GQ magazine published an interview with actor Woody Harrelson. In the interview, Harrelson is asked about the Gospel and his Christian upbringing.1 He was raised in church studying the Bible and preached his first sermon at age 17.
GQ: Can you tell me about when you preached the Gospel as a child?
Woody Harrelson: I was very religious growing up. My mom still is. We went to church all the time, went to Bible study; we even did Bible study at my house. I went to a Presbyterian college, you know, I was in….all the way, and so I remember doing my first sermon when I was 17, I was in high school. It wasn’t a full twenty-five minute sermon but for like ten minutes I got up and they let me do that and it was on faith.
When asked about his favorite part of the Bible he mentions that he believes the Gospel of Luke is probably the most accurate.
GQ: Do you have a favorite part of the Bible?
Woody Harrelson: …Luke is probably the purest of what was said, but then in John it goes from saying we are all children of God and we all have the power to perform miracles to… “I am the way the truth and the light and no one cometh unto the Father except by me,” and it becomes much more authoritative and you can just see that… you know, I’m just fascinated by all that.
However, that has all changed and he no longer considers himself a Christian.
GQ: Do you consider yourself to be a Christian?
Woody Harrelson: No. I have a strong spiritual life. I can’t say that I have faith that Jesus is my Savior, but I look at Jesus in the same way that I look at, you know, Mohammed. He was giving everyone the goods. So was Gandhi. And to me I think it’s this thing of everyone wanting to make Jesus the Son of God and Jesus the only way to God that is the thing that no longer makes me want to be a Christian.
Interesting that Harrelson’s rejection of Christianity is based on the exclusive claims of Jesus. However, he says that the problem is “everyone wanting to make Jesus the Son of God.” He seems to base his beliefs on who he says Jesus is. If it were simply other people claiming Jesus as God’s Son, I wonder why Harrelson does not reject that claim and embrace Christ on his own terms?
Maybe Harrelson still some conviction and does trust the Gospel of Luke which makes exclusive claims about Jesus. Luke 9:20 (ESV) states, “Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” Luke records many teachings from Jesus including the resurrection and ascension in chapter 24.
Harrelson’s rejection of Jesus is interesting. He accepts Luke as the most accurate recording of Jesus’ life, yet rejects Jesus based on exclusive claims about Jesus, some of which may be found in Luke.
There’s still hope.