The Rushmore Report: The Faith of Madonna

Madonna Louise Ciccone is one of the most famous icons of our generation. The 57-year-old singer, songwriter, actress, businesswoman, author, director, record producer, philanthropist, and dancer has a reported net worth of over $500 million. Having sold over 300 million records, Madonna is the best-selling female recording artist of all time. Billboard ranks her the #2 artist of all time, only behind The Beatles. But what do we know about her faith?

Madonna grew up near Detroit, and says she had a ‘rebel heart” from the beginning. Her mother died of cancer when Madonna was very young. Raised by her father in a strict home, she was never one to embrace the norms of society.

Madonna’s Faith Journey

1. The pop artist was raised in a strict Catholic home. Girls wore dresses at all times, which led Madonna to question her dad, “Will Jesus love me less if I wear pants?” Madonna rebelled against organized religion in general, and Catholicism specifically.

2. She has never formally affiliated with any religion or church. “I didn’t affiliate myself with any religious group,” she said in a recent interview. “I connect to ritualistic aspects of different belief systems.”

3. Madonna is loosely Jewish. Though she asserts, “I have not converted to Judaism,” she has studied the mystical offshoot of Kabbalah for 20 years. She hears the Torah every Saturday and says specific Jewish prayers as a personal habit.

4. The entertainment icon embraces many religions. Asked why she wears a cross, she said, “I like crosses. I’m sentimental about Jesus on the cross. Jesus was Jewish, embraced all people. he rattled a lot of people’s cages,” she told interviewer Brian Hiatt. Madonna has dated Brahim Zaibat, a committed Muslim and sought wisdom from a variety of faiths.

Defining Madonna’s Faith

1. Madonna is postmodern. As such, she rejects any one tradition’s claim of objective truth.

2. She is syncretistic. That means she blends a variety of world views while rejecting strict dogma and theology.

3. Madonna is the author of her own religion. She says, “I practice something deeper than religion, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.” She has fused her values of individualism with a rejection of the rules of Catholicism, and has largely embraced mystical aspects of Judaism. In short, for Madonna, her faith is what she finds authentic at the time.

About the Author

Adam Holz is a senior associate editor for Plugged In. He also writes for Focus on the Family. He likes to play guitar and construct LEGO kits with his son. Adam and Jennifer are the proud parents of one boy and two girls.

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