The Truman Show, The Mask, Ace Ventura. The list goes on…
Comic actor Jim Carrey has an impressive track record. IMDb singles out his “rubbery body movements” and “flexible facial expressions” for particular praise. His role in the much-lauded Bruce Almighty where he played a man trying to do God’s job also won him awards.
But that was years ago, and more recently Jim Carrey has been hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons. After much speculation in the press, it has been confirmed the star of The Truman Show will face a ‘wrongful death’ trial next year. Carrey is accused of providing the drugs which led to the suicide of his then girlfriend Cathriona White in 2015.
During a recent trip to a centre led by a Jesuit Priest which helps rehabilitate former gangsters, Carrey admitted the past few years had presented “challenges”. But he went on to share a deeply spiritual thought covering Jesus, the cross, forgiveness and even God’s omnipresence! (See below video)
Carrey has often opened up about his personal life (including his views on religion) in the past. “I only act in the movies” he quipped during one interview and his famous quote: “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer” has long been utilised by preachers eager to point people toward God.
But it seems that Carrey caught himself by surprise with this latest spiritual thought. Halfway through speaking, the actor turns to Father Greg - the Jesuit Priest who leads the centre - and remarks “Where did that come from?!”.
It’s a good question. Especially as the last time the Hollywood star spoke so openly about faith he said something rather different: “I’m a Buddhist, I’m a Christian, I’m a Muslim, I’m whatever you want me to be. It all comes down to the same thing…” That quote is now many years old. Perhaps Carrey has had a change of heart?
In Carrey’s thought for the day (from 1:13) he says: “I believe this room is filled with God…I’ve had some challenges in the last couple of years myself and ultimately I believe suffering leads to salvation.”
“We either go through the gate of vengeance…or we go through the gate of forgiveness which leads to grace.”
Continuing his thought, Carrey put Jesus front and centre: “Christ on the cross suffered terribly and was broken by it to the point of doubt and feeling of absolute abandonment. Then a decision was made - to look upon the people who were causing that suffering, with compassion and with forgiveness. And that’s what opens the gates of heaven for all of us.”
Later in the video, Carrey gave a more unusual take on God’s omnipresence (ability to be everywhere at once).
“They talk about omnipresence in church and nobody really thinks about what that means. What it means is every cell in your body is God. Everything is God. Everything is divine. When you do good things and transcend the negativity and attempt to do something positive, you are the heart of God, the eyes of God. When you speak from that place you are God’s voice. When you make a loaf of bread in this kitchen that is a Eucharist. You are blessing people with your work…That is the body of Christ.”
Some may baulk at the above quotes. But critics might do well to remember Jim Carrey isn’t a theologian, and like the rest of us he’s on a journey. Carrey has never claimed to be a Christian expounding Christian theology. And yet, for Christians of all types and stripes, Carrey’s assertion that Jesus’ forgiveness “opens the gates of heaven” is hard to disagree with.