Unsplash pic of Kanye West

Kanye West has recently become a polarizing figure in the media due to various controversial claims.

Kanye Omari West is one of the most polarizing figures in all of pop culture, creating divides with his words, actions and intentions as he commonly finds himself in the spotlight for less than honorable reasons.

The problem with his actions is that, while he claims that slavery was a choice and that Jewish people are controlling the media, he also claims to be a born-again Christian. I am here to tell you that Kanye’s actions do not reflect those of someone genuinely pursuing the Christian faith.

I supported Kanye longer than I maybe should have, excusing his words and actions as a side effect of mental health struggles. While Kanye may be struggling with mental health, his words and actions can no longer be defended.

Kanye has had a rocky background with faith, though his lyrics would suggest clear influence based in Christian culture. In his debut album, 2004’s The College Dropout, Kanye released a song called “Jesus Walks” in which he talks about the struggle of getting radio play for faith-based music. The irony is that the song later became triple platinum and took home the Grammy for Best Rap Song in 2005.

As his career grew, Kanye stepped away from his faith to a level of self-confidence that towed the line of narcissism before jumping into the deep end of self-love and blasphemy with his 2013 song “I Am a God” on the album “Yeezus.”

It is important to note that while the worst of his public offenses were yet to come, Kanye was still making a fool of himself in the public eye while not claiming any allegiance to faith. During the time between “Jesus Walks” and “I Am a God,” Kanye publicly stole the stage from Taylor Swift during an award acceptance, said that “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people” live during a telethon for Hurricane Katrina and much, much more.

After yo-yoing from one extreme to the other, the line would not pull Kanye back to his faith until a hospital visit following a nervous mental breakdown in 2016. From there, the artist focused on his family and faith after leaving the hospital.

His 2016 album, The Life of Pablo, is an explicit exploration deeper into his religious experience. After straying from Christianity, the artist made his faith the focal point of his artistic identity.

In 2018, Kanye publicly supported President Donald Trump in light of bigger issues surrounding the nation, making the “Make America Great Again” hat a central part of his look at the time. It was also during this time that the artist made the aforementioned comments on slavery being a choice.

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years?” Kanye said in an interview with TMZ in 2018. “That sounds like a choice.”

The choices made during this time began to jeopardize Kanye’s career in a way that was never before threatening. While scrutiny began to build against the artist, he leaned more heavily into his faith with his own church service in Chicago, known as Sunday Service. By 2019, Kanye was openly professing his faith as a born-again Christian. Kanye’s Christian experience culminated in a 2019 Gospel album called Jesus is King.

The pendulum once again swung in the other direction, however, during Kanye’s 2020 presidential election campaign. During a campaign rally in Charleston, South Carolina, Kanye said that he and his wife almost had an abortion with their first daughter, North West. Kanye’s then-wife Kim Kardashian denied the rumor and said that she was concerned for her husband’s mental health amidst the campaign.

Things have continued to spiral for the artist since then, with his most egregious comments being his most recent. With a tirade of antisemitic tweets and claiming that he loves Hitler on the Alex Jones Show, time and time again Kanye has been a poor example of a Christian.

From an outsider’s perspective, Kanye’s faith appears to be surface level at best, and disingenuous at worst. As a Christian, there are a series of “Fruits of the Spirit” that reflect characteristics of which a follower of Christ should demonstrate. Galatians 5:22-23 lists these attributes, “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

Which of these can you see within Kanye’s character? What, of his conduct, reflects healing or repentance towards an unacceptable way of living? It is important to note that the Christian experience is a discourse in healing, but what does not grow dies. From the outside looking in, it looks as though Kanye’s faith is dead.

Jesus teaches us to heal, not hurt others, but the pain that Kanye’s unapologetic words and actions have inflicted on others does not reflect healing. Matthew 5:16 speaks to this, saying “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Can Kanye say that he has been a light? Has he led more to Christ than away from Christ? I would say no.

The pendulum of discovering his faith and relapsing into self love has led Kanye down a path of destruction - destruction of his family, destruction of his relationship with others and destruction of his public image. However, despite his past, it is never too late to truly pursue faith. Time is ticking away and if there is a change to be made, it needs to be made now. Wake up, Mr. West.

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