Those of us who grew up in the ‘70s and ‘80s remember the infamous Life cereal commercial featuring “Mikey,” the finicky little boy who liked the taste of that cereal. Somewhere along the way, the story got out that Mikey—whose real-life name is John Gilchrist—ate Pop-Rocks candy, washed it down with a Coca-Cola, and had the resulting chemistry experiment explode in his stomach, killing him. How many mother’s absolutely forbad their children eat Pop-Rocks and drink Coke thanks to this story? It turns out to have been a hoax, urban legend, or whatever you’d like to call the fabrication. Today, Gilchrist, who appeared in a total of 250 commercials, is sales director at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Who knows how these silly rumors get started? It has been said, “There’s a sucker born every minute” (stated by banker David Hannum rather than P.T. Barnum, as is popularly thought, by the way; R.J. Brown, editor-in-chief, historybuff.com). The idea is that people are gullible and many are trusting to a fault. Cynicism is its own problem, and gullibility can be amusing.
Too many, however, have bought into ideas that could not be more destructive. Consider the following sentiments:
- “One church is as good as another”
- “It doesn’t matter what you believe, so long as you’re sincere”
- “God just wants you to be happy”
- “Anything’s permissible between two consenting adults”
- “Truth is whatever you think it is”
- “If it feels good, do it”
Obviously, the list is rather long but these are illustrative of the point. How remarkable it is that such lies are nearly as old as the world itself. The serpent lied to Eve, selling her on the belief that she would surely not die if she ate fruit forbidden by God (Gen. 3:4). Jesus taught a group notorious for changing God’s Word, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44).
Who are we listening to? Are they telling us the truth? “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).