May 25, 1996 in Features

Myths Make The Rounds Among Some Christians

Clark Morphew Saint Paul Pioneer Press
 

Have you heard that Russian scientists have drilled a hole in the North Sea that went so deep the Russians could smell sulfur and hear human screams of anguish? The scientists reportedly concluded that they had drilled into hell.

That is one of the Christian myths circulating in evangelical circles. There is absolutely no evidence to support the story, and many leaders are trying to stop the myth from spreading.

The problem is, the Trinity Broadcasting Network apparently reported the story as news without checking to see whether it was true.

I had no idea people still believed hell has a definite location. I know Sunday-school teachers once taught that hell was at the center of the Earth.

But, my goodness, given our scientific knowledge today, can’t we figure out a more reasonable location for Satan’s lair?

There are other Christian myths floating about, and one Christian newspaper, the Minnesota Christian Chronicle, did a thorough investigation earlier this month.

Reportedly some conservative Christians believe the vanishing hitchhiker story, which goes something like this: A pastor picks up a hitchhiker who makes a prediction that the second coming of Christ is going to happen at any minute. Then the hitchhiker vanishes into thin air.

Now, anyone with a lick of smarts knows there are very few hitchhikers out on the road these days, and those thumbing rides certainly aren’t the type of people pastors would pick up.

Are the storytellers implying that pastors are stupid? No one with any sense picks up hitchhikers these days.

There is another Christian myth about a pastor who goes into a Social Security office to pick up a check. The clerk is about to hand him a check with 666 written across the top and then takes the check back and says, “Sorry, those checks are not supposed to go out yet.”

This story implies that the beast in the Book of Revelation is going to take over the world. The 666 number is the mark of the beast and will be written on foreheads when the beast comes to power.

The good news for seniors is that the beast government still pays Social Security.

This Christian myth implies not only that Satan is evil, but the government as well. So it fits right into the government-hating mode some people seem to be in these days.

Reportedly there is also a Christian myth about a giant computer that the anti-Christ will use to create a one-world government. Nicknamed the Beast, the computer supposedly contains data about every human being on the face of the Earth.

Of course, you all remember the mysterious fellow flying into your area on an airplane. He admits to the passenger seated next to him that he’s Satan or a demon, and he says he’s coming into your area to destroy three congregations.

No one thinks to ask which churches are targeted. Then he vanishes.

People believe these stories because they fit their worldview. If you believe in Satan as a real person, it’s a small step to believe he might be on an airplane sitting next to you.

And if you fear a one-world government, why wouldn’t you fear that it is being created right now?

But folks, let’s use some common sense. If someone were drilling to the center of the Earth and smelling sulfur and hearing miserable screams, wouldn’t scientists from all over the world want to witness that mess? Sooner or later one of the scientists would call the media, and then the place would be crawling with journalists.

Oh! About that rumor that a movie producer in Illinois is planning a film about the sex life of Jesus and that Mary Magdalene will be played by a French prostitute? Not one bit of truth.

It’s just another Christian myth that eventually resulted in 40,000 letters of protest to the Illinois attorney general’s office.

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