Is there bad thinking in Hollywood?

I was perusing some news articles online, and I came across a link to one of those “sponsored stories.” You know the kind I’m talking about. Those pseudo news websites that throw up a lot of banner ads and other links to try and sell you stuff but don’t have much real “news.” I ignore those for the most part, but the title of this article intrigued me: “7 Celebrities Who Don’t Believe In God.”

My first inclination was, “What makes a celebrity an authority on whether God exists?” But my curiosity got the best of me, and I clicked the link. I found the staff writers at the  “Fame10” website had scoured the Internet to compile quotes from several well-known Hollywood types with the reasons for why they don’t believe in God.

The staff at “Fame10” have a decidedly liberal, anti-religious bias. Their opening paragraph bears this out:

In Hollywood, it sometimes feels like everyone believes in God. At awards ceremonies, we constantly hear about it. We can’t throw a rock without hitting a celebrity who decided to thank God in their speech. One would think that stars would be more confident in their abilities. They worked for it and they won. The whole thing gets rather tiresome, which is why we decided to find some celebrities who openly admit that they don’t believe in God. Here are 7 celebrities who are self-proclaimed atheists!

I would hazard to guess that the average Christian probably disagrees with the statement that everyone in Hollywood believes in God.  Of course, this is simply based on the “feelings” of Fame10 staffers, and they don’t cite any evidence for this assertion.  But hey, if it feels good...

As I read through the article and the…ahem…reasons…these celebrities offered for their atheism, I thought, “Is this the best you can come up with?” Honestly, their reasons were poor logic at best, and really just emotive. It saddens me that this type of stuff is popularized, and some who reads sort of thing consider it “courageous” for these individuals to speak out as they do.

It doesn’t work for me

Apparently, actor Brad Pitt he doesn’t believe in God because religion doesn’t work for him and doesn’t feel right. The crew at Fame10 cites a quote from an interview with Pitt in Parade magazine where he said, “There’s a point where you’re un-tethered from the beliefs of your childhood. That point came for me when it was finally clear my religion didn’t work for me.”

This popular notion that religious beliefs are like your favorite flavor of coffee shot is, unfortunately, common with both atheist and Christians.  But bad thinking is still bad thinking regardless of the source. I am a Christian because Christianity is true, not because it works for me. If I’m brutally honest, there are some times I don’t want to be a Christian. If I were designing a religion it certainly wouldn’t be classical Christianity. But we shouldn’t believe something because it works for us. We should believe it based on whether or not it’s true.

Pitt also told another interviewer, “I’m probably 20 per cent (sic) atheist and 80 per cent (sic) agnostic. 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.”

Wow…no point in thinking about it. This strikes me as intellectually lazy. I guess there's a 20 percent chance I won’t think about going to see the next Brad Pitt movie.

Who made who?

Fame10 says Morgan Freeman told TheWrap that he thinks proof for God lacks “hard evidence.” He told the TheWrap that he doesn’t believe there is any evidence to support the idea of a divine being. Freeman asks, “Well, here’s a scientific question: Has anybody ever seen hard evidence? What we get is theories from our earlier prophets. Now, people who think that God invented us think that the Earth can’t be more than 6,000 years old. “

This is a classic straw-man argument. Yes, it is true that there are some theists/Christians who believe in a young Universe. But there are also who have strong reasons in supporting an ancient Universe. I’d love to ask Freeman what he means by “hard evidence.” He certainly cites evidence when he hosts the show Through the Wormhole (which I actually kind of like). When an atheist makes the statement there is no evidence for the existence of God, they clearly have not looked at the evidence. They may disagree with it, but make the claim there is “no evidence” (for God) is either ignorance or willful distortion.

Freeman also told TheWrap interviewer he believes “we invented God,” and “If I believe in God, and I do, it’s because I think I’m God.” One can hope that he was being facetious with this comment.  Well, maybe not.  He is, after all, an actor.

That offends me, therefore…

British actress Emma Thompson seems to take the same position as her fellow countryman, Richard Dawkins. Thompson is quoted as saying, “I’m an atheist; I suppose you can call me a sort of libertarian anarchist. I regard religion with fear and suspicion. It’s not enough to say that I don’t believe in God. I actually regard the system as distressing: I am offended by some of the things said in the Bible and the Qur’an and I refute them.”

Ironically, Thompson told Good Housekeeping magazine, “The guiding moral principles, the ethical principles, much of the philosophy [of the Christian tradition], if properly applied, is very good.”

So I’m confused here, Ms. Thompson. Maybe you can clear this up for me. You think the guiding moral principles taught by Jesus of Nazareth are “very good” yet you reject the Bible, which Jesus affirmed. And this same Jesus (who claimed to be God) is, via the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the author of the Bible, which you find “offensive.” Help me understand that one.

Roman Catholic to Atheist

Both Spanish actor Javier Bradem and American actress Amber Heard were raised Catholic, but both are now atheists. Bradem says he “wasn’t very into it” and goes on to say, “I don’t understand religion when it gets to the point where the beyond commands the present, because then the present doesn’t have any sense.”

Mr. Bradem seems to think we can get moral obligations without a transcendent moral lawgiver. Actually, his statement doesn’t make any sense. Given atheism, morals are nothing more than the subjective options of the person that holds them.

Ms. Heard turned from Catholicism to atheism after a friend died in a car accident when she was 16. While my heart goes out to Heard, her decision to reject God in this case seems to be based on emotion. If God doesn’t exist, then her friend’s death was just a brute fact of existence. As Dawkins puts it, “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” By rejecting God, Heard is removed one possible answer to the problem of pain and suffering.  Atheism only offers pitiless indifference to the loss that Heard experienced when she was a teenager.


Whew!  I need to listen to a couple of WLC or RZIM podcasts to get my brain back in working order after reading all that blather from Hollywood.