Chris Pratt's openness about his Christian faith has increasingly resulted in him becoming a target of criticism and derision. In just the last week alone, Pratt has felt compelled to defend his faith-inspired actions twice. In an Instagram post earlier this week, Pratt responded to actress Ellen Paige's claim that he attends an "infamously anti-LGBTQ" church. "Nothing could be further from the truth," Pratt wrote in defense of his church, Hillsong. Just a few days earlier, Pratt explained why he went on a Bible-inspired diet that resulted in harsh mockery online.
"Hi, Chris Pratt here. Day three of the Daniel Fast, check it out. It's 21 days of prayer and fasting," Pratt wrote in a Instagram post in January, referencing a diet "based on the fasting experiences" of Old Testament Prophet Daniel. "It's going to coincide also, coincidentally, with the 'Lego Movie 2' junket. So, by the time you see me, I’ll probably be hallucinating," joked Pratt. "Stay tuned."
As The Daily Wire reported, the response online to Pratt's announcement was swift and harsh, with critics declaring that the star was on his way to "crazy town" and describing his faith as believing in "fairy tales."
In an appearance on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" Thursday that's drawn the attention of multiple outlets, including the Daily Mail and some faith-based sites, Pratt explained why he chose to undertake the spiritually focused diet that requires you to avoid meat, sugar and alcohol and dedicate time in prayer — an experience he described as challenging but "actually amazing."
Telling Colbert that he just got off the 21-day diet "a couple days ago," Pratt explained that he chose to do it after being "inspired by my pastor." Colbert responded by jokingly asking Pratt if the diet involved being tossed "in the lion's den," as Daniel famously had been.
"Lion fighting is sick cardio, for sure," Pratt quipped (video below). "We do that on the last day." After Colbert pointed out that Pratt's already done that with dinosaurs, Pratt said, "Yeah, lions are not that different."
Colbert then used the metaphor to pivot to a more serious line of questioning that vaguely referenced the scrutiny and criticism Pratt has faced during his meteoric rise to A-list stardom. "Do you ever feel like you're in the lion's den by being a celebrity in the public eye?" Colbert asked.
Pratt said, "Yes," but noted that Daniel does survive the encounter with the lions. Then, again incidentally noting the role his faith played in his life, the actor cited a quote he "heard in church."
"There’s this great quote, that I actually heard in church, which was, 'If the spotlight that is shining on you is brighter than the light that comes from within you, it’ll kill you,'" said the actor.
"Sometimes just having a self to share is what kills you, because there's nothing left," he added. "So you have to have a light to share. A light that's just a bright as any of these lights. Then you can survive and then you can save some of yourself and not give it all away."
As The Daily Wire reported Monday, Pratt responded to criticism from Page about the church he attends, Hillsong, by stressing that it accepts all people — even him, a divorcee — and noting that, regardless, his identity is not grounded in a church, but in his faith in God.
"It has recently been suggested that I belong to a church which hates a certain group of people and is 'infamously anti-LGBTQ,'" he wrote in an Instagram post, referencing Page's smear against the church. "Nothing could be further from the truth. I go to a church that opens their doors to absolutely everyone. Despite what the Bible says about my divorce, my church community was there for me every step of the way, never judging, just gracefully accompanying me on my walk. They helped me tremendously offering their love and support. It is what I have seen them do for others on countless occasions regardless of sexual orientation, race, or gender. My faith is important to me but no church defines me or my life, and I am not a spokesman for any church or any group of people. My values define who I am. We need less hate in this world, not more. I am a man who believes that everyone is entitled to love who they want free from the judgment of their fellow man."
This article has been expanded to provide more details about the interview.