Religious

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Pope Francis Says Koran and Holy Bible Are the Same-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

Reports have gone viral that Pope Francis told his followers that the Koran and the Holy Bible are the same.

The Truth:

A fake news website started this hoax.

The website, National Report, published a story that claimed Pope Francis told guests at the Vatican that the spiritual teachings of the Koran were “just as valid” as those in the Holy Bible. The article falsely quoted Pope Francis as saying:

“Jesus Christ, Jehovah, Allah. These are all names employed to describe an entity that is distinctly the same across the world. For centuries, blood has been needlessly shed because of the desire to segregate our faiths. This, however, should be the very concept which unites us as people, as nations, and as a world bound by faith. Together, we can bring about an unprecedented age of peace, all we need to achieve such a state is respect each others beliefs, for we are all children of God regardless of the name we choose to address him by. We can accomplish miraculous things in the world by merging our faiths, and the time for such a movement is now. No longer shall we slaughter our neighbors over differences in reference to their God.”

The story was quickly shared on social media sites more than 20,000 times. Taken out of context, many were duped into believing that it was an actual quote from Pope Francis. One reader commented:

Shocking news, to say the least. What will this liberal pope do next? I’m glad to be born again into the Christian religion, as opposed to the islamic arabiacs and cathylicks.

But National Report’s disclaimer explains that it ‘s a “news a political satire web publication” that uses real names in “semi-real or mostly fictitious ways.”

Pope Francis has been a popular target of fake news websites. TruthorFiction.com has previously investigated false reports that the Pope added an 11th Commandment and asked J.K. Rowling to rewrite the bible. Both of those rumors were started by fake news websites, too.

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Gay Man Sues Bible Publishers for Inclusion of “Homosexuality” in the Bible-Outdated!

Summary of eRumor: 

A gay man named Bradley LaShawn Fowler has sued Bible publishers Zondervan Publishing and Thomas Nelson Publishing for printing versions of the King James Bible that specifically said homosexuality was a sin.

The Truth:

It’s true that Bradley LaShawn Fowler sued Zondervan Publishing and Thomas Nelson Publishing for referring to homosexuality as a sin in 2008, but the case was dismissed in 2009. 

The story of Fowler’s lawsuit was recycled as a “new” report in July 2015 after the U.S. Supreme Court found that bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional.

The website Daily Headlines published a story in July 2015 that made it appear Fowler had just sued Zondervan Publishing and Thomas Nelson Publishing, and the report was widely repeated.

But, in reality, a federal judge dismissed Fowler’s lawsuit in 2009, according to court records.

Fowler had claimed in the lawsuit that Zondervan Publishing and Thomas Nelson Publishing had deliberately manipulated biblical text to include the word “homosexual” in six different versions of the King James Bible, according to the lawsuit:

It is Fowler’s contention that both of these publishers, despite having knowledge that the inclusion of this allegedly offensive word in the King James Bible would cause him to suffer an injury, deliberately manipulated the biblical text to his detriment. As a direct result of these challenged publications, Fowler asserts that he has “endured acts of hate [and] discrimination,” continues to suffer from an inability to sleep, and no longer has any appetite for food. 

Fowler sought $60 million in damages from Zondervan Publishing and $10 million in damages from Thomas Nelson Publishing for what he called “discriminatory treatment” that he had received as a gay man because of the inclusion of the word “homosexual” in the King James Bible. 

The Christian Post reported on Fowler’s lawsuit when it was filed in 2008. Daily Headlines cited that seven-year-old story when it re-reported Fowler’s lawsuit as breaking news in July 2015. The “new” version of the story was quickly shared more than 111,000 times on social media sites.

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NIV Bible Is Missing 64,000 Words, or 45 Verses-Truth! & Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

NIV Bible publisher HarperCollins has cut more than 64,000 words, or 45 complete verses, from the NIV Bible.

The Truth:

It’s true that there are differences between the King James Bible and the NIV (New International Version) Bible, but parts of this rumor are misleading or disputed.

Claims that the NIV Bible has cut 64,000 words, or 45 complete verses, have been around for decades. They’re not the result of a “new” edition released by HarperCollins. They started in the early 1990s when author Gail Riplinger stumped for exclusive use of the King James Bible in her book “New Age Bible Versions.” Riplinger often repeated the claim on television appearances promoting her book.

