If I were King, Sending Chain Letter Emails…

…would be punishable by Slow Dial-Up.

We’d all agree that spam is an annoying nuisance —a pesky swarm of e-mosquitoes dive-bombing our in-boxes. We all hate it so much that we would never knowingly forward spam to our friends. Right?

Several times a week, I get what I call “superstitious spam emails” from friends—the 21st Century version of chain letters. You know the kind: Read this little prayer, ditty, cute pics with captions, and forward it to fill-in-the-number of your friends. When you do, you’ll receive some fabulous good luck.

Does the sender really think that by simply forwarding an email to several friends they’ve somehow garnered special dispensation from the email fairies? I’d guess that’s 25% of the reason. The other 75%? The email’s threat of bad luck if it’s not forwarded.

The one in my in-box this morning gave this dire example of what might befall me by not forwarding: “When the President of Argentina received this letter and called it “junk mail”, 8 days later his son died.” I’d venture to say that it wasn’t the email’s power that killed the son, but rather the father’s corrupt dealings.

Rationally, we all know that. So why do some of us feel compelled to forward these emails anyway? A quick revisit to our Psych-101 class provides the answer. When faced with the choice between pain or pleasure, the majority of people (and animals) will choose to avoid pain. These email chain letters are a poignant case in point: We would rather chance annoying our friends than risk the implied bad luck.

Amazing, isn’t it?

61 thoughts on “If I were King, Sending Chain Letter Emails…”

  1. This morning,i got the same email about the presidents son.I feel like someone is trying to see how far such an email can go..our God takes no pleasure in our suffering/death/misery…

  2. Do not send these on to your friends and family. Furthermore, I don’t know about you guys but my God didn’t know about email, didn’t threaten people with death if they didn’t participate in chain emails, the Argentina president’s son was also a drug dealer and beat women, so…just saying.

  3. I too get these chain mails all of the time. I am a believer in Jesus and find it very annoying that people think you have to send an email to so many people in order to receive God’s Blessing. Like some of the people who responded to this post, I too have tried telling people that I don’t like this type of email and they will agree with me but soon afterwards I receive one from them. I would also like to know why would a good friend or somebody who claims they love you send something that could bring “bad luck” to you? If they really cared wouldn’t they want to spare you? I totally agree with what Brian and many others said. God’s Blessing to all.

  4. thank you guys for the wonderful reviews..imyself was scared at one pt: after i have had deleted this mail but now i feel much relieved…………glad to have seen your blog

  5. I just received this although mine had a well painted image of two angels, one kneeling and praying, one holding a sword, both of them “beautiful” matriarchal blonde ladies. It had all the text of the aforementioned plus a novena from mother Theresa. I consider this to be Cyber Bullying, witchcraft, or worse. I scared the you know what out me

  6. I received the email just a little while ago. I’ve never believed in these things but this email which states that the Argentinian President’s son died… I just had to google it to know if it was true. When I came across this page and after reading it realized where and what my faith depends on… definitely not e mail forwards

  7. I recently received that email and responded to ALL thusly:
    It’s a miracle!!
    God came to me and told me that YES, he still loves each and every one of us and will keep all who pray to him in his graces.

    He did, however, add that he will NO LONGER be sending his blessings in the form of forwarded mass email threats.
    He also wanted everyone to know that if you receive such an email to not feel impelled to pass it on, no matter how much the author implores you to do so.

    It seems that God is cool with everyone not feeling pressured to forward on an email for xxx years of good luck.

    If you receive such an email, no sweat, God says it’s OK to delete.

    Also, I did a little research on the President of Argentina and his dead son.

    It seems that, yes, the son of former Argentina president Carlos Menem was killed in a helicopter accident in 1995, but claims of a connection between the accident and the president’s supposed failure to forward an email is nonsensical and nothing more than idle speculation. In fact, it seems quite doubtful that this particular email had even begun to circulate AS THE INTERNET WAS TWO YEARS AWAY FROM BEING INVENTED, much less AVAILABLE in Argentina!

    I am merely a conduit,

  8. Carrie, Assja and Paulose, you are the “Peters” (Rocks) of today’s faith. You have really strengthened me. I just thought isn’t this a joke, just saying the president of Argentina lost his son, without any name or year…., I decided to search, and found, well some truth and connectivity of event. Still I did not believe that our Holy Merciful God can be so vengeful. So mean, so small a competitor!!! That’s how I kept reading and found this page. What if I have just got the new email address and know nobody to forward mails to…??? Oh no. This is rubish. Let’s pray that those funy wishes do not happen. We have better ways of spreading the good news of Mother Mary than this.

