Jewish Journal


September 1, 2009

That’s between you and God and Facebook


Some would disagree with the accuracy of the description, but The Jewish Journal self-identifies as “pretty Jewish.” A friend of mine lists her religion as “Conservadoxishesque.” As for me? No surprise: “God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.”

These are, of course, the responses—irreverent, pithy, confused—of a just few Facebook users. You’ve likely encountered plenty more that offer a more revealing window into your friends than just “Christian” or “Muslim” or “Atheist.”

So why not explore the internal push and pull felt by people struggling to fill out the religious views box? Well, The Washington Post did just that with an interesting story over the weekend:

Amid the endless trivialities of social networking sites—the quotes from Monty Python, the Stephen Colbert for Prez groups, the goofy-but-calculatingly-attractive profile pics—the tiny box has become a surprisingly meaningful pit stop for philosophical inquiry.

Millions have plumbed their innermost thoughts, struggling to sum up their beliefs in roughly 10 words or less. For many, it has led to age-old questions about purpose, the existence of the divine and the meaning of life itself.

Some emerge from the experience with serious answers. George Mason University student Travis Hammill, 19, spent several days distilling his beliefs into this sentence: “Love God, Love Others, Change the World.”

Others try to deflect the question with humor.

“God knows,” wrote Hannah Green, 19, who attended Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville. “Pastafarian,” typed Maddy Gillis, 20, of Kensington, invoking a popular pseudo-religion that venerates a “Flying Spaghetti Monster.”

A good many, however, tread the fine line between wit and truth: “Agnostic, but accepting offers.” “I barely believe I exist.”

The Post’s writer than turns his attention to some anecdotes from people who agonized over just how to fill in the blank. Worth reading.

“Christian” is, not surprisingly, the most popular choice of the 150 million users who decide to list a religion. “Jedi” makes an appearance at No. 10.

Hat tip to Mollie. She’s a confessional Lutheran.”

Also on Facebook: The God Blog. Religious views? You bet.

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