Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: Man marries 107 women because God told him to.

Sometimes you have to wonder if God isn’t a bit of a perv. Why the hell else would he tall Nigerian Islamic faith healer Bello Maasaba to take on so many wives? Oh, and he’s fathered over 185 children too:

“I get a revelation from God telling me any woman I’m going to marry. If it wasn’t from God, I wouldn’t have gone beyond two,” he explained to Los Angeles Times writer Robyn Dixon.

Maasaba said that he was visited by the archangel Gabriel, who told him to pursue faith healing and marry many, many women.

via Man marries 107 women, fathers 185 children | wtsp.com.

Maasaba’s woman hoarding has gotten him in trouble with the authorities as well landing him in jail:

His religious quest for wives doesn’t sit well with everyone. It landed him in jail for 22 days after being arrested under Islamic law; which scholars agree limits men to four wives. After protests from his wives and civil rights lawyers intervened, he was finally granted bail. And after 57 wives testified on his behalf in the country’s High Court, Maasaba was freed without charge.

Maasaba, his wives and his faith-healing practice are all housed in a massive four-story, 89-room home in Bida, Nigeria.

It seems faith healing pays pretty well over there in Nigeria. Of course, it pays pretty well here too if all the psychic and religious faith healing fraudsters here are anything to judge by.

Still, that’s a lot of women to manage. A lot of folks end up asking him how he does it:

“In his wisdom, God has given me the power and strength to give them the sexual portion they need,” he told Dixon. “If I didn’t satisfy them, they would leave.”

Now there’s a gig I bet a lot of men wish God would hand to them. “My child, I have chosen you to live in a big house with a hundred plus women whose sexual needs you must attend to all the while pretending to heal people.”

I bet Job is wondering where the hell that offer was back in his day.

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: Stabbing yourself in the hand edition.

True Believers will do some crazy things to try and prove to an atheist that God is real. For example, during a recent “Ask an Atheist” event at Virginia Tech freshman student Alexander M. Huppert thought he had come up with an irrefrutable argument that God does exist:

Witnesses said Huppert stood near the table for nearly an hour. Approaching the table, Huppert borrowed a pen and drew a circle with a cross inside on the back of his hand.

Nicole Schrand, a senior psychology major, said Huppert then asked students at the table to stab him in the cross with the pen to “prove to us God existed.” The students declined.

“We don’t believe in assaulting people,” Schrand said. “We’re very against assaulting people.”

Huppert then asked for the pen back, a request Schrand and other students declined. Seeing another pen, Huppert grabbed it and began stabbing himself in the back of the hand.

“If it had been a more streamlined pen, I would have expected it to go through,” Schrand said.

I’m not sure I see the logic in this argument. Are we supposed to think that because this nutcase is willing to be stabbed repeatedly in his hand that this proves God exists?

Apparently, this was an important issue for Mr. Huppert as when the police showed up he refused to cooperate. Opting instead to smack the officer whereupon things quickly went downhill ending with him arrested and smashing out the back window of a cop car:

Huppert was charged with three counts of felony assault on a police officer, as well as charges of resisting arrest and destruction of property.

He was processed and transferred to Montgomery County Jail, where he is being held without bond.

The only thing he managed to convince the atheists about was his lack of sanity. But at least he demonstrated how well Christianity instills one with kindness and love for his fellow man.

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: Nantucket exorcism edition.

Yet another child falls victim to a delusional parent:

NANTUCKET (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – Police say a Nantucket woman accused of killing her 3-year-old daughter told a priest and hospital officials that God told her to push a rose down the girl’s throat to ward off the devil.

Documents filed in Nantucket District Court said 26-year-old Dora Alicia Tejada Pleitez said she realized that the “rose” was her fist and the devil bit her through the child.

via Nantucket child killed in exorcism by mom according to court docs.

I can’t begin to imagine the horror of having your mother try to shove her first down your throat because she thinks you have demons in you. What a way to go.

