Why You Should Watch High School Musical 2

Efron

The star of High School Musical 2, Zac Efron, says this in the latest issue of Rolling Stone (August 23rd issue, p. 41):

“I was raised agnostic, so we never practiced religion, but my parents were very strict.”

It wasn’t just a childhood phase, either. He still is an agnostic:

Efron told The Shmooze that he’s an agnostic and that the red string he was wearing “is just a bracelet that a friend made for me that hasn’t fallen off yet. No, it’s not Kabbalah,” he explained.

And here’s the twofer: Efron’s not the only non-religious young star out there.

Bynes

Amanda Bynes said this in a recent interview:

“I’m not that religious. I believe in treating people how you want to be treated.”

None of them match the outright atheism of Amber Heard, but they do have more star power. And it’s good to know not every person in Hollywood follows some wacky religion.

(Thanks to Deanna for the links!)


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • http://20gramsoul.com Richard

    I thought atheism was “some wacky religion”? ;)

  • http://www.timwoody.com Tim Woody

    Amanda’s comment is actually VERY religious. It is simply a paraphrase of the core of Christianity, what we often call the Golden Rule.

    In Matthew 7:12, Jesus himself said, “in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

    So, Amanda appears to be in full agreeement with Jesus’ own summary of the Bible.

    Great discussion! :)

  • Deanna

    Thanks, Hemant, for posting the information about Zac Efron and Amanda Bynes. I bought the latest issue of Rolling Stone (with Zac Efron on the cover) for my 10 year old daughter, because she’s already watched High School Musical 2 the four times it has already aired on the Disney Channel, along with buying the soundtrack CD the day it became available.

    The pictures of Zac Efron, alone, were enough to make her giddy, but when we read that he was raised agnostic, she went into orbit. She was so happy that someone she has a crush on is agnostic, and was raised that way. A famous person that is close to her in age, that she sees on TV regularly, and is agnostic? Bonus.

    And, in reading the article, my daughter realized she wasn’t the only one who had strict parents. The word, agnostic (or atheist, in our case) can be tied to “strict parents”.

    So, not only is she happy but so am I.

    And, I am pretty impressed that Zac Efron has no problem with stating his agnosticism. So many people (including us) are in the closet in our daily life about being atheist, and just reading about a 19 year old celebrity stating it so casually gives me encouragement to be more open about my beliefs.

    Thanks, again, Hemant, for posting the info.

  • http://scientianatura.blogspot.com Shalini

    Only in Larry King Land.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    Amanda’s comment is actually VERY religious. It is simply a paraphrase of the core of Christianity, what we often call the Golden Rule.

    I disagree; that remark doesn’t have to be religious. I believe in treating others how you want to be treated, but I’m not Christian and I didn’t get that from the Bible.

  • Jen

    Amanda’s comment is actually VERY religious. It is simply a paraphrase of the core of Christianity, what we often call the Golden Rule.

    Sure, Christianity is all fun and games unless you are a group that your god hates. Then your building crushes you, or everyone burns up, or you drown.

    The “Golden Rule” is not only a Christian idea.

  • http://www.matsonwaggs.wordpress.com Kelly

    Yay! I have a 6 year old daughter who is obsessed with HSM, so it’s nice to know that one of her first celebrity crushes is an agnostic. Mine? Donny Osmond. I don’t remember wanting to be a Mormon at that time, but you know how little girls think. Well, maybe you don’t…

  • Keith

    I disagree; that remark doesn’t have to be religious. I believe in treating others how you want to be treated, but I’m not Christian and I didn’t get that from the Bible.

    Tim D.,

    I completely agree you don’t have to get the Golden Rule from a Bible or from a Christian. I also compeletely agree that whether or not a person is a Christian they can follow just as well or just as poorly as anyone else. That said, where does the idea of treating others how you want to be treated come from?

  • HappyNat

    I completely agree you don’t have to get the Golden Rule from a Bible or from a Christian. I also compeletely agree that whether or not a person is a Christian they can follow just as well or just as poorly as anyone else. That said, where does the idea of treating others how you want to be treated come from?

