Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins was born and raised in Margam, Port Talbot, Wales.
It’s tough to totally define Hopkins’ form of spirituality, but he sounds to me like a God-fearing pantheist with some Catholic and agnostic tendencies. But let me step back for a moment. He says used to consider himself an atheist and an agnostic, but something changed when he was around 40. He had a terrible drinking problem and couldn’t figure out how to kick the addiction:
There’s no way I could get it, and I suddenly, in Los Angeles, I made that quantum leap when I asked for help. I just found something and a woman talked to me and she said, just trust in God. And I said, well, why not? And it was such a quantum leap from this to that.1
But the God he describes isn’t necessarily the one you read about in the Bible. He said he believes in the same God Einstein believed in and that “Everything is God. Everything is particle physics.”2 And then he said that certainty is not what he’s after in religion; it’s the mystery that’s attractive.
Certainty is one of the most awful terrors in the world. . . . Look where that got us. Hitler, Stalin–they know the truth. And I know atheists, brilliant atheists. I enjoy reading Christopher Hitchens and I’ll examine everything. But, what I enjoy is uncertainty. . . cherish your doubts because there God is hiding.3
He says that finding God was a liberating experience for him, one that brought him out of the darkness. He said that “being an atheist must be like living in a closed cell with no windows.”4 And now, so it seems, Hopkins has found the light.
Politics of the heart
Anthony Hopkins is fairly mum on politics, both in the U.K. and his adopted country, the U.S. In European politics, the center tends to be farther to the left than in American politics, so I suppose we can guess that he’d be at least slightly liberal in the latter country’s terms.
When asked about why he became an American citizen, Hopkins didn’t mention the Constitution, religious freedom, or anything other political sentiment. He said,
America has been very generous to me, magnanimous really. I thought it would be good to give something back. It was a decision of the heart.5
And it seems decisions of the heart are guiding some other of his pseudo-political activities. Hopkins is involved with the environmental organization Greenpeace in speaking out against illegal whale hunting in the Australian pacific.6 Possibly his concern for environmental and animal rights issues makes him sound slightly liberal. What do you think?
If you have any more information about Hopkins’ politics, let us know in the comments.