Perspective: What Britney Spears gets wrong about faith — and Shia LaBeouf gets right

An interview and Instagram post show the chasm between the two artists in their understanding of God

In America, “celebrity culture” carries a lot of weight and influence, especially among young people. When a famous person dons an ensemble, sales of the same dress or shirt often spike. Unfortunately, celebrities are also a good negative influence.

A 2014 survey found that 80% of teenage girls compare themselves to photographs of celebrities, although “almost half of them say (do) that they feel dissatisfied with their own appearance”. For better or for worse – it’s almost always for worse – Americans consider statements by celebrities to carry a lot of weight.

Even when it comes to faith, the beliefs of celebrities are very influential. When Madonna started flirting with the Kabbalah Center, it meant a lot to the organization, which is based on traditional Jewish mysticism. The Los Angeles Times reported, “The center’s assets have grown from $20 million in 1998, the year after Madonna went public with her Kabbalah ties, to more than $260 million in 2009, according to The Curriculum. vitae of a former CFO and tax returns. the center and affiliated organizations filed an application before becoming exempt.

Although no matter what celebrities say and believe when it comes to religious faith, their influence on their fans and the general public is undeniable and quite significant. Which makes what Britney Spears said recently all the more disturbing.

Since coming out of a father-controlled conservatorship, the entertainer has made daily headlines as she vents her feelings about the experience, and her sons with ex-husband Kevin Federline have done the same.

Responding to an interview with her son Jayden about the situation recently, Spears was upset, saying on social media in a post to her sons, “It saddens me that none of you liked me as a than anyone. You’ve witnessed what my family has been to me, and that’s all you know,” Spears wrote. “As I said, I sense you all secretly like to say that some something is wrong with me. Honestly, my dad has to be in jail for the rest of his life. But like I said, God wouldn’t allow that to happen to me if there was a God.

She continued, “I don’t believe in God anymore because of the way my kids and my family treated me. There is nothing more to believe. I am an atheist, all of you.

Times of grief and tumult are the ultimate tests of faith and also the time when faith is most useful. Belief in a higher power is most tested in times that seem deeply unfair. But for most people, it is this belief that there is, indeed, a God who is helping them weather the storm they face.

Spears’ statement is childish and sends the message to her fans that a relationship with God is transactional and depends on the behavior of our neighbor. It’s easy to dismiss, but it’s still not a message worshipers want to see proliferated by someone with a platform as big as Spears, especially with young Americans already leaving organized religion in droves.

Fortunately, this week Shia LaBeouf also made some more thoughtful comments about faith.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the actor opened up about a recent feud with actress Olivia Wilde. The majority of the interview, however, focused on his recent conversion to Catholicism and was surprisingly deep. This part was mostly ignored apart from his comments on Wilde, which were, in a way, also influenced by his newfound faith. LaBeouf balked at fanning the flames further, saying, “It is what it is – every blessing to her and her movie.”

LaBeouf’s most powerful comments about his faith came in response to a question about his mother’s recent death. He explained:

“My mother was full of fear in her last moments: asking the doctor what this tube was and what this machine was doing. She was mad. She was deeply interested in God and spirituality all her life, but she did not know (God). Hence his last moments. His greatest gift to me was to promote, in his death, the need for a relationship with God. Not an interest, not just a belief, but a relationship based on evidence as hard as a hug. His final gift to me was the ultimate persuasion to faith.

This open and powerful interview on deeply personal matters of faith should make headlines. Instead, in most media, we’re likely to see more petty feuds, like the one between Spears and her family, or hotter takes on LaBeouf’s controversy with Wilde instead of deeper questions about the evolution of his faith and beliefs.

This is the way of Hollywood and the superficial and controversial media. For every Spears, there may not be a LaBeouf, but we hope loyal celebrities like LaBeouf are able to break through the noise and not just speak about their faith, but actively live it.

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