Pharyngula

This is really hard to watch: it’s a young woman giving the benediction at the graduation ceremony at Midwestern State University, in Texas, and she’s so sucked up into her religious fervor that she starts shaking, I catch a hint of speaking in tongues, and finally ends up fainting on the stage.

If it were anything other than religion she was trying to push up there, we’d be getting that poor woman in for psychiatric help.

Comments

  1. #1 Aquaria
    April 28, 2010

    She griped about the idolatry of intellectualism at a college graduation–and no one told her to get off the stage and go back to class?

    Fucking unbelievable.

    Oh. Wait. It’s Wichita Falls.

  2. #2 Glen Davidson
    April 28, 2010

    To be fair, a lot of students pay plenty for chemicals that get them that wasted, albeit not in the same manner.

    Of course, half the creationists in this country think that’s evidence for God, which tells you why reasoned arguments and solid evidence have no effect on them.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  3. #3 chaseacross
    April 28, 2010

    I admit it, I couldn’t watch the whole thing with sound on. In the words of The Duke when he gave a talk at a college graduation: ri-goddamn-diculous.

  4. #4 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 28, 2010

    To be fair, a lot of students pay plenty for chemicals that get them that wasted, albeit not in the same manner.

    Yeah. And the fact that the whole audience sat there silently and “respectfully” during this hallucinatory melt-down says all we need to know about the place “religion” holds in our culture.

    Seriously. How did we get to the place where this is considered “normal,” or at least not worth crying out “someone get an ambulance” long before they actually did?

  5. #5 John Morales
    April 28, 2010

    Glen D,

    To be fair, a lot of students pay plenty for chemicals that get them that wasted, albeit not in the same manner.

    Bloody cheapskates! :)

  6. #6 skepticalmoth
    April 28, 2010

    Yesssshhhhh, that’ll give me nightmares.

  7. #7 kokoluvsallball
    April 28, 2010

    Religion is psychopathy.

  8. #8 coughlanbrianm
    April 28, 2010

    Sometimes, it really is hard to tell faith from a mental illness

    … or an orgasm. I have heard of mental states triggering actual orgasm, wonder if this is what happened here?

  9. #9 vassar007
    April 28, 2010

    While we all agree that her behaviour is most inappropriate, I think sympathy for her condition is the best response. This woman needs help, whether she knows it or not… But let’s also not forget the atheists out there asking “WTF?!?!?!” We sympathize.

    PS: Do you think her allegedly sinful “embrace” of Humanism extends to an AHA membership? Somehow I think not…

  10. #10 Waitsian
    April 28, 2010

    Why call an ambulence? Surely the Lord God will take care of his own. (mental note:throw out all resumes that cross my desk from Midwestern State University)

  11. #11 clausentum
    April 28, 2010

    ..forgive us for the sin of humanism..

    : Wow!
    As so often, Oscar Wilde said it: it takes a heart of stone not to laugh. That her audience didn’t was out of respect for her affliction, no doubt.

  12. #12 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 28, 2010

    While we all agree that her behaviour is most inappropriate, I think sympathy for her condition is the best response.

    I’ve got sympathy a plenty for the young woman. Who I don’t have sympathy for are the “MCs” and the crowd (if you’ll read back on my comment you’ll see why).

    Now, can we please talk about the real problem – everyone sitting there like this behavior was normal – instead of the fake problem – the putative “lack of sympathy” by commenters here?

  13. #13 John Scanlon FCD
    April 28, 2010

    coughlan… just watched it without sound, and I was thinking the same thing. I’ve heard about remote-control vibrators, and was wondering if maybe she’d left the Button in the hands of a prankster in the crowd (but then these scenes always remind me of Police Academy).

  14. #14 BrianX
    April 28, 2010

    I’m not sure what to say that I wasn’t the only one who saw something vaguely sexual in her, er, performance. I have seen how religion can manipulate peoples’ emotional states though — it looked impressive at the time, but years later I realized just how damaging it can be.

  15. #15 Michael Mortensen
    April 28, 2010

    I think i might have walked out if i was graduating from that school when she decried “worshiping the intellectual mind” and “humanism” at a graduation. Students don’t need to be preached to.

  16. #16 The Grumpy Skeptic
    April 28, 2010

    Bitch be crazy!

  17. #17 James F
    April 28, 2010

    I didn’t know Lou Engle had a daughter.

  18. #18 tristan.croll
    April 28, 2010

    … or an orgasm. I have heard of mental states triggering actual orgasm, wonder if this is what happened here?

