More than once, you have probably been stopped on the street by a pair of rehabilitated junkies who had become Jehovah’s Witnesses. They’d ask you whether you’d be willing to join their Jesus army and would often use the “God’s plan” card to lure you into it. Actually, it teems with reformed atheists out there, who, after having recognized the face of Jesus in their dog’s butthole, are suddenly on the quest of saving other poor souls. But now we are not going to discuss the commonplace religious folks because, honestly, they are not that interesting. On the other hand, the religious fanatics of Hollywood are a whole other thing that’s worth our attention.
Being religious in Hollywood doesn’t trend as well as being slim and fit, or owning a crocodile Birkin for $ 300,000. And yet, there are many celebrities who have openly spoken about their faith. Of course, there is nothing wrong with having faith as long as you don’t go nuts about the institution which represents it.
If you are wondering what is going on in the heads of the Kabbalah believer Ashton Kutcher or the staunch Scientologist Tom Cruise, we are here to help you figure it out with our list of 16 celebrities who have gone mad for religion. And we don’t mean only metaphorically.
16. Angus T. Jones Bites The Hand That Feeds Him
In the popular sitcom Two and a Half Men, Jones’ character is a sluggish thick-head. In real life, the guy travels around USA sharing his religious beliefs by giving inspirational speeches at churches. It seems that the highly provocative TV show might have something to do with the massive twist in the young star’s behaviour and convictions.
In 2012, Jones created a social media boom when he released a testimonial video for the religious organization “Forerunner Chronicles”, in which he called the sitcom that brought him worldwide fame “filthy” and strongly advised viewers to stop watching it. In an interview the following year, he said he was just a “paid hypocrite” because his religious beliefs clashed with his acting job, and he had to quit the show because it was incompatible with being “a true God-fearing person.”
15. Richard Gere And Dalai Lama Are BFFs
Born in the family of strict Methodists, for 40 years the winner of Emmy Awards and Golden Globes has been a practicing Tibetan Buddhist. And not only this, but he is also known for hanging out with the Dalai Lama himself! He is a passionate advocate of human rights in Tibet and the Chairman of Board of Directors for the international Campaign for Tibet. Because of his support for the Tibetan cause, Gere is currently banned from China. Apparently, he thinks he is popular enough as an actor and could not care less about the potential loss of a billion potential fans.
The actor meditates daily. He sometimes wakes up at 4:30 in the morning if necessary to perform his ritual. He says that meditation ensures him “a relaxed, stress-free” life, and adds, “You have no idea how much monkey stuff is going on. You look at that and you’re acknowledging what the mind is.”
14. Madonna Goes From Catholic Pop Star To Jewish Princess To… A Religious Mongrel
The provoker and controversial person she is, Madonna has angered almost every religion on the planet. Her songs, videos, and way of dressing have offended Muslims, Christians, and probably many more. Yet, she has been known as one of the most religious stars. The performer grew up in a strict Catholic environment in suburban Detroit. Her stage name is in fact adopted from the Virgin Mary’s many aliases. Later in life, Madonna converted to Kabbalah, and would often insist to be called Esther, after the Jewish historical figure. She has given millions of dollars to the Kabbalah institute.
Currently, the singer has in a way drifted from Kabbalah. She is said to have invented her own religious system, which is very postmodern as it blends a variety of religious world views. To the question of whether she is Jewish now, this is how she answers, “I observe Shabbat, I say certain prayers, and my son was bar mitzvahed. So, it appears that I’m Jewish. But I don’t affiliate myself with any specific religious group. What I practice embodies all religions, including Judaism. And Christianity. And Islam.”
13. Denzel Washington Contemplated A Pentecostal Preacher Career
Many years ago, one of the most praised and loved actors in Hollywood was considering a career of a preacher. His father was a minister, and as a child, he and his siblings were never exposed to the type of movies he now stars in. Instead, he’d watch all the Bible epics. Denzel didn’t follow in his father’s steps as it didn’t feel quite right for him when he was a teenager. But this hasn’t stopped him from maintaining his Christian faith throughout his successful acting career.
He is now a member of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ. He prays every day and encourages others to follow his example. “I pray that you put your slippers way under your bed at night, so that when you wake in the morning you have to start on your knees to find them. And while you’re down there, say ‘thank you,’” the actor advises.
12. Stephen Baldwin Becomes A Born-Again Christian After 9/11
After years of drug abuse and career ups and downs, Stephen Baldwin’s life drastically changed as he became a born-again Christian after the 9/11 attacks. Later that year, he, together with Mario D’Ortenzio and Bobby Brewer, founded “Breakthrough Ministry”, and staged the so-called AsSault Tours around USA, which mixed evangelism with extreme sports. He directed a spin-off video, Livin It, which sold 500,000 copies.
