13 Celebs Who Are Very Religious, And 13 Who Are Outspoken Atheists
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American neuroscientist, actor and author
Note: Since religion and atheism tend to be personal subjects, some of these celebs haven't spoken about it publicly for several years. Faith can change over time, so what a celeb said about their faith in 2012 might not still be accurate today! The religious practices — or lack thereof — of the celebs in this post are only accurate to our best knowledge.
1.Religious: Chris Pratt
Pratt mentions his faith on his Instagram pretty frequently, and sometimes dedicates entire posts to talking about Christianity and his belief in god. He's also a high-profile member of Hillsong Church, which is attended by several celebs and made headlines due to Elliot Page calling the church out for anti-LGBTQ+ practices and due to sexual misconduct accusations against the founder's father. Both of those threads in combination have made Pratt one of the first names one thinks of when the topic of religious celebs comes up, whether he's more devout than others or not.
In a 2012 interview, Radcliffe called himself "an atheist, and a militant atheist when religion starts impacting on legislation." In 2019, when speaking with the New York Post about his role on Miracle Workers, Radcliffe said he is "agnostic leaning toward atheism... I don’t expect there to be a God and an afterlife — I would be pleasantly surprised if there was."
3.Religious: Denzel Washington
Washington is the son of a Pentecostal minister and, in an interview last year with the New York Times, called himself "a God-fearing man." Washington seems to take after his father a bit, using his faith to give advice to those around him. In the video below, you can see Washington telling members of the Miami Heat, "You never see a U-Haul behind a hearse...can't take it with you." And when Will Smith accepted his Oscar after he slapped Chris Rock earlier in the show, he revealed that Washington had told him, "At your highest moment be careful, that's when the devil comes for you."
The Miami Heat receives words of wisdom from Denzel Washington 🐐🙏(Via MajorFilms215 | h/t @AhnFireDigital )
Gervais is perhaps one of the most outspoken atheists in Hollywood, as his beliefs are often woven into his material. He speaks about it in his comedy specials, his movie The Invention of Lying is a commentary on organized religion, and he wrote an essay for the Wall Street Journal back in 2010 explaining his beliefs. He and Stephen Colbert even had a debate about god and atheism on the Late Show in 2017, where Gervais pointed out that there are many belief systems with many gods: "You don't believe in 2,999 gods, and I don't believe in just one more." You can watch that debate below:
5.Religious: Mayim Bialik
The erstwhile Big Bang Theory star and current Jeopardy host is Jewish and was raised in a Reform household, but in her adulthood, Bialik has turned more toward Orthodoxy. "I’m supposed to say that I’m 'aspiring Modern Orthodox' — meaning I identify most strongly with the Modern Orthodox community," Bialik told the Jerusalem Post back in 2012, saying that she's unable to commit fully to being an Orthodox Jew because of her work. For example, Bialik mentioned that being an actor sometimes requires costumes or red carpet fashion that would be too immodest for Modern Orthodoxy, and long filming schedules can interfere with weekly observances and practices.
6.Agnostic: Zac Efron
Efron has called himself agnostic in the past (as in, back in 2007) and for the most part hasn't spoken publicly about his beliefs since. In his recent Netflix series Down to Earth, Efron visited a Catholic pilgrimage site in France and joined the locals in prayer, but of course that doesn't necessarily mean his beliefs have changed.
7.Religious: Martin Sheen
"I am a practicing Catholic," the West Wing actor told Salon in a 2010 interview. 'I love the faith. I’m not nuts about the institution, but the faith is mine, everywhere I go in the world. The belief that God became human — that’s genius, man. And that God would choose to dwell where we would least likely look, inside ourselves and each other. The genius of God in our humanity, I love that. Every culture has that — the Hindus, Muslims, all of them have it. That’s the fundamental belief in all true believers, that God is present, God suffers and is broken with us." In a 2021 interview with Sojourners, Sheen revealed that he had left Catholicism "for just negligence, more than anything" but director Terrence Malick inspired him to start practicing his faith again.
8.Atheist: Dame Emma Thompson
In a 2018 interview with Patheos, Thompson explained that she calls herself an atheist — despite believing in the importance of a spiritual life — largely because of the oppression caused by organized religions. "The reason that I am an atheist in so far as the world religions that we have, is because I have seen them oppress so many women for so long. So, to me, religion is the history of the oppression of women."
9.Religious: Mark Wahlberg
Wahlberg — who is Catholic — has said in multiple interviews that he starts every day with prayer and reading scripture, and also attempts to go to church every single day. However, he's also noted that he doesn't want to "force" his faith on his kids, and is instead hoping that they'll gravitate toward it on their own. "Hopefully, instead of forcing that on them, they'll say, 'Well, if it works for Dad, maybe it'll work for us,'" he said on the Today show.
10.Atheist: Javier Bardem
In a 2012 GQ cover story, Bardem talked briefly about his faith: "I've always said I don't believe in god, I believe in Al Pacino."
11.Religious: Kristin Chenoweth
The Broadway star is a lifelong Christian, and has spoken out about how she disapproves of Christianity's oppression of the LGBTQ+ community. When Chenoweth was presented with the Vanguard Award at the 22nd GLAAD Awards, she said in her acceptance speech: "I want to encourage many people of all faiths to come forward and stand with me, even if you don't believe in Jesus the way I do. He did teach love. Not just tolerance, but acceptance."
12.Atheist: Dame Helen Mirren
The Oscar winner told Women & Home magazine back in 2013, "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. But I do believe in treating other people as you'd want to be treated and being empathetic."
13.Religious: Morgan Freeman
Freeman considered himself agnostic for many years, but recently discovered Zoroastrianism — possibly the world's oldest monotheistic religion — and decided it was a good fit for him. "It is a belief system that is intrinsically me: 'Good thoughts, good words, good deeds' pretty much sums it up," Freeman told the Hollywood Reporter in 2019.