    “Do not impose on others what you do not wish for yourself.” – Confucius about 500 years before Jesus.

  • Keith

    HappyNat,

    Given that Confucius considered himself a transmitter who invented nothing, where did he find the idea … relatedly, do you think Jesus got the idea from Confucius? … do you think Amanda Bynes got the idea specifically from either one of them or their followers? … if not, where did they get the idea from? … hope you are chuckling as much as me that our discussion features this trio of philosophical giants: Confucius, Jesus, and the girl from What I Like About You … :-)

  • HappyNat

    Keith,

    I doubt that Confucius “invented” the idea himself, I just knew that quote and used it to show Jesus at the very least paraphrased if not plagiarized. :) The idea is not that groundbreaking if you want to have a peaceful society. Being nice to other people in your home/town/country has great benefits for everyone involved. I think Jesus (assuming he actually said it) got it from history, I’m sure versions of the phrase had been passed down for years. It only really sounds groundbreaking after you read about the vengeful hypersentive god in the OT.

    hope you are chuckling as much as me that our discussion features this trio of philosophical giants:Confucius, Jesus, and the girl from What I Like About You

    :)

  • Keith

    The idea is not that groundbreaking if you want to have a peaceful society. Being nice to other people in your home/town/country has great benefits for everyone involved.

    Agreed. I think it is common sense.

    Do you think people have always considered the Golden Rule to be sound, or was there a time or a people who did not consider it sound advice? Similarly, peoples that consider revenge-killing an honorable act or consider misogyny acceptable … do you consider them to follow the golden rule or not?

    Even in situations where somoene does something to someone else that they would not want done to them (effectively breaking the Golden Rule), do you think they still are aware that they “should” be treating the other person as they would want to be treated?

    By the way, you are helping me think through something here … I’m not setting up you up for some sort of half-clever half-smart*ss retort.

    Do you know that a Wikipedia entry compares The Amanda Show to the Carol Burnett Show? Wow … that’s like comparing apples and that apple-shaped, apple-flavored substance that comes with carmel dipping sauce in McDonald’s health conscious happy meal. (Trying to come up with Amanda Bynes info for some witticism, but that’s all I got).

  • Steelman

    Keith said: Given that Confucius considered himself a transmitter who invented nothing, where did he find the idea … relatedly, do you think Jesus got the idea from Confucius?

    Jesus most probably got the Golden Rule from Rabbi Hillel.

  • http://missiontobeamillionaire.com phreaknurse

    *agrees with others*

    Believing in The Golden Rule does not mean a person is religious, it means the person has respect for others.

    The Golden Rule is the foundation of numerous religions, not just Christianity, so it is unfair to assume Amanda Bynes is Christian because she lives by a rule Christians happen to live by. For that matter, there are many Christians who DON’T live by the Golden Rule.

    Many seem to forget that Christianity is not the only religion and many also seem to forget that Jesus was not the inventor of religion or all religious rule. Jesus lived many, many years after many others with brains and morals and original thoughts and good hearts existed, and then, although he performed many spectacular tasks, only lived for 30-something years.

    unfortunately, no time to complete my thoughts (you wouldn’t want me to anyway, i could go on for daaaaaaays!) have to work :)

    Regardless of the above statements, I have a lot of respect for Zac Efron for coming straight out and saying that, especially as a Disney star (since they’re expected to be good wholesome kids and all, and most do not associate agnosticism or atheism with wholesome behavior).

  • Pingback: Friendly Atheist » One More Celebrity Atheist

  • kristi

    guess what?
    even if you DONT believe in the Bible or its teaching, your awesome Creator himself said that he blesses the people who keep the principles he teaches-
    so. . . even if you practice the”Golden Rule” and don’t think you believe in God,
    your creator will honor that and He will bless you.

    You win both ways!

  • Richard Wade

    kristi, thank you for your loving statement. I can respect a person, a religion and a deity that stresses behavior over belief. It was Christianity’s disregard of behavior and the emphasis of the supreme importance of belief that turned me away from it as a child. I hope you are not alone in your views. I meet very few people who see things as you do.