Then, in July 2015, the eRumor went viral when singer Erica Campbell posted a meme on her Facebook page that quickly generated 100,000 shares:

Hello beloved saints,

I’m sure you know that NIV was published by Zondervan but is now OWNED by Harper Collins who also publishes the Satanic Bible and The Joy of Gay Sex.

The NIV has now removed 64,575 words from the Bible including Jehovah, Calvary, Holy Ghost and omnipotent to name a few…

The NIV has also now removed 45 complete verses. Most of us have the Bible on our devices and phones.

Try and find these scriptures in NIV on your computer, phone or device right now if you are in doubt:

Matthew 17.21, 18:11, 23:14; Mark 7:16, 9:44, 9:46: Luke 17:36, 23:17; John 5:4; Acts 8:37

…you will not believe your eyes

Refuse to be blinded by Satan, and do not act like you just don’t care. Let’s not forget what the Lord Jesus said in John 10:10 (King James Version)

Again, it’s undisputable that there are differences between the NIV Bible and King James Bible. Also, it’s true that HarperCollins Christian publishes the NIV Bible — but the publishing house isn’t responsible for the translation or “cutting” 45 verses from it.

Biblica ministry is the group that translates the NIV Bible from original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts. It was founded in New York in the 1800s to translate Scriptures so that U.S. immigrants could study them. In 1965, a group of evangelical scholars began translating original manuscripts of the Bible into contemporary English for what would become the first version of the NIV Bible. The updated (and most recent version) of the NIV Bible was released in 2011.

Biblica denies that HarperCollins, or any other group, has editorial control over the translation:

The text of the NIV is entrusted to the Committee on Bible Translation (CBT), a self-governing body of 15 evangelical Bible scholars. No outside group — no publisher or commercial entity — can decide how the NIV is translated.

In keeping with the original NIV charter, the CBT meets every year to monitor developments in biblical scholarship, as well as changes in English usage. Every year, they solicit (and receive) input from scholars, pastors, missionaries, and laypeople.

Also, Zondervan (the division of HarperCollins Christian that publishes the NIV Bible) disputes that there are any missing verses at all:

Often times, readers will come across what they feel are “missing verses” in their NIV Bible. These verses, however, are not really missing. They are included in the footnotes on the same page of the Bible where the “missing” passage is located. During the exacting translation process for the NIV Bible, some verses were found not to be included in the oldest or most reliable manuscripts that the NIV translators had available to use. Most of these manuscripts were discovered after the King James Version was first translated, some 400 years ago. When those verses could not be verified by the more reliable or older manuscripts, the NIV translators moved them to a footnote to reflect greater accuracy.

Please be assured that your NIV Bible is extremely accurate, trustworthy and reliable. Additional information on the translation process and use of footnotes is located in the Preface of your NIV Bible. If you have any other questions, please let us know.

Debate over different versions of the Bible have persisted for centuries, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. Many different versions of the Bible have been translated into English, and new translations continue today:

The first complete English-language version of the Bible dates from 1382 and was credited to John Wycliffe and his followers. But it was the work of the scholar William Tyndale, who from 1525 to 1535 translated the New Testament and part of the Old Testament, that became the model for a series of subsequent English translations. All previous English translations culminated in the King James Version(1611; known in England as the Authorized Version), which was prepared by 54 scholars appointed by King James I. Avoiding strict literalism in favour of an extensive use of synonym, it was a masterpiece of Jacobean English and the principal Bible used by English-speaking Protestants for 270 years.

About the time of the invention of printing in ad 1450, there were only 33 different translations of the Bible. By about 1800 the number had risen to 71; by the late 20th century the entire Bible had been translated into more than 250 languages, and portions of the Bible had been published in more than 1,300 of the world’s languages.

New translations of the Bible into English proliferated in the 20th century.

So, it’s true that there are big differences between the NIV Bible and the King James Bible (as well as every other translation of the Bible) — but the idea that the NIV Bible has cut 64,000 words, or 45 complete verses, is disputed.

 

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Summary of eRumor:

Pope Francis said during mass in Ecuador that God had instructed him to revise the Ten Commandments to reflect new temptations that Christians face today.

