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What is Glurge?

A glurge might involve someone who prays for the return of a contact lenses and finds an ant carrying it.
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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2014
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The term glurge was invented by a regular contributor to Snopes.com, a website dedicated to cataloging and often debunking urban legends. Unfortunately, while the word glurge may be fictional, the phenomenon it describes is not. Glurge is best described as the cloyingly sentimental stories, testimonials and object lessons frequently sent as email or chain letters. Glurge can also be experienced at the end of religious services or motivational speeches, usually in the form of a 'true' example of perseverance against seemingly impossible odds.

There is usually no malicious intent by the sender of glurge, but the messages may not be as inspirational as the sender had hoped. Many examples of glurge tend to collapse under their own weight, as the writer adds one impossible circumstance upon another to drive home the moral of the story. One such example of overwrought glurge concerns a novice mountain climber who loses a contact lens. After asking God for a miraculous recovery of the lens, the mountain climber later discovers an ant carrying the contact lens on its back. The utter implausibility of the story often negates the inspirational impact of glurge.

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Some examples of glurge are attributed to famous personalities, although their historical accuracy is often brought into question. The actor John Wayne, for example, is said to have converted to Christianity after receiving a letter from an evangelist's injured daughter. Various political leaders are rumored to have excused themselves from official duties in order to witness for Jesus Christ. While these stories may indeed be inspirational and image-building, they are rarely supported by official records.

This is not to suggest that all glurge is fictional or does not serve a valid purpose. Some of the stories and historical factoids are indeed true and educational, although presented in a maudlin or sentimental writing style. The senders of glurge may be responding to a chain letter-style request to forward the message to others. Many examples of glurge have been circulating around the world for years, including alleged predictions by Nostradamus, as well as the plight of young cancer victims looking for new pen pals or greeting cards.

Most glurge stories are relatively harmless, if a bit over-the-top. These messages rarely contain malicious attachments or solicit the recipients for money. The real problem lies with allowing email acquaintances to forward unsolicited messages through a mass mailing. Some senders may not screen the stories for appropriate content before forwarding, which could create a problem for certain recipients. Unlike email spam, which is usually unsolicited, glurge is often forwarded through a chain of personal address lists, making the original sender virtually impossible to track down.

A number of websites can provide examples of glurge, along with the true facts behind the stories. Many examples of glurge are well-written pieces of inspirational fiction, worthy of repeating as object lessons or motivational anecdotes. It's the blurring of truth and embellishment that can make glurge sound artificial and saccharine.

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anon314903
Post 5

Science requires no faith. Why are religious people unable to understand that? Faith requires belief in the absence of proof. Science seeks the best possible current understanding of the world based on the proof available to us, and then it seeks new proofs. Science rejects the idea of faith.

In science, you only accept something as true once it has been adequately proven, and even then, you must be ready to abandon that idea of truth as soon as proof to the contrary arises. In science, even where there is some proof, science does not ask for or want faith. Rather, science values constant questioning, the total absence of faith, and a willingness to accept that what you thought was true last week has just been disproven.

The most exciting thing in science is to be wrong. A scientist looks at proving herself wrong as progress. Just try that in religion and see how long it takes you to be excommunicated.

Leonidas226
Post 4

@BioNerd

If all faith is glurge, then why do people have such profound faith in science and logic? Perhaps this too is glurge. Even science and logic are bent out of shape outside of the confines of our understanding and the universe. As a species, we know infinitesimally less than we claim to. The manmade rules of science can only take us so far. Scientism is glurge.

BioNerd
Post 3

@GigaGold

I disagree that faith is not glurge. So much of humanity is so gullible to false leaders operating under false pretentions of epic glory and cataclysm. These delusions are not based on reality, but are based upon false visions and ideals in people's minds. I think that all faith is glurge.

GigaGold
Post 2

The fact that there is such a thing as kitsch and sentimental impossible stories which are bruited by deceptive people does not in any way dismiss the fact that there is such a thing as true and legitimate miraculous occurrences. Skeptics tend to lump everything they can't grasp into a large category of "bunk," justifying their skepticism by their presupposition that "science proves it wrong" or by citing examples of glurge, delusions, and psychological issues of mass hallucination. These occurrences are real, but so is the true basis of true faith. We need faith as human beings in order to survive and have purpose.

subway11
Post 1

I really hate to receive an email hoax. Some of these internet hoaxes have chain letters attached to them.

I do not have the time to go through these letters because they tend to so long and the content is really meaningless. It is really for someone that has more time on their hands than I do.

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