Jane FondaFrom her longtime political activism to her Oscar-winning acting, Jane Fonda has never done anything halfheartedly, and she brings this characteristic intensity to her faith. When she talks about "feeling the presence of the Almighty," her view of Jesus, and the way she prays, her voice wells from deep within her chest. You may know this voice from her films (among dozens of others: "Barbarella," "Klute," "On Golden Pond," and currently in theaters, "Monster-in-Law"), or from her aerobics videos ("feel the burn!"), or from film reels from the sixties, when she spoke out against the Vietnam War. Fonda, now 67, spoke with us recently about her spirituality.

Read Beliefnet's complete interview and listen the audio excerpts below.

Listen Jane Fonda talks about:
  • God's coincidences
  • Spiritual emptiness
  • Being Saved
  • Having doubts
  • The Gnostic Gospels
  • Her prayers
  • Feminism and Jesus

  • Beliefnet: Although you didn't identify with a particular religious path until recently, your book seems to tell the story of someone whose spiritual consciousness has been developing her whole life. You were raised as an agnostic, or an atheist?

    Fonda: I always assumed it was as an atheist. Looking back now, I guess it was more an agnostic upbringing. My father's parents were Christian Science practitioners.

    Things began to change for me-as I think they do for many people-when I was in crisis. I think that the reason that that happens is because pain can break you open. And you can go several ways with it. You can pretend that it's not happening and you can cover the broken places with busyness or alcohol or whatever-you can numb it.

    What happened to me was, and I remember exactly where I was on the day: I mean, I was really in pain, and I said out loud-I was by myself-"If God wants me to suffer like this, there must be a reason." And it took me by surprise; I did a double take. I thought, "Where is that coming from?" And from that time forward, I became aware of, I call them coincidences. I just became very aware that the absolute right person would come into my life at the moment that I needed to know something. The exact right book would come into my hands. Oftentimes by people I didn't know. They were like sign posts! And I thought, "Has this been going on all along and I just didn't notice?"