Is Miley Cyrus an Atheist?

Singer Miley Cyrus tweeted this earlier today and, based on the responses to that message, her fans are going apeshit:

The picture quotes Lawrence Krauss. Actually, those aren’t Krauss’ exact words. These are:

The amazing thing is that every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics:

You are all stardust.

You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements — the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution — weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way they could get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.

This is just one example of the kind of reactions she’s getting:

So is Miley an atheist? Not necessarily. You could find the universe beautiful and still be theistic.

But it might cause a conflict in her own home. A year ago, her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, was freaking out because he saw an Adopt-a-Highway sign that referenced Atheists United:

And there, driving to work each day in the City of Angels, was this sign. “A physical sign. It could have easily said ‘You will now be attacked by Satan.’ ‘Entering this industry, you are now on the highway to darkness…’

Based only on that tweet, she’s found a way to see the light.

Incidentally, when I tried to view Miley Cyrus’ tweet, I was told I couldn’t view the image because my account’s settings filtered “sensitive content.”

What’s up with that?

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://profiles.google.com/daniel.schealler Daniel Schealler

    Well Lawrence, you’ve finally made it.

    ^_^

  • Keulan

    According to this article, she’s a Christian.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=610991984 Jason Tippitt

       … Though a lot can change in a year and a half, of course.

      She might or might not have agreed with every word in that icon. But she has come out in favor of marriage equality. If she is still a Christian, she’s apparently not a fundamentalist.

    • Anonymous

      Two years ago. Going from 17 to 19 can change a lot. She might be a theologically liberal Christian still, of course, but it’s perfectly plausible for someone raised by Christians (like I was) to still cling to the label in their teens even if they don’t believe most of what they were taught, only to drop it once they’re more independent. 

      • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

        Sometime between 17 and 19 was when I stopped identifying as a Christian. I pretty firmly stopped being a Catholic at 15, but still retained an increasingly squishy Christianity for a few years. 

        • Anonymous

          I had a bit of a pendulum swing. I rejected Christianity personally at about 15, and was agnostic (even if I didn’t use that label). Being around so many theists started to fuck with my head, so at about 17 I talked myself into deism and a sort of “guided evolution” and called myself “culturally Christian.” 

          That lasted until I was 20, when I was agnostic again. I was an atheist  by the time I was 22, but I didn’t realize I could call myself that even though I wasn’t 100% sure that there was no God until I started reading Dawkins at 23 (about a year and a half ago).

          The underlying point is the same, though: increments 1-3 years can make a difference.

        • Mairianna

          I love your “squishy Christianity” description!  Can I use that, too?? 

          • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

             Of course!

    • Conspirator

      While she was being pimped out to Disney by her father she probably wouldn’t consider coming out as an atheist.  Now she’s an adult, so things could change. That’s not to say she is an atheist or agnostic now, hell she may not even have read that thing all the way through to the end and understood it.  It could be her attempting to be deep or try and show a rebellious side.   

  • ash

    “Incidentally, when I tried to view Miley Cyrus’ tweet, I was told I couldn’t view the image because my account’s settings filtered “sensitive content.” ”

    I’m guessing this is what Twitter does when a bunch of people flag the image. There’s probably a bunch of butthurt christians who’re trying to censor the image.

    • Anonymous

      Change your media settings. 

    • Jjjosh_h

      I dont get that kind of filter on facebook, and im glad, bc i post sensitive shit all the time.

    • http://LosingMyReligion.ca Chad Kettner

       Nope… this has nothing to do with it being a bad image and everything to do with it being an image. Change your settings (it’s easy).

      • pastafarian

        Nope….other images are not hidden…same setting. :p

    • Kenny Flagg

      “I’m guessing this is what Twitter does when a bunch of people flag the image. There’s probably a bunch of butthurt christians who’re trying to censor the image.”Not so much. All of Miley’s media is rated as sensitive. It has to do with her privacy settings. :/ 

  • Anonymous

    I bet twitter’s algorithms take into account user reports of something as offensive.  So I doubt they’re doing it on purpose, people are just taking advantage of the filtering system and strategically flagging.

