Many of this world’s favorite celebrities are almost God-like—they have immense power, control, influence, resources, and so forth. It’s not a far stretch for celebrities to believe that there is no God and no true religion. Many successful people share the same traits that propel them to their positions on top of the world. Reliance to self and relentless pursuit is a combination that could make a person believe that there is no power greater than what is within. When you’re at the very top of the world as celebrity atheists are, there isn’t much to look at higher than you. You tend to shift your focus towards the Earth, much like how gods are supposed to. Here are 20 of our favorite celebrities that are also well-known atheists.
1. George Clooney
Like most people in the world, George Clooney actually grew up surrounded by religion. He was born into an Irish Catholic family, but he eventually abandoned his Catholic beliefs. Clooney’s career has spanned over 40 years, an impressive feat for the 60-year-old actor. His most famous works include the Ocean’s Trilogy, Up in the Air, Goodnight, and Good Luck, and Syriana.
2. Angelina Jolie
Angeline Jolie being atheist was more newsworthy when she was going through the darker, weirder phase in her career. Atheism was almost an attire she wore at the time; it was tied to her immaturity and desire for attention. However, the Angelina Jolie we know now is a completely different person from her younger self. She is extremely talented, elegant, sophisticated, generous, and warm. She’s still an atheist, but she no longer uses that standpoint as a marketing tactic. Jolie is proof that religion has no bearing on a person’s achievements on a global scale.
3. Brad Pitt
Apart from the sexual tension, similarities in philosophical and religious beliefs have to be some of the reasons why Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie got along so well. This may no longer be true these days because of their divorce, but both of them being atheists could’ve only helped. It’s also interesting that Pitt happens to be close friends with fellow atheist, Clooney. Pitt has said that he goes back and forth between atheism and agnosticism.
4. Daniel Radcliffe
It’s not surprising that Harry Potter doesn’t believe in religion. After all, magic is all there is in that world. Although Daniel Radcliffe may not be a wizard in real life, we’re betting that his beliefs have been influenced largely by his career experiences. He has very strong socio-political views and claims to be a militant atheist whenever legislation becomes subject to religion. Radcliffe is one of the industry’s brightest and most versatile stars. He is admired by many not only because of his performance in the Harry Potter franchise but because of his other films as well.
5. Johnny Depp
We all have the right to choose what and who to believe in. Faith could be a general word for belief in anything. This certainly applies to Johnny Depp, who chooses to have faith in his kids and family rather than in religion. This isn’t such a far-fetched thought. Most people do the same thing. Johnny Depp is a much-beloved actor, who has been subject to scrutiny and scandal due to his recent experiences with his ex-wife, Amber Heard. Interestingly enough, Heard also claims to be atheist.
6. Jodie Foster
She once said that religion is something she loves, but that doesn’t mean that Jodie Foster believes in God. In fact, Foster has been vocal about her atheism throughout her career. An avid academic, Foster graduated from Yale University with a degree in African-American Literature. She values knowledge and education, and that’s where her respect for religion roots from. She appreciates ritualistic religion for what it is, but that’s as far as her faith would take her.
7. Julianne Moore
Award-winning actress Julianne Moore can pinpoint her loss of faith to one specific event in her life—the death of her mother. Since that point, she’s looked at life differently. Moore believes that every person creates his or her own life without much intervention from a divine entity. This is probably the most basic description of what an atheist believes and doesn’t believe in. However, Moore has also sometimes attributed her success to luck. Some people could take luck as a religious occurrence, but Moore still believes that religion is nothing but a man-made facility created to help us all make sense of our world.
8. Joaquin Phoenix
In 2018, Joaquin Phoenix played the role of Jesus Christ in the movie, Mary Magdalene. It might’ve been a life-changing film for many religious people but not Phoenix. To him, it was just another job. Phoenix is another actor that’s pretty vocal about his atheism. His family were members of a cult, Family International also known as Children of God. Although he’s no longer associated with the group, his upbringing definitely had an impact on his worldview.
9. Zac Efron
Zac Efron grew up in an agnostic home. No religion was every acknowledged, let alone practiced. It doesn’t really mean much because Efron grew up in a stable and loving environment. His parents saw his talents before he even did for himself, and that was the beginning of it all. Efron is a successful triple threat. He can act, sing, and dance, and he can do it all so well. His breakout role was in Disney’s High School Musical, but his repertoire has expanded tremendously since then.