    Yes! Yes! The LORD is within me!

  19. #19 Shplane
    April 28, 2010

    Holy fucking shit.

    Creepiest thing I’ve seen all day, and I’m working on starting a game of Little Fears (It is a tabletop RPG).

  20. #20 Zeno
    April 28, 2010

    Sometimes, it really is hard to tell faith from a mental illness

    Okay, PZ, I’ll bite. How do you tell the difference?

    (Is there one?)

  21. #21 Citizen of the Cosmos
    April 28, 2010

    Was she indoctrinated by her parents, or did she choose this religion on her own? Who approved of this speech, I assume they have someone to read such speeches beforehand?

    Well, anyway… bizarre.

  22. #22 neurosink
    April 28, 2010

    It’s kinda scary how the guys behind her weren’t very surprised, like it’s a normal occurrence, one of their students becoming so emotionally swept up to start to spasm. Maybe it is. Nice for them to call for an ambulance though, but surely the almighty would take care of her, since she’s obviously so devoted?

    Didn’t initially think about the orgasmic possibility like some people have pointed out here, but wouldn’t it be more likely that she’s got an implanted device that causes it rather then being overcome with emotions? Though grad days are pretty emotional, aren’t they. Graduation prank perhaps?

  23. #23 formosus
    April 28, 2010

    Do benediction prayers at college graduations usually start with “Forgive us for being horrible evil sinners?” If I heard that shit at my college graduation, I’d be furious. I mean, the fact that they have one at all is stupid and annoying, but usually it’s at least one of those mealy mouthed “Heavenly lord thanks for all the good fortune”, without bringing specific religion.

  24. #24 lykex
    April 28, 2010

    “This will be a day of death to old habits, thoughts and ideas”

    One can only hope.

  25. #25 Rorschach
    April 28, 2010

    “I repent for the humanism that we have embraced”

    WTF

  26. #26 neurosink
    April 28, 2010

    @formosus #23

    I mean, the fact that they have one at all is stupid and annoying, but usually it’s at least one of those mealy mouthed “Heavenly lord thanks for all the good fortune”, without bringing specific religion.

    “Heavenly lord” isn’t specific enough?!

  27. #27 Techskeptic
    April 28, 2010

    Ambulance? Get a straightjacket.

    I like that dude who comes over to her about 1/2 way through and seems to try to get her to finish up before she makes the whole event look foolish. To bad he failed.

  28. #28 luvrte66
    April 28, 2010

    This gave me flashbacks. This shit really does happen, and it really is sick. I can only chalk it up to mass hysteria.

  29. #29 sasqwatch
    April 28, 2010

    I had to skip to the end of the rant, collapse, and the Dean (?) who steps up to the microphone (at 2:14) and starts to mouth… “wh.. wh..”

    I genuinely thought he was getting ready to say “wh… wh… what the fuck!?” Then reality in all its banality took over. Sometimes I prefer fantasy.

  30. #30 sasqwatch
    April 28, 2010

    As Falls Wichita, so Falls Wichita Falls.

  31. #31 formosus
    April 28, 2010

    @neurosink #26

    Yes, it’s obviously the Christian god they’re referring to, but it’s not in the “Wash away our sins with your blood Jesus” super evangelical xtian way.

  32. #32 Crewvy
    April 28, 2010

    That was a magnificent performance and one hell of an orgasm.
    I`m guessing god really came in to her.

    Better call a ambalance.

  33. #33 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawm0ImsgYFyoamSz8uEl7zxNaGvxMiFcL5w
    April 28, 2010

    That WAS hard to watch. I was laughing so hard that I began shaking uncontrollably and then fainted.

  34. #34 Pikemann Urge
    April 28, 2010

    Ambulance? Get a straightjacket.

    I hope you are not serious. You’d use it on a dangerous person, not merely a deluded one!

  35. #35 dvelarde
    April 28, 2010

    When you watch it without sound it does look kind of sexual, too much pelvic motion at one point.

    One of the most pathetic aspects of theists is to do this kinds of displays in order to show everybody how devoted they are, as if it gives some superior status. Sad.

  36. #36 Jacob's Ladder
    April 28, 2010

    I suddenly understand why my high school classmates went to midwestern.

  37. #37 Rorschach
    April 28, 2010

    That woman is mentally ill, I can’t see how that can even be disputed by anyone.
    Shit like that really creeps me out.

