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Is Facebook our newest religion?

FILE - In this March 15, 2013, file photo, a Facebook employee walks past a sign at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Facebook reports financial results on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)Facebook now has more than 1.6 billion users. Think about that fact for a moment. This means that Facebook is now larger than every nation on earth, surpassing China by nearly the population of America. It's also larger than the global number of Muslims, or Buddhists, or Hindus. At the rate Facebook is growing, it may soon surpass the world's 2.2 billion Christians.

Here's another interesting fact: the average follower of the four major religions spends up to forty-five minutes a day in spiritual activities. By contrast, the average Facebook user spends fifty minutes on the platform each day.

Would a visitor to our planet say that Facebook is our newest religion?

Consider the parallels. The world's religions appeal to their followers for three reasons:

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Taking success from failure

businessman in panic (Credit: Konstantin Yuganov via fotolia)Why do some people keep going when others stop? Why do some people persevere through struggles when others give up? Why do some grow from their mistakes when others wilt? These are questions that people have struggled to answer, or at least answer well, for quite some time. Countless studies and tests have been done in an effort to determine not only why people react differently when they run up against the proverbial wall but how others can learn from their example. Angela Duckworth, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has an interesting take on that question.

She calls her answer "grit," and it's a pretty simple concept at its most basic level. She defines it as "perseverance plus the exclusive pursuit of a single passion" and believes that it is an underrated and often misunderstood element of why some people are more successful than others.

Duckworth developed her understanding of the term by talking with accomplished people in a variety of fields, looking for traits that they shared. Ultimately, she concluded that what distinguishes high performers from others is the way they processed emotions like frustration, disappointment, and boredom. In short, the high achievers "had been conditioned to believe that struggle was not a signal for alarm," and thus cause to move on to some simpler task.

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Does taking medicine show a lack of faith?

She can't live without pills (Credit: Photographee.eu via fotolia)"Yes, I would like to see my parents prosecuted." So said Mariah Walton, a 20-year-old Idaho woman who suffers from lifelong disabilities. This is because her parents didn't seek medical treatment when she was an infant for a heart problem. Her parents refused medical care because their religion prohibited them from such care. They believed that prayer was sufficient to heal.

Unfortunately, it was not.

Now, Mrs. Mariah believes it is time for her parents and the other members of Followers of Christ church to own up to their mistakes. Currently, Idaho state law protects parents from such prosecution if their religion prohibits them from seeking medical care.

Idaho's religious exemption law describes prayer as a spiritual "treatment" that can act as a legal substitute for medical care. As such, parents can refuse medical treatment if they so please and be immune to prosecution. Currently, Idaho is one of thirty-two states that provide a religious defense from felony or misdemeanor crimes.

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