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Home » CHFWeb Forum » HotTopics » The things that go viral on Facebook
The things that go viral on Facebook [message #783331] Tue, 23 July 2013 09:35 Go to next message
Barbara K (NC)
Messages: 1841
Registered: April 2005
Location: North Carolina
Senior Member
Just this morning, I read the story about the pastor, Jeremiah Steepak, who dressed as homeless man on his first Sunday as a new pastor for a large church. By this afternoon, other sites were calling out this story as a hoax. The photo is of a REAL homeless man in Virginia and the photo was stolen (as in plagiarism) from the Flickr account of a photographer. When you google "Jeremiah Steepak" the only hits you get direct you back to this touching story.

The page that originated the viral story is NOT apologizing, not retracting, and not taking down the stolen photo. Christians (or those who identify as such) from all over are outraged at all the pushback this story has gotten because "even if it's not true, it's a great story." Anyone concerned with the fact that the story is made-up and the photo is stolen are labeled haters on that page.

Here is an article that calls out this new urban myth: http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread960925/pg1 and they are NOT sympathetic to Christian faith.

I'm frankly appalled that such a high percentage of people posting on the original FB page are defending this post vehemently. Many are appealing to the fact that Jesus used parables so telling fake stories to make a point is okay for us too.

Any thoughts?

(And as a disclaimer, as an amateur photographer who would love to take my photography to the next level, I'm VERY incensed at the theft of the photo.)


Barbara K (NC)

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Cor 9:8


Re: The things that go viral on Facebook [message #783334 is a reply to message #783331 ] Tue, 23 July 2013 10:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
janetR  is currently offline janetR
Messages: 2419
Registered: March 2010
Location: TX
Senior Member
My opinion: it was not right to steal the photo or to pass off a fiction as truth. People have a right to be upset at being deceived. That does not discount the truth that the story was intended to convey, but it unreasonable to defend plagiarism on the basis of good intentions. This is a good example of the "us and them" mindset of our culture - nothing "they" do can be good and we must pull out all stops to defend what one of "us" does, lest our entire camp be discredited.


JanetR
daughter of the King since 1980
wife to dh since 1981
mom to five of the most incredible adults on the planet, one wonderful 17yo, and grandma to two bouncy grandsons
Re: The things that go viral on Facebook [message #783338 is a reply to message #783331 ] Tue, 23 July 2013 12:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
Messages: 15997
Registered: April 2005
Location: Georgia
Senior Member

I got a little confused about who is defending what, so I'll just jump in on the issues.

The Bible is pretty clear that it is wrong to steal. "Thou shalt not steal," doesn't leave a whole lot of wiggle room to justify stealing a photo or printing up an article that is blatantly false. Thou shalt not lie is equally unambiguous.

Assuming that part is all true, the Christians who stole the photo and published a fictitious article as truth should repent and make proper apologies, etc.

I don't see that Christianity is a faith that teaches, nor do I see in the Bible the teaching that the ends justify the means. Nice story, but if it violates actual commands of God to make it's point, it's just not right.

One can still sift the wheat from the chaff, however. One can deal with the wrongdoing of those who perpetrated the lie separate from considering the content and issues in the story. DO we ignore the homeless? DO we refuse people a cup of water in Jesus' name? DO we fail to follow James' admonition about treating all people equally and with respect? Those things are worth considering whether or not someone, or a few people, made some bad decisions.

It is always sad when something like that brings Christianity, or more important, Jesus, into question. But the fact is, we all do that at times. I'm sure unbelievers around me can find plenty to complain about in my life, many sins that would turn them against Christ.

But, I agree with Janet, you can't defend plagiarism on the basis of good intentions.


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: The things that go viral on Facebook [message #783345 is a reply to message #783338 ] Tue, 23 July 2013 14:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Barbara K (NC)
Messages: 1841
Registered: April 2005
Location: North Carolina
Senior Member
I'll try to clarify a little bit. There is no such person as Jeremiah Steepak. The story that was circulating told a touching story that was designed to convict. It was actually a good story. It just happened to be made up. Attached to the story was a picture that was supposedly of Jeremiah Steepak.

In my mind, this is comparable to the prayer requests that get circulated from time to time...some teenaged girl named Ashley who is dying of cancer, here's her picture, put it on every prayer chain you can think of. And then later it comes out that the photo was lifted off of someone's personal blog, used without permission, and there was never a teen girl with cancer who desperately needed prayer from every prayer chain out there. Other times, it's a story about a soldier named James in Afghanistan who is trying to get back to see his dying wife...except there is no soldier named James. The story is made up.

About ten years ago I was in charge of our church's prayer chain. I had several new-to-email people forwarding me these fake prayer requests. I politely and gently declined and explained that the chain emails weren't actually real. (And yes, I had researched them first.) I had several folks say, It doesn't matter if the stories aren't true. We should still be praying for soldiers in Afghanistan or we should be praying for girls with cancer. But those fake stories weren't harmless. It didn't take too many fake stories before our default response to urgent prayer requests from people we didn't know became skepticism.

Even if this story (which Facebook has pulled) has a great point AND IT DOES....if it's not a true story and it's presented as if it's true, it serves to innoculate us against the real things. We SHOULD be offering a cup of cold water in Jesus' name. We SHOULD care about the homeless.

I was just so incredibly surprised to read discussions about this story and the stolen picture and see most of the non-Christians expressing outrage and most of the Christians defending it as a good story with a good point even if it's not a true story. I am just baffled by that.


