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Joel Osteen Target Of Internet Hoax

By: CICELY MITCHELL
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(Photo Credit: Jeff Neira/CBS via Getty Images)

(Photo Credit: Jeff Neira/CBS via Getty Images)

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HOUSTON (CBS Houston) Lakewood Church senior pastor Joel Osteen was the target of an elaborate Internet hoax in which the famous pastor was supposedly stepping down from his mega church.

Within the hoax were statements that Osteen was leaving Lakewood Church and pranksters even went through the trouble of creating a authentic-looking website claiming the Houston-based preacher had “left the Lakewood Church”, the church he founded in 1999. Osteen supposedly was leaving due to his “lack of faith.”

The fake website is called joeleolstenministries.com, with the read one being joelosteen.com. The design of both websites are so intricate and detailed that the fake one seems to be successful in being deceptive with its picture of Osteen on the front and the Lakewood emblem.

Pranksters even set up a fake CNN headline stating that: “Pastor of mega church resigns, rejects Christ.”

Osteen’s “official” statement also offered support of his decision to “step down”: “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.”

At the time of this report, Lakewood Church did not address the Internet hoax involving Osteen.

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