God Does Not Belong on Social Media

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jesuslovesmenowI have a pet peeve.

Actually it’s more than a pet peeve. It’s something that has made me filter updates on my Facebook home page. I have even unfriended people because of this.

In my opinion, God does not belong on social media. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr. Whatever. Any social media EVER.

It seems like it’s harmless enough. People are moved by what they’ve learnt at church, or they were reading a passage of scripture that really hit home with them and they want to share. While that still rubs me up the wrong way, I can understand that. What I REALLY have a problem with is the daily scriptures that are automatically posted to people’s walls everyday. Or the daily links to “inspirational” sermons.

I had this one friend, let’s call her … Mary (see what I did there?) She is a church goer. She prays and reads the bible. She also posts daily scriptures on Facebook. There are some passages of scripture that are beautiful, regardless of whether you are a believer or not, and I don’t mind seeing these pop up in my feed. But what I DO have a problem with, is the “Can you please pray for me because I’m about to get my nails done and last time it hurt!”

I’m not even joking. Other requests I’ve seen in my time line from various people of various religions have been:

“Please pray for me because I need to have a really big month selling <insert makeup brand here> because I want to win the coffee maker!”

“Please pray for me because I’ve just put my car in for service and I need to get it back before 3 o’clock because I need to go out tonight.”

And my personal favourite, “Please pray for me because my child is currently doing <insert sport here> and I need her to focus so she can win!”

No, people! NO!

I’m not going to waste my prayers on you so your child can come first in whatever so that you can justify being a stage mum! I can’t honestly believe that anyone thinks God would actually answer those prayers? With all the shi-ca-ca that’s going on in the world, how is praying for “big sales so you can get the coffee maker” helpful?

You know what I do give my prayers to? The posts where someone is sick and they need a boost. The posts where someone’s loved one is in a bad way and they need support. When someone is feeling so low they need to feel like there are people out there thinking of them.

Regardless of whether you are a believer or not, there is some power to prayer. For the believers who need the support, knowing that people are praying for you can actually help calm you, regardless of whether these prayers come true or not.

Another thing that bothers me is the sharing of random “Christian thoughts” and the “If you share this it will show how much you love God and he will love you so much in return and you are guaranteed a place in heaven!!!” NO!!! Seriously?? Why on earth would The Almighty care about a like or share on social media? Do these people honestly think “Well I’ve liked this status on Facebook, so it doesn’t matter that I cheat on my taxes and my partner, I’ve still earned salvation! Woo!”

Having said all that though, don’t think for a second that the atheists are going to get away scot free in this post. I’ve had to remove atheist rants from my feed as well. People who are INCENSED that anyone could possibly believe in God at all and just can’t seem to accept the fact that there are different belief systems in the world BECAUSE OH MY GOD (ha!) HOW CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT GOD EXISTS YOU ARE ALL SO STUPID!! And believe me, there is plenty of that.

Here are a few tips about posting about your belief system online so you don’t get blocked or filtered in my timeline.

  1. Don’t bombard people with things. If you have a favourite scripture, post it! But don’t hammer people with scriptures or preaching on Social Media. 
  2. If you have a favourite post by your favourite Atheist celeb, post it without slamming people who do believe in God. Because honestly, it makes you out to be as big a douche as the Christians you bitch about.
  3. Don’t ask people to pray for you for trivial matters. If you want honest to goodness prayers, leave it for times that really do warrant it.
  4. Don’t ruin a beautiful post on science by slamming the “opposing team” i.e. “Look at this beautiful creation, how can you believe we evolved?” or “Look at how this creature adapted to it’s surroundings, how can you believe we were created?”

The topic of religion is fraught with danger. Bringing it up at a dinner party can lose you friends fast. So can slamming people because their belief system is so different to yours. If you want to discuss it, at least try and discuss this without it turning into an all-in brawl. Respect that other people believe differently to you. Listen to what others have to say. Respectfully disagree.

And for the love of all things holy, keep it off Facebook!

Does religion on social media bother you? 

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  • http://johnanthonyjames.com/ John James

    hmmmm….

    I understand your frustration, but disagree with your solution…

    I agree that it’s wrong for people to shove their beliefs down other people’s throats, but I also believe that it’s not up to me to decide what other people do on social media…

    If you want to use social media to evangelize, or be an activist, go for it… but your are probably going to lose a lot of followers…

    I follow a few people who occasionally quote scripture on social media – I just glaze over those posts and move on – but I do the same with people who post stuff about their kids, or post selfies, or post about shoe sales… should I ask them to stop posting those as well?

