Foster played the role of Dr. Eleanor Arroway, a radio astronomer in the movie Contact, based upon the best-selling novel by Dr. Carl Sagan.
Q. Where does Jodie Foster stand in the debate between science and faith?
A. I absolutely believe what Ellie believes – that there is no direct evidence, so how could you ask me to believe in God when there’s absolutely no evidence that I can see? I do believe in the beauty and the awe-inspiring mystery of the science that’s out there that we haven’t discovered yet, that there are scientific explanations for phenomena that we call mystical because we don’t know any better. From the Georgia Straight Interview with Jodie Foster by Dan McLeod, July 10-17, 1997; page 43.
On the July 7, 1997 airing of Good Morning America Foster was interviewed by co-anchor Charles Gibson about her then-upcoming movie Contact. The topic turned to the religious impacts of the movie and then to her religious beliefs.
At one point, she explained the “god of the gaps” concept, and that the “gaps” are continually getting tighter and tighter, and that we’re running out of room for god as an explanation for the mystical. Gibson asked “Do you believe in god — I’ve never asked anyone this before — ?” Foster skirted the issue just a bit, refering to “fables” and “holy texts”, insinuating a lack of credibility of them in her view. She also described her beliefs as similar to those of her character in the movie and that she can certainly never have proof of god’s existence or non-existence.
On an HBO special report interviewing the characters of the movie Contact Matthew McConaughey said he did believe in god just as his character did in the movie, however Jodie Foster said she did not believe in god and had no religion. She stated that science comes closest to finding the truth.