About this blog: Discussing religion, spirituality and values. About the writers: Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. Janet Marshall is the religion editor for The Free Lance-Star.
Faith and Facebook
“The Social Network” hits theaters tomorrow. I thought this would be a good time to bring up a religion story from last year. It’s one of my favorites, in a I-wish-I’d thought-of-it way. It’s a Washington Post story exploring how people struggle over the “religious views” line in Facebook. As a religion reporter, I leave mine blank, so I didn’t realize how hard this is for many people:
Such public proclamations of beliefs used to require a baptism in water, or a circumcision, or learning the five pillars of Islam. Now Facebook users announce their spiritual identity with the stroke of a few keys. And what they are typing into the open-ended box offers a revealing peek into modern faith and what happens to that faith as it migrates online.
Of its 250 million users worldwide, Facebook says more than 150 million people choose to write something in the religious views box.
The story tells readers that the religion box debuted in 2006 and that the most common answer is “Christian.” Not so surprising. But Jedi ranks at 10.