20% of people share their faith online, but that's only half the story
You may have have seen the recent Pew report that 20% of people share their faith online, but that's not the whole story. Elizabeth Drescher and I discuss this report in The Narthex and reflect on the variety of ways people share and express their faith online.
Sharing one’s faith is much more than just about sharing religious content, like spiritual or Biblical quotes, check-ins at church, or personal testimony. It is interwoven into the relationships and networks of which we are a part in and across the lived reality of both online and offline settings. People share their faith in a variety of ways — as they create and nurture relationships, seek to be a gracious presence, affirm and assist friends, and engage with others in the things they find important and meaningful. The other day, for instance, a Facebook friend posted an offer to share an “inspirational quote and photo” for anyone who needed a “spiritual pick-me-up” during the day. Would Pew have counted that as “religious sharing?” Would the woman herself have thought of it in that way?
This reveals a limitation of trying to quantify religious practice, for demographic studies of religion require that certain behaviors be narrowly defined as “religious” while others are “not religious.”
photo credit: Charis Tsevis, “Behold the Twitter Angel,” 2009. CC 2.0 license.