The Theology and God of Lady GaGa
She is one of the most interesting/disturbing pop culture figures today. She is likened to other pop divas as Brittney Spears, Katy Perry, and Christina Aguilera, but has cut out a name for herself in her own right. She wears dresses made of raw meat and has one of the most eclectic wardrobes of all time. Every song she produces is a number one hit and I can guarantee that almost every person from the ages of 8-35 (respectively) knows of her or about her.
What you may not have known about Lady Gaga is that she is a theologian! It may surprise some, but she has a view of God, informed by some type of sources, and she teaches a particular doctrine(s). Her latest song, Born This Way, which has stood in the number one spot on iTunes since being released, is called the “Manifesto of Mother Monster,” making it a type of creed for people to live by. The entire song has two goals: 1) To get people to love and accept themselves as they are, and 2) To get people to be love and accept others as they are. The logical reasoning for this acceptance is found in the chorus:
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
(Born this way)
Sounds like a decent message. She brings God into the equation, and does make an appropriate and true statement about him, “God makes no mistakes.” What Christian can argue with that message? To argue anything other than that is to accuse God of making mistakes, being ignorant of what is going on in the world, and unable to govern his universe. We know from Scripture, however, that God is infinite, wise, all-powerful, and accomplishes exactly what he wants. He truly makes no mistakes.
She makes another partially true statement about “being born” the way you are. If you’re white, black, brown, American, Chinese, or Lebanese God caused you to be born this way. Again, true. We know from Acts 17:26-27 that God established the boundaries of men, allotted them the periods of time they would live in, and what nationality they would be. Who could argue that from the womb they got to plead a case for where they wanted to be born, or what nationality they wanted to be, or what language they wanted to speak. No, God did that and according to Paul he did it in the hope that men would seek him.
Where Lady Gaga goes wrong is in saying that there is no distinction between nationality and sin. If God makes no mistakes, and God is in control of your nationality and time of birth, then God also made you lesbian, gay, straight, or bisexual. Our acceptance of one’s nationality or gender, should be no different from our acceptance of their sexuality. What Lady Gaga fails to consider, however, is that although God makes no mistakes, man makes plenty of them and has been doing so since the Garden of Eden. Is it a sin to be African American? No. Is it a sin to be a white male? No. Is it a sin to be a female from Argentina? No. Is it a sin to be lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or a sexually immoral heterosexual? Yes. When it comes to nationality or gender, you have no choice. When it comes to your sexuality you do, and the Bible is clear when it comes to this issue.
Why does a pop song matter? It matters because everyone is a theologian. And the question is not whether or not a person has a theological grid for understanding who God is. The question is whether or not the Bible and the person and work of Jesus Christ inform that theological grid. Lady Gaga is training/discipling/preaching to culture and the people in your church, especially students, to grid their view of God and others through a particular lens, one of love and acceptance. And that grid is extremely popular in our day! That’s not necessarily a bad thing to call people to. Christians should be calling each other to love people. However, the danger is that this grid does not take into account the justice of God, the reality of sin, the brokenness of man, the wrath of God against sin, or the desire of God to forgive sinners in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. She’s mixing truth with the cyanide of lie, and great hosts of people are drinking the juice.
If Lady Gaga is right, then it is not sinful for a man to be an alcoholic who beats his wife. After all, God made me to love alcohol and hate women. I was born this way. It’s not a sin to molest little children. After all someone’s sexual preference for small children would be no different from the lesbian, gay, or heterosexual persons. Just ask the North American Man/Boy Association. They were born that way. And if you’re really going to buy into the god of Gaga, then not only do you simply need to love and accept yourself for being this way, but all of us who disagree with your lifestyle simply need to be more accepting. If Lady Gaga would disagree with me, that in fact pedophilia and spousal abuse is evil (sin?), then it would be appropriate to ask her on what authority she stands, and why we should believe her? At this point, please spare me the argument about genetic DNA that shows certain propensities towards certain actions. All I have to say to that is, welcome to the human race. We all have those, and it doesn’t make one’s particular actions any more right/good, or them any less responsible for their choices.
According to Scripture however, we learn that God makes no mistakes, he is sovereignly ruling his creation, and that sin has entered and corrupted what was good. What the creation hates is that the Creator God gets to define what sin is. Since a rebellious creation does not like his definition, it attempts to redefine and write its own. The good thing is that God will not stand for his creation rebelling against him and destroying itself, so he intervenes. He models what love really is by sending his own Son to make right what was made wrong and restore relationship. In this God shows his love and acceptance towards sinners (really horrible ones as well, just ask Paul), and his absolute hatred of sin. There is such a thing as sin, God gets to say what it is, it will be accounted for, and everyone will have to deal with Jesus. We were “born this way.” This way is broken and needs redemption. Thank God that we have a redeemer. It is the height of arrogance, rebellion, and stupidity to rejoice in a sin sick state, when the remedy has been provided. Praise God that although we were “born this way,” we don’t have to stay in it.