Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Joel Osteen Hoax Original Blog & Website Where It All Began



An interview with the hoaxster on ABC's "World News Tonight" with Diane Sawyer is available here.

For a moment, the world held its breath...

 On April 8th, 2013, it was announced that megachurch pastor and renowned televangelist Joel Osteen had lost his faith, had "rejected Christ" and had resigned.

His official Facebook, Twitter and web site accounts legitimized a statement he had posted indicating his defection from Christianity. A convincing YouTube video that quickly received 170,000 views showed screen captures of various media sites, including Drudge and CNN, announcing the news.

These headlines announced Osteen's supposed resignation

Not only had Osteen rejected the faith, in a statement, he said the Bible was full of "fallacies" and that no God "worth believing in" would send people to Hell. He also admitted his brand of "faith-to-wealth" teachings had drifted further and further from scripture.

Osteen also made a series of political statements, decrying chemical giant Monsanto for its genetically-modified, "GMO" "frankenfoods", toxic fluoride in the public water system, Obama's "destructive" policies and our collective lack of attention to serious, real-world issues.

This headline appeared on the site

He said he it was time for him to "wake up" and that he had been "questioning everything" for some months now.

Osteen's Lakewood, Texas church was flooded with over 500 phone calls from around the world. Frantic followers desperate for answers asked, "Has he really left the faith?"

If only it had been true...

Joel Osteen in front of his congregation in Lakewood, TX

The entire resignation and denunciation of faith by Osteen was an artful ruse committed by a 31 year-old freelance writer in Minnesota by the name of Justin Tribble.

It didn't take long to discover the hoax, as the main site was mispelled "", with just one "e" instead of the two in Osteen's real name.

Over one million internet users on April 8th viewed the phony web sites before a media frenzy ensued, as NPR, The Huffington Post, ABC News, The New York Daily News, Houston Chronicle, local Houston TV stations and dozens of blogs reported the story.

ABC'S "World News Tonight" with Diane Sawyer

Thousands of comments had already flooded into the hoaxed sites, many from Christians and non-Christians alike celebrating Osteen's "bravery" in following his heart and leaving the faith. Meanwhile, the expected venom-filled Christian trolls crawled out from under their rocks to blast the hoax, defend their beloved and defied pastor and appear in every manner possible anything but "Christ-like."

Many media sources called the hoax "elaborate", "intricate" and implied the hoaxer must have spent a tremendous amount of time and money to stage it. The hoaxer would later reveal that the whole production cost a total of $12 dollars and took about five hours to get up and running.

An interview with the man behind the hoax

"It's hard to compete with a guy who tells people, 'Pray to God, He'll give you goodies.'"

This interview was conducted by phone on April 12, 2013:

Christianity News Texas (CNT): First of all, tell us, briefly, a little about yourself? Who are you?

Justin Tribble (JT): I'm just a regular guy. I'm a freelance writer with a background in business and public relations. I've been recently brushing up on my web design skills.

CNT: I see. I assume that's how this all got started?

JT: Yes, it is. I had been building a few sites recently and I got the idea, "Why not throw one together about Joel Osteen?" I'm a fan of his. I'm familiar with him. The idea grew from there. What if... the site showed him resigning?

CNT: Did you intend to attract this kind of attention, a million hits in one day, so much media attention?

JT: Absolutely not. I spent $12 on this. It took about five hours to get it all up and running, and from there, a few more hours of refining the sites and fixing code, once it all took off. I wasn't even paying attention and I found out along with everyone else this had gone viral. This was not "elaborate", by any means. Anybody can put anything up on the internet. Whether you want something to go viral or not is not in your control, it's in the public's control.

CNT: Tell us more about what you think of Mr. Osteen. Your interview on ABC News suggested strongly you're a fan of his, if not a bit obsessed with him.

JT: Yeah, that interview was unfortunate, because I was somewhat misrepresented. I'm glad I was charitable to him and expressed that I liked him. The last thing I wanted was to continue tarnishing this guy, because I was already in enough hot water as it was! I am genuinely a fan of his, but on another level, I'm also highly critical of some of the things he's doing.

CNT: Do you feel you are going to be in legal trouble?

JT: Time will tell. Joel seemed to handle the whole thing with class. If they want to come after me now and make a big stink about it, that seems like a big waste of time. All of the sites were immediately taken down within twenty-four hours of the hoax exploding on the internet and in the media. If I had left all these sites up and made an effort to keep the hoax going for days and days, then yes, I think their case would be stronger. I also think the nature of the hoax was somewhat benign. If I had said, "Osteen found with two hookers," then yes, there would be a very strong defamation case there.

