He Worshipped His Way

by Dish Staff

Frank Sinatra discussed his approach to faith in a 1963 interview with Playboy:

Playboy: All right, let’s start with the most basic question there is: Are you a religious man? Do you believe in God?

Sinatra: Well, that’ll do for openers. I think I can sum up my religious feelings in a couple of paragraphs. First: I believe in you and me. I’m like Albert Schweitzer and Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein in that I have a respect for life—in any form. I believe in nature, in the birds, the sea, the sky, in everything I can see or that there is real evidence for. If these things are what you mean by God, then I believe in God. But I don’t believe in a personal God to whom I look for comfort or for a natural on the next roll of the dice. I’m not unmindful of man’s seeming need for faith; I’m for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. But to me religion is a deeply personal thing in which man and God go it alone together, without the witch doctor in the middle. The witch doctor tries to convince us that we have to ask God for help, to spell out to him what we need, even to bribe him with prayer or cash on the line. Well, I believe that God knows what each of us wants and needs. It’s not necessary for us to make it to church on Sunday to reach Him. You can find Him anyplace. And if that sounds heretical, my source is pretty good: Matthew, Five to Seven, The Sermon on the Mount.

Playboy: You haven’t found any answers for yourself in organized religion?

Sinatra: There are things about organized religion which I resent. Christ is revered as the Prince of Peace, but more blood has been shed in His name than any other figure in history. You show me one step forward in the name of religion and I’ll show you a hundred retrogressions.

Update from a reader:

Kitty Kelly, in “His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra,” claims the interview (questions and answers) was written by Mike Shore, Sinatra’s friend and an executive with Reprise Records; however, Sinatra did sign off on it against the advice of people who feared the effect it may have on his career, so good for Frank. The interview is getting a lot of play on the Internets today – I was initially surprised by (and then suspicious of) Sinatra’s eloquence, but I’ll defer to James Phalen, over at Why Evolution is True, who offered the clearest skeptical eye regarding the interview’s authorship: “Only Steven Pinker (and Hitch before him) speaks (or spoke) in complete paragraphs.”

(Hat Tip: 3QD)