Bieber thrust into spotlight; beliefs, worldview questioned

By Rachel Golias

A pandemic is sweeping across North America. Nothing seems to be able to stop it. Bieber fever is striking millions.

Teen pop star Justin Bieber came out of nowhere several years ago and now seems to be on the headlines of every newspaper, magazine and blog.

The Grammy-nominated, platinum recording artist has numerous songs that have ranked at the top of the charts worldwide. Bieber’s most popular song, “Baby,” has been viewed nearly 475 million times on YouTube since January 2010 and his movie, “Never Say Never,” came in as a close second in the box office on its opening weekend in February.

The main message coming from Bieber through the movie and his autobiography encourages fans to “find out what is possible if you never give up.” The musician has accomplished some incredible feats in his 17 years.

Bieber grew up in Stratford, Ontario, a town half the size of Jackson, and had a normal life playing hockey and soccer. On the side, Bieber taught himself how to play the piano, guitar, drums and trumpet.

Bieber said on his website that he did not take singing seriously until he entered a local competition, “Stratford Idol,” and won second place at age 12.

The win inspired him to start posting videos on YouTube to share with family and friends, which lead to his discovery seven months later.

Just after Bieber turned 13, he moved to Atlanta, Ga., with his mother to sign on with talent manager Scooter Braun and musician Usher Raymond. He is now known for his hair and light-hearted songs about puppy love.

Along with his raves about his success, Bieber has received flack about an interview in the February issue of Rolling Stone magazine. The star stated his opinion on several hot topics, unfortunately showing an immature thought process.

Although he said he does not believe in abortion, he said it is OK to have premarital sex as long as one waits for the person with whom he or she is in love. Talking about war, Bieber said everyone should just get along and his view on politics is whatever political system they have in Korea is bad.

One cannot be surprised that a teen caught up in the Hollywood culture has not developed articulate views on current issues, but Bieber could be using his position to make a larger impact on his peers, especially since he professes to be a born-again believer.

He told Rolling Stone, “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.’”

Is it OK for a Christian musician to focus on becoming famous instead of focusing on sharing his faith?

In his movie, Bieber is seen praying before his concerts. His other nod to Christianity is in his latest song, “Pray.”

“I close my eyes and pray for the broken-hearted,” he sings in the song. “I pray for the life not started. … I pray for all the souls in need. … Can someone tell me how to make a change?”

Even with this, it is impossible to tell the sincerity of someone’s faith, especially when all there is to go on is what the media reports.

Many Christians are excited to have found a new role model for their children. It is neat to see a musician make it in the music industry based on talent and hard work instead of through Disney or a reality television show.

It is also interesting to see Usher train and mentor Bieber, who in return has begun to do the same with Jaden Smith, the young singer and son of actor Will Smith.

Only time can tell what direction Bieber will take in his career and how long his “good boy” image will last.

He has a large audience and the opportunity to take a stand and make a positive difference in his generation. Currently, Bieber said he is focusing on becoming a better person. Will he succeed, or will he get pulled away as he grows up?

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.