Subsequently, Baldwin also did a tour of churches, started his own radio show, and wrote two books. The fact that he started to listen to the Lord more, as he claimed, led him to do a series of reality shows around the country, including I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here and Celebrity Bull Riding Challenge.
When asked if his strong religious faith has had a negative effect on his acting career, the actor says, “I have no regret about that, but I have chilled a lot more because I’m a little more seasoned as a Christian believer.”
11. Tina Turner Goes “Beyond The Beyond”
Originally raised Baptist, this incredible person and performer credits Buddhism for getting her through the most difficult times in her life. When she turned to Buddhism, she began chanting “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo” over and over again until she felt something changed inside of her. And she became happy again!
In 2009, she joined two other musicians based in Switzerland, one a Christian, and the other a Buddhist, to go “beyond the beyond”. If you wonder what the heck that means, here is the explanation of the Sunni Muslim poet Rumi: This is “meeting together in an eld of pure potentiality.” The result of their joining spiritual forces was a music CD entitled, logically, Beyond: Buddhist and Christian Prayers.
Enlightened and balanced as she is today, Tina Turner feels she can give other people directions of how to improve their being. One of her most valued tips is probably the following: “Stay away from drugs! You can spend the money you don’t use on drugs on things you like, like… clothes!”
10. Ashton Kutcher Is As Religious As His Wives Allow Him To Be
While Ashton Kutcher was still married to Demi Moore, he was waist-deep in Kabbalah teachings. The couple just couldn’t get more devoted to the esoteric method, and it seemed to be one of the things that made their bond so special. At some point, however, the actor revisited his relationship with the aging Demi and decided she was not the perfect fit for him. And he moved on. When he started seeing Mila Kunis in 2012, the born and raised Jewish actress made it clear she wasn’t going to do Kabbalah for him. She, like many from her denomination, consider it an illegitimate religion and would even make fun of it. He was obviously so head-over-heels in love with Kunis that he was willing to dump Kabbalah in favor of orthodox Judaism. At the end of 2013, the couple was already talking about their desire to have Jewish babies.
Three years later, at the AirBnB Open in L.A., Kutcher called religion “a collective fiction we all buy into.” We are not sure why he’d talk about religion at an AirBnB event, but we can’t help but wonder: Has he found himself an atheist lover he is ready to substitute Mila for?
9. “Everybody Loves Raymond”, But God Loves Patricia Heaton
We know her as the voice-of-reason wife of Ray Romano in the successful sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond – a role which won her two Emmy Awards. Born Catholic, she became evangelical Protestant as an adult, and now attends a Presbyterian church. As a member of the Feminists for Life group, she is opposing abortion and stem cell research. Since Raymond ended, the actress took her obsession with religion to another level. She is now part of a project entitled Thou Shalt Laugh – a stand-up comedy concert featuring only Christian comedians.
Just recently, Heaton revealed that it was after one night of hardcore praying years ago when God spoke to her and His message changed her life forever. “As I spoke it hit me that in all my years of praying and going to church, this was the first time that I had relinquished complete control of my life to God,“ she said. Not long after God heard her, Heaton’s career started flourishing.
8. Mark Wahlberg Turns His Bedroom Into A Chapel
“The first thing I do each day is get down on my hands and knees and give thanks to God. Whenever I go outside of my house, the first thing I do is stop at the church.” These words belong to one of the former baddest boys of Hollywood, Mark Wahlberg. In his youth, he got arrested around 25 times by the Boston Police. By the age of 13, he developed an addiction to cocaine. However, he managed somehow to beat his demons, and got reborn in the Roman Catholic faith. Although he is considered a very hardcore Christian who attends church daily, he is unashamed of this fact. Most believers in Jesus from the acting circles ‘hide in the closet’, but not Wahlberg. He proclaims his devotion to God on national television.
In 2007, Wahlberg showed his bedroom to Premiere magazine. There, he owns a replica of a crucifixion art piece that belongs to the Vatican. The actor keeps a bottle of holy water by the side of the cross, so that he can turn the room into a chapel whenever he needs.
7. The Osmonds Are Spreading The Word Of Mormon
They are one of America’s most enduring families in show business. They are devout members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In other words, they are Mormons. The siblings Donny and Marie are probably the most popular members of the family. As a teenager, Donny was excused from his spiritual mission trip. The reason? Thanks to his hit song “Puppy Love”, which brought him worldwide success, he was gaining positive attention to the Mormon faith. His sister, a mother of eight, had some turbulent and quite hurtful moments in her life. When her daughter came out as a lesbian, her LDS community regarded this fact with disdain as homosexuality is not acceptable in the Mormon belief system.
