Is Tom Hiddleston an Atheist?

Before you get excited, the short answer is I don’t know for sure I would be suprised if he wasn’t. Everything you read here is speculation based on publicly available information.

That being said, I suspect the answer is “yes”. The quote that gave me this impression comes from an interview (emphasis mine):

The thing about playing gods, whether you’re playing Thor and Loki or Greco Roman gods or Indian gods or characters in any mythology, the reason that gods were invented was because they were basically larger versions of ourselves.

Another indication is that while he constantly talks about how much of a privilege it was to work with great actors, and how glad he is that he got the opportunity to do movies like The Avengers, he never mentions or thanks god. Perhaps these practices are only common in America? Though, he has responded “bless you for saying that” in response to compliments.

In this interview, he went out of his way to affirm that he is fine with homosexuality — something most religious people probably wouldn’t do. The interviewer asks if he is metrosexual and he responds:

Um..  m-  m-  I.. maybe hetero? I d-definitely hetero, I would say. Yeah. Em. <giggles> But that’s just my particular preference. I have nothing against metro, or anything else, for that matter.

So, why would he have never mentioned being an atheist? My guess that it’s still early enough in his superstardom that he is concerned about alienating his fanbase. Especially in the super-religious US.

He read classics at Cambridge University. That environment would have exposed him to ideas and peers that make it hard to continue believing in a god — if he ever did. Atheism has been reliably shown to be correlated with intelligence. He’s seems to be an intelligent, thoughtful person. Given that and the quotes above, I think he’s likely an atheist.

This last quote from Tom doesn’t indicate much, but it is a lovely secular humanist sentiment:

 I think if I had anything that I would like to leave behind as sort of a message, I’d want people to understand the primacy of kindness. The power of it to change the world. [source]

Do you have any evidence one way or another? I’d love to hear it.

Edit (9.18.2012) – Found two quotes possibly showing Tom believes in god:

I try not to make plans. God always laughs at your plans.

The other, from his twitter account, dated 25 Oct 11, is him quoting Chariots of Fire:

I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me FAST, and when I run, I feel his pleasure.

Though, this last may just be an expression of how he feels about running. Loon.

Edit(2.6.2013) – Thanks to reader Sophie mentioning the “Manifesto for Atheists” — Tom has apparently posted a link to this recently. This is sufficient evidence for me!

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45 thoughts on “Is Tom Hiddleston an Atheist?

  1. I do think he is atheist or agnostic. He is too wise of a man to be devoted to some religion. In The Deep Blue Sea extra, he refer a character’s believe in ‘Christian God’. I think if he was christian, he would just say it god? He never mentioned about his religion or religious believes either. I mean I’m agnostic but I usually don’t mention them for most people are not open minded. And I say OMG as an expression not because I necessarily believe in it.

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    1. just want to throw my two cents in. i found this article quite interesting.

      im not going to state my religious beliefs or stance so it won’t be misconstrued that I’m giving a biased answer.

      okay. well first off, Tom’s quote, “I try not to make plans. God always laughs at your plans,” makes me believe he isn’t atheist. i’ve happened upon a few agnostic/atheists in my years and one thing i’ve found is that they put much effort into severing any ties with God. that being the case, i doubt Tom would make a statement like this one if he truly did not believe in God.

      “the reason that gods were invented”
      when i first read that line, i got the impression that he was referring to polytheistic religions. the examples he listed all have that factor, ‘greco roman gods’ ‘indian gods’ ‘mythical gods’ and then of course we already know the world of Asgard. all those gods were said to have been invented by the people of each respective country at some point in history, which is where i think his thought derives from. i dont believe he meant to make God[[emphasis on the singular use]] seem ‘invented’. although, to be fair, i think that particular quote of his is up to interpretation. what he truly meant will only be known by him….and God [[for those who believe]].

