If the reaction from thousands of young people to Chris Pratt’s speech at the 2018 MTV awards is any indication, maybe we’re not as far gone as we thought. The beloved actor accepted the 2018 MTV Generation Award and shared some direct words of wisdom (along with some strange bathroom humor – this is MTV after all) and the response was surprising.

The rowdy audience of millennials burst in applause when Pratt stated, as one of his 9 Rules for Living, "God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you. Believe that, I do."

Clapping for “God is real and He loves you”? Is this an episode of Black Mirror?

With his quirky humor and inimitable style, Chris Pratt delivered a rousing sermon to the next generation, dishing out truths that seemed to actually resonate. Among his 9 rules, he said:

  • You have a soul. Be careful with it.
  • If you are strong, be a protector. If you are smart, be a humble influencer. Strength and intelligence can be weapons, so do not wield them against the weak. That makes you a bully. Be bigger than that.
  • It doesn't matter what it is. Earn it. A good deed. Reach out to someone in pain. Be of service.
  • Learn to pray. It's easy, and it is so good for your soul.
  • Nobody is perfect. People will tell you that you are perfect just the way that you are, you are not! You are imperfect. You always will be, but there is a powerful force that designed you that way…

These are all points I make in my course on Jewish philosophy to students who come to Aish HaTorah, interested in exploring the depth of their Jewish heritage. Quite often when wrestling with some of the fundamental questions about living a meaningful life we engage in heated discussion and debate, especially regarding topics related to God’s existence. How refreshing to hear a mainstream celebrity express his belief – with pride, sincerity and forthrightness – in God, prayer, the soul and the importance to struggle to do good.

I’m not sure what to make of the enthusiastic response to Chris Pratt’s overtly religious message. Perhaps his fans love him so much they would have passionately applauded no matter what he would have said. Perhaps they were just being polite.

I prefer to believe that the actor’s sincere message hit home. That in today’s morally confusing and totally distracting world, young people are thirsty for meaning, authenticity and truth that resonate with them. We shouldn’t be hesitant to share our beliefs and wisdom with others, no matter what kind of music they listen to or how many body piercings they may have. After all, the soul can know truth when it hears it.

Chris Pratt can do it, with pride and finesse. So can we.