With the start of the Christmas season, I’ve noticed quite an increase in Christian “status updates” among my friends on facebook. You know; the sort of post that thanks God for friends and family and/or affirms the user’s faith, or has some other secular message the users have felt they should share. (In many cases they are messages reposted from another friend, and invite the reader to repost as their status, “if they believe.”)
As I’ve stated elsewhere (including facebook, stop to think about it), I’ve got no problem with these types of posts, and in fact support my friends’ rights to post ‘em. But I’ve got to admit that I don’t understand, exactly, whom these posts are meant for.
(I should point out before I go any further that I believe in a Western-Christian God, the same as most of my friends. OK, so I’ve got some major problems with the way some religions try to force their message on everyone else – and I’ve got a major problem with some of the stuff in the Bible – but overall I consider myself a believer.)
One of the messages repeated over and over is, “Keep Christ in Christmas,” which I’m not sure I understand. The very statement appears to imply that someone – maybe society – is attempting to strip the holiday of its origins. Is anyone actually attempting to do this? This appears to be some type of call-to-arms for believers, but I’m not sure of why they feel it necessary to do so. If they believe, they can believe no matter who attempts to usurp the holiday, right? Why would it be necessary to broadcast that?
So my question is this: who are these messages for? I’ve developed a few theories, some of which may be accurate.
1. They are posted in an attempt to “convert” unbelievers.
2. They are posted in an attempt to assert the users’ superior piousness, thereby shaming the reader into reforming his ways.
3. They are aimed at fellow believers who may need a reminder of their faith; just assertions of the users’ faith and an attempt to band together.
4. They’re posting this as a message to God and/or Jesus. If this is the case, do they assume that God reads their facebook posts? I do not grok.
Yes, I’m confused by a lot of religious dogma, and especially by fundamentalists. My friend Pastor Julie (a Lutheran minister), has said – on more than one occasion – (in a semi-irritated voice), and I quote: “Al, don’t argue with fundies” –her term for fundamentalist Christians. She says, “Arguing will only get your blood pressure up and they’re not listening anyway.” Which I suppose is true, although I have to admit I do like talking to these people since they are usually so adamant that the world is going to hell in a hand-basket (heh) and nonbelievers are leading to the downfall of society.
But these facebook posts are some of the most confusing things ever, I think. Why spend time reaffirming your faith on facebook? Do you get something special out of doing that?
Am I missing something? What do you think?