Religion is belief in a higherpower, one which is believed to have created our existence. It can be said tobe the gravity that pulls people and societies together. The diverse religionssuch as Christianity and Islam form the structure of many people’s lives. Thesereligions are also thought to help construct meaning, aid ethnical guidance anda sense of belonging. One will seek to explore both theworld of acting and religion in order to determine whether an actor can becomesuccessful whilst remaining devoted to a faith. Firstly, I will discuss thedifferent religions such as Christianity and Islam and how one is recognized tobe a supporter of that belief.
Through this research, I will then exploitactors who follow a faith in comparison to actors who have no faith, andidentify their success. Secondly, I will talk about the different actingmethods such as Stanislavski, and actors that use these techniques to developtheir acting skills. I will also explore how today’s society has developedincreasing demands for an actor.
This will lead me to my third point ofdiscussion; what makes a successful actor? Through research, a developmentof knowledge in the press and the public involvement is key to understandingthe success of an actor. I will study existing successful actors who obtain afaith including, Tom Cruise, Kirk Cameron and Natalie Portman. In cognition to the previousstatement, one can embrace the importance of the ‘idol’ status an actor willachieve through success, and the possible complications it can lead to.Furthermore, one can question if there is a way to balance faith and success withinthis industry or alternatively, does the actor need to go against theirreligion for the sake of fame? There are complications that areligious actor may face when choosing a certain role, in particular, whenfaced with a sexual scenario. Further discussion revolving sexual orientationwill become relevant due to the rising popularly of LGBT trends in theatre asdemonstrated in shows such as ‘Kinky Boots’. The dilemma of tradition versusmodern society can be assessed in order to determine whether religious practiceis becoming outdated by acting requirements. Chapter 1: Religions There is nosimple definition of the concept of religion that fully articulates all itsdimensions.
Encompassing spiritual, personal, and social elements, thisphenomenon is however, ubiquitous, appearing in every culture, from prehistoryto the modern day as evidenced in the cave paintings and elaborate burialcustoms of our distant ancestors, and the continuing quest for spiritual goalto life. Religion provided a way of understanding and influencing powerfulnatural phenomena. Weather and the seasons, creation, life, death and theafterlife, and the structure of the cosmos were all subjects to religiousexplanations that invoked controlling gods, or a realm outside the visible,inhabited by deities and mythical creatures. Religion provided a means tocommunicate with these gods, through ritual and prayer and these practises whenshared by members of a community helped to cement social groups enforcehierarchies and provide a deep sense of collective identity. As societies becamemore complex, their belief systems grew with them and religion was increasinglydeployed as a political tool. Military conquests were often followed by theassimilation of the pantheon of the defeated people by victors; the kingdomsand empires were often supported by deities and priestly classes. The challengesto faith: Faced with the negative aspects of religious belief and equipped withthe tools of humanist philosophy and science, a number of thinkers have questionedthe very validity of religion. There were, they argued, logical and consistentcosmologies based on reason rather than faith.
I effect, religions had becomeirrelevant in the modern world. New philosophies, such as Marxism -Leninismconsidered religions to be a negative force on human development, and, as aresult, there arose Communist states that were explicitly atheistic andanti-religious. “In the beginning God created theheavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was overthe surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”Holy Bible,(2008) Christianitytakes its name from the Greek word ‘christós’ a translation of the Hebrew wordfor “messiah”, or anointed one.
This title was given to Jesus by a Jewish sectwho considered him to be the Messiah, the saviour prophesied in the Tanakh, theHebrew Bible, and the ‘Son of God’ in a human form. Christians believe thatJesus’s arrival on earth heralded a ‘New Covenant’ or New Testament with Godthat followed the Old Testament covenants between God and the Jewish people.The main beliefs of Christianity are based on the life and teachings of Jesusas recorded by his followers in the 1st Century in the gospels(meaning “good news”) and the Epistles (or letters) of the New Testament. Founded inthe 7th Century, Islam is nevertheless regarded by its followers asan ancient faith, one that has always existed as God’s intended religion. Alongwith Judaism and Christianity, it is an Abrahamic religion, tracing its rootsback to Ibrahim (Abraham), the first of a line of prophets sent to reveal thefaith, a line that also includes Musa (Moses) and Isa (Jesus). Muslims believethe last in this line is the Prophet Muhammad, who received the revelationscontained in the Qur’an and established Islam as it’s known today. Islam is astrong monotheistic religion, emphasizing the oneness of an incomparable God,Allah (Arabic for “the God”), and people’s duty to serve him.
