Do you believe everything you see on Facebook? Why or why not? Aren't you the one in control of what pages you like, groups you are a part of and what you post? Then why is it that so many people are finding it a struggle to hold onto their faith and beliefs while using social media?
We live in a world where our faith is being tested, criticized and questioned more and more. Although faith is a very personal matter, society is almost forcing people to publically defend it. Social media is one of the main reasons we are seeing an increase of lines in the sand — especially on Facebook.
Take just a minute to look through your timeline — you may be surprised at just how much about faith, religion and beliefs is being posted. As with many topics, we have to be careful about what we read, believe and engage with when it comes to social media. Everyone does not share the same beliefs; and it is important to be respectful of that when posting about religious topics.
So, how is Facebook influencing your faith? Here are some important things to look for:
Consider the source
When you see a post on Facebook that may be focused on faith, religion or beliefs, be sure to consider the source. Understanding who is posting, sharing or commenting will help you quickly assess whether it is worth your time to even view or read. Be careful of those who are simply trying to push hot buttons and have a track record of stirring things up. Even a close family member or friend can post something that is contrary to your faith, but it does not mean you have to engage. You can still love the person without loving the post.
Think before commenting
One of the most important things we as a society can do is have more real, meaningful engagement when it comes to religion, faith and beliefs. If you have something to say or want to take a stance, it is fine to do so, but think before you comment. Try to not allow your emotions to control your keypad. Be respectful when supporting your stance, and stay away from trying to make others look bad for believing in something different.
The almighty "Like" button
Whether you know it or not, there is an amazing amount of power and influence when you click the "Like" button. Whether you click it because a friend shared something you genuinely like, or you are just quickly going through your timeline and a picture, quote or headline catches your attention, that click will have an impact. Be very alert and aware of what you are clicking the "Like" button for.
No matter what your faith is, find ways outside of Facebook and social media to help strengthen it. The more time you are spending proactively trying to build upon your faith, the less time you are surfing the Internet or on social media. As you strengthen your faith, it's OK to share posts on Facebook that support what you believe, but remember to do so in a way that is more focused on sharing.
We each have the power to control what we read, see, hear and follow. If we are allowing Facebook to kill our faith, then it may be time to step away from social media for a while. And if you find yourself having more questions than answers when it comes to your faith, social media is probably not your best source for answers.
Facebook and social media will continue to have enormous influence on individuals and societies; it's up to each of us to determine what that influence looks like.
Seth Saunders is an executive business consultant and leadership coach. Seth has been married 20 years to his amazing wife, Amber, and is the proud father of three wonderful sons. He is passionate about helping others succeed.