rebelling against low expectations

Is it okay to look up to secular celebrities?


KAREN WRITES: Is it alright for us, Christians, to admire or look up to celebrity icons? Not the ones you may think. These are the ones who help in charity projects, give their money to a reasonable cause, exercise good judgment and sound speech, and even live a practical sense of lifestyle. Moreover, they are neither “godly” nor “worldly” in a sense. As with music, these celebrities fall under a gray area.

How should Christian youth respond to this kind of trend?

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  • Yes! Because God’s common grace shines on all people, there are many non-believers whose deeds deserve admiration, even if their moral conduct or religious principles fail to measure up to God’s standards. For example, Malala Yousafzai (a Muslim as far as I’m aware) has done good and admirable things, as have the many humanists who try to improve humanity by community volunteer work, etc. Also I would mention Elon Musk, whose personal life leaves much to be desired, but whose ingenuity and drive to create new technologies and products for society is worthy of admiration. So yes, I would say that we can and should admire secular celebrities who have done good things–perhaps not for their ethical/religious principles, but certainly for their achievements.

  • It probably depends partly on your motivation. If you’re genuinely interested in something good that they’ve done, then I think it’s fine. But if you’re not careful, it’s very easy to get caught up in a celebrity-focussed culture, one where these people are hugely admired – not always because of the great things they do, but sometimes just because they’re so famous. In a way, modern culture invented the idea of the celebrity, and turned fame – rather than good achievement – into the ultimate goal. I think the secular world values fame with an awe that sometimes amounts to idolatry.

    That said, I don’t see any problem with looking up to someone if they really deserve it for some reason or other. It just depends on why you’re looking up to them – and whether you’d show the same admiration for someone who wasn’t quite up there in terms of celebrity status.

  • I’d say it’s totally fine, as long as you don’t idolize them too much.
    Remember that no one, even if they’re a Christian, is perfect. =)

  • People are people, celebrities or not. I have many people in my life for whom I have a great deal of respect, but who are not Christians. I think that it’s fine to respect celebrities for their benevolence or their moral standards and what they do with their life even if they are not believers. I can think of many people who I respect and are role models to me even though they are not Christians.

  • Honestly, I’ve never come across one, so I wouldn’t know. :p I would just say that treat them like normal people… It’s ok to admire someone for something they did. They could be a nasty person otherwise, but you can still admire the one thing they do/did well.

  • I think it’s ok to admire certain qualities in celebrities even though they aren’t Christians. I myself admire Julie Andrews, and Audrey Hepburn.

    • I like all the same celebs! Do you like old movies? I myself am an Audrey Hepburn Fanatic. I’ve seen almost every movie, I wrote a paper on her, heck, a friend of mine even drew me a sketch of her. Sorry, Audrey overload, I know! 🙂

      • Too funny!! 🙂 I love her poise and how sophisticated she was. It would have been cool to meet her!! 😉 Yes I LOVE old movies!! They’re the BEST EVER!! I just watched My Fair Lady the other day!!

  • Well I can think of one guy, Zach Bonner, who I’m pretty sure isn’t a Christian (am I right on that Brett?) but is a good example of doing hard things. So yeah, sometimes there are things we can admire in non-Christians.

  • Well, everyone has some good. (Not to say they *are* good, just that there’s common grace.)

    I think you can admire the way their actions, express their God given image. But remember that they are still effected by radical corruption. ( I hope that makes sense, my thoughts are still jumbled on this..)

    Just make sure you have Godly role models first, they’ll be able to so you Christ, and that’s way more important than just good living. Hope this helps!

  • We shouldn’t let ourselves become obsessed with them, but overall I’d say, yeah it’s okay look up to good celebs, Christian or non. Some are really doing hard things which include just being upstanding and moral.

  • I think @reganseba:disqus has a good point. Just because someone is a celeb doesn’t mean that special rules apply to them. I think it’s fine to respect non-Christians who do the right thing, we just shouldn’t hold them as total role models. Benedict Cumberbatch is a good person who supports some really great causes, (not to mention, is a good actor) but he also supports some causes that most Christians would disagree with. Everyone thinks of William Shakespeare or Albert Einstein as great, intelligent people, but I don’t believe that either of them were openly Christian. This is a very person-to-person thing though, because I don’t think it’s addressed much in the Bible.

