Americans Twice As Likely to Express Religion in Person than Online

Social Media

Even though Americans use the internet and social media for almost everything, according to a recent study conducted by Pew Research Center, they are twice as likely to express their views on religion in person than online. This particular study, which was carried out from May 30 to June 30 this year, reveals only 20 percent of American adults share opinions about their religious faith on social networking sites. However, twice as many people apparently share their opinions in real-life settings or in person.

Religion Media

Greg Smith, the study’s associate director, said researchers did not reveal what they mean by “sharing” but in all probability, it meant a broad interpretation that goes beyond proselytizing or evangelizing.

“It could include a wide range of interactions, such as offering a prayer or blessing, quoting from scripture or describing a religious experience, to mention only a few possibilities,” Smith said.

Statistically, white evangelicals are the most likely to share their religious opinions offline, with 59 percent saying they do so as opposed to 18 percent who call themselves “unaffiliated.”

Religion Media

Those who do not use the internet to share their opinions on such matters are in good company with some of the most renowned religious leaders in America. White evangelicals usually turn to Rick Warren, founder of Saddleback Church or Russell Moore, president of Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, whose respective Twitter accounts have 1.5 million and 52,000 followers. Thousands of Americans also follow Jim Wallis, T D Jakes, James Martin and Rachel Held Evans among other popular Catholic and Christian leaders.

Catholics, irrespective of whether they are American, do not feel the need to look beyond Pope Francis, however, whose Twitter account has 4.6 million followers and offers spiritual advice every day.

With all this faith-talk doing the rounds on social media, 46 percent respondents said they often see others share their opinions online, a rate that seems to have remained more or less consistent across different denominations. The religiously unaffiliated appeared most likely to report seeing faith shared online at 50 percent while only 7 percent said they shared their own faith on the internet. That apart, black Protestants and white evangelicals were most likely to share their religious ideas online at 30 percent and 34 percent respectively.

Religion Media

The study also revealed that young adults are more likely to notice faith talk on social media. While 61 percent of young adults aged 18 to 29 years said they witnessed such opinions online, only 22 percent of elderly citizens aged 65 years and above said they noticed the same. However, the numbers switched when asked if they watch or hear religious programs on the television or the radio. This was probably because of the differing technology habits of the two generations.

Religion Media

Photo Credits: TrendingDig

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