(This 2/2 on the topic of Untethered from Childhood Beliefs)
This is from a recent article on Brad Pitt that appeared in Parade Magazine on September 15, 2011. Pitt was interviewed and asked to open up about his family and finding time for the important things in life. You can read the entire interview by clicking on the link above, but here is his opinions on faith.
My religion was telling me what not to do—what not to even think about doing. Those are the things I would try, because that was my nature. I had to experience things to know what would work for me—say, something as simple as premarital sex. I can figure out what works or doesn’t work. I will know. You say that something is wrong for me to do? Well, I know it’s not wrong because I just did it. Then you say something else is also wrong? Yeah, I did that too, and you’re right, it is wrong for me. But it wasn’t wrong just because you told me it was.
Pitt here is pretty much right on in what he is saying and describing. Statements like that it was his "religion that was telling him what not to do-what not to even think about doing." That is religion it gives you a list of things to do and not to do in order to be who you are "supposed to be." He is right that his nature, one of sin, would want to try many of those things listed on the do and do not list. Many of the same things that most of wanted to try or did try at some point.
So what is Pitt missing about faith in his life? What he is missing is a real encounter with the gospel that is not about behavior modification, but that causes your behavior to change because you change. My point here is that a list of religious do's and don'ts do not create the heart change that is produced out of the gospel.
You see the gospel turns religion upside down.Tim Keller explains the difference between religion and the gospel by saying, "Religion says, I obey-therefore I'm accepted. The Gospel says, I'm accepted-therefore obey." Accepted by what some may ask? Accepted by the fact that God sent Christ to suffer the wrath that we deserved in our place and that through belief and surrender to him that we are now looked at as righteous because of his righteousness.
Christ in the gospel is our only hope, my only hope, Pitt's only hope, and I pray that the many that are out there just like Pitt will have an encounter with the God of the Bible who loves them more than anyone. Pitt is right when he says that his religion wasn't working for him; because it was religion not the gospel.