Yesterday my phone kept dinging because everyone was warning me about accepting a facebook friend request from Jayden K. Smith, an alleged hacker who’s going to corrupt my computer, hack my friend’s accounts, and probably drain my bank account.
You got a few dings too, eh?
Well, by now, you probably know this was a hoax.
It reminded me of this true story that occurred in the late 1990’s.
A 14-year-old Freshman High School student, Nathan Zohner, won first prize at the Greater Idaho Falls Science Fair. He was attempting to show how conditioned we have become too alarmist practicing junk science and spreading fear of everything in our environment. In his project, he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical “dihydrogen monoxide.”
And for plenty of good reasons, since it:
·Can cause excessive sweating and vomiting.
·It is a major component in acid rain.
·It can cause severe burns in its gaseous state.
·Accidental inhalation can kill you.
·It decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes.
·It has been found in tumors of terminal cancer patients.
Zohner asked 50 people if they supported a ban of the chemical. Forty-three said yes, six were undecided, and only one knew that the chemical in question was actually H20. Water!
The title of his prize winning project was, “How Gullible Are We?” He felt the conclusion was obvious.
More seriously, many people are duped when it comes to religious matters. Yesterday, we wrote about the importance of knowledge. It is vital that our spiritual education be firmly grounded in God’s Word. As in the apostle’s day, “many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 Jn 4:1).
Paul’s warning to Timothy is just as relevant today as when it was written.
“Guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’—which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith.” (1 Tim. 6:20-21)
Cable TV is filled with smooth sounding evangelists promising health, wealth and overall prosperity. Religious bookstores have shelves filled with books erroneously predicting the imminent end of time, marking the current “anti-Christ” in Washington, D.C. or twisting the truth about the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. And sadly some churches actually distort God’s Word and pass it off to gullible followers as Truth.
The Bible book of Proverbs offers some wise counsel to those easily deceived.
“The naive believes everything, But the sensible man considers his steps” (Prov 14:15).
“The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” (Prov. 22:3)
“How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge?” (Prov 1:22)
In such cases, The Bible warning needs to be heeded. “Be not unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Eph 5:17)
This requires an attitude seen in the first century Bereans who “received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11). The word “examine” means to investigate, to inquire into, scrutinize, sift, question.” Don’t be misguided. Search the scriptures for yourself.
Falling for a facebook hoax probably won’t hurt you. And failing to know a scientific term may not harm you. But naivety and gullibility could impact your eternal welfare.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (Ps 19:7).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman