Aaron Rodgers Questions His Christian Upbringing That Led Him to a 'Different Type of Spirituality'

Aaron Rodgers
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Aaron Rodgers is opening up to his girlfriend, Danica Patrick, about his religious beliefs.

Aaron Rodgers is opening up to his girlfriend, Danica Patrick, about his complicated religious beliefs.

In a rare interview, the 36-year-old Green Bay Packers quarterback sat down with Patrick for her podcast, Pretty Intense, and talked about his Christian upbringing. Rodgers admitted that growing up, church was just something he had to go to due to his parents and couldn't wait to come back home. However, he did get more involved when he joined the youth group, Young Life, and enjoyed the experience. In particular, he recalled that the leader of the youth group was "a rad guy to be around," and even swore occasionally and liked sports just like him. He also found fulfillment in the volunteer work they did, which included putting homes together for those in need in Mexico.

But when Rodgers hit college, he didn't feel a connection with any religious organizations and began to "question things." He also met friends with different beliefs that he enjoyed learning about. Ultimately, he realized that "rules, regulations and binary systems" didn't resonate with him.

"It's been a fun path to a different type of spirituality, which to me has been more meaningful," Rodgers says.

The pro athlete says he actually began to start rejecting his religious upbringing in high school because his church had rules he didn't agree with.

"Church on Sundays was more like, 'Make sure you dress a certain way, don't bring that person, this person's going to get looked at strangely if they show up,'" he says. "I think, again, it's very black and white in a binary sense, but I don't think it's very welcoming."

"It can be a crutch," he adds. "It can be something people have to have to make themselves feel better."

Rodgers says that ultimately, he didn't believe in such an all or nothing approach to God such as "saved and unsaved," "heaven or hell" or "enlightened or heathen." He particularly had an issue with the belief that all non-believers were going to hell.

"I don't know how you can believe in a God who wants to condemn most of the planet to a fiery hell," he says, noting that there are seven billion people on the planet and not everyone is Christian. "What type of loving, sensitive, omnipresent, omnipotent being wants to condemn most of his beautiful creation to a fiery hell at the end of all this?"

Rodgers has rarely opened up about his upbringing, but his family drama came to light in 2016 when his younger brother, Jordan, appeared on The Bachelorette and revealed that the elite quarterback was estranged from the family. In May 2018, Rodgers' ex-girlfriend, Olivia Munn, talked more about the family drama during an interview with Andy Cohen for his Sirius XM show, Radio Andy.

"Before he and I started dating, he hadn’t spoken to the parents and one brother for, like, eight months before we started dating," she said. "And actually I remember my last day on The Newsroom ... I spent the day in my trailer just encouraging him to have an honest conversation with your parents, and we just kind of did bullet points. And then they had a really nice conversation, and they started coming out my first year when I was in Green Bay in 2014, and then it just… [went south]."

"I do believe that family and fame and success can be really complicated if their dreams are connected to your success," she added. "I mean, [Rodgers'] father played football and he's a sports chiropractor, and his brother -- they're all into sports. They're all in sports. And Aaron is one of the best -- if not the best -- quarterback to ever play the game, so their work has a direct connection to what he does and that's ... at the end of the day there is a lot of complications. I don't think either side of the road is clean, but I do think it's not OK when you try to stand on someone's shoulders and then throw dirt in their face, which is what I think they did with him."

However, in December 2018, it appears Rodgers was at least able to reconcile with his parents, Edward and Darla Rodgers, noting in an interview that he spent his birthday with them.

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