Filling in the Faith Form on Facebook

facebook_logoIf I were to go to your Facebook page, what would I see listed under “Religious Views”?

Defining your “Religious Views” can be a deceptively complicated experience. Many people aren’t comfortable with labeling themselves so succinctly, because taking on a label often means taking on all the connotations of that label. You might understand what it means to be “Baptist” or “Catholic,” but do all of your acquaintances and friends? Will they in turn label you as a nutcase if you say you’re “Presbyterian?” Should you care if they look at you askance for being “Anglican?”

A recent conversation on the definition of the term ‘evangelical’ comes to mind (see this Jesus Creed post if you’re interested in exploring that). Nowadays, the word “Evangelical” carries some very unchristian baggage along with it in some people’s minds.

A article, Soul-Searching on Facebook, provides some insight into the thought process that goes into the “Religious Views” question:

Creating a Facebook profile for the first time, Eric Heim hadn’t expected something so serious. Hunched over his laptop, he had whipped through the social network Web site’s questionnaire about his interests, favorite movies and relationship status, typing witty replies wherever possible. But when he reached the little blank box asking for his core beliefs, it stopped him short.

“It’s Facebook. The whole point is to keep it light and playful, you know?” said Heim, 27, a college student from Dumfries. “But a question like that kind of makes you think.”
Of its 250 million users worldwide, Facebook says more than 150 million people choose to write something in the religious views box.

Later in the article Piotr Bobkowski, a doctoral student at UNC, talks about his research:

He has found that a significant portion of privately religious young adults — almost a third in the case of Protestants — avoid identifying themselves by their traditional sects.

Many teens, Bobkowski said, prefer to portray themselves as spiritual but not religious: “That’s why you see all these little one-line creeds popping up.”

What about you? What does your Facebook profile say your religious views are? Do you think there’s good reason for religious people to tiptoe around labels?

One Response to “Filling in the Faith Form on Facebook”

  • Bobby Padgett says:

    I believe that it is most important is how we live our lives, not what we call it. Perspective is everything. What the label of Christian means to one may mean something completely different to someone else. I am a born-again, from above, Holy Spirit filled disciple, Bible reading, spirit praying son of the Creator of this universe which is known as “Jesus”.

    Bobby Padgett