  38. #38 neurosink
    April 28, 2010

    @formosus #31

    Maybe my sheltered upbringing away from religion expression is why I have a difficult time differentiating between all these expressions of xtian bs.

    You’re right of course, I too prefer non-evangelical crazy people over evangelical ones, though of course I’d much rather to do away with these self-inflicted crazies altogether so we can focus on helping people with -actual- problems.

  39. #39 Charlie Foxtrot
    April 28, 2010

    Pretty sure I’ve seen that one before. It’s been around for a while, hasn’t it?
    Still – the premise still holds that one seems to easily attract the other, in no particular order.

  40. #40 fernery
    April 28, 2010

    At first I laughed, at her wording and dismissal of learning, and then my mood quickly turned to horrified. It did look as if she was in the grip of an orgasm. If an atheist pulled something remotely like that they’d get thrown out first, not by ambulance, and then sued.

  41. #41 uuaschbaer
    April 28, 2010

    That’s terrible, hope she’s all right.

  42. #42 Runningman555
    April 28, 2010

    One day it’ll be viewed for what it really is, and my uneducated guess is that its Temporal lobe epilepsy…it may even run in the family, i’d hate to sit and have dinner with them, what a fucking mess. (not intended to make fun of epileptics!!)
    http://www.christianitydisproved.com/brain.html

  43. #43 Rorschach
    April 28, 2010

    and my uneducated guess is that its Temporal lobe epilepsy

    Most certainly not.

  44. #44 Aquaria
    April 28, 2010

    While we all agree that her behaviour is most inappropriate, I think sympathy for her condition is the best response.

    She deserves to be mocked mercilessly.

    This woman was doing what she does in church: get all trembly and rattly and collapse a bit here and there and then she was gonna start speaking in tongues, even if she was flopped out on the floor. This is what they do. IOW, this was a well-practiced act, so well-practiced that she does it without thinking now. It’s willfully induced crazy, and she wanted to inflict it on us all.

    Also: Some of them do get so worked up to go into their Jesus Seizure that they pass out. Most don’t. The kids who went to those churches where I lived always made quite bets on who would flop out first, and if any of the women would show their panties in the process.

  45. #45 Jillian Swift
    April 28, 2010

    *facepalms*

  46. #46 christophe-thill.myopenid.com
    April 28, 2010

    Talk about a “stark raving lunatic”…

    I’m not sure this is good for the image of her university.

  47. #47 farhat.habib
    April 28, 2010

    Agree with Aquaria, she seems to be faking it. At the end, just before she starts increasing her trembling act she has enough presence of mind to position the microphone to better capture her ramblings with no difficulties in coordinating her hand.

  48. #48 SaintStephen
    April 28, 2010

    I agree with Aquaria #44.

    Being raised Catholic, this scene didn’t strike me as being that odd. This was a performance — a purposeful act; not insanity, or mental illness (other than religious delusion). She was reading from a script, FFS. I’m sure she was under a little pressure, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if she had rehearsed the whole thing beforehand, and may even have had cues written in the margins. The man who called for an ambulance after her “collapse” was merely escalating the situation for dramatic effect. This woman was in no health danger whatsoever. She hadn’t fainted… she was “crying” aloud, rolling on the ground. They could have just stood her up and walked her comfortably off the stage. Religious drama is a big industry in Texas, like football and pheasant hunting. This same scene is played out on evangelical TV shows in Texas every single day of the year, and in many Texas churches.

    One key is that her “convulsions” became much stronger when she began asking Jebus to have mercy on other people. She was playing the martyr for everybody else’s benefit, not minding her own house, as a truly humble and “spiritual” person would have done. This woman is a religious drama queen, in the flesh. It was a disgusting charade, simple as that.

    And a great nightcap. ZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz…

  49. #49 Haley
    April 28, 2010

    I get really uncomfortable when people armchair diagnose mental illness. Especially since I see how similar a lot of her symptoms are to mine- the violent leg shaking, and the fainting. I’m not trying to ban the word “crazy” or say that her ideas sound like them come from a sound mind, but calls for her to be locked up and put in a straight jacket freak me the hell out.

  50. #50 SaintStephen
    April 28, 2010

    Believe me, I know what fainting in church is. This woman didn’t faint.

    I fainted right on the altar, after standing for at least 60 minutes in the same position, holding a religious banner — as a Catholic altar boy, in an extended Latin mass. I can still feel the carpet smashing into my face, and still smell the salts they put under my nose.

