I am becoming alarmed that increasing numbers of people are lying and spreading rumors and defending the lies when they are found out. They don't even have the good sense to be ashamed of it!
This is ever more true on Facebook which can be, at times, a scary ride. Today a Facebook contact posted a story that has been making the rounds on Facebook for a long time. Supposedly, a pastor, poses as a homeless man to see how his new congregation will treat him. This "news" item is a hoax. The events detailed never happened. The picture that is provided is said to be that of Pastor Jeremiah Steepek (a fictitious name.) In fact, the photo is one taken in 1970 on the streets of London, England. The man pictured has no relation to the story whatsoever. By including his photograph, the "news" item is geared to mislead people into believing that the story actually happened and that the characters are real. The whole purpose of the story is to slam Christians for, supposedly, being hypocrites when confronted with the poor, which is ironic because most of the efforts to care for the poor throughout the world are conducted by Christian, and especially Catholic organizations.
When I offered the snopes.com link that exposed the hoax, the person posting the item defended it, saying that it was heart warming and insinuating that I was a scrooge. According to the poster, I was offering "bah humbug." The Facebook poster extolled the "beautiful message" that was contained in the bogus news item. (See that item on the snopes.com website by searching for the name "Jeremiah Steepek.")
Apparently, slamming Christians, defaming their character and claiming they are rank hypocrites by employing a false story deliberately meant to mislead people has some kind of "beautiful message" in it. This kind of beauty I do not understand.
What is really sad is that the person posting this lie and defending it considers themselves a highly spiritual person with big credentials. I wish I could say that I had never seen this kind of disconnect between what people claim to believe and what they actually defend. More and more, I am seeing the deification of personal opinion at the expense of true religion and true spirituality.
Nearly every major religious tradition agrees that lying and defaming the character of another person or persons is a terrible sin, yet these tactics are constantly employed in order to shore up prejudices and ill will toward others. Sometimes, a person is unable to feel good about themselves unless they can convince themselves they are better than most by defaming whole classes of people with lies. I suppose there are lots of reasons that could be to blame. Lots of reasons and one reason: Satan.
Satan is the father of lies. It is one of his titles. It is what he does best. He deceives. People who manipulate others by use of deception are operating in concert with the father of lies.
The false news item remained on my friend's timeline, but the snopes.com link that disproved it did not. Deliberately choosing to propagate a lie and mislead others is a sure sign of one's allegiance to the dark side. I regularly "pray Facebook," in that I offer prayers for the many people who are expressing lies, uncharitable opinions, criticisms of the poor, and the like, so I include that person in my morning prayers.
I did send an email telling this person that lying was beneath them, but in return I received a wild diatribe of accusations and name calling. This is the predictable response. Think about Linda Blair in the exorcist when the demon is addressed and her head starts spinning around and she spits pea soup everywhere. It was kind of like that.
I ask that you also pray for my Facebook friend who has lost her way, and pray for all of the people in the world who are operating in concert with Satan while putting up a spiritual front. I really want to believe that they are not deliberately choosing evil, but that they are confused or ignorant. In any case, they are in the devil's camp, and we need to pray them out of there.
Of course, some modern people tell me they do not believe in Satan. They also think God is made of unicorns and rainbows and that he passes out candy to everyone when they die, no matter how evil they have been. Whether or not you believe in Satan, Satan certainly believes in all of us, and he is quite happy to be in the shadows and work behind the scenes, manipulating people who don't believe that he exists. Whether we believe in him or not, if we follow his ways, there is a good chance we will end up with him in eternity.
Silver Rose Parnell