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July 5th, 2012
04:52 PM ET

Pastor dances with venomous snakes

Also check out our story on a West Virginia serpent-handling preacher who recently died of a snakebite.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity

soundoff (180 Responses)
  1. bubbabru

    Could religious cults get any more dangerous. These are the very same people who rail against gays adopting children yet they handle venomous snakes and endanger their children. And have left many children parentless. If they don't bring children into this insane cult act, then I say, have at it. Kill yourself. Burn in hell. But you can't be the VICTIM when you are holding the venom in your hands. You are nothing more than a self righteous idiot and now you are a dead idiot. Thank God!

    February 16, 2014 at 4:26 pm |
  2. wonder

    Why this pastor dangers himself with a snake, while dancing and singing? Just a bit of common sense. That snake, of course, feels disturbed from jolting around.

    July 9, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • phoodphite

      Maybe someone can help me. I'm trying to do some amateur voodoo here to make a spell to have the snake bite that dopey preacher next time he gets jiggy with that thing. I've got the mouse blood, but what else was supposed to go into this recipe?

      July 9, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
  3. JustRight

    @HeavenSent – you havent read the statistics that crime is at its lowest rate since 1963 AND america is more atheistic than ever. Clearly removing Jesus' truth from school is not the issue

    July 9, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • phoodphite

      Well public schools should never be going near religion in the U.S. if we are following the const*itution. I am not an atheist, but don't really have anything against them. I think Jesus had some good ideals, but to me, what is dangerous, is how people who call themselves Christians constantly quote all these New Testament passages who were written by politicians (primarily Paul). If you truly want to follow Jesus' example, you have to start by acknowledging that the bible primarily a book of stories written by men. Otherwise, you are a Christian extremist who will pick and choose various words (written by men, not by god) to meet you immediate need of putting someone else down.

      It's very easy to see the pattern. If the author of a post wants to talk about loving one another, they can easily quote Jesus. If they want to disenfranchise someone in some way, they head for the dopey letters by Paul for ammunition. They have to use Paul's words if they want to judge someone or put someone down, because Jesus was not about those things.

      So for me personally, it is important to distinguish Jesus's truth, words, ideals from all the others that have been quoted so much in these posts by these lemming NT bible thumpers.

      July 9, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Think-About-It

      You can not separate teachings of Jesus from teachings of Paul. Paul's writings are inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, therefore his epistles are the Word of God. There has been increasingly an attempt to discredit his writings, but it is very obvious "WHY"!

      July 9, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • phoodphite

      @think-about-it. It's not about discrediting Paul's words. He was nothing more than a man, so his words should never have been elevated to be nothing more than the stories of his travels. What is obvious is that most of his 'rules' of living judge in a way that is contrary to Jesus' teachings about how people should treat one another. This is what is ignored when someone needs ammunition and wants to put someone else down.

      July 9, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • phoodphite

      @think-about-it: and please, words "inspired by" something (whatever you want to call that something) is not something that wars should be fought over, women and other groups put down, etc., etc. Otherwise, you become just as much an extremist and any other kind of extremist on the planet.

      July 9, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Think-About-It

      Then you can call God an extremist, because He sure has His standards, and doesn't deviate from them. It is man that hates them and refuses to acknowledge them. That's why we're disagreeing here.
      As for Paul's writings, if you don't acknowledge them, you can not acknowledge Christ's words, because they are extension of teachings of Christ Himself. They never con-tradict Christ's teachings. Paul's epistles explain and complete the Gospels. Those who deny them, deny the Word of God, and they do they do not have the Spirit of God who gives understanding to those who are His.

      July 9, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • The Cold Light Of Day

      Actually, Paul says that salvation is by faith alone, while Jesus says you must do certain things or forget it. Jesus says you must fulfil every one of the old covenants to the letter until heaven and earth die out or you will not not get into heaven. Paul of course says those don't apply.

      Major contradictions.

      July 9, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
  4. Think-About-It

    "THE FOOL HAS SAID IN HIS HEART: THERE IS NO GOD
    They are CORRUPT, and are become abominable in their ways: there is none that does good, no not one." – God

    July 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Oooooo like that hasn't been said, and disproved many a times before. Maybe you should come back after you clean the foam from your mouth.

