Today, Lent begins. Christians enter a time of spiritual reflection, some giving up an indulgence like meat or sugar in the spirit of emulating the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert before his death. And this year, for ye who doubt your chosen sacrifices, Buzzfeed shall be your guide.
"What Should You Give Up for Lent?", the site asks, adding, "Forty days and 40 nights is a long time. Are you making the right choice?"
Many have pondered the origin of divine knowledge, and the Internet's faithful might wonder the same: How does Buzzfeed, that latter-day St. Paul, truly know the sin in my heart?
Humans have limited ways of apprehending divine inspiration, but we must try.
Buzzfeed's Eight Deadly Millennial Sins—swearing, Facebook, television, eating meat, alcohol, caffeine, candy, and chocolate (which is, of course, theologically distinct from "candy")—can all be traced back to their origins in the Seven Deadly Sins, which require a sacrament of reconciliation in the Catholic tradition. Carnivores are guilty of wrath; those with a fondness for swearing indulge their pride. The Facebook-addicted should check their envy, while TV-watchers should be wary of sloth. Chocolate indicates lust; candy, gluttony. Careful of greed, all of you who get that third shot of espresso in your Starbucks. And of course, those who partake in spirits are guilty of "all of them!"
But the quiz does not claim to offer only one path to the Lord. Other meditations that might guide you on your way in the Lenten weeks include your favorite celebrity Twitter account, your favorite super power, questions like "What animal would you want to see on a safari?" and "Who is your favorite muppet?"
If I were prone to doubting, I might suspect Buzzfeed is mocking the faithful with this quiz—for it bears the mark of "LOL."
But with 674,891 views and counting, 3.1 thousand social shares, and Buzzfeed's mission to drive traffic to its site with thoughtful, introspective content, it seems cynical to draw such a conclusion. For, indeed, who can forget the meditation from Paul's Epistle to the Romans?
We rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostle, Buzzfeed, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Therefore as sin entered into the world through an 8-question quiz, and self-understanding followed; so the quiz passed through social media, for all who Tweet have sinned.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of self-doubt, I will fear no evil: for Buzzfeed, thou art with me; thy quizzes, they comfort me.