Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg has announced he is no longer an atheist, but in fact sees religion as "very important".
Over the weekend, Zuckerberg posted a "Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah" message from his family to his followers on Facebook, and in the comments sections, answered a question about his personal beliefs.
After he posted the comment, a user asked, "But aren't you atheist?" In response, the 32-year-old billionaire replied, "No. I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important." When another user asked, "But why Facebook doesn't notify that is Jesus birthday today???" Zuckerberg joked, "You're not friends with Jesus on Facebook?" adding a smiling emoji with a halo.
As of Thursday, Zuckerberg's response to the comment has garnered over 4,496 likes.
According to The Atlantic, Zuckerberg was raised in a Jewish home but previously identified himself as an atheist on his Facebook page. In the past, he has also expressed interest in Buddhism.
Earlier this year, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, met with Pope Francis to discuss ways that technology could help the poor. Following the visit, Zuckerberg took to social media to shared their admiration for the pontiff's ability to connect with people of different faiths while remaining true to his own.
"Priscilla and I had the honor of meeting Pope Francis at the Vatican. 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," Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook message.
"We also discussed the importance of connecting people, especially in parts of the world without internet access. 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," he added.
"It was a meeting we'll never forget. You can feel his warmth and kindness, and how deeply he cares about helping people."
Despite their different religious views, Zuckerberg has praised Francis on previous occasions as well.
"No matter what faith you practice, we can all be inspired by Pope Francis' humility and compassion. I'm looking forward to following the pope - and watching him continue sharing his message of mercy, equality and justice with the world," Zuckerberg wrote back in March.