The Truth:

Pope Francis hasn’t announced plans to revise the Ten Commandments.

hat false report started with the website Real News, Right Now. The website, which is known for publishing fictional “news” stories, reported that Pope Francis made the announcement in South America in July 2015:

During his sermon, Pope Francis announced to Christians around the world that God had called upon him, instructing him “to revise the most sacred of texts, the Ten Commandments.” Given to the Israelites by God himself at Mount Sinai, the Commandments include instructions for worship and list several prohibited practices.

Pope Francis said Christians around the world are “faced with ever-increasing temptations brought on by the evils of modern society.” The Pope said the updated Commandments reflect the changing times and include some minor rewording of the existing rules as well as the addition of two new Commandments.

The Fourth Commandment, which advocates that proper respect be shown towards one’s parents, has been reworded in order to include children raised by same-sex parents. Pope Francis said the Seventh Commandment, prohibiting adultery and, among other things, homosexuality, has been removed entirely, as instructed by God, in order to extend “God’s grace to all His children.”

The report also claimed that the Fifth Commandment would be revised to forbid Christian from eating genetically modified food, and a new Eleventh Commandment would make “selfie” photos a sin.

Real News, Right Now doesn’t identify itself as a fake news website, and it’s stories are based loosely in factual events, which often misleads readers. In this case, Pope Francis did in fact hold mass in Ecuador, and he talked about family values, but he didn’t say that God had instructed him to revise the Ten Commandments, the New York Times reports:

Francis never mentioned gays or the divorced directly on Monday, but many analysts believe he wants to push the church to take a more accommodating stance.

Pope Francis and Catholic Church leaders were set to discuss family values during a meeting planned at the Vatican in October 2015, according to the agenda. Leaders were scheduled to discuss whether divorcees should be allowed to receive the Holy Sacrament, and how the church should receive gay men and women.

But, again, Pope Francis didn’t say that God had instructed him to revise the 10 Commandments, or add an Eleventh Commandment, as the eRumor claims.

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New Islamic Youth Outreach Center in Dearborn “Sympathetic” to ISIS-Fiction! 

Summary of eRumor:

President Obama has signed an executive order that will pave the way for a new Islamic youth outreach center in Dearborn, Michigan, that is “sympathetic” to the ISIS terrorist group.

The Truth:

This is yet another hoax about so-called Islamic extremism in Dearborn, Michigan.

The hoax was started by The People’s Cube, the fake news website that (falsely) reported that Rosie O’Donnel had gotten an ISIS tattoo. This time, the website reported that President Obama had signed an executive order to allow an ISIS-supporting Islamic youth outreach center to open in Dearborn:

Following months of obstruction by state officials, the federal government intervened on behalf of a Muslim group who is outspokenly supportive of the Islamic State, to open the doors of a new Islamic youth outreach center in a lower-income area in the city of Dearborn. The facility will be run by Syrian-born Aisha Hani-Salaam, a recent immigrant and unapologetic supporter of ISIS.

President Obama, who signed the executive order to allow the center, said, “We need to take advantage of every opportunity to end the violence between our people. Hopefully this will start a new era in relations between the United States and the religion of Islam. Muslims are understandably angry over the Western media’s overblown portrayal of ISIL as merciless killers. I believe this is a good opportunity to end the fighting and use diplomacy to usher in a new era of peace, as well as gain a powerful new ally in that part of the world.”

Despite the President’s hopeful and reassuring message, Hani-Salaam remains angry and openly criticizes some American Muslims for their ‘lukewarm’ traditional condemnations of the United States.

Within days of publication, the story had been shared more than 30,000 times on social media sites. Taken out of context, many were duped into believing the story was true.

Dearborn has been at the center of a number of hoaxes about Islamic extremism. It’s a popular target because it has one of the largest Muslim populations in the world outside of the Middle East. About 100,000 people live in Dearborn, and about 40,000 of them are Arab-Americans.

TruthorFiction.com has previously investigated false reports that Sharia law had been declared in Dearborn, and that a sign there warned Allah would kill America.

The report that President Obama had signed an executive order to open an Islamic youth outreach center that supports ISIS is yet another hoax. You can find a list of all the executive orders signed by President Obama here, and the Islamic youth center order isn’t among them.

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Share a Coke Campaign Includes the name “Isis” – Resolved!

