According to a recent study, youths who use social media are more likely to develop a “pick-and-choose” approach to customise their faith, regardless of what their religious tradition teaches, than those who do not use social media.
“On Facebook, there is no expectation that one’s ‘likes’ be logically consistent and hidebound by tradition,” said researcher Paul K. McClure. “Religion, as a result, does not consist of timeless truths . . . Instead, the Facebook effect is that all spiritual options become commodities and resources that individuals can tailor to meet their needs,” he added. Social media users also are more likely to see it as acceptable for others of their faith tradition to practice other religions, said McClure.
However, the so-called “spiritual tinkerers” are not necessarily more likely to believe all religions are true. Social networking site users are between 50 to 80 percent more likely to be flexible about varied religious beliefs and practices, according to the findings. Findings are based on an analysis of data from the National Study of Youth and Religion. McClure used three waves of telephone surveys with youths and their parents from 2002 to 2013. The study was published in Sociological Perspectives.