Authorities, needless to say, are planning on a competency hearing for the mother.

Too Much Religion Will Make You Crazy: Thank God for the Japan Quake edition.

I really, really hope this is a Poe. I fear that it isn’t.

There seems to be some debate over whether TamTamPamela’s YouTube videos are sincere or some of the more convincing trolling you’ll see. Personally I’m not sure, but I’m leaning towards it being legit.

Especially given the outpouring of callous comments by many other people about the disaster in Japan. Two sites are documenting the ignorant asshats that have been celebrating Japan’s misfortune. First is Karma Japan and the other is Ignorant and Online. WARNING: Visiting either site is likely to crush any faith in humanity you might have.

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: Muslim Business Card of Death edition.

One leg up Christianity has over Islam is that most practitioners have long ago abandoned the prosecution of blasphemy laws whereas it’s still a serious crime in many Islamic nations. It doesn’t help when the authorities take a zero-tolerance approach to anything that could possibly be conceived as being blasphemous whether that was the intent or not. Take, for example, the otherwise innocent act of disposing of an unwanted business card:

Naushad Valiyani, a Muslim doctor in the southern city of Hyderabad, was arrested Friday after a complaint was lodged with police alleging his actions had insulted the Prophet Muhammad, said regional police chief Mushtaq Shah.

The case began Friday when Muhammad Faizan, a pharmaceutical company representative, visited Valiyani’s clinic and handed out his business card. He said when the doctor threw the card away, Faizan went to police and filed a complaint that noted his name was the same as the prophet’s.

Shah said police were investigating whether Valiyani should be charged with blasphemy.

How convenient for Mr. Faizan that he just happens to share the name of the prophet and thus can exact retribution against people who piss him off.

Dozens of Pakistanis are sentenced to death each year under the blasphemy law, though most cases are thrown out by higher courts and no executions have been carried out. The law, however, is unlikely to be repealed because the government’s ruling party — largely secular — relies on the support of Islamist groups.

Which is one of the bigger problems with laws like this is that they often are used to settle petty grudges rather than actually defend the honor of some long-dead prophet or mythical deity. Not that the latter is any more acceptable than the former.

They must believe in a pretty weak God if he needs to be defended by his followers from perceived insults against him. You’d think any God worth worshiping would be able to handle that on his own or, even better, be above worrying about it to begin with.

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: Daddy is the Devil edition.

Behold the power of True Belief and the harm it can cause:

Baby killed as family jumps from Paris window after ‘devil sighting’ – Belfasttelegraph.co.uk

A baby died when a family of 12 leapt from their second floor balcony in Paris claiming they were fleeing the devil.

Eight more were injured, some seriously, in the tragedy when they jumped 20ft into a car park in Paris suburb of La Verriere.

Now you may be saying to yourself that this isn’t entirely irrational… if they actually were fleeing the Devil.

They weren’t:

The baffling incident occurred when a wife woke to see her husband moving about naked in the room, police said.

She began screaming ‘it’s the devil! it’s the devil!’, and the man ran into the other room where 11 others adults and children were watching television. One woman grabbed a knife and stabbed the man before others pushed him out through the front door.

When the man forced his way back in, they all began screaming in terror and leapt from the balcony screaming ‘Jesus! Jesus!’

The naked man also leapt from the balcony, detectives said.

Perhaps, you may be thinking, they were all high on drugs. A hallucinogen perhaps? Police say they found no evidence of drug use or “unusual religious rituals.”

So what could have caused all of these people to assume the naked man who looked like one of their relatives was actually Old Scratch come to take their souls? The article doesn’t say and there may be more to this story to come out in time, but at first blush it appears they just believed the whole Gods/Demons things a wee bit too much.

And an innocent baby paid the ultimate price for his family’s astounding credulity.

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: End of the World edition revisited.

