A lot happens after famous infidels die: people claim that the unbeliever has a funeral for Christianity.
And it happened again after the recent death of physicist Stephen Hawking, who claims he did not believe in God.
"We are free to believe what we want and, in my view, it is the simplest explanation that there is no God," Hawking said in 201
But that did not stop a Facebook page called Catholics Online from insisting that Hawking, after meeting Pope Francis shortly before his death, pronounced "I believe" in his mechanical voice.
They even wrote a picture to "prove" it.
The problem is, it's not true. The revelatory Snopes called the claim and its source "disreputable" before hitting the story with their bright red "FALSE" sticker.
"This Facebook post is just another in a litany of invented claims about famous infidels," says the Snopes crew writes. The source is a Facebook page associated with the disreputable website FrancisMary.org, which apparently has no formal connection to the Catholic Church and regularly publishes articles that contain videos about Jesus Christ appearing in the flesh during a service, or be released as angels on a white horse fighting in Israel. "
The photo itself was not edited, Snopes reigned. But the pope and the physicist met at the Vatican in November 2016 for a scheduled meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, to which Hawking was a longtime and respected member. The Academy has no religious requirements for members.
Allegations of deathbed translations from atheists to Christianity are so common that they are almost a trope. The naturalist Charles Darwin, the speaker Robert Ingersoll, the astronomer Carl Sagan, the Dutch football star Johan Cruyff and the writer Christopher Hitchens were all subjects that were supposedly rebuilt into a Christian god.
The most recent example comes from Larry Alex Taunton, a Christian apologist who knew Hitchens and wrote a book entitled "The Faith of Christopher Hitchens" a year after Hitchens death in 2010.
In this, Taunton Hitchens claimed "teetered on the brink of faith" shortly before his death at the Esophagus Cancer, too famous for his frank atheism, which acknowledges that he privately "penetrated into forbidden territory, crossed the enemy lines and explored what he so long ignored or misrepresented would have."
"At the end of his life, Christopher's searches had led him, albeit secretly, to the altar," writes Taunton at the end of the book. "Exactly what he did there, nobody knows."
Exactly, Taunton's critics responded (along with several other choice words like "petty" and "disgusting"). No, what happens in the hearts of people at the moment of their death. But in the case of Hawking, Snopes points out that there was no evidence that he had accepted a belief in God.
And in the news, no secret conversion is to be read that Hawking's ashes will be laid in Westminster Abbey this fall. an honor for important British. Darwin is resting there, too.