Morgan Freeman Tells CNN Anchor He is Not a “Man of God”

Actor Morgan Freeman had an interesting interview on CNN this morning, as he was talking about his new show “Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman.”

He correct the anchor who refers to him as a “man of god” and tells her he’s a “man of faith” — faith in science (the segment begins at the 1:11 mark):

The relevant part of the transcript:

Kiran Chetry: And you’ve said before, Morgan, that you’re a ‘man of god.’ When you did this and so many of these questions were posed—

Freeman: When did I say I was a ‘man of god’?

Chetry: You’re not?

Freeman: [laughing} No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o. No no no no no.

Chetry: You’re a ‘man of faith’.

Freeman: Faith! There’s a big difference.

Chetry: Alright, so, the question of faith leads us, most of the time, to a god. What is your view of faith?

Freeman: Questions of faith is whatever you actually believe is. We take a lot of what we’re talking about in science on faith. We posit a theory… and until it’s disproven, we have faith that it’s true. If the mathematics work out, then it’s true. Until it’s proven to be untrue…

We need to add him to the list of celebrity atheists.

Anyone else love the notion of an atheist actor playing God?

(via Atlanta Atheism Examiner)

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  • http://twitter.com/Katheist1 Katheist

    Wow, he was squirmin’. I felt bad for him. But, then as it continued, I was upset. I wanted him to say one way or the other, be clear. But, he wasn’t about to. If he’s Atheist and he was too afraid to say, then I am very disappointed. I don’t know what he is. Perhaps he doesn’t know, either. But, at 73, he should have a stance figured out.

  • SpencerDub

    Morgan Freeman!? Nonreligious? This makes me smile.

    I find it a little unfortunate that he used the word “faith–” this will be great fodder for the “atheists depend on faith too, therefore atheism is a religion” camp. Still, this is nice to hear.

  • Wildwing

    Kathiest, I give him credit for saying as much as he did. I suspect he doesn’t want to totally come out as an atheist because of his career, which I fully understand. It’s not easy for everyone.

  • Agnostic

    I think it will be willfully misunderstood and co-opted by Xtians, too, and they’ll also invoke his personal history as evidence of lack of morality among atheists, I bet.

    That sucks, but it was still nice to hear a celebrity not thanking Sky Daddy for all his/her success, etc.

  • Matthew Bryant

    Even Neil DeGrasse Tyson doesn’t usually just come out and say he’s an atheist. Hard to blame them or anyone else who can’t afford to be controversial.

  • clarissa

    then he goes on saying that he has faith on science…sorry that doesnt makes sense to me……

  • clarissa

    clearly he is not a god believer…he might be agnostic…or a closeted Atheist..maybe he doesnt want to put his job on the line and admit publicly that he is an atheist for fear of not getting a next movie role. Who knows…but obviously he is not religious.

  • Lisa

    Faith in humanity that we’ll figure great things out soon is different than faith in an imaginary friend that no one can prove. 😛 I liked his answer.

  • sc0tt

    Science Channel invites viewers on the journey as Morgan Freeman picks up where Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos” left off and explores the new frontiers of what is beyond Earth.

    I’ve always liked him… he reminds me of my boot camp instructor (who was a nice guy down deep). I’m not sure he’s the best replacement for Carl Sagan but I’ll give him a shot. He does do outstanding narratives – great voice.

  • Patrick O.

    Well he looked convincing in Deep Impact. LOL.
    He might be an agnostic or agnostic atheist.

  • http://kaleenamenke.blogspot.com Kaleena

    the voice of “god” does not actually believe in god! that’s so interesting! and fantastic!

  • Steve

    It’s fantastic, but I think the other commentators here have hit the mark. We don’t take scientific theories on faith, and it’s incorrect to say that we have faith in science. This is something Freeman should know if he’s involved in such a broad-sweeping documentary on science. He will never take Sagan’s place, then again, no one will.

  • http://laughinginpurgatory.blogspot.com/ Andrew Hall

    Has Morgan Freeman always been such a vocal Atheist? Maybe he’s at a point in his career that he can do anything he wants (within reason).

  • Helen

    Why, oh why, does someone always have to bring god into a science discussion?

    Mr. Freeman didn’t articulate his stance on god belief as well as I would have liked, but I still love him.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    …… Astrology? Really?

  • Sarah

    I understand him not saying “look, I may play god on several occasions but I am not a believer.” Not many people can do that no matter if they are younger, older, famous or not. It is great that he even said as much as he did.

