Published May 2, 2017
The story immediately captured my attention. In a world where not much surprises you any more, this story sure did.
It was about a husband and wife who went to a fertility clinic, gave DNA samples, and discovered that they were fraternal twins. Websites worldwide picked up on this intriguing story. The background: their biological parents were killed in a car crash when they were infants, and they were eventually adopted out to separate families. Due to a filing error, neither family was told that their adopted child had a twin. The couple met during college and eventually married.
But there’s one huge problem with this story. Everything about it is false. It is an ideal example of how fake news can gain traction in today’s Internet world, and should remind all of us to be careful about the believability of what we read on the Internet.
This story was generated by a news outlet going by the name of Mississippi Herald. It’s part of a network of fake local news sites that prides itself on generating hoaxes. There were plenty of major news websites which were duped in this instance.
Stop, though, and understand that being misled is nothing new in our world. My mind immediately went to phrases and maxims that are often repeated and said to be from the Bible, when in fact that is not the case.
For instance, many people would agree that “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse. Not so. And some have even tried to legitimize their claim by saying it by citing that it is from 2 Hezekiah 3:16. Only problem is that there is no book in the Bible bearing the name of Hezekiah. In the Old Testament you read about four people who have that name, including one who was the king of Judah in 715-687 BC.
So how are people deceived in this situation. There are books in the Old Testament that start with the letter “H” — such as Habakkuk, Haggai and Hosea — and there is Nehemiah, which rhymes with Hezekiah.
The popularity of this made-up name of a book in the Bible has prompted some to make up a verse to support what they want you to do or want you to believe, and label it as being from Hezekiah.
The Biblical scams aren’t just limited to Hezekiah. There are accounts of people making up some phrase and saying it is from one of the following — Second Hesitations, First Opinions, First Assumptions or Second Fleshalonians, naturally all are made-up names.
We did come across a funny response that you might put into use some time. When a Christian tells you he is feeling hesitant about pursuing a certain course of action, you might ask, “Where did you get that idea? Have you been studying Second Hesitations again?” That not only will inject some humor into the conversation, but might cause the person to consider what portion of the Bible might actually address the situation in question.
Chip Hutcheson, editor of the Princeton Times-Leader, is currently vice chairman of the Western Recorder’s Board of Directors, is a former president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
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