July 6th, 2010
06:06 PM ET

The untamed faith of the Discovery Channel’s ‘Man vs. Wild’ star

It takes guts to paraglide over the Antarctica, hike through remote jungles and eat yak eyeballs for dinner.

It also takes a little faith, according to a fun new profile of Bear Grylls, the star of Discovery Channel’s Man vs. Wild adventure show in the evangelical magazine Relevant.

It turns out that Grylls, the appropriately-named star of the nature show, is a devout Christian.

Grylls told Relevent that he gets strength from God to take risks in nature. He says he sometimes feel as if he is “being held” when he is in the wild:

It’s about being strengthened. It’s about having a backbone run through you from the Person who made you. It’s about being able to climb the biggest mountains in the world with the Person who made them.

Grylls says that as a young kid he never questioned God, that he knew God existed and “it felt like He was my friend.”  He credits his faith for the durability of his family life with his wife and their three sons.

Grylls is also a big fan the Alpha Course, a 10-week class designed for spiritual seekers that explains the basics of the Christian faith:

I have seen many people find a simple faith through it and I want to encourage it because it’s helped me a load.

Perhaps there is something about the wild that inspires belief.

The Bible is full of prophets having visions while they’re wandering alone in the deserts. John the Baptist didn’t eat yak eyeballs but he did eat locusts. The Prophet Mohammed received his revelation in a mountain cave. The Buddha received enlightenment under a bodhi tree.

What is it about the wild that sharpens some people’s yearning for God?

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Buddhism • Christianity • Faith • Islam • Journeys • TV

soundoff (143 Responses)
  1. Matt Brookens

    Bear Grylls is one tough cookie but he's got nothing on Wildcat Wilson. CHECKIT OUT!

    December 16, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  2. jason Green Nashville TN

    Bear is amazing person, I am always watching his every move. My sons 2 & 4 watch Man Vs Wild every Wednesday. We love him because he is true and not an actor. He has this persona that people love because he is content with himself and it shows. We as a society have so few people who have a clear conscience it is intriguing when we do meet people like grylls.

    September 25, 2010 at 10:07 pm |
  3. The Middle Ground

    Evolution and creationism don't have to be mutually exclusive if you're willing to look at both sides. In my mind, God placed the firmament and then let it grow. It is what it is now because He put it into motion. He knew that we would have curious minds and the ability to reason and he put the puzzles in place for us knowing that we would keep looking for answers. The world around us today wasn't just snapped into being, it's come about through millions of years of change due to a system that God put in place, and to the forces of nature. And, unfortunately, due to the influence of man.

    I also think it's possible that we've been given false leads in our search for our origins, but that's really neither here nor there. Science and faith can co-exist comfortably in one mind, if you're willing to see both parts. To think otherwise, I believe, is to be afraid to acknowledge one or the other.

    I adore Bear, and I don't think he's one that will say "God, I'm going to jump off a cliff with no gear and no preparation and I'm counting on you to put a mattress at the bottom." He knows that that isn't how faith works.

    July 19, 2010 at 11:48 am |
  4. Rev Kev

    To all the self-serving over-oppinionated commentators on this post, do yourselves a favour – do the Alpha Course. Once you have done that and experienced why Bear has experience, only then, will you be qualified to say anything. Bear is an inspiration to millions of people. His humility is evident in pointing all glory and fame away from Hiself and giving it to His creator. What's wrong with that? Oh wait! You're an empty, oxygen sucking, empty vessel who is hollow and has no purpose in life. Bear has purpose. So quit your jealousy. Get out of you chair. Jump into a remote jungle or desert and see how quickly your recognise God when your whole life is out of your quebucil comfort zone. Or, if you don't have balls for that – simply do an Alpha Course.

    July 16, 2010 at 6:14 am |
  5. Dustin W. Stout

    There sure are a lot of people who "don't believe in God" reading the "belief" blog. and passionately commenting up a storm at that! interesting.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  6. Bryan_Coyote

    Does that also apply for the whole team? I dare to think so. The feeling is contagious. It just takes the will of a man to pull the complete humanity.

    July 15, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  7. jmb2fly

    One way I think about truth is to consider a play in a Football(US) game. Three referees watching. There's a pass and the reciever tries to catch it going down. Drop the ball and the team looses, catch it and they still have a chance. What do the ref's see? Two see a catch, but one with a different point of view than the other two, sees the ball slip out of the recievers hands and rules it an incomplete pass. Truth is that the ball was dropped. The fact that the other two viewers did not see the ball droped did not affect truth one bit. Even if all three refs thought they saw a catch it wouldn't change the Truth that the ball was droped. I see Truth as being based on reality not perception or point of view. So what does that have to do with God? It means that Truth about God does not depend on what you or I believe. What I am talking about is reality. My belief is based on my perception of Truth as your beliefs are based on yours. The question we both ask is, 'what is Truth/Reality?'. You can demand evidence and say that the evidence is not enough to believe. If God is real that doesn't change Him one bit. I respect your conclusion about Truth even though it is different than mine. It intrigues me that others like yourself, searching for truth, have found that Truth in God and the Bible. May your quest bring you to Truth. Have a good weekend.

    July 10, 2010 at 10:23 am |
    • David

      First off they would review the pass and look for evidence and overrule a bad call or confirm a good one. Something religion does not allow, because it can't. If people were allowed to question things and use logic there would be none. What you call "truth" is really just you accepting unfounded beliefs. If someone told you they could read minds would you just believe that too? why then believe that "god talks to them?" It's amazing to me how otherwise intelligent people can do things like blow themselves up because they believe unquestionably that they will be rewarded for it.

      July 15, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.