Prominent Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church fell victim to an elaborate internet prank that convinced his followers he no longer believed in God.
The pranksters, who are still unknown as of now, created a fake website, phony Twitter feed and doctored CNN and Drudge headlines that claimed the well-known pastor was renouncing his faith.
“...In my heart, for a number of years now, I have been questioning the faith, Christianity and whether Jesus Christ is really my, or anyone’s, ‘savior,’” wrote the fake Osteen on one of the misleading websites, joelosteenministries.wordpress.com. “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. In fact, there is zero evidence ‘God’ even exists.”
The doctored CNN home page posted on the site showed a headline claiming “Pastor of mega church resigns, rejects Christ,” while a screen shot of a fake Drudge Report banner read, “Osteen: I am no longer a Christian.”
Meanwhile, the pastor’s actual website, joelosteen.com, and his Twitter feed remained quiet about his apparent change of heart. After learning of the joke, the Osteen offered on his website some advice about how to deal with people who place obstacles in your life.
“God will not allow any person to keep you from your destiny,” Osteen wrote. “They may be bigger, stronger and more powerful, but God knows how to shift things around and get you to where you’re supposed to be!”
For now, it seems as if Osteen is still a fervent believer in Christ despite his highly criticized lavish lifestyle.