These Actors Don’t Mind Speaking The Truth
There are many great atheists out there that speak their mind such as Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer, and Stephen Hawking, but none of them have quite as much influence over the mainstream public as the actors and actresses in Hollywood do. There are several dozen celebrities of note that have announced they are atheist to the public, but not a lot of them are ready to go full-bore Christopher Hitchens on someone at the drop of a hat. This following list includes alive celebrities who have both publicly announced they are atheist as well as use their clout to actually talk about it a little bit… Or a lot. There are lots more celebrities who are atheist but they don’t really say much so they don’t make the list.
To create this list I used a combination of public declarations, the frequency in which they happen, as well as amounts of Twitter followers each person has. I may also have some personal bias towards some of them as I appreciate their art form more than others on the list, but fuck it, I’m only human, and it’s my fucking list… I put em where I see fit.
10. Kevin Bacon
Many people are surprised to find out that Kevin Bacon is in fact an atheist. In an interview with The Times of London, Bacon flat-out said, “I think there is a puritanical wind that is blowing. I don’t believe in God” Along with being a non believer, Bacon is passionate about church-state separation. The Bacon Brothers were featured in the 2008 film “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Separation of Church and State…But Were Afraid to Ask,” Kevin Bacon isn’t super outspoken regarding the subject hence landing him in the 10 spot, but I just had to have Kevin fucking Bacon on the list somehow…
09. Angelina Jolie / Brad Pitt
Brad and Angelina sort of fall into the same category as Kevin Bacon. Both consider themselves atheists, but don’t really talk about it very much. Mr. Pitt was raised a Southern Baptist, but the religious life didn’t suit the rising star, and he soon converted to a blend of atheism and agnosticism. He was quoted as saying, “I’m probably 20 percent atheist and 80 percent agnostic. I don’t think anyone really knows. You’ll either find out or not when you get there, until then there’s no point thinking about it,” in an interview with the New York Daily News.
As for Angelina, in an interview from the year 2000, she responded to the question, “Is there a God?” with the following answer. “For some people. I hope so, for them. For the people who believe in it, I hope so. There doesn’t need to be a God for me. There’s something in people that’s spiritual, that’s godlike. I don’t feel like doing things just because people say things, but I also don’t really know if it’s better to just not believe in anything, either.” However, that was a long time ago, and people’s beliefs change, so she may feel differently at this point. She has not made any public proclamations either way committing to anything since. Because of the non-commitment, even with all of their popularity they round out the 9 spot on the list. Besides, what list about Hollywood actors and actresses isn’t complete without these two on it?
08. Seth Green
Now we start to get into the meat and potatoes of this list. Seth Green takes position number 8 for a variety of reasons. The creator of the amazing Robot Chicken television show on Adult Swim often times makes anti-theist remarks on the show and pokes fun at religion. He is also the proud owner of a twitter account sporting over 1.13 million followers which make him pretty damn influential and worthy of this list. He’s been quoted as saying, “God is, to me, pretty much a myth created over time to deny the idea that we’re all responsible for our own actions”. Green also works very closely with another atheist much further down my little list at the #4 spot.
On a side note, I highly recommend Robot Chicken… It’s one of my most favorite shows of all time, and deserves every accolade it has ever received. What Green pulls off in it is pure genius, and should be watched and enjoyed by all!
07. Bill Maher
While I personally am not a huge fan of Bill Maher, there is no denying that he has some decent influence in Hollywood, and the fact he declares himself an atheist makes him A-OK in my book. Mr. Maher is the host of the nightly talk show, HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher. He describes himself as an apathetic atheist who just doesn’t think much about religion. He constantly takes jabs at religious groups which has resulted in some pretty hilarious media. He co-wrote and starred in Religulous, a movie which mocked all religions, especially Christianity.
On Larry King Live, Maher said that “all religious people have a neurological disorder” and that religion is “insanity by consensus.” That about sums it up doesn’t it? Bill Maher has an impressive 2.5 million Twitter followers and along with his nightly talk show as mentioned above and the fact that he never holds back his opinion, I am giving him the lucky number 7 spot. Check out this interview on CNN where Bill talks a little bit more about his beliefs.
06. Adam Carolla
Adam Carolla is a passionate atheist, and is not afraid to let his thoughts be known. The former host of Loveline and The Man Show, Carolla was quoted as saying, “I am not agnostic. I am atheist. I don’t think there is no God; I know there’s no God. I know there’s no God in the same way I know many other laws in our universe. I know there’s no God and I know most of the world knows that as well”. He has his own daily podcast, The Adam Carolla Show which features his thoughts and has guests such as the late great Christopher Hitchens.
Spending some time here will give you a greater respect for him as an atheist, and show you he is not just a one trick pony, and is more like an onion with lots of layers. For the record, I debated the position of Carolla and Maher in the 6 and 7 positions quite a bit with myself, but ended up giving it to Adam Carolla due to the amount of passion he exudes when on a tirade and the frequency in which they occur on his show. He has a modest half million followers on Twitter, but I sort of think he is only getting started as far as being an outspoken leader in the Hollywood atheist community.