    Not trying to start an argument, but true “fainting” means you are OUT unconscious, at least for a few seconds. It could be a painful and even dangerous situation if you are standing, and nobody is there to catch you. This woman looked like she was going to vomit, not faint, and then after doubling over she allowed her weight to be supported by the men around her, who eased her to the ground.

    A swoon? Sure. Fainting? Nope.

  51. #51 richarddmorey
    April 28, 2010

    I watched the video, and I did not get the impression that you guys got. The prayer itself was fairly run-of-the-mill (at least, for a Texas evangelical). It looks like she was physically ill (like she’s trying to hold back vomiting), and in trying to continue she intensified her prayer. But the illness overtook her and she couldn’t continue any more.

    I couldn’t find any news on what happened, so I don’t know, but it disturbs me that this is spreading with a message of “look, crazy Christian!” rather than a (sincere) “Poor woman, she needs medical attention.” I don’t know what happened here, but I feel pretty confident it wasn’t a religious trance. She was sick.

  52. #52 xollob58
    April 28, 2010

    If that had been my graduation I would have left in disgust at this spectacle. Having that loon up there on the stage was an insult to the other students, who were, it must be said, suspiciously silent.

  53. #53 paulmurray
    April 28, 2010

    Meh – I’m not inclined to be that harsh. Graduating is stressful – this girl had worked herself up to this moment form months, or years, psyched herself up to giving a little preach. Not everyone can perform when they are put on the spot, so you retreat back to something you know how to do – cracking a joke, speaking in tongues, whatever.

  54. #54 MAJeff, OM
    April 28, 2010

    Why in the fuck did that bullshit take place at a state university?

  55. #55 David Marjanovi?
    April 28, 2010

    Do benediction prayers at college graduations usually start with

    Prayers? At a college graduation? What the fuck?

    What kind of country is that?

    Being raised Catholic, this scene didn’t strike me as being that odd.

    Being raised Catholic, the descriptions of this scene ? I haven’t even watched the video, and I’m not sure I will ? strike me as utterly bizarre and incomprehensible.

    America, the land where even the Catholics are evangelical? Is that it?

    It looks like she was physically ill (like she’s trying to hold back vomiting), and in trying to continue she intensified her prayer. But the illness overtook her and she couldn’t continue any more.

    OK, now I’ll watch, first without sound, then with…

  56. #56 David Marjanovi?
    April 28, 2010

    Oh yeah. Around 1:15 she’s trying to restrain herself from barfing all over the audience. Around 1:40 it starts again… around 2:00 she probably really does barf behind the podium, and at 2:33 she’s still at it.

    With the sound on, I notice she starts in a voice that almost counts as crying. That could be to add pentecostal drama to the prayer, or it could be from her intestinal convulsions. (Or both.)

    At the first barfing attack, she goes further into crying mode. From 1:30 onwards she’s actually crying. That ends with “Mmmmm, have mercy on them, Lord” ? she’s in trouble. Then she briefly calms down, gets “have mercy on them, Jesus” out, and then she goes down, wincing in pain.

    The man to her left asks, emotionlessly, for an ambulance and basically says “the show must go on”. And it goes on, at a level of pomp not even seen at the University of Vienna which was founded in 1385, where the dean dresses accordingly at graduation celebrations*, which involve taking an oath while touching the university sceptre held by another guy in 14th-century clothes.

    I’ve never witnessed a female orgasm, but I really don’t think that’s it. I suggest an intestinal infection, or ingestion of copious amounts of alcohol a few hours earlier.

    * “Ceremony” isn’t quite the right word, because the title is simply mailed several weeks earlier; the celebration is optional and costs money.

  57. #57 R. Schauer
    April 28, 2010

    The real problem here is that this “university” is graduating her. IMHO, she fails, no credit, redo, she doesn’t get it! And to top things off…the “university” holds her up as an accolade…f*cking joke, right? It really makes me wonder who is accrediting that “university” and allowing stupid to flourish in such a robust manner. We have a problem Houston.

    Now, envision this young woman teaching elementary education someplace in the future and laying that sinner guilt “trip” meme on her learners. As I said, we have a problem Houston.

  58. #58 hermetically sealed
    April 28, 2010

    “Forgive us, Lord, for worshipping the intellectual mind.” she says… at a graduation ceremony.

    This is just another instance of the same old standard charasmatic/pentacostal schtick. It is quite sickening that this is considered “normal” in US culture.

