Shia LaBeouf Denying Jewish Roots for Newfound Christian Beliefs?

Actor Shia LaBeouf poses on the red carpet during a screening for the movie 'The Company You Keep' at the 69th Venice Film Festival September 6, 2012.
Actor Shia LaBeouf poses on the red carpet during a screening for the movie "The Company You Keep" at the 69th Venice Film Festival September 6, 2012. | (Photo: Reuters/Tony Gentile)

Actor Shia LaBeouf recently adopted Christianity as his religion, even though he was raised Jewish and frequently spoke of his upbringing.

LaBeouf was raised by a Jewish mother and a Pentecostal father, which he was proud of. He also had a bar mitzvah when he was 13, which symbolized his coming into full manhood in the Jewish tradition. LaBeouf identified as Jewish before converting to Christianity while working on the upcoming film "Fury" with Brad Pitt and director David Ayers.

"I have a cool lineage, a good group of people," the actor previously said of his faith. "I'm Jewish so I was named after my grandfather. Shia means 'gift from God,'" he told several years ago.

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It's "beneficial to be Jewish" and LaBeouf said he had a "personal relationship with God that happens to work within the confines of Judaism," he wrote for a book entitled I am Jewish in 2004. "Really, I feel cocky when I say I am Jewish, not bad cocky, but good cocky. Because what I am really saying is that I am one of the few chosen ones out there."

However, while working on "Fury," Brad Pitt and LaBeouf had several in-depth conversations about the Christian tradition, which Pitt was raised in. Yet it was the producer/director Ayers who eventually led LaBeouf to Christianity and a newfound belief.

"Brad was really instrumental in guiding my head through this," LaBeouf told Interview Magazine. "Brad comes from a hyper-religious, very Christian, Bible Belt life, and he rejected it and moved toward an unnamed spirituality. Whereas Ayers is a full subscriber to Christianity."

"I found God during 'Fury.' I became a Christian man … in a very real way. I could have just said the prayers that were on the page, but it was a real thing that really saved me. And you can't identify unless you're really going through it. It's a full-blown exchange of heart, a surrender of control," he explained.

Many have questioned whether LaBeouf is serious about his new faith and whether he has left his Jewish roots behind or if he is open to embracing both traditions simultaneously. For now, his change of heart has left the public seemingly stunned and optimistic about the young actor's future.

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