Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: Jesus, Take The Wheel edition.

I’ve been writing up TMFWMYC articles for years now and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from them it’s that when Jesus speaks to you, nine times out of ten, you’re probably better off ignoring him.

Take the example of James A. Mucciaccio Jr. who did about $50K of damage to his
2000 Ferrari coupe when he heard the call to drive it off a Palm Beach dock into a lake from none other than the Son of God himself:

Police said Mucciaccio told them he was waiting for a friend to pick him up by the dock. When the officer told Mucciaccio he couldn’t park on the dock, Mucciaccio reversed toward the road but then suddenly switched into drive and drove into the inlet “at a high rate of speed,” the report says.

Police said Mucciaccio, who Palm Beach Fire-Rescue said was uninjured, “was able to exit” the car before it sank and was eventually helped onto a boat by a passing fisherman.

After reaching shore, Mucciaccio walked back to the officer, police said, and said Jesus told him to drive off the dock “and into a 6-foot window.” Mucciaccio also told police, “Money is going to be irrelevant in two days; remember to smile,” according to the report.

The passing fisherman who helped Mucciaccio to shore told police that Mucciaccio said he drove into the inlet because the “officer on the dock was Egyptian and he did not believe in Jesus.”

Source: Palm beach daily news

Now it’s possible that Jesus just doesn’t understand how cars are supposed to be utilized — it’s not like they were around in his time — but that seems like some really questionable advice.

Or perhaps he thought Jesus would turn his car into this bit of awesomeness allowing for a quick getaway!
Photo Credit:Kmr1985

Now I can already hear you furiously typing in the comments about how clearly this guy was nuts and Jesus didn’t actually tell him to drive his car into the lake, but the news article notes that the police haven’t stated if Mucciaccio had or would be charged with any crimes even though he did $1K of damage when he sideswiped a metal ladder that was town property on his way into the water. Clearly the police accepted his claim as God’s honest truth and who are they to stand in the way of an order from Jesus even if it doesn’t make any sense?

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: “God Will Protect Us” edition.

On occasion my mother has recited a story about a deeply religious family member who refused to leave his armchair when his house caught fire due to his utter conviction that God would protect him. He died in that fire because God had other things to do at that moment. That bit of family lore came to mind when I read the following news item:

Cops: Mom crashed car to prove to kids God is real

Bahari Shaquille Warren, 25, faces two counts child cruelty in Wednesday’s crash, according to Gwinnett County jail records.

Authorities said the mother was traveling northbound on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard when she crossed into the southbound lanes and drove head on into a pole, Channel 2 Action News reported. Her children, ages 5 and 7, were in the backseat.

According to the kids, Warren decided she needed to impress upon them that God was real and that he would protect them. The best way should come up with to demonstrate this was to drive into a pole with the kids strapped into the backseat:

“…Her eyes (were) closed and she was saying, ‘blah, blah, blah, I love God,’” the girl said. “She didn’t want us to just have a car accident. She wanted us to know that God is real.”

Police said Warren told her children to buckle up their seat belts before she rammed into the pole, Channel 2 reported. Warren later admitted to cops she intentionally crashed the car to prove to her children God is real.

One has to question her confidence in God considering she told the kids to buckle up just before ramming the pole. It’s not clear what she expected to happen, whether she thought God would prevent the car from hitting the pole or just keep them from being seriously hurt, but I’d argue the seatbelts and the design of modern day vehicles did more than God in terms of protecting them. Maybe she thought God would swap her out with a mother than wasn’t crazy.

The end result is the kids are OK and in the custody of their grandparents and mom went to jail with a $22,000 bond. God couldn’t be reached for comment.

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: Canadian Resurrection Edition

There’s a passage in the Bible (Matthew 10:7-8) which reads as follows:

As you go, announce this: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases, drive out demons. You have received free of charge; give free of charge.

Among a particular segment of Christians there is the belief that this means that anyone, so long as they truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, can do as Christ did and raise the dead. You can find all manner of Christians making this claim including no less than Pat Robertson of the 700 Club.

No, really, see for yourself:

So it’s amazing that we don’t hear news stories like this one more often:

Hamilton family left corpse upstairs for six months expecting resurrection.

Peter Wald, 52, died “probably around March 20th” last year, according to the agreed statement of facts read out in court Monday. He’d suffered from diabetes and his left foot had become infected. But he had refused to go to the hospital and believed God would cure him.

He went into a coma, she says, and days later she noticed his stomach bloating and signs of rigor mortis on his forehead.

She then left him – his body covered with two blankets, his head with a toque – in the bed and padlocked the bedroom door.

Kaling sealed in the door and the vents with duct tape to protect her family from the smell of the cadaver. And then for six months, life went on and they prayed for their dead husband and father in the bed upstairs as they awaited his return.

Yes, this is a real church sign.

