Coming out as atheist: Meryl Streep

The Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep is promoting her new film Doubt about the struggle that the Catholic Church is having in coming to terms with the modern world. She plays an authoritarian nun, Sister Aloysius. When asked about her own attitude to religion in an interview in The Sunday Telegraph, she said: “I think I can understand the solace that’s available in the whole construct of religion. But I really don’t believe in the power of prayer, or things would have been avoided that have happened, that are awful. So it’s a horrible position as an intelligent, emotional, yearning human being to sit outside of the available comfort there. But I just can’t go there.”

So from where does she draw consolation? “Consolation? I’m not sure I have it. I have a belief, I guess, in the power of the aggregate human attempt – the best of ourselves. In love and hope and optimism – you know, the magic things that seem inexplicable. Why we are the way we are.”

12 December 2008