In an attempt to prevent a repeat of what happened with the “Pope Francis Says All Religions Are True” fake story, I am going to respond to this article before I see it go viral on my Facebook news feed.
If you see this story from World News Daily Report – Newly-Found Document Holds Eyewitness Account of Jesus Performing Miracle – know that it is 100% fake.
Outside of using real names to make things sound more credible, all the details of this story are false. But as you can see when I screencapped the story, more than 24,000 people have shared this with their Facebook friends since the story was posted on Saturday.
I happen to believe Jesus did perform miracles in front of witnesses and we already have four books that compile the testimonies of those who saw the events firsthand. But this story does nothing to confirm those accounts.
Why should non-Christians believe what we say about the resurrection when we share stories like this one? We prove ourselves untrustworthy and that’s not where we want to be when we are arguing for something that already seems incredulous as it is.
It’s why I maintain the truth of a story matters more than whether or not it fits my ideology. To discover this purported document would support what I believe about Jesus – He existed and performed miracles. But you cannot undergird the truth with a foundation of lies.
It happens to almost all of us. We get fooled by some seemingly real story online. How can we keep from spreading false information?
Here are three simple ways to check the veracity of the stories you see online.
Dig around the site more – Look and see if they have other outlandish stories. World News Daily Report has stories about aliens and the Loch Ness Monster. That should clue you in.
Google the story topic – If something is newsworthy, other sources will have covered it. No reputable news site, including those run by Christians like World Magazine or Christianity Today, have said anything about these documents.
Google the website – Often enough, one of the top links will be to a blog post explaining the website in question is fake. For World News Daily, the second result is the disclaimer saying they are fake and the fourth is a website listing several satire and spoof news sites.
If you happen to see this story about the supposed newly-discovered documents pop up on social media, shared by well-meaning Christians, gently correct them and encourage them to investigate stories before they share them.