CNT: Are you a Christian? An atheist? You seem to like this guy, but at the same time, you put up a hoax that suggested not only had he left the faith, he utterly denounced the Bible itself.

JT: Right. That's a tough question. I was raised a Christian, I eventually left the faith, embraced atheism, and now I'm somewhere in the middle. Truth be told, it's religious people who fail to follow their own doctrine who piss me off the most. The hypocrites! A lot of religion I think is pure bunk. There's no basis behind it. But if people want to believe, who I am to tell them not to? I don't begrudge people of faith. I do take issue with those who deceive their followers, are hypocrites, who fail to follow scripture. If you embrace a religion, you need to be consistent, or get out of it.

CNT: So are you trying to -- ok, what is the point you're trying to make here? I'm confused.

JT: I simply want people to start questioning this guy. That's it. I know he makes people "feel good". I hear that a lot. So what? Drugs make you feel good. Alcohol makes you feel good! I also think it's telling that so many people believed the hoax. Do you think people would believe Billy Graham rejected Christianity? No, because he's a man we all know to be consistent and of extraordinary character. The fact this was so readily believed by people suggested to me, in the backs of their minds, Osteen seems a little sketchy to them.

CNT: Do you think Joel Osteen is just cynically in this for money?
 JT: Who knows. His lifestyle is extravagant. There is no dispute there. I'm sure the church helps people. I'm sure they give back. In fact, I know they do. I think even if Joel thinks he's doing "good", he may be deceived and not know it.

CNT: How do you think he should live? Should he just give his money away?

JT: Well, here's the problem. So much of his ideology, his sermons, his message is wrapped around justifying his wealth! How ironic! I've literally seen him praying before thousands and telling God, or asking God, to give all those people "bonuses", "inheritances", "raises", "better jobs". Ok. I'm sorry. But that's just nuts.

CNT: Well, what is wrong with that? What is wrong with praying for people to have better things, and more money?

JT: It's a total distortion of Christ's message, of Christianity, is it not? In the Bible, wealth and money, in particular Christ's words, it is discussed very much in a negative light! I'm not saying God wants us to be poor and miserable, but do you really think God wants us praying to him for bonuses, raises and money?

CNT: You make a good point. It does seem a little selfish to pray for money.

JT: Money is the root of all evil! That's literally where his message has gone. It's this "pray for more stuff" gospel. Then you add the books into it.

CNT: Osteen has fifteen best-selling books. Many people seem to love them and feel they've been helped by them. What is wrong with that?

JT: Shouldn't they be reading the Bible? Shouldn't the Bible be helping them? Shouldn't Jesus make them feel better, not Joel Osteen?

CNT: You certainly have a point. What do you want him to change?

JT: I want him to donate all the book sales to Christian charities, one hundred percent. I want him to tone down the cliches and platitudes, get off the "faith to gain" message, and start sticking to scripture and Christ's words instead of "interpreting" them. I want him to start talking about real-world issues affecting Christians and non-Christians alike.

CNT: What sort of issues?

JT: Genetically-modified foods and Monsanto. Do you think God wants GMO foods? They're toxic and incredibly destructive to the environment. I want him to talk about fluoride in the water. They put this crap in our public water supply to fight cavities  They're administering a medication to the public. It's not only proven not to do much of anything to stop cavities  it's also one of the most toxic substances known to man even in small quantities! Hitler also put it in the public water supply because fluoride has been shown to have an effect that causes people to become docile, compliant.

 CNT: That's terrifying stuff. But why should Joel Osteen jump into the political area?

JT: This stuff isn't political. It affects everyone. Democrats don't want poison in their water. Republicans don't want poison in their water. It doesn't matter your party affiliation  nobody wants Obama drone bombing us.

CNT: Ok, so what is the next step?

JT: Maintain this blog. Hope and pray people wake up, get involved, join me, pressure Osteen. I don't have much hope, though. It's hard to compete with a guy who tells people, "Pray to God, He'll give you goodies."

Breaking Amish,  Google Sniper 2.0 review. Wendys Girl is recommended as well.Please visifor the latest news or our new site .. we recommend

For those not familiar with the story, news links are provided below:

-- ABC News, "Good Morning America", April 9, 2013

-- The Huffington Post, April 9, 2013