Snake-handlers and inerrancy

Another pious snake-handler has been bitten.

Cody Coots is a fourth-generation snake-handling pastor at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus’ Name church in Middlesboro, Ky. In a new documentary, “My Life Inside: The Snake Church,” which premiered on Friday on the YouTube channel Barcroft TV, Coots is seen holding a snake during one of his sermons, which generally has 14 parishioners in attendance each week, when the serpent suddenly bites his ear.

His father, Jamie Coots, was 42 years old when he was handling a rattlesnake at the church in 2014. He was bitten on the hand and died “within probably 10 minutes,” according to Cody.

This is a particularly good example of the harm done by the marketing lie that the Bible is inerrant.

The verse that inspires this lunacy is Mark 16:18, ostensibly an account of Jesus’ post-Resurrection meeting with His disciples.

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18 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.

19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

The difficulty is that these verses do not appear in the oldest extant versions of Mark; in those, Mark ends with verse 16:8. Put differently, some anonymity didn’t like the original ending of Mark and thought he’d improve the text, so he added that jive about taking up serpents, which certainly heightens the drama.

Now, thanks to the marketing lie that the Bible is inerrant, and discreet silence about this well-documented editorial flim-flam, ignoramuses play with snakes to show that their faith is strong.

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Brave New World

Apparently, the day is not far off when you’re going to order groceries online, and soon thereafter accept their delivery by a driverless car.

At a time when big-box retailers are trying to offer the same conveniences as their online competitors, the biggest U.S. grocery chain is testing the use of driverless cars to deliver groceries in a Phoenix suburb.

Kroger’s pilot program launched Thursday morning with a robotic vehicle parked outside one of its own Fry’s supermarkets in Scottsdale.

I wonder what sort of world all this automation is creating, but I’d probably use this service if it were available here. Why would I prefer to trudge around a grocery store for an hour, and then stand in a long line to check-out? It’s true that I won’t ever again bump into that couple whose kid was on John’s basketball team 15-years ago, but I can live with that.

I can easily imagine a day when the “grocery store” is just a warehouse that hardly anybody ever visits, except for those times when you forgot to put olives on your order. Then, you’ll order the olives at a terminal, pay, and then wait for a robot to pick your jar of olives and place it on a moving line that delivers it to the warehouse waiting room.

Imagine: Your local grocery store operating flawlessly and speedily, 24-hours a day, with just a half-dozen or so employees per shift; that’s coming. But what will be a teenager’s entry-level job when nobody shelves or operates a cash register any longer?

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Tweet of the day

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The Babylon Bee scoops the world

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The spider that ate Munising

As longtime readers know, I attended college at Michigan Tech, an engineering school located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It’s a beautiful place, and there are a number of webcams up there that I visit regularly.

A few mornings ago I visited the webcam at the dock for the boat tours along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, on the south side of Lake Superior, near Munising — and caught this striking image.

OK, never mind. I guess you have to have lived there.

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