Friday, August 31, 2012

TGIFassy! - Michael Fassbender on Religion

Thanks to Christine H. again, we have a wonderful self-written article by Michael being very forthcoming about religion to help celebrate TGIFassy!

Star Column

Michael Fassbender on

His first stage experience had the actor in Church - as an altar boy. Although today he skips the mass, but still believes in the fact that the world could only be saved by a little more charity

My parents are not very religious, but we still went to church every Sunday. If you are Catholic as I am and grew up in Ireland, this is simply a part of life. But at some point I started to get bored during the mass. I wanted to not only listen, but to be part of this great production, at the front of the altar. So I became an altar boy and one could say: My first stage experience I had in church. Since then, I feel a certain responsibility to the public. After my first year as an altar boy, they looked for head altar boys. These are the guys who get the keys to the church and unlock it before the mass. An important task for which I applied immediately. You have to imagine it: I was twelve years old - and had the keys to the house of God! I even slept a few times in the church, only because I was afraid to oversleep in the morning and could not unlock on time. Once I was in fact too late, ran like a madman across the fields to the church, in front of which all the dignitaries were waiting. I can tell you: at that moment I knew what shame was.

Today religion often has a negative image, but I try to see the positive. In Catholicism, there are these rituals and strong imagery. If you like, we have a much better show than the Protestants. Just the metaphor, turn water into wine, is great. Even the forbidden has always fascinated me. I remember very well that when I masturbated for the first time: that feeling of having done something dirty and then the fear to get caught and be punished terribly. At the same time these extreme emotions also had something very much alive. Until now, I draw from this very intensity plenty of power for acting.

Today I am no longer a practicing Catholic; I don’t go to church on Sundays. I would describe myself more as a spiritual person, one who takes a bit of something here and there - the best of all world religions. Sometimes I think of this song line from John Lennon: "If we were to deprive the people of the religion, would they then still be able to lovingly deal with each other?"* Or the sentence: "Love your neighbour as yourself," That sounds simple, but it is the truth. We need more love in this world. I believe in that, even if this sounds so hippie-esque and many people say this is doesn’t work. What is the alternative? The wars, the uncertainty, all these negative feelings, that brings us no further. Divine Love - that's it.

*Ann.: Literal translation. I'm certain the original text was in English and had been translated for the magazine. So I'm not certain if the original text refers to this line from Imagine: "And no religion too, Imagine all the people, living life in peace".

Source: Cover Magazin D, September 2012


émilie said...

Thank you again, Christine! I'm deeply moved by what he says about religion. He's someone with a good soul, he deserves to be loved and admired as he is by his fans.

Simone said...

If everyone were simply 'spiritual' like Michael, imagine how peaceful the world would be.

kt said...

Thank you so much Christine for your awesome translation! And thank you Simone for posting this (and the link at pinterest---I don't get email alerts of new blog posts until the NEXT day...and I needed this, today :)

I think I just fell in love with Michael all over again. I feel such a kinship with him on this subject, having too grown up Catholic.....And my parents were lectors and lay-ministers with keys to the church, my sister and I went thru the alter(girl ;) phase & I was even for a short while in choir and played guitar at mass. The rituals of the Catholic mass create an absolutely theatrical experience, and if you've ever had even the experience of being in the audience at a live stageshow (and I'd venture most of us have), you can appreciate that "high" you feel after being part of a grand performance, how transformative it is. So it's a seductive thing, to be party to that on a regular basis. I can see how it absolutely spelled Michael, fed the natural performer in him.

But equally unique (I find, anyway) to Catholicism is that negative, niggling, overriding feature of guilt. Over time, it has it's way with you...and many of us fall-away at some point (I could with ease go all Sinéad here---but I'll spare you my own personal "issues"---you're welcome, haha ;) What I love most in Michael is that he's found his own way to transform his experiences, the positivity of his beliefs into something more spiritual, and that he's come to this so organically, grown stronger in soul. And quoting John Lennon, who's one of my personal heroes and in whom I've also found much kinship of spirituality and humanity---well, I'm deeply moved, too. Michael's an open, free spirit with a beautiful soul...and a beautiful message. Lovely man, lovely article!!

marcia said...

Michael is really a lovely, lovely person :) Thanks Chistine and Simone for the opportunity of seing another lovely side of Michael.

Vera said...

Thanks for the translation, Christine! a very moving article even if you are not religious yourself.
And I would like to have seen that scene with the keys.)))