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Justin Bieber: I have a personal relationship with God

With all that touring, when does devout Christian Justin Bieber have time to go to church? Well, he doesn’t.

In the new issue of V magazine, the 17-year-old singer explains that his religious faith is grounded not in church, but in a personal relationship with God.

“A lot of people who are religious, I think they get lost,” says the pop star (via the Winnipeg Free Press). “They go to church just to go to church. I’m not trying to disrespect them. But for me, I focus more on praying and talking to Him. I don’t have to go to church.”

Bieber’s faith has always been an important part of his life, and he’s not shy about sharing it with fans.

Before he became famous, his mother was uploading videos of Bieber singing Christian songs on YouTube. He went on to record his own original Christian songs, like the 2010 single “Pray,” as well as standards like “Silent Night” (which appears on his most recent album, Under the Mistletoe).

In the documentary Never Say Never, Bieber is seen several times praying before concerts.

“I’m a Christian, I believe in God, I believe that Jesus died on a cross for my sins,” Bieber told Billboard in November 2010, while promoting his autobiography.

“I believe that I have a relationship and I’m able to talk to him and really, he’s the reason I’m here, so I definitely have to remember that. As soon as I start forgetting, I’ve got to click back and be like, you know, this is why I’m here.”

Bieber recently made another new declaration of faith: a tattooed drawing of Jesus on his left calf. It’s his most prominent Christian tattoo, but it’s not his first: He also has the Hebrew word for “Jesus” on his rib cage, and a dove drawn on his belly.

No doubt he turns to his faith during trying times, like this past year’s accusation from fan Mariah Yeater that he fathered her child. Bieber tells V that the more famous he gets, the more he feels like a target for people.

“Now that I’m on top, everyone wants to bring me down,” he says. “Everyone’s trying to tug at me and take my spot. Like Floyd Mayweather, he’s the best boxer in the world. Now he is a champion. Every time he goes to a fight now, people are like, ‘He’s going to lose this time.'”

The music issue of V, featuring Bieber on the cover, hits newsstands Jan. 12.