Critiquing culture: I was born this way


At this years 2011 Grammys Lady Gaga publicly debuted her new song ‘Born this way.’ Here are some of the songs lyrics:

I’m beautiful in my way ‘Cause God makes no mistakes. I’m on the right track, baby I was born this way…No matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, transgendered life, I’m on the right track, baby I was born to survive…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, yeah!

Now I don’t want to get into a discussion about homosexuality here. The reason is because I believe there is a much larger system of thinking that lies behind the idea of ‘I was born this way.’ Lady Gaga didn’t invent this line of thinking, she is merely echoing a philosophy that has been prevalent in our culture for some time. What I want to do in this blog is give you a way to challenge people who have the ‘I was born this way’ mentality.

It may surprise some of you, but I’m not going to suggest that we have the ‘I was born this way’ vs. ‘you chose to be this way’ debate. There’s a place for that, but in my own experience I’ve found that there’s a deeper issue that needs to be addressed. When someone says ‘I was born this way’ to justify their actions what they are essentially saying is, “If God made me this way then it must be ok.” As Christians this can put is in an awkward position. We believe that God made each of us, and we also believe that God does not make mistakes. Put those two together and many Christians feel like they have to believe that people are born morally neutral or even morally good. But that’s not the message of the Bible.

Scripture teaches us that we are born sinners, not morally neutral and certainly not morally good. Listen to David in Psalm 51:5 “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (see also Ephesians 2:3). [Here’s a good article on the subject.] We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are already sinners. The biblical answer to ‘was I born this way?’ is in one sense yes. You were born a pitiful, wretched sinner. You were born hating God. You were born with the capacity for any sin. Here’s the rub; our culture doesn’t get that. Most people don’t believe that God would be angry with us, or hold it against us, if we were born that way. But that’s exactly what God does. We are born sinners, enemies of God, and from birth God sees and relates to us as sinners and rebels. (You might be thinking, ‘that’s not fair.’ I’ll get to that in a later post.)

Here’s the conclusion. When someone say’s to me, ‘I was born this way’, I normally respond with, ‘so what’s your point?’ I was born a sinner just like you. Being born a sinner does not justify sin, it just further condemns us. In other words, being born a sinner doesn’t get you off the hook–it just makes the hook bigger! I’ve found in my own experience that addressing peoples ‘born this way’ objection in this manner helps me get to the gospel, and how it overcomes how we were born, very quickly. And that’s where we want to be! So the next time someone say to you, ‘but I was born this way,’ look back at them and say, ‘yes, I was born a sinner too; now let me share with you how Christ can overcome that!’