    Pardon me– I am going to go back to watching a philosophy lecture on Yale University’s website and “worship” the intellectual mind… *sheesh*

  59. #59 Aquaria
    April 28, 2010

    Y’all haven’t seen too many of these performances, have you?

    Now I’m willing to agree there’s a chance the idiot was sick. But not too much of one.

    The convulsion is part of the act; doubling over is a common way to show you’re being seized by the spirit, right up there with eyes rolling back and weird body spasms. You’d think the lunatic is about to hurl on you, then she’s flailing and shouting nonsense. Like this specimen does. When I heard her on better speakers, I could hear her going into full on psycho religious spiel. It sounded just like the tongue-waggers at the old Pentecostal church back home.

    Again, she could have had an intestinal disorder, and I hope it was brief in duration if so.

    If not, well, what a waste of all that money spent on her education, that she could come out so stupid after it. I would have given anything to have had the kind of opportunities and support she must have had to get through four years of school, and this braindead fucktard uses it up and throws it away.

  60. #60 ilijasx
    April 28, 2010

    What a fucking idiot. Apart from the appalling lack of empathy or consideration for the audience on what is a personally significant event, i.e. graduation, she opportunistically exploits the occasion to preach from the pulpit.

    Humans have an immeasurable capacity to take themselves to the brink of madness even without religion, but this had the feel more of a guilt/shame complex that fuelled the fire of this self-indulgent reverie.

    Either which way, that was a bad-ass occasion to start that fire & brimstone soliloquy.

  61. #61 Jadehawk, OM
    April 28, 2010

    “I repent for the humanism that we have embraced”?

    GYYAARRGGHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    though, it got really creepy when she started shaking :-/

    I have heard of mental states triggering actual orgasm, wonder if this is what happened here?

    I don’t know many people who throw up from orgasms. gotta agree with David’s analysis; she’s got the stomach flu, in addition to the crazy religion

    Being raised Catholic, the descriptions of this scene ? I haven’t even watched the video, and I’m not sure I will ? strike me as utterly bizarre and incomprehensible.

    seconded.

  62. #62 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnmfT6aBFwl3MgiYcsQJa_mnknTQi96v7s
    April 28, 2010

    I saw this on another site, and so I’ve been pondering this for about a week.

    It boils down to two possibilities. If she’s willfully inflicting this on everyone, she deserves to have her face rubbed in mud. If she’s sick or demented, the faculty members around her, whose responsibility it was to vet her, deserve to have their faces rubbed in mud. Either way, someone needs some face time with dirt on this.

  63. #63 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnb-E55g7vrnvH-3L1M6d7QuDYWoM_IDEM
    April 28, 2010

    Yankee-land is Doomed.

  64. #64 Porco Dio
    April 28, 2010

    “thank you jesus for dying”

    and praise be to the jews for killing him…

    oh wait…

  65. #65 Doug
    April 28, 2010

    When I first saw this several weeks ago, it was presented with some text saying that she was reluctantly granted approval to do a SHORT benediction – as I recall, something of about a minute.

    If it had been anything other than religious drivel she was carrying on about, there would have been a shepard’s crook around her neck long before she hit the floor in her self-induced hysterical collapse. I have zero sympathy for her.

  66. #66 negentropyeater
    April 28, 2010

    Isn’t Midwestern State University a publicly funded university?

    Why is there a clearly Christian benediction ceremony at graduation? If that’s not the state promoting religion, I don’t know what is? What’s the secular purpose of such bullshit?

    How lucky I feel of having been to publicly funded schools and universities in a country where this kind of stuff is legally prohibited from taking place.

  67. #67 BigMKnows
    April 28, 2010

    “Forgive us, Lord, for worshiping the intellectual mind.”

    That statement speaks volumes.

  68. #68 Fortknox
    April 28, 2010

    I can’t watch this video.

    I just know I would blush with embarrassment for her.

  69. #69 Charlie Foxtrot
    April 28, 2010

    Jeeez – there’s three cuts in that as she’s blathering away. I wonder how long she went on for really? I like the way after the third cut, at 54s, the guy behind her is looking through his book – I’d say he’d tuned out by that point.

  70. #70 Ring Tailed Lemurian
    April 28, 2010

    Seems as good a place as any to post this link –
    Brain shuts off in response to healer’s prayer

  71. #71 Ray Moscow
    April 28, 2010

    @66:

    Isn’t Midwestern State University a publicly funded university?
    Why is there a clearly Christian benediction ceremony at graduation? If that’s not the state promoting religion, I don’t know what is? What’s the secular purpose of such bullshit?

