Freethought Almanac

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June 1: Morgan Freeman (1937)

Morgan_FreemanIt was on this date, June 1, 1937, that American actor, film director, and narrator Morgan Freeman was born. Freeman has earned Academy Award nominations for his performances in Driving Miss Daisy (1989), The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and Invictus (2009), as well as winning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the 2004 fight film Million Dollar Baby. He has also won a Golden Globe Award for Driving Miss Daisy and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Million Dollar Baby. Freeman has appeared in many other box office hits, including Glory (1989), Unforgiven (1992), Se7en (1995), Deep Impact (1998), Bruce Almighty (2003) and (in voice-over) March of the Penguins (2005).

In an interview with CNN (6/2/2010), the actor who played God in Bruce Almighty denied the claim that he was a "man of God," saying that "the question of faith is whatever you actually believe is. We take a lot of what we’re talking about in science on faith; we posit a theory, and until it’s disproven we have faith that it’s true. If the mathematics work out, then it’s true, until it’s proven to be untrue." June 2010 was also when Freeman began hosting and narrating the American science documentary television series Through the Wormhole on the Science TV channel. The series explores, scientifically, such enduring and philosophical questions as, “Is There a Creator?” (S 1, Ep 1), “How Did We Get Here?” (S 1, Ep 5), “Is There Life After Death?” (S 2, Ep 1), “Can We Live Forever?” (S 2, Ep 8), “Can We Resurrect The Dead?” (S 3, Ep 6), “Can We Eliminate Evil?” (S 3, Ep 7), “Did We Invent God?” (S 3, Ep 10), “Is There a God Particle?” (S 4, Ep 1), “When Does Life Begin?” (S 4, Ep 2), “Do We Have Free Will?” (S 4, Ep 9), “Did God Create Evolution?” (S 4, Ep 10) and “Is God an Alien Concept?” (S 5, Ep 1).

In the 2007 film The Bucket List, co-star Jack Nicholson’s character (Edward) gave a pretty accurate account of his own real-life lack of faith, but does the pro-faith assertion of Freeman’s character (Carter) match his real-life faith? In an interview with the Grio (6/8/2012), he said, “My belief system doesn’t support a creator as such, as we can call God, who created us in his/her/its image.” Then Freeman asks back, “Has anybody ever seen hard evidence?” The Grio observes, “But there’s a twist. Freeman doesn’t actually define himself as an atheist since he believes God exists—as a human creation. ‘We invented God,’ Freeman said.”

Originally posted June 2013.

Ronald Bruce Meyer

Our Fearless Leader.

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