I received an email forward last week. Like most email forwards, I scanned it briefly and then deleted it. This email was about the ‘real meaning’ of the 12 Days of Christmas, and how it is really a song with hidden Christian (Catholic, specifically) symbols and meanings. At Christmas this year, someone had printed it off and brought it to share. So, suspecting it to be false, I did what I often do: Go to Snopes.com and do a search.
Snopes had this to say. It is, of course, false. I am continually bewildered by people’s desire to believe forwarded emails, all the more since they rarely even refer to a concrete source. It’s not like 20 years ago where we had to make an effort to do research. Putting most any email title into Google is often enough. What’s it take? 1 or 2 minutes? Instead, people click forward, and misinformation continues.
The question I have is: Why do so many Christians mindlessly pass along these emails? Do we want to believe so hard that we’re willing to believe anything that seemingly supports our belief system? Are we afraid to find out that some of our assumptions are wrong? Do we think source materials are overrated? I really don’t know. I remember years ago being at a church meeting and they were passing along the Procter & Gamble supports Satanism email and agreeing how they were going to boycott all the P&G products. I told them that I thought it was a hoax, but they confidently pointed to the referred to video and other evidence in the email and told me I was wrong. I went downstairs, searched Yahoo, then confirmed to them that indeed, it was a hoax. Even then, they still didn’t want to believe they could be wrong.
Sometimes I’m really scared for Christians in America. Some of these emails are rather benign, but some of the supposed pro-Christian emails that are forwarded just make Christians look like idiots. There are Christians who get bent out of shape over how ‘somebody’ is attacking the Christian faith (ACLU, O’Hare, Liberals, etc), and then will demonize the supposed enemy over nothing. It’s embarrassing. If someone wants to forward photos of cats, fine, but if you’re going to forward an email that makes claims for my faith, please don’t add to the misinformation out there by forwarding an email before doing a quick search on Google. Thank you.