Monday, August 12, 2013

Snake Salvation: The Television Show

Just about the time you think reality TV has reached it limits, another slice of reality finds its way to the airwaves. This time the National Geographic Channel is going to follow the antics of certain Christians who believe "it's as much a commandment from God when He said 'they shall take up serpents,' as it was when he said 'thou shall not commit adultery.'"
Indeed Mark's Gospel does state:
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
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 16:18)
However, I'm fairly confident there are more Christians breaking the commandment against committing adultery than there are Christians keeping that one about taking up serpents!
My traditional religion was once closely allied with those holiness folks who "took up serpents." It was outlawed around these parts by the time I was born. But we knew a few old timers who occasionally attended our services and who once handled snakes in worship. It was rumored that sometimes they would still slip off into the hills in order to worship that way. 
So I never experienced anything like that in person. I have seen documentaries that dealt with it. Fascinating stuff. I will even admit to having a sort of respect for people who have that type of faith. But I also tend to think that like my mom used to say, "these folks are tempting God."
I can't imagine a series such as Snake Salvation lasting very long. It also seems to me that this will give southern rural folks yet another black eye. But I don't know. I don't have cable so I will have to rely on the reviews.

I'm afraid I'll have to stick with less sensational ways of practicing my spirituality! 


  1. "I can't imagine a series such as Snake Salvation lasting very long." - A superb underestimation of human banality. Watching others behaving badly and/or foolishly allows the typical viewer to feel smug in his/her superiority to those clowns. These 'reality' shows are about as real as professional wrestling.

    Your post elicited a thought I have never seen expressed (for sure I haven't read everything!) before. What an irony - intended or not I do not know - that the serpent appears in both the beginning and end of the main Bible salvation story - sin via Adam, salvation via Jesus. Dare I say it - it's almost as if they're selling snake oil!

  2. I'm thinking a reality show without sex and love triangles and such probably won't last. But maybe this show will go behind the scenes to show us how "just like us" these snake handlers are away from church.

    Snake oil salesmen ... ugh! :-)