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JMPC Sunshine 10.07.2020

What is truth? There has been a good deal of hubbub about the concept of “fake news”. But
I don’t think the concept of “fake news” is new at all. It goes back as least as far as “man-
bats”. This from the website “The Museum of Hoaxes”:
Throughout the final week of August 1835, a long article appeared in serial form on the
front page of the New York Sun. It bore the headline:
 
GREAT ASTRONOMICAL DISCOVERIES
LATELY MADE
BY SIR JOHN HERSCHEL, L.L.D. F.R.S. &c.
At the Cape of Good Hope
[From Supplement to the Edinburgh Journal of Science]
 
The article started by triumphantly listing a series of stunning astronomical breakthroughs
the famous British astronomer, Sir John Herschel, had made “by means of a telescope of
vast dimensions and an entirely new principle.” Herschel, the article declared, had
established a “new theory of cometary phenomena” he had discovered planets in other
solar systems; and he had “solved or corrected nearly every leading problem of
mathematical astronomy.” Then, almost as if it were an afterthought, the article revealed
Herschel’s final, stunning achievement. He had discovered life on the moon. The article was
an elaborate hoax.
What is really interesting is that most people knew it was a hoax yet bought the paper
every day to read more. The Sun became very popular and actually started the “penny
paper” craze that continues today in the form of the National Enquirer and other such fare.
You can read about it in The Sun and the Moon: The Remarkable True Account of Hoaxers,
Showmen, Dueling Journalists, and Lunar Man-Bats in Nineteenth Century New York,
By Matthew Goodman. What is even more interesting is that once the Sun admitted that the
story was fantasy, people still wanted to hear more about the man-bats! They did not care
about truth. They wanted to be entertained.
Do we care about truth? Jesus did. Pilate did not. That is why Pilate asked that famous
question to Jesus. What is truth? So, what is it? Join us in the parking lot of John McMillan
Presbyterian Church this Sunday at 10am (or on Facebook Live at the same time) when
Pastor Jeff preaches “What is Truth?” based on John 18: 28-38.



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