Example: [Collected via e-mail, April 2013]
Origins: An entry posted to WordPress blog entitled "Joel Osteen Ministries" in April 2013 carried the purported announcement that Joel Osteen, the senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, had not only resigned from that post but was renouncing his Christian faith:
In a statement released on his website (http://www.joelostenministries.com), which appeared stripped down and bare, he said he has been questioning the faith for a long time. “I believe now that the Bible is a fallible, flawed, highly inconsistent history book that has been altered hundreds of times. There is zero evidence the Bible is the holy word of God,” said Osteen.
It's all a hoax, however. The reason the "Official Site of Pastor Joel Osteen" looks "stripped down and bare" is because it's a fake (note the misspelling of his surname in the URL), neither CNN nor any other news outlet reported on his having resigned and left Christianity behind, and both the genuine web site of Joel Osteen Ministries and the Lakewood Church web site continue to carry weekly messages from Joel and Victoria Osteen and make no mention whatsoever of this startling announcement allegedly issued by Pastor Osteen.
Last updated: 8 April 2013