Summary of eRumor:

Coca-Cola printed the name “Isis” on bottles of Coke during its “Share a Coke” marketing campaign.

The Truth:

It’s true that the name “Isis” appeared on bottles of Coke sold in the Netherlands in 2014.

But Coca-Cola said that Isis, a common name for Dutch girls, was removed from the Share a Coke campaign after the ISIS terrorist group gave the name new meaning:

“This is not one of the 1,000 Share a Coke names available in the U.S. It is a popular name in the Netherlands and was used in their 2014 campaign among 2,500 of the most common Dutch names. It is unfortunate that it took on another meaning while the campaign was in market. The name is no longer available in the Netherlands.”

Isis wasn’t included in searchable database of names used in the 2015 Share a Coke promotion. And it’s true that Isis is a common name in the Netherlands. It has consistently ranked in the top 100 most popular names there.

It’s fairly easy to tell the difference between the terrorist group and the female name, too. ISIS is spelled with capital letters because it’s an abbreviation for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

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Miley Cyrus Burns Bible to Promote Tolerance-Fiction! 

 

Summary of eRumor:

Reports that Miley Cyrus burned a Bible on stage at a concert to make a statement about tolerance have sparked a viral online backlash.

The Truth:

Miley Cyrus didn’t burn a Bible to promote tolerance.

The rumor was started by The People’s Cube website in June 2015, and it quickly spread across social media sites. A story published by the website claimed that Miley Cyrus had burned a Bible on stage and yelled, “Hillary ’16!” According to the report:

“In an opening act for her recent concert at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Cyrus walked out onto the stage and held the Bible out to the crowd saying, ‘Here is a tribute to all you Jesus-lovers out there.’ She then set the pages on fire and yelled ‘Hillary ’16!’ before dropping the book to the ground. As the music started, Cyrus began to sing while squatting over the burning Bible and performing a sexually provocative dance with repetitive thrusting hip movements, called ‘twerking.’

 

A few moments later the stage went dark, lit up only by two large red inverted crosses, usually associated with satanic worship. Cyrus began to dance around a large phallic object, using it as a stripper pole, while removing parts of her clothing. At that point about one fifth of her audience got up and left the concert, telling MTV reporters in the lobby that the display was extremely offensive and they didn’t feel comfortable remaining in that environment.”

The story was quickly shared nearly 150,000 times on social media sites. However, a disclaimer that appears at the bottom of the webpage says The People’s Cube is a political satire website with a faux socialist slant.

 

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China Has Cracked Down on Islam-Truth!

Summary of eRumor:

Social media posts and blog sites have reported that China has made “major moves to ban Islam,” including banning female head coverings and discouraging men from growing long beards.

The Truth:

It’s true that a number of cities have banned head coverings and long beards as part of a larger crackdown on religious extremism.

But China has cracked down on Christianity and other religions in recent years, too.

Reports of the “crackdown” first went viral in August 2014. Karamay, a city in the Xinjiang region of China, banned people wearing Islamic clothes or who had long beards from riding public buses. The ban was temporarily enforced during a local sports competition, but local officials had already “discouraged” Muslim dress before the law was passed, New Deli Television reports:

“Xinjiang, a resource rich region which abuts central Asia, is the homeland of China’s mostly Muslim Uighur minority and has been hit by a wave of clashes between locals and security forces which have killed hundreds in the past year.

China has blamed several deadly attacks on civilians outside the region in recent months on ‘terrorists’ seeking independence for the region.”

Then, local authorities in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region, banned Islamic veils in December 2014. Again, state-run media reported that the ban was part of a crackdown on a wave of violence in the region that had been attributed to Uighur militants who were helped by overseas terrorist groups, the BBC reports.

So, this eRumor is true — but religious repression in China isn’t a new development.