      *also i would like to offer another outlook to your statement, about intelligence correlating with atheism as well as @monolip’s “Believing or not believing in God has nothing to do with intelligence.”
      first, i don’t agree with monolip’s statement, but i see the point he/she is trying to make. quite frankly, intelligence is subjective. a child of God would tell you a man who is Christian is far wiser than a man with ten degree’s. at the same time, others will tell you it’s all about what is in your head that matters most. factual/academic knowledge they believe is what makes one intelligent. in a sense that is true, but not always. there are several types of intelligence. but ill cut around the corners and get to the point because i know obviously you were referring to the most common form of intelligence.
      as Katie said above, “most of the upper class are not at all religious”. so it wouldn’t surprise me if c.s. lewis was truly an anomaly for his time. but outside of the UK, there have been many scientists and other highly knowledgeable individuals who have stood with Christianity, then and now. to say that they dont count simply because of time change i believe is an ill conceived thought. over the years, it has been understood that the word of God has never changed. science also in a sense has never changed, or if anything, certain theories have developed. so why then cast out the counter examples whom have laid down many of the fundamental laws and well known facts we still use today? Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei, C.S. Lewis, JRR Tolkein are a few examples. you didnt really makes this clear, but if you believe that there arent many Christian intelligent people out there, then you are sadly mistaken. there are many. just like there are many low iq atheists in our world.

      now as for Mr. Hiddleston, i highly doubt he is an atheist. if he is a Christian or Catholic great, but based on what ive seen [[his tweets mentioning God’s name in a positive manner]] i wouldn’t make that decision so hastily. those are only words that we see. its what is in the heart that matters. it is between him and God.

      well ive dragged this post on far too long im afraid. i didnt know id have that much to say. but yes, i just wanted to add my thoughts to the conversation. and i suppose i might as well reveal my religious standpoint, even though im sure it was quite obvious. i am Christian. and i hope you all have a blessed day, dolly you as well 🙂 God bless everyone!<3
      just remember, when you’re down and out, give God a chance.

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      1. I never said that scientists who are religious “don’t count” — I only mentioned that there is a well-documented negative correlation between education/intelligence and religious belief.

        Albert Einstein did not believe in god, but he was quoted saying things such as “God does not play dice” — “God” here being shorthand for “the laws which govern the universe.” I think it’s possible that this is also what Tom means in his quotes.

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      2. Do you have the link for that correlation? Because I have a degreee in psychology and I have NEVER heard anything like that. Natural intelligence is actually about 90% genetic.

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      3. No problem. You may have to have to subscribe or pay to see the full version, but here’s just one meta-analysis done on studies which looked at the correlation between religion and intelligence: http://psr.sagepub.com/content/17/4/325

        In short, “A meta-analysis of 63 studies showed a significant negative association between intelligence and religiosity.”

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    2. Let me start by saying I do not at all intend to brag; but I completely disagree with your statements about atheists being more intelligent. I am one of the most intelligent (defining intelligent as having a good education; having done well in school, having a high IQ, etc.) people in my social circles. A high grades student, I have done multiple extra curricular studies; I have read nearly every book I have ever been given, with dozens of different views and opinions; I have studied many religions, from Islam to Buddhism, if not in depth, than at least more than is typical, and I have done a large number of bible studies. Apologetics, the science that follows along with the seven-day creation described in Genesis, the first book of the Christian Bible, can defend its beliefs equally as well as secular science can. Ken Ham is a particularly famous apologetic debater.
      All of this said, wisdom is different from knowledge. Wisdom comes from experience. Elder people are said to be wiser than young people because they have lived more and gathered more practical knowledge on how to live well. Christians consider themselves to be wiser than non-Christians because they are given God’s wisdom, and don’t have to start their wisdom-gathering from scratch.
      I am not saying anything either way whether I believe Tom Hiddleston to be a Christian or not. That is entirely between him and God. From what I have seen, he lives the lifestyle God calls Christians to lead, but he could simply be a good person. I am also not British, and I know quite a bit less about their religious standings than I would like. The point I am trying to make is simply that “intelligence” has nothing at all to do with religion. I’ve known strong Christians with little to no education who could be considered stupid, and I’ve known Christians who are significantly more intelligent than Mr. Hiddleston. The same goes for non-Christians. It always depends on the person. You cannot make an accurate stereotype.

