I've known for a while now that Daniel Radcliffe is an atheist, but was reminded of it recently when someone on Facebook posted a picture of him with some quote where he basically disparages religion.
Now, I'm a Christian who has his own issues/doubts about how organized religion handles things (watch for my upcoming post "How Christianity In America Has Pretty Much Hosed Itself, Thereby Creating Fertile Ground For Atheists To Regurgitate Their Own Unique Brand Of Idiocy"), but stepping out of that mindset and looking at his quote as objectively as possible, one sentence came to mind (two, if you want to count accio whogivesacrap):
"What makes his opinion have any more weight than anyone elses?"
Which then led to another question:
"What makes any celebrity's opinion any better or more worth subscribing to than anyone elses?"
Whether it's politics, religion, health issues, child rearing, whatever. Whether it's left, right, centrist, who cares. Seriously, why does it matter? Is it that we want affirmation of our own opinions so we post celebrity quotes that reinforce that, thereby trying to imply to others that we're somehow right because Jim Carrey says so? Or do we actually think that their opinion carries more weight because they're famous?
Noted psycho Jenny McCarthy has crusaded ignorantly against child vaccinations. Some people apparently have actually listened to her, and there are still some media outlets that give her air time to express these wrongheaded views. And what are her qualifications? She posed for Playboy, did a bunch of stuff on former music video channel MTV, did some movies, and reproduced. Wow. Eminently qualified.
Has-been rocker Ted Nugent is a gun nut and has no reservations about blathering his special form of insanity whenever given the opportunity. And his qualifications are...? He is a rock musician and a gun owner. Amazing.
Being a famous person does not mean you are any smarter, any wiser, any better-informed than anyone else walking around today. Thus, a famous person's opinion should carry no more weight than the guy who's driving a cab, or the lady who lives next door with her 34 cats.
Hell, we've already seen that being an elected official doesn't mean you're not staggeringly stupid. All it means is that you managed to find enough people even dumber than you to vote for you. We refer to this as the Michelle Bachmann Syndrome.
And this spins off into celebrity endorsements for products and services. So some actor says "Drink this", or "Use this." Some baseball player says "Buy this." These people are paid to say these things. It doesn't mean they use the product or that it's any good. It's manipulation (on that note, watch for my upcoming post, "Why Advertisements Featuring Hot Women Selling Stuff Annoys The Living Crap Out Of Me").
Whether it's an "aw shucks, flag-wavin', yee-haw, 'murica, good ol' boy" country singer, or some Hollywood leftist limousine liberal. Whether it's a home run king or a star forward on a soccer team. No one should consider what these people say, what they believe, as somehow more important, more meaningful, more right, than the opinions of the average Joe or Jane.
Now, this doesn't mean that we can't hold up these people as role models or examples of success in their particular field. You can be inspired to become a singer, actor, athlete, writer, whatever, by the stories of famous people in the respective field. That's not the issue. If I want inspiration, advice, or an example for how to become a successful writer, I'll turn to Stephen King or Dean Koontz. If I want to know the issues of the day and what the different sides are, I'll look them up and draw my own conclusions.
Think for yourself. Research the issues yourself. Don't take some sports dude or some actor's opinion as gospel. Collect the facts, look back at your own life's experiences, and arrive at your own decisions. Enjoy and celebrate the accomplishments of famous people; cheer them on in sports, be entertained, even moved, by their performances. But as for how you live your life, figure it out for yourself.