Mark of the Beast

What makes a GetReligion post go viral? Wish I knew, but these were my Top 10 posts of 2017

What makes a GetReligion post go viral? Wish I knew, but these were my Top 10 posts of 2017

Happy New Year!

As we plunge into 2018, I'm excited about another year of writing for GetReligion. At this journalism-focused website, we highlight both positive and negative examples of mainstream reporting on religion news. 

I write four posts a week (including the all-new "Friday Five"). That adds up to 200 times a year that I offer my insights and opinions. Some of my posts go viral on social media. Others, um, do not. 

These were my 10 most-clicked posts of 2017:

10. Bravo! Washington Post religion writer delves masterfully into the faith of Sarah Huckabee Sanders

9. Oh no, look what Trump's done: He's appointed someone to Cabinet who ONCE PRAYED

8. Chicago Tribune reporting on Wheaton College hazing incident seems solid, but pay close attention

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Mark of the Beast: This time, a Godbeat pro gives us 666 reasons to like her apocalyptic story

Mark of the Beast: This time, a Godbeat pro gives us 666 reasons to like her apocalyptic story

The Beast is back.

My most-clicked post of the year concerned "Mark of the Beast: 666 reasons to look for religion angle in microchips installed in employees' hands."

That recent post noted a Wisconsin technology company's plan to install microchips in employees' hands and highlighted the holy ghosts in mainstream media reports.

Just last week, Deann Alford — a faithful GetReligion reader who supplied excellent commentary for my original post — shared a link to a yet another haunted piece on the chips controversy.

But fret not, faithful masses devoted to high-quality news coverage of religion: Godbeat pro Holly Meyer of The Tennessean (part of the national USA Today network) has produced an excellent story on the subject.

Her newsy lede:

NASHVILLE — The apocalyptic "mark of the beast" prophecy in the Bible makes some wary of a Wisconsin company's recent decision to embed microchips into the hands of willing employees.
The end times account in the New Testament's Book of Revelation warns believers about being marked on the right hand and the forehead by the Antichrist.
But inserting rice-sized microchips under the skin of Three Square Market employees does not fulfill the prophecy, said Chris Vlachos, a New Testament professor at Wheaton College in Chicago.
"I think that this is more of a fulfillment of end times novels and movies than the Book of Revelation itself," Vlachos said.
Earlier this week Three Square Market, the Wisconsin firm that makes cafeteria kiosks to replace vending machines, brought in a tattoo artist to embed microchips into the 40 employees that volunteered.

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Mark of the Beast: 666 reasons to look for religion angle in microchips installed in employees' hands

Mark of the Beast: 666 reasons to look for religion angle in microchips installed in employees' hands

A technology company's plan to install microchips in employees' hands has been making the rounds on social media the last few days.

ABC News notes that the chips — not the chocolate kind — will allow workers "to enter the office, log into computers and even buy a snack or two with just a swipe of a hand."

"Want those vending machine snacks without digging for change? There's an implant for that!" proclaims the NBC affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth.

How convenient! (And creepy!)

My friend Alan Cochrum, a former copy editor for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, posted the story on my Facebook page and issued a challenge to me:

Your next religion-coverage mission, should you choose to accept it: See how many reporters pick up/report on the reaction to this in some religious circles, and how many don't or are completely baffled by it.

It sounds like Cochrum sees a potential holy ghost (or perhaps 666 of them) in these microchips.

Another GetReligion reader — Texas journalist and author Deann Alford — also called our attention to this story. In an email, she wrote:

Yes, I knew about the technology, which is routine now from pets adopted from shelters. It’s been around more than a decade. Our cats Weasley and Murph both have chips. Lusia, who went to kitty heaven in 2015 at age 21, did not.
A stunning one-big-happy-family story that has ZERO about what this ushers in. Thing is, with horrid Bible literacy rates in society, even in the church, not surprising that the journalist raises no alarms about this. The only voice of dissent included in this otherwise cheery story has to do with privacy concerns.
Without revelation from Revelation in the story, in this age of ever-rising identity theft, what’s a reader not to love about a secure way to do transactions? 

So apparently, the religion angle has something to do with Revelation. (Yikes! I am no expert on that.)

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Gov't RFID tracking: Creepy or mark of the beast?

When I first heard rumblings about school districts in Texas using locator chips to track students, I assumed it wasn’t true.

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