    Welcome to the South. This crap is normal there, except that it went unusually long and except that the speaker actually went into Spirit-filled convulsions (which are usually reserved for charismatic churches and Sunday meetings).

    Otherwise, it’s standard fare for Jesusland.

  72. #72 Spider-Will
    April 28, 2010

    Is it just me, or at 1:17 does she mumble

    Sh*t, cum…

    Anyway, she clearly needs help, godgasm or otherwise.

  73. #73 stvs
    April 28, 2010

    The performances in MARJOE were better and funnier: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVRyPBPxQsk#t=6m49s

    The documentary on “child preacher for Jesus” Marjoe Gortner and the business of evangelism is a must-see, especially the first 10 minutes, all available on YouTube.

  74. #74 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    Gross.

    I can’t tell religion from disease either.

  75. #75 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    Oh one thing that no one brought up is that maybe she really has epilepsy and no one knows because religious fits are seen as holy.

    I know that holy people in the past are suspected some times of suffering from epilepsy, and honestly depending on the person’s seizures some of them can look like that, complete with actions and statements.

    Reminds me also of people undergoing exorcism. Vomiting, saying weird shit.

    The human brain is amazing. I’ve always wanted to have an exorcism done and see what happens to me after but unfortunately that would put me in contact with waaaay worse people than drug dealers who are the only other ones that seem to peddle truly odd shit.

  76. #76 Katharine
    April 28, 2010

    That’s another place to cross off the ‘will reject all CVs from’ list when I’m a professor.

    There must be a list floating around somewhere of all these places.

  77. #77 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 28, 2010

    David M., #56

    I’ve never witnessed a female orgasm,

    Shall I provide a link?

  78. #78 Katharine
    April 28, 2010

    David M., use the Google and you will find videos.

  79. #79 Rorschach
    April 28, 2010

    Oh one thing that no one brought up is that maybe she really has epilepsy

    It was brought up, and I said epilepsy it ain’t.Read Aquaria’s explanation.

  80. #80 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    Ha! I saw that after I posted. Sorry Rorschach. I wasn’t looking at the numbers as I scrolled.

  81. #81 Katharine
    April 28, 2010

    Regarding orgasms, as a female who has had them, I somehow suspect (from the description – I won’t watch this video and dignify this moron with a viewing) she is not having one.

    And if she were, something tells me she’d probably be horrified, considering she’s a jebus weirdo and they hate all manifestations of sex.

  82. #82 peter.waine
    April 28, 2010

    Perhaps its a teaser for a Dr. House episode

  83. #83 Rorschach
    April 28, 2010

    Ol’Greg no worries, always pays to read the whole thread lol…

    Btw after reading Aquaria’s account I happily retract my assessment that this person must be mentally ill, I’m very unfamiliar with this sort of faking behaviour and it stuns me a little to think this could all be an act, and that this is not even uncommon.

  84. #84 Carlie
    April 28, 2010

    Shall I provide a link?

    Bwah! And here I thought it would be this or this.

  85. #85 Ol'Greg
    April 28, 2010

    I’m very unfamiliar with this sort of faking behaviour and it stuns me a little to think this could all be an act, and that this is not even uncommon.

    Me as well. I’m even from Texas, but not accustomed to evangelicals.

  86. #86 Sigmund
    April 28, 2010

    I’ll rather not have what she is having.
    (A religious vomiting fit)

  87. #87 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    April 28, 2010

    Y’know, I cringe when people say that raising children in a religion is a form of child abuse. It seems so over-the-top. But then I see this sort of thing….

  88. #88 Androly-San
    April 28, 2010

    Oh man, that was hard to watch…

  89. #89 neon-elf.myopenid.com
    April 28, 2010

    I can’t tell religion from disease either

    Because religion, especially when taken to that level, is a disease.

  90. #90 creating trons
    April 28, 2010

    @ Carlie # 84

    LOL

    Meg Ryan popped into my head also, but I couldn’t remember the movie. I’ll rent that one soon!

  91. #91 David Marjanovi?
    April 28, 2010

    <quietly reaching through tubes of Internet and strangling Antiochus Epiphanes to death with bare hands>

    It wasn’t merely bad, you see. The German parts were almost enough to turn me off love forever.

    It’s Lovecraftian.

    she’s got the stomach flu, in addition to the crazy religion

    Well said!

    Is it just me, or at 1:17 does she mumble

    Sh*t, cum…

    Something along these lines, yes, repeatedly.

