Matthew McConaughey On Religion: ‘I’m an Optimistic Mystic’

Matthew McConaughey has played a lot of characters with their own quirky wisdom. Wooderson in Dazed and Confused or Mark Hanna in The Wolf of Wall Street are maybe not the best example, but they believed in themselves. Rust Cohle in True Detective had some gems too. McConaughey is a philosopher in real life, too. His whole book Greenlights is full of encouraging life lessons. 

Matthew McConaughey introduces a 2016 concert
Matthew McConaughey | Gary Miller/Getty Images

McConaughey spoke with Danica Patrick on her Pretty Intense podcast on Jan. 13 to discuss Greenlights. They got into a conversation about religion, and McConaughey explained his spirituality. 

What did Matthew McConaughey say about his faith?

McConaughey keeps an open mind about all things spiritual. He does go to church every Sunday, but applied his faith more generally than a specific religion.

I would consider myself an optimistic mystic now. I believe there’s many paths to the same destination [and] I don’t believe that it’s over when someone’s reading our eulogy and we’re in our casket in this last. What that is is we’ll find out. Hell, I don’t know. That’s for sure. Nobody knows. That’s what’s so fun about it. I land with that is what’s my relationship, what’s the music I’m putting out, and what’s the reverb coming back? Soul’s intention, it feels so sound when what we put out, what our soul puts out boomerangs back to us from the world. Yes, that’s the music, you picked up the beat, threw it right back at me. It’s one long song we’re singing in this life or beyond.

Matthew McConaughey, Pretty Intense, 1/13/21

Matthew McConaughey need a weekly dose of church

McConaughey did describe a sort of spiritual battery. He craves his Sunday church services because they last him most of the week, but by the weekend he needs a recharge.

Matthew McConaughey smiles at an auto show
Matthew McConaughey | Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

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“It’s what I like about going to church on Sunday,” McConaughey told Patrick. “It’s about time. I come out of church on Sunday, I’m ready to let’s go put some things into practice this week. Let’s see what we can really apply these things, some lessons I’ve learned. I’m good for Monday, I’m solid on Tuesday, I’m solid on Wednesday, starts to fade a little bit on Thursday, a little bit more Friday, ooh Saturday, come on Sunday, I need you again.”

Being a movie star comes second, or third 

McConaughey said that his spirituality and family come first, now. He certainly put a lot of time and energy into his movie star career, and it paid off. However, now that he doesn’t put career first, he’s even more successful.

“This is another metaphor for I think not only my relationship spiritually, but a lot of people’s,” McConaughey told Patrick. “When I put other things, like my career, if that’s not the top of the ladder, that’s not the number one thing of what I’ve got to achieve, when it moved down to two or three behind family and faith, I’m better at it. I get more results. I win more trophies when I lower it down the echelon.”

Matthew McConaughey introduces a band
Matthew McConaughey | Gary Miller/Getty Images

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Now, that doesn’t mean you can slack off and forget about work. McConaughey says it’s both hard work and having priorities.

I’ve always thought about you can’t throw that on just anybody because you’ve got to have a work ethic, and you’ve got to be ambitious and you’ve got to want it. You throw that on some people they’re like oh, that means I can kind of half-ass it. No, no, no, no, no. You want it, you do the work to get the results you want as much or more, but you’re more focused because it’s not what is going to solely give you your identity. There’s a humility in that which is also about when you’re number two.

Matthew McConaughey, Pretty Intense, 1/13/21

Source: Danica Patrick Pretty Intense podcast