Aaron Rodgers questions his Christian upbringing: ‘Religion can be a crutch’

Aaron Rodgers, Danica Patrick at the 2018 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater at L.A. Live in Los Angeles

I don’t mind Aaron Rodgers, but I don’t have strong feelings about him either way. He’s cute, and I remember that he was surprisingly good on Celebrity Jeopardy one time, and he strikes me as “smarter than the average jock,” but beyond that, I don’t know. Well, it turns out that Aaron is something of a deep thinker? He sat down with his girlfriend Danica Patrick on her Pretty Intense podcast/YouTube channel and he got in-depth about how he was raised Christian but he began to question everything as he got older:

Aaron Rodgers had trouble connecting with his religious community as a child. “Most people that I knew, church was just … you just had to go,” the Super Bowl XLV champion recalled.

It was his time with the youth group, Young Life, that he felt the most sense of community — which he said he didn’t experience during typical Sunday mass. “We went to Mexico during two spring breaks and built houses,” he said of volunteering with the program. “We put together homes for these folks who were living [with] garage door sides thrown together and stuff, that was meaningful. That was really meaningful work.”

But it wasn’t until Rodgers was exposed to other religions as a young adult that he began to question his own. “I just didn’t find any connection points with those things… I started questioning things, and had friends who had other beliefs — I enjoyed learning, that’s kind of a part of my life. I had some good friendships along the way that helped me to figure out exactly what I wanted to believe in. Ultimately, it was that rules and regulations and binary systems don’t really resonate with me.”

This realization eventually led Rodgers down a path to a “different type of spirituality,” he explained. “I don’t know how you can believe in a God who wants to condemn most of the planet to a fiery hell,” he said. “What type of loving, sensitive, omnipresent, omnipotent being wants to condemn his beautiful creation to a fiery hell at the end of all this?”

For the two-time NFL MVP, it was the “us against them” attitude he observed that ultimately changed his views on organized religion. “Religion can be a crutch, it can be something that people have to have to make themselves feel better,” Rodgers continued. “Because it’s set up binary, it’s us and them, saved and unsaved, heaven and hell, it’s enlightened and heathen, it’s holy and righteous … that makes a lot of people feel better about themselves.”

[From People]

I really respect him for talking about this, especially given his position in football, which is often treated as its own separate religion, on par with Evangelical Christianity. I think there are a lot of people who grow up this way and begin to separate themselves from what they were taught as they grow up. It’s also interesting because this has become an issue between Aaron and his family, like everything else – Aaron’s family is constantly nitpicking him in public. He’s like the Meghan Markle of football or something.

Kids Choice Sports Awards 2018

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red.

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24 Responses to “Aaron Rodgers questions his Christian upbringing: ‘Religion can be a crutch’”

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  1. JennyJenny says:

    That is the same thing my husband always says, that religion is a crutch.

    My mother was raised in a very strict protestant household and it did quite a number on her. She did shun religion when she was an adult. She believes in God and is spiritual, but doesn’t feel the need to belong to a church.

  2. Pineapple says:

    Oh dear, he is gonna anger some people with this. Religion is such a personal thing. You really just have to try to respect that everyone has different perspectives in life. I find what he said really interesting and he does make a good point. I once told my husband I would love to find a church that didn’t think they were “right”, a church that respected and studies all perspectives. He said, “Hon, I don’t think you’ll ever find that, people like to think that they are right.”

    • anon says:

      The Unitarians are about as close to what you’re describing as you’re gonna get. They’re loosely based on Christian principles, but are open to the teachings of Buddha, etc.

      • c8h10n4o2 says:

        I’m a lapsed Unitarian Universalist (I get up early on Sunday for nothing except the dog, and she doesn’t care if I’m showered) and there are atheists, agnostics, deists, Christians, etc. It runs a spectrum. Humanism is the main tenet.

  3. Sayrah says:

    I like what I’m hearing and feel very much the same as he does. But yeah, he’ll get backlash unfortunately. Look at what happened when Arian foster announced he is agnostic.

  4. anon says:

    Honestly, I don’t watch football and couldn’t care less about the NFL, but I respect him for having the courage and curiosity to dig deep and go his own way. Religion is, and always has been, the Great Divider and I don’t subscribe to any of it.

    Good for him.

