a bible on a stand in church

Is Matthew McConaughey Religious?

“Now, first off, I want to thank God, because that’s who I look up to.”

Matthew McConaughey grins widely as he stands in front of the microphone palming his award. He continues, “In the words of a late Charlie Lawton, who said, ‘When you’ve got God, you’ve got a friend, and that friend is you.’” 

Following his bold step toward giving thanks to God in his 2014 Academy Awards speech, the Dallas Buyers Club star raised many eyebrows and sparked considerable curiosity about his faith. 

For years, due to hints toward his devotion, fans have raised the question of whether McConaughey is religious. Nonetheless, the 50-year-old Hollywood celeb has been one of the industry’s few actors to openly communicate his evident religiosity and his relationship with God. 

About Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey is a well-known and celebrated American actor and producer. The star has been featured in at least 62 various films and is widely known for his roles in A Time to Kill, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and The Lincoln Lawyer. 

Before the Fame

McConaughey was born on November 4, 1969, in Uvalde, Texas, where he was then raised. He later moved to Longview, Texas to attend Longview High School. Following his high school graduation, McConaughey moved to Austin and attended the University of Texas at Austin and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in May of 1993.

Family

James Donald “Big Jim” McConaughey, Matthew’s father, was a Louisiana-raised and well-known college football star. His mother, Mary Kathleen, was born and raised in New Jersey. As a kindergarten teacher, she taught McConaughey in school and raised three children – Matthew being the youngest. 

McConaughey’s parents divorced a total of three times and remarried each other twice. Regardless, his family was fairly religious and had a few simple rules.

McConaughey explained regarding his autobiographical memoir Greenlights, that while his father was tough on him and his brothers, he wouldn’t have traded any discipline for the values and faith that he discovered in return. 

McConaughey & Religion

Early Religious Views

Although he was raised in Texas and with southern manners, according to the star himself, McConaughey was raised Methodist and not southern Baptist.

The star has claimed that his mother named him Matthew – and he was not to answer to “Matt” for a specific reason. He explains in an interview with Jimmy Kimmel that, in kindergarten, “My buddy says, ‘Matt, want to go play on the monkey bars?’ I ran out and said, ‘Yeah,’ and halfway to the monkey bars I feel this hand on my shoulder, bam, get slammed to the ground. I look up, it’s my mother in my face … she goes ‘Don’t you ever answer to Matt again, I named you Matthew from the Bible,’ and I was like, ‘Yes ma’am.’”

Out of respect for his mother and the Bible, Matthew has claimed the full-length New Testament title since birth.

In addition to his name’s Biblical association, McConaughey had plans to attend Southern Methodist University, a private, religious school. He only opted for the University of Texas at Austin to spare his father a dime in tuition fees.

Religiousness in Adulthood

McConaughey married his wife, Camila Alves, in 2012 after six years together. The two were married in their home in Austin, Texas, at a Catholic ceremony due to Camila’s religious affiliation. The star claims that the decision wasn’t a light one, and in a 2014 interview with GQ, he explained this.

We talked to our pastor. In the end, our understanding was, Let’s go make a covenant, with you, me, and God. And let’s understand that this is not a destination, this is the beginning of an adventure that we’re taking together.

Following the birth of their first child, McConaughey also explained in 2008 that the two named their eldest son Levi, after the Biblical character, much like Matthew’s mother had done with him. 

In the same interview with GQ magazine, McConaughey states that he and his wife and kids attend church every Sunday. He says that they are members of a non-denominational church that is “based in the faith that Jesus is the son of God, that he died for our sins, but many different denominations come in.”

He claims that his churchgoing experience growing up was significant to his childhood, and he recognized how much he needed it, making it an important addition to his own children’s lives. When asked later about whether he believes in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, McConaughey responds by saying,

Well, it’s a heaven of a story, ain’t it?

Keeping the Faith in 2020

In a recent episode of the Joe Rogan Experience on October 22, 2020, McConaughey willingly opens up about his spiritual thoughts and his views on religion. Rogan politely asks, “Am I wrong here, you are religious in some way?” To which McConaughey replies without hesitation, “Yeah, yeah, absolutely.” He continues by explaining his belief in both God as well as science.

Rogan later speaks up about the translations of Biblical stories and how many people take the book as a guideline, while others pick and choose what they find within. McConaughey explains that he takes what he can from the Bible and uses its teachings. He says, pertaining to a well-known story of Moses, “I don’t know what to do in my daily life with the burning bush … I do know what to do with ‘Love your neighbor like yourself’.”

Continuing, McConaughey goes on to say that following several Biblical teachings has encouraged him to notice improvements in his own life.

Conclusion

So, is Matthew McConaughey religious? In short, yes, he is.

Between his religious experiences during childhood and his choice to uphold Christian values into adulthood, the Texas-raised actor has most definitely made a special place in his personal life for God and religion.

Not only has he maintained his own faith, but it is clear that McConaughey and his wife have welcomed religion into their home and into the family that they share.

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Author

  • Ashtin is an American freelance writer and aspiring editor. She is a recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English, and is currently studying editing at the University of Chicago. Alongside her freelance work, Ashtin pursues the hobby of creative writing. She has a regular yoga practice, a deep love for mystery novels, and a fascination for all things true crime.

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