Joaquin Phoenix has had a very interesting life, one that started when he was born into a religious cult. For this reason, many people are still wondering if Joaquin Phoenix is religious.
Joaquin Phoenix hasn’t adopted any religious beliefs and considers himself an atheist. He has, however, formed many moral beliefs that are similar to those found in most of the world’s major religions.
Many of us are familiar with Joaquin Phoenix’s animal activism. He’s given several speeches and joined numerous protests demanding animal rights. He’s been a vegan for more than four decades and when many people think of Joaquin and ethics, they’re quick to think of those that deal with animals.
But Joaquin doesn’t only advocate for animal rights, he’s passionate about the injustices faced by humans, too.
Although Joaquin was raised in a religious cult, he doesn’t have any religious beliefs currently. But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t share some of the same ethics and moral beliefs as many of today’s main religions.
Religious Cult Upbringing
The Children of God cult was founded in 1968 by a preacher named David Brandt Berg. Initially called Teens for Christ, the group became home to hippies and young runaways and would eventually have more than 15,000 members around the globe.
The Children of God was centered around a worship of Jesus Christ, but did so in a ‘60s era peace and love kinda way.
Members couldn’t send their children to school and were encouraged to not work real-world jobs. They all lived together in communes.
Oh yeah, and they believed that the apocalypse was coming soon.
Doomsday theories meant that members lived day-to-day and avoided making any long-term plans. Financial savings were practically non-existent, and many of the group’s members survived off of donated food.
A practice known as “flirty fishing” is what drove Joaquin’s family away from the cult. The suggestion from the leader, for all of the women in the community to sleep with men in order to grow their number of members, was the last straw for Heart Phoenix (Joaquin’s mother).
The Phoenix family moved to Florida before eventually ending up in Hollywood.
Joaquin Phoenix’s Atheism
While in one interview, Phoenix claimed that he, along with his mother, are Jewish (with a belief in Jesus), most accounts of Phoenix’s spiritual beliefs conclude that he is atheist.
He, along with his family, would have been exposed to beliefs of God at a young age, but it appears that he’s lost most (if not all) of those beliefs over the years.
In another interview, Joaquin Phoenix said that he wasn’t into organized religion and didn’t really have any spiritual beliefs. He stated, “I don’t believe in God. I don’t believe in an afterlife. I don’t believe in a soul. I don’t believe in anything… to me it’s a pretty preposterous idea.”
Spiritual Beliefs and Roles
Although Joaquin doesn’t adhere to any religious beliefs, he has been known around the globe for strong ethical and moral opinions.
Joaquin Phoenix is one of Hollywood’s most outspoken animal activists. He’s made several pleas for the world to “end speciesism” and give all living beings love and respect.
At the 92nd Academy Awards, Joaquin Phoenix also spoke out against injustices of all types, including those suffered by humans.
Perhaps these strong moral beliefs have contributed to one of Phoenix’s recent movie roles. In the 2018 film, Mary Magdalene, Joaquin Phoenix played Jesus. This is an interesting role for the self-proclaimed atheist, but he was happy to play the part anyway.
While he prepared for the movie by growing a beard and long hair, there were some instances where his atheism got in the way of him doing the job.
There was reportedly a scene in which Phoenix was supposed to perform a “miracle” by rubbing mud on the eyes of a blind woman, thus allowing her to see.
Thinking that it was totally ludacris to rub dirt in someone’s eyes, Joaquin-as-Jesus licked his thumb and rubbed her eyes with that instead.
It’s clear that Joaquin has had an interesting journey when it comes to religion. But apparently that hasn’t left the actor with any enduring religious beliefs.