Justin Bieber & the Superficial American Religion

Justin Bieber appears at the end of this Christian rap video and talks about God and “grace.” What he says is not terrible in itself – nor is it surprising. But, combined with the content of the song, it’s indicative of the superficial American religion, entangled in celebrity values and perpetuating theocratic nationalist myths:

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Assumed in a project like this is a superficial solution of “good life” Christianity – that if one simply “pledges allegiance to God”, then America will stop being so bad and become a prosperous Christian nation again and everybody will be blessed. A celebrity endorsement from the Biebs makes this as good as gospel. It is above questioning because look how #blessed and #superhot Bieber is while he talks about God. It must be true!

Of course, the deeper sources and systems behind actual sins are not addressed. The gap between the rich and the poor is perpetuated and grows wider with this new prosperity gospel. The superficial solution becomes a sin in itself, not unlike the whitewashed tomb religion of the Pharisees, who hid their inner pathologies and perpetuated all kinds of exclusion and oppression.


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About Zach Hoag

Zach J. Hoag is a writer and missional minister from notoriously non-religious New England. He blogs here at Patheos and HuffPost Religion. His book, Nothing but the Blood: The Gospel According to Dexter, released in 2012. Most importantly he binge-watches TV dramas and plays in the snow with his family.

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