Barbara K (NC)

"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Cor 9:8


Re: The things that go viral on Facebook [message #783392 is a reply to message #783345 ] Wed, 24 July 2013 14:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
Messages: 15997
Registered: April 2005
Location: Georgia
Senior Member

Quote:

most of the Christians defending it as a good story with a good point even if it's not a true story. I am just baffled by that.


I totally agree.


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: The things that go viral on Facebook [message #783406 is a reply to message #783392 ] Thu, 25 July 2013 00:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Terri in NY  is currently offline Terri in NY
Messages: 5379
Registered: April 2005
Location: NY
Senior Member
Lisa R. wrote on Wed, 24 July 2013 14:29

Quote:

most of the Christians defending it as a good story with a good point even if it's not a true story. I am just baffled by that.


I totally agree.


Me too, Barbara!


"Blessed is the woman who has a smile in her voice, a sparkle in her eyes, a song on her lips; a spring in her step, a warmth in her touch, a depth to her beauty, a purpose for her life, a joy in her faith, a hope in her breast and a love in her heart."
Re: The things that go viral on Facebook [message #783433 is a reply to message #783406 ] Thu, 25 July 2013 05:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Leslie Fay  is currently offline Leslie Fay
Messages: 575
Registered: April 2005
Location: Steeler country
Senior Member
I am baffled that anyone would believe that of a 7-10,000 member church, no one has the gift of mercy. Shocked Wink Evil or Very Mad


Leslie
wife to Bobby
mama of three blessings
Re: The things that go viral on Facebook [message #783695 is a reply to message #783433 ] Mon, 29 July 2013 06:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
Messages: 15997
Registered: April 2005
Location: Georgia
Senior Member

Leslie Fay wrote on Thu, 25 July 2013 05:14

I am baffled that anyone would believe that of a 7-10,000 member church, no one has the gift of mercy. Shocked Wink Evil or Very Mad


I am, too. Although, I can see why, in certain areas folks are more...."cautious" about potentially being duped, and therefore seem less merciful.

It's a bunny trail, and definitely a hot topic, though, to consider how to help the down and out without playing into the racket of those pretending to be down and out.


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: The things that go viral on Facebook [message #783703 is a reply to message #783331 ] Mon, 29 July 2013 07:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kate Megill  is currently offline Kate Megill
Messages: 6928
Registered: April 2005
Location: NW rural Illinois
Senior Member

1) If the photographer had his copyright license set at All Rights Reserved, he can contact the offending site and demand that his photo be removed upon threat of legal action. That usually takes care of it. If it does not, he can get a lawyer to send a letter. If his copyright license is set at Some Rights Reserved, he is giving permission for his photos to be used in some circumstances. It may or may not be outright theft.

2) It is one thing to tell a story in parable form (as Jesus did) and a completely different one to tell a story as a fact. Unfortunately, many Christians have no discernment and do not care if truth is involved so long as it is a 'Christian' doing/saying it. If it were an unbeliever, they would be incensed. This double standard really helps to destroy all credibility we may have with the unbelieving world.

3) Are we so short-sighted and faithless that we feel the need to use lies to pass on a message of love and hope? Do we have such a small view of God that we cannot stand on the TRUTH of the message of the gospel to bring love and hope to the lost?

4) Sometimes a story is just a good story - BUT we need to use disclaimers if we cannot vouch for the complete accuracy of it. If there had been a disclaimer in that story to say, "This is a fictional story; the message, however, is very powerful." things would have gone very differently.


In His Joy and Grace,

Kate

Re: The things that go viral on Facebook [message #783708 is a reply to message #783331 ] Mon, 29 July 2013 08:33 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Leigh  is currently offline Leigh
Messages: 4698
Registered: April 2005
Location: Tennessee
Senior Member
Shocked You mean everything on Facebook isn't true? Shocked


Leigh
Tennessee

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

~~Benjamin Franklin

Re: The things that go viral on Facebook [message #783713 is a reply to message #783708 ] Mon, 29 July 2013 09:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Lisa R.  is currently offline Lisa R.
Messages: 15997
Registered: April 2005
Location: Georgia
Senior Member

Leigh wrote on Mon, 29 July 2013 08:33

Shocked You mean everything on Facebook isn't true? Shocked




Laughing Laughing We had a fun discussion recently..."It was on the internet, so I assume it was true..." Cool


Blessings,
Lisa R.
Re: The things that go viral on Facebook [message #784157 is a reply to message #783703 ] Mon, 05 August 2013 04:48 Go to previous message
Terri in NY  is currently offline Terri in NY
Messages: 5379
Registered: April 2005
Location: NY
Senior Member
Kate Megill wrote on Mon, 29 July 2013 07:55


2) It is one thing to tell a story in parable form (as Jesus did) and a completely different one to tell a story as a fact. Unfortunately, many Christians have no discernment and do not care if truth is involved so long as it is a 'Christian' doing/saying it. If it were an unbeliever, they would be incensed. This double standard really helps to destroy all credibility we may have with the unbelieving world.




AMEN, Kate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you! There are days when I feel like my head is going to explode when I see the things Christian share and believe on facebook.

I actually have a friend share a "news item" and made a statement about what it was saying. Someone else pointed out to her that she should read the article because it blatantly wasn't saying what she said it did. She said, "I don't care."

WHAT????!!!! Sad

It really seems as if technology is dumbing us down to the point where we don't care if it's true or not!

And we are absolutely losing our credibility as believers. We shoot ourselves in the foot and then carry on at how persecuted we are!


"Blessed is the woman who has a smile in her voice, a sparkle in her eyes, a song on her lips; a spring in her step, a warmth in her touch, a depth to her beauty, a purpose for her life, a joy in her faith, a hope in her breast and a love in her heart."
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