Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Denies Being an Atheist, Believes 'Religion Is Very Important'

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is seen on stage during a town hall at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, September 27, 2015. |

Facebook website founder Mark Zuckerberg has denied being an atheist, contradicting years of speculation about his spiritual views.

On Christmas, Zuckerberg posted a message to his Facebook account wherein he wished people a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah.

When one person asked: "but aren't you atheist?" Zuckerberg responded minutes after the comment was posted that he was not.

"No. I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important," replied Zuckerberg.

As of Wednesday, Zuckerberg's response to the comment has garnered over 344,000 likes, as well as attention from many in the blogosphere.

"Does Zuckerberg believe in God? I'm not sure. I don't know whether he was saying no to the label of atheist (with a capital 'A') or the belief that God doesn't exist," wrote prolific Patheos contributor Hemant Mehta.

"Plenty of atheists don't like to use that word, even if they don't believe in a Higher Power. Still, as it stands, it'd be unfair to say Zuckerberg's an atheist. We can quote him directly on that one."

Zuckerberg's comments come months after the Facebook head and his wife met with Pope Francis in Vatican City.

According to an August statement from Zuckerberg posted to Facebook, the meeting centered around efforts to help poorer communities connect to the Internet.

"We told him how much we admire his message of mercy and tenderness, and how he's found new ways to communicate with people of every faith around the world," wrote Zuckerberg.

"We gave him a model of Aquila, our solar-powered aircraft that will beam internet connectivity to places that don't have it. And we shared our work with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to help people around the world."

Zuckerberg is not the first notable public figure in modern American society to be labeled atheist only to publicly deny it.

U.S. Senator and former Democratic Party presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders also found himself being labeled atheist, only to reject the classification.

"First of all, I am not an atheist," said Sanders in July in response to leaked DNC emails claiming that he was and that it should be used against him to benefit Hillary Clinton.

"I think the focus, though, that I am going to go forward on right now is to make sure that Donald Trump, perhaps the worst Republican candidate in the modern history of this country, somebody by temperament, somebody by ideology must not become president of the United States," continued Sanders.

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