Daniel Radcliffe on Religion

Daniel Radcliffe recently did an interview where he was asked about the religiosity of his family.

My dad believes in God, I think. I’m not sure if my mom does. I don’t. I have a problem with religion or anything that says, “We have all the answers,” because there’s no such thing as “the answers.” We’re complex. We change our minds on issues all the time. Religion leaves no room for human complexity.

Succinct and perfect.

Humanity is great, and our potential is dear.  Religion is beneath the first and an affront to the latter.

  • sambarge

    I don’t know how the 3 Harry Potter kids managed to turn out so damn well. Really.

  • Alukonis, metal ninja

    Yay!

    That is all.

  • Angel Kircher

    I hate Harry Potter mania. But I liked him on Extras, and I respect that, at the height of his Harry Potter goody goody career, he performed as the lead in Equus, an amazing play I own and whose content I still cringe over.

  • http://alysonmiers.wordpress.com Alyson Miers

    I enjoy thinking of the headaches that surely result from brains tying themselves into pretzels over the thought of the adorable Dan Radcliffe assiduously following the “militant and strident” Richard Dawkins. It’s such a great juxtaposition.

  • Brownian

    Wait, so all the fundies screaming about the Harry Potter books were right?

  • http://the-heretics-haven.blogspot.com/ Ben Crockett

    Cheers to Daniel Radcliffe!

    I knew he wasn’t the religious type. It’s just always good to see a public figure that people admire and listen to speak up on behalf of reason.

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Ani Sharmin

    I’m a fan of the Harry Potter series. Though I tend not to be interested in the actors/actresses (besides just appreciating their performance in the movies), I do think cool he’s willing to state his beliefs even despite the fact that he’s famous and it could affect people’s views of him.

  • MikeMa

    I was pleased to see Radcliffe in the video posted a few days ago about atheists. He is, as they say, minted, and as such has the freedom to say what he believes without fear of losing his next job. I hope he continues to act and to inspire his HP fans to do likewise.

  • Randomfactor

    Am having great fun reading the alternative fanfic where Aunt Petunia marries a college science professor instead of a banker before formally adopting Harry.

    Sharing it here because I only learned of it through blogs like these.

    http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5782108/1/Harry_Potter_and_the_Methods_of_Rationality

  • http://willisweb.com CoderHead

    That was excellent. I now have an atheist crush on Daniel Radcliffe. :)

  • NotAProphet

    Yup, it’s great that he’s come out, because nobody is gonna kill Harry Potter’s career, and he can reach so many people. Perhaps he could be persuaded to evangelise just a little bit.

    It’s ironic, because there are actually more official stories about Harry Potter than there are about Jesus, therefore he must be more true, right?

    • Freemage

      Honestly, beyond the occasional public statement like this, it’s probably better if he doesn’t ‘evangelize’. Highlighting speakers who have the intellectual prowess to stand up to a direct challenge (like Dawkins, and I think someone should get him to read and mention Skepchick) is probably a better way to go. After all, he’s an actor, not a philosopher or scientist; he probably can’t come straight out with arguments that will sway others (and would likely have difficulty confronting the dishonest and fallacious arguments put forward by the faithists–even his statement above would be turned against him: “Well, if you need to be willing to change your mind, shouldn’t that include the possibility of God?”) Rather, he does the most good for atheism and skepticism simply by being “out” as an atheist himself.

  • rikitiki

    “It’s ironic, because there are actually more official stories about Harry Potter than there are about Jesus, therefore he must be more true, right?”

    Actually, such occured to me a while ago – Harry must exist because, just like Jesus, he’s in a book (well, actually, 7 of them). But, considering Harry’s books are better written, have a better plot, and no contradictions (like the bible), the chance of Harry being real certainly seem to outweigh Jesus.

  • http://grimalkinblog.wordpress.com Grimalkin

    So Harry Potter doesn’t believe in magic?

    I bet the “Harry Potter is Satanic” nuts will have a field day with this.

  • http://www.balsampillow.com Ray Lyon

    Oh the utter ignorance and arrogance of some of the comments on this blog!!

    Even meister-atheist himself, Richard Dawkins, in “The God Delusion” admits this much:

    “If there is a God, it’s going to be a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more incomprehensible than anything that any theologian of any religion has ever proposed.”

    Well, hello? Perhaps it not God’s problem as to the revelation of himself, but our ability and desire to see it. Perhaps it is we who are blind.

    If there is a God, as psychologist Gerald G. May puts it, “…God remains somewhat hidden from us. Why? For one thing, God in immanence is already too close to us, to intimate, too much at one with us to be a clear-cut object, and God in transcendence is too great to be apprehended.”

