Worth reading, even if you don't follow American football: "Behind Manti Te'o hoax about girlfriend lies a deep desire to believe."
Quite a few parallels to religiosity here.
At its root, this was a story about the deep need to believe. What complicates that is that it’s not clear whether Manti Te’o wanted to believe in a beautiful, fake girlfriend or whether we wanted to believe in him.
The impulse obviously isn’t unique to the Internet — the rundown of never-was frauds sweeps back decades, including “Tony Godby Johnson,” whose middle-aged creator hoodwinked legions into believing she was an AIDS-stricken little boy. But the Internet has made it infinitely easier. Witness the 2011 story of Amina Arraf, a gay female Syrian blogger who was actually a straight American man.
Lesson is, what someone says isn't always true. Claims require evidence. Yet often we want to believe a beautiful story. Even if it is an ugly lie.