Thursday, August 16, 2007


Several months ago, I received an email from a friend with a link to print out a Blockbuster Video coupon good for 2 movie rentals, a tub of popcorn, and two 20 oz. cokes. Wow! That sounded like such a good deal, that I printed out the coupon and even sent it on to another friend.
But it was a hoax. According to Blockbuster officials, the coupon was valid at one time but only for specific locations and only for a select number of customers who had been participating in an online affiliate program with Blockbuster. The coupon was never issued on a mass basis and not intended to be duplicated and used by anyone. I never tried to use mine, but thousands of people have tried to use the coupon only to discover that it was worthless.
How can that be? If you read it in an email, or on the internet, it’s GOT to be true, right? If you believe that I have some beachfront property in Nebraska I’d like to sell you.
This is just another example of how e-rumors spread like wildfire. I don’t really have any “pet peeves” (I have a pet, but she’s a Schnauzer),

But I do have a STRONG CONVICTION that Christians should be careful about forwarding emails without authenticating the truth contained in them.

Non-believers often think Christians are a bunch of crazies anyway, and when we continually pass on sensational fiction as truth, we only verify their opinions about us. As recently as last year I received a revived copy of the worst e-rumor in history: the warning that atheist Madlynn Murry O’Hair was attempting to get all religious broadcasting off the air. Before the internet, this rumor spread through the printed page, (usually copied and passed out in a Sunday School class) and the advent of the internet has given it new life. (with the addition of trying to get CBS’s “Touched by an Angel” off television). This chain-letter/email urged Christians to write to the FCC and register their opposition to the measure.
The truth: There was a petition (RM -2493) submitted to the FCC by two men named Lansman and Milam (O’Hair had nothing to do with it). It was rejected by the FCC on August 1, 1975. But even after the death of O’Hair, the rumor continues to live. Over the past 30 years, the FCC has had to hire full-time personnel to deal with the hundreds of thousands of letters that Christians continue to send in on this non-existent issue. How much money have Christians spent fighting this and other phantom crusades? Only God knows.
I’ve received other mythical email stories about George Bush leading a campaign worker to Christ after the election in 2000; new laws that supposedly went into effect in Texas on July 1; Proctor and Gamble promoting Satanism; J.K. Rowling (author of Harry Potter series) being an avowed Satanist; … and the list goes on.
Before you pass on an email offer that sounds too good to be true; or too bad to ignore, remember the admonition of scripture found in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
How can you verify e-rumors? Add these sites to you favorites: . When you receive a forward that sounds a little fishy, visit these sites first before passing it on to anyone else!