Yes, this is a real church sign.

You’d think after a couple of weeks they’d give up, but that’s the amazing thing about faith. If you have enough of it you can keep hoping for something that’ll never happen for years on end. Hell, Christians have been waiting for Christ’s return for over 2,000 years when he promised he’d be back within the lifetime of his disciples.

Wald’s body was finally discovered by Sheriff’s when they showed up to evict the family for defaulting on their mortgage. Needless to say it wasn’t in great shape after laying around for so long and having rodents feasting on it.

“It’s an extremely sad case…she truly believed her husband was going to be resurrected from the dead, even after six months,” said assistant crown attorney Janet Booy.

[…] Kaling – who has no past criminal record – had her sentence suspended and was put on 18 months of probation and ordered to seek counseling around the “public health concerns” of the incident.

“Your belief that your husband would resurrect is not an issue,” Superiour Court Justice Marjoh Agro said at her plea Monday.

I’d dispute the idea that her religious beliefs aren’t an issue. This woman allowed a body to decay in her home possibly creating a health hazard not just for her and her children, but the neighborhood in general, specifically because of her religious belief that her husband would be resurrected by God. She may not have had criminal intent, but that doesn’t mean her beliefs weren’t the cause of the issue.

And, like any other good Christian, this utter failure on God’s part to answer her prayers has in no way shaken her faith or her belief that raising the dead is a thing people can do:

But she still believes strongly in resurrection, and says there have been many “documented” cases of it around the world. Her faith was not shaken by the legal consequences, she says.

“In fact it has cast me more at the mercy of God, because He is the ultimate judge.”

It’s not that there isn’t a God to grant her the power to raise her dead husband after not granting the husband’s prayers for a cure, it’s just he works in mysterious ways/has a Grand Plan that didn’t include bringing the dead guy back.

The good news is she’s at least sensible enough that she says she won’t try something like this again. Of course a lot of religious nutcases say that and end up doing it again because the prospect of pulling off their own little miracle is just too tantalizing to pass up. See any number of stories of people refusing medical treatment for their kids and nearly killing them in the process who tell the judge they’ll never do it again only to do it again and have the kid die on them.

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: Stamping Out The Devil.

jewish-zombieIn a continuing effort to answer the question of “what’s the harm if someone thinks gods are real” I’ll often argue that accepting that idea implies accepting all the other baggage that goes with it such as angels and demons. This can be a problem when, say, a mother suddenly decides that her 5-year-old son has been possessed by demons. When exactly that happened down in Texas it didn’t turn out well for the son:

Magnolia police said Spurlock slashed her son’s throat from ear to ear and stomped on his head and chest. His chest cavity was crushed.

The boy, Michael, is in a medically-induced coma with life-threatening injuries. He is in stable condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital.

“She informed us she was trying to rid him of his demons,” Detective Brian Clack said.

According to investigators, Spurlock is very religious. Her Facebook account is filled with Bible verses and religious pictures.

“She stated they are a Christian family. She was reading the Bible with him and realized he was infested with demons and had to get rid of the demons,” Clack said.

The article doesn’t say, but presumably the mother will undergo psychiatric evaluation on the assumption that she’s mentally ill. Again I have to point out that anyone who claims demons are real and working to ensure a person ends up in Hell shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that this woman is nuts. Sure, you can quibble over her methods, but who are you to say he wasn’t infected with demons?

It’s all fun and games believing this nonsense until someone acts upon it. Then everyone carries on about how obviously that person was crazy all the while ignoring the crazy ideas they’re spewing themselves.

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: Demon Haunted Closet

normalreactionDon’t you hate it when you discover that your closet has become host to a horde of demonic beings from Hell? They can be a real pain to get rid of as the following news item shows us:

Avondale man burns closet to rid it of demons

Avondale police say they arrested a man Monday afternoon who allegedly started a fire in his bedroom closet while his roommates were home because he was trying to rid his room of demons.

Adam Glenn Hamilton, 30, was walking around the home near 120th Avenue and Tonto Street in Avondale reciting Bible verses before he started a fire in his bedroom closet with paint thinner, according to police documents.

Two of Hamilton’s three roommates were home when he started the fire on July 20. He told police he was going to tell them about the fire but forgot, according to the arrest report.

Here’s the part I don’t understand. Isn’t Hell supposed to be all fire and brimstone and shit? If so then wouldn’t demons be well accustomed to that environment? How then does setting your closet on fire solve the problem of a demon infestation? You may as well be making them a nice, comfy bed to sleep in.

For his part, Hamilton suffered some burns on his feet and was taken to a mental health facility. Not sure why anyone would think he might be crazy. If you accept that things like God and Satan and Heaven and Hell and angels and demons are real things then surely you have to accept the possibility that some of them are occasionally setting up shop in people’s closets.

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: Baby Anti-Christ edition.

