Top 10 Celebrity Atheists
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by George Pacheco
These celebrities believe in themselves, but that's about it. There's no higher power guiding these celebrities through their career! Whether they are actors like Brad Pitt, or people like the creator of South Park, Trey Parker. Even the man who has played God – Morgan Freeman – is in fact an atheist, and doesn't prescribe to any religious practices.
Top 10 Celebrity Atheists
These famous folks just don’t believe in a higher power. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Celebrity Atheists.
For this list, we’ll be ranking the most high profile celebrities who have been the most forthright or outspoken about their atheist beliefs. We’ll also be including agnostics as a part of this list, but not scientists or philosophers. To be clear, we’re not making any moral judgments about the superiority of any one religious or life choice over another; we’re simply listing those celebrities who’ve made it a point to come out in public as atheists or agnostics.
#10: Brad Pitt
Not every child grows up adhering to the same religious beliefs as his or her parents. Case in point? Brad Pitt, who was raised in a religious, Southern Baptist family with strict rules and regulations. Pitt eventually grew to adopt a spiritual view, which he claimed was “20 percent atheist, 80 percent agnostic,” and an interview with The Telegraph stressed the actor’s identification as atheist. Pitt stated that his youth was filled with what he referred to as “Christian guilt,” an upbringing that the actor feels eventually led to his spiritual shift as an adult.
#9: Stephen Fry
The noted British comedian, writer and actor has long been a staunch and outspoken proponent of atheism. One particular conversation that turned mainstream attention towards Fry’s beliefs was a 2015 interview with Irish broadcaster Gay Byrne. When commenting on what he’d ask God if given the opportunity, Fry said he’d bring up injustices like bone cancer in children as proof that God “deserves no respect whatsoever.” The clip proved to be a viral hit as well, receiving millions of views within only a few days of being uploaded, and shed further light on the artist’s religiously skeptical, atheist viewpoint, as well as his support of humanist causes and gay rights.
#8: Daniel Radcliffe
In a 2009 interview, the Harry Potter actor talked about his “relaxed” form of atheism. What do we mean relaxed? Well, Radcliffe has been anything but vocal regarding these spiritual beliefs – or lack thereof – and prefers to mostly keep his beliefs to himself. However, one notable figure did seem to be annoyed about Radcliffe’s religious choice: Ohio governor John Kasich commented that he felt it was “weird” that Radcliffe is an atheist, considering the level of success he reached with the Harry Potter franchise. Funnily enough, Kasich has probably said more publicly about Radcliffe’s atheism than Radcliffe has.
#7: Trey Parker
“South Park” has poked fun at just about everything under the sun. But just because he usually identifies as an atheist and mocks it pretty much every chance he gets doesn’t mean Trey Parker hates religion. In fact, he referred to his and Matt Stone’s hit Broadway musical “The Book of Mormon” as “an atheist love letter to religion” during a 2011 interview. Parker admits that he didn’t grow up with a deep personal connection to religion, and instead prefers to see the levity and humor in it all. As a result, he’s also commented that he sees “Star Wars” as a viable religious option.
#6: Keira Knightley
Some atheists are more likely than others to poke fun at their own life choices. One such non-believer is actress Keira Knightley, who lamented humorously in a 2012 piece with Interview Magazine that she “could get away with anything,” if she weren’t an atheist. Knightley was specifically commenting upon the sexual indiscretions of some high profile, Conservative Republican leaders during the interview, and continued by admitting how much easier it would be to simply ask for forgiveness from a higher power, as opposed to living with human guilt.
#5: George Carlin
George Carlin was and is a legendary comedian, partly because he never shied away from controversy. The New York-born Carlin may’ve attended Catholic grammar school as a child, but his path eventually led him to atheism, a choice Carlin mentioned in much of his material as he got older. The comedian would satirize everything from the belief in an “invisible man in the sky” to the idea that praying to the sun or to actor Joe Pesci were more worthwhile endeavors. Carlin continued to be critical of religion up until his death in 2008, frequently returning to the subject on stage, in print and on the silver screen.
#4: Simon Pegg
Writer, actor and all around geek icon Simon Pegg may not be as outspoken on atheist issues as George Carlin, but the popular entertainment personality remains an example of a well-adjusted celebrity atheist. Pegg’s stances on the topic are seen mainly on his Twitter account, where the actor has commented on such issues as the perils and challenges of atheist parenting to how many atheists are accused of possessing “no moral compass.” Throughout it all, Pegg has managed to continue balancing his personal beliefs with his thriving career as one of geek-dom’s most in-demand creative voices.
#3: Bill Maher
In his formidable career as a commentator nd talk show host, Bill Maher has long been regarded as an influential creative voice when it comes to the world of biting political satire. The writer, actor and critic has also been quite outspoken when it comes to the subject of religion, with Maher having identified over the years as an atheist, agnostic and apatheist – the latter of which is defined as one who is apathetic to the existence of God. Maher’s self-labeling may have varied over the years, but his criticisms against organized religion remain as fiery today as they ever were.
#2: Seth MacFarlane
Seth MacFarlane may’ve hedged his bets when he called himself 99% atheist in a 2015 tweet, but that one percent hasn’t stopped him from being an outspoken advocate for atheism in the public eye. The writer-actor gave an interview in 2009 with Esquire about the necessity for promoting “knowledge over faith,” and made further connections between the fight for atheists to be heard and the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement. MacFarlane’s criticism of religion has also made its way into some episodes of “Family Guy,” a show that’s always served, in part, as a window into MacFarlane’s beliefs and ideas.
Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Woody Allen
- Javier Bardem
- Morgan Freeman
#1: Ricky Gervais
Few celebrities are as open about their atheist beliefs as writer, actor and comedian Ricky Gervais. The co-creator of “The Office” openly discusses the subject with the media and through his Twitter account, the latter of which has sparked interesting and occasionally hostile conversations with his audience. Gervais remains undaunted and un-intimidated, however, even using an interview with The Independent in 2015 to discuss what he felt were misconceptions about atheists, like the idea the atheists are arrogant or equivalent to Satanists or agnostics. Basically, when someone asks him why he doesn’t believe in God, his most likely response is well why do you?