Remember the entry I wrote back in January of this year about 88-year-old nutcase Harold Camping and his prediction that Jesus would return on May 21st of 2011? I mentioned that he had made an earlier prediction of the same sort for 1994 which, if you’ve been paying attention, didn’t come to pass. I also commented about how you’d think that this would cause him to lose his followers, but that he still had plenty of fellow crazy people willing to believe him.

One such crazy person has been doing her part to spread the word in Colorado:

Marie Exley of Colorado Springs is convinced that Armageddon, the end of the world as written of in the Bible, will come next year.

Her conviction is so strong that, though unemployed, she’s paid $1,200 to buy advertising space on 10 Springs bus benches through October to get the word out. The ad says, “Save the Date! Return of Christ: May 21, 2011, WeCanKnow.com.”

“I want to do all I can to get the message out,” Exley, 31, said.

Never let it be said that I’m not willing to help get the word out… about crazy people. Exley is, of course, a follower of Harold Camping and she has truly bought into his prediction:

Exley has bittersweet feelings about Camping’s prediction.

“There are things I felt I always wanted to do — get married, have a kid, travel more,” she said. “But it’s not about what I want out of life. It’s about what God wants.”

People are often ask us atheists what harm there is in believing in God even if he doesn’t really exist. Exley is a good example.

Here’s a 31-year-old woman who has not only spent $1,200 she should be using to live on while she’s unemployed to buy bus ads that are unlikely to convince anyone, but who has also put her life on hold on the expectation that the world will end next year.

She’s going to be awfully disappointed come May 22nd, 2011.

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: Spiritual Molester Edition.

It’s not just the Christians who allow their faith to get in the way of common sense and critical thinking. Sometimes it’s the more nebulously defined crystal huggers.

Take for example the following case of a woman who invited what she believed to be a female spiritualist into her home to “cleanse” herself and her two young boys. Problem was the spiritualist wasn’t really a spiritualist or, for that matter, a woman:

Pic of Jose David Morales-Hernandez

Not really a "spritual cleanser." Hell, not really a woman though you'd think that much would be obvious.

‘Spiritual cleanser’ charged with nine sexual abuse crimes – Salt Lake Tribune.

Police have said Morales-Hernandez dressed as a woman and called himself “Nicole Morales.” He claimed on his business card to be “The Divine Master” and a Mayan priestess. He is homeless.

Before the ceremony, Morales-Hernandez had the woman and her two young boys strip down to their underwear, police have said.

The boys said he took them separately into their own rooms, turned off the lights, locked the door, massaged them and sexually abused them, police wrote.

Their mother said the boys acted “different” after each session, the charges state.

The mother called police after the 12-year-old told her about the abuse. The 13-year-old told police that Morales-Hernandez did “unpleasant, wrong, uncomfortable and weird” things to him, the charges state.

The article is very brief and doesn’t specifically mention what belief system the family ascribes to that would require the services of a “Divine Master Mayan Priestess.” You’ll note that the article mentions that the boys acted different after each session implying that it took more than one session before this woman caught on that her kids were being molested. The police are also looking for anyone else who may have been stupid enough to fall for this scam and let their kids be violated to come forward which suggests he may have been doing this sort of thing for awhile.

This isn’t the first time the crystal huggers have gotten burned by a phony spiritual cleansing scam, but usually they just lose a lot of money. I think this is the first time I’ve heard of someone using this particular scam to molest kids with. You really have to wonder just how far out there they have to be not to get suspicious the moment they hear the words “OK, now you guys need to strip down to your underwear and then come with me into the next room, one by one, alone, in the dark, and I will cleanse you of all your evil spirits!”

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: Raising The Dead edition.

Meet the folks from Extreme Prophetic. They’re a group of Christians led by a woman named Patricia King who has apparently been spreading her nonsense for some 25 years. The group appears to be an attempt to turn evangelizing into something cool and edgy – you know “extreme” – and they make some bold claims.