  • http://twitter.com/0xabad1dea Melissa

    I believe that error is just because you don’t follow her on Twitter and it wasn’t retweeted to your timeline, assuming both of those are true, so it’s considered “potentially offensive” by default. At least that’s how it used to work, they’ve changed a lot recently. 

  • bckm

    If I had that oddball as a father, I’d do everything I could be be as opposite of him as possible…

  • Conspirator

    I don’t have a twitter account, when I visit this link I also see that filter message, but I can see her other tweets.  My guess is her Christian followers are labeling this as potentially offensive.  

    • Trina

       I have twitter, though I don’t use it a lot.  I got the filter msg, went to my account info & found that the default seems to be to *not* show ‘sensitive’ material.  I checkmarked the box & after that was able to see it. 

  • Anonymous

    Crap. I typed virtually the same thing as you did. (EDIT: @ Jason Tippitt Can you not reply to replies on Disqus anymore?)

  • http://www.facebook.com/d3st88 Morva Ádám

    I have no idea who Miley Cyrus is, but Lawrence is great and his quote is awesome, so I’m glad she shares our fascination with the Universe.

  • Anonymous

    If absolutely nothing at all, Miley atleast shows appreciation for science and how insignificant we are in the scope of the Universe. That in my books counts for a lot!
    She might come out of the atheist closet a years later perhaps.

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

       Yeah, I don’t think anyone needs to classify her or examine the consistency of all the opinions she’s held throughout her life. Good on her for showing some real curiosity.

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

       Yeah, I don’t think anyone needs to classify her or examine the consistency of all the opinions she’s held throughout her life. Good on her for showing some real curiosity.

  • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

    “Stars died so you could live.”

    Maybe she’ll spin it as a tribute to Whitney Houston’s death?

  • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

    I retweeted that and mentioned that a Neil DeGrasse Tyson quote would have been safer…maybe.

    Kudos to Lawrence for reaching 5 million Miley fans.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Hikari.Pop Crystal Jenae Hollis

    Maybe she’s one of those, “I don’t like religion but I’m spiritual” types. I went through that faze for a while then I realized it was a bunch of BS.

  • AshtaraSilunar

    Yeah, if you aren’t signed in (or don’t have an account), that’s the message displayed.  Just click the “display this” near the bottom, and it will show you the photo.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    I do not understand how Miley’s finding that quote to be beautiful even obliquely implies that she is “no longer a Christian.” Finding it beautiful doesn’t even necessitate that she agrees with it factually, and even if she does, that would only imply that she is not a Biblical literalist and young Earth creationist.  I can only suppose that the fans who wonder if she’s “no longer a Christian” have an extremely narrow definition of what they think a Christian is, and it’s modeled after themselves.

    • Adam.B

      I haven’t bothered to look any farther into this but their issue seems to be over the “So, forget Jesus” part not the view that we live in an old non-biblically literal universe.

      Edit: at least that’s what I’m guessing, like I said I haven’t looked into this and I don’t know what kind of fans she has.

    • Anonymous

      The “forget Jesus” part of that quote is not exactly Christianity friendly. A liberal “it’s all metaphor” almost Universalist Christian could still love that quote and find that part merely tolerable, but others could be forgiven for thinking that she’s not that hot on Christianity if she’s quoting that.

      In terms of her fans having an extremely narrow definition of a Christian, from what (blessedly) little I know about Miley Cyrus, you suppose right. Her entire initial sales pitch was that she was a Good Christian Girl (pole dances nonwithstanding) and was presented as a purely wholesome star to evangelicals. A not insignificant part of her fanbase A- comes from the evangelical literalist crowd and B-is very young, so that passions run high and in most cases questioning your upbringing has not yet taken place.

    • Johnk

      I agree that she might “find it beautiful” (I find the stardust part beautiful, as well) but someone who is a Christian would never post a quote that includes, “so forget Jesus, stars died so you could live…” 
      The core of Christianity could literally be summed up re-wording that exact quote!

