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Former Atheist, Actor Anthony Hopkins, Reveals Encounter That Led Him to God

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During an appearance last week at the 11th annual LEAP Conference, Hopkins explained a major turning point in his life—a moment when he abandoned his previous embrace of atheism in exchange for a belief in God.


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Tré Goins-Phillips

As each of us gets older, questions about God, purpose and the afterlife become more pronounced. That’s certainly been the case for famed actor Anthony Hopkins.

During an appearance last week at the 11th annual LEAP Conference, Hopkins explained a major turning point in his life—a moment when he abandoned his previous embrace of atheism in exchange for a belief in a higher power.

The Oscar-winning star may not be Christian, but he is clearly open to the existence of God, a shift that occurred in 1975 when during an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, a woman asked an introspective question that intrigued Hopkins.

“Why don’t you just trust in God?” the woman asked Hopkins, who noted from that point forward his insatiable craving for alcohol vanished.

The 80-year-old celebrity told students at the conference he believes people “are capable of so much,” pointing to his own sordid life experiences. He said, “[I] cannot believe that my life is what it is because I should have died in Wales, drunk or something like that.”

In a 2014 interview with ABC News for his role as Methuselah in the movie “Noah,” Hopkins said he falls deeper into belief as he ages.

“I feel every day, as I get older, anyway, that it’s all a miracle,” he explained. “I mean, my heart beats, my lungs breath. That is an extraordinary—an extraordinary phenomenon.”

In a 2011 interview with Piers Morgan, Hopkins recalled his struggles with alcoholism, acknowledging his own need for God, despite being an atheist at the time.

“I was hell-bent on destruction. And I just asked for a little bit of help, and suddenly, pow. It was just like, bingo,” he recalled. “It was like being possessed by a demon, an addiction, and I couldn’t stop. And [there are] millions of people around like that. I could not stop.”

RELATED CONTENT: Where Is God in the Addiction Crisis?

Hopkins will play Pope emeritus Benedict XVI alongside actor Jonathan Pryce, who will portray Pope Francis, in a forthcoming Netflix original movie titled “The Pope.”

The film will chronicle the former pontiff’s appointment in 2005 following the death of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, The Daily Mail reported. The drama will also explore Pope Benedict’s resignation and Pope Francis’ subsequent election.

A release date for “The Pope” has not yet been announced.