Sunday, October 3, 2010

Further proof that humans are the most stupid species on the planet: If you want to play with poisonous snakes, the Church of the Lord Jesus in West Virginia will gladly show you the way

This dishevelled-looking guy who's about to remove a box of copperheads from his pickup is called David Payne. He's the brother of Harvey Payne, the 'pastor' of the Church of the Lord Jesus. It is one of America's last 'Signs' churches - a folk religion that encourages followers to speak in tongues and to handle poisonous snakes. This practice (it was in one of the X Files' episodes) stems from a Biblical passage in the Book of Mark and was very popular throughout Appalachia in the 1920s (which just about says it all!!!).

I found the article on msnbc.com. If you want a really good laugh, check out the readers' comments  after you've looked at the photos :-)


Rufus 'Buddy' Jewell holds a timber rattlesnake as he prays during the church's homecoming service:


Member Justin Fletcher (L) is anointed with oil as member Nancy Kennedy (R) whirls in a trance and speaks in tongues:


A handwritten sign on the altar of the Church of the Lord Jesus warns members of the consequences of picking up snakes and drinking strychnine:


Would you handle a poisonous snake?

This is what some readers of the article said:

SBPhrog
The only snake I'll get near is a Used Car Salesman.

Diana Diamond
Average educational level of these folks is the 3rd grade and they are so inbred over the centuries that the IQ level is about 70.

thechief
Having lived in West Virginia all my life, I get appalled every time I see this kind of crap. It just furthers the notion that all West Virginian's are ignorant, backward, "hill" people with no education or sense. Let me assure you, nothing could be further from the truth. While people hear may seem to live simply, it is not because we lack in brains. Most of us lead common, ordinary lives. We mainly have common, ordinary, religious organizations. When photos, such as these, turn up, it makes us all seem like a bunch of "hicks".

DrSheldonHiggins
I think you mean "While people here" not "While people hear," Jethro.

Jude-1767644
I had the gift of tongues and, believe me, it is not a bunch of spontaneous "garbage" falling from one's mouth... which I trust the above photo is! The handling of serpent? HA! "Serpents", as I know it to be used in Scriptures, does NOT mean "reptiles" as in the photos above.

Reaves-1604837
And the snake is praying, please let this redneck put me the f down.

kathiehansen
HAHAHA its hard to believe such ignorance still exists there.

madmax13
Those folks are nuts and need to be castrated to avoid any more inbred ofspring!

Farmerdave
I'm hoping that the snakes and poison will take these people out of the gene pool.

hellgremlin
Handling snakes and allowing the lord to protect you from being bit, is a pretty good test of faith. But perhaps these faithful could choose some more modern methods of proving that god is on their side.

Some suggestions:

- Juggling vials of nitroglycerine while riding a buckin' bronco - if they don't blow up, Jesus loves ya.

- Jumping into tubs of water with plugged-in appliances - if the circuit breaker works, the lord is with ya.

- Leaping off skyscrapers, and trusting in god to break your fall.

ummm-1602075
Just because your religion is more "common" or "ordinary", doesn't mean it makes you any less "ignorant" or "backward" with "no education or sense". Your post does nothing but confirm the ideas you are so upset about. Where you write Virginian's you mean Virginians. Where you write hear you mean here. And there are 3 extra commas in your last sentence. Your welcome.

DaveB001
Hey, grammar police...
Your welcome.
When you write "Your welcome" you mean "You're welcome."
You're welcome.

Skitterz
I would handle a poisonous snake. I would not handle a venomous snake. Big difference.

COMALite J
It should be noted that the passage in question from the Gospel According to Saint Mark is of dubious authenticity.
In older Greek manuscripts, the Gospel According to Saint Mark ends abruptly with Chapter 16, verse 8. Some manuscripts added a shorter ending, a verse 9. But the Textus Receptus (which is only a few centuries old) has the longer ending, which reads very much as if written by a different author than the rest of Chapter 16, or the rest of the Gospel According to Saint Mark for that matter. It also starts off by rehashing what was just said in the earlier verses, as if they didn't exist.
Here's the NLT (New Living Translation) of the sixteenth chapter, as older documents show it:
The next evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene and Salome and Mary the mother of James went out and purchased burial spices to put on Jesus' body. Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise, they came to the tomb. On the way they were discussing who would roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb. But when they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone — a very large one — had already been rolled aside. So they entered the tomb, and there on the right sat a young man clothed in a white robe. The women were startled, but the angel said, "Do not be so surprised. You are looking for Jesus, the Nazarene, who was crucified. He isn't here! He has been raised from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. Now go and give this message to his disciples, including Peter: Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died!"
The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, saying nothing to anyone because they were too frightened to talk.
As you can see, that's a pretty abrupt ending: the women were too afraid to tell anyone, end of story?

Here's the shorter ending, also from the NLT:
Then they reported all these instructions briefly to Peter and his companions. Afterward Jesus himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life. Amen.
You won't find that verse in a KJV. It, like many others, includes the longer ending instead, found only in more recent manuscripts:
It was early on Sunday morning when Jesus rose from the dead, and the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went and found the disciples, who were grieving and weeping. But when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen him, they didn't believe her. Afterward he appeared to two who were walking from Jerusalem into the country, but they didn't recognize him at first because he had changed his appearance. When they realized who he was, they rushed back to tell the others, but no one believed them. And then he told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won't hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick and heal them."
When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God's right hand. And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked with them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.
Now, the problem with discounting the snake-handling and poison-drinking promise passage is that this section also includes what's known as the Great Commission, the commandment from Jesus to preach the Gospel ("Good News") "to everyone, everywhere." Most Christians would rather not

DaveB001
It should be noted that the passage in question from the Gospel According to Saint Mark is of dubious authenticity.
Very true. As you pointed out, the passage in Mark concerning snake handling is not found in the oldest and most reliable Bible manuscripts. It was evidently added long after the book of Mark was written and is therefore not a genuine part of the inspired Bible.
Now, the problem with discounting the snake-handling and poison-drinking promise passage is that this section also includes what's known as the Great Commission, the commandment from Jesus to preach the Gospel ("Good News") "to everyone, everywhere." Most Christians would rather not
It's important to note that this is not the only location where such a commission is mentioned in the Bible. Jesus also mentions this international preaching work at Mark 13:10, as well as the following verses in Matthew:

(Matthew 24:14) "And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come."

(Matthew 28:19-20) "Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And, look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things."

David Krider
I'm an Apostolic Pentecostal, for about 20 years, now. I am fully down with all the "stuff" about the Spirit -- the tongues and the gifts, et. al. I believe the way I do for 2 reasons.

First, it is the only belief system (and I've studied most of them) that explains the most scripture _and— human experience of any other. Second, the Holy Spirit itself works with and within you to make sense of the big picture.

The Bible itself shows how to interpret the scripture in Mark 16:18, and that passage is in Acts 28:2-6. Paul didn't go purposefully handling the snake. It was an accident. God used the situation to open the eyes of the people around Paul to let them see that there was more going on there than they first realized. It also opened the door to Paul being able to fulfill another part of the scripture from Mark, that of healing by the laying on of hands.

The Dog's Cojones says: The world is full of crazy bastards!!!

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