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  2. Do you know story of C. S. Lewis? He was friend of Tolkien (who was catholic) and they were botb Profesors on Cambridge. And Lewis was atheist when he started teaching. Guess what – he became christian after all. So don’t say that if someone is smart he has to be atheist. Believing or not believing in God has nothing to do with inteligence.

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    1. The world has changed significantly since the heyday of C.S. Lewis. I don’t doubt your story, but I think it may just be a high-profile anomaly rather than a common occurrence. I didn’t say that smart people must be atheist.

      “Believing or not believing in God has nothing to do with inteligence.”

      In fact, it does. There is a well-documented correlation between intelligence and atheism. For example, only 3.3% of the Royal Society (Britain’s top scientists) believe in god. Here’s one study, among many you can find online, that shows this correlation.

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      1. That’s a false causation. There’s certainly correlation there, but to say causation goes beyond the evidence. For example, could it merely be that for the past 200+ years, academia has had a bias against religion, and over that time like has produced like? I would say it is less a factor of intelligence, and more a factor of most of the most intelligent people in Western society have advanced Western educations, which are decidedly un-religious, if not anti-religious.

        (I have a philosophy degree from a public university in the States, and boy, did my professors have something against that, not on a purely philosophical level, but on a personal level.)

        Just food for thought.

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  3. On twitter recently Tom said in a tweet,

    “The Lord in Heaven bless thee!”
    That could be that he’s not atheist,
    But that’s just an idea(:

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  4. He is an extremely posh, well educated gentleman. In England, and Britain overall really, most of the upper class are not at all religious. You will hear Tom say “Bless you” or “The lord in heaven bless thee!” quite frequently. While this may seem odd, I don’t think that indicates him being religious at all. For one, I’m an atheist, and I constantly say ‘Thank god’ because it’s an expression I’ve grown up with. Perhaps for the crème de la crème of Oxford, those expressions are used. And, for what it’s worth, I’ve heard Stephen Fry say similar things, and he is a very critical atheist, perhaps even anti-theist.

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    1. This is a very good point. I have heard him say “bless you for saying that” in response to compliments, and this explanation fits well because other than these expressions he does not seem to have any particular religious beliefs. Thanks for sharing.

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    2. Not meaning to be rude but are you English? Or have you just learnt about England through the internet and tv? Most upper class/privately educated people over here actually are religious, just extremely laid back about it. They might not be practicing christians, but would probably name it as their religion if asked. Almost all boarding schools make you go to chapel at least once a week and I’ve found that it sticks. My friends and I complained about it constantly but now that we’re at uni we do try to get together for a carol service or the odd evensong.
      When I lived in oh so very posh Hampstead (the bit of London that Tom lives in) you could see that the church was packed on a Sunday morning. I now live in the considerably less posh but far better connected london bridge and I don’t think the churches around here are anywhere near as popular.

      Scotland and Ireland (the other bits of Britain) are far more religious than England so that bit of your post was just wrong. Churches still form the centre of a lot of their communities.

      I don’t really know but having read Stephen Fry’s autobiography his rejection of religion may stem from his unpleasant experience at school or that he’s gay and unfortunately a lot of religions aren’t too welcoming of homosexuals. Just guessing there though.

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      1. Thank you for your insight. No, I’m not English. What I know about religion and England comes mostly from Richard Dawkins who is presumably of social circles you’re describing. The way he tells it, religion is a habit, but most of his crowd (though they may go to church, observe holidays, would call themselves Christians, etc) no longer have any actual belief in god.

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      2. It was actually directed at Katie as she was making comments about the uk which don’t really ring true but thanks for your reply.

        Richard Dawkins is viewed as a bit of a nut job over here. There’s a guy who claims that the royal family are lizards and he’s sort of in that category. He’s essentially an atheist version of those street preachers who try to convince people they need to be saved because the end is coming. Nobody takes him seriously any more. He might be extremely intelligent (idk) but his reputation as a crazy ranting person has totally eclipsed that.

