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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Is No Longer An Atheist

First Posted: Jan 02, 2017 02:45 AM EST

Facebook CEO and former atheist Mark Zuckerberg surprised the social media community with a Christmas greeting.

The Huffington Post reported that the 32-year-old Internet entrepreneur has let go of his atheist beliefs and shared his thoughts on the importance of religion on his holiday greeting post, saying he was "celebrating Christmas."

"Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from Priscilla, Max, Beast and me," Mark Zuckerberg wrote on behalf of his wife, daughter and dog. "I hope you're surrounded by friends and loved ones, and that you have a chance to reflect on all the meaningful things in your life."

"Aren't you an atheist?" posted one Facebook commenter. "No," Mark Zuckerberg replied. "I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important."

Another commenter received a hilarious response after asking the Facebook co-founder why Jesus Christ's birthday was not even notified on the site. "You're not friends with Jesus on Facebook?" Mark Zuckerberg joked.

The young multi-billionaire, who previously labeled himself as an atheist, did not give further details about his change of heart. But his encounter with Pope Francis may have been one of the events that drove him back to faith. Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan met the Pope at the Vatican in August 2016 where he admired the 72-year-old Roman Catholic leader's "message of mercy and tenderness."

Mark Zuckerberg and Pope Francis discussed how to use technology in reaching out to the poor and delivering messages of unity and hope.

"It was a meeting we'll never forget," Mark Zuckerberg, who gifted the Pope with a drone, said in a statement. "You can feel his warmth and kindness, and how deeply he cares about helping people."

Pope Francis also met another atheist, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, during a Pontifical Academy of Sciences conference in the Vatican in November 2016.

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