In the mid-1980's Brad enrolled at the University of Missouri, but in 1986 he decided to leave the University of Missouri before graduation and go to Hollywood. In an interview with Parade Magazine Brad mentions a girlfriend he met his first year at Missouri who helped straighten him out in terms of "religion."
“She was a Methodist preacher's kid. She wasn't that into me, truthfully, although we were together for a semester. She was tough, man, although really cool. She had an older brother who was killed in a four-by-four accident, which was not uncommon out there. She was a hardcore realist. She called me on so much bull—about any romantic ideas that I had grown up with about life. It was my first year in college and I was pushing back against the religion thing."
The Parade Magazine article says that Brad was raised a Southern Baptist and then something Brad said to the reporter raised my curiosity regarding which Southern Baptist church he actually attended. Brad said . . .
In my eyes religion was a mechanism of guilt, this engrained system, used to keep the flock in servitude. Guilt is the thing I find most evil about (religion). It's the thing I rail against the most. She helped me in defining what I believed.
I think the reason guilt bothers Brad Pitt so much is because he doesn't know what to do with it. The gospel is not good news to him because He doesn't comprehend it. If I could, I would help him understand that guilt is to sin what pain is to injury. It is not the problem - only the symptom and consquence of the problem. The problem is sin.
When my eldest son was little I taught him a Keach's catechism that defined sin as "any transgression of the law of God." Before I could help my own children understand guilt, I had to help them understand what sin and transgression against God are all about. What does it mean to transgress God's law and be found guilty in the eyes of God?
Transgressing the law of God is a little like trespassing on the property of a man. The boundary is established by someone other than the trespasser. The breach may or may not be in the conscious awareness of the offender, but the owner has every judicial and legal right to hold the trespasser accountable. The guilt of trespassing is real whether or not the offender feels it.
God has established boundaries and erected a fence we call "God's law." This law is often called "natural law" by philosophers and "the moral law" by theologians. It is a boundary, and for the most part it is innate in the senses of man - but God has codified it in the Ten Commandments. When a person transgresses the law of God, he is guilty - and except for those whose natural consciences are seared, every individual created in the image of God will feel an inward guilt because of sin.
There are only two ways to deal with the guilt of sin and transgression against God's laws. (1). You can either pretend it is not there by denying there is such a thing as the law of God - and rail against anyone who speaks of the law and guilt associated with trangressing it, or (2). You can believe that Christ died for the guilty, and trust that your guilt was borne by Him. The first, exemplified by Brad Pitt, is simply postponing the day of reckoning when the transgressor will stand before God. But the latter manner of dealing with guilt brings joy unspeakable and love unbelievable to the sinner who trusts that Christ has removed sin's guilt at the cross.
The greatest weapon against sin is not a law prohibiting it - but a love for the One who gave the law and provided the means for sin's guilt to be removed. Anybody who breaks God's law is guilty before God - except the one who trusts Christ. The believer in Christ realizes that all the guilt of his transgressions and sins has been borne by Christ. Eventually, it is my love for Christ and what He has done for me that will keep me from even desiring to sin against Him. The law of God provides no means through which I may avoid the desire to sin. In fact, as the apostle Paul stated, the law increases my sinfulness.
In other words, it is my love of Christ that constrains me from sin – not guilt. For Brad Pitt, it is the dismissal or ignorance of the law of God that keeps guilt at bay in his heart. Yet, he is guilty. I am not. He is guilty because he bears his sin and guilt. I am not guilty because Christ bears my sin and guilt. We both live our lives without guilt in our consiences - but Brad Pitt bears his guilt before God and I do not.
I would much rather believe that the Law-giver died for me than that there is no Law-giver. The good news is so sweet to my ears. My prayer today that my fellow native Oklahoman Brad Pitt may have his eyes opened to the beauty of Christ. I also pray for my fellow Southern Baptists that we would avoid using guilt as the tool to keep the flock in servitude. Guilt for us is gone. Christ bore it. It is the comprehension of what Christ has done to rid us of our guilt, and our subsequent love for Him, that compels us to serve Him.
In His Grace,