Brad Pitt Talks Charismatic Christianity, Speaking In Tongues, And Stifling Religion

When the spirit moved in Brad Pitt’s parent’s church with the evidence of speaking in tongues, he wasn’t feeling it. Pitt opened up to GQ about his recent divorce with Angelina Jolie and spoke about his Christian, religious upbringing. Pitt stated the was raised in a strict First Baptist church before his parents moved into Charismatic Christianity and attended a church where people openly spoke in tongues and raised their hands. The Oscar winner described growing up in the Ozark mountain region of Springfield, Missouri.

“I grew up in caves. We had a lot of caves, fantastic caverns. And we grew up First Baptist, which is the cleaner, stricter, by-the-book Christianity. Then, when I was in high school, my folks jumped to a more charismatic movement, which got into speaking in tongues and raising your hands and some goofy-a** s**t.”

When asked if he had personally witnessed church members speaking in tongues he answered he had. Pitt delved into experiences he had with watching revival meetings and feeling that there was no difference between what he saw in church and what he was being taught was of the “devil.” Pitt explained his first-hand experience when asked if he had witnessed people speaking in tongues.

“Yeah, come on. I’m not even an actor yet, but I know … I mean the people, I know they believe it. I know they’re releasing something. God, we’re complicated. We’re complicated creatures.”

The practice of speaking in tongues or glossolalia is a controversial concept throughout Christianity. Not all believers accept the practice but those who do believe they are empowered by the Holy Spirit and that God is speaking through them. There are branches of Christianity or denominations who believe speaking in tongues was a practice for the early church but after the first apostles died, speaking in tongues stopped. Some Catholics practice glossolalia. You may read about speaking in tongues in the Catholic encyclopedia here.

Pitt’s earlier experiences didn’t convince him that Christianity was a legitimate religion. Instead, he was filled with questions and doubted that what he had seen was genuine proof that a divine spirit was moving through the believers. He began challenging the faith and what he had seen. He also spoke about a time he went to a rock ‘n’ roll concert and found the experience similar to what he had experienced in revival services. He found this troubling as he had been told revival services were of God, but rock ‘n’ roll concerts were of the devil. Brad Pitt described the experience to GQ.

“I remember going to a few concerts, even though we were told rock shows are the Devil, basically. Our parents let us go, they weren’t neo about it. But I realized that the reverie and the joy and exuberance, even the aggression, I was feeling at the rock show was the same thing at the revival. One is Jimmy Swaggart and one is Jerry Lee Lewis, you know? One’s God and one’s Devil. But it’s the same thing. It felt like we were being manipulated. What was clear to me was ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about—'”

In an earlier interview with the Telegraph, Brad Pitt spoke about his religious upbringing and described his current religious affiliation as an atheist. The interview occurred when he and Angelina Jolie filmed By The Sea. He addressed the couple’s six children, their hectic lifestyles, and his childhood.

“Listen, Angie and I were aiming for a dozen, but we crapped out after six.’ His own upbringing, he says, was ‘never that raucous’. Pitt has a younger brother and sister. He grew up in Springfield, Missouri, where his father ran a trucking company – a Baptist upbringing, ‘with all the Christian guilt about what you can and cannot, should and shouldn’t do’. (He now describes himself as an atheist.)”

Pitt reiterated earlier statements made regarding the do’s and don’ts of Christianity and his disagreement with the concept of Christian guilt in his GQ interview.

“That’s why I never understood growing up with Christianity—don’t do this, don’t do that—it’s all about don’ts, and I was like how the f**k do you know who you are and what works for you if you don’t find out where the edge is, where’s your line? You’ve got to step over it to know where it is.”

Watch this video interview with Bill Maher where Brad Pitt explains why religion doesn’t work for him.

In another video interview, Brad Pitt described his experience with Christianity and religion as stifling.

What do you think of Brad Pitt’s comments regarding speaking in tongues, Christianity, and religion in general? Do you agree or disagree with his views? Feel free to leave your comments, thoughts, and opinions in the section below.

[Featured Image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]