      July 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Dearly beloved, touch not yourselves, but [rather] give your body to another: for it is written, oragasim is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

      Romans 12:19

      .

      July 9, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  5. PRISM 1234

    "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself"John 7:17
    My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John10:27
    " A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”John 10:5
    "And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, You shall not test the Lord your God"Luke 4:12, Mathew 4:7

    But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you may not fall under judgment. James 5:12,13

    Does a fountain send out from the same opening both [g]fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce ]fresh.

    Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and [i]selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic." James ch. 3

    Watching this video, these are the Scriptures that came to mind.
    They in themselves put the spotlight on what kind of deception those people are in! And they think they are glorifying God! Yeah, satan has a bag full of lies of all colours and shades! He knows corrupt human nature and what it craves. And he will give to those who crave anything to gratifies it, in exchange for one's soul!

    July 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • What IF

      PRISM 1234,

      Your craving for eternal life is quite apparent... and not only eternal, but PERFECT too - wow!

      July 9, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      @Whatif

      Jesus said "What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"

      You must think you have no soul!

      July 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • sam stone

      PRISM: You must feel that you know that mind of god.

      July 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Everyone who has been born of the Spirit of God knows the mind of God, meaning, His nature, His character and recognizes the voice of his/her heavenly Father.
      You have not been born of God, so to you that is foolishness....and it will be til you humble yourself and acknowledge who you are and who HE IS!

      July 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @PRISM

      I wonder, is there any point in time where you will not throw out wild ass assertions with no evidence to back it up?

      July 9, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Well at least we have proof that brainwashing does work.
      Good jod prism1234, and bythe way,there is professional help available that can help de-program you

      July 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Oh, the depth of the riches both of wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out... He has hidden them from those who are wise in their own eyes, but revealed them to the humble, and to those of broken and contrite hearts. But the proud He has left empty, that they may stumble in darkness, without Life in their souls....

      July 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @PRISM

      Oh yes because it's such a humble thing to assert that you have some special all-powerful friend that created a whole universe just for some apes on a backward planet. But that does answer my earlier post quite nicely. You have absolutely nothing intelligent or of value to say.

      July 9, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      yes Prism1234...
      thats exactly the stuff I was referring to.They can help you with that.
      Just call any of your local mental health facilities. A brighter future is just a phone call away.

      July 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      It is very amusing that you think there is help for my 'mental deficiencies', but there is no help for your sin darkened hearts!..... So much for your human advancements! Let THEM deliver you out of the grip of satan and his demons who control your lives, and you dance to their drumming every which way the wind carries the sound of it... ! What a bunch of empty quacks you are...LOL! Whatever comes to you, you've asked for it!
      Go waste someone else's time!

      July 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Prissy, did the bullies beat you up and take your lunch money?

      July 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @PRISM

      Oh yes please continue to show your irrelevancy. It's a win-win for me. If you ever decide to stop being a useless idiot, then I might get a good conversation out of you, but staying as you are lets me laugh at the idiocy, and proves my points quite nicely. So please continue or not, I don't care so much.

      July 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      And just why should anyone care what those whom God calls fools think?!
      PRISM :)

      July 9, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      P.S.....or SAY, or even DO?

      Yours truly, P. :)

      July 9, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @PRISM

      Why should I care what a fictional character calls me?

      July 9, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  6. James

    This preacher needs some guidance...If it is against the law in Tennessee to do this, he is subject to the laws...Also Mark 16 where it states they shall pick up deadly serpants and not be harmed...Mark 16 9 thru the end of the chapter is not in any known origianl or early manuscripts from the bible...it was added around 300 years after Christ Died...Secondly if you read Ist Corinthians 10: Verse 9 it says "We should not test Christ, as some of them did and were killed by snakes...Give it up snake handlers and get honest and real searching Christ...You are not impressing God in any way...What you are doing is showbiz, and it is thru ignorance...

    July 9, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  7. matt in nw

    Darwin Award inc for this guy i think......

    July 8, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things

    July 8, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!. ..