10. Bruce Willis
Bruce Willis once said that religion is a dying form. We’re not entirely sure why he would think that way when 85% of the world believe in some sort of deity and only about 15% identify as nonreligious, atheist, agnostic, or secular. Willis grew up Lutheran and seems to have been burned by religion in some way. He is openly hostile to organized religion and claims that modern society no longer has any need for it. Still, Willis finds himself wondering about the incomprehensible things of life and believes those things to be part of some God in a way. Does this mean that he’s truly not atheist?
11. Morgan Freeman
Here’s another actor who has played God in his career but has no belief. Morgan Freeman played that role in the movie, Bruce Almighty, alongside funny man Jim Carrey. He reprised the role of God in Evan Almighty. Freeman believes that God is a man-made figure. Some interviews have pointed that Freeman might have some mixed feelings about religion altogether. Regardless of what he believes in, he’s definitely created a believable God role in his films.
12. Javier Bardem
When you’d rather put your faith in Al Pacino rather than religion, you’d probably fall in the atheist category with no question. Javier Bardem is another actor that identifies more with the struggles of man rather than the intervention of a god. We get the whole Al Pacino thing—he’s definitely divinity in the industry—but there’s only so much that Pacino can do. Bardem comes from a highly religious Spanish background, but none of that has had any bearings in his faith or lack thereof.
13. Keira Knightley
Sometimes people might get a chance to try religion, get a small taste of how it works. Keira Knightley had a taste and decided that it’s not to her liking—even though she wishes she had the option of forgiveness. It’s much like how atheism is not for everyone either. People like Knightley can choose to believe or not believe, but it shouldn’t affect how a person pursues life. Knightley is one of the most beloved actresses in Hollywood. The English actress has been acting since she was 8 years old, and she’s given us some of the most memorable characters in film.
14. Kevin Bacon
Here’s someone who is explicitly states his atheism whenever prodded. Kevin Bacon may not believe in God, but he believes that sex is a God-given right. We’re not sure where Bacon is headed with that, but most people would agree. Bacon found his success in 80s cult classics, and his name has become one of the most recognizable and referenced in the industry.
15. Seth Macfarlane
If you aren’t familiar with Seth Macfarlane’s work, you must have been living under a rock these last couple of decades. Macfarlane is arguably a smart guy, but then he equates religiosity to lack of critical thinking—not his best idea. Either way, we can’t take away from this atheist’s successes. Macfarlane is a known animator, actor, screenwriter, director, producer, and even singer. His singing work as Mike on the animated movie, Sing, is a sure crowd favorite. But his best has got to be the movie, Ted, which he wrote, produced, directed, and starred in.
16. Uma Thurman
Coming from a spiritual and religious background, there was a time when Uma Thurman saw herself as Buddhist. She loved the religion and related to it well. However, it wasn’t something that she practiced regularly. She eventually let Buddhism go in favor of agnosticism, but she’s leaning more towards atheism if anything. Thurman’s journey in religion is not unique. Many people take aspects of different religions to create something applicable in their own lives. The talented Thurman may very well jump back into Buddhism again at some point in her life, and that’s okay too.
17. Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves is evidence that you don’t have to be religious to be kind. Reeves is known for being one of the nicest people in Hollywood, and religion really has nothing to do with it. In 2005, Reeves had a slight change of thought on religion after filming the movie Constantine. The movie was heavy on religious tones of heaven and hell, and it’s also mildly disturbing in some way. Today, Reeves is back to being atheist. He’s still also the same kind person he’s always been.
18. Darren Aronofsky
You may not know his face, but you definitely know his name. Darren Aronofsky is an American filmmaker, producer, and screenwriter. Some of his most famous works include Black Swan, The Wrestler, and the 2014 biblically-inspired film, Noah. Interestingly, Aronofsky identifies as atheist. He claims that his work—filmmaking—is his god. Maybe this is the reason why his films are so good, including Noah.
19. Jack Nicholson
Although Jack Nicholson doesn’t believe in God, he envies those that do. Religion is a cushion for many. It helps soothe pain. It gives people a shared experience. It creates community. Although all those things could be found someplace else, religion is sometimes the most obvious place to find them. Nicholson might’ve found that place in Hollywood, as the renowned actor’s career spanned an impressive 50 plus years. He may no longer be making any new movies, but he’s made plenty of great ones for us to enjoy to this day.
20. Emma Thompson
She may be Nanny McPhee to many; but when it comes to religion, she’s more akin to The Baroness from 2021’s Cruella. Well that may be an overstatement, but Emma Thompson has said in the past that she regards religion with fear and suspicion. Thompson claims that she is very much a militant atheist—an anarchist in some way. She cannot say enough how much she does not believe in God. We respect Thompson for beliefs but even more so for her talent and her career. Thompson never seemed like the kind of person to be messed with in any of her movies. That statement seems to be true in real life as well.