Islam teachesthat human life is a gift from God, and the way a person lives their life willbe assessed on the Day of Judgment. The central professions of the faith aresummed up in the Five Pillars of Islam. Religious life revolves round the mosque,which, as well as being centre of worship and teaching, acts as a focus for thesocial life of the community. Chapter 2 – Actorvs Faith There is avast difference between a theatre that presents only classics such as Shakespeare’splays and TV shows that glorify sex and violence. Both are considered part ofthe entertainment business and both involve actors and actresses, but theimpact on the performers and the audiences is quite different. What does itmean to be a Christian following an acting career path: a Christian whopractices their religion is a follower of ‘Jesus Christ’ who is the son of godand believe “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives inthem and they in God.” 1 John 4:15.
It also states within the bible that sexbefore marriage is a sin, this theme is constantly being portrayed withinmovies, ultimately making it harder for an actor that is Christian to be successfulas this goes against their faith. Additionally, one may consider to obligate oneselfto take roles that resemble their belief; ultimately choosing to appear in moviesthat show the beliefs of a Christian in a positive light, and this is one wayan actor can still stay passionate to their career without going against theirbeliefs. The bible strongly enforces to “Flee from sexual immorality.
” and that”Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoralperson sins against his own body.” 9.1 Corinthians 6:18-20. This determines howfar the individual can go within a role when acting greatly, as a Christian whois devoted to their faith may face to choose less well-known roles in moviessubsequently decreasing their chances to greater success. An actor who takestheir practice seriously is said to realise “you are not your own, for you werebought with a price.
So glorify god in your body.” Furthermore, enforcing myrecent statement of the demands an actor has to their faith. The issue of the lifestyle of performers in general must be aconsideration for a Christian. There is an enormous number of drugs, alcohol,and immoral behaviour in the entertainment industry. Young people eager to getthe “big break” are often used and abused by those in power. While it may bepossible for a Christian to be in this world and not be affected by it, 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns us, “Do not be misled: ‘Badcompany corrupts good character.'” Thus, making it a harder and harsher realityfor a Christian to succeed in this industry. the impact performers have onothers must be considered.
When unbelievers see professing Christians inmovies, TV shows, or live performances that promote ungodliness, they sense thehypocrisy and are given cause to “blaspheme the name of God” Romans 2:24. There is also a detrimental effect on thefaith of other believers, especially young people and those immature in thefaith. Anytime a young believer can justify ungodliness by saying, “Well,so-and-so does it and he’s a Christian,” the cause of Christ suffers, and theyoung person is drawn away from truth into sin.
Jesus spoke harshly of thosewho cause “one of these little ones who believe in me to sin” Matthew 18:6. Christiansconsidering a career in acting or performing must consider the bearing theirroles will have on themselves spiritually, the lifestyle into which they willbe entering, and the influence their performances will have on others: In an interviewin New York called the ‘Today’ show, Kirk Cameron, a well-known Christian actor,discussed his movie ‘Fireproof’ and how he overcame scenes when filming, which compriseda sinful nature to his faith. He raises the statement “I have a commitment notto kiss any other woman” which is interesting within my study. To see how heovercame this obstacle he later explains within the interview, how his intimatescenes were filmed with his real wife, Chelsea Noble. When the script calledfor a kiss the filmmakers got around the conflict by shooting the scene in silhouette,with his real-wife dressed as the actress playing the role of his wife.