For example, they claim that they’ve managed to not just heal people through the power of faith, but have successfully raised the dead. Really. They have a video up by some fellow named Randy in which he discusses how he raise two dead people in Africa not too long ago. You can watch it here if you wish.

Don’t get too excited, though, they don’t have any actual footage of Randy raising the dead people. It’s just Randy talking about it, but you can take his word for it that they were really dead and he really did raise them because, well, you don’t think he’d lie about it do you?

They also have a YouTube Channel with a ton of videos of people talking about all manner of miracles they’ve personally experienced. Though, again, there’s a stunning lack of any actual footage of said miracles. There’s also a lot of prediction videos, which are always fun to watch after the years have passed.

Take this one on Divine Insights for 2008 by Julie Meyer of IHOP (International House of Prayer). In it she says she has a vision of George W. Bush signing a law declaring life begins at conception and banning all abortions just before he leaves office. She believed that was likely to happen because she dreamed about it and she believed that Bush was put in office by God specifically to make this legislation come to pass. But she also cautions this isn’t guaranteed so everyone needs to pray that it does happen. Also it seems the election wasn’t about change, but mercy and it wasn’t about the Presidential candidates, but the Vice Presidential candidates. She never comes right out and claims that McCain and Palin would win, but it’s clear she’s suggesting that’s what needs to happen and that Palin’s election would prove monumental in history.  That was from October of 2008. McCain/Palin didn’t win the election and Bush never banned abortion. I can only conclude they didn’t pray hard enough.

Patricia herself likes to dabble in predictions. She had no less than 11 videos of prophecy for 2009. She manages to pull a little John Edwards routine in the first video where she speaks to a specific, unnamed, person who’s watching and has been having trouble for awhile. She uses a lot of buzzwords and similes such as the Lord has “downloaded” prophecy into her and she’s going to “unfold or unpack” it for you. He also wants to “upgrade” his believers. Also God wants her to help raise up a Media Army to spread the word. Holy crap, but this woman can talk for hours without saying anything meaningful. All the while pausing to ask for donations.

I gave up after three videos. I was only watching to see if I could catch any solid predictions that we could examine to see how far off they were, but I was starting to fall asleep and her droning on and on. Most of it’s your standard True Believer™ nonsense, but there’s plenty of videos with the claims of major healing or raising people from the dead.

But I’m willing to be convinced. If these people truly can raise the dead that would revolutionize not just theology, but medical science. I think they should contact the James Randi Educational Foundation and apply for the $1 million prize. Considering how much time is spent begging for donations it sounds like they could use the money and imagine the look on Randi’s face when a dead person suddenly sits up full of life. Hell, let’s make it easy on them and just see if they can manage to heal an amputee. If they can bring people back from the dead then restoring a lost limb should be easy-peasy. A little video documentation wouldn’t hurt.

Somehow I don’t think they’ll be taking on the Randi challenge anytime soon. You see, when I started this entry I was pretty sure these folks were a classic case of people made a little crazy by too much faith, but now that I’ve looked into them a bit I’m not entirely sure that’s the case for all of them. My skepticism is spurred by the fact that they offer acting classes. What the hell would they need acting classes for? Well, to make money apparently. A two-month class covering everything from acting to writing to voice-over work will set you back $2,800 (non-refundable) in tuition. Or you can take eight week classes covering each of the topics individually for $200 each.

So, yeah, some of them have clearly drunk a little too much of the Kool-Aid, but I think they’re leader is a bit more shrewd than she first appears. That’s just speculation on my part, though. She could be just as nuts as the rest of them.

Found over at Pharyngula.

Too Much Faith Will Make You Crazy: End of the World edition.

Don’t make any big plans for May 21, 2011. Why? Because according to 88-year-old Christian nutcase Harold Camping, that’s the true date for the end of the world:

Camping, 88, has scrutinized the Bible for almost 70 years and says he has developed a mathematical system to interpret prophecies hidden within the Good Book. One night a few years ago, Camping, a civil engineer by trade, crunched the numbers and was stunned at what he’d found: The world will end May 21, 2011.

