Facebook can be both a lot of fun and a pain to read at the same time. We can share things, keep up to date with family, and reconnect with friends from long ago. You can express yourself in many ways. And see others’ expressions of interest and opinion as well.
When you create an account, you set up a profile, telling basic information, favorite movies and books and many other things. Today I was struck by one item in the profile: Religious Views.
In the past, you would have been asked the name of the church you attended. Some left it blank.
Sometimes we are asked for your Religion. Most enter a denomination, religious set of beliefs, or the leader of the beliefs followed. Few enter none, or agnostics or atheist, even though they do represent belief systems.
But Facebook asks for Religious Views, and allows you to enter, well anything or nothing. You can express yourself in any way you wish, or leave the field blank. I ran across an interesting answer today: “personal choice, I choose no” and I started thinking about the views of my friends.
I chose a sample of 10% of my friends and checked what the entry was for Religious Views. 63% left the field blank, though a number I know are Christians who chose not to enter their views. There was one nihilist, one spiritual, and one Messianic Judaism (4%). The rest, 33%, openly describe their Christian faith with a variety of answers: the Lord my Savior, lover of Jesus, born again and/or Spirit-filled Christian, disciple of Christ and Lutheran.
No one said agnostic or atheist. So back to one who said: “personal choice, I say no.” It is a very true statement. We make choices. We look at what we know, and don’t know. We may read or talk to people, or be taught in college what philosophers have said. We may continue in the faith of our parents, never questioning, but still making a choice.
This all reminded me of a quote that I had to research to find. It is called Pascal’s Wager:
1- If you believe in God and God does exist, you will be rewarded with eternal life in heaven: thus an infinite gain.
2- If you do not believe in God and God does exist, you will be condemned to remain in hell forever: thus an infinite loss.
3- If you believe in God and God does not exist, you will not be rewarded: thus a finite loss.
4- If you do not believe in God and God does not exist, you will not be rewarded, but you have lived your own life: thus a finite gain.
Choices have consequences. We accept that for our children as we teach them how to behave. When choices are illegal, then the courts get involved in consequences.
I’ve heard comments like “I’ll think about it when I’m older” and “the church I was in were all hypocrites.” Many who have no religious views blame the church, ministers, sermons, and such. Many just don’t have time to go to church or study the Bible.
To not make a choice is to actually make a choice. You are choosing not to choose, if that makes sense. And to say you are agnostic or atheist is also making a choice. (Though I do find it interesting that you have to use the word “God” to describe your choice.)
So, when you give your religious views in a statement on Facebook, you are choosing whether to reveal to others your views, to make up your own words, to give a church affiliation, or to simply say “follower of Jesus” to express yourself.
And yes, I’m a Christian, a Bible believing, Spirit-filled Christian. And there will be consequences for the choice. 😇