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This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

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The cult of celebrity


Archbishop wearing a hoodieThe Archbishop has often stated that we sometimes ignore the purposes of God and instead choose to re-create God in our own image. Our capacity to worship is often transferred to football stars, actors or actresses, pop idols and models.

Instead of worshipping God we worship the demons of materialism, celebrity or wealth. However a world where God's purposes are ignored, it becomes a very bleak place indeed. Pursuing our own interests has a cost on shared humanity. In the context of youth, when a young person joins a gang, he gives up his freedom – he sells himself, loses his identity, hands over his conscience to the group.

It's not just boys who lose their individuality. 45% of 13-18 year old girls are eating less calories than they should. 77% said they felt fat, ugly and depressed after seeing pictures of physically perfect models and celebrities.

The current uninformed stigmatisation that all those who are curvaceous are obese does not help. Young people should be free of these phoney influences and over-generalizations. They should be confident with their own personalities and bodies. Their heroes should be saints, not pop stars or gang leaders. They should grow up wanting to be the change in the world that they want to see, not to give in to it.