Celebrity Confessions: 12 A-Listers Who Boldly Embrace Atheism

🌺  Written by Jessica Clark

In the glamorous world of Hollywood, where fancy events and fame often mix with talks about faith, a particular group of famous people isn’t shying away from declaring they don’t believe in a higher power.

In this article, we will dig into the interesting and sometimes controversial stories of stars who openly say no to traditional religious ideas. Through honest interviews and straightforward statements, these celebrities challenge what’s typically thought about religion.

1. Daniel Radcliffe

Daniel Radcliffe.
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Many Harry Potter fans believe that the series has many religious overtones, so it may be surprising to learn that Mr. Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, is actually an atheist.

In a 2012 interview, Radcliffe described himself as “an atheist, and a militant atheist when religion starts impacting on legislation.” Then, in 2019, during a conversation with the New York Post regarding his role in Miracle Workers, Radcliffe stated that 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.”

2. Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais.
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Gervais is known for being one of the most outspoken atheists in Hollywood. He often talks about his lack of belief in God in his comedy shows. In his movie “The Invention of Lying,” he criticizes organized religion. He even wrote an essay in 2010 for the Wall Street Journal where he explained his atheistic beliefs.

In 2017, when he appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, they had a discussion about God and atheism. During the conversation, Gervais humorously pointed out that there are many different belief systems with many gods, saying, “You don’t believe in 2,999 gods, and I don’t believe in just one more.”

3. Emma Thompson

Emma Thompson.
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Emma Thompson is best known for her roles in Sense and Sensibility and Nanny McPhee. In a 2018 interview with Patheos, Thompson talked about calling herself an atheist. She does this despite valuing a spiritual aspect of life. She says she’s an atheist because she’s seen organized religions oppress women for a long time.

In her words, “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.”

4. Javier Bardem

Javier Bardem.
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Javier Bardem, who is most known for his roles in Collateral, No Country For Old Men, and Skyfall, has come out publicly as someone who does not believe in God.

In a GQ cover story from 2012, Bardem briefly touched upon his beliefs, stating humorously, “I don’t believe in God, I believe in Al Pacino” – and that’s true. If I ever get a phone call saying “Would you like to work with Pacino?” I would go crazy.

5. Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren.
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Famous British actress Helen Mirren is most famous for playing Queen Elizabeth II in Stephen Frear’s The Queen in 2006. She has also come out publicly as an atheist.

The Oscar-winning actress shared with Women & Home magazine in 2013, saying, “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.”

6. Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie.
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This famous actor, best known for his starring role in “House,” has been an outspoken atheist. In 2018, he was the main guest speaker at the American Atheists convention. He has also shared a couple of jokes on social media that poked fun at religion.

In one social media post, he stated: “Yes I suppose it’s odd that atheists sometimes say Jesus, and Oh My God. But odder than the religious saying “let’s be reasonable”?”

7. Seth MacFarlane

Seth MacFarlane.
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Seth MacFarlane, best known for being the creator and voice actor for many characters of “Family Guy,” mentioned during a 2009 interview with Bill Maher that he identifies as an atheist. Although he hasn’t spoken much about his beliefs personally in recent years, his work continues to mirror his atheist views.

“Family Guy” often critiques religion in a way that some people may find humorous. MacFarlane also led the revival of “Cosmos,” a science education program inspired by the original series hosted by the well-known atheist Carl Sagan.

8. Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt.
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In a 2012 interview, Brad Pitt, who is most famous for his roles in Fight Club, Interview with a Vampire, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, mentioned that he shifts between agnosticism and atheism in his beliefs.

When it comes to the concept of an afterlife, he remarked, “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.”

9. Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen.
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In an interview with Men’s Journal, the acclaimed actor best known for his roles in The Lord of the Rings and X-Men expressed his candid views on religion.

He stated, “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.”

10. Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley.
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During a 2012 discussion with director David Cronenberg, Knightley, who is most known for her roles in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, discussed her atheism in light of the extramarital affair of Christian Republican Newt Gingrich.

She remarked, “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.”

11. Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore.
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Julianne Moore, known for her roles in Boogie Nights and The Big Lebowski, talked about how her atheist beliefs became stronger after her mother passed away in a 2015 interview. Losing her mom made her certain about not believing in God. She thinks that we created religions to make sense of the world.

Explaining her thoughts to a popular magazine, she said, “I learned when my mother died five years ago that there is no ‘there’ there. Structure, it’s all imposed. We impose order and narrative on everything in order to understand it. Otherwise, there’s nothing but chaos.”

12. Jack Black

Jack Black.
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Jack Black, known for his roles in Shallow Hal and High Fidelity, has a mix of religious influences in his background. His mom was Jewish, making him Jewish by tradition. His dad, originally Presbyterian, converted to Judaism when he married Jack’s mom. Jack had a Bar Mitzvah but later distanced himself from religious activities, stating he’s an atheist in a 2012 interview.

He mentioned on Conan O’Brien’s show that, despite being an atheist, he and his wife were raising their kids in the Jewish faith, even sending them to Hebrew school. Acknowledging the contradiction, he joked, “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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Jessica Clark

About the author

Jessica Clark is a mother and wife residing in Nebraska. She has passionately pursued her love for blogging since 2011. You can find Jessica's articles for Equipping Godly Women here.

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