Sean Astin has proven himself one of the most versatile and underrated actors of my generation. With a resume that contains such films at The Goonies, Rudy, The Lord of the Rings trilogy and television shows like 24, Astin has transcended the typical life of a former child star and parlayed his talent into a career that has lasted over a quarter century. He currently appears in the new film Mom’s Night Out, and in an interview with Fox News on the movie’s release, Astin opened up about his Christian faith:
Astin, who is “technically Lutheran” after he, his wife and three daughters were baptized in the same church, never thought about defining his faith until he was asked in a live interview to share his religious beliefs.
“I thought, ‘Huh, I guess I have to have an answer’,” he recalled. “I consider myself a Christian. I don’t know if I’m a very good one but I’m praying the forgiveness thing is legit.”
While Astin’s answer is confident now, his road to faith was a winding road. Raised by his mother, actress Patty Duke, and father, “The Addams Family’s” John Astin, in what he describes as a secular home, Astin was exposed to a variety of religions before coming to his own faith.
“My mother was a Catholic who had been kicked out of the church at one time and she put me in Catholic school in sixth to eighth grades and I wanted to become a Catholic then,” he said. “But my father, who was an atheist because his parents were a scientist and school teacher, later discovered Buddhism.”
In addition to his exposure to Catholicism and Buddhism, Astin’s oldest brother “went to India, shaved his head and lived on an ashram and became Hindi.”
In 2003, Astin decided to “embrace Christianity” and develop his own “relationship and understanding with God.”
Astin admits that, while he doesn’t choose his projects along faith-based lines, he will turn down a role “if I feel it has zero moral redemption.” He laughs at the idea of being pigeonholed as a Christian filmmaker after taking on roles in films that appeal to a Christian fan base. He admires a new generation of Christian directors and producers who try to get messages based on timeless biblical principles into the marketplace in fresh ways:
“Hollywood is antagonistic to Christian films because of forces that are hard to describe, but Christians have made things difficult for themselves by the way they approach the outside community,” he continued.
Astin said people need to forget about those “who grab the microphones and yell the loudest.” The fact is, people are hungry for family-friendly, faith-based entertainment and studios are finally starting to listen.
“The Christian ground game is presently revolutionizing marketing in filmmaking,” he explained. “It’s not a subtle thing, and it’s a great thing and it’s not owned by the Christians. They are just getting there first because they’re tired of not being able to get their product into a wide marketplace.”