  • Silence Dogood

    I say this as a Christian man,
    How can anyone live their life not believing that there is hope after life?
    Sure you can believe in the golden rule, but according to the Bible, you have to be saved from sin and let Jesus into your heart – you don’t “win both ways”
    It almost depresses me that so many people are agnostic and atheist.

  • Amen dogood

    wow you are so right silence dogood.
    There is only one side that wins and that is in the back of the Bible. The Christian wins. The only way to make it to Heaven is by asking and seeking Jesus in to your hearts.
    I am really sadden that these two stars aren’t believers because they make such good family shows. I know that everyone has a right to believe in something but, let me tell you I am glad that I have the hope and faith and believe in someone.. His name is Jesus. Because His name is far better then any super star..

    Read John 3:16

  • Lance

    You do not have to be a Christian, or a Jew, or a Muslim, or a Buddist…to know that you should treat others as you’d like to be treated.
    You just have to be a HUMAN!!!

  • Atheist Lover

    I am going to describe to you how religion is a destructive force in our modern world.

    Lets start with the origins of religion. According to the God delusion the evolutionary reason that people are religious is because young people easily obey older people, for the sake of learning basic rules in life. This was useful for our caveman antcestors because now they could learn that a tiger would eat them, without actually having to experience it, but the evolutionary disadvantage was that religion has originated from this; its like the evolutionary defect that makes bugs fly into candle light.
    Religion was originally used for two main reasons. The first one was to explain the world around us. Humans did not know what a lightning was, so Thor made it. We did not know about tides, so it must have something to do with Neptune’s mood. We do not like to die, and we do not know anything about it, so we just call death the path to heaven, to make it less frightening. However recently, science has started proving A LOT of facts originally explained by religion, and so religion has been proven wrong, which is leading to an adaptive religious culture. For example, when Galileo proved the earth revolved around the sun, the Church had to make an apology. Darwin’s evolutionary theory is further suffocating religion. The next big hit I predict is when humans further develop life in a laboratory, which will prove wrong that God creates life only.
    The second reason religion was created was because it was comforting to the poor. Their life sucked big time, and so with religion they had a goal. This very soon transformed into a tool to oppress the poor and make them do exactly what the authorities wanted them to do, holding the wrath of God before their eyes if they did not.
    Now religion was originally not bad. I mean, similarly, it is not bad if you believe in Santa Claus; even though its not true it sitll brings you happiness, which people claim religion does too. The bunny rabbit, or the four eyed spaghetti monster are similar examples. However, sadly, religion has evolved into something with way to many negative aspects, which provide an incentive to not believe in the nonsense that they propose is true. I will now go into further detail about the negative aspects of religion.
    Sadly, we are far from our God loving culture that religion originally was. Most world wide conflicts are religiously linked; both the Bible and the Koran state that you have to kill people that do not believe in Christianity or Islam respectively. Many world wide tensions are hence created, obstructing a more peaceful world wide society. Furthermore, religion heavily oppresses people. Do as God tells you, be loyal to him (or as the Bible sickly states; love God above all, even your own family, as distinctly shown in the father forced to sacrifice his own son in one of the biblical stories). In a religious society, you are first beaten down to nothingness, before you are allowed to join and be “happy”. Hence, I see religious people as more insecure than non-religious ones; they need the social structure and future goal to survive. I could rant on about negative aspects of religion, but I will stick with this basic paragraph; I am however sure religion has caused a lot more damage than what I stated, including massacres of non Christians in Europe, or the suicide bombings (including 9/11) world wide.
    I see one main problem in America, though personally I am Dutch, which means I am probably more liberal than the rest of the world (yes were that small nation with drugs, sex and alcohol and over 40% of non religious people, the rest mainly protestant, though we do have a good portion of our population that is made up of Islamic immigrants). In America, if you are atheist, you are looked upon as a lesser person, with a problem. You are compared to gay people or retarded people (not saying that these people are any less human than the rest of us). People, if you are an atheist you are Strong. You posses the knowledge and guts the future world needs to stay peaceful.
    Zac Efron and Amanda Bynes, I am so glad you are two stars that are capable of standing out the way you do. I know how hard it is to stand up against social ideas and the flow they create, and I support you two fully. I am a fan of Amanda especially, because I know she was raised as a Jew, which must make her situation even tougher as she has to also face family pressures. Zach also seems like a bright mind.
    People around the world need to grasp this new idea of not fooling themselves with religion. I am only 17 and have been capable of doing so, so please people world wide; follow this peaceful though, and we could actually make our world a better place. I will end with a quote, referring to Amanda Bynes quote; “respect people’s right to believe, but not necessarily what they believe”. This is the true basis of liberation.

