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‘Digital faith’ of young people contrasts with shyness in personal witness

Members of religious minorities speak openly about their spirituality on the social media, a study shows. Only 20% search information about other faith groups.

SOURCES EFE, Protestante Digital AUTHOR Evangelical Focus BARCELONA 05 SEPTEMBER 2016 13:16 h GMT+1
universe, faith, online Photo Jeremy Thomas (Unsplash, CC)

Social networks, websites and mobile applications are used by young people who profess a faith, but there is a certain disconnection between their digital and their real-life practice.



The Ramon Llull University of Barcelona (Spain) studied the opinions of 2,000 young believers of different religions, aged 12-18.



According to the survey, 24.2% of the surveyed use “digital religion” tools on a regular basis.



Young Roman Catholics, Muslims, evangelical Christians, Buddhists, and Sikhs told the researchers how they express their faith online, in a study which aimed to update the “map of religions of Catalonia.”



 



MINORITIES SHARE THEIR FAITH ONLINE



Roman Catholics continue to be the majority of believers in Spain, but this does not translate into a big presence in the digital world.



The study found that most young Roman Catholics are not practising their faith in the virtual world.



Meanwhile, the believers of minority faith groups are much more active using websites and social media to express their spirituality.



 



‘BOLD ONLINE, SHY IN THE REAL WORLD’



Nevertheless, Professor Miriam Diez pointed out that “some of these young believers who have an intense religious digital activity, do not speak about their faith in the real world, out of shyness or embarrassment.”



“Many prefer to live their faith privately, but this is a paradox in a very public digital environment in which the youth tends to exhibit much of the private areas of life”.



 “The leaders of the religious communities should be aware of the tools the youth uses”, the director of the study added.



 



OPENESS TO FEEDBACK



The study also encourages the Roman Catholic Church to be less “unidirectional” in their online communication. Internet users are used to interaction, and need to have space to express their faith in a personal way.



Only 20% of the surveyed said they search information about other religions.


 

 


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Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.