Mark Zuckerberg dispels speculation that he is an atheist

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during the II CEO Summit of the Americas on the sidelines of the VII Summit of the Americas in Panama City in this April 10, 2015 file photo. | Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Files

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has denied being an atheist and said that he considers religion to be important.

On Christmas day, the Zuckerberg posted a message on his Facebook account greeting his followers a "Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah."

"But Aren't You Atheist?" one commenter asked. In response, Zuckerberg wrote, "No. I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important."

According to Beliefnet, the young billionaire had listed himself as an atheist on his own Facebook page.

In October 2015, he posted a photo of himself praying at Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an China. He said that he offered a prayer for his wife Priscilla, who is a Buddhist. He described Buddhism as "amazing religion and philosophy," and he said that he is interested in learning more about it.

Business Insider reported in 2013 that Facebook has incorporated Buddhism into its business model in an effort to make it more compassionate. The initiative was launched by Facebook Engineering Director Arturo Bejar after he attended the Wisdom 2.0 conference back in 2010. He invited academics from Berkeley, Yale, and Stanford to teach the company about the Buddhist-inspired concept of compassion.

In August this year, he and Priscilla met with Pope Francis at the Vatican to give him a model of a Facebook drone that will expand internet connectivity in developing countries.

Zuckerberg expressed admiration for the Pope on a Facebook post.

"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," he wrote.

"It was a meeting we'll never forget," he continued, adding, "You can feel [the Pope's] warmth and kindness, and how deeply he cares about helping people."

The Vatican Press Office stated that he and the pope discussed the use of technology to alleviate poverty and to communicate a "message of hope."

In 2010, Zuckerberg was named as Man of the Year by Time Magazine for his contributions to technology and networking.