The Peculiar Faith of Stephen Colbert

Posted: December 15, 2009 by Rick Hogaboam in Discipleship/Sanctification, Suffering, The Mysterious World of American Evangelicalism
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In a rare Colbert interview with Rolling Stone, he shared a bit on his Catholic faith:

Does faith still play a big part in your life?
Very much. I am highly variable in my devotion. From a doctrinal point of view or a dogmatic point of view or a strictly Catholic adherent point of view, I’m first to say that I talk a good game, but I don’t know how good I am about it in practice. I saw how my mother’s faith was very valuable to her and valuable to my brothers and sisters, and I’m moved by the words of Christ, and I’ll leave it at that.

But you do teach Sunday school?
I teach the seven year olds. I’m the catechist for their first communion.

Colbert also shared about how he left his faith while in college only to return to it after a Gideon gave him a New Testament, where Colbert subsequently opened it up to Matthew 5 and had an epiphany of sorts.

Colbert mentioned the presence of suffering in his life as the primary cause for his struggles in faith . Stephen lost his father and 2 brothers to an air crash when he was only 10 years old. Stephen opened up about suffering and was anything but the funny guy he is on late night Comedy Central…this is what he said:

“Not to get too deep here, but the most valuable thing I can think of is to be grateful for suffering. That is a sublime feeling, and completely inexplicable and illogical, but no one doesn’t suffer. So the degree to which you can be aware of your own humanity is the degree to which you can accept, with open eyes, your suffering. To be grateful for your suffering is to be grateful for your humanity, because what else are you going to do – say, “No Thanks”? It’s there. “Smile and accept”, said Mother Teresa. And she was talking to people who had it rough.”

I’m not about to defend Colbert as the bastion of orthodoxy and affirm everything about him, but I did think his thoughts on suffering were far more mature and edifying that what is preached from most American Evangelical pulpits.  I also appreciate his strong questioning of Elaine Pagels, Richard Dawkins, and other guests who question God’s existence, the reliability of the Bible, etc. I still crack up when he said that the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup proves the existence of God when interviewing God-hating atheist Richard Dawkins. It was funny, but Colbert was also serious…which is what I love about this guy.

  1. Heidi says:

    That was very interesting. Thank you for sharing. I love what he said about suffering – very very true.

  2. joelmartin says:

    Good stuff. He is hilarious.

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