Is Lady Gaga Right?

Lady Gaga has another runaway hit with her song “Born This Way.” The song was the fastest song to reach a million sales on iTunes, and the album had the best opening week of album sales since 2005 with 1,108,000 copies sold in a week.

In the pre-chorus, Lady Gaga sings, “I’m beautiful in my way. ‘Cause God makes no mistakes. I’m on the right track, baby. I was born this way.”

Is that true? Is the way we are born the way we should live? Are we completely beautiful from birth without any mistakes in who we are?

For Catholics, this is an easy one. The concept of original sin would state that we are born in a sinful state, that is a state of marred beauty. In it, we are born flawed into a sinful world.

From our church’s perspective, Lady Gaga is still not expressing good logic. Although we believe children are conceived without sin, babies are immediately brought into a fallen world that tarnishes them. We are born children of God, but we have become children of this world. Again, we are people of marred beauty.

In the end, the result is the same. Flaws, whether we are born with them or not, need to be conquered. If I had a tendency like Jeffrey Dahmer’s and desired to eat people, that would not make eating people the right thing to do despite being true to my fallen self. That might be an extreme case, but the logic of indulging the tendencies we have will lead us to extreme distortions of what humanity should be. Just because we have had an inherent tendency since birth does not make following through with that impulse a right course of action.

I am not joining in on the original sin debate here. It’s periphery to this discussion because both sides agree on the practical implications with this issue. The one side believes we are born in sin; the other believes that we are not held accountable for our sin until we reach a certain age. In both views, there is sin present in life from birth. Sin that mars us from being the perfected image of God.

God has a plan for us, but we all have tendencies, desires, and actions in our lives that are distorted from what we should be, from that ideal plan. However, we are called to join in with Jesus on the restorative process he is doing in us and through us.  The idea that we are perfect the way we are will allow us to indulge in sins that come naturally to our sinful state.

The concept that God does not make mistakes should not empower us to indulge in all of our natural impulses. We are called to join in with Jesus, through the work, guidance, and strength of the Holy Spirit, in perfecting ourselves and the world around us. The very concept of transforming ourselves and the world into the image of God means that it is currently tarnished. To live by the principle that an impulse should be gratified just because it is an instinct will lead us to living a life outside of the fulfilling life God has planned for us.

In the end, this is why we need Jesus. His death on the cross brings forgiveness to our sins. His life that he lived shows us that there is an ideal we need to strive for. His resurrection brings victory. To say that we are fine the way we are is to reject Jesus’ sacrifice and plan for our lives. May we learn to live humbly, to recognize the sin in our lives, and strive, through Jesus, to be who God destined for us to be.