Selena Gomez, the 24-year-old actress and pop singer, recently said she is freaked out by and uncomfortable with “religion” despite the fact that she remains a believer in God and the therapeutic benefits of faith.
Gomez, speaking on the Zach Sang Show, said she isn’t sure she “believes” in religion. She does, however, believe “there’s a reason” she was given the massive platform she has.
Sang asked Gomez point blank: “Your life now. How big a part does religion play?”
It’s hard because I don’t know if it’s necessarily that I believe in religion as much as I believe in faith and a relationship with, you know, God, to me.
At this point in the interview, Gomez makes it clear she is not necessarily talking about the Abrahamic God. She believes faith has helped her, and that believing in something greater is a good thing, but she doesn’t seem like she wants to force that lifestyle on anyone else. In fact, she argues the opposite.
I’ve never been the person that’s, like, “This is what it should be.” I’ve just experienced things in my life where there are holes in things that nothing else can fill, and I know that if I didn’t have the faith that I had, it wouldn’t have gotten me through some of the hardest times in my life. And I stand by that. I think there’s just a lot that I wouldn’t have been able to do… That word [religion] freaks me out sometimes, you know?
The interviewer interjected, saying “sadly there’s a bad connotation” associated with religion. I’m pretty sure dogmatic faiths have rightly earned that negative stigma, but that discussion is for another time. He added that he felt like her, in that he believes in God but isn’t necessarily religious.
It’s tricky. I’ve never been one to pressure anyone, you know, it’s kind of something that anyone has the right to figure out for themselves.
I know it’s easy to dismiss or ignore all this because Gomez is a pop star and not someone the public looks to for guidance on religious views, but her perspective is interesting in part because of how easily she dismisses organized religion.
Yes, she is one step away from spouting clichés like “I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual,” but let’s not forget that many people — especially younger Americans — do believe in some “Higher Power” even as they move away from the Christian notion of God.
There was a time when pop stars catering to the tweenager crowd were expected to project a wholesome image that included promise rings or a subtle Christian flair. Here’s someone from the world of Disney openly talking about how she’s not particularly religious even if she thinks there’s something else out there. It’s a view that’s rapidly becoming a norm among Millennials. (Even if Gomez has been known to attend an evangelical megachurch in New York City.)
So as much as we’d love to hear more people renounce religion altogether, this perspective that says I believe in something and I wouldn’t want to push it on other people is a welcome alternative.
And when someone with Gomez’s influence is saying it, it makes it that much easier for children to believe that’s perfectly acceptable.