Sunday, May 8, 2016

Religious Snake Handling And Psychic Power

I'm a "what if?" kind of person. Fascinated as I am with the subject of religion and being a native of the southern United States ( a hotbed for religious snake handling), I have pondered often those bold folks who "take up serpents" in accordance with their understanding of biblical teaching: "And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover" (Mark's gospel 16:17, KJV)

I've never seen this spectacle in person (never really desired to), but have read tons of material about the subject and viewed a number of documentaries. And I'm struck by what these folks can get buy with. The photo to the right is of a book written by a (now deceased) reporter for a newspaper in my old hometown, Chattanooga, Tn.

The "what if?" part comes in when I consider whether there might be some psychic connection between the snake and the handler.

Sure, these folks sometimes get bitten and sometimes die from the bites. But look at how many times they do handle these deadly animals in a frantic manner, yet suffer no bad outcome.

If the naysayer wants to doubt, let him try the feat himself. For those who handle deadly snakes in a non-religious context, their are certain methods employed to guarantee a good outcome. Snake bites in such circumstances usually come about because of mistakes and carelessness in protocol.

But the religious snake handler exercises what seems to be a recklessness (I suppose the religious snake handler might consider it "holy boldness").

The bigger question for me is this: can we humans communicate with our animal brothers and sisters? I think the answer is yes. Few would argue against this, even if they feel mainly voice tone and body language are the chief means. But I'm a believer in telepathy. I don't find non-verbal communication such a big deal.

More specifically, can snakes pick up this - for lack of a better term - vibe which the religious believer taps into? I'm open to this.

Death from snakebite here in the US is somewhat rare, no doubt because most of us seek to avoid confrontation with dangerous snakes. But how do we explain the rareness of snake bite deaths among those folks who regularly and very purposefully interact with poisonous snakes?

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