Born This (Sinful) Way-HEY!

Posted: March 4, 2011 in Music
Tags: , , , , ,

I hate Top 40 music.

I hate it even more when I actually like a song. The irresistible beats that you can’t help but bob your head to. The stupid yet catchy repetitive lyrics.

One song that recently has caught my attention (and I am embarrassed to admit that I actually really enjoy it) is Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”. You’re probably thinking, “Another blog post about this song? Seriously?” Yeah, I know. Everyone is talking about Lady Gaga. Well, I might as well jump on the bandwagon.

at a concert
I’ve never been a huge fan of Lady Gaga. Her songs with all the “po-po-po-poker faces” and “ga-ga-ooh-la-las” are fun to sing along to, but that’s about it. With all of her outrageous outfits and makeup, I don’t think I even know what she actually looks like. But I got hooked on her new song. Not only is it fun and catchy, but it has significant lyrics as well.

Let me clarify by saying that when I call her lyrics “significant”, it does not mean I agree with all of her statements. I just want to briefly muse about how we, as Christians, should approach this hit that is undoubtedly going to be an anthem of this generation ?

Some of the lines that really stuck out to me were “I’m beautiful in my way ’cause God makes no mistakes” and “Whether life’s disabilities left you outcast, bullied, or teased, rejoice and love yourself today ’cause baby you were born this way“. Here, Gaga is affirming some biblical principles. We are all made in the image of God. No matter what gender, race, or sexual orientation we are, we all bear the imago dei, whether we have accepted Christ as our Savior or not. We are His creation, and that gives us value.

But from a Christian perspective, Gaga misses a big point in her song. And that is we were born as sinful, human beings. We cannot forget that even as we rejoice in the fact that God loves us just the way we are. Knowing that we were born this way (as sinners) stresses the reality that we need a Savior. That we need Christ’s substitutionary atonement on the cross. crossWhile we are made in the image of God, we were born as imperfect beings. We are people who sin against each other, and sin against God.

We can’t just simply cop out in addressing our fallen nature by saying “I was born this way”. If you are looking for a get-out-of-jail-free card, God gave you the ultimate one: His Son. We can celebrate the fact we were “born this way” as God’s creation. But we can’t forget the other half. That we were born as broken people. Broken people in dire need of a Redeemer. And only once we realize that and accept Jesus into our hearts, we can truly rejoice and sing “I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way!

Oh, and if you haven’t heard this song yet, I’m not going to bother posting a link. Because I guarantee if you flip through any Top 40 radio stations in your area, it will be on.

Thanks to Pastor Jon Nielson for sharing his message notes on this song.

  1. Jon says:

    Awesome David – really loved reading this! The way I think about it is that Lady Gaga comes SO close – God DOES love us just the way we are (“While we were STILL sinners, Christ died for us”). BUT, God loves us too much to LEAVE us the way we are (“If anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW creation; the old has gone; the NEW has come!”).

  2. Barrett says:

    Great post David. Leaving out the Fall misses a key part of the story. Lady Gaga desires to uplift the disenfranchised, but in so doing her words mute sin. It could be argued that racists, pedophiles, and sexists are just “born this way”. Taken to its logical implications there would be no need for the justice system because all of us are born with particular proclivities given to us by God. Surely, Lady Gaga does not go that far (defending the helpless implies a theory of injustice), but how then does she or those who hold to similar beliefs account for certain acts of injustice? Where does this assumption of right and wrong come from and who gets to decide on what is acceptable (“born this way”) or unacceptable (perhaps understood as acting contrary to your birth right)? Unfortunately, Lady Gaga, like most of us, does not take the time to think through such critical questions. It is much easier to pitch simplistic platitudes that appeal to the masses then to wrestle with the root of sin and our enmity toward God.

  3. I loved this post! It is so interesting to hear the different views on this subject. I love music and i must admit i am captivated by its up to tempo beat. But sadly i think it may be a bit over analysed. She is just a pop star getting ratings, she is targeted toward a younger((teen)) audience. I AGREE that the message it a bit to the extreme and its some how “welcomes” non-Christian views. I think the message is simple to just love yourself and if you dont then find a way to become that person you want to be. I dont like the fact that is does “welcome” non-christian views, i myself am a christian but i am a lover of self love. If you dont understand Gods’ love for you and if you dont love yourself…how are you going to love someone else

    • Thanks for the comment! I agree and understand the overall message of the song, and think it’s a good one about loving who you are as a child of God. I just wanted to analyze it from a Christian perspective even though I know it’s a secular song, and address what I thought was missing from the message.

      Also, thanks for reading and subscribing!

    • Barrett says:

      Her song “welcomes” non-Christian views precisely because it is a non-Christian view. Self-love is self-worship outside of and apart from redemption in Christ. It is the direct opposite of the biblical demand for self-denial and ends up elevating the individual above God (Matt. 16:24-26). True love of self and others begins with the realization that we, since the Fall, worship ourselves and that our hearts will be restless until they rest in God alone (Augustine). All of humanity is ever in search for fulfillment and approval, but the single answer to this search is found in Jesus Christ. Lady Gaga’s song is a manifestation of the heart’s yearning for affirmation, but it misses a crucial element – the Fall. Her words affirm the individual’s self-love, self-esteem, and self-assessment apart from the need for redemption in Christ. Also, secular is not a neutral field that is exempt from critical analysis. Popular appeal demands a Christian assessment because many within the Church will likely be influenced by it. The supposed dichotomy of sacred and secular that somehow grants the legitimacy of a so-called non-religious and neutral perspectice is unjustifiable and leads to syncretization.

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