05. Joe Rogan
The one and only Joe Rogan gets spot number five on my list. The host of the super popular Joe Rogan Experience podcast now has his very own skeptic television show on the SyFy Channel called, Joe Rogan Questions Everything. Mr. Rogan has been quoted saying, “Every single religion that has ever been on the face of the Earth, ever, is a cult. That’s all they are. Just a cult with millions of people in them. Meanwhile, they have a bunch of really bad stories that require more belief than an episode of I Dream of Jeannie”.
With 1.27 million twitter followers, over 6 million watchers of his tv show, and a large audience of his podcast, Rogan has a large reach and significant influence, especially with a younger audience. His standup comedy bit about Noahs Ark was an instant Internet classic and if you haven’t seen it stop everything and watch it right now. The man is in no doubt brilliant, and some of his observations are quite enlightening. In addition to all of that, Rogan is the color commentator for the mixed martial arts promotion the “UFC”, which I am a die-hard and rabid fan of.
04. Seth MacFarlane
At number 4, we have the funny Seth MacFarlane. The creator of Family Guy and American Dad, cartoons on Fox Television, MacFarlane has even written characters with atheist views into his shows. When asked in an interview with Esquire Magazine why he’d grown so vocal about his atheism, he said, “We have to. Because of all the mysticism and stuff that’s gotten so popular … It’s like the civil-rights movement. There have to be people who are vocal about the advancement of knowledge over faith.” Well said sir, I applaud thee.
Seth MacFarlane has a whopping 5.3 million Twitter followers, and over 7 million people regularly tune in to watch the shows he creates with their atheist characters, so MacFarlane definitely deserves this spot on the list. He’s also the producer of the upcoming Cosmos. There is only one other person on this list, in the number 2 spot, that reaches a younger more impressionable audience which is so important. Also worth noting, as mentioned above, MacFarlane and Seth Green have collaborated on a number of projects including Family Guy and Robot Chicken.
03. Ricky Gervais
This man is a literal atheist quote machine and one of the most outspoken on my list. A writer on the hit show, The Office, and having made multiple appearances on The Simpsons as himself, Gervais has broken into mainstream popularity. He famously said, “We shouldn’t even need the word atheism. If people didn’t invent ridiculous imaginary Gods, rational people wouldn’t have to deny them.” You could spend days going through all of the different articles there are about what he’s said about being an atheist.
Ricky Gervais has a variety of podcasts that are all worth a listen. Let the record show that I really had a difficult time with the top 3. In all honesty, Ricky Gervais should probably be at the number 1 spot, but there are specific reasons #2 is #2, and #1 is #1 that I will address in a few moments. Gervais has the most Twitter followers than anyone else on this list with mind-boggling 5.62 million followers which speaks volumes. His quotes are converted into Internet memes on a daily basis. Just about any atheist website you go to will mention him in one way or another… Which is why we here at Expect Attitude salute him.
02. Bill Nye
Coming off recent success in his debate against Ken Ham regarding evolution vs. creation Bill Nye has been on fire lately. Not really an actor per say, Bill Nye was the host of Bill Nye the Science Guy, a science education tv show aimed at children. Nye was quoted saying, “If you want to deny evolution and live in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it, because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future”.
While Bill Nye only has 1.24 million Twitter followers, it is the fact that his primary audience are all under age 15 that got him the #2 position on the list. Let’s face it, children are the future and the more science and evolution are hammered home at a young age the more kids will understand thus giving them reason to question religion. That, in my opinion, is more than enough to get you this high in the list.
Time for #1! Can I get a fuckin drumroll please…
01. Penn & Teller
My #1 pick may have some of you up in arms, but there is reason for it. Remember when I said this list may be slightly biased? It is because of Penn & Teller’s Showtime show Bullshit and Penn Jillette’s book God, No! that I really opened my eyes and started on my path toward atheism. That’s some strong shit to contend with for me personally, and because of it I give them the top spot. One of my favorite quotes by Penn is, “You don’t have to be brave or a saint, a martyr, or even very smart to be an atheist. All you have to be able to say is I don’t know”.
With over 2 million Twitter followers between the two of them, the Penn’s Sunday School weekly podcast, the TV and Las Vegas shows and books, I think a valid argument can be made for them being here at number one. They appeal to a really wide audience, and Penn, next to Ricky Gervais is as outspoken an atheist as you can be. I personally owe them a debt of gratitude for starting me on my path so many years ago, and I’m pretty sure they’ve opened quite a few other peoples minds as well. They are accepted by the mainstream media as Penn’s appearances on Celebrity Apprentice and Dancing With The Stars have shown, and as a result of those opportunities, they took advantage and brought atheism to a more accepted place.
What Say You?
So there’s my list folks. There is no argument that these people have all contributed to advancing the idea of using logic and reason to the mainstream public, all in their own unique way. Now it’s your guys turn… Do you think I missed somebody? Is there a celebrity out there you think deserves to be on this list? I’d love to hear you sound off with your thoughts in the comments!
* Of Note: Twitter accounts could not be located for Kevin Bacon, Angelina Jolie, or Brad Pitt.