      July 9, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  9. common sense needed

    You never try to pet a rattlesnake ... unless its tail is wagging

    July 8, 2012 at 6:44 am |
  10. Snake handler

    The Serpents mentioned in the bible that we shoudl take up are those mentined by John the Baptist who was rebuking the Pharasees adn religiious leaders in Israel... he called them vipers...Paul being one of them before he was converted by Jesus, in a vision, mentions in Romans chapter one that they have posion of asps under their tongues... Jesus called them serpents....no one in the bible ever takes up serpents from the ground ..once bitten by a snake Paul the apostle shakes it off adn lives unharmed... but he did not take up that snake...The fact that men today do thsi because it's in the bible to their misunderstanding showes their ignorance of JESUS HIMSELF!!! in their own lives...WE HAVE WAY MANY SERPENTS TODAY IN AMERICA! They are religious leaders qwhose mouths are full of bitterness ... like the one who suggested that the USA should assassinate Hugo Shavez or from the past decades evebn to assassinate Saddam Husain; simply because thse people oppose or do not bow down to our foreign policy...
    religious leaders and politics breeds bitterness... the bitterness is th3e venom...
    THEREFORE!!!!!! the venom in these many serpents in the USA is m ore dangerous deadly poisonous than the black mamba in Afrrica ...because they can claim many more victims ... for all eternity... this is truely sad!!!
    They turn away more people from Jesus Christ... which is shamefull...
    Each Christian should have within him an inward witness whichi s the Spirit fo Christ; The Holy Spirit...and that Christian should devote himself to becoming more familiar with the Spirit of Christ than anything else in the world...

    becvause we liev in such a fast paced society today it's all the much more reason to submit ourselvvesx to Jesus for our own sake and not necessarily for others but the moer we surrender to him the better abel are we to help others ... I hope...

    one day I will launch an attack on all the serpents in our society the brood of vipers who has warned them from the wrath that is to come??? :) :) ;)

    July 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Thank you handler. I couldn't recall who the Apostle was that this scripture was written. Because of your post, I'll copy it to my new computer so I will remember it was written for Paul.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      P.S. Handler, I didn't miss that it was written for all of us.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • TheLostSurveyor

      Excellent post. While I am personally not a Christian, I still respect others beliefs. If more people actually embraced Christianity (or any other religion for that matter) the concept as opposed to the simple minded word for word interpretation. The world would be a much more peaceful place. Extremism in ANY religion can easily be argued to be the most lethal danger to human existence.

      July 8, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Lost.. can you name any religion that embraces and agrees with another...

      July 9, 2012 at 1:28 am |
    • TR6

      Excellent post! I have never heard someone claim “the bible doesn’t mean what it says, it means what I want it to mean” with more eloquence, more conviction or more words. It was hilarious !

      July 9, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  11. Mistranslation can be deadly

    300 times 0 = 0.

    July 7, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  12. Topher

    If anyone has any questions about Christianity, please feel free to ask ...

    July 7, 2012 at 2:43 am |
    • question

      Please explain predestination, particularly those predestined to be lost.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Topher

      I'm not a Calvinist. Sorry.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • question

      Please explain the doctrine of reprobate.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • question

      please explain the doctrine of the remnant

      July 7, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • question

      Please explain Biblical predestination then?

      July 7, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Topher

      Sorry, dude, but those are Calvinist doctrines.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • question

      No. Predestination is a clearly written Bible doctrine, associated with Christianity and explained by Paul. What about the other questions? The remnant and reprobate are not Calvinist. Do you know Christianity?

      July 7, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Topher

      question

      They are part of Christianity, yes, but for Christians who hold to Calvinist theology. I'm an Arminian.

      "The remnant and reprobate are not Calvinist."

      They are Calvinist, actually. Reprobate is what you call someone who isn't predestined (which IS Calvinist.) I honostly wasn't familiar with the Remnant doctrine, but it seems to also be Calvinist and also a Seventh-Day Adventist thing.

      July 7, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • question

      Wrong on all answers. What type of Christian do you lay claim to? I am not a Calvinist either, although predestination is associated with Calvin it is also a doctrine written and described in the New Testament. Can you speak to Biblical predestination or not?

