Drifting Away: A Sailing Story

No, Target didn't stop selling Bibles. Why Christians should stop sharing hoaxes

4 Reasons Christians Need to Quit Sharing Hoaxes
"I’ve seen a trend that’s both interesting and troubling: If I find a hoax in my news feed, chances are it will have been shared by an evangelical Christian. I know that sounds like a terrible thing to say, but it’s true. In fact, it’s so typical and intriguing, that I’ve been keeping track of the phenomenon for quite a while." ... 
The Christian message to the world isn’t, “Hey, look how bad things are!” It’s “take heart, He has overcome the world!” We don’t have to share every sensational and scary story—especially when their truth is suspect.
The author above gives 4 good reasons to stop sharing those false stories, especially when checking them out to determine veracity takes only one second. One reason he didn't mention but Sunny Shell did, is that we should promote holiness. Holiness is marginalized to a great degree these days, yet is the primary function of Christians in the world. Our sanctification is the very pursuit of holiness, so that we can be more like Jesus every day.

Why should we be holy? Sunny Shell explains in this essay, The Way of Holiness
"Just as the honor of being assigned as an ambassador of an earthly country should not be taken lightly, so we also, who are in Christ, should not take our high calling as children of the Most High God lightly. An earthly ambassador is chosen to live in a foreign land to represent their country, while maintaining every attribute and character of their homeland. An ambassador does not lose or forget who he/she is merely because they live in another country for a time, rather, they honorably and proudly represent their country and their people."
People have been tricked since the beginning. Hoaxes, forgeries, and spoofs are part of life. Think early last century circuses. Think: archeology. Archeology hoaxes have been fooling people for a long time. The Petrified Man in 1862 and the Cardiff Man in 1869 were especially blush-inducing hoaxes many people fell for. There's the Piltdown Man, (1912) War of the Worlds, (1938), and Paul McCartney is Dead hoax, (1969). Hoaxes have tricked the best of us. In some ways, the Facebook Hoaxes are a bit of a let-down in their clumsy way they try to fool us, compared to the ingenious hoaxes of the past. The Turk Chess Game fooled people for over 100 years and the Surgeon's Photo of the Loch Ness Monster fooled people for 60. At least those lies hoaxes had some elegance to them. Facebook hoaxes are just inelegant and easily proven lies.

We're all gullible. Christians, however, have the Holy Spirit is us, and so should be wiser and more careful when sharing information. Gossip is a sin, it's impugning someone's reputation. It's the same with hoaxes. They turn out to be untrue but the Company, Organization, or person they focus on has been maligned by your act of hastily sharing unvetted information.

Christians, please do your diligence. If you're not sure if something is a hoax and can't verify it one way or another, please do not press Enter.

Group portrait of the Piltdown skull being examined.
Back row (from left): F. O. Barlow, 
G. Elliot SmithCharles Dawson,Arthur Smith Woodward. Front row: A S Underwood, Arthur KeithW. P. Pycraft,
Ray Lankester. Note the portrait ofCharles Darwin on the wall.
Painting by John Cooke, 1915. Wikipedia

Further Reading

Best Historical Hoaxes

15 Internet Hoaxes that Fooled All of Us

Why Hoaxes fool us, according to science


  1. Awhile back there was a story going around about a pastor who disguised himself as a homeless man. When I first read the story, I immediately Googled the pastor's name and the name of the church. The only hits I got were of the story--nothing for the church or the pastor. Now if the story were legitimate, the pastor and church would be mentioned in other places. For example, if you would search for my pastor or church, you'd find a church website and Facebook page, my pastor's Facebook page plus his name would appear on our denomination's website as well as articles and other sites. So it raised a red flag that none of the important facts of the story could be found. However, that did not stop many of my Christian (and even some non-Christian) friends from sharing that story. By this time I'd verified the story was a hoax by checking Snopes.com, and each time a FB friend posted the story, I'd link to Snopes. Nevertheless, this article kept popping up for several months. And just when I thought it went away, it would reappear.

    Every so often I post a 'public service announcement' to verify a story or article or meme before sharing. I am not a Hillary, Obama, or Trump fan, but when I see someone sharing something that is not true, it irritates me to no end. And, depending on the situation, sometimes I'll challenge it, but more often than not I realize my challenge would fall on deaf ears. People want to believe what they want to believe. They abhor Hillary or Trump, so they'll share anything on the internet that disparages them with no regard for the truth.

    1. I'd forgotten about "Pastor" Steepek. I wrote about that here

      wise words, 'people believe what they want to believe'. I also find that warnings fall on deaf ears.


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