The estranged family of NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers is upset about comments he recently made against church and the Christian faith while speaking to his girlfriend and former professional race car driver Danika Patrick on her podcast, “Pretty Intense,” according to reports.
“They were dismayed. The family is very dedicated to their Christian faith,” the People magazine quoted a source as saying Friday, referring to a statement the Super Bowl XLV champion made in the podcast: “Most people that I knew, church was just … you just had to go.”
The 36-year-old Green Bay Packers quarterback also told Patrick, “I don’t know how you can believe in a God who wants to condemn most of the planet to a fiery Hell. … What type of loving, sensitive, omnipresent, omnipotent being wants to condemn His beautiful creation to a fiery Hell at the end of all this?”
To the athlete’s family, it’s “basically a slap in the face to the fundamentals of who they are,” the source, an insider, added. “It’s basically him turning his back on everything they have taught him. … There’s clearly a lot more to it, but that’s how he is perceived by his family.”
The source described Rodgers’ comments as being “very hurtful to the family,” while adding that the family still loves him “very much.”
In the podcast published two days after the last Christmas, Rodgers went on to say, “Religion can be a crutch, it can be something that people have to have to make themselves feel better. Because it’s set up binary, it’s us and them, saved and unsaved, Heaven and Hell, it’s enlightened and heathen, it’s holy and righteous … that makes a lot of people feel better about themselves.”
Rodgers and Patrick have reportedly had a romantic relationship since the beginning of 2018. The athlete previously dated Hollywood actress Olivia Munn for three years until 2017.
Rodgers’ father, Ed, talked about his relationship with his estranged son in January 2017. Talking about his family’s newfound fame after his other son Jordan's appearance in the reality television show "The Bachelorette,” Ed remarked, "One in the news is enough for us. Fame can change things."
Rodgers hasn’t spoken to his family since 2014, around the same time the football quarterback started dating actress Munn.
In August 2017, Rodgers told ESPN that he began questioning his Christian faith he grew up with after he won the Super Bowl.
“I think in people’s lives who grew up in some sort of organized religion, there really comes a time when you start to question things more,” he was quoted as saying. “I remember asking a question as a young person about somebody in a remote rainforest. Because the words that I got were: ‘If you don’t confess your sins, then you’re going to Hell.’ And I said, ‘What about the people who don’t have a Bible readily accessible?’”
After becoming the starter in Green Bay in 2008, Rodgers met author and former megachurch pastor Rob Bell, who had been invited to speak to the team. After the talk was over, Rodgers spoke to Bell and they became friends, according to ESPN.
Bell stirred controversy in Christian circles with his book Love Wins, which questioned the existence of a literal Hell.