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April 9th, 2013
11:20 AM ET

Elaborate hoax: No, Joel Osteen has not renounced his faith

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - Joel Osteen, the popular megachurch pastor from Houston, is the target of an Internet hoax that falsely reported the Christian leader was leaving his church and renouncing his faith.

On a website designed to mimic Osteen’s official website, the pranksters posted “A special message from Pastor Joel.” The post describes the Bible as “a fallible, flawed, highly inconsistent history book that has been altered hundreds of times” and announces that Osteen plans to leave his Lakewood Church.

Osteen and church staff  labeled the website a fraud and said the idea that he was leaving the faith was a "false rumor."

According to the website's registration, Lucas Skass with BMG Enterprises LLC, who lists his residence in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, purchased the domain name on April 1 of this year – April Fools Day.

Calls to the number listed for Skass, as well as people associated with BMG Enterprises LLC, have gone unanswered.

"I am leaving the Christian faith," says a big banner near the top of the page.

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In addition to the announcement, the website posted a fake screenshot of CNN.com that included a falsified headline about Osteen’s supposed decision. The pranksters also launched an associated Twitter account that has since been suspended.

The website http://www.joelostenministries.com/ spells Osteen’s name wrong and comes with an elaborate disclaimer.

“This site is the property of Pastor Joel Osten and Joel Osten Ministries. It bears no relation to ‘Joel Osteen’ or ‘Lakewood Church,’" the disclaimer reads. “Any implication or relation to 'Joel Osteen' and the 'Lakewood Church' is purely coincidental. 'Joel Osteen' is not in any way involved or related to this site and references to 'Joel Osteen' are, again, entirely coincidental.”

In an interview with ABC News, Osteen dismissed the prank.

“You know, I’m really not angry. I don’t feel like a victim,” Osteen said. “I feel too blessed, that life is too short to let things like this get you down.”

He continued: “You can’t stop everything from happening, but you can choose to say, ‘God, it’s in your hands.’ I’m going to move forward. I’m going stay full of joy and I’m going to enjoy this day.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Though Osteen dismissed the hoax, many on Twitter fell for it and were shocked by the announcement.

When one person on Twitter asked Osteen directly whether he was leaving the church, someone managing Osteen’s Twitter account responded by knocking down the false report.

Osteen has led the 45,000-person church since 1999, after his father, the founder of Lakewood Church, stepped down. He is one of the most recognizable faces in American Christianity and his ministry says Osteen’s sermons reach some 10 million people a week in over 100 countries.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Pastors

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  3. Science

    Free speech helps educate the masses................POLITICIANS too !!!

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/12/where-do-morals-come-from/#comments

    Gravity is not up for debate !

    BY the way ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !

    Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet

    Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130425142250.htm

    Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

    The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

    The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

    Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130408165955.htm

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    Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418104324.htm

    And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/IIE2aOriginoflife.shtml

    the wrong path is Adam and Eve !

    Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

    Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305145821.htm

    No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US

    Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.

    No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !

    Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History

    Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130423134037.htm

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    Good stuff !

    The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424132705.htm

    For what...................... ? Make sure to read what the pope said !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/

    Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

    Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

    Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
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    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

    Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
    Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/28/pope-praises-science-but-insists-god-created-world/

    Science

    Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
    By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/05/17/heaven-is-a-fairy-story-scientist-stephen-hawking-says/

    April 7th, 2012

    08:32 PM ET

    The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/07/the-jesus-debate-man-vs-myth/comment-page-137/#comment-2281915

    Make sure to read comments

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    Breaking News

    NASA: Three planets found are some of best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our solar system.

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/18/us/planet-discovery/index.html

    NASA: Mars could have supported life

    Star Dust we are .

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWdU_px9ApE&w=640&h=390]

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  5. Matt

    "Joel Osteen is wasting the worldwide audience God has given him with clichés and wishful thinking"... to all those saying something like that, perhaps there is a reason God has given him a worldwide audience and not you.

    April 22, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
  6. Science

    .Backfill...............facts work best for teaching children !

    Evolution wins hands down ..........time for god(s) to get the HELL out of the way................so humanity can evolve !

    Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418104324.htm

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    April 17, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  9. Science

    Does the RCC have any ? Joel too ?

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/

    Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

    Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

    Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
    bears his name as the “God particle.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/08/atheist-prof-peter-higgs-stop-calling-higgs-bosen-the-god-particle/

    Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
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    Science

    Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
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    April 7th, 2012

    08:32 PM ET

    The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth

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    A wedge !

    April 14, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • Science

      does Joel have One ?

      Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

      Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305145821.htm

      April 14, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  10. Abhay Nidhi Sharma

    We think Joel Osteen is hiding more things. Like this one:

    http://blog.totalnurture.com/index.php/godly-cloud/

    April 13, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • faith

      I really felt God helped me have the courage to quit. I wasn't happy with Korn for the last few years because my heart was with my kid. She was with her nanny most of the time at home. I was always worried about her and wondering if she felt she was unloved because her mother left her [when she was a baby], and I was never home. It was just a constant battle.
      Welch became a Christian, quit drugs, and dedicated his life to his faith and his young daughter, Jennea

      April 14, 2013 at 12:23 am |
  11. The real Tom

    fred the dead head says: Why does anything exist?

    I don't know, fred. And neither do you. The difference is that you can't bear not to know so you make up a story about it. I don't need to do that. I can live with uncertainty. Sorry about you.

    April 12, 2013 at 11:19 pm |
    • faith

      I really felt God helped me have the courage to quit. I wasn't happy with Korn for the last few years because my heart was with my kid. She was with her nanny most of the time at home. I was always worried about her and wondering if she felt she was unloved because her mother left her [when she was a baby], and I was never home. It was just a constant battle.
      Welch became a Christian, quit drugs, and dedicated his life to his faith and his young daughter, Jennea

      Dorothy, shhhh

      April 14, 2013 at 12:24 am |
    • Uncertainty

      Can you really live with uncertainty, or like myself are you extremely uncomfortable with it and therefore find yourself lurking here?

      April 14, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • The real Tom

      Yes, I can live with uncertainty, because there is no other option. No one knows what happens after we die. There is nothing that is certain.

      April 14, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • The real Tom

      And faith? Knock it off. You're not even capable of making sense. Stop posting if all you can write is crap like that.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • God is a Mythtake

      Osteen will never lose his faith in making money.

      April 14, 2013 at 10:03 am |
  12. faith

    HeavenSent
    Rubbing my hatchet wound with my cats butthole

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    April 12, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
  13. faith

    I really felt God helped me have the courage to quit. I wasn't happy with Korn for the last few years because my heart was with my kid. She was with her nanny most of the time at home. I was always worried about her and wondering if she felt she was unloved because her mother left her [when she was a baby], and I was never home. It was just a constant battle.
    Welch became a Christian, quit drugs, and dedicated his life to his faith and his young daughter, Jennea

    uh oh. dorothy.

    never tore him to pieces.

    sup wit dat, hypos?

    April 12, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
  14. Stephen Hawking is an Idiot

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WlRt8z5bHA&w=640&h=390]

    April 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    April 12, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

      One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one (over 4,000,000 members) in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage.

      One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags".

      One sect believes women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.

      One sect believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri.

      Some believe the Pope is the Anti-Christ. Some believe Obama is the Anti-Christ.

      Some believe that celibacy is the only option for certain people, or for people in certain positions. Many of the people from these same institutions advocate against abortion, but pretend not to understand the realistic benefit of the morning after pill or even basic contraception; their unrealistic wishful thinking is causing the death of many at the hands of disease.

      In the U.S. recently we learned of the head of Lutheran CMS chastising a minister of that church for participating in a joint service for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.

      Conflicted right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create more extreme divisions as time goes by, constantly subjecting others in its crossfire.

      April 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
  16. His panic

    One thing say I can say about all of the whole thing! He is not in a State of Panic like North Carolina. I mean, he clearly is not panicking. He seems to be having fun with the whole business and it is business.

    April 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • His panic

      Pardon my Latin! It should say "One thing I can say" at the beginning of the sentence.

      April 12, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  17. Vic

    INSPIRING:

    ....

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain

    unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    United States Declaration of Independence
    July 4, 1776

    April 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Akira

      Creator. Not any specific God. This is why it was stated that way; one person's creator may be different than what another believes. See?

      April 12, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Vic

      Yes Akira, no problem there! The premise of posting the PREAMBLE of the United States Declaration of Independence is that "There is a God."

      Cheers.

      April 12, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
  18. Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

    One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one (over 4,000,000 members) in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage.

    One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags".

    One sect believes women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.

    One sect believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri.

    Some believe the Pope is the Anti-Christ. Some believe Obama is the Anti-Christ.

    Some believe that celibacy is the only option for certain people, or for people in certain positions. Many of the people from these same institutions advocate against abortion, but pretend not to understand the realistic benefit of the morning after pill or even basic contraception; their unrealistic wishful thinking is causing the death of many at the hands of disease.

    In the U.S. recently we learned of the head of Lutheran CMS chastising a minister of that church for participating in a joint service for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.

    Conflicted right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create more extreme divisions as time goes by, constantly subjecting others in its crossfire.

    April 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • ..

      beware of copy/paste bull sh it

      April 12, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
  19. faith

    i am gonna be gods. what the heck? pay is good. good bennies. everybody worships you, except athitards. i can spell. wear clothes, smoke a pipe. bam!

    April 12, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.