If you’ve seen my previous posts, you know that there are some things about Facebook that I don’t love. But out of all of the things I don’t love, there is one that especially irks me: when people manipulate religion to get likes, etc.
I’m sure you’ve all seen the picture below. It’s been going around Facebook in some form or another and even text message for a very long time.
Here’s a variant of the same idea.
It honestly makes me angry. Let me start by telling you that I am all for expression of religion. No matter what your faith, if you want to post about it on Facebook, Tweet about it, or blog about it, you go for it. The thing that really disturbs me is the multiple layers of what such a post represents.
First, who created it? And why? Why would someone do that? I couldn’t tell you exactly, but I can almost say for certain that Jesus did not descend from heaven on a cloud with a flashdrive containing this photo. That I’m sure of. This wasn’t divinely inspired. The way it probably started is someone who wanted a lot of “likes” or views for their page, and so they figured this would drive some traffic. For Christians, life is supposed to be about bringing glory to God, not to oneself. Mistake number one.
Second, the photo suggests that if you deny God in front of your peers, He will deny you entry to heaven. Again, I may be mistaken, but I don’t think God was talking about Facebook. By not sharing an image such as that, I am in no way saying that I don’t believe that Jesus is the Savior or that God is our creator. I’m simply not sharing something on Facebook. Last time I checked, the 10 commandments had nothing about “Thou shalt share all photos concerning me via Facebook.” If someone asks me if I believe in Jesus, and I say no, then the rule that the photo’s author speaks of might be more applicable. But to connect something as trivial as Facebook to my eternal life is not only offensive to me but doesn’t make sense. The person who wrote this is manipulating the Christian’s fears about life after death in order to get more “shares.”
Besides my deeper ideological issue with such posts, how silly does this seem? Yes, I know God is omnipresent. But does anyone realistically think that he is sitting up there with a giant list of all of our names, checking us off as we share some silly Facebook photo? “…aaaaand, Cheryl liked the photo. Phew, she’s safe. Put her on the approved list.” There is so much more to it than that, which brings me to my third point.
Being a Christian is about more than just Facebook posts. It’s like the saying, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car.” The concern I have with posts like these on Facebook is that they make the “sharer” feel that they’ve done their Christian job for the day. And that’s simply not true. I’m not here on my high horse to preach. I read the Bible too little and probably thank God for my blessings less often than I should. We all have moments like these. But even in these, we must be careful to allow ourselves to feel that we’ve done “well enough.” As Christians, we should constantly be looking for ways to make our lives more pleasing to God. We can’t just share something on Facebook and think that we’ve done enough as believers. It isn’t enough. If you can share this photo, and then go out and do everything you can to please God, you go for it! I admire you. I just feel that this photo could easily become a way for us to feel good about ourselves. “Welp, via this impersonal Facebook photo I told my Facebook friends about Jesus. Job done.”
I want to clarify yet again that it’s fine if you want to share your faith on Facebook! Of course, God loves it when we tell people about Him. But next time you open your Facebook, don’t allow a photo to dictate how you share your faith. Besides, Jesus probably doesn’t even have a Facebook; all the cool kids have G+.