Officially, China declared itself as an atheist country in 1949 and “widespread religious repression” followed in Mainland China. But the country has experienced a “religious revival” over the last 40 years. The government recognizes Buddhism, Catholicism, Daoism, Islam and Protestantism as religions, but it identifies religious groups as threats to national security, the Council on Foreign Relations reports:

“Christians have faced growing repression in recent years. China ranked twenty-ninth on the 2015 World Watch List compiled by Open Doors, a U.S.-based Christian non-profit, that tracks the persecution of Christians worldwide, up from thirty-seventh the previous year. Repression campaigns have not been consistent, but they have recently targeted both house and state-sanctioned churches—be it through the harassment and detention of Christian oberverants, blocking entry to sites of worship, interrupting gatherings, dismantling crosses, or demolishing churches. In 2014, party officials in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang’s city of Wenzhou, known for its large Christian population, ordered the removal of hundreds of crosses and demolition of dozens of churches that allegedly violated construction regulations. In February 2015, Zhejiang party officials announced that the party would enforce a ban on religious belief among party members to prevent the ‘penetration of Western hostile forces.’ These campaigns raised fears of possible widespread action against Christianity, but they seem to have been isolated cases.”

So, it’s true that cities in China have cracked down on Islam in recent years, but the same is true about Christianity and other religions.

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A Florida Couple Was Arrested for Selling Golden Tickets to Heaven-Fiction! 

Summary of eRumor:

Reports have gone viral on social media sites that a Florida couple was arrested for selling “golden tickets to heaven” to hundreds of people for $99.99 per ticket.

The Truth:

A fake news website started this hoax.

The website Stuppid.com reported that a couple named Tito and Amanda Watts told their marks that they could “simply present the ticket at the pearly gates” to get into heaven. The website quoted Tito as saying:

“I don’t care what the police say. The tickets are solid gold… it ain’t cut up two by fours I spray painted gold. And it was Jesus who give them to me behind the KFC and said to sell them so I could get me some money to go to outer space. I met an alien named Stevie who said if I got the cash together he’d take me and my wife on his flying saucer to his planet that’s made entirely of crack cocaine. You can smoke all the crack cocaine there you want… totally free. So, try to send an innocent man to jail and see what happens. You should arrest Jesus because he’s the one that gave me the golden tickets and said to sell them. I’m willing to wear a wire and set Jesus up…”

The Jacksonville Sun-Times mistakenly re-reported the story as though it was actual news, and it has since been shared more than 500,000 times on social media websites. The Sun-Times later said that the story was an April Fool’s Day Joke that it had fallen for:

“UPDATE: This story turned out to be an April Fool’s joke, and unfortunately we fell for it. The story, which several other websites also reported as fact, originated on March 31 with the websiteStuppid.com, and the photos of the fictional “Tito and Amanda Watts” came from this 2011 collection of bizarre mug shots. We apologize for publishing false information and regret this error.”

According to Stuppid’s disclaimer: “Stuppid.com reports stupid news we find around the web and from other sources. We aim to publish the stupidest, craziest stuff we can find.” The website regularly reports on fake news stories.

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Teens Summon Demon in “Charlie Charlie Challenge”-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor: 

Many teenagers have posted videos that supposedly show them summoning a Mexican demon spirit named Charlie in what has become known as the “Charlie Charlie Challenge.” 

The Truth:

The Charlie Charlie Challenge is nothing more than a clever marketing campaign for a horror film.

Many teenagers have posted videos of what appears to be supernatural happenings after they used a makeshift Ouija board to summon Charlie, a so-called Mexican demon spirit.

In the challenge, two pencils are placed on a piece of paper in the shape of a cross with the words “yes” and “no” written in all four corners of the cross. Then, the words “Charlie, Charlie can we play” are uttered to start the challenge. If the pencil drifts to “yes,” that supposedly means that a connection has been made with the demon, and players can ask him questions. 

As it turns out, the Charlie Charlie Challenge was a marketing stunt for a Warner Bros. movie called “The Gallows.” After countless videos of the challenge went viral, an eight-second trailer that shows a clip of the Charlie Charlie Challenge from the movie was released.  

The movie, which was set for release in July 2015, is about a group of students in a small town who try to resurrect a school play that ended in tragedy 20 years earlier — and, of course, there are horrific consequences.

Similar viral marketing campaigns have been successfully used in the past. A social media campaign for “The Last Exorcism” tricked people into believing that they were video chatting with a woman who was suddenly overtaken by a demon. Images of the people’s horrified reactions were used to market the movie. 

And the “Blair Witch Project” had one of the most successful viral marketing campaigns ever. Promoters logged onto online forums to spark urban legends about three filmmakers who disappeared while searching for a witch in Maryland. The move cost $20,000 to make and took in $248 million at the box office thanks to these viral marketing efforts.