        Eh I don’t really think so. People normally stick with what they’ve been taught as a child. Over here religion isn’t a big part of most peoples lives and is almost never discussed so unless you’ve got some specific reason to its unlikely that you’ll give it any thought.

        It’s probably hard to understand if you’re american but over here there isn’t anything in the way of religious dialogue. It just never comes up. You just stick with what you’ve got.

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      3. When writing this I’d meant to link to something showing how the UK view dawkins but decided to just wait until something came up XD

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    1. Thank you for sharing. I hadn’t read that and it’s so much more thoughtful than anything I’ve heard from, say, biblical sources.

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  5. I think, and this is just me, that he’s spiritual, but not religious. His dad is Presbyterian so he had a somewhat religious up-bringing. Presbyterians are very laid back in a religious sense.

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  6. Re that manifesto for atheists.everyone seems to be stuck on trying to prove lack of belief in God,when really,reading through it,it’s just a list of things to become a better person.Denying God has at most,a secondary role in this.The fact that anyone reads it,and appreciates it,including me,a believer in God, just indicates that they care enough to try to become a better person.Which in the end,doesn’t clash with God

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    1. The list was written by a well-known atheist. No one says it clashes with supernatural beliefs, but it is clear that it is meant to substitute for the 10 biblical commandments. One who believes in the Christian god would not need such a substitute.

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      1. I don’ think that has to be true.Why would one dismiss a good set of rules or suggestions or guidelines just because they already have one? You can never have enough of a good thing and such guidelines are the prime example for that.They shouldn’t be valued depending on who the author is. It’s narrow minded.Anyone can come up with good advice.I mean,maybe even some dictators gave good advice at some point in their lives,despite doing what they did.Dismissing on grounds of provenience is the bigger lack of intelligence

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      2. Sure, no one has to dismiss a set of rules just because they already have one. But at the same time, no one has to broadcast their agreement with something called “A Manifesto for Atheists” by tweeting it! Like I said, it’s good enough evidence for me, but it certainly isn’t proof.

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      3. Oh I really don’t mind or care that much about people’s personal beliefs,whatever they are,as long as they don’t harm anyone.And especially if someone tries to be a good person beardless of belief.My whole thing was about not ruling out belief in God because of something called the atheist manifesto.Because as long as you use your brain,you can accept anything from nowhere that improves your qualities as a human being.Like I said, I am not an atheist and still find this a useful set of rules

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  7. I’ve certainly had a hard time guessing what his beliefs might be. But I have to point out that, contrary to some people’s opinions, being intellectual and a kind, open-minded person are NOT incompatible with being religious. And there are plenty of religious people – yes, even Christians, who are supportive of lgbt people, so that doesn’t necessarily mean anything, either.

    There have been at least two instances on which he’s posted links to “poems of the day” on his twitter, and on both occasions the poems were openly spiritual. (Both were by Rilke – one was The Swan and the other was God Speaks to Each of Us.)

    There’s also the quote from one of his interviews about Loki when he said, “I don’t believe that anyone, until their soul leaves their body, is past the point of no return.”

    But he has also made statements, as pointed out above, that suggest at the very least a non-traditional spirituality and a spirituality that is compatible with humanist (if not atheist humanist) views. The quote about gods could mean that he believes in a single God or spirit and believes that the more “human-like” deities worshiped by many pagans are invented or allegorical.

    I personally feel like the evidence points to some sort of nebulous spirituality – perhaps belief in a soul and/or afterlife, but maybe not a god? (And there are people who hold those views simultaneously.) Until someone asks him directly, I guess I won’t be fully convinced either way.

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    1. Those are good points, although appreciating poetry is a bit of stretch for me. After all, some of Richard Dawkins’ favorite music is religious (mine too).

