Christians more likely to share their faith offline than online

REUTERS/Sherwin Crasto

Americans are actively engaging with faith in the online sphere, according to new research by Pew.

The study revealed that healthy numbers are either sharing something themselves through their own social media pages, or they are seeing religious items shared by others they are connected with.

According to the survey of over 3,000 adults, one in five Americans share their faith online in an average week, such as through Facebook or Twitter.

This is around the same percentage as those who are listening to Christian rock music (19%), watching religious TV (23%) and listening to religious radio talk shows (20%).

Just under half (46%) said they had seen someone else share "something about their religious faith online".

However, people are still more likely to share their faith offline than online, with 40% saying they shared something about their religious faith "offline, in a real-life setting".

This is a little over the number of people who told Pew they attended a religious service at least once a week (35%).

Young adults aged 18 to 29 were twice as likely as those aged 50 and over to share their faith online, reflecting wider patterns of technology and media consumption across the generations.

"The survey suggests that religious engagement through TV, radio, music and the internet generally complements – rather than replaces – traditional kinds of religious participation, such as going to church," Pew said.

"Americans who said they frequently attend religious services were more likely to engage in these electronic religious activities than those who said they attend religious services less often.

"And white evangelicals and black Protestants — two groups with high levels of traditional religious observance — shared their faith online, watched religious TV and listened to religious talk radio more often than other large U.S. religious groups."