“Sowhen I’m kissing my wife, we’re actually husband and wife honouring marriagebehind the scenes” within this interview one can understand that his devotionto his faith is strong, and that Cameron is not phased to question the directorabout the script as his faith takes priority when introduced to characters thatprovoke his religious beliefs. His acting started at 9 years old, this thendeveloped to his growth in acting to appear on a TV show called ‘Growing Pains’at just 14 years of age. After he converted into a Christian, Cameron further discussesin this interview, that he sometimes clashed with his cast members andproducers when the script strayed into what he felt were immoral territory. Hetalks about how he only chooses movies that exemplifies his beliefs, and that ‘Fireproofdoes just that, explaining “The reason this movie was important to me personallyis because I love my wide dearly,” and that ‘Marriage is a very special andsacred thing to us. In a day and age where marriage is falling apart, we wantto make movies and projects that really uphold and have a high view of that whichis beautiful and wonderful in our culture.” Evidently Cameron proves that hecan still maintain the balance to keep his faith whilst proceeding to follow hispassion for acting. This is reassuring to any actor who has religious beliefsthat it is possible.Celizic, (2008) AlthoughCameron has shown to successfully achieve a balance between his career andfaith; one may arise to question that the time of year that Cameron experiencedhis clash with the producers.
Has changed in comparison to the demands in today’sindustry. This is better established when comparing Kirk Cameron’s experience throughthe knowledge of a modern actor’s episode with similar shared beliefs. Catholicactor Neal McDonough chose to go against the executives when filming the series’Scoundrels’. 3 days into filming he was asked to shoot a sex scene withactress Virginia Madsen, a demand that would make him go against his beliefs. However,by refusing to cave into these circumstances his contract in the series wasterminated and replaced by David James Elliott who has no beliefs and agreed tothese terms. On a news show called ‘The Scoop’, they reveal McDonough always saidthat “In the past he wouldn’t do love scenes” and “he’s a family man and a verydevout catholic and that it’s not appropriate for him to do that even if it isjust under the coat of acting” (YouTube, 2018).
Thus, because McDonough stuckto his morals to respect his faith it effected his future, decreasing hischances to achieve success. For the Christian actor, involvement in a movie thatglorifies sin or the devil’s work is clearly not an option. Because actorsstruggle to find roles, they often take whatever parts come along, especiallywhen they are first starting out. For unbelieving actors, the decision to takea part involves little more than the effect it will have on their careers andfuture roles and the money involved. However, for the Christian, there is alsothe problem of whether the role glorifies God or at least is not actuallyglorifying rebellion against Him with violence or sex or other evils.
Granted,the big money is probably with the ungodly roles as we live in a world wherethe devil has a huge influence on these matters, but the Christian actor shouldnot take parts which promote Satan’s agenda. The overriding principle involvedis found in 1 Corinthians 10:31: “So whetheryou eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Chapter 3 An actor, isone who devotes their time and fully immerses themselves in order to create abelievable character; one which is in-cognition with how well they can convey theiremotion to form a sense of realism. It is important to understand the role ofthe character, Stanislavski fabricated the dramatic technique ‘method acting’to help achieve this. This technique involves the actor correlating their ownpersonal experiences, as closely as possible to that of the character.Stanislavski states, ‘never allow yourself externally to portray anything thatyou have not inwardly experienced’ Constantin Stanislavski, (2013). The actingtechniques designed by Stanislavski have changed the way actors research andperform irrevocably.
A more well-known example of the ‘Method Acting’ techniqueis the well-established actor Heath Ledger, who took this method and appliedthis to every role he was given, most famously the role of ‘The Joker’ in themovie ‘The Dark Night’. Conclusion: The trend inHollywood of ‘sex’ is something that has been increasing throughout the years,a popular by demand theme can be seen in nearly in every series, movie and sagein modern society. Additionally, the development of the moto ‘everyone isreplaceable’ rings true to my study as an overriding issue for an actor who isreligious. A harsher industry fuelled by the populations hunger for morepassion and realistic environments to be produced, drawing out many religiousbelievers to turn away from a career in acting.
Choosing a less conventionalcareer path is one way a religious individual like Kirk Cameron’s apocalyptic “LeftBehind” series, is one way to still stay tuned with one’s passion, however itis undeniably evident through my research that it is hard to make a living. One mayargue that today’s industry has become about money, and to live the ‘American dream’and furthermore, has become blind to value talent.