  • Kimpatsu

    Freeman is wrong; the adoption of a hypothesis is not faith; it is inductive reasoning (narrowing to the best inference); i.e., belief proportional to the evidence. Faith is the belief in something for which there is absolutely no evidence, or in spite of evidence to the contrary. He may be a great actor, but he’s no philosopher or scientist.

  • Aguz

    Wow, if Brad Pitt is the “face” of agnosticism then Morgan Freeman is the character ;D

  • Ken

    Just saw Morgan Freeman on the daily show… Not entirely convinced he’s an atheist. He seemed to be making a pretty serious “god of the gaps” argument about cosmology — that God exists in the limits of our ability to explain him away.

    I was a bit disappointed since I’ve always been a fan of Morgan all the way back to the Electric Company!

  • Jesse

    Like Ken above me said, he sure sounded religious on the Daily Show. Kept saying how scientists always come back to the “god principle” and evem made it seem like scientists tend to think whatever they can’t explain must be god. Came off that way at least.

  • Evilspud

    He said he was not a man of God. That adequately summarizes atheism at it’s simplest. However, I do not deny that he is the voice of one.

    As for his other statements, I may point out that it’s hardly unusual for scientists mesmerized by their fields to speak with a reverent prose.

  • Euan

    Wow, there are a lot of well educated commenters here. I’ll put my hand up and say without reservation that there’s a lot of science I just don’t understand.

    I don’t particularly want to or need to understand either, but I take it on faith that the people who profess such knowledge know what they’re talking about.

    There’s a lot of things we atheists take on faith each and every day. Faith in your fellow man is quite different from faith in an imaginary and unprovable force.

  • Tom T

    I have to agree with Euan. We have taken the word ‘faith’ and made it a stigmatic word. Faith, although it has its obvious negative connotation, can also be used positively for something that is true, tangible, and real.

    I liked Morgan’s statement because, again as Euan said, “I don’t particularly want to or need to understand either, but I take it on faith that the people who profess such knowledge know what they’re talking about.” I’ll follow that up by saying that independent research is definitely important to confirm what you hear or read. But, since I am not a scientist, I’ll take it on ‘faith’ that the scientists studying their respective fields know what they’re talking about.

  • gribblethemunchkin

    This is encouraging but i seem to recall that Morgan Freeman is a scientologist. Or did i dream that?

    Encouraging that the voice of god might be an athiest.

    As for faith in science. I can sort of understand what he means. It depends on the context surrounding the word faith.

    I have faith that what i read in a science textbook is probably correct. This is because i’m well grounded in science and assume that a reputable textbook has been written by experts. However, i haven’t independantly verified every fact in the book.

    This is different from having faith in a creator god. My faith in the text book is based on logical reasoning and evidential knowledge. Faith in a creator god is DESPITE the evidence, as a replacement for reason.

    The usage Freeman used was much more layman vernacular than the kind we use when discussing such things. I hope.

  • http://supercheetah.livejournal.com supercheetah

    I heard him on NPR recently, and a caller asked him if he was a man of faith, and he began to stumble on his words, and said, rather hesitantly, “Well, I am a faithful man,” (I may be off on the exact wording). He seemed very careful about not saying the word “god” at all, but neither the host nor the caller seemed to pick up on this.

    I picked up on it, however, and thought it was a little odd, but then thought that perhaps I’m reading too much into it. It reminded me of a friend that works for a business that espouses “faith” as one of its core tenets (its founders are Christian), and she admitted to me that when she told them she had faith, she meant that she had faith in herself. I thought that perhaps Freeman was thinking the same thing, but then I thought, “Nah, that’s crazy. I’m definitely reading too much into this.”

    Now I’m wondering about that too.

    I haven’t seen the Daily Show episode with him in it, so I’ll reserve judgment until I see that. That said, I do want to point out that Einstein invoked God as being the mechanics of the universe, so I’ll be keeping that in mind when I watch the episode.

  • http://www.fitz42.net/atheism David M. Fitzpatrick

    I have added this to CelebAtheists.org. It will be interesting if we can learn a bit more about his beliefs. Given his tone of voice when he said, “Nooooo… no no no no no,” my money’s on atheism, or at the very least strong agnosticism. It doesn’t sound like there’s any deism or unsure feelings going on with him.

  • Barry de la Rosa

    (Moving) pics or it didn’t happen

  • pmsrhino

    As if it were even possible for me to love Morgan Freeman more!!! 😀 I could listen to him talk for hours. I’m totally gonna have to get into this wormhole program.

