Well, I got another one this morning. An old, well-meaning friend sent me a forward about Brutus the Congressional Medal of Honor winning dog. This 200 lb mastiff-boxer cross saved its handler and several other men from certain death at the hands of some insurgents in Iraq. The men had just been captured. The dog’s handler using silent hand signals had told the dog to leave. He then somehow signaled Brutus to return and attack. The heroic mutt tore the throat out of one of the captors and chased several others off. He then knocked down the door of the room where the men were being held and using his teeth untied their hands. There was even a picture of this humongous, black crazed looking dog springing forward spewing drool from its gaping jaws–truly a sight to halt all but the most fanatical of terrorists.
What a wonderful story. Unfortunately, not a word of it was true. I figured that, but still I checked it out on snopes.com to confirm that fact. I get these feel-good stories every few weeks, and I almost always check them out on snopes. Sometimes I tell the people who sent them and sometimes not. I’m sure a few feelings have been hurt. The story of Brutus reminded me of a story I relate in my book Jesus v. satan: The Message of the Wilderness Temptations. I revealed the sad truth about Nellie the heroic Golden Retriever who led 927 people down the stairs of the burning Twin Towers to safety on 9/11. I had received this forward at least three times from people who apparently believed the story. It was in a chapter about urban myths that circulate on the internet. My contention is that stealing someone else’s reality thru even a silly lie is doing the devil’s work. It amounts to a type of mind control, and I believe that controlling others is the motivation of the people who make up these stories. They tell lies simply because they can. Some probably see these as innocuous but I do not. However, some are undeniably funny. One of my cyberspace favorites was that Mr. Rogers, the gentle host of the kids show on PBS, had been a Marine sniper in Viet Nam with over 200 kills. That one made me laugh out loud. But apparently there were many who believed it enough to forward it. The gullibility of some and the need to believe modern fairy tales is truly frightening. These magical stories are an effront to the Spirit of Truth. It’s like saying that God’s reality and His miracles aren’t really good enough.
I believe we owe each other the truth. The Holy Spirit is the spirit if truth and it is the Truth which sets us free.