A Hollywood Actor’s Blunt Message for Atheists by Z. Leeman
I find a lot I agree with here. I’ve been having doubts about my own faith the last few years, but I’m terribly put-off by atheists who are either incredibly arrogant, disrespectful or insulting about faith or towards people of faith, or who actively seek to evangelize for atheism by trying to deconvert theists.
My view is, if you want to be an atheist, fine, be an atheist, but that does not necessitate being rude or insulting towards people of faith.
These reports say that Mohr has a podcast called Mohr Stories.
Why Jay Mohr is telling others directly, ‘I am Christian’ — and asking for respect, unity and understanding
July 19, 2017
Comedian and actor Jay Mohr is one of the rare actors who is open about his faith. Through his podcast, Mohr Stories, he has interviewed priests and told the story many times of his late-in-life conversion.
…He continued by saying he has become increasingly frustrated by seeing how little atheists and religious individuals get along.
…His most powerful message came as he questioned the motivation of prominent atheists who argue so aggressively against the faithful.
“My question to atheists is a simple one: What did you win? Rarely does the religious person walk away from the debate with a changed mind and throw their faith into the nearest trash can. Even if they did, what was your victory? One less believer? I’m not being snarky here, I am genuinely in wonder,” he wrote.
Mohr summed it up simply then by saying, “You lack belief in a God, I believe in a God. I don’t understand why we’re arguing.”
The “Jerry Maguire” star also had criticisms for some Christians who act as aggressively as the vehement atheists with whom they disagree.
Mohr’s ultimate goal with his story, however, seemed to be trying to get people ideologically opposed to come together more. And that’s a constant theme of his podcast, where he has spoken to fellow people of faith, as well as to non-believers such as comedian and illusionist Penn Jillette.
…Mohr, who grew up in a Presbyterian church, claims that he’s always been a person of faith. As a child, he sang in the choir, played the bells and participated in church activities. However, he wasn’t a fervent adherent during most of his adult life. So, four years ago, he realized that he needed structure — something he claims Catholicism inevitably brought him.
…Mohr claims that he transitioned from “spirituality” to embracing Jesus Christ after his wife’s aunt (he’s married to actress Nikki Cox) passed away a few years back.
…MOHR’S UNCONVENTIONAL VIEWS ON HELL & THE BIBLE
While he was learning Christianity’s ropes, Mohr said that Catholic leaders were patient and that they took the time to describe and assist him in understanding the parameters and core beliefs of the faith.
…Now, when it comes to hell, heaven’s opposing locality and the devil’s so-called lair, the entertainer separates from many faithful and doesn’t buy into the notion that non-believers (that is, those individuals who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior) will be banished from heaven. He also calls the notion that hell is a literal lake of fire “absurd,” claiming that to punish those born before Christ with hell (i.e. they didn’t and couldn’t yet believe, so they can’t possibly be accountable) wouldn’t be fair.
…Additionally, Mohr separates himself from fundamentalism and doesn’t take the Bible overtly literally. Throughout our discussion, he was also very open about the fact that his faith is continuously evolving and changing. He doesn’t embrace every portion of the Old Testament as literal fact, but he does appreciate, it seems, the “decorum and rules” that it sets up.
….Through this lens, he says the Bible becomes a book that is a fascinating work to interpret rather than “to obey.” Mohr believes that theology flourishes when it is allowed to be malleable and when people remain open to go on “a continuous journey.”
…MOHR’S VIEWS ON JESUS CHRIST
When I asked Mohr if Jesus is God’s son, he paused briefly.
“I think we’re all God’s sons, because in John 3:16, he says ‘you’re the son of God,’ but earlier in John he says ‘you’re the son of man,’” he claimed.
Certainly, many in Christian circles would embrace the notion that we are all, indeed, God’s sons, however this response didn’t dig deeply into the character of Jesus. That being said, Mohr did highlight the importance of people believing in a loving God.
When pushed a bit further and asked if Christ is “the way” to God, Mohr said, “I think Jesus is the way for me…I don’t think anybody’s going to hell because they don’t believe in Jesus Christ as God’s son. God is too loving to allow people to go to hell for choosing to believe in something else.” This, of course, would be a sticking point for many believers, but Mohr maintains that the belief that one must accept Christ to reach heaven is “too exclusionary.”
THE ACTOR’S “CONFUSION” ABOUT ATHEIST ACTIVISM
While there are many areas of disagreement between Mohr and more conservative Christians, there’s surely one issue they can agree upon: Atheism. During our discussion, the actor said that his conversion story dumbfounds many non-believers, because they can’t comprehend how an adult who wasn’t indoctrinated ended up accepting Christian doctrines.
….Mohr also said that he’s confused by the aggression that atheists sometimes showcase. They are, in his view, unbending and he takes particular issue with their characterization that those who believe in a higher power are foolish.
“[But] I’m more confused by the certainty of their stance,” he proclaimed.
His issues with non-belief also extended into confusion, particularly when it comes to Penn Jillette (read our profile on Penn here) and Bill Mahr and the way in which these atheist comedians and entertainers market their non-belief.
“I would love to sit with Bill Maher. I would love to sit with Penn,” he said. “The unwillingness to even entertain the idea that anything else could be possible belies their intelligence and we’re talking about two of the more intelligent men alive.”