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Denny Burk on Lady Gaga’s new song which has already been played over 9 million times, in its first four days, on her YouTube page:

"Born This Way" is making a theological point. It contends that sexual orientation is an innate and immutable quality of the human condition--a trait that we are "born" with. Whether you are gay, straight, or whatever, God made you this way, and for that reason you should embrace it. Or as Gaga herself puts it, "I'm beautiful in my way 'cause God makes no mistakes. I'm on the right track baby. I was born this way."

The message of the song drinks deeply of the "is-ought" fallacy--the idea that we can determine what ought to be by observing what is. The song's message also flies in the face of the Bible's depiction of a fallen creation. It is true that God created human beings in His own image and that as a result every single human has intrinsic value and worth (Genesis 1:26-27). It is not true, however, that God endorses every thought and intention of the human heart. We live in a Genesis 3 world in which humanity and the cosmos are fallen and compromised by sin. That means that some of our desires are misdirected--even some of the ones that we are born with. That we desire sin from birth is not a cause for celebratory anthems but an indication of just how desperate the human condition really is (Psalm 51:5; 58:3; Jeremiah 17:9).

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18 thoughts on “Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way””

  1. Ian says:

    I wonder what would happen if we applied this same notion to, I don’t know, a child born with a cleft palette or with spina bifida?

    Well they were BORN that way, so clearly we don’t need to treat the condition!


  2. Ryan says:

    Well “is-ought” fallacy’s don’t sell records. And require to much critical thinking/repentance.

  3. Andy says:

    I was born a self-centered, arrogant, lustful, greedy, faithless, fearful, idolatrous liar.

    Thanks be to God, I have been “born again to a living hope.”

  4. Hey, don’t get too hard on Miss Gaga. There are plenty of “Christians” who are now arguing the same thing. And sadly, it seems to be a growing perspective.

  5. Stephen Y. says:

    Please remember, however, who many millions of those youtube hits are from – youth and kids. they are not processing this in the same way we are (statement on sexuality, politics, etc.) but through the lens of struggles with identity, purpose, belonging, etc.

  6. Colin Mattoon says:

    maybe she was “born this way” because she was born this way: in sin, as a rebellious traiter to God, which makes all people broken in every aspect of personhood because of our rebellion and the curse God placed on us in judgment.

  7. She certainly knows how to make statements. I’m thankful for guys like Denny Burk that spur Christians on think critically about culture’s values/songs. That was an excellent post.

  8. Stephen says:

    “Both pyschological and genetic influences have made a profound impact on my current self-identity” is hard to put to a beat.

  9. marc neppl says:

    great response to an awful notion, but people swallow anything she says without thinking about it…like it or not she has a real platform right now, and she isn’t afraid to abuse it

  10. R. Rao says:

    I have not listened or read the lyrics however – born that way or not – what is undeniable is that many of these folks have or have had intense and painful struggles in life.

    We need to pray and ask God to pour our His love upon them. That is the starting point. Unless God pours out His Holy Spirit in a dramatic way its going to be tough going for everyone. We must pray.

  11. Tom says:

    I have questions about the “is-ought” fallacy, though it was drummed into me when studying philosophy. However,Romans 1:28-32 seems to add to the knowledge that all men have by nature very specific moral demands and, even, their sanctions (“those who practice are worthy of death”). So, by observing nature all are constrained to thanksgiving and worship (21) and moral obedience (28-32). I can’t get around the idea that oughts are, in fact, derived from ises.

    1. truthmatters says:

      Tom, I’m going to have to lay on the couch and ponder your response. :)

    2. AndrewFinden says:

      An ‘is’ in the Humean sense is a descriptive statement.. we aren’t given the prescription to worship God because of the ‘is’ of nature – that merely points us to the fundamental ‘ought’ of God and his moral authority.

  12. scotbotmosh says:

    Well put, this exact artist and album name, and thoughts have been bouncing around in my head for a few days now…

  13. Yeppers says:

    Given what she states, serial killers and pedophiles could use the same excuse. We are all born this way, in a fallen world, we all have our own burdens(sins) to fight. Serial killers usually show signs that they have something wrong early on in the childhood, like torturing animals. Pedophiles, in general, usually cannot be rehabbed because the feelings are so strong.

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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