The Roman Catholic Lady Gaga On Religion And The Church

Intuitively it makes a lot of sense to me that Lady Gaga embraces Roman Catholicism: She’s Italian. She has a lavish, theatrical aesthetic inevitably inherited in part from the most tangible, sensuous, and theatric form of Western Christianity. She’s a self-conscious transgressor who needs, to some extent, to think in terms of traditional binary logics and push to one of those logics extreme poles as her act of rebellion. Finally, and most simply, she’s a young, hip, mainstream woman at heart, which is why her sensibility has such mainstream power among young people.  She’s, at heart, fundamentally just like her audience and so in “spiritual” matters is, to no surprise, just like most of them.

She likely takes the side of all of us which feels wonder, exhilaration, hope, meditation, intuitiveness, sense for ritual and tradition, etc. to be “being religious” and separates this from full embrace of “organized religion”. This is probably the average way of thinking among young people which she manifests, amplifies, and reflects back, as a high profile cultural mirror.

But the most encouraging thing about her embrace of religion as an ideal, distinguishable from “organized religion”, is that she holds religion to the standard of morality rather than vice versa.  And if people insist on associating all the “spiritual” sides of their personality with indulgence of what is also superstitious and irrationalistic, we can at least hope that they not be irrationalistic and authoritarian about morality but subject religious institutions and ideas to high moral tests.  And on this point she also shares mainstream youth values—which fundamentally and uncompromisingly idealize inclusiveness —and in these ways she’s wholly praiseworthy and secularist.

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.