A group of college students and I were discussing UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, and the snake charmers of India. One young lady who had been very quiet finally spoke to another student who had not participated in the discussion and said, “And what have you substituted for God?” The stunned silence of the group demonstrated the perceptive nature of the question, which effectively ended the discussion. Snake charmers, monsters, hoaxes, and other deceptions are not a substitute for God.
Many Americans seem to be “turned off” by religion. They have seen so many frauds, rip-offs, and totally dishonest approaches that they have rejected the whole concept of God. As a substitute for God, they have accepted a variety of things. Some have embraced the idea that aliens from space are their only hope of immortality. Some have embraced the Eastern religions and philosophies such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Bahai, and Islam.
One of the approaches of those who attempt to convince us to follow their beliefs is to astound us with “mystic” demonstrations. We have all seen pictures and videos of snake charmers who play a long flute as a great cobra sways back and forth. This is one of the oldest of all hoaxes dating back to at least 300 B.C. Snakes do not have ears, so obviously they don’t respond to the music which is for the crowd’s benefit. The flute is then lowered over the snake’s head so that when the charmer blows, the wind continues to arouse the snake to follow the motion of the pipe. Snake charmers often make a small incision in the face of the snake to cut the ducts leading to the fangs. Then even if the snake bites the charmer, its bite will not be lethal.
How do people walk on beds of coals, run skewers through their cheeks, and lay down on beds of nails? Studies by anthropologists have discovered two factors. One is the extensive preparation of the skin by rubbing, sanding, scraping, and other techniques that make huge callouses. The second is the use of drugs which not only kill pain but may also affect blood flow and body temperature. Medical science has had an interest in those drugs for use in modern medicine.
What about monsters? Whether it’s Nessie, Bigfoot, Yeti, or giants, all attempts to prove the existence of monsters of any kind end in failure. The critical thing to remember is that snake charmers, monsters, hoaxes, and other deceptions are out there. People are giving up God and accepting false money-making tricks. We should embrace the Bible as our source of truth and Jesus Christ as Lord without allowing anyone to mislead us. Every shred of evidence we have proves the Bible to be trustworthy, and those other claims to be false.
Do not allow human trickery to mislead you religiously or otherwise. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12) from God’s Word. Salvation is free and available to anyone. The bottom line is beware of snake charmers, monsters, hoaxes, and other deceptions. Use your God-given intelligence to investigate all claims, and you will find truth in Christianity, not the tricks of men.
— John N. Clayton © 2019