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Facebook, Christianity, and Superstition

 
The Facebook Logo

The Facebook Logo

You’re scrolling through your Facebook page when there it is: another post claiming that if you love Jesus, you’ll Share the quaint picture or clever saying, and if you don’t Share, you’re obviously ashamed of Him and in danger of hellfire.

There’s something annoying about these posts, you think, but better safe than sorry, and hitting the Share button only takes a second. There’s no harm in it, right?

Think again.

There is essentially no difference between these posts and an old-fashioned chain letter, which promised that bad luck or financial ruin would smack you upside the head if you dared break the chain—and honestly, chain letters were somehow more tolerable because they at least left Jesus out of it.

For someone to pay attention to, much less respond to, an “if-you-love-God-you’ll-Share-this-picture” post implies that he or she has at least a minimal belief in God. And for someone to believe in an all-powerful God while acknowledging these absurd posts is—well, absurd. Think about it: these “Share-or-else” posts only succeed if we believe that our devotion to God is somehow related to our Facebook wall—that is, that submitting to someone’s not-so-subtle ploy to get more Shares puts us in God’s good graces and testifies of our commitment to Him. The Fruit of the Spirit now involves hitting the Share button versus patience and mercy. Often, the post declares, “This is a test.” Do we really believe that God would assess our faith via Facebook? If not, then why are we acquiescing to an experiment whipped up by some bored individual from Nevada whom we’ve never met?

These posts also rely on superstition, and Christians have no business being superstitious. “Superstition” means “belief resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation.” Superstition attributes power and influence to something powerless or inanimate. To be superstitious is to believe that circulating a particular post will cause something good to happen, and failing to do so will (or at least might, and there’s no need to press one’s luck, right?) result in misfortune.

The question remains: How is giving in to a “share-this-picture-or-it’s-gonna-be-bad” post any different from knocking on wood or steering clear of a black kitty-cat? How can belief in a sovereign God coincide with superstition?


About Victoria York

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