      I guess it’s not that important either way. He’s clearly a good, kind, thoughtful person and that’s what counts, I think. You’re right that he does seem spiritual. With all those mentions of soul vs body, he’s at least a dualist. 🙂

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    2. I agree with JM. Many comments have been made assuming that because he supports lbgt people, has a liberal view, is apparently a great reader, and loves humanity that he must be atheist. Jeesh. He sounds jut like Jesus. I think the bottom line is that wherever someone finds themselves – that is what they hope Tom Hiddleston is.

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  8. I’d like to think that he is a Christian, and here are a few more tweets that seem to point in that direction……

    https://twitter.com/#!/twhiddleston/status/203629194486358016

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  9. You may find this rude, but I really would like to tell you that you saying Tom being fine with homosexuality making him atheist makes no sense to me at all. I am 100% raised in a Christian household and I have no problem with it. I have a lot of gay friends. And I also read somewhere that he was raised in a Presbyterian family who also has no problem with Homosexuality. I’m sorry, but that’s really an invalid argument.

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    1. I didn’t say it makes him an atheist. Just that speaking publicly about how okay one is with homosexuality is not something that Christians in the public eye are known for. Perhaps it is different in England, but advocating for gay rights is basically unheard of in American Christian groups. I’m very glad you, personally, have no problem with it, but it would be naive not to recognize that the driving force behind things like the Defense of Marriage Act and Prop 8 in CA and other pieces of legislation like it is religious groups.

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  10. I am an agnostic atheist who had an extremely negative and scarring experience with the Catholic church in the past. I try my best not to judge others by their religion, but I do have a difficult time with the majority of Christians I meet (I live in the US). Typically- but most certainly not always- they are quite judgmental and their kindness is very fake. So while I am constantly fighting this bias and trying to open my mind, I tend to pre-judge people when they are Christian (especially Catholic) and/or conservative because of how my experience went. It’s a major flaw in my character. However, Tom is one of the rare cases where I do not care one bit what his beliefs are. He is so kind, loving, intelligent, tolerant, and open-minded that I know he is living out whatever his beliefs are (whether they be spiritual, religious, or simply a set of personal values like I have) in the right way. He is such a good man, and I really strive to be more like him. The fact that I am totally unsure of his beliefset and still hold him so dearly to my heart actually helps me to be more accepting like I want to be (and like I was, before my bad experience).

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  11. Can I just say tht I love this discussion and this is how it should be when talking about religion. No swearing no disrespect no name calling or put downs. This is fantastic and I would like to aella because they have written very eloquently
    What I believe in too. But everyone seriously this is the proper way to discuss and I’m sorry if you’ve have experiences with people of any religion that are not up to this standard. The church I go to has really been spot on on getting this message to acceptance and welcoming as well as being we’ll read on both sides and having intelligent conversation as well as personal relationship with the person you’re taking with. I know this is random but on pages like this you usually see he opposite and I was surprised and happy to see such a deep conversation on somewhat of a random page but just thank you! This is how it should be.
    Also tom hiddleston rules! 😉

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  12. I think that it is a little early in his career for him to be open about religious views/beliefs. I believe in God and personally do not have a problem with homosexuality, he loves and adores every person on this earth no matter your race, specific religion, sexuality, etc. I could preach to you but that is not why I commented. Tom seems to me an intelligent, charismatic, selfless, kind, handsome, and very passionate man. To say that I wouldn’t be disappointed if he was an atheist would not be true, but he is a good man with good morals and I will always admire the way he treats others. I admire how he doesn’t broadcast his beliefs as in trying to convince people like our world does today. I believe in opening ones eyes and letting them know what my peace is about and how great my God is, but not pushing the subject to where people are disgusted that I would believe in such a higher power. I really enjoy listening to Tom speak and watching his films. He is such a good hearted and well spirited man. God bless you all!

