The majority of Americans are religiously affiliated and the majority of those are Christian, though there are growing numbers of other faiths such as Islam and Judaism as well. This is in stark contrast to many other Western nations where religion is slowly becoming a minor component of day-to-day life. However, it is also true that atheism is becoming more popular in the United States and the Pew Religious Landscape survey of 2014 puts them at 3.1% of all Americans.
So let’s take a look at 15 celebrities that you probably didn’t know were among that 3.1%:
#15 Daniel Radcliffe
The star of the Harry Potter movies was raised in a mixed-faith household of Protestantism and Judaism. However, he chose to focus on something different by becoming an atheist and says; “I have a lot of faith in my generation. I have to. We have to develop our own moral system.”
#14 Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore was once a Christian but a tragic event in her life made her turn away from God and become an atheist. She once told the Hollywood Reporter that “I learned when my mother died five years ago that there is no ‘there’ there.” She says that she feels more in charge of her own life after the change.
#13 Lance Armstrong
Lance Armstrong has faced down death, in the form of cancer, and not only lived to tell the tale but also went on and become the supreme champion of his sport, cycling. His brush with death didn’t change his beliefs though and he still says he is an atheist to the core.
#12 Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis’ atheism isn’t really a staunch advocacy that there is no God. It’s more based on the fact that he feels overwhelmed by the choices offered by the different faiths available in the modern world and has instead opted to pursue none of them rather than make the wrong call.
#11 Arian Foster
In a sport where religion is constantly associated with the game; it takes a brave man to step forward and say he’s not taking part. Arian Foster is one of the very few NFL players to have publicly acknowledged his own atheism. It’s clearly not “God’s sport” for Arian and his friends.
#10 James Cameron
James Cameron rejected his protestant upbringing and declared himself 100% atheist a long time back. He’s actually worked to promote atheism by investing in research to disprove aspects of articles of faith. He even tried to prove that Jesus wasn’t resurrected and was just an ordinary person doing ordinary things.
#9 Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster is an atheist but she’s not anti-religion. On the contrary, she has tried to expose her children to as many faiths as possible so that they may make an informed decision about what they want later on in life. She’s said to enjoy the different festivities of other faiths very much.
#8 Kathy Griffin
Kathy is not just an atheist; she is a long-standing vocal critic of all things Christian. That’s surely cost her a few fans across the last few years. Yet, when she finally won an Emmy Award she didn’t hold back and said; “This award is now my God. Suck it Jesus!”
#7 Mark Zuckerberg
As you might have guessed Mark was both born and raised as a practising Jew. However, he rejected his faith outright during his teens (possibly following the event of his Barmitzvah as most Jewish teens do) and is an outspoken atheist advocate today. He even lists “atheism” as his faith on his own social network, Facebook.
#6 Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson has been very outspoken about her atheism over the years. “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 Quran, and I refute them.” said Emma Thompson in a television interview. She went on to say that she sees herself as an anarchist.
#5 Billy Joel
While Billy Joel was raised in a mixed Catholic and Jewish home, he says that he’s neither in practice. While he feels culturally closest to Judaism, he says he won’t worship and that he believes many people are forced into religious participation by other people rather than choosing it freely.
#4 George Clooney
George Clooney is definitely not a devout atheist but he’s definitely not a believe either. He said; “I don’t believe in heaven and hell. I don’t know if I believe in God. All I know is that as an individual, I won’t allow this life – the only thing I know to exist – to be wasted.”
#3 Sir Ian McKellen
The star of the X-Men movies and the Lord of the Rings trilogy is a borderline atheist. He acknowledges that there is a possibility that there is a god but has decided to live his life as though there isn’t and not to let religious aspects intrude in his thoughts.
#2 Keira Knightley
Kiera Knightley was the star of Bend it Like Beckham and Pirates of the Caribbean and she is also an atheist. She says that being an atheist is challenging because; “If only I wasn’t an atheist; I could get away with anything. You’d just ask for forgiveness, and then you’d be forgiven.”
#1 Seth MacFarlane
Seth MacFarlane started out on a religious path. He was brought up as a Catholic in a Catholic family but at the age of 11 he rejected his religion and became a staunch atheist. This probably is shown by the number of sacrilegious jokes which appear in his hit TV show “Family Guy.”
So there you have it, 15 celebrities that you probably didn’t know were an atheist, but who undoubtedly are an atheist. It’s worth remembering that if you’re not an atheist that the majority of the world’s religions preach tolerance and respect for everyone. While you might not agree with these celebrities personal choice in terms of their belief, you should be able to respect that decision. They shouldn’t be subject to harassment and abuse for their life choices. Atheists are as likely to be good people who do good things as anybody else in America today. And 3 people out of every 100 are atheists.