  92. #92 hdsfhjgsdfhjg
    April 28, 2010

    Aw, that wasn’t at all hard to watch, it had me in stitches! More, please.

  93. #93 Fortknox
    April 28, 2010

    So the lesson from this video is the total systematic failure of university-level education because of accommodationism?

  94. #94 Ing
    April 28, 2010

    Of COURSE she’s faking. They all fake it. Speaking in tongues, convulsing that is all fake. The fact that some of the twits convince themselves of it doesn’t mean they didn’t start faking it. They start out doing that because they see other people doing it and getting attention. It’s a mass delusion

  95. #95 stan
    April 28, 2010

    …as a Catholic altar boy, in an extended Latin mass. I can still feel the carpet smashing into my face, and still smell the salts they put under my nose.

    I suspect your memory has been repressed here — that was not “carpet” smashing into your face, and the “salts” were dribbling down your nose, not merely under it.

    Ahem.

    As to this dumbass and her little show, everyone in attendance who didn’t laugh, roll his eyes, or otherwise note the absurdity is evidently as retarded as she is, but the best part was when she “fainted,” the dean jumps to the lectern and says, “We’ve heard the benediction, so now let’s hear the recessional.”

    Not just “on with the show,” but more like, “I don’t know what the hell that was, and I don’t care. Next, please.”


    Stan

  96. #96 chaseacross
    April 28, 2010

    @94

    I have to disagree with you there. Can you really “fake” a phenomenon of that sort? Especially one that transcends individual faiths. You find similar behavior in shamanistic societies: the ecstatic Siberian shamanism, or the trance dance of African bush peoples. Mass delusion, by definition, isn’t “fake.” If you are deluded, then you don’t know any better.

    I’d be really curious if this phenomenon could be cultivated in a clinical setting, or even if such a thing is possible. Neal Stephenson wrote a great novel, Snow Crash, based in part on the premise that speaking in tongues and such is actually related to Julian Jayne’s theory of the origins of consciousness in the seperation of the “conscious” and “unconscious” mind thousands of years ago.

  97. #97 codemenkey.myopenid.com
    April 28, 2010

    okay, yes, this was hard to watch, but so worth it!

    “would somebody in the back get an ambulance, please?” epic.

  98. #98 Andreas Johansson
    April 28, 2010

    David Marjanovi? wrote:

    <quietly reaching through tubes of Internet and strangling Antiochus Epiphanes to death with bare hands>
    It wasn’t merely bad, you see. The German parts were almost enough to turn me off love forever.
    It’s Lovecraftian.

    OK, that actually had me laughing aloud, which is something of a feat considering I’ve been feeling generally miserable and depressed today. Have one global network of tubes.

  99. #99 David Marjanovi?
    April 28, 2010

    I thought it would be this

    ROTFL! I must say, those I’ve heard (through a very thin wall) made a lot less noise :-ţ

    (Should have said “eyewitnessed”, I suppose.)

    or this.

    That sounds a bit painful. And short.

  100. #100 Jon A
    April 28, 2010

    The worst part of this come sat the end. The rector (or whoever he is) nonchalantly requests an ambulance without so much as even assessing his casualty. If he was so concerned, why wasn’t she ushered off stage earlier and when she finally collapses why doens’t he stop the ceremony?

  101. #101 beniazouras
    April 28, 2010

    Whatever they did to her to feel so conflicted between her religious beliefs and getting an education is wrong. It is my hope that she gets some therapy and finally “sees the light” and, at the very least, drops the guilt of having knowledge.

    Obviously, the fucking Adam & Eve story got to her and it’s so sad that she can’t see the craziness for what it is.

  102. #102 Ing
    April 28, 2010

    I’d be really curious if this phenomenon could be cultivated in a clinical setting, or even if such a thing is possible. Neal Stephenson wrote a great novel, Snow Crash, based in part on the premise that speaking in tongues and such is actually related to Julian Jayne’s theory of the origins of consciousness in the seperation of the “conscious” and “unconscious” mind thousands of years ago.”

    And you really consider that drivel authoritative? It’s fake as in it’s self delusion. Stage hypnosis in fact DOES create this behavior. I have been stage hypnotized. The participates willingly allow someone else to guide their imagery and thought. They are convinced to ACT like what the hypnotist is suggesting is true.

  103. #103 David Marjanovi?
    April 28, 2010

    Should have said “eyewitnessed”, I suppose.

