Joel Osteen Hoax Debunked

The biggest problem that the average person faces on the Internet today is inaccurate information. Joel Osteen encountered this in 2013 when reports began to circulate that the pastor was fed up with the Christian faith and ready to leave his church. This false rumor became so popular that Osteen himself officially addressed it. He stated that it was a false rumor and that he was not leaving the faith.

How Do We Know This Was a Hoax?

Just looking at the website that created a special announcement shows proof that this information about author was a hoax. The website misspelled Osteen’s last name, removing one of the E’s, and did not include official branding or logos that were typical of his ministry at that time. To make the hoax seem more believable, a press release and a fake CNN article were also included on this website. There were also numerous blog entries that were crafted to make it seem like the website itself was legitimate.

The fakery didn’t stop there either. A video that was uploaded to this website included big news reports that were reportedly from Drudge, Yahoo, and even CBN News. What was the goal of having this hoax website? The idea that Osteen was going to create a new religion. Instead of a religion focusing on God or Jesus, this pastor was going to create a new church where his new theological perspective was emphasized. A perspective, according to the hoax, that God did not exist.

How could something like this be believable? There have always been questions about this ministry. Many have looked at this ministry and seen it as a watered-down version of the Bible. Because there has been this perspective, including within the Christian faith, this hoax website validated the information that many people suspected on some level. That is why it was able to propagate so quickly.

It Was Presented As Breaking News

Why would someone believe this fake website when all of the additional ministry websites still showed that Osteen was active within his ministry? One simple throwaway line of text made everything completely believable: the idea that there was trouble updating the rest of the website to the new ministry ideas. A bit of information that said church leaders were refusing to accept the pastors resignation. This gave validity to the website, especially the name misspelling was not observed, and the information began to spread virally.

Maybe it was for a bit of satire. It could have been done as an internal joke. There might be a certain level of agnosticism or atheism involves considering the fake statements that were attributed to this pastor. The bottom line, however, is that Joel Osteen never made any of the statements or formulated any of the press releases that were attributed to him. He continues in his ministry today. The loss of faith that he reportedly had is 100% a hoax.