    On the other hand, as George MacDonald says, it is true that a man is nearer to the truth to believe in no God than to believe in a wrong God.

    The irony of atheism is that there is no such thing as a pure atheist. To be that, you would have to have all knowledge of all things, in all times, and all places. Would not someone like that be God? In all intellectual honesty you can be no more than a very very strong agnostic. This sword cuts both ways… it is the same for the theist. In the end, both require some kind of leap of faith.

    Nietzsche, who was an athiest, said it best: “Now it is our preference that decides against Christianity, not arguments.”

    Best to all.

    • Peter Yianilos

      @Ray Lyon

      Religion is the subject at hand, as I see it – not god. And yes, religion is highly polarizing and prompts a high degree of arrogance in responses, as you say. And that perfectly substantiates Daniel’s thesis – “Religion leaves no room for human complexity”.

      I agree very strongly with that thesis, which is so clearly borne out in the comments you find arrogant and ignorant, as well as your own. Religion is rife with unsubstantiated fiction, invented characters, and ultimately, hard and fast rules which inevitably deny the core beliefs of someone. So, I reject it all.

      I am undoubtedly an atheist, in that all the knowledge I accumulate, all that I see and experience; leads me to the conclusion that god is simply an anachronism of a simpler, less informed time for humanity. That the more fanatically faithful of mankind continue to fight, maim and kill in the name of its various gods, while the more enlightened move on to better and more tolerant pursuits, simply closes the deal for me.

      Peter Yianilos

      • CharlieO

        rather, it is human complexity that argues in favor of best aspects of religion

        • http://www.balsampillow.com Ray Lyon

          @ Peter Y.

          Hello… I was responding mostly to what was written on the Radcliffe poster itself not the author of the blog who’s opinion is based more on Radcliffe’s personal comments.

          More specifically, I was commenting on the atheism behind Radcliffe’s opinion regarding that religion leaves no room for human complexity.

          I see the inverse… it is because of human complexity that there are so many different religions. If one doesn’t believe a certain religion, they can invent, or in some cases, be “revealed” a new one. This proves or disproves nothing.

          The underlying real question is not about religion, but about god. Who or what is it/he/she? And how has it/he/she revealed to us?

          PY: I agree very strongly with that thesis [that religion leaves no room for human complexity], which is so clearly borne out in the comments you find arrogant and ignorant, as well as your own.

          RL: I hope you are not calling my comments arrogant or ignorant… most of what I said are well thought out statements written by others far more intelligent than I, and from both atheist and theist alike.

          PY: Religion is rife with unsubstantiated fiction, invented characters, and ultimately, hard and fast rules which inevitably deny the core beliefs of someone.

          RL: We are in complete agreement here.

          PY: So, I reject it all.

          RL: Why? What if one is true?

          PY: I am undoubtedly an atheist, in that all the knowledge I accumulate, all that I see and experience; leads me to the conclusion that god is simply an anachronism of a simpler, less informed time for humanity.

          RL: Doesn’t the delicate scent of a flower, the intricate design of a spider web, the unbelievably complex structure of DNA, the beauty of the cosmos at least HINT at the idea of a Creator?

          In fact, it seems the more we know the less we know.

          What is your response to the concept of the irony behind atheism? (Which also applies to theism)

          PY: That the more fanatically faithful of mankind continue to fight, maim and kill in the name of its various gods, while the more enlightened move on to better and more tolerant pursuits, simply closes the deal for me.

          RL: Yes, fanatics and radicals will always exist and continue to kill and maim in the name of their god. (This goes for christianity as well) But that does not necessarily mean that god does not exist or that one religion (I prefer to call it relationship) really is pure, true, and undefiled.

          • Peter Yianilos

            Ray,
            I certainly did not mean to imply that your comment was arrogant or ignorant. My syntax was a bit sloppy but I did say “as well as your own” and not “like your own”. Please forgive any unintended slight.

            As to the almost inconceivable complexity of nature (scent of a flower), that is a well-worn and specious argument. If you want to know the mechanism of scent, why flowers have one, the design of a web, the evolutionary history of DNA and RNA; all of these things have been – and are still being – researched exhaustively by scientists around the world.

            My atheism finds common ground with the lives of these great minds who, once freed from the oppressive and even deadly yoke of the dark ages’ fanatical catholicism, rewarded us forever with their selfless contributions to science. I have made an avocation of learning astronomy, neuroscience, biochemistry and quantum mechanics simply because, once I started, I could never stop. The incontrovertible evidence is there, as are the facts and the timeline to support them, for anyone who wishes to know them. Knowledge has set me free, if you like.

