When Justin Bieber went and tattooed the face of Jesus Christ on his calf, I cracked a joke about him and JC having a similar family structure. But it’s clear that I was kidding, making the joke that a religious kid would cast himself as the Second Coming. Then I read Bieber’s new interview in V magazine (yes, the one with the “gay” photo shoot) and am floored.
Because it sounds like Justin actually thinks he is the Son of God. Lest you think I’m being hyperbolic, check out this exchange between Biebs and the reporter about his religion (emphases mine):
ED I read that your mom said she had a personal encounter with God, and she believes you are here to inspire and brighten the world. When you talk to Him, do you feel like you have a personal encounter, or are you just expressing how you feel?
JB You know, my ma has always had God around me, has always made it really apparent. She never pushed it on me, but she always brought me to church and she put me in Sunday school. When I was little, I did these things: “prophetic words,” which is sort of like fortune-telling, but from God. They said in one of those tapes—when I was really young—that I was going to be the voice of the new generation. So, I don’t know what that means. It could just mean that I’m here to make music and inspire people. That’s all I know.
The moment they mentioned Pattie Mallette‘s “personal encounter with God,” my mind immediately went to the Annunciation, where the angel Gabriel visits the Virgin Mary to let her know that God has decided to impregnate her with the chosen one. Virgin, teenager who got knocked up… potato-potahto, right? But what really cemented it was Justin’s assertion that he’s “the voice of the new generation.” It sounds like a vague-but-not-really allusion to the Second Coming, when Jesus returns to earth.
As for the “prophetic words” practice, it sounds like a kind of fortune-telling where people read the Bible or pray and then interpret whatever messages they receive, supposedly from God. It sounds like Justin went to a trusted adult who did a prophetic words reading on him and came up with this prediction.
And yet, Justin maintains that he’s “spiritual, not religious”—an excuse I often heard in Catholic school that translated to “I believe in some higher power, but I don’t necessarily buy into the God/Jesus story.” So, that’s confusing, especially since I can’t think of anyone else who could conceivably be some sort of reincarnated Messiah. He was conceived out of wedlock, astounded people at a young age (like Jesus in the temple with the scholars) and through Twitter is a sort of prophet to his contemporaries.
Or maybe he thinks he’s the reincarnation of the saint Justin Martyr? Namewise, it would fit…