Eddie Vedder was born in Evanston, Illinois and grew up partially in the Chicago, Illinois area and partially in the San Diego, California area.
There is no reference (even from Vedder himself) regarding his religious upbringing so it is assumed that his fractured family was largely non-religious. This could be an important factor in determining Eddie’s current religious views–atheism.
Vedder has been unabashedly critical of religion over his more than 3 decades in the public eye as Pearl Jam’s frontman and primary songwriter.
His critiques are nothing new–religion is the cause of wars, strife, ethnocentrism, and it plays an undeserved role in politics. He said:
People on death row, the treatment of animals, women’s right to choose. So much in America is based on religious fundamentalist Christianity. Grow up! This is the modern world!
When asked once what his feelings on God are, Vedder responded:
Sure. I think it’s like a movie that was way too popular. It’s a story that’s been told too many times and just doesn’t mean anything.
Much of Vedder’s music carries a current of unexplainable phenomenon and profound inner emotion. As a result, Vedder has been asked to reconcile his atheism with these themes. He said:
[I don’t] mind touching on spirituality in the songs… [It is] an individual thing; I’ve been open to some interesting theories… The word ‘religion’ has such bad connotations for me, that it’s been responsible for wars… I have to wonder what we did on this planet before religion.
Vedder is a liberal, often too liberal even for the Democratic party. In the 2000 presidential race, he supported Green Party candidate Ralph Nader.
However, almost everyone in the U.S. knows that supporting a third-party candidate is throwing away a vote and after 4 years of George W. Bush, Vedder thought it better to support a Democrat, if nothing more than to oust Bush. He said:
I supported Ralph Nader in 2000, but it’s a time of crisis. We have to get a new administration in.
Vedder’s conversion to the Democratic party seems to have stuck so far, because in 2008, he was a supporter of Barack Obama’s candidacy, even though Ralph Nader also ran.
As is evidenced by the first quote in this article, Vedder takes a left-leaning stance on most social issues from abortion to animal rights to the death penalty to environmentalism. Vedder has been especially critical of the death penalty and took up the cause to free 3 young men scheduled to be executed in Memphis, Tennessee, even though DNA evidence asserted their innocence. They were eventually freed, but after 18 years behind bars.