In 1835, a series of articles appeared in the New York Sun claiming that life had been discovered on the moon. They claimed that the life included things like unicorns, two-legged beavers, rushing rivers, and lush vegetation. The purpose of the articles was accomplished: sales of the New York Sun boomed!
Today we look at “The Great Moon Hoax” and wonder how people could have been so gullible, yet we also realize that many people believe what they want to believe. This is actually something that has been going on for time immortal. Those in the days of Noah did not want to believe that the world would be destroyed by water; Israel did not want to believe that the Assyrians would conquer them; nor did Judah want to believe that they would be carried captive by the Babylonians. Paul even wrote of those in the Christian era who would want to only believe what they wanted to believe. He said in 2 Timothy 4:3 that there would be those who “…according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers.” (Note: Is this not what is happening with evolution? “The Great Moon Hoax” rewritten!)
There are a lot of reasons why people do this. Some desire material gain, some desire honor, and some just like to have something different to believe in. But whatever the motivation the result is the same: the strong potential is there to believe in something that simply is not true. When we see false doctrines being propagated—and people believing them—we might wonder how people could be led away so easily, but should also recognize the strong potential that we might fall victim to the same! There are many today who are preaching “gospels” of spiritual unicorns, rushing rivers, and lush vegetation. Paul’s answer: “Preach the word” (2 Timothy 4:2).
Can you believe it? While the old rule of, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” may serve as a general foundation, the only way to know for sure is to search the Scriptures, lest you, too, fall victim of a colossal hoax.