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Ben Affleck and Erwin Mcmanus Chat About Faith, Family and Forgiveness in Personal Interview

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Ben Affleck recently sat down for an interview with Los Angeles Pastor Erwin McManus. Affleck talks about faith, family and healing.


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Tré Goins-Phillips

You can still find Ben Affleck in church with Jennifer Garner almost every Sunday.

Affleck and Garner divorced in 2018—a painful separation The Way Back star described to The New York Times as “the biggest regret of my life”—but the celebrity parents still come together to raise their three children.

During a recent interview with Los Angeles Pastor Erwin McManus, Affleck said he would quickly give up all he has in Hollywood for his children.

He also spoke candidly about his faith.

“Faith is something that I have, but has also been a struggle for me,” Affleck admitted to McManus. “Going to church, I really find Christian teaching beautiful and moving. And the hard thing for me is to really—when I struggle, when I suffer, when I see things that are painful, I have doubts.”

There’s no doubt, though, that he believes God is there and that he’s learned from the teachings of Jesus.

Affleck said he’s worked to be open to where his questions lead him, recalling a conversation he had with a man who told him his goal shouldn’t always be to “be sure.” Instead, the actor recalled, the man encouraged him to simply seek answers. That process, for Affleck, has produced a deeper faith, especially in his commitment to sobriety—something he told The Hollywood Reporter he is doing for his kids because, as he said, “I really don’t want my children to pay for my sins, or to be afraid of me, which is one of the hard parts of being the child of an alcoholic.” Affleck’s father was also an alcoholic.

“The idea that God—Jesus—loves us and forgives us, all of us, everybody—all the people that you know and think are great and all the people that you wanna judge and be angry at,” Affleck said. “So if God loves all of us and encourages us all to love one another and not to judge one another, to forgive one another, I find that incredibly moving, because that’s really God setting an example for us for how we might be.”

One of the most comforting realizations Affleck said he’s had in his faith journey, particularly as he’s faced regrets over his alcoholism and divorce, is, “If God can forgive me, maybe I can forgive myself.”

Affleck spoke with McManus at Mosaic Church in Los Angeles ahead of the release of his latest movie, The Way Back, a film that initially fell off the rails when the actor relapsed (it was saved thanks to a call from Garner, who convinced the director, Gavin O’Connor, to wait for her ex-husband to go through rehab because he really wanted to do the movie).

The Way Back follows a lot of Affleck’s own journey, chronicling the story of a high school basketball coach struggling with substance abuse issues and reeling from a broken marriage. Ultimately, Affleck said, faith plays a central role in the coach’s story.

The movie debuts Friday.