10 April 2013

Creator of Osteen Hoax: "My Intent Was Not to Defame"

As previously reported, megachurch prosperity preacher Joel Osteen recently found himself the victim of an elaborate hoax, wherein counterfeit websites and social media accounts were created to announce that Osteen had renounced his Christian faith and was resigning from his position as pastor of Lakewood Church. The false websites further declared that Osteen had decided to donate many of his millions of dollars to charity and environmental causes. In an email to NPR, the mastermind behind this scam has spoken out and shared his true intentions.
Reports NPR:
"I would like to state unequivocally my intent was not to defame Mr. Osteen," the person behind the hoax wrote in an email, adding that "he seems like an infectiously nice and genial character."

"My hopes that Joel will 'see the light,' so to speak, are not high, but we all need faith," says the man who created the hoax and wishes to remain anonymous.

As for his motivation, the man, who says he hasn't made any money from the Osteen project, says that his "intent was to stage, for a moment, a plausible scenario of his hypothetical resignation" and to "test viral media markets," in addition to sending a message to Osteen.

(Source)
While remaining anonymous to NPR, the hoaxer's identity was revealed today by ABC News. The Minneapolis man is a freelance writer who actually is a "big fan" of Osteen. He simply wanted to send one the high-profile pastor a message.
That man, Justin Tribble, says he is a "big fan" of Osteen, the pastor of the Lakewood Church in Texas, but calls the pastor's message "too shallow."

"There is no doubt about it, his sermons are a lot of self-help platitudes," Tribble said. "I want a message to get through to this guy, turn down the clichés and get real."

(Source)
Interestingly, NPR states that the man spent a mere $12 and "a few hours" creating this scheme. What, then, was the message that Tribble wished to send? He says that Osteen should "get real," but "get real" about what exactly? The NPR report offers more details when it shares that Tribble stated that Osteen should "do away with the soft 'positivity' and cliché-peppered Sunday messages and use his high visibility to address more serious social issues."
As stated in the fake resignation letter, those issues include protecting the environment, banning fluoride from water, fighting the Obama administration's "attempt to dismantle the 2nd Amendment," and "exposing the crimes of the Monsanto Corporation." (Source)
Most Christians would agree that Osteen should "do away with" his false gospel of one's "best life now," however it should not be exchanged for a social justice campaign. Rather, it is the prayer of many that Osteen would repent of his many years of false teaching and instead begin to preach the true and saving biblical gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ. After all, it really doesn't matter how much fluoride is in the drinking water when souls and eternity are at stake.

Thus far, Osteen has stated that he is not angry about these happenings and that he does not "feel like a victim." Speaking to ABC, the smiling pastor stated, "I feel too blessed, that life is too short to let things like this get you down."

*This article originally appeared here at Christian Research Network.

Further Reading
Joel Osteen and a Tale of Two Hoaxes
Florida Woman Claims Salty Snack Is Divine Sign
April Fool's Day Marks First Broadcast of Rick Warren's 'Daily Hope' Radio Program

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