Donny Osmond dedicates a big part of his website Donny.com to his faith. Here is one short citation, “I believe in Christ and I know that He is the Only Begotten Son of our Father in Heaven in the flesh.” It’s not the most original line in history, but it probably works for Donny and for those who are considering following in his spiritual steps.
6. David Archuleta Sacrifices His Successful Career For The Altar Of God
He could have become a huge star. Seriously! If it wasn’t for his dedication to the Mormon faith…
Archuleta claimed second place in 2008’s American Idol, and for some time it seemed it was highly possible that he made a name for himself in the music business.
Young LDS members are supposed to serve in missions around the world while in their teen years. So, in 2012, he took a break to volunteer as a Mormon missionary. He spent two years at Chile Rancagua Mission, learning Spanish and spreading the LDS gospel. His singing was not a waste of time after all because he started many of his teaching sessions with a song. We hope the Chileans appreciated his singing talent because, apparently, no one else will in the near future.
5. Mel Gibson’s Passion Of The Christ … And For The Christ
If you’ve seen the brutally authentic and bloody Passion of the Christ (2004), then you have an idea of what might be going on in Mel Gibson’s head. The actor and film director was raised a traditionalist Catholic, and with the years passing, his faith and devotion to the Saviour has only been getting stronger and stronger. He often says, “There is no salvation outside the Church. I believe it!”
Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus in Passion of the Christ, confirmed Gibson was a religious fanatic. “Mel has a great devotion to all the saints. If some people think that he is not completely in the Church, well then, they only have to pray for him.”
Well, we are not “some people” because nothing speaks louder of Gibson’s religious zeal than the fact that he has built a chapel in Malibu, CA, called “The Church of the Holy Family”. On his insistence, there is a mass in Latin every morning, and women are allowed to enter only if their heads are covered.
4. Tom Cruise’s Obsession With Scientology Has Messed Up His Personal Life
Tom Cruise has done many crazy things in the name of and for the sake of the Church of Scientology. He first became involved in the religion in 1990, while still married to his first wife, Mimi Rogers. Since then, he has been the most zealous celebrity Scientologist. The religion might have helped him overcome his dyslexia (as he claims), but harmed his life in many other ways.
For starters, Scientology broke up his relationship with Mimi Rogers. His second wife, Nicole Kidman, did give Scientology a try. In fact, she reached O.T. II level, which was just a step below Cruise’s. For some time, the actors were considered the golden couple of Scientology. At some point, however, something went terribly wrong and the Church’s leaders drove a wedge between Cruise and Kidman. Rumour has it they had a disagreement over whether or not to believe the human race was made up of ancient, frozen souls (!).
As for his third wife, Katie Holmes, she left Cruise for fear of losing her daughter Suri to Scientology after church members moved into their home.
3. Kirk Cameron Believes In The Necessity Of Offing All Homosexuals In The Name Of Jesus
Kirk Cameron was a firm atheist in his early teen years. But at the age of 17, he experienced something he’d call “a life-changing encounter with Jesus”. His growing obsession with the evangelical Christianity conflicted with the whole team on Growing Pains – the TV show that made a name for him in show business. Together with his wife, Chelsea Noble, Cameron adopted four kids alongside their own two, and founded the Christian retreat for families “Camp Firefly”. However, nothing of the good he does can make up for the fact that the guy is an arrogant douchebag. He’s been running an open anti-queer campaign and has said on many occasions that “homosexuality is unnatural, detrimental and ultimately destructive to many foundations of civilizations.” His criticism of gay and transgender people caused serious reaction in the media.
2. Tim Tebow Introduced “Tebowing” To The NFL
Contrary to what you may think, the most important thing in Tim Tebow’s life is not football. And not even his family. He has admitted that his relationship with Jesus Christ is paramount.
While still actively playing, Tebow used to pray openly on his knees at the end of every game. This public display of praying is now known as “Tebowing”. He’s been frequently a topic of heated discussions because of his outwardly expression of his hardcore evangelical Christian beliefs. Many think God should be left out of football. But a CBS poll said that 43% of Tebow’s supporters believed that God helped him win his games.
1. Tyler Perry Wants To Tell Everybody “Something About The Blood Of Jesus”
If you check Wikipedia about Tyler Perry, the very first sentence in the article about him will tell you that he is an actor, filmmaker and songwriter specializing in the gospel genre. His work reflects a mixture of theology and the Black church culture.
In 2013, in what many insisted was a moment orchestrated by the Holy Spirit, God used Tyler Perry to lay hands on Bishop T.D. Jakes during a worship service at a megachurch in Dallas, Texas. This is how Perry explained his gesture, “My intention was to just leave the check and bless God. See, I love to give. I’ve been a giver all my life. See, they don’t understand in Hollywood where I come from. But I’m gonna tell you something about the blood of Jesus.” Should we fear what that could be?