Most of the time when I write these entries the people I’m talking about aren’t too crazy. As in they’re not holy-shit-I-hope-they-don’t-live-near-me crazy. Often I’m just poking a little light hearted fun at their silliness while pointing out that we really have no reason not to accept their claims that God told them to do something stupid like the ladies in the last entry I made on this topic.

Unfortunately not everyone who is pushed over the edge by their faith is so harmless. In Chile four people have been arrested for burning a 3-day-old baby to death because they believed she was the anti-christ:

Chile arrests 4 accused of burning baby in rite | abc30.com.

The 3-day-old baby was taken to a hill in the town of Colliguay near the Chilean port of Valparaiso on Nov. 21 and was thrown into a bonfire. The baby’s mother, 25-year-old Natalia Guerra, had allegedly approved the sacrifice and was among those arrested.

“The baby was naked. They strapped tape around her mouth to keep her from screaming. Then they placed her on a board. After calling on the spirits they threw her on the bonfire alive,” said Miguel Ampuero, of the Police investigative Unit, Chile’s equivalent of the FBI.

Now when push comes to shove I really don’t give a shit if you believe in a God or Gods until your faith starts to interfere in the life of others. You can’t really interfere much more severely than by throwing someone onto a bonfire. The fact that it was a 3-day-old child just makes you that much more of a waste of life.

It would be easy to write these barbarians off as ignorant assholes who are probably too stupid to breathe without written instructions, but that’s clearly not the case here:

“Everyone in this sect was a professional,” Ampuero said. “We have someone who was a veterinarian and who worked as a flight attendant, we have a filmmaker, a draftsman. Everyone has a university degree. “

These weren’t ignorant, backwards peasants falling victim to their lack of education. These were otherwise intelligent people who allowed their faith in the apocalypse to drive them to commit what can only be described as an atrocity. The fact that the mother was a willing participant just boggles my mind.

At least with folks like the followers of Harold Camping that went around telling us how the world was going to end in May of 2011 they only people they really ended up hurting was themselves and that was mostly in the form of embarrassment with a little job quitting/giving away all their money to drive the point home. They didn’t burn any babies alive.

The truly sad part is that the point I made in the previous light-hearted entry still stands: If you accept the idea that there is a God who speaks to his followers and gives them instructions then how can you justify questioning the actions of these true believers? Especially given some of the stories in the Bible in which such murderous decrees from God are not only accepted as OK, but held up as great examples of people being truly faithful?

As for these folks, my knee-jerk reaction is that they should meet the same end as that child. Let them have a taste of their own medicine so they’ll truly understand what they subjected that infant to. That would be cruel and inhumane and would reduce us to their level, but damned if it’s not a tempting thing to call for.

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: Nice day for a nekkid walk edition.

cat-bible-thumperOne of the more interesting things about God is his tendency to ask people to do very strange things. Sometimes he asks them to haul their kid up the side of a mountain and slit his throat and other times he asks them to take all their clothes off and go for a walk in public:

2 women, 2 children take a naked stroll | CharlotteObserver.com

A woman in her 20s was walking with her 40-something-year-old mother and her toddler while carrying her newborn baby in her arms. Everyone was smiling and enjoying the spring weather.

The only thing missing? Their clothes.

[…] “Like freshly-born baby naked,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Capt. Rod Farley said. “This was Adam and Eve stuff, not even a loincloth.”

The sight “blew my mind,” said resident Jill Mead, who was driving on Providence Road at the time.

When police stopped the women, they said “the Lord told them to get naked and walk down the street,” Farley said.

Police transported all four of them to Presbyterian Matthews, where the adults were physically and mentally evaluated.

“It didn’t appear that they had any problems short of that they didn’t have any clothes on,” Farley said.

Given God’s track record of asking people to do strange things I can’t begin to imagine why the police would think these women might need to have their mental state evaluated. Surely in the grand number of things God has demanded his followers to do — many of them involving the wholesale slaughter of people who don’t believe in him — this has to be a fairly innocuous request. It’s almost as if these officers don’t believe God talks to his followers and tell them to do things.

Perhaps you’re wondering what possible reason God would have for such a command, but according to the Bible you’re not supposed to question God. You’re just supposed to do it like a good little sycophant. Mysterious ways and all that nonsense. If God asks you to do it then surely he has Very Good Reasons® for doing so. After all, you can’t prove that God didn’t ask these women to walk around naked with their kids, right? Of course you can’t.

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: Try, Try, Try Again Edition.

Nothing fails quite like prayer. If you’re facing a crisis of some sort and want to do the absolute least thing you can do to help, prayer is your best choice.

It’s a particularly useless thing to do when your kids are are sick and need medical attention:

Herbert and Catherine Schaible belong to a fundamentalist Christian church that believes in faith healing. They lost their 8-month-old son, Brandon, last week after he suffered from diarrhea and breathing problems for at least a week, and stopped eating.

