Most important Christian hoaxes?

I’ve been thinking that it would be interesting to make a comic tract about Christian hoaxes and how not to be fooled by them, and I was hoping folks here could help me figure out what high points to hit.

The list of possibilities thus far:

1.) Mike Warnke/Satanic Panic
2.) the “audio recording of hell”
3.) Paluxy River footprints
4.) The Shroud of Turin
5.) The April Fool’s joke that sent creationists to Turkey looking for the Ark.
6.) Jonathan Wells’ list of 57 scientists who disagree with evolution

Bear in mind that I’m explicitly interested in hoaxes and frauds. Near-Death experiences don’t count, because that’s just debunking a mistake. The Bible Code is arguably in the same category.

So what outright frauds are most important to debunk?

Whups- sorry about the double thread. My finger slipped and I accidentally hit the button twice.

Um… you mean historically? I was thinking of the canard that Jews poisoned wells and ate Christian babies… I guess we could get into “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, if we’re going that way… oh, and wait, how 'bout the “missing day” thing? Cecil Adams did a whole column on it once. You know ,the thing about the NASA computers ran into a calculation problem going back into the past and Christians (evidently, Biblical scholars) on staff determined that it was the missing 24 hours listed in the Old Testament. Come to think of it, there’s a lot on and that’s gotta be relevant.

Ooh! Ooh! Aimee Semple McPherson’s disappearance! Oral Roberts saying God was gonna call him home! Jimmy Swaggart’s recreational tastes! The whole gays-caused-9/11 thing with Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. Er… I’m picking on the televangelists, aren’t I?

Ben, I am not sure whether you are looking only for hoaxes with some contemporary currency. But among the most important historical Christian hoaxes, now thoroughly debunked, belong the Donation of Constantine and the False Decretals. These forgeries in their time significantly advanced the medieval Church’s acquisition of secular power and independence from temporal authority.

Let me specify that I’m not trying to make a “modern Christianity was shaped by falsity” history lesson. The point of the comic would be “Don’t be fooled,” so I am looking for things that are either current, or have some sort of resonance with the current day. (i.e. comparing Mike Warnke and Matthew Hopkins.)

Gotcha. Then you may be interested in the Ship of Fools website, an urban-myth hoaxbusting site that focuses on “Christian” myths.

I’m not sure that the Shroud falls into that category, in that the people who actually have possession of it do not claim that it is real.

Any number of the Faith Healers that Randi has debunked should be good targets (along with the collected works of Hovind and Gish, of course).

There’s also the “missing day” theory. It was mentioned about a month ago on SDMB, among other things, so you can do a search for it, or go to the religious section of

I was actually told in Sunday School that men have a different number of ribs than woman. I was brought up Jewish, but I have a feeling the same misinformation is being “taught” in Christian circles.

Don’t forget the infamous “Darwin recanted on his deathbed” hoax!

Here’s a whole chapter ofpious frauds

Everything from the foreskin of Jesus to the near murder of one brave soul that dared point out that the Spanish language did not exist in the 1st Century AD.

The trail of wheel rims and other artifacts at the bottom of some sea, which supposedly proves the Moses/Red Sea parting fable.

  1. Anything related to creationist science
  2. Satanic forces in America are kidnapping girls and using them as sex slaves for porn, torture, sacrifice (50,000 yearly)

Don’t underestimate the power of #2, I grew up in the South and lived among fundamentalist Christians (including my family). Can assure you that a plurality of Americans in general believe in a literal account of Genesis, and it is taken for granted among fundamentalist Christians that there is a massive Satanic underground sex/sacrifice ring.

And, no, I don’t believe in either 1 or 2. The rest of my family does, though–

Dre2xl, I had similar experiences at Born-Again High School. You may be interested in this.

Hey Ben, what’s the story behind no. 5?,%20April’s%20Fools.htm

What’s the animal with the long horns that stick straight out of the sides of its head, but are all twisty? I’m thinking of having Satan be the narrator of the comic, and those would be cool horns for him to have. (But in order to do it, I need a photo reference.)

“Warnke got everyone so riled up that nobody stopped to ask whose side HE was on! HAW HAW!”

And they say watching Japanese porn will mess people up.


A ram?