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  13. You sound like a proper retard. Thank you for proving that people are stupid and needn’t give their opinion unless it is backed up by something other than their imagination. I can’t even respond to the whole article because I couldn’t get through that much rubbish. Let’s just clarify, I’m Catholic and I believe in Gay Marriage and Abortion and would happily declare it. I’m not alone, I can name 100 other people in my church/community off the top of my head that would do the same. Don’t specify to a mixed audience what your opinion is of a “religious person” and what they would or would not publicly declare. Also, The other bit about Tom speaking about the Gods being invented, again back to you being borderline retarded. Also as a Catholic and a child of Academia, when a person refers to the “Gods” they are not speaking of the one true God found in any monotheistic religion. This includes Judaism, Christianity, Catholicism, and a number of other single God oriented faiths. When a person says the invention of the “Gods” its an academic reference to the fact that early civilizations, i.e Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, etc. created Gods to explain why certain events would happen, like volcanoes or hurricanes or why some people died and others lived. This is universal knowledge for anyone whose completed 6th grade. Just to clarify further, because I know you’re suffering from brain damage, in other words when you’re in a classroom anywhere in the Western World we explain that early cultures created the Gods to explain natural phenomenon’s that early mankind was unable to explain. This is actually how History is taught, its common knowledge. I’m only pointing that out to explain how stupid you sound to say, oh because he talked about Gods being invented he must be an atheist. It’s not even probable that his statement could be inferred that way because it isn’t likely that his religion would be polytheistic in nature, or that he would believe in more than one God. It’s possible, sure, but he grew up in England which means he’s most likely Christian and therefore if he was making a statement about being atheist it would most likely not denounce multiple Gods, it would be one God. I actually can’t continue writing further on the ridiculousness of these two claims, I’m hoping you were able to follow. Just, all points so stupid!

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    1. Thank you for your response. I have nothing to add, but I will leave you with this quote from Stephen F Roberts:

      “I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

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  14. Just putting it out there, you don’t really need to be a full on christian to have a background belief, surley a man with such class and respect must have some belief, weather it be athiesm or not. And atheists don’t go around saying bless you, and mentioning The Lord, they don’t do that Haha. But I don’t think he is an athiest at all.

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  15. its an interesting article, Personally I am a Christian and my opinion of this makes me think that he is at least trying to find that certain place in the religious world when he says “God laughs at our plans.”
    or he is just trying to search for something that is true to him.
    a lot of actors who are successful do not like to talk about religion because they fear that it might rub some of their fans the wrong way.
    that is why a lot of celebrities have the desire for a private life because most of what they do is viewed by the public.
    If he is religious, he might just want to keep that private
    if he is not, then I think there is a tiny bit of evidence that he is searching.
    a a lot of actors thank God for awards and things but the God they are talking about could mean anything.

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  16. He believes in God. His quotes, twitter, facebook etc. He said once that he doesn’t fear death, because he believes his soul will live on. He also stated that he doesn’t make plans because God laughs at them. Sorry my atheist fans, but he’s a God believer.

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    1. I’m not sure. Woody Allen is credited with the original quote “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans” and he was well known to be an atheist.

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  17. I gather that you are an American? I heard that in the states, most christians openly profess their religion. But the thing is, where there is much diverse beliefs and values in one society, it is considered a courtesy not to discuss such things. You know, they even went to european court for the rights to wear cross!
    And when it comes to tom hiddleston, i think the reason why he wouldn’t openly discuss his religious belief wouldn’t be about alienating fandoms but more about him respecting everyone no matter their religion. His supports for lgbt goes along the line. He seems to affirm life in its fullness and every aspect of who you are.
    While I cannot deny he is not your typical churchgoers, he seems at least spiritual at the same time. While i wouldn’t be too surprised if he were an athiest, i don’t think it any more unlikely that he be a quiet believer. Come to think of it, i’m actually more inclined to it, because you seldom sees such an infuriatingly optimistic person without religion. I mean, we, as in Christians, have our hideouts to lean on whenever reality seems too harsh. It must be much more difficult to stay optimistic without such bedrock.
    Oh, and the thing about intelligence and religion, i think it would be mainly because there are so many people who inherited religious beliefs along with other cultural values. But as you become educated, you have to reexamine all your cultural values, and when his faith was merely cultural one, then he abandons it.

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