14.Atheist: Hugh Laurie
The House star is an outspoken atheist, and was even the keynote guest in 2018 at the American Atheists convention (you can watch his conversation at the convention in the video below). He's also tweeted a joke or two at the expense of religion.
15.Religious: Stephen Colbert
Colbert was raised Catholic, but has said that he had a time in his early 20s when he lost his faith. "I was sort of convinced that I had been wrong all this time, that I had been taught something that wasn't true," he said in an interview on Faith in Focus. But when he was 22 years old, a stranger on the street handed him a pocket Bible, and he opened it up and read. He said he felt "immediately lightened," and it renewed his faith, and he's been a practicing Catholic ever since.
16.Atheist: Seth MacFarlane
The Family Guy creator said in a 2009 interview with Bill Maher that he is an atheist, but even if he hasn't said much about it personally since then, his beliefs are reflected in his work. Family Guy lampoons religion frequently, and MacFarlane also headed up the reboot of Cosmos, a science-education show based on the original from (noted atheist) Carl Sagan.
17.Religious: Selena Gomez
In a 2021 interview with Vogue, Gomez said, "I'm very, very spiritual... I believe in God, but I'm not religious. I’ve been a Christian for a while now. I don’t talk about it too much — I want to, but it’s gotten a bad rep." According to Vanity Fair, Gomez was reportedly a member of Hillsong Church, but stopped attending after the aforementioned scandals started coming out.
18.Atheist: Brad Pitt
Pitt said in a 2012 interview that he goes back and forth "between agnosticism and atheism." About the afterlife, he's said, "I don't think anyone really knows. You'll either find out or not when you get there, until then there's no point thinking about it."
19.Religious: Orlando Bloom
Bloom said in an interview last year with the Sunday Times that he's been a practicing Buddhist since he was a teenager, and he starts every single day with Buddhist chants. "I chant for 20 minutes every day, religiously," he continues. "I’ve had a Buddhist practice since I was 16, so that’s infiltrated my whole being." It's unclear whether Bloom attends a Buddhist temple, but Buddhists can also just practice their religion at home.
20.Atheist: Sir Ian McKellen
In an interview with Men's Journal, the lauded actor minced no words about his feelings on religion. "I don’t understand religion. I don’t get it at all. I understand why people need it, but I think they’re wrong. They don’t. I do see that on a crude-ish level, when someone dies, 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. If you just think about it for a minute, the person is dead, they’re gone, they’re not coming back, and you’ll never see them again. And when you go, you’ll never see anybody again. Just face it. I feel stronger because of it. Knowing that I can’t lean on religion to get through life. If you are leaning on it, you won’t be living your life to the fullest."
21.Religious: Matthew McConaughey
McConaughey and his family attend a non-denominational Christian church in Texas. "It’s based in the faith that Jesus is the son of God, that he died for our sins, but many different denominations come in," he told GQ in 2014. When McConaughey spoke with Joe Rogan on Rogan's podcast in late 2020, the topic of religion came up, and McConaughey affirmed that he is Christian. In the conversation, he also poked at the idea of "spiritual, not religious" by pointing out that the Latin roots of the word "religion" mean "to bind together again." When asked specifically about the Bible, McConaughey said there are "a lot of great truths" that come out of it.
22.Atheist: Keira Knightley
In a 2012 conversation between Knightley and director David Cronenberg, Knightley spoke about her atheism in the context of Christian Republican Newt Gingrich's extramarital affair. "If only I wasn’t an atheist, I could get away with anything," she said. "You’d just ask for forgiveness and then you’d be forgiven. It sounds much better than having to live with guilt."
23.Religious: Nicole Kidman
About religion, Kidman told Vanity Fair, "A lot of my friends tease me." Kidman said that she goes to church with husband Keith Urban and their children, although it sounds like Urban doesn't necessarily subscribe to Christian beliefs. "That’s how we are raising our children. Keith has his own beliefs but he comes, too. I had a very Catholic grandmother, and I was raised praying, so that had massive impact. I wouldn’t say it’s absolutism, there’s constant questioning — I’m a willful, feisty girl. For me it’s very important that I don’t have judgment. My dad would always say, 'Tolerance is the most important thing.'"
24.Atheist: Julianne Moore
Moore said in a 2015 interview that when her mother died, she became certain about her atheism and her belief that we invented religion as a way to make sense of the world. "I learned when my mother died five years ago that there is no 'there' there," she told THR. "Structure, it’s all imposed. We impose order and narrative on everything in order to understand it. Otherwise, there’s nothing but chaos."
25.Religious: Tyler Perry
The House of Payne creator is outspoken about his Christian faith and how prevalent church and prayer are in his life. In an interview with Steve Harvey, Perry said that his mother and grandmother taught him all about prayer and its personal importance, and he passes that on to his kids as well. "If your kids are going through something, they're going to turn to something to get through it," he said. "And if you don't teach them about faith, then what else do they — what are the alternatives?" You can watch that interview below:
26.Atheist: Jack Black
Jack Black's mother was Jewish, which according to Jewish custom makes him Jewish as well. His father was Presbyterian and converted to Judaism when he married Black's mother. "I got my Bar Mitzvah, and then I immediately kind of bailed on the whole enterprise," Black said on the H3 Podcast in 2018. Back in 2012 in an interview with Fresh Air, Black also stated that he was an atheist. However, around the same time, Black told Conan O'Brien that he was raising his kids Jewish and putting them through Hebrew school. "And I feel a little hypocritical cause I'm an atheist," Black said. "But I am a Jew and my wife is, too."
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