Actor Chris Pratt is turning heads with recent comments he made about religion and public perception, proclaiming in a new Men’s Health interview, “I’m not a religious person.”
In the thorough discussion, Pratt addressed the intense critiques he has received on social media and admitted he has wondered why people come after him so fiercely.
He speculated that some of the anti-religious animosity he has struggled with emerged after a 2018 speech at the MTV Movie & TV Awards during which he openly discussed God and encouraged young people to cling to Him.
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“God is real. God loves you, God wants the best for you,” Pratt said during his speech while accepting the Generation Award. “Believe that; I do.”
The actor reflected on that moment in his interview with Men’s Health, wondering if he actually touched anyone. He also reportedly now understands why people responded so negatively.
“Maybe it was hubris for me to stand up on the stage and say the things that I said. I’m not sure I touched anybody,” he said. “Religion has been oppressive as [expletive] for a long time.”
Pratt continued, “I didn’t know that I would kind of become the face of religion when really I’m not a religious person.”
The “Jurassic World: Dominion” star’s framing of the issue is intriguing, though, as he went on to essentially differentiate between “religion” and faith — a common practice for evangelicals and other Christians who wish to separate tradition from an authentic relationship with Jesus.
“I think there’s a distinction between being religious — adhering to the customs created by man, oftentimes appropriating the awe reserved for who I believe is a very real God — and using it to control people, to take money from people, to abuse children, to steal land, to justify hatred. Whatever it is,” Pratt told Men’s Health. “The evil that’s in the heart of every single man has glommed on to the back of religion and come along for the ride.”
It should be noted Pratt has often discussed his faith, telling Esquire in 2014 about how he first encountered Jesus. Here’s what he said at the time:
“In Maui, about four weeks before I was discovered to go to California, I was hanging with my buddy. I wasn’t quite old enough to drink, so we got somebody to go in and buy us some alcohol. This guy came by and was like, ‘What are you doing tonight?’ I was like, ‘Oh, I dunno. I was just gonna wait out here, my friends are gonna buy me a bottle of Carlo Rossi and a sixer of Milwaukee’s Best Ice. So he’s like, ‘Will you fornicate tonight?’ I was like, ‘I hope so.’ ‘And drugs and drinking?’ It’s like, ‘Most likely, yeah. Probably all three of those things. I mean, at least two of them, possibly all three.’ He was like, ‘I stopped because Jesus told me to stop and talk to you. He said to tell you you’re destined for great things.’ My friends came out, and I was like, ‘Hey, I’m gonna go with this guy.’ I gave my soul to Jesus within, like, two days. I was stuffing envelopes for his organization, Jews for Jesus. I’m not even sure, at that age—I was nineteen years old—I knew what Jewish was.”
As for the Men’s Health interview, Pratt also addressed some other controversies surrounding his faith. He said, contrary to claims, he has never attended Hillsong Church but does go to Zoe Church in California, led by Pastor Chad Veach, and has also attended a Catholic church.
One of the more personal issues Pratt spoke on was claims from some critics he was somehow insulting his first wife, Anna Faris, last fall when he took to Instagram to compliment his new wife, Katherine Schwarzenegger.
For context, in November 2021, Pratt shared an Instagram photo of Schwarzenegger lovingly gazing at him and showered praise upon her in the text. Here’s what he wrote:
Guys. For real. Look how she’s looking at me! I mean. Find you somebody that looks at you like that!! You know!? We met in church. She’s given me an amazing life, a gorgeous healthy daughter, she chews so loudly that sometimes i put in my ear buds to drown it out, but that’s love! She helps me with everything. In return, periodically, I open a jar of pickles. That’s the trade. Her heart is pure and it belongs to me. My greatest treasure right next to my Ken Griffey Jr Upper Deck Rookie card. Which if you know, you know is saying a lot. It’s her birthday in about 6 weeks. So if I don’t get her anything, I’ll tell her to look back on this post. Love you honey.
What most reasonable people would view as a comical, loving ode to his wife was dubbed by a Salon writer as a “bizarre early birthday post.” The writer went on to explain how “many viewed this as an ableist slight toward his first wife, actor Anna Faris, and the son they share, who was born premature and is disabled.”
These claims, which were bizarre at the time, have hurt Pratt.
“I’m like, that is [expletive] up. My son’s gonna read that one day. He’s nine. And it’s etched in digital stone,” he told Men’s Health. “It really [expletive] bothered me, dude. I cried about it. I was like, I hate that these blessings in my life are — to the people close to me — a real burden.”
Read more about what Pratt had to say here.
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