Brad Pitt’s parents tried to raise a God-fearing son by being extremely strict and using “Christian guilt” to make Brad behave. However, the way the actor’s Southern Baptist parents chose to treat him ended up backfiring on them later on; according to Brad Pitt, being raised in a religious household actually played a part in the actor becoming atheist/agnostic.
During a recent interview with the Telegraph, Brad Pitt revealed that his Baptist upbringing in Springfield, Missouri included a large dose of “all the Christian guilt about what you can and cannot, should and shouldn’t do.” He also described his father as being “very, very tough” on his children. Brad Pitt’s father failed to pass his faith and his strict demeanor on to his son, but Pitt says that he did learn something very important from his father that affects the way he and Angelina Jolie parent their half-dozen children.
“But one thing my folks always stressed was being capable, doing things for yourself. He was really big on integrity – and that informed a lot of what [we] try to do now,” Brad revealed.
Unfortunately for Papa Pitt, Brad started to seriously question his religious upbringing after he began exercising his independence. According to People, Brad once said that his parents chastised him for attending a rock concert because they considered rock ‘n’ roll “the Devil’s music.”
“I wanted to experience things religion said not to experience,” Pitt revealed. According to the actor, what he found was that he felt “the same fervor” at rock concerts as he did at Christian revivals.
— Irish Daily Mirror (@IrishMirror) November 28, 2015
Brad Pitt has talked about being an atheist quite a bit over the years. During a 2011 interview with Parade, Pitt said that he doesn’t see “eye to eye” with his parents when it comes to religion, but he still loves them.
“I grew up Baptist, and then the family switched over to more of an evangelical movement,” Pitt revealed. He said that he had been questioning his family’s beliefs since kindergarten, and he simply wasn’t getting any satisfying answers to his questions.
“I realized it didn’t feel right to me, that one question just led to another. It was like going down a rabbit hole, each answer provoking another question.”
Brad Pitt doesn’t mind religion existing in the world, but he believes it becomes problematic when religious people begin trying to tell other people how they should live their lives.
“People suffer because of it,” Brad Pitt said. “They are spreading misery.”
While he’s definitely not a fan of organized religion, Pitt hasn’t completely counted out the existence of a higher power. During an interview with Bild, the actor described himself as “20 percent atheist and 80 percent agnostic.”
Brad Pitt’s recent interview with the Telegraph seems to suggest that he’s still atheist/agnostic. However, earlier this summer, the New York Post tried to claim that Pitt has changed his views on religion and that he may be embracing the so-called “Christian renaissance” that is supposedly sweeping over Hollywood. A quote from Shia LaBeouf has caused a bit of confusion about Brad Pitt’s faith (or lack thereof).
Last October, Shia LaBeouf told Interview magazine that he found God while working alongside Brad Pitt on the movie, Fury. According to LaBeouf, the older actor “was really instrumental in guiding” his head after he decided to become a Christian man. However, LaBeouf never said that Pitt also found religion — he simply stated that Brad Pitt was a big help because he had lived a “hyper-religious, very deeply Christian, Bible Belt life” when he was younger. According to LaBeouf, the Brad Pitt of today has an “unnamed spirituality.”
Earlier this year, there were also rumors that Brad Pitt’s agnostic wife had become a believer of the Christian faith after working on a film based on the life of a devout Christian man. Angelina Jolie met World War II hero Louis Zamperini while directing Unbroken, a movie about the time Zamperini spent as a Japanese prisoner of war. Zamperini became a man of faith while struggling to survive in the POW camp, and his daughter, Cynthia Garris, claims that Angelina Jolie also became a believer while working on the movie about Zamperini.
— The Sun (@TheSun) December 20, 2014
According to Garris, Jolie decided to test the power of prayer by getting down on her hands and knees and asking for a storm to go away that was threatening filming. Garris claims that this act helped Jolie get her movie made.
“She got on her knees, she demonstrated for us… and she prayed for a miracle. …Everybody saw it,” Garris said, according to the Huffington Post. “It stopped raining. The sun came out, a rainbow came out.”
Garris believes it was part of “God’s plan” for Angelina Jolie to make a movie about Louis Zamperini and that doing so would lead the actress to “a life that would encompass the Almighty.”
However, Angelina Jolie later told the Los Angeles Times that she still isn’t a true believer.
“I’m still searching myself for what to be sure of and what to believe in,” Jolie said.
What do you think about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s religious views?
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]