    …instead of “witnessed” earlier. Not of “heard”! X-)

    If he was so concerned, why wasn’t she ushered off stage earlier and when she finally collapses why doens’t he stop the ceremony?

    He’s not concerned, apparently not even about people barfing at the audience. He’s just pulling the show through.

  104. #104 Fortknox
    April 28, 2010

    So the lesson from this video is the total systematic failure of university-level education because of accommodationism?

    How come no one is addressing the main issue here?

  105. #105 negentropyeater
    April 28, 2010

    Can you really “fake” a phenomenon of that sort? Especially one that transcends individual faiths. You find similar behavior in shamanistic societies: the ecstatic Siberian shamanism, or the trance dance of African bush peoples. Mass delusion, by definition, isn’t “fake.” If you are deluded, then you don’t know any better.

    I don’t know. I think it can be “faked”. I’d be interested to find out what happened in the back. Did an ambulance really come? If Yes what did they find? Or did the girl start feeling better as soon as she wasn’t in front of the audience?

    I’ve personally witnessed Tamil rituals where they go into trance at Thaipusam and pierce their bodies with swords and other nasty hooks without feeling any pain. That wasn’t “faked”. But it wasn’t solely based on delusion, there’s a shitload of preparation, rigourous diet for a month, and all sorts of things for which there are good scientific explanations for why they fall in a trance and don’t feel any pain.

    Not knowing what happened off stage, I’m not sure what hapened to this girl is comparable in any way to shamanistic trance.

  106. #106 hilltop
    April 28, 2010

    Rorschach, could I ask you why you say “most definitely not” to temporal lobe epilepsy?
    I’m not trying to start something, I’m just wondering what makes you say that

  107. #107 Rorschach
    April 28, 2010

    Because she a) is faking it, as pointed out by Aquaria, and b) is still clearly controlling her motor functions while doing her funny turn thing and c) because temporal lobe seizures are not like that.
    Read Dostojevski’s “The Idiot” for an account.

  108. #108 junglegeorge45
    April 28, 2010

    I think this woman needs serious psychological help.

  109. #109 jagannath
    April 28, 2010

    I actually loved the Monty Pythonesque of the whole situation.

    Girl: Religious jabberings (keels over)

    Dean: (Steps over the girl) And that concludes that part of the program, applaudes please. (Dean looks behind him and says) And would someone be kind enough to call for an ambulance? Thank you, well lets tally-ho to the next performer then.

  110. #110 Gregory Greenwood
    April 28, 2010

    The very idea of a grduation benediction annoys me. I see no reason why a seat of learning should cover itself in the trappings of openly anti-intellectual religion, or why a university should take it upon itself to shove religiosity into the faces of students, many of whom may be of different faiths and some of whom (one hopes at least) will be atheists.

    It is especially disturbing when seen in the context of a society that that has gone to such consitutional lengths to ensure the seperation of church and state.

    As for the girl herself; at first glance she appears to be in need of some form of medical assistance. If so, I hope she received it. If it transpires that she was faking it, then I hope her act was exposed. On the available evidence none of us can be certain what her condition was.

  111. #111 KOPD
    April 28, 2010

    This seems apropos to the conversation at hand.

  112. #112 Jordan
    April 28, 2010

    I’ve watched that about 100 times, and judging from the layout of the room that is visible and the music the band is playing (we still play that shit to this day) I am about 90-95% sure that that took place at the University of Central Arkansas where I currently attend. I really want to ask around the faculty to see if any of them remember this going on just so I can confirm it with more certainty.

  113. #113 Carlie
    April 28, 2010

    If he was so concerned, why wasn’t she ushered off stage earlier and when she finally collapses why doens’t he stop the ceremony?

    My guess is that he knew she was “faking” (I don’t think it’s conscious faking so much as thinking “this is how we pray”), was appalled at it, and tried as best he could to get it over with without giving in to the temptation to say “Thank GOD that’s over” into the mike.

  114. #114 mikerattlesnake
    April 28, 2010

    (didn’t watch the video but)

    I bet she would have regained her composure real quick if someone had just nonchalantly tried to roll her off the stage.

  115. #115 modano
    April 28, 2010

    “Would someone in the back please call an ambulance”

    It actually was kind of funny in the end there, with the “show must go on” attitude while the girl was still on the floor right behind him.

    It is sad tough. Because this has to be the parents brainwashing of her since childhood.
    No way she became this fanatic on her own.
    There should come a time where some form of authority can take action against parents who bring up their children like