Urban Legends

November 28, 2008

Have you heard that there was a rare red heifer born in Israel; the kind needed to sacrifice for the rebuilt Temple? We must be nearing the end times!

Did you know that Proctor and Gamble support the church of Satan and put a Satanic symbol on their products? We must be in the end times!

Are you aware that for a gang initiation guys drive back roads with their headlights off and shoot the first person in an oncoming car to flash their lights? Things are waxing worse and worse. It must be the end times!

Urban legends are a staple of fundamentalist lore. This is especially true of those wild tales that end up being repeated as sermon illustrations. Quasi-scientific anecdotes have an especially long life in this genre. Have you ever heard any of these gems?

  • There was once a scientist who finds the “universe’s lost time” in the Bible’s accounts of Joshua and Hezekiah and becomes a Christian.
  • The position of the earth is so precise that a few miles closer to the sun and we would all burn, a few miles further away and we would all freeze.
  • Scientists dropped microphones into a deep hole and heard screams from the center of the earth.
  • The hottest kind of fire burns pitch black.

Who could resist such compelling tales when they come from the mouth of a respected pastor or evangelist? And how could he possibly resist using such stories when they so easily illustrate the point of his sermon? So the urban legend continues, passed down from generation to generation.

However, the claim that sugar is only one molecule away from cocaine is almost certainly the truth. Surely a pastor wouldn’t just make that up, would he? One would certainly hope not…

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