- (Photo: Reuters / Danny Moloshok)
Actress Patricia Heaton has garnered high interest from the public not just for her new comedy Web series "Versailles" but for her frank talk on her Christian faith.
The former "Everybody Loves Raymond" star went on The Adam Carolla Show Monday where she even tried to open the atheist host up to Christianity.
"I think it's interesting that you keep having these born agains come into your life – your driver, the guys you were in construction with," Heaton said on the show. "C.S. Lewis calls those the hounds of heaven."
"I know where you're going with this," Carolla responded.
"Believe you me, I wish I was religious. I've told people that a million times," the radio host said.
One reason for him wanting to be religious is his children, he noted.
"We have a dog. ... When the dog dies and my daughter's crying and wants to know where Molly went, I don't want to say a hole in the ground."
Offering motherly and Christian advice, Heaton underscored the need to raise children in "a concrete set of beliefs," especially in Los Angeles.
"You can give them concrete principles of atheism I guess if you want but when you see little kids, to me they have a natural inclination toward God or something god-like," she told the host.
Carolla did not express opposition to religion, but he indicated that he has no desire to leave the comfortable atheist life.
"I'm not one of those Bill Maher atheists who's angry at people that are religious. My whole point about being an atheist is I like the nothingness and to be left alone ... and if I'm going to spend a bunch of time ... running around, yelling at people who do believe, now I've fallen into the same trap I've accused them of falling into – which is 'what are you wasting your time doing this for?'"
"My whole thing is I'm an atheist. I'll be over here taking a nap. If you want to spend your weekend volunteering ... God bless you. Get more of those gang bangers off our streets. I'll be the lazy atheist sitting around at home. I'll be reaping the rewards of you pulling the gang bangers off the streets and giving them food."
Throughout the more than hour-long radio program, the conversation between Carolla and Heaton, along with her husband David Hunt, took a lot of interesting turns as they continued to delve into the issue of faith.
Carolla expressed his displeasure with the fact that Christians are a lot of times portrayed as uneducated and semi-racist and all lumped together in that light.
The fact is there are thousands of years of Christian history of some of the greatest minds that ever lived, Heaton pointed out. "It's not just Jerry Falwell."
Of course, it's not convenient to bring them up, the radio host acknowledged.
"You have to bring up white haired guys with pinky rings," he said, to which Heaton added, "who said everyone's going to be raptured on Saturday."
In an earlier interview with AOL blog PopEater, Heaton stated that some of her conservative views have cost her roles in Hollywood.
Addressing that issue again on The Adam Carolla Show, the award-winning actress said there are a lot of people of faith in Hollywood but they don't talk about their faith. Citing a passage in the Gospel of Mark, she said, "Jesus said don't be ashamed of me now or my word or I will be ashamed of you at the end of time."
She admitted while laughing that she talks about her faith because she's "scared of being rejected at the pearly gates."
But that's not the only reason she's Christian. Heaton, who was raised Catholic, recalled the exact moment when she knew she needed to be a Christian. She was in second grade when she began "talking trash" about a girl, whom she didn't realize was sitting in the circle of girls she was addressing on the playground.
After noticing the girl, she saw the look of shock and hurt on her face and felt ashamed.
"I knew then that I was not a good person. This girl never did anything to me. I realized then I was a sinful person. I realized that's why Jesus died," she recounted.
Unfortunately, no one likes to talk about sin, she said.
Without hesitation, the actress ended up preaching the Gospel on the atheist's radio show.
"God is perfect and you have to be perfected in order to exist with Him. We are not perfect. Sin is ... when you miss the mark. We all are born with this sort of disease and the cure for the disease ... is the blood of Christ."
Heaton currently attends a "cool church" in Echo Park, Calif., called the Dream Center.
It's evangelical, she said, and many of the people there are addicts going through rehab and homeless people being helped.
"When you go there you get really energized and feel good changing people's lives," she commented. "You feel like when you give your money to the Dream Center you actually see what they're doing. It's not going into a fancy building. ... You're not building the Crystal Cathedral. You're investing in people's lives."