      I don’t know much about Miley – but I’m guessing she didn’t even read that far before posting it. :)

    • Anonymous

      I think it is that sentence, “So, forget Jesus. “

  • LaRae Meadows

    It is most likely that she did not realize that what she was saying went against her religion.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think we’re in any better position to guess her opinions on religion than are the disgruntled fans replying to her tweet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    ha! I loved that Billy Ray Cyrus quote so much when it was first mentioned I made this.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FRJD66AT6LQ6CZZ46XJO43A4FM Artor

    Wouldn’t it be nice if Miley Cyrus managed to grow beyond her upbringing, learn to think for herself, and maybe contribute some real music to our culture, instead of more over-produced pop? It sounds like she’s doing alot of growing up suddenly. Hopefully, into someone worthwhile. But I’m not holding my breath.

  • Ted

    I’m pretty sure she is still Christian (if I’m not mistaken, she recently had a tattoo with religious symbolism inked), but a more liberally-minded one.  For example, she recently came out in support of gay marriage.

    • Johnk

      One can be a more liberally-minded Christian and support gay marriage. But saying (and meaning) “forget Jesus”  in neither liberal or conservative, it’s just not Christian anymore. One can be a deist and feel that “forget Jesus” but by definition one can’t be a Christian. I suppose one could be an “ian.”

      • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

         We don’t have much news about her beliefs. She didn’t say “forget Jesus.” She posted a quote of someone else saying it. Too little information there for judging her one way or the other.

      • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

         We don’t have much news about her beliefs. She didn’t say “forget Jesus.” She posted a quote of someone else saying it. Too little information there for judging her one way or the other.

  • Anonymous

    Whether she’s a Christian, Buddhist, atheist or whatever, she does seem like a thoughtful woman (or at least more thoughtful than most 19-year olds who grew up in showbiz).  I’ve been impressed by her public stands for marriage equality.   Good for her.  

  • Ashley Will

    I tried a different tweet of hers first and it also said sensitive material and when I changed my settings it was just a guy eating a chocolate bar … maybe all of her tweets are set to sensitive. 

  • Trevor Loomis

    I am a little concerned, having just learned Miley Cyrus will be a host of Punk’d… This could be a terrible attempt at a public practical joke.

  • Anonymous

    It’s apparent to me that she is a redditor

  • David McNerney

    Am I prejudiced if I presume that people called ‘Billy Ray’ are unlikely to be sympathetic to the atheistic viewpoint?

    • http://www.twitter.com/a_okafor007 Anthony C. Okafor

      Well, there IS a Youtube atheist named Dusty Smith from Bumblefuck Arkansas

      • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

         Dusty breaks all kinds of expectations. He does some sideways peace sign and plays hip-hop and makes a funny gangster face at the end of his videos, too.

        • http://www.twitter.com/a_okafor007 Anthony C. Okafor

          LOL. Word :)

        • http://www.twitter.com/a_okafor007 Anthony C. Okafor

          LOL. Word :)

      • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

         Dusty breaks all kinds of expectations. He does some sideways peace sign and plays hip-hop and makes a funny gangster face at the end of his videos, too.

  • T-Rex

    Twitter: For those people that crave attention and Facebook status updates just aren’t enough. SMH.

    • KrisDStar

      Facebook: For the friends you have to have
      Twitter: For the friends you want to have

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

    While I doubt this means Miley has literally forgotten Jesus, I think it is great that her eyes have opened to the real wonder of the universe. 

    • Johnk

      The real wonder of the universe includes Jesus for many, many people. 

      • amyc

         Popularity doesn’t make it real…

      • KrisDStar

        That’s not called wonder, sweet thing. That is called mythology.
        Santa is real for a lot of kids, doesn’t make his myth any more real.

  • Krh27

    Sounds like another follower jumping on a bandwagon. 

  • Gus Snarp

    It certainly seems to indicate that she’s moving away from what is apparently her father’s version of Christianity. And I’ll take any step anyone moves closer to rationality and farther from a religious view that says that a group of atheists cleaning up some trash on the road makes it a literal highway to hell. But the farther she moves, the better.

    She also apparently smokes pot and doesn’t much care who knows it.

    I always dislike manufactured teen idols on principle, but I’m beginning to like Ms. Cyrus.

    • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

       The guy at the end of that video, Lucas Lilleholm, has a good point. He’s saying it’s Disney’s fault people have unrealistic expectations about Cyrus and she should be allowed to act like a human being and not some Barbie idol.

      • KrisDStar

        That’s exactly it. If she had always been this way – LIke Gaga, or Rihanna, or Nicki Minaj, nobody would bat an eye. But because she played a goodie goodie character on a TV show, people are freaking out.
        They can’t seem to wrap their minds around the fact that she wasn’t actually Hannah Montana. That she was pretending.

  • John

    For those here debating on whether she’s now an atheist or agnostic, I think her Twitter quote by Buddha is pretty solid evidence that she’s moving away from a Christian viewpoint.

  • Syd

    You just can’t make these things up: twitter.com/#!/AlesiaJoG/status/175589981824368640

    • http://www.twitter.com/a_okafor007 Anthony C. Okafor

      She’s from Arkansas….

  • Anonymous

    Why are there so many comments suggesting that the girl can’t (or won’t) read an entire 3 paragraphs, or that if she can (and did), she’s not intelligent enough to understand what she read? Do you think that Jessica Ahlquist is the only young woman capable of comprehension of simple concepts and independent thought?

    • Tom

      But People magazine said she’s dumb!

  • Anonymous

    Actually the atoms in your left hand probably came from different stars.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1662432506 Jonas Green

    I don’t know about Christianity, but you can certainly find the Universe beautiful while remaining Jewish. — Even if you forget, for example your parents. –

    “What you don’t write, you never call, someday you’ll have kids, and when they do, when they do … I only pray that they give you the same misery you’ve given me. – That’s a mother’s prayer.’ —-> A Comedian, from the Golden Age of Radio, whos’ name I’ve forgotton.
     

  • Anonymous

    If Miley hasn’t forgotten Jesus, the time has come for her to do so. I would like to see her mature enough in other ways so that she can handle the pile of “stupid money” she made early in life without becoming self-destructive like other celebrities I could name. I’ve seen her net worth estimated in the $100 million ballpark, which makes her yet another early adopter of the kinds of “wealthstyles” ordinary people could enjoy in a few more centuries, assuming that exponential economic growth continues.

    And, of course, I look forward to the era when everyone has effectively forgotten Jesus.

  • bismarket

    I’m just gonna go ahead & hope she’s started thinking for herself & decided to come out of the Atheist closet in a way that she probably felt was gentle on her (Many) Christian fans. [Now without the rosy specs] Oh man did she ever f*ck up, she gonna make a big ass apology in the morning & is on the phone to her dad saying sorry over & over & over…. Who wants that bet?

  • bismarket

    I’m just gonna go ahead & hope she’s started thinking for herself & decided to come out of the Atheist closet in a way that she probably felt was gentle on her (Many) Christian fans. [Now without the rosy specs] Oh man did she ever f*ck up, she gonna make a big ass apology in the morning & is on the phone to her dad saying sorry over & over & over…. Who wants that bet?

  • Lelafox66

    Miley Cyrus will always be a christian you never know if she was just mad and said
    “forget about jesus” i mean it’s just plain out creepy if you guys stalk her and find out what she is talking bout on her i mean cut the girl some slack she didn’t do anything to you 

  • http://twitter.com/Skepgineer skepgineer

    The quote is not quite correct.   It is extremely probable that your body contains some hydrogen that was never a part of any star, and that each of your hands contains matter from multiple stars in almost exactly the same proportions as the other hand.   Things you eat get mixed fairly thoroughly in the bloodstream before contributing to your hands, there was a crapload of mixing before that through cycles of life and death on earth.

  • Claudia

    thats what i hate i know that people have diffrent belives but they try to convins people to belive in there religion.especially how famous people are part of illumnati.

  • Free Thinker

    It’s sad that her christian fans would just read those last few words but not bother reading the context of the whole quote. If she is starting to use her reasoning powers and logic then let it be, she is thinking for her self and this should be something to look up to.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.williams.96155669 Christopher Williams

    If she is, it just shows she’s a lot more intelligent than her dad. 


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