Actor Brad Pitt recently opened up to GQ Magazine about his hatred of Christianity and the “goofy a** s***” that is associated with the more charismatic side of the faith. Having been raised what he called a “cleaner, stricter, by-the-book Christianity” in a Baptist church, Pitt has obviously made life choices that have distanced himself from his childhood faith. So much distance that he actually compared orthodox Christian views to the propaganda of Scientology.
Yes, apparently in the worldly mind of Brad Pitt, Jesus = L. Ron Hubbard.
But what was truly fascinating about the interview wasn’t reading disdain towards Christianity being espoused by someone who loves and embraces the world. That’s precisely what any rational person should expect. Reading a self-professing atheist complain about “all the Christian guilt about what you can and cannot, should and shouldn’t do” is as predictable as it is a painful misunderstanding of the truth of Christianity.
Reading Pitt admit that he got to the point where he, “wanted to experience things religion said not to experience” is an exercise in the obvious. Those who refuse to humble themselves and submit to the authority of Christ in their lives will necessarily exalt themselves and choose to operate as gods of their own private universes, experiencing whatever they want to experience regardless of the consequences. Pitt continued blasting the restrictiveness of following Jesus, saying:
“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 [expletive] 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.”
And that’s what was captivating to me about Pitt’s interview. At one point in the conversation, the subject of his much-publicized divorce from actress Angelina Jolie came up. Pitt tenderly recounted his own struggles over the split:
“I heard one lawyer say, ‘No one wins in court — it’s just a matter of who gets hurt worse.’ And it seems to be true, you spend a year just focused on building a case to prove your point and why you’re right and why they’re wrong, and it’s just an investment in vitriolic hatred.”
The actor went on to acknowledge how, “it’s just very, very jarring for the kids, to suddenly have their family ripped apart.”
So in one breath the worldly conformist praises the virtue of liberating yourself from the annoyance of Christianity’s do’s and don’ts to figure out “what works for you.” And in the next breath he provides a heartbreaking example of the fruit of such liberation.
What Pitt managed to miss in his Christian upbringing, or what he chose to suppress to suit his own desires of pursuing the lusts of the eye and flesh, is that God’s moral order is not in place to prevent us from having fun. It’s there to keep us from being ruined – and from ruining others – with our “fun.”
The reality of human existence is that we will all be slaves to something. Far too many choose the path that Pitt has chosen, foolishly believing that it yields more freedom, more purpose, more fulfillment, and more contentment. His own pain expressed in this interview testifies to the precise opposite.
It testifies to the reality that “goofy a**” submission to the Savior and His will for our lives gives us a yoke that is far easier, and a burden that is far lighter than the one we find ourselves shackled to when we reject Him.