On album ‘Yeezus,’ Kanye West raps ‘I am a God.’ Who are we to disagree?

It’s well-known that West thinks highly of himself, as he’s compared his cultural influence to that of Steve Jobs’s.

He is one of the best-selling digital artists of all time.

He’s expecting a baby with the most talked-about woman in showbiz.

He fashions himself as a cultural icon, and with 9 million Twitter followers, 21 GRAMMY awards and presentations at Paris Fashion shows it’s pretty clear that he’s become an idol. But a God?

There’s lots of chatter this week about Kanye West’s newly released, Jesus-referenced “Yeezus” album, including his song “I Am a God.” It’s well-known that West thinks highly of himself, (in 2006, a profile in Rolling Stone said “it has become a cliche to call Kanye West arrogant.”) And that was before this week’s extended Q and A in The New York Times in which West compared his cultural influence to that of Steve Jobs’s.

But is West’s take on his nature and human nature beautiful — or blasphemy?

Here as some of the lyrics provoking the most debate this week:

West is far from the only celeb to compare himself to the Almighty. In 1966 John Lennon called the Beatles “more popular than Jesus” and, as Kia Makarechi in in the Huffington Post points out, Madonna, who grew up Catholic but now practices a mystical form of Judaism, often and controversially draws on religious themes, including mock crucifying herself during concerts.

But artists have always used religious themes to tell their own stories. And many writers have praised West’s use of religious imagery in ‘I am a God,’ endorsing the theological concept that all are created in the image and likeness of God.

West sees himself as a cultural icon, inspiring the music and fashion worlds through his provocation.

West’s religion? May we all be in the image and likeness of Kanye.

Image courtesy of Jason Persse.


Elizabeth Tenety Elizabeth Tenety is the former editor of On Faith, where she produced "Divine Impulses," On Faith’s video interview series. She studied Theology and Government at Georgetown University and received her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A New York native, Elizabeth grew up in the home of Catholic news junkies where, somewhere in between watching the nightly news and participating in parish life, she learned to ponder both the superficial and the sacred.
  • Mike Jacob

    If Kanye were God, I’d be an atheist. Fortunately, he’s not, and I’m not. Proof of the former? My computer doesn’t recognize his name as a real word. Spell check keeps underlining it.

  • Logicworks

    I would guess that he is doing everything in his power to not say what he really wants to say about himself and others or on the subject of race in America And if he ever did say those things, everyone would realize what he truly is, and his recording career would be over.

  • DigitalQuaker

    Kanye, earning those 30 pieces of silver…

    “It would have been better for that man if he had not been born”
    Mark 14:21

  • PhillyJimi1

    At least I know that Kanye is real. More then can be said for the stories of the about the zombie and his daddy along with the tall tales of the fruit eating crimes of a rib-women who spoke to snakes.

  • haveaheart

    What a phenomenally tedious man.

  • AgentFoxMulder

    He and Shirley Maclaine can fight it out.

  • leibowde84

    Actually, historians now agree that Judas was misinterpreted in the gospels. That Jesus took it as Judas’ job to turn him over, and, in reality, Judas was doing God’s work. One more example of how it is innapropriate to take the bible word for word.

  • ged030865

    When you start taking rap lyrics seriously then you are in trouble.

  • ged030865

    “Please allow me to introduce myself, Im a man of wealth and taste”. I think we all know the song.
    Wow folks. Mick Jager made sympathy for the devil over 30 years ago and most of us know and love the song. Are we really going to take Kanye West any more seriously just because we have a blogspace to type on?

Read More Articles

Top 10 Reasons We’re Glad A Catholic Colbert Is Taking Over Letterman’s “Late Show”

How might we love Stephen Colbert as the “Late Show” host? Let us count the ways.

God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

An Untold Story of Bondage to Freedom: Passover 1943

How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

Mary Magdalene, the Closest Friend of Jesus

She’s been ignored, dismissed, and misunderstood. But the story of Easter makes it clear that Mary was Jesus’ most faithful friend.

The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.