  • jmrunning3

    I’m really looking forward to this show, as the ad on SC highlights the question “is there evidence for a creator”. OTOH, I went to the show’s website and found that there’s a lot of “fine-tuning” talk about this particular subject, which concerns me.

    The fine-tuning argument, I think, has been soundly refuted. Seriously, how else should conditions look? If something were slightly different life may or may not have evolved. I think the fine-tuning argument is simply a way to skirt the real “creator” question. But, I’ll reserve my judgment until I actually see the episode.

  • LeAnne

    I KNEW he was one of my favorites for a reason. The thought of him playing god in Bruce Almighty is 90x better now.

  • Holly

    However on The Daily Show he said that what they can not explain they use the “God factor” to explain it.

  • Theleewit

     This post on it’s own merit sort of looks antiquated  I mean, let’s keep in mind that they once burned herbalists and midwives at the stake. And some people still believe in witch craft because micro-organisms, viruses and pharmacology are not well understood.  I mean, have you watched commercials in the last  20 years? The FDA may be underfunded but there have been bad drug commercials for decades…

  • Matt

    I don’t see a big problem with him using the word “faith” the way he did. “Faith” has a variety of meanings depending on how it’s used.

    For instance, “faith” can be “firm belief in something for which there is no proof”, or in a more general sense “something that is believed especially with strong conviction”.

    I don’t think the word necessarily has to imply any sort of spiritual or fairy tale delusions. Let’s not get bogged down in the semantics of the word. The way he utilized the word “faith” was perfectly valid.

    That said, I can certainly understand as other posters pointed out, how such a word could be misinterpreted and co-opted by the evangelicals to further their agenda.

    Anyway… I never knew this side of Morgan Freeman. He’s definitely a cool cat, and his show sounds interesting.

  • Jen

    If I believed in a God, he would be a lot like Morgan Freeman.

    Well, the lady version.

  • http://nojesusnopeas.blogspot.com James Sweet

    Yeah, the “faith in science” is not the preferred phraseology for obvious reasons, but I think it’s clear what he meant and it is a valid point. I have an old blog post discussing the topic. Though I would not use the phrase “faith in science” myself, those (non-idjuts) who do use it I think mean it something like this:

    [H]aving “faith in science” is usually a matter of recognizing that reality is often counterintuitive, that as a result the scientific method is a better way of discerning truth than common sense, and lastly that it takes specialized knowledge to really understand the truth in a particular field.

    “Trust” would be a better word than “faith”, but I see why people would choose the latter word too. I just wouldn’t myself.

  • James H

    “I don’t believe in God, but I play him in movies … “

  • http://protostellarclouds.blogspot.com Mathew Wilder

    I don’t mind his answer so much. Yes, I am a naturalist, but there is a little bit of an element of faith that this is true – it just SEEMS true to me, given what I know about the world from science. Obviously science can be revised, but given our best explanations at the time, which are always being revised (cf. Neurath’s Boat, Quine), I think naturalism is the best position. But I can see how someone might say that there is an element of faith to it. That said, it seems to me a different species of faith from religious faith.

  • Aspentroll

    I think Morgan Freeman is a wonderful actor and I look forward to his many movies. In the south being black and an atheist could be a real problem. For me I’ll consider him an atheist, but I can really see why he wouldn’t want to come of the box on this one.

  • kittybrat

    I think he was wonderful. He explained about faith in science and also told that science involved working out a theory and then if it was proven wrong figuring out more. BEAUTIFUL!
    It is smart to refrain from alienating theists who can benefit from this series. Perhaps they will discover science is too beautiful to be bogged down by a god.

  • http://savagemike.tumblr.com savagemike

    I’ve started DVRing this show (“Through the Wormhole). I watched the first episode, and afterward I have to say that I do not believe Mr. Freeman is an atheist. He may be a deist or whatever they’re calling themselves nowadays. He seems to believe in some sort of creator, at least that was the impression I got from the first episode. I suppose I will learn more as the series goes on, but I was a bit disappointed with some of the language used by him during the show.

  • David Crowser

    I don’t think it’s fair to assume that Morgan freeman is sharing any of his own thoughts while narrating the show. I did a little searching if you’ve got something saying he is… then maybe your comment makes sense.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leo730 Leo Shim

     Morgan Freeman chose to do this show.  He is part of the creative team behind it and has pull in what subject matter is covered.  It’s no secret that he is passionate about cosmology.  Cosmology and science in general does not mix with a belief in a personal God.  A very, very tiny minority of scientists believe in a personal God and I’m sure most of those are the types that openly admit that no amount of evidence against that belief will sway them.

