This morning I got another of those well-intended, multiple emails warning me of an internet scam. This one concerned recipients' being duped out of their Social Security numbers and other valuable information by callers claiming that the recipient had been summoned for jury duty, and, since the recipient had not responded, arrest warrants had been issued, etc.
The first thing I did was to look it up on Snopes, an organization which seems to collect and assess the rumors and truths that float around on the internet. Here is their address
Of course, it could be that Snopes is nothing but a scam, but at least the delighted email sender could do SOME homework.
The note I received this morning turned out to be true according to Snopes. But numerous other similar dire warnings I have received turned out to be wrong-wrong-wrong.
Why people who send these things don't bother to check out their impassioned sincerity beats the hell out of me. I guess it's more fun being frightened or elated than to check out whether something is true or not...and naturally, if you're scared or elated and it's so much fun, everyone in your email address book deserves to join your appreciations.
It reminds me of what frequently passes for spiritual endeavor: First one person knows and perhaps says it's true (hallelujah!), then another believes the first and another believes the second and another believes the third and pretty soon you have a whole lot of people saying something is true without ever bothering to find out if it is. It may well be that the assertions spiritual endeavors makes are true, but no one can know that without doing the homework.
There is no Snopes for spiritual endeavor outside of individual blood, sweat and tears, although there will always be those who claim that holy texts or soaring temples or placid individuals are "undeniably authentic" or some other let's not-do-our-homework assertion.
Warning! Warning! Warning! If you won't do the homework, don't be surprised if it turns out to be bullshit.