  5. ME says:

    From my own personal experiences it truly seems like the people who act the most religious are usually the biggest hypocrites ! Also, religion has become a big business. It’s a way to make money and sucker desperate people in to donating whatever little money they have because “God will reward them”. Yeah ok. I’ll donate straight to a charity instead thanks !

  6. Spicecake38 says:

    I love talking religion,philosophy,theology all this stuff.
    I am a Christian,I haven’t been to church in a long time,but I chose belief and believe that it’s not religion per se but the way those in power like to judge/ condemn.
    In my experience it’s the ones screaming about hell,wrath,judgment who are often the ones living the exact opposite of what they say.
    We talk about it a lot in our home,and when my daughter recently asked why so many are willing to condemn I tell her that those people are so narrow minded,and that I choose to believe in love and love is big,huge,and that some people want to lock God up into a tiny box,but that I believe in a loving Being who isn’t small but large and all encompassing in love for humanity.

  7. David says:

    Being raised by Methodist ministers on one side and Southern Baptists on the other, I did the same things he did and his thoughts are relatable. Of course the lashes will be swift.

  8. Aims says:

    I was raised evangelical and at the age of 7 I was sitting, listening to worship service, thinking this is crap. I looked around me watching people just going along with the masses and nobody was asking any questions. It bothered me that people where giving hands over fists of their money, some who couldn’t afford it, while the pastor has a brand new car. It bothered my that if you didn’t VOTE they way they wanted you , that somehow GOD was gonna get you. But the kicker to me was that their theory that Gay people were causing all the pain and destruction in the world was the kicker. That you needed to keep your children away from anyone who is part of the LGBTQ community was absurd. I was born into the hateful, ridiculous and hypocritical thinking. I got out, thankfully and I’m happy to report that I have been religious free for 25 years. I have raised my kids free from guilt or shame or hate. They are happy and kind. My life became lighter and it was the best decision I have ever made.

    • FHMom says:

      Ha My parents were invited to an evangelical service and took us kids along. I must have been about 8 or 9. When they passed the basket for money, the preacher said that Jesus doesn’t like junk, implying that the people should give lots of money. My parents grabbed us and we left. We still laugh about it.

  9. zotsioltar says:

    Not a surprise. Always seemed like he had an open mind which seemed to cause issues with his family.

    Should check out his opinions on season 8 of Game of Thrones, dude is a nerd and as much as I dont want to – I love that about him (not a GB fan).

  10. Jumpingthesnark says:

    Good for him for saying this! He’ll catch flak, but if a teen or young person who has a similar upbringing and has questions in mind reads this and realizes with relief that aren’t alone, I’m all for it. Also, these 2 are an incredibly good looking couple!

  11. Rapunzel says:

    Here’s the thing: Christianity, as practiced by many Evangelicals, is supposed to be a crutch. You are supposed to lean on God/Jesus as a crutch. For all thing you must rely on him. It isn’t even about good works- it’s faith only. This is what leads to parents praying for sick babies instead of taking them to the doctors.

  12. bonobochick says:

    I’m not surprised Rodgers is a deep thinker. He attended UC Berkeley.

  13. Swan Lake says:

    I’m glad he was willing to open up. I discovered much of this also as a member of an evangelical church. My growing dissatisfaction led me after 60+ years as a Southern Baptist to join the Episcopal Church.

  14. JennEricaMS says:

    I was raised with an odd combination of Southern Baptist and Catholicism. After that kind of upbringing it’s not hard to see why the religion I believe in the most is deism. I believe there is a supreme being or some form of intelligent design at work in the universe but I can’t believe that those who practice Judaism or Islam or another form of worship are destined for hell because they don’t believe that Jesus was the son of God (which is what I was taught as a child). While love and acceptance are often talked about, down here in the Bible Belt those tenets are seldom practiced and I just can’t get behind that.

  15. Allergy says:

    Most religions are infuriating, with idiotic rules and twisted behavior. I don’t get religious clothing, or public prayers, or listing a million things as “sin.” Mega churches creep me out. Ridiculous and so dangerous.

  16. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    One positive of the information age? More reading leads to more comparisons which lead to more thinking which leads to questions and a bevy of new conclusions creating new and updated personal spiritual parameters lol. Hallelujah. Walk this way.

  17. okay... says:

    I wonder if his feelings have anything to do with his rumored homosexuality- especially the part about “condemning to a fiery hell” It seemed the issues with his family came up around the time that the rumors saw light.

    No judgement here, just a thought.