On December 25th, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a rather innocuous holiday greeting on his wall, wishing his followers “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.” This led to one poster asking him “But Aren’t You Atheist?” and Zuckerberg’s reply is leading to reports from JTA and others that Mark Zuckerberg has found God.
For instance, the Forward gave their story the headline “Mark Zuckerberg Says His Religion Is ‘Very Important,'” but if you actually read the post, you’ll see that the headline is not entirely accurate.
To answer whether he is an atheist, Zuckerberg says “No. I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important.”
From this, we can tell that Zuckerberg does not identify himself as an atheist. However, it does not give any evidence as to his current beliefs other than that “religion is very important.” Note that he doesn’t even say “my religion is very important” but rather seems to be using “religion” as a general concept.
Zuckerberg’s wife practices Buddhism, as the Forward notes, so it’s entirely possible given this statement that he practices alongside her. Alternatively, he may just be differentiating between active atheism–telling others not to believe in God, like Sam Harris or Bill Maher–and a personal atheism that nonetheless respects the beliefs of others.