  9. Today i received this mail. but I didn’t belive,
    But I strongly believe Jesus, mother Mary, everything. but this type of emails make people more scared instead of knowing Jesus love, mercy, secret of holy sacrament. The purpose of Jesus came to world not for Lottery, Job, food, Prosperity, money etc.. , he came to world for saving the people sole for everlasting life with God (In heaven)

    Miracles happened in Jesus name is true.
    If you read Holy Bible you can see Jesus did so many Miracles, yes he did the miracles for people to believe in God and turn from sinful life to holy life. If he didn’t do the miracle, the people will not believe his words.

  10. …now its almost end of May 2010, and this thing is still circulating. My first reaction was, “rubbish, bin the stuff? What a small God would that be if he needed the use of means like blackmail to gain followers!!!” And it annoyed me most that although by logic and by belief I know it’s just ridiculous rubbish, there was still teensy weensy feeling of insecurity and fear with flashing thoughts of black magic, devil worship and God knows what else. I threw the thing into the junk but I couldn’t refrain from searching the net for facts… That’s how I came across this page and I’m glad that I’m not the only one who is annoyed about this mail. Anyway, who’s got so much time to come up with this kind of rubbish??? What is going on in their minds? And what do they gain from it? They can’t even enjoy their power play because they don’t see the mail recipients!

    Carrie, I really loved you made up mail. I had a good laugh about it! Wonder how long that one will circulate!!

  11. Why would a true Christian send smut that God would kill you or harm you if you didn’t forward an email to a set amount of people? If I had to slap a deity on it, I wouldn’t say it was God…. So I decided to be a smart alec and send a made up one back, replying to All. About a week later, it was forwareded to me! I think the coffee I spewed cleaned out my nostrils.

    “Look at this number. 1.
    Cross your fingers.
    Send to 22 people or this is the
    Number of eyeballs you will have left.
    Proven to be true. I can see you…why?
    Because I still have two eyeballs.
    Tick Tock. “

  12. This email is still circulating.

    I really want to respond to the person who sent it but it’s my aunt. I’m always a little torn as to how to react to these sort of things. On one hand I recently changed my email address and in the same email I added a paragraph on how much I hate spam, forwards, chain hoaxes and the like. Seems like it fell on deaf ears.

    I guess I simply have to see it the way the author of this blog describes, as a human psychological phenomena, and pardon those who don’t take the time to question things.

    Thanks for this blog, it is much appreciated!

  13. I also just got the email but now it has a picture of Jesus on the cross and if you look at a different angle the picture turns into the face of Jesus. I usually delete these but then I got scared as well, so I looked it up and this blog was the first thing that came up. It seems like this has been going on for a while. Also the whole idea of faith in Christ is not about good or bad luck, it is about love, love for God and each other. So I deleted it as well. And if you think about it, if you send it out, wouldn’t you be sending pain to others rather than grace?
    Anyway thanks again for the blog.

  14. It’s march 1st 2010 and my girlfriend just received this text from her mom. We just got in a huge fight over it because I asked her why her mom would send this junk to her and not delete it. I’m glad I googled the topic and found this blog to insure me that there are still logical people in this world that don’t waste there time with this junk mail.

  15. I got the same text this morning from my cousin and was amazed that so many people have also gotten the same text/e-mail over the years. I have also noticed the picture people describe varies so obviously its not true. I am neither christian nor catholic, but I do know that this is offensive to those who are strong in those beliefs. I do believe in God, the Son, and the Mother, but I don’t label myself to a certain religion. I think we should not forward this to anyone so we can stop the process of this chain letter and one day it will be no more. (-:

  16. As a Catholic I’m deeply agonised. Christ our saviour and his Mother (our’s too) are icons of compassion and love and these people are vandalising the most sacred playing at the hands of miscreants, some innocently but some perhaps deliberately.

  17. I sourly responded to the person that sent this to me via text, ” The President of Argentina is a woman. Nice use of possessive pronouns.” I didn’t realize that they would be circulating around a 15 year old fact, and automatically assumed they meant the incumbent president.

  18. here it is jan 16,2010 and this email is still going strong….
    I’ll send it on only because………we sometimes need to be reminded that there is a God out there………and it doesn’t hurt to say the the Our Father Pray


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