- Deseret News - Thursday, October 1, 2015

Ever since Justin Bieber skyrocketed up the pop music charts in 2010, religion has followed him. His fans call themselves beliebers, his mother is well-known among evangelicals and he’s been seen spending time in churches.

His faith was even outlined in a book called “Belieber!” early in his career back in 2011, according to CNN.

But recently, Bieber’s religiousness has reached new levels with his interview for Complex magazine. In the cover story, Bieber was brutally honest about his romantic relationships, his music and his views about religion, which, he said, has always guided him through life.

“I feel invincible like, nothing is bigger than God,” he told Complex. “If God’s for me, who can be against me? That’s helped me in a lot of situations where I feel judged. It gives you confidence and you can carry yourself in a cool way, but it’s not cocky. It’s a confidence that’s a godly confidence. That’s what I always want. I wanna be loved for being a good dude and for being confident in myself because I know who I am and what I carry and what I sacrifice.”

This interview led to The Federalist’s Rebecca Cusey classifying the Canadian pop star as a sinner and a saint. He’s engaged in immoral behavior — drinking and driving, drug use and “crude and boorish behavior” — but he’s also preached faith along the way.

“On one hand, Bieber talks about moving in with his girlfriend, endorsing gay rights, and drinking (and, by the way, swears while doing it). Hardly typical Sunday School material,” Cusey wrote. “On the other, he expresses deep, sincere, and orthodox Christian faith. His insight into faith not as a system of rules, but as a desire to please One whom you love? Well, many theologians could not express it better.”

Casey goes on to say that Bieber is a “work in progress.” He’s handling all life throws at him, while trying to understand his faith.

“He’s a work in progress, a sinner and a saint in one miraculous package,” she wrote. “He may act out again in selfish ways. He may offend pewsitter notions of propriety. But there is no denying this faith is vivid and living. It’s a privilege to get to see his journey.”

So what has Bieber said about faith that’s made those like Cusey have such praise for him? Here are 10 quotes from the young singer about God, faith and religion:

On forming a relationship with God:

“It’s like with God: The whole thing with religion is you present yourself holy and bring your offerings so that God can bless you, when the whole point of the relationship [should be], ‘No, I’m gonna do this because he loves me. I’m gonna do this because he’s amazing and not because [I] have to, [but] because [I] want to.’ That’s the whole thing with religion that’s been throwing off the people. It’s not a ‘have to.’ It should be just like a personal relationship. Like, ‘Hey, I love you because you first loved me.” — Complex, September 2015

On what Jesus wanted:

“I just wanna honestly live like Jesus. Not be Jesus—I could never—I don’t want that to come across weird. He created a pretty awesome template of how to love people and how to be gracious and kind. If you believe it, he died for our sins. Sometimes when I don’t feel like doing something, but I know it’s right, I remember, I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t feel like going to the cross and dying so that we don’t have to feel what we should have to feel. What Jesus did when he came to the cross was basically say, ‘You don’t have to feel any of that stuff.’” — Complex, September 2015

On what it means to be Christian:

“It doesn’t make you a Christian just by going to church. I think that going to church is fellowship, it’s relationship, it’s what we’re here on the earth to do, to have this connection that you feel there’s no insecurities. I think that’s where we need to be. Like I said, you don’t need to go to church to be a Christian. If you go to Taco Bell, that doesn’t make you a taco.” — Complex, September 2015

Onhow he developed a relationship with God:

“I’m not religious nor do I think I have ANYTHING figured out that’s why I call out on God to help me through what I can’t do on my own. Developing my relationship with God has been the coolest thing I’ve experienced, to know that I’m not alone and I don’t have to live in fear. Never feel like I’m pushing anything on u but sharing the good news I’ve felt in my own life.” — Instagram, May 2015

On how he practices his faith:

“I’m not trying to disrespect them … but for me, I focus more on praying and talking to Him. I don’t have to go to church.” — Christian Post, January 2012

On how he talks to his fans about faith:

“I feel I have an obligation to plant little seeds with my fans. I’m not going to tell them, ‘You need Jesus,’ but I will say at the end of my show, ‘God loves you.’” — Rolling Stone, February 2011

On attending Hillsong NYC:

On achieving success:

“The success I’ve achieved comes to me from God.” — “Justin Bieber: My World,” 2010

On winning a VMA award:

“I just want to say thank you so much, not only to God but to Jesus. Because I wouldn’t be here without him. He’s really blessed me. He’s put me in this position. So I want to say thank you so much.” — 2011 MTV Video Music Awards

On his Comedy Central roast:

“I’m excited for that challenge and I want to say thank you so much for taking this journey with me and I’m excited for you to see what’s next. Thank you, God, for your grace and for never giving up on me.” — Christian Post, March 2015

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