Ralph Fiennes was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. He moved around quite a bit while growing up, living in several places in England and Ireland.

Fiennes grew up in a Catholic household, and says that his mother was quite devout,1 but he says he “chucked it all in before I was confirmed.”2

Defining his spirituality as an adult is a little tougher. He’s not an atheist; he believes in some sort of higher purpose or power. Referring to those who “have no belief,” he said,

I think that’s very destructive, really, ultimately. That’s not something I accept. There is something else beyond, above, even now, here, there’s something bigger, more potent.3

And when asked what God means to him, he said,

God is not anything human. God is a force, God is chaos, God is unknown. God is terror and enlightenment at the same time.4

So spirituality is clearly very important to him, but he’s not a Catholic. He could be Christian, but maybe he considers himself a theist. Or maybe a pantheist. Maybe he’s meta-religious. It’s tough to know. If you have any other clues into Fiennes’ spirituality, let us know in the comments.

The Constant Humanitarian

Ralph Fiennes appears to have a liberal worldview, but rather than partisan politics, he focuses on larger, human rights issues.

Fiennes has been working with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) since 1999 on projects all over the world. In 2012, on behalf of the organization, he appealed to the world to help alleviate the food crisis in West Africa. He wrote,

There is no doubt that this is an enormous challenge, but we should not have to see children die from hunger in front of us. It shouldn’t be like this in 2012. We cannot let such crises happen again and again because of a lack of funds.5

Later that same year he joined other British actors in encouraging Prime Minister David Cameron to put pressure on Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko to release all political prisoners, who were imprisoned solely for participating in peaceful protests.6

He also favors increased government regulation of large corporations in order to promote transparency and responsible business practices. He said,

I think the big corporations are not transparent and not answerable enough whether they’re oil or media companies. Every opportunity to demand answers from government or corporate power is important and is to be taken.7

Fiennes talks a lot about our common humanity, and seems to be very concerned about the well-being of his fellow humans, in the small “l” liberal tradition. Or, as he put it:

There is a humanitarian impulse that one aspires to and there are days when one doesn’t do it very well.8

Indeed.

  1. Ralph Fiennes Quotes. Quote Oasis. []
  2. The Ralph Fiennes FAQ. The Wire. []
  3. One Fiennes Day. RFJL Article. []
  4. The NS Interview: Ralph Fiennes. New Statesman. []
  5. Ralph Fiennes: Time Is Running Out for West Africa’s Children. UNICEF. []
  6. Stars urge David Cameron to act over political prisoners in Belarus. The Guardian. []
  7. The Interview with Ralph Fiennes (Actor). RFJL. []
  8. Ralph Fiennes Quotes. Brainy Quote. []