Now I’ve written about dumbshit parents who opted to try and use prayer to heal deathly ill children many times over the years, but this case is different.

This isn’t the first time they’ve tried this:

Four years ago, another son died from bacterial pneumonia.

[…] A jury convicted the Schaibles of involuntary manslaughter in the January 2009 death of their 2-year-old son, Kent. The boy’s symptoms had included coughing, congestion, crankiness and a loss of appetite. His parents said he was eating and drinking until the last day, and they had thought he was getting better.

The Schaibles were sentenced to 10 years’ probation.

You’d think that after they killed their first son by appealing to a God, that either doesn’t care or doesn’t exist, they’d have learned their lesson and made sure to not make that mistake again.

At a hearing Monday, a judge told the couple they had violated the terms of their probation, noting the Schaibles had told investigators that they prayed to God to make Brandon well instead of seeking medical attention.

“You did that once, and the consequences were tragic,” Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner said, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

I’d find the attempted defense of these two idiots by their lawyer hilarious if it weren’t for the fact that they’ve killed two kids so far:

“There are way more questions than answers at this point. We haven’t seen the autopsy report. We don’t know the cause of death of this child,” Jayaraman told The Associated Press. “What we do know is Mr. and Mrs. Schaible are distraught, they are grieving, they are tremendously sad about the loss of their most recent baby.”

“Nobody argues that these aren’t very loving, nurturing parents,” she said Tuesday. “Whether their religion had anything to do with the death of their baby, we don’t know.”

The hell we don’t. They made it pretty clear that they wasted days praying instead of seeking medical attention. Their church has a sermon on its website called  “Healing — From God or Medicine?” which states that it is a “definite sin to trust in medical help and pills”. That sounds like their religion being involved to me.

These morons violated the terms of their probation and are probably headed to jail with an entirely new manslaughter charge tacked on to boot. Their seven other children are currently in foster care which is probably for the best considering the judge thinks these two are “a danger to their children — not to the community, but to their own children.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: God told me to rape and kill edition.

Just doing what he was told.

Meet Isaiah Kalebu. He’s a True Beliver™ of the truest kind. When his God tells him to do something, by golly you can bet he’ll get it done. Even when what his God tells him to do is to brutally rape and kill a lesbian couple:

“I was there and I was told by my God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to attack my enemies, and I did so,” Isaiah Kalebu said under questioning by one of his lawyers.

[…] Kalebu is accused of slipping in an open window of the couple’s home in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood and repeatedly raping and stabbing them during a two-hour attack. One woman, Teresa Butz, died naked and blood-soaked in the street in front of her home as neighbors tried to help. Her partner survived and told the jury that Kalebu was the man who did it.

Of course you’ll say that the man’s obviously mentally ill. Perhaps he is, but he’s not using mental illness as a defense. He freely makes the claim that God told him to carry out this attack, which is odd when you consider his defense team is claiming he had nothing to do with the crime despite DNA evidence and eyewitness testimony. Still, it’s not like God has issued similar edicts in the past to the people he’s spoken directly to. What if he’s telling the truth?

In the end is doesn’t really matter as the jury found him guilty of the crimes he was charged with. Crazy or not, he’s going to prison.

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: God told me to swim edition.

God makes a lot of questionable demands of his followers. Demands like, “Hey, take your kid up on the mountain and sacrifice him to me!” Or “Hey, strip down to your trunks and swim to Liberty Island!”

The latter order was given to an unnamed 29-year-old man in New York city who ended up having to be rescued by U.S. park police as a result:

“When we got to him he was shivering like a leaf and the tides were taking him away from Liberty Island,” United States Park Police Officer Kurt Zeil, who helped respond to the call, told the Post. “He said God told him to swim to Liberty Island. He said he would rather drown than get on the boat.”

Eventually, the beleaguered swimmer agreed to board the rescue ship. He was taken to Jersey City Medical Center for psychiatric evaluation. His condition is unknown at this time.

via Rescued Man Says God Told Him to Swim to Liberty Island | NBC New York.

Again I have to wonder why anyone would think this man would need a psychiatric evaluation. Did anyone demand that Abraham be given a psychiatric evaluation after he almost sacrificed his kid? Of course not! He was only doing what God had demanded him to do and it’s not his fault that God was only kidding. That God, such a joker.

I seriously doubt the folks that arrested this young man were all atheists. In fact, I’m willing to bet that many of them were Christians. Presumably they accept the story of Abraham as true and this demand is nowhere near as nasty as the one Abraham was given, though it is just as nonsensical. How do they know that God wasn’t testing this man’s devotion like he was Abraham back in the day?  They may have fucked up his chances of going to Heaven by interfering!

Or maybe the guy’s just a nut and his fellow Christians recognize the fact despite what they claim to believe about the Bible.