    I reckon a lot of people glaze over some of the stuff I post about – stuff about music I like, or astronomy or science… but they might like my posts about my cats… or not…

    Social media is one half socialising and one half self-expression… I feel uncomfortable placing restrictions on what people can or cannot use social media for – I might not like what you post on social media, but you should be free to use it in whatever way you like… even the haters… because the simplest solution to avoiding stuff you don’t want to see is to unfollow…

    Honestly, I just think social media finds its own level… after a while you tend to ignore the people who post stuff you’re not interested in, and focus more on people who post things you like – but then you have the issue of living in an echo-chamber… and that’s not good either. Maybe we should all follow people who challenge our world view sometimes… no matter how annoying they are.

    :)

    • SonjaLouise

      I have to say that I agree with you, JJ!
      Social media is a platform for people to express their own opinions. As a Christian, that means I post stuff I’ve learnt and invite people to events. As a social justice advocate, I post things I’ve learnt and invite people to events. As an education student, I post things I’ve learnt and invite people to events. As a mental health care consumer, I post about what I’ve learnt and invite people to things. My opinion isn’t always going to be popular, but it’s my page and if I feel the need to say something, I will. I won’t censor parts of my life because they happen to make others ‘uncomfortable’ (I do censor for personal protection sometimes).

      On a bit of a tangent, I do have a problem with the “I want….” so-called prayer requests. While I do believe that God is interested in our everyday lives, prayer isn’t supposed to be about presenting a personal wishlist. So I’d probably get annoyed at them, too…but they still have a right to say it.

      I follow a wide variety of people across Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Sometimes, I get upset by what some of them say; sometimes people just annoy me. I chose to follow them, though.

    • http://iamevilcupcake.com/ iamevilcupcake

      As I said in the post, I don’t mind the occasional scripture. I don’t mind the occasional link to things. My issue is with those who spam the feed with things I bet they don’t even read half the time. Things that come from apps, just like the gaming ones, aren’t heartfelt. And people who think it’s ok to ask for trivial things in the name of god. People who want my prayers for things that are ridiculous like winning the coffee machine.

      Or people who see a post on science and use it as platform for a evolution or creation debate. Or as a platform to slam the ‘opposing team’.

      My solution is straight forward and logical. Social media can be used for all the things I discussed, but in the right measure. Maybe I didn’t make that clear in the post.

      • http://johnanthonyjames.com/ John James

        No, I understood your post Cuppy… and I think your ideas are tips are really useful and I wish more people would follow them… so we agree!

        :)

        But I also support freedom of speech and the right of everyone to express themselves in whatever way they want…. so, if you want to be a dick on social media, I will support your right to be a dick… I just won’t follow you…

        • http://iamevilcupcake.com/ iamevilcupcake

          But Wil Wheaton says “Don’t be a dick!” Wil Wheaton!

          • http://johnanthonyjames.com/ John James

            Yeah, but I’m the one person on Earth who doesn’t follow Wesley Crusher! 😉

    • Maree Talidu

      I agree with JJ. I see plenty of stuff on social media that annoys me or doesn’t interest me, but I don’t feel I have the right to say any of that stuff doesn’t belong on social media.

  • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

    Completely agree with so much of this post. While it’s one thing to share your beliefs (or lack of) on social media, and I have no intention of censoring people doing so, it’s quite another to try to RAM THEM DOWN SOMEONE’S THROAT or accuse others of being stupid or narrow minded for not seeing things the way you do.

    It’s one thing to say “Praise God for this beautiful day”, it’s quite another to say “How can anyone look at that sunrise and not know God exists?!”

    And those “I want a parking spot” prayers (true story, told in a sermon once) piss me RIGHT off. Honestly, I’ve weeded most of those people out of my social media circle or muted them. If your God cares that you get a parking spot but he doesn’t care about children dying of hunger in other countries, doesn’t care about people being raped and murdered, intervenes to make the sun shine for you but doesn’t save those suffering drought or flood, I don’t think I like your God very much. I’ll stick with mine, thanks.

    • Jessica Chapman

      I think it’s so important to differentiate between actual God and the God poorly portrayed in churches and on social media. I once saw a post on facebook basically condemning women for talking to their friends about their marriage. Sure there are some aspects of a marriage best kept between partners, but there are some things where outside support may be needed. It makes me very angry that vast proportion of the church is still fundamentally sexist, but I can accept that that’s the church and not God.

      I personally don’t post much about my faith at all, for a couple of reasons. I don’t want to be trite or cliche, but more importantly I don’t want to misrepresent God.

      • http://kikiandtea.com/ Tamsin Howse

        Completely agree on that differentiation!

  • Elvy-Leigh

    Don’t like it, don’t look. It sounds very much like your censoring social media and there’s no place for that. You come off as disgruntled and the post feels like despite your deigning to be friends with SOME christians, that really: you just have a chip on your shoulder.

    • http://iamevilcupcake.com/ iamevilcupcake

      I’m censoring the social media that I can censor, i.e. what I can see on my feed in Facebook. I shouldn’t have to constantly see people asking me to pray for them because their child needs to pass an exam. I’m not disgruntled, I’m annoyed. As I said in the post, I don’t mind a bit of it in my feed, I just get frustrated with the spam, and the ridiculous requests.

