Lady Gaga and Pop Theology

All people are theologians—there is not a person living who doesn’t think on God.  God after all has created all people in his image (Gen. 1:27) and has instilled them with a basic knowledge of Himself (Rom. 1:19-20).  Certainly God is often misrepresented by the people created in His image because people have fallen and “by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” about God.  But there is no such thing as the person who has no thoughts or conceptions of Him, even if those conceptions express themselves in claiming that he doesn’t exist.  There are very few atheists in our country–most estimate between 1-2% of the population.  So most people believe in God but what god? What are people saying about God?  We are all theologians after all, so its worth noting what people think about God so that we might be better able to serve them.

Lady Gaga’s single, “Born this Way” is currently #1 on the Billboard charts and it is a very theological song:

I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track baby
I was born this way
Don’t hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track baby
I was born this way

I don’t suppose there would be anything wrong with these lyrics were it not for the line, “I’m on the right track baby” which seems to be a tacit assumption that she is going in the right direction in life simply because of the way she perceives to have been born.  The glaring problem with this idea is that we were born in sin (Rom. 5:12-14).  We enter into the world sinners—from Adam on, all creation is subjected to “futility” (Rom 8:20-21) and is therefore flawed.  God created all things good, but ever since the fall, what God made good is now broken.  So simply put, Miss Gaga’s confidence in her life path because of her birth is, to say the least, dangerous.

The theology that Lady Gaga is teaching is nothing new.  This is popular theology, theology that makes God look a lot more like us and serving Him looks a lot more like serving yourself—“just love yourself and you’re set.”  The most amazing thing about Lady Gaga’s theology is that she contradicts herself and doesn’t seem to care.  She admits to being made by God and in the same breath says the key to success is to love yourself.  If God is truly creator—the secret to satisfaction in life must be found in Him not ourselves.  Why is Miss Gaga ok with this blatant contradiction?  I suppose because she is “on the right track baby!”  What I mean is that Lady Gaga has made the creator subject to His creation—and therefore she is setting the terms and therefore she can stomach her self-contradiction (Rom. 1:21-25).

So what can we learn from this?

First we should take note, as Christians, that we are not yet completely free from this all-too-convenient temptation to remake God in our image—our flesh longs to exalt itself.  A high self esteem, as a person created in God’s image and therefore valuable, is healthy.  Self worship that redefines God over and against the propositional truth claims of Scripture is not.  Consider how you tend to think of God.

Second, we can learn from this how people around us tend to think.  Perhaps the worst possible response to Lady Gaga’s new single would be to look down on her. In so doing we are looking down on people created in the image of God who, because they are fallen, tend to think the same way.  When Jesus looked on sinners, he loved them, and his love was not a love of blind acceptance but one of persistent transformation.  Lady Gaga’s song screams of a desire to be accepted and loved for who she is.  I believe God loves us as we are, he just never leaves us that way.  This sort of pop theology ought to motivate us to look on such people with mercy and grace and offer them the hope of the gospel. The gospel offers people true acceptance—acceptance with God not based on themselves but on the atoning death and resurrection of Christ.  Lady Gaga is incredibly popular right now and she is longing for something we all long for, acceptance.  Christ offers us a blessed acceptance–acceptance with God and you can help her and the many millions who connect with this song to find it.

About Drew Dixon

Drew is an editor at Christ and Pop Culture and editor-in-chief of Gamechurch.com. He is also a pastor, soccer coach, and writer. Drew also regularly writes for Think Christian, Bit Creature, and Paste Magazine. He has also written for Relevant Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @drewdixon82


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