Idol Chatter


“The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert said his “life has never been the same” since an encounter in Chicago three decades ago that restored his faith in God.

Colbert was brought up Catholic, but at some point, he turned away from religion, believing that the God he was raised to believe in was not real. That all changed one day, when he was walking down the street at age 22 and someone handed him a copy of the New Testament with Proverbs and Psalms.

Colbert shared this powerful experience in an interview with America Media in their Faith in Focus series. Colbert told the interviewer, Fr. James Martin, a Jesuit priest, that he cracked open the frozen pocket bible to the glossary and turned to the first verse on dealing with anxiety. The comedian said he immediately felt “lightened” after reading a passage from the Gospel of Matthew.

“It was Matthew, chapter 5, it was the Sermon, ‘And so I say to you, do not worry, for who among you by worrying can change a single hair on his head or add a cubit to the span of his life?’ And I was absolutely, immediately lightened,” Colbert recalled. “For the first time, I understood the real meaning of the phrase, ‘It spoke to me.’ Like it read off the page, the words of Christ read off the page,” he continued.

“My life has never been the same,” Colbert stated.

“(I) had lost my faith in God, to my own great grief,” Colbert told the Rev. “I was sort of convinced that I had been wrong all this time, that I had been taught something that wasn’t true.”

Colbert insists that, for him, it is all about love. He did not go deeply into religious views. But his stated faith is not dissimilar to what many would call liberal Christianity. The person of Jesus is more important than the Old Testament God — which Colbert did not mention in detail during his remarks.

Colbert continued, “It’s not the old man with a beard, it’s not the Old Testament God. If you’re really looking for literal imagery, what I think of when I think of God, I think of Jesus, and then that image dissolves, because I then try to subsume that single image into the Trinity.”

Stephen Colbert is not alone when it comes to losing his faith. The Pew Research Center takes a closer look at America’s rapidly growing religious “nones.” Indeed, religious nones are the fastest growing demographic group as it pertains to religiosity and spirituality.

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