      You don’t seem to have read the post in it’s entirety. I take issue with very specific things. It wasn’t a general sweeping “I hate all Christian posts on Social Media”. The title is misleading in a way. But people aren’t going to read something called “God Doesn’t Really Belong on Social Media Except in These Circumstances”.

      I’m not “deigning” to be friends with some Christians, I actually AM friends with them. Just like I’m friends with Atheists, Buddists and Muslims as well.

      This post is purely my opinion. And I have a right to have that opinion. But I do not, nor have I ever had a chip on my shoulder. If you knew me personally, particularly on the subject of religion, you’d know that.

      • http://johnanthonyjames.com/ John James

        Nice reply Cuppy!

        Elvy-Leigh, I understand where your comment came from, but the tonality of your comment comes across exactly the way you accuse Cuppy of being. Just an observation…

        • Elvy-Leigh

          My tonality is one of disbelief that anyone would think its ok to wish to censor God in a free speaking society and be that annoyed by it that they’d write a whole piece on something so sensitive. I’m shocked that anyone, not just the author would think that censorship of all social media, including peoples tumblr accounts is ok? Seems extreme. Sorry for being blunt, didnt mean to be rude, just really surprised at the stance and particularly the title which are very strong.

          • http://iamevilcupcake.com/ iamevilcupcake

            Clearly this has hit a raw nerve. Just as clear is the fact you haven’t read the whole piece. Again, I haven’t made a sweeping “I hate religion on social media” post. It was very specific. And whether you like it or not, they are valid issues in my feed that I have chosen to deal with by hiding them.

            Again I’d also like to point out that it’s not just Christian posts, but Atheist posts and at no point do I wish to censor God, I wish to stop spam on my damn feeds! That’s it!

  • Maree Talidu

    Hey Mandi,
    I’m a christian who absolutely uses my Facebook account to let people know what I believe. I don’t think I have ever forced my beliefs on anyone or condemned those who believe differently, I wouldn’t. That’s not my style of christianity. When I see pictures or quotes that are religious or faith based in nature, I put them in an album I have specifically for them. I don’t EVER “like’ this post if you believe Jesus saved you”etc because if I do, it floods my friends feeds and I’m considerate of that. I also don’t believe that ‘liking’ something gets you any closer to God. I don’t believe I have ever addressed Facebook as a whole and asked them to pray for anything. Many of my friends are not christians, so why would I? If I feel prayer is wanted/needed, I’ll message a group of people who I know to be receptive. And certainly not over trivial BS like the stuff you mentioned. But my faith is a large part of me and to keep God off my social media would make me not be true to myself. I understand you don’t want to be inundated with religious crap, I don’t want to be either. But I do NOT believe for one second that God has no place in social media.

    • http://iamevilcupcake.com/ iamevilcupcake

      Hi Maree,

      I’m speaking purely about what I see in my feed. There are people who don’t seem to be quite as thoughtful as yourself in regards to not spamming people’s feed. I honestly have people who post things that insinuate that liking or sharing something will help them on the path to salvation. People who ask us to pray for them because they need to go shopping on the day before Christmas and they want a parking spot. All I do now is remove the option to see them in my feed, and if I want to see what’s going on, I’ll go directly to their page.

      I wish more people in my feed were like you :)

      • Maree Talidu

        “liking” or “sharing” something is NEVER gonna see God instantly make you His favourite and send you to the top of the class. Hence why I don’t share or ‘like’ stuff like that, but most stuff in general, not only religious stuff, I am careful about because I know that if I comment or like it, others will pay. The same way I am OVER pictures of people doing sick and twisted things for 15 seconds of social media fame blocking up my feed. I will never hide my beliefs or shy away from my faith, but the God I worship doesn’t need me creating a PR storm for Him. He’s got it under control. On my own page if I choose to quote a scripture or have an album solely for inspirational pictures, that’s my choice and you can simply choose to not get notifications if my personal postings bother you. I don’t like being bible bashed and I AM a christian. I imagine it’s ten times worse if you’re NOT.

  • AJ

    I don’t post my beliefs or religious post on social media. Never
    felt the need, my relationship with God I know is solid and I show my love and
    appreciation to him on a personal level.
    I don’t ask people to pray for me, if I am in grave need for his help I
    will request it myself I feel I have a close enough relationship with God to do
    that. I pray for people and my family but I don’t
    need to tell them I am doing it that is also between me and God. Not saying you should not spread his word if
    you feel compelled to do so but some people I think are qualified. I know people who constantly still from their
    family members, lost they children to drugs and is always posing how blessed
    they are to know God and posting religious things on Facebook. Hypocrisy is all over Facebook. People hide
    behind the word of God on social media and that is why I don’t like it on
    there. If you are not living by his word you are not fit to preach it. Who is to say who really is fit to do so. It’s surely isn’t me. LOL