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BuzzFeed says Joel Osteen represents American Christianity — it backfires big time

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BuzzFeed is heavily criticized when they allege that Lakewood Church Pastor Joel Osteen represents American Christianity. The story was later proved false, but the damage was done. (Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

BuzzFeed stepped in it late last week when they alleged that Houston pastor Joel Osteen is the figure who most represents American Christianity.

Osteen came under intense scrutiny last week after the media alleged he refused to open the doors to the massive Lakewood Church for victims of Hurricane Harvey, which ravaged the southeast Texas coast. The story was later proved false, but the damage was done.

BuzzFeed, the apparent authority on Christianity

That led BuzzFeed to publish a scathing rebuke of American Christianity in light of the Osteen story and President Donald Trump (of course).

"The Joel Osteen Fiasco Says A Lot About American Christianity," the BuzzFeed headline read.

"The backlash against Lakewood Church’s response to Tropical Storm Harvey speaks to a larger powder keg of resentment directed at evangelical Christianity in the United States right now," read the subtitle.

Not exactly

If you were not a Christian or someone who is Christian-in-name-only, you might think Osteen is representative of Christianity. However, that assumption would be far from the truth.

Indeed, Osteen is a main target of criticism from more Orthodox followers of Jesus. That's because Osteen preaches a prosperity gospel — a message quite opposed to that of Jesus of Nazareth. So while the prosperity gospel may sound good and draw many followers in, Jesus' message of sacrificial love is diametrically opposed to it.

Sharp criticism

BuzzFeed was raked over the coals on social media for its story:

Even an atheist recognized what was going on:

Not only that, but many thought the article painted a double standard between Christianity and Islam. The article alleges Osteen represents Christianity, yet anyone who says terrorists represent Islam are typically raked over the coals by progressives. So why is one assumption OK but not the other? People questioned.

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