  • I think it’s definitely okay to look up to and admire certain things about celebrities! Think of it this way: everyone has faults that we should NOT admire, and everyone has good qualities which we SHOULD admire or talents that we can admire. For example, Michael Jackson’s musical ability is something I admire, however, there are TONS of things about him I don’t admire. Taylor Swift is someone who seems very kinds, generous, and loving; but I don’t admire the immodest way she dresses half the time…There are things to love and not to love about every person in the world. A celebrity is no different than any other person. They’re human beings just like the rest of us. So I think as long as we aren’t idolizing them, and as long as we are sure to lay everything we admire about them against scripture, it’s fine to look up to them in some ways! Just remember, our biggest role model should be Christ; so don’t let anyone fill that place… 😉

  • Forgive me for being off-topic here, but I’m not sure where else to put this so people might see it. I’ve been thinking lately, and I know about 99% of us have read DHT – I mean, that’s why most of us are here, how we came across this site. We’re all aware of the concept of doing hard things, of rebelling against low expectations in this day and age. But are we actually living that out like we know it in our *hearts*? I just read through the “10 ways to get involved” button on the side here, and though it may seem like a big step to some like me, it’s actually quite feasible. What if we all worked to accomplish the “10 ways”? If more people than just me did it, we could do it together, as a whole, trying work toward doing hard things across America. I know that we’re busy with school, activities, and other things, but how often do we make time for the little things that don’t matter, so we can please ourselves? What if we got off the computer, got off of Netflix, and started trying to make a difference? That would be a hard thing. Anyway, that to kind of say, does anyone else want to do the “10 ways” steps with me?

  • When I was really young, I watched this movie with a young actress in it. This actress did a really good job in the movie, and I admired her. I sometimes wished I was her. I wished I could’ve known her. As time went on we both grew up, and I kind of forgot about her. Recently, I saw her in another movie. I was like “Hey! That’s the girl I really admired!” I searched some of her other movies, and I was disappointed. Disappointed because I admired her a lot, and now I find that she is doing the wrong things. My point is, it’s okay to admire celebrities, but don’t let he or she become an idol in your heart. =)

  • I think it’s alright. There are a few celebrities that I look up to, and sometimes its a cool thing. It can be dangerous though. Just like anything, they can easily become your idol. Stay on guard.

  • Absolutely! We can take the good attributes of others to apply to our lives, as well as learn from others mistakes, regardless of it they’re saved or not. Just for those who are saved we can learn more, especially in the area of spirituality.

  • It depends in what way. For example, I’m a soccer goalkeeper, and I look up to players such as Tim Howard and Petr Cech as good examples of goalkeepers for when I’m playing soccer. Do I look up to them in any other way? No. Also, I’m a classical pianist, so I also look up to the likes of Valentina Lisitsa and Evgenny Kissin as good examples of pianists. Do I use them as spiritual examples? Heck no. You should never look to non-Christians as spiritual or moral examples. But it’s fine to look up to them as examples of singers, athletes, etc. =)

    Hope this helps!

    His slave,


  • I would say that you can imitate the good things. Admire the good things, but don’t look up to them as people to follow. In my opinion I think that you will eventually be disappointed by them some way or another.

  • I certainly think that is ok. What we often forget is that celebrities are people just like us, but the camera of the media is focused on them.

    However, woe to you. Celebrities make mistakes. A couple of years ago I was soooo into Taylor Swift. I memorized every album, had the same haircut, knew as much trivia as possible about her. (Kinda stalker- ish, huh?) Anyway, after her new album came out, she went off the deep end, doing things that I simply couldn’t condone any longer. This proves that people DO change, even if they are famous.

    All I ‘m saying is that you ought to be careful. Those celebrities really need God in their lives, but until they accept Him, they are bound to disappoint.


  • hi my name is jesse and i am very new to this website to me i believe you can look up to them as icons but i wouldn’t try to live like them if you know what i mean by that. i hope that helped out karen

  • I do think it is okay. Like many people have said, as long as you aspire to their good and not their bad. For everyone is human and we all mess up at one point in our lives. And as long as you guard your heart from idolizing them, which you probably think that doesn’t pertain to you, but idolizing someone or something is a lot easier that I thought. I’ll give you an example 😉 I’m a BIG Taylor swift fan, I have been for 5 years and before now I would NEVER say that I idolized her. But recently she started wearing more revealing clothes and it upset me WAY more than it should have. I’m still a fan, I admire the way she treats people with kindness, I admire how she donates money to people in need, how she tries to be in her fans lives. And I enjoy her music, if she says something or dresses in a way I don’t agree on I move on now. I don’t really care. So I would say that’s a way you can check I you are idolizing someone, if little things they do have an affect on your emotions. Because you can idolize even a Christian artist. So just be on your guard, and If you feel yourself falling into the temptation maybe take a step back and take a break.

    • I agree! I actually really like some of Taylor Swift’s music; she’s a good songwriter. But I definitely don’t idolize her or consider her to be the best role model in all areas of life. In my opinion, you can definitely still appreciate someone’s art, and not conform to their way of living.

  • I have thought about this question a lot. I have come to believe that the one we should look up to is God alone. We can have human role models, but all people are fallible and will fail us sooner or later. The only one we can be sure of is God. So why would we look up to someone that will let us down eventually when we have someone right there with us all the time, and who will always be right there for us?

rebelling against low expectations

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