    Mr. Freeman laughed at the question of his belief in God on this interview.  That should be enough evidence for you that he is at least Agnostic.  Couple that with his passion for cosmology in which the vast majority of people in that field are agnostic and all signs point to him being one as well. 

    One more fact you guys need to remember is that a lot of these physicists believe in a God of order like Einstein did.  This is not a being nor something you pray to.  It’s a name given to the law of the Universe.

    “We believe that the mind of God is music resonating through 10 dimensional hyperspace” – Michio Kaku

  • HollisBush3

    Michio kaku is actually an asain version of Einstein who doesn’t believe in any god like that dude that talks through a monitor

  • Atheistforar

    Can we say denial. The man said he does not believe in a god.

  • Atheistforar

    Can we say denial. The man said he does not believe in a god.

  • Theleewit

     Did you miss the episode that involved the theory of our Universe coming from another Universe? Or did you miss the fact that he’s a paid actor? I’m confused…

  • http://www.hackoblog.wordpress.com Kevin Morton

    Morgan Freeman Is god, I saw it in a fill must be real.

    For some of you posting it seems that it is turning in to a religion, the Atheism gramer Nazi religion, stop that.

  • Ura

    Kevin was obviously drinking.  Again.

  • Michael

    When Morgan Freeman was interviewed on NPR recently, about the same show, he seemed to say that he did believe in a god. He seemed to be more of a deist than a theist, though. Perhaps he is questioning that belief, but I think it’s a bit hasty to assume he’s an atheist from this one comment.

  • Jamel

    We seem to have forgotten that the word faith is synonymous with trust. There’s a such thing as having faith or trust in real things. In a religious context, faith means absolute trust in things that are not tangible or demonstrable. Another good definition for religious faith is wishful thinking.

  • kb

    loved it, and all i can say is i would love to be able to talk to mr. freeman, unlike these news morons who just ask stupid questions. i could sit and talk to this man for hours or days. too bad he’s so much older than me. maybe if he were 50 years younger.

  • Nikki

    Even if he is an atheist, I can understand why he would not say so. In the african-american community (and I am speaking as one), to say you are an atheist is to basically set yourself up for complete disenfranchisement, by the ENTIRE community, not just your family. Even if he does not depend on that community for his livelihood, it would still be extremely difficult to risk complete rejection by it.

  • Gary

    Faith means having trust in Somebody or something that does a certain job and trusts they’ll get it done. Like faith in a pilot. You have faith he’ll get you to where you need to go. Like any logical person looks at evidence and sees there’s a God, and has faith in God. I’m sick of people saying faith means there’s no evidence for something. You atheists took a term we Christians often used, and turned it into a fallacious meaning.

  • Greg

    I dont have faith in a pilot. I trust the pilot will get me to my destination. Faith is to believe without a rational or reasonable explanation. Trust is made with an observation that allows you to predict an action.

  • URANUTCASE

    Sorry Gary, but the word “faith” does not belong to believers in gods, much less Christians specifically.  Fallacious??  The DEFINITION of faith is “confidence or trust in a person or thing”.  Funny but the other definition of faith is “belief that is not based on proof”.  The word itself comes from the Latin word “fidere” which meant “belief, confidence, pledge”. Christians hijacked the word for themselves later 1400 years later.  

  • Yanksguy

    Gary, you are taking this meaning of faith right out of Wikipedia, and in the first paragraph that you paraphrase it says that there are several meanings.  “Faith,” is an ambiguous term and can mean many things.  Religious faith is something quite different from your pilot analogy above.  While you can meet and speak with a pilot, have coffee with her, sit next to her while she flies the plane, look at her flight log to see her hours of experience, and once you land you can introduce me to her and she can then take me flying.  You believe that the pilot can fly you where you want to go based upon your and others experiences with pilots flying.  It is a belief based upon a rational, demonstrable, repeatable, transferable, testable experience.  Saying god held the plane up with angels flying next to it is faith.

  • Theleewit

     I have faith that most people who believe in God are fairly short on grey matter.  I also have faith in the fact that most God fearing people hate each other and have faith in their divine right and obligation to kill one another. Now tell me how that makes sense. Oh, my bad, it’s just one more reason to be a hating/homicidal animal. Good luck with that ‘created in God’s image’ bit.

