“Jedi” 10th Most Popular Religion on Facebook

Paul Asay comments on a fascinating Washington Post article on how people struggle to answer the Religious Views question when creating a Facebook profile.

[William] Wan says the box gives us insight how the religious landscape has changed in the Internet age. “Christian” — or a Christian denomination or sect — is still by far the most popular way to fill in the box, followed by “Islam” and “atheist.” But, as Wan points out, people describe themselves  in a myriad of ways: “Jedi” is actually the 10th most popular “denomination” on Facebook. More than 2,000 people list “Heavy Metal” in the box. Many typed in “beer.”

And then there are the cryptic or witty one-liners, including my favorite: “Agnostic, but accepting offers.”

All of this makes these Facebook theologians sound rather light and trite. But for many, wrestling with how to fill in the box was a very serious matter. Some, according to Wan, wrestled with the question for days or weeks. For a few, considering “the box” led them to a line of thought they’d long ignored. Some eventually type in favorite Bible verses or an obscure line of poetry. Others gave up and simply wrote, “it’s complicated.” Religious descriptors on Facebook are almost as numerous and varied as the faithful themselves. (Continue)

It’s good to see that Facebook is acting as the catalyst for some soul searching.


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