."
Journalist Larry King was not one to shy away from tough issues, and that included the issue of religion. He argued that religion stems from a fear of death and that if death didn’t exist, neither would religion. Larry King said that he was an agnostic atheist, which just means general disbelief in God without claiming to know for certain.
Nearing the end of his life, after a nearly fatal stroke, King said, "I have less fear of dying now." And what did he want to do with the rest of his time, King told People magazine "I’m 86 and it is what it is. I just want to keep working until the end. I’d like to die at work—I’ll retire right there!"
Barry Manilow had an unusual response when asked if he believed in God. Instead of talking about the big man upstairs, Manilow mentioned another guy: “Yes, his name is Clive Davis, and he"s the head of my record company.” And indeed he owes Clive Davis much of his success.
When talking about his upbringing, Manilow does not credit religion for becoming an upstanding gentleman. Manilow says "We were very poor, but I never knew it. I was given a secure upbringing and I always felt loved and wanted," and credits his grandparents for making him the man he is, saying "Grandma and Grandpa taught me Jewish traditions and raised me to be polite, caring and sensitive, a gentleman."
Filmmaker Woody Allen may be Jewish, but that doesn’t mean he’s religious. However, like most things, he doesn’t take atheism very seriously itself. He was quoted as saying, “Not only is God dead, but just try to find a plumber on weekends.” Allen regards himself as an agnostic more than an atheist but in either case, he doesn"t practice religion.
Growing up Jewish, he describes his religious upbringing, "It was a joyless, unpleasant, stupid, barbaric thing when I was a child and I"ve never gotten over that feeling. If you"re talking about religion it"s one thing; I don"t hold Jewish religion with any more seriousness than I would any other."
Angelina Jolie has never called herself an atheist, but when it comes to God, she’s skeptical to say the least. “There doesn"t need to be a God for me. There"s something in people that"s spiritual, that"s godlike. I don"t feel like doing things just because people say things, but I also don"t really know if it"s better to just not believe in anything, either.”
Angelina Jolie may be leaving her pat Athiest attitudes behind her. In a life-changing meeting with WWII vet and Olympic track star Louis Zamperini, who is also the subject of her film Unbroken - his unbelievable tale of survival givers her a sense of hope. She now says, "I don’t know if there’s a name for that – religion or faith – just that there’s something greater than all of us, and it’s uniting and beautiful, so while she"s not saying there is a God, she seems to believe in something.
Amber Heard was raised in the Catholic church, but she lost her faith at the age of 16. After a friend"s death in a car accident, the actress realized that tomorrow wasn"t promised and that she had no one looking out for her except herself. And now she does just that.
All signs point to Amber Heard as an Atheist, despite some claims of the contrary. In 2019, she was seen wearing an "Atheist AF" t-shirt to a meeting with Richard Dawkins, which was posted on Twitter. In an April 2008 issue of Missbehave, Heard said "I know Christianity, especially Catholicism, like the back of my hand. And my education has given me the freedom to know that it is completely absurd for me to believe it."