      July 7, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • Topher

      Why don't you tell me your understanding of it, then we can talk about it.

      July 7, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • question

      You are the one who asked for questions, what Christianity are you associated with?

      July 7, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • Topher

      Baptist. You?

      July 7, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • question

      Bible believing Christian.
      predestination = Romans 8 : 29 – 30
      remnant = 1Kings 19 :18 ( God has always kept a presence of His people for Himself in all situations. Those who expect Christianity to perish are mistaken, even after the "rapture" God has assigned or predestined people who will be His. Removing the entire body of Christ from the face of the earth will not diminish the remnant.)
      reprobate = Romans 1 : 26-32 (when you first reject the gospel, your heart is hardened by a measure, the more you reject the more you harden your heart until you arrive at a state like Pharaoh king of Egypt who was given over to the hardness of his own heart. At that stage it is highly unlikely to come to salvation. The poor unfortunate like Pharaoh and in that case his entire army was marked for destruction.)
      Though Calvin used predestination in his theories, it was written in scripture long before he used it. The examples given are brief interpretations of the doctrines which all appear multiple times throughout the Bible. You need to pay better attention to your pastor and resolve to be more earnest in your devotional studies before offering to answer questions of faith.

      July 7, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Topher

      My willingness to talk about Christianity stands.

      July 7, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • question

      Do you know anything about Christianity?

      July 7, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Topher

      So question, are you born again?

      July 7, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • question

      Do you know "anything" about Christianity?

      July 7, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Bob

      "Born again" couldn't have been a statement made by JC unless he spoke Greek.
      It was a play on words only in the Greek language.
      Besides that, there's arguably not one single verse in the NT which poses a "personal relationship with Christ".

      July 8, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • HeavenSent

      What's the matter Bob, those scriptures need changing too (LOL)?

      July 8, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Double R

      @ Bob

      "If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him." (John 14:7) Jesus is saying, in order to know my Father you have to get to know me. That absolutely denotes having a personal relationship with him.

      This is what Jesus teaches Nicodemus about being "Born Again"

      3 Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again."

      4 "How can someone be born when they are old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother's womb to be born!"

      5 Jesus answered, "Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.7 You should not be surprised at my saying, 'Yout must be born again.'8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

      July 9, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    July 6, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Jesus

      ~Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!. ..

      July 9, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  14. PrimeNumber

    I live in an old neighborhood with lots of drugs and addicts.. The other day I found a syringe in my yard. I realized: some people handle poisonous snakes for religious reasons. Many more people, with no help from religion, gouge themselves with needles and fill their veins with poison for recreational purposes. Until, with no help from any pastor or holy book, they've ruined themselves.
    With no spiritual inspiration at all, millions more people make multiple trips to tatoo parlors to get pretty (or hideous) pictures affixed to their bodies. With or without religion, people will do absurd things.

    July 6, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • damion

      Well said

      July 6, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      PrimeNumber, good post ... but, how would folks know how to abuse their bodies and souls with drugs? How would they know to get a tattoo? Who owns the media? There's your answer.

      July 7, 2012 at 3:42 am |
    • jwt

      Religion hs nothingto do with the goodness of people.

      July 7, 2012 at 7:01 am |
    • Snake handler

      very well spoken Prime Number... :) :)

      You're assertion is pretty acccurate to the effectivesnes of religious folk in America!!!!! :)

      We stand condemned... I don't know anyone in the earth today living in the flesh that can help us except mayb e mysefl...and that will take God's help...but he's shown me only my own need for correction... :) :)

      July 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      jwt, you haven't read statistics how crime rose since 1962 when atheists had Jesus' truth removed from US schools.

      July 8, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Primenumber.. So your particular god only works through "holy "men, and those who can read? Only non Christains are drug addicts?.

      July 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Heavensent.. most prayers taken out of schools were in response to the other religions objections. same as Christmas trees, nativity scenes etc. If prayers really worked they would not have succeeded in the effort, right?

      July 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • sam stone

      HS: Have parents, pastors or priests teach "jesus truth". It is not the responsibility of the public school system

      July 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.