Of Comet Scares, Cookie Recipes, and Companies That Hate Veterans (Please forward this message to everyone you know!)
(Probably stomp on a lot of toes with this one. In a small church where I once preached, I was taken to task by one of the ladies when I once used a "Reply All" to send an email to every person who had received the same email I had to let them know it was a hoax. She wanted to know if I would do that to my own mother. Well, if my mother sent out chain email hoaxes [she never does] and I had already let her know a least a dozen times that she was doing so, then yes - yes I would [sorry Mom]. Here is why I did then, and I would do so again...)
Did you know Madalyn Murray O'Hara is behind a law that is now before Congress on outlawing all mention of Jesus or the Bible on Television and Radio? Quick, run right down to your post office and send your congressman a letter ... while there, you can also send a postcard to Craig Shergold, the little boy who is trying to get into the Guiness Book of World Records with the most postcards before he dies of Cancer. While on the way to the post office, be sure to look for little Kelsey Brooke Jones, who disappeared from her home recently in Minnesota. If you watch the news tonight to see whether or not they passed that law I mentioned, just be sure not to watch it on ABC, because they insulted a guy when he complained about a homosexual scene in one of the TV shows. While you are out, don't shop at Target since they hate veterans, and for heaven's sake, make SURE you don't buy anything from Proctor and Gamble, since their trademark is actually an occult symbol!
I don't mean to worry you, but the world is supposed to end in December 2012. Of course if that doesn't happen, a comet will hit us in 2036, and should we dodge that, all the computers in the entire world are going to crash in 2038!
The only safe thing to do is sit at home and use Facebook - oh but be sure not to join the group 'Becoming a father or mother was the greatest gift of my life' - it's just pedophiles trying to get your family photos! You COULD forward that secret world-famous cookie recipe to all your friends though, or make sure you sent out the email that guarantees you $500 from Bill Gates since you helped test out his new email tracking program.
O'Hara died over 20 years ago, and there is no such law being considered by Congress. Craig Shergold had his tumor successfully removed in 1991 - he is a healthy full-grown man now and asks everyone to please stop sending him stuff. Kelsey Jones was found safe and sound playing at a neighbor's house just a few doors away, 2 hours after she was reported missing. A man was insulted by an ABC employee when he complained about an episode of "The Practice" - over 10 years ago - but when the executives heard about it the employee was fired and they issued several public apologies. Target does not allow Salvation Army bell-ringers to solicit contributions in front of their stores (one reason I will shop there before ever going near a Walmart during that time of year, TBH) but the rumors that they are French-Owned, do not contribute to Veteran's causes, do not contribute to the Marine Corp's "Toys For Tots" program, or do not allow reservists called to active duty to continue their health benefits are all patently false. The P&G Trademark is not an occult symbol, and this was known in the early 80s when that rumor started.
The whole 2012 thing is nothing but the end of the Mayan Calendar - seeing as the entire Mayan Civilization died out, I don't place a lot of faith in their legends. In 2036 a comet might come as close to us as the distance from here to the moon times 3. By the time 2038 rolls around, any computers in use will have a simple fix to the UNIX time problem - just like when 2000 rolled around.
When the Facebook group rumor started - there was no group called that on Facebook. There have been several since that had similar names, started as pranks because of the hoax. The cookie recipe will make some cookies but it is by no means secret. By now, I hope I am not bursting your bubble by telling you that there is no such thing as an email tracking program and you won't be getting any money from Bill Gates.
This is a prblem of mammoth proportions. It seems that I don't go a single week without getting at least one of these (or 1,001 other untrue rumors) in my email box or on the Facebook Updates. That doesn't bother me TOO much. It also is not TOO much a bother that most of the time they come from repeat offenders, no matter how often I have shown them how to use Snopes.com to find out if what they are about to send out to dozens of people is even anywhere near true. What bothers me the most, friends, is that the people I receive these from are almost always Christians.
Where should I start? Do you realize, Christian Sister or Brother (I am sorry to put you first, ladies, but I have never received a single one of these email hoaxes from a man...), that when you send out something like this it is the same as gossipping? You don't think so? What if ABC were a person rather than a corporation? If you were saying these things about a single person, would it be gossip? Then why is it not gossip if it is thousands of people? Do you realize that a gossip is subject to the same wrath from God as a murderer (Romans 1:29-32)? Most of us have been the subject of gossip at some point or another - do you remember how it felt?
This would also be called slander. Slander is something you can be sued for in this country. Even the WORLD with its twisted morals knows this is wrong! In Proverbs, slander is called one of the seven things God hates.
It is also lying. Even if you do not have the intent to lie, it is exactly what you do by sending these hoaxes on to someone else. In Revelation 21, we are told liars will be right there beside adulterers and sorcerers in the lake of fire and brimstone.
As Christians we are to be the light of the world. We are to live as examples - not fall into the same traps as everyone else. Worse yet, those atheists and agnostics who are more internet savvy already know these things are not true, and it is a testament against you - you will be seen as "the gullible Christian .... no wonder she believes in a God!"
There are several ways to check these chain emails for truth, but the best is Snopes.com. They even have a search box - just enter a few lines from your email in it and click on search. I can almost guarantee you it will come up in the results.
A foolproof plan may be to not forward any chain emails at all - does your third cousin twice-removed Helga really need to know that Mars will appear as big as the moon tonight? Especially when you don't have that on any good source and therefor it likely is not true. If you've got to send her something just to check in - how about a real note to see how she is doing?
This is really something I feel we need to quell right from the outset. Christians ought not to take part in any kind of gossip, slander, or bearing of false witness ... and they ought to speak to those who do in care and concern.