Summary: No matter the doubt you are dealing with, God understands the doubts. You cannot leave it alone. I challenge you today to expect doubt. I challenge you today to attack doubt at the source. I challenge you to look at the evidence. All three of these v
On the website they share their philosophy on research and report what details should be doubted and what stories should be believed. They have an entire glossary which describes what legends are true, mostly true, or false. They have strict guidelines for what should be believed and what should be doubted as false. They state on their website: “We rate an urban legend as "true" when there is sufficient evidence to indicate that the legend began with a real-life event… Many urban legends describe events so general and plausible that they might very well have happened to somebody, somewhere, sometime. But since the origins of urban legends can seldom be traced to specific, identifiable occurrences, we rarely categorize such legends as ‘true.’”
Another aspect of the site is that they show you their research. This allows you as the reader to go and check their sources if you so choose. The website states: “We don't expect anyone to accept us as the ultimate authority on any topic. Unlike the plethora of anonymous individuals who create and send the unsigned, un-sourced e-mail messages that are forwarded all over the Internet, we show our work. The research materials we've used in the preparation of any particular page are listed in the bibliography displayed at the bottom of that page so that readers who wish to verify the validity of our information may check those sources for themselves.”
So in thinking about legends, old wives tales, and other folktales, it seems to me that these investigators of the rumor mill basically use two rules when it comes to their investigations: #1 they look for specific, identifiable occurrences to ensure that a rumor is true. #2 they show their sources and work so that you can do your own research. Both of those rules of Snopes.com will come back and be important a little later.
DEFINITIONS OF DOUBT
“Doubt” is one of those words that appear in our lives in many different areas:
In a court of law, criminal cases are tried in the adversarial system where the prosecution is required to prove their case and facts beyond a “reasonable doubt.” I am not so sure I know what “reasonable” means sometimes, but it makes sense that the prosecution must present the case so that a reasonable person would be convinced of the guilt or innocence of a suspected criminal before the sentence is handed down.
Philosophers would tell us that “doubt” is a paradox where the mind is caught between two different propositions and a person cannot make up their mind about either one.
Psychologists and family therapists would tell us that “doubt” is at times a put-down in disguise because doubt breaks the relationship and shows we do not trust the one we have doubted. It may also come because of unmet expectations.
Most of us gathered together today are believers in God and in Jesus Christ and certainly “doubt” is at times the enemy of faith, but also the gateway to deeper and more secure faith. For the Christian, doubt is taking our eyes off of Jesus in the midst of the storm (Matthew 14:26-32). For the Christian, doubt is the enemy of effective prayer (Matthew 21:21-22; Mark 11:23-24; James 1:6-8). Doubt is one of those things that we all deal with because it is a common element of life. We all have doubt, but we all do not know how to deal with it. Doubt, especially in our relationships with Christ, can do great damage.