    Bottom note: can I please make a distinction between atheism and agnosticism. If you are agnostic, you do not follow a religion but still believe there is a God, or are unsure about his existence. This is a real good step because obviously we as humans cannot be 100% sure about Gods in-existence, and as long as you do not fool yourself with him. If you are an Atheist you are a realist; you believe in no supernatural power, and this one I prefer even more because it allows you to be your own guide. You only have one life, so make everything out of it, and do not let religion take it away!

  • Speak Truth

    Even true believers sin but those of today, as we are under a new covenant since Jesus’s existence would never condone such behavior. If they did, they would be contradicting many parts of the New Testament. The way Christians should be living, in a perfect world, would be to share the faith Jesus’s life and death and resurrection provided. People who choose to not believe are well within their rights and no Christian should ever stir up the many problems we’ve learned about and seen in our own lifetime. Christians are told to live as Christ. To be forgiving, honest, respectful, humble, and loving above everything else. I know many people who believe different things and have the same moral codes as these. I love these people as Christ would, accepting each one as they are, though I do pray for them in secret so that they might believe and join me in Heaven one day. To those who question Heaven, I believe in it because I believe there is a Hell. There is undeniable evil in this world that God explains. Christians, Jews, and Muslims all believe in this God and His promises. The Jewish might still be waiting on their Messiah but none the less, we worship the same God. God told us in the Old Testament that He would uphold His promises and would preserve His Word. He has preserved it and He promised in the New Testament that those who believe in His Son will have everlasting life in Heaven. I didn’t mean to get so into it, but I felt that maybe some people don’t exactly understand why those who believe choose to. As a believer in Jesus and of the Holy Bible, I apologize for those who claim to be Christians yet have lied, misled, judged and offended you. May love and peace lie with all of you.

  • jj

    Efron practices judaism now.

  • Nicole

    Zac is agnostic that means he doesn’t not believe that there is god; it means that he believes that there is no proof to believe there is a god and there is no proof against there being a god. Agnostics generally are neutral, however if there is enough proof on one side then they may sway to be that viewpoint whether it be theist (i.e Christian) or atheist.
    So don’t don’t rejoice that he is not “religious” because he is no more atheist than he is religious

  • Atheist Fanboi

    Oh, how cool, Zac Efron is an agnostic!

    Anyway, aside from that massive revelation, the Golden Rule, at least according to Wikipedia (it is actually almost as accurate as the Encyclopedia Brittanica), was first seen in Ancient Egypt in the concept of Maat (2040-1650 BCE) and one or two other documents including, allegedly, the Book of The Dead.

    Later, the Ancient Greeks came up with the idea (or perhaps they found it in Ancient Egyptian scrolls- not really likely) with many philosophers wording it differently (i.e. Sextus, Pittacus, Thales, Isocrates, Epictetus, Epicurus and Socrates (via Plato)).

    The quote from Confucius is probably borrowed (as someone said, he considered himself a conduit for knowledge), maybe drifting through cultures from the Greeks. Though I’m not sure of the geographic distribution of religions that carried the Golden Rule at the intervening time between the Greeks and Confucius (i.e. Buddhism, Hinuism, Sikhism, Jainism, Bahá’í Faith), Ancient Greece did have quite an exploratory range.

  • Gary

    And I thought Zac was like me–a nice Jewish boy!

  • dee

    Zac Efron is part Jewish… and he looks like Logan Lerman, who is 100% Jewish

    • flieralls

      Zac is 1/4 Jewish to be precise


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