Joel Osteen "I am no longer a Christian" hoaxer lives in Minneapolis

Earlier this week, Justin Tribble (right) tried to fool the internet into believing Joel Osteen (left) had abandoned his Christian faith.
Earlier this week, Texas megachurch pastror Joel Osteen was the target of an elaborate internet hoax.

SEE ALSO: Anatomy of an Internet Hoax

Using the web address (note the small typo -- the site has since been taken down) somebody pretending to be Osteen published a "special announcement" in which Osteen seemed to announce he was abandoning his Christian faith.

"I believe now that the Bible is a fallible, flawed, highly inconsistent history book that has been altered hundreds of times," the announcement said. "There is zero evidence the Bible is the holy word of God. In fact, there is zero evidence 'God' even exists."

The (fake) website also featured this video seemingly showing mainstream national media coverage of Osteen's shocking announcement:

The hoaxer also went to the trouble of creating a fake Twitter account to spread the word that Osteen was apparently no longer a Christian.

Of course, it was a bunch of BS. Later in the day Monday, a tweet on Osteen's verified Twitter account said, "Pastor Joel is not leaving the church." Osteen himself later said he found the whole thing "comical" and told ABC News "I feel too blessed, that life is too short to let things like this get you down."

Today, the man responsible for the hoax was identified as 31-year-old Minneapolis freelance writer Justin Tribble. In an interview with ABC, Tribble said he's actually a "big fan" of Osteen, though he's found his sermons of late to be "too shallow."

More from ABC News:
"I didn't want to hurt the guy, didn't want to defame him," Tribble said. "I'm actually a big fan of Joel Osteen. I like him. I listen to him. I enjoy his sermons."

Tribble says his effort, which Osteen told ABC News Monday he found mildly amusing, was not a hoax, as it was widely reported, but a "media campaign."

"[It was] a way to get through and have a dialogue with someone who is essentially inaccessible," he said.
Tribble said he hopes Osteen sees his "media campaign" as part of "God's plan."

"I think it would be nice to have a conversation with him," Tribble told ABC. "Honestly, I wouldn't mind if he prays over me."

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swmnguy topcommenter

Joel Osteen's "Success Gospel" enterprise has never been Christian in the first place.  You can't hoax a hoaxer.

Mark Hustedde
Mark Hustedde

the whole ministry invokes that the poor are godless


Tribble seems troubled. Maybe even in a Mark David Chapman sort of way, though that part's more speculative.


@Mark Hustedde I dont know where you get that pile of lies. Have you ever even watched the program a few times? No one purposrts 'godless poor people'. That is more like Obama/Dunham/Soetoro rhetoric. "Share the wealth" yet Obama is in the 1 percent and only claimed half of his income and spends $20.1Million on Hawaii vacations in 2012 that he never claims as reimbursed expenses.


@Mark Hustedde Well, if you think about it, it is true. The poor are poor due their own bad judgements. They continue to shit out babies that they cannot afford to take care of (which is a sin), and expect others to pay for their bad decisions (which, by definition is theft, which is a sin) and they blame others for their misfortunes (which is jealousy) which is a sin. So therefore, according to the 10 Commandments, they are, in fact, godless. Just Sayin'.  


@Charles D. Rhoden III Except that you found it both humorous and worthy of comment, so that's at least two damns.

swmnguy topcommenter

@sarahabraham7 You wound me.  You cut me to the quick with your witty repartee.

No, I am not as wealthy as Joel Osteen.  I grew up very poor.  My father had not created a multi-million dollar money-extraction facility to hand to me.  I've created my own success through my own efforts and I feel just fine.  I have no debt, as many nice things as I want; my own teeth, face and hair; good, well-centered kids; friends; the respect of my clients, peers and competitors; everything a guy could want, really.

And I haven't had to pander to other people's insecurities to get them to send me their money.  Not coincidentally, nobody has been motivated to take to the interwebs to expose me as a huckster and a charlatan and an apostate.  I've never had to use an omnipotent imaginary friend to justify my existence and provide a pretext for my wealth.  I just earn it, from people who know what they'll get from me.

I wouldn't trade places with Joel Osteen for all...well, for all the other people's money he has.  I have moral values which wouldn't permit me to do that.

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