The last time I logged onto Facebook, several connections joyfully shared a wonderful discovery: a $75.00 Safeway coupon toward a minimum purchase of $80. Who wouldn’t be excited to find a coupon like that?
Fraud. Hoax. False. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a fake. Common sense tells us no store would give away $80. worth of merchandise for $5.00, unless maybe they were going out of business. And if they did offer such a coupon, that might explain why they were going out of business.
But this isn’t the first time such a coupon took Facebook by storm. Last year, eager Facebook friends circulated a $70. coupon toward a minimum $80. purchase from Kohl’s and another one from Publix.
People downloaded and shared the coupons because they wanted them to be true.
Just when you might be thinking folks couldn’t be that naïve, along comes a survey from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. This past April, they surveyed more than 1,000 adults. Seven percent responded that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. And 48 percent of respondents weren’t sure where chocolate milk originated.
No, that was not a typo. A total of more than half of the respondents—550 people—did not know how chocolate milk was made. Now extrapolate that percentage across the general population. How many millions of people might that represent?
But misconceptions about Facebook coupons and chocolate milk are not nearly as serious as misconceptions about spiritual matters. Too many people are gullible about eternal matters. They often echo what someone else told them without researching for themselves.
- The Bible isn’t really true.
- There’s no such place as heaven.
- Jesus is just a myth.
- The universe wasn’t created, it just happened.
- Man is basically good.
Rather than simply repeating what other people say, take time to investigate the answers for yourself. When I see those larger-than-life, too-good-to-be-true offers on social media, I research their accuracy before I consider sharing them.
The same applies to spiritual matters. Do you believe what people say because they appeared on television? On the radio? On the internet? Maybe they wrote a book. Perhaps your college professor made a statement about the Bible and spoke with such authority that you accepted his words at face value.
One of my favorite Bible passages is found in Acts 17:10-11 (ESV):
“The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (ESV).
Don’t believe a teacher or preacher just because they speak with conviction or have a large platform. Search the Bible for yourself. Compare Scripture passages. Explore the context. Research commentaries. Use the same criteria for evidence about God and the Bible as you would for any other determination of truth.
Of course, we don’t want to be gullible about discount coupons or the source of chocolate milk. But those things are not nearly as important as eternal matters. Instead of choosing gullibility, be as wise as the Bereans!