'I chose to believe in God when I got sober': Stephen King talks about his faith with the Archbishop of Canterbury

Stephen King was interviewed Sunday by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby on BBC Radio 4. The famous author confided, among other things, on his vision of the Church, on his personal faith and his old addictions. 

As part of a new podcast series for BBC Radio 4, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby interviewed several personalities who had “made a significant contribution to public life” to talk about their faith and spirituality.

This six-part series concluded on Sunday March 27 with the broadcast of his interview with best-selling author Stephen King..

Before getting to the heart of the matter and talking about his personal faith, the author begins by discussing the representation of certain aspects of religion in his books. He explains that his “problem” with the institution of the church stems from the fact that many churches mix religion and politics.

“My problem is that many churches have confused politics with religion. People […] forget that Jesus said to render to Caesar what is Caesar's, to leave to God what is God's. They are separate things that must remain separate. »

He says he is more in favor of a belief in a “personal God that everyone understands” although he adds that “in most cases” the church is “open”. “She gives, takes her place in the community, and I love that,” continues the author of The Shining.

A personal faith

About his faith, Stephen King says he chose "to believe in God" when he got sober, many, many years ago. Recalling his battle with drugs and alcohol, he reveals that it was thanks to one of his Alcoholics Anonymous sponsors that he began to pray.

It was then that he decided to entrust himself to God, keeping “things simple” specifies the successful writer who tells of praying in the morning to ask the Lord to help him stay sober. And pray again in the evening to thank him for having helped him last another day.

Stephen King, who has now been sober for more than 33 years, believes the experience has "definitely allowed him to live a more spiritual life in many ways".

The Exorcist, “an optimistic film”

Justin Welby then questions him on the question of Good and Evil, pointing out in particular certain themes of these works which have earned him the nickname of “King of Horror”.

“The question that haunts me and that comes up in my books again and again is how much evil comes from us. How much we have it in the skin, “says the author. He develops his point by declaring that in his eyes The Exorcist is a “very optimistic” film since the little girl being possessed by a demon, she herself has done nothing wrong. “It came from outside, it's a supernatural entity. Like God,” King continues.

He concludes this part of the interview by evoking a story from the Bible which, in his eyes, is “the best supernatural story ever written”.

“I think we can't solve the problem of Outer Evil and Inner Evil. There are stories about both in the Bible, and one of my favorites is when Jesus meets a possessed man. When he asks his name, the man replies 'my name is legion'. For me it has always been the best supernatural story ever written. »

The power of forgiveness

The archbishop then questions the writer about the serious car accident which almost cost him his life in 1999 and which left him with serious consequences, in particular chronic pain. The opportunity for the two men to talk about forgiveness.

Justin Welby in turn returns to a difficult event in his life, when he lost one of his children several years ago in a car accident.

"I believe in forgiveness and redemption," says the Anglican Church representative, "but as far as I'm concerned, I've realized that I'm less good at forgiving than my job requires, and certainly less than I would like,” he continues humbly.

Stephen King believes that it is useless "to hold a grudge", "to be angry with people".

"Have I forgiven Bryan Smith [the man who knocked him down in 1999 Editor's note] for knocking me down? No. Did I hate him, did I want to have him, was I mad at him? No”, affirms the writer who believes that this event, as difficult as it is, is part of his life without there necessarily being an explanation.

“I try every day to love life”

In conclusion, the Archbishop of Canterbury questions the author of It and The green Line on love: "When did you have the deepest experience of loving and being loved? ".

In all simplicity, Stephen King responds by talking about his family and says he tries “every day to love life”. A statement which, according to the writer, is likely to make many listeners roll their eyes. However, he assumes it, recalling that from the height of his 74 years, he is more than aware of the passage of time.

" With my family. My wife, my children, my grandchildren, even my dog. I try every day to love life. I know that sounds like an empty platitude, when people hear that they'll roll their eyes. But what I mean is that time is slipping through our fingers. Time is like water. He spins. It's true, because yesterday I was 16, and today I'm 74. I try every day to look around me, the sky, the plants… I try to find something that I can not only be grateful for, but also that I can love for this moment. It is my duty. »

Camille Westphal Perrier

Image credit: Shuttertsock / George Koroneos

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