  • whatever

    I have a son with autism, grey matter could be a key factor in this disability. The discussion is his right to believe, since you changed the subject with the brain of the monkey you come from well enough said……

  • depatru

    I wish he were an atheis, but he’s obviously lying

  • Anta

    I have heard he’s a Christian (Eastern Orthodoxy).

  • http://www.hesshomefinder.com Darrell Hess

    Who said he was not religious is false. Just because a person does not follow your doctrine to the t does not mean a person is not religious. In fact Morgan is very religious and has a lot of faith. The difference is he is not just following a Christian god, or a Hindu god, or a Muslim god, etc. He believes that we are the gods. We are made of the matter and and the same stuff you all see around you. We are made of the same stuff stars are made of. We are the cosmos, the light and the dark. That is his religion and faith. That we as humans are an intricate part of all the energy that makes up our universe. We as all matter is interconnected and our conscience gives us the power of awareness.

  • Tzarjay

    I beg to differ.
    I think you will find he does not describe himself as religious at all.
    He does describe himself as spiritual, and that does not mean the same thing.

  • whatever

    People are like sheep, you cannot form from formless, in order to create the light a hand needs to flip the switch, so, the meteor, or the comet, better yet the monkey from where we came opps I mean the dolphin from where we came, all these funny theories, all these things gave us emotions like love, warmth, care. And as for science, please do the math, science followed religion, not vice versa, just because you don’t see it don’t mean is there, you see a picture of the milky way, you’ve seen pictures, but have you actually saw it with your own eyes, no. End of the lesson.

  • bmh

    He is dead on with his response. He stated it in a matter which if you are intelligent you can see the obvious. The laughing was a utter give away!
    He is correct with his definition of faith. The very word is polysemous (many meanings or signs).
    So if someone is a atheist or agnostic who is still on the fence are having issues with the usage of the word “faith” or only sees it as a word associated with religion you need to rethink your position and perhaps a linguistics class might help you feel more comfortable.
    His reference to the mathematics he even follows up his point and position. I would say that Darrell Hess pretty much hit the nail on the head.

  • Shmuck

    Morgan Freeman isn’t a man of god. He IS the God.

    Of being awesome

  • Yeah

    Alright, you salmons and chimps, I see you STILL do not realize – he IS ‘god’, why would he believe in one when he is one ? Also is an actor by profession, how cool is that? I’m a nonbelieber, and I love this idea. Nope, not a troll, just so you know.

  • Usmc1862

    I am inclined to believe he is a Muslim as he can quote Sharia Law  or at least did so this morning  on a TV interview.  He does seem to have an interesting take on  life and death. Perhaps he was referring to the human energy not dying with the body.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FNZOBK2AVQLFPMGXAVB36MMHDA ab

    showed his true color

  • john kelly

    Just one small point we may have missed here folks.

    Morgan Freeman is an actor.
    He is a wonderful actor – one of the greats – and We love him for this.

    If I wanted to learn how to act – I would ask Morgan Freeman
    to teach me.
    If I wanted to learn about science I would ask Stephen
    Hawking or Roland Penrose or Norman Rees or another – great scientist – to
    teach me.
    If I wanted to learn how to dance I would ask Fred
    Astaire.
    If I wanted to write great music I would ask Wagner.
    If I wanted to play great football I would ask Beckham.
    If I wanted to learn about ‘class’ I would ask Victoria
    (Joke!)

    If I wanted to write great pop rock music I would ask John
    Lennon or Bob Dylan or maybe even Lady Gaga (God forgive me for saying this – even though God’s forgiveness may not be wanted – or required – or even
    believed in – in this somewhat dark and soul less corner of the WWW dot.)

    The point is – we need to ‘trust’ that the person teaching
    us about these things – is the real thing.

    Morgan Freeman is a pseudo intellectual. A Great Actor – A Wonderful Actor – and praise God (substitute empty space for the atheists) for great actors– they give us great movies and great joy!

    But Morgan Freeman is not – and never will be – an intellectual. Or for that matter a man of great faith.

    And faith in science is a faith that is ultimately empty,
    meaningless, purposeless and futile.

    If you want to know something about the intellect – and the
    subject of ‘Faith’– in the real sense of the word – and if perhaps your heart
    and your mind and your soul are crying out for something more than the dry and
    the dead pseudo science preachings of rich hollywood actors – try C.S Lewis.

    QUOTE:
    “My argument against God was that the universe
    seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A
    man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line.
    What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”

    ― C.S. Lewis, Mere
    Christianity

    Lewis was a man of great intellect and great faith. Or try Nelson Mandela – another great man of great faith. No need for any ellaboration here.