Well, I’ve had an interesting morning. It all started the other day when I read a post in my Facebook News Feed from someone, I don’t remember who – you know how it is when you’re online, who had commented on a post from God. My first thought was, “God has a Facebook page?” I wasn’t sure how to feel about that, and I’m still not sure. Notwithstanding my personal beliefs, I found it difficult to imagine the God of any creed I’ve ever been acquainted with at the keyboard of a computer wading through pictures of his (more on this designation later) FB friends’ Friday night beer escapades and kids’ sporting events, updates on this morning’s reluctance to go to work, and ever more clever comments relating to pop culture. And what would his posts look like? Would he keep it light (Still love ya’, guys! How ’bout some sunshine today!), or discuss developments in Syria or the famine in Africa? Then questions arise about who he friends or doesn’t friend. And what if he unfriends you? And how does he feel about making verbs out of nouns? And then the God on FB conundrum brought to mind my puzzlement over God and Jesus bumper stickers. Dizzying. All of this floated around my consciousness for the past several days, leading me to today’s interesting morning.
I decided it was time to do a little research. So, I searched Facebook for God. (Wow! That sounds so metaphysical and deep. Disappointingly, it was quite literal. Maybe I should try the more abstract version some time? Nah.) The search netted ten results. Four of them were sites with the straight-up God designation; three were community sites with God as part of the title that shared quotes, images, and stories intended to inspire belief in God; two related to the video game God of War; and one was for the Godfather movies.
Now, forgive my seeming digressions here, but I was talking about the interesting aspect of the morning’s labors, and any time you’re on Facebook, or really the Internet in general, digressions are inevitable, and usually interesting. So let’s start with the spiritually incongruous God of War sites. These are created for fans and constituents of the video games of that name apparently dedicated to blood, violence, and vengeance perpetrated by its hero, Kratos, who was wronged by the gods and is spending eternity seeking revenge. Probably an oversimplification, but I could only hang out there so long. Know, however, that there is an action figure that pretty much tells the story, and I assume it can be yours.
So moving on then, the Godfather site was much as you’d expect. Favorite quotes from the tough guys, movie nostalgia, general mobster adoration. And, of course visual depiction of the God(father) himself.
All right then, long way around, let’s get to the straight-up God sites themselves. One of them was what was called an “Interest” page. When I clicked my way there, it appeared rather different than the usual Facebook offering of posts, comments, etc. Instead it offered a definition of God (apparently the creator of the site – there was none of the usual “About” information for the site) from Wikipedia, the bible of all information, divine or otherwise. It then consisted of: 1)Photos of my friends and God (sample below)2) an About God section that informs the reader that he “Appears in” Paradise Lost and lists several Books “About this”, including five titles – two by believers and three by, well to put it gently, skeptics like Christopher Hichens (God is Not Great) and Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion); and finally a section called “Posts by my friends about God” – including two posts by one of my Facebook friends. From this site a learned a number of things. God is invisible or just full of hot air (see picture above). He is really open-minded and doesn’t take himself too seriously (see book list above), or else wants us to think that. He’s a real populist when it comes to research and lets Wikipedia define him.
The author of the second God site was a self-proclaimed phony: “We’re not trying to pretend we’re God. We’re only trying to share, Love, Peace, and beautiful pictures which involves (sic.), God and Jesus.” Sheesh!!
That left me with just two contenders for the real God Facebook page. The next possibility was identified on the site list as a Public Figure. Good start. In the information About the site, the author provided lengthy Personal Information beginning thus: “God is the English name given to the singular omnipotent being in theistic and deistic religions (and other belief systems) who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism.” And on and on at some length. Promising. Furthermore, you can follow Our Lord on Twitter! There were lots of God quotes, exhortations to Click “like” if you love God (kindof needy, but OK….), inspirational pictures of pretty scenery and eagles, and like any good Facebook page, you can post or comment. No mention, by the way, of Syrian conflict or African famine.
The final God claimant identified itself as a Comedian page. Well, we all know God loves a good joke, and the author was very diplomatic, “If you are offended by religious humor or satire, please make sure not to like the page.”
So, what else did I learn from my research into God’s Facebook presence? Well, he’s pretty well liked. The God Interest page had 7,513,991 “Likes”. The God with the Twitter feed was liked by 3,673,942 people. Only 250,250 folks liked the phony God. God the Comedian was liked by 443,175 people. Sounds pretty impressive until you hold it up against the 8,427,276 likes for the Godfather. Furthermore, the combined likes for the two God of War sites totaled 5,589,065.
There was one more definitive finding (see pronoun reference in first paragraph). See if you can figure it out from the profile pictures taken from the God Facebook pages.
Some things never change. So be it!