            I grant you the ugliness of fanatical religion does not disprove the existence of a god. They are not cause and effect.

          • Peter Yianilos

            Ray,

            I feel I’ve backed you into a very narrow corner, and you’ve made it far too easy for me to do so. Your ‘my way or the highway’ stripes are fairly glowing! I find particularly annoying your denying my description of my own beliefs – a signature evangelical bit of behavior. And all the unwarranted capitalizations…

            Science doesn’t have a purpose, nor an agenda; it equally represents the how AND the why. Theists simply give up after the how (if they’re lucky) because it all becomes readily apparent that their old-school ‘why’ has been supplanted by better information than theirs. Your programmer, or as you put it –Programmer – notion is pathetic Ray, really. If I asked you for your –Source Code, you would send me the –Bible?

            So you accept the apparently endless complexity of software, but can’t make the jump to evolution?? Well, you are not the first to embarrass yourself with blind, pamphleteering faith. Evolution on our planet has had, at the very least, 2 billion years on a massively parallel platform; it ought to be rather impressive.

            “Knowledge is one thing, purpose and reason another.” WTF!!?? Where to even begin with that non-sequitur? You needn’t bother ever again trying to impress me with christian veracity, nor with the impossible burden of proving your faith to be the one truth. Save your preaching for the choir.

            Peter

          • Ray Lyon

            As you wish, I will say no more. Peace.

  • http://mtf612 Hagrid

    “You’re an atheist Harry!”

  • http://www.balsampillow.com Ray Lyon

    Hi Peter!

    PY: I certainly did not mean to imply that your comment was arrogant or ignorant….

    RL: No problem, and thanks for explaining the distinction.

    PY: As to the almost inconceivable complexity of nature (scent of a flower), that is a well-worn and specious argument. If you want to know the mechanism of scent, why flowers have one, the design of a web, the evolutionary history of DNA and RNA; all of these things have been – and are still being – researched exhaustively by scientists around the world.

    RL: Of course, that is the purpose of science. However, by way of example, just as my Pro Tools software requires a programmer (and lots of beta testing no doubt), so the coding of DNA should, by all reasonable argument, require its own Programmer. It would be absurd to say that my Pro Tools software would generate itself spontaneously out of nothing with no intent or design behind it. How much more so the complexities of DNA? Though this kind of argument may not appeal to you it is hardly specious.

    PY: My atheism finds common ground with the lives of these great minds who, once freed from the oppressive and even deadly yoke of the dark ages’ fanatical catholicism, rewarded us forever with their selfless contributions to science.

    RL: Yes. The catholic church did extreme harm in those ages to hamper scientific inquiry due to ignorance, corruption and abuse of power. This has nothing to do with the existence of a god or the veracity of christianity. It has everything to do with the evil of men. And many men of science were theists such as Newton, Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, Bacon, Descartes, Pascal, Boyle, Faraday, Mendel, Kelvin, Planck… even Einstein was a theist (although he, as well as Planck, did not believe in the notion of a personal god). Nevertheless, these scientists would find no commonality with atheism.

    PY: I have made an avocation of learning astronomy, neuroscience, biochemistry and quantum mechanics simply because, once I started, I could never stop. The incontrovertible evidence is there, as are the facts and the timeline to support them, for anyone who wishes to know them. Knowledge has set me free, if you like.

    RL: Set you free for awesome things, I agree! But knowledge is one thing. Purpose and reason another. Science explores the how, theology and philosophy ponder the reason why. May I submit that your passionate pursuit of knowledge may in itself be a yearning for knowledge of the reason for it all?

    Lest I forget, with all respect, I have not seen a response from you to my argument as to atheism itself being an intellectually impossible belief. Since no one has complete knowledge of all things no one can truly absolutely say that god doesn’t exist. Therefore, atheists cannot exist!

    The most you can be is an agnostic. In the end, beyond all argument, it comes down to faith and personal preference.

    It does not work the same way for the theist, who does not have the impossible burden of proving a negative. One shred of evidence for the existence of a god is enough to substantiate the mere possibility of god’s existence. Again, agnosticism or theism is the only possibility.

    May peace always rule over our discussions.

  • trese

    if their god really exist,then all the magic seen on the movies may also real…and Zeus exist as well..religion stood for a very long time for power and has the same agenda that politics crave for…

  • trese

    if their god really exist,then all the magic seen on the movies might be also real…and Zeus exist as well..religion stood for a very long time for power and has the same agenda that politics crave for…


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