Ah yes! It’s the old mathematical-system-for-decoding-the-Bible method of predicting the future! Very popular among your die hard Christian nutcases as we’ve seen many times before here on SEB.

Lest you think Mr. Camping is new to this game, let me assure you he is not! He has predicted the end previously back in 1994. Those of you paying attention to current events may have noticed it didn’t end. A revelation that was a bit of a shock to the dozens of followers and Camping as they sat waiting for Christ’s return. Later he would admit that he “may have” made a mathematical error.

This time it’s different, though! He’s spent 10 years working on this new date and he’s pretty confident he’s nailed it and he’s got the formula to prove it:

By Camping’s understanding, the Bible was dictated by God and every word and number carries a spiritual significance. He noticed that particular numbers appeared in the Bible at the same time particular themes are discussed.

The number 5, Camping concluded, equals “atonement.” Ten is “completeness.” Seventeen means “heaven.” Camping patiently explained how he reached his conclusion for May 21, 2011.

“Christ hung on the cross April 1, 33 A.D.,” he began. “Now go to April 1 of 2011 A.D., and that’s 1,978 years.”

Camping then multiplied 1,978 by 365.2422 days – the number of days in each solar year, not to be confused with a calendar year.

Next, Camping noted that April 1 to May 21 encompasses 51 days. Add 51 to the sum of previous multiplication total, and it equals 722,500.

Camping realized that (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17) = 722,500.

Or put into words: (Atonement x Completeness x Heaven), squared.

“Five times 10 times 17 is telling you a story,” Camping said. “It’s the story from the time Christ made payment for your sins until you’re completely saved.

“I tell ya, I just about fell off my chair when I realized that,” Camping said.

Does it not surprise anyone else to learn that Mr. Camping is a former engineer? For some reason this sort of silly nonsense seems to come from a lot of engineers.

For example back in my youth, when I worked as a Desktop Publishing Coordinator for a local Kinko’s, I once met a man who also claimed to have mathematically proven the existence of God and had figured out the date of his return. He wanted me to print up a bunch of business cards with his proof on it. He had a bunch of numbers that he’d plucked out of his ass, that all meant something to no one outside of himself, and he had multiplied and divided and added and subtracted them for all manner of reasons, again known only to himself, and the final result was the number: 1. Which he interpreted as signifying God’s existence. He spent quite some time explaining it all to me and I smiled and nodded back the entire time. The same way you do with a crazy person brandishing a knife in hopes he won’t suddenly try to slit your throat with it to show you what a good job he did sharpening it.

Anyway, you’d be forgiven if you think Mr. Camping lost his followers after he fucked up the first time, but then you’d be grossly underestimating how credulous people can be:

Employees at the Oakland office run printing presses that publish Camping’s pamphlets and books, and some wear T-shirts that read, “May 21, 2011.” They’re happy to talk about the day they believe their souls will be retrieved by Christ.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Ted Solomon, 60, who started listening to Camping in 1997. He’s worked at Family Radio since 2004, making sure international translators properly dictate Camping’s sermons.

“This world may have had an attraction to me at one time,” Solomon said. “But now it’s definitely lost its appeal.”

[…] Rick LaCasse, who attended the September 1994 service in Alameda, said that 15 years later, his faith in Camping has only strengthened.

“Evidently, he was wrong,” LaCasse allowed, “but this time it is going to happen. There was some doubt last time, but we didn’t have any proofs. This time we do.”

Would his opinion of Camping change if May 21, 2011, ended without incident?

“I can’t even think like that,” LaCasse said. “Everything is too positive right now. There’s too little time to think like that.”

And it’s not enough that they’re deluded, but they’re hoping to drag others into their delusions as well in as many countries as they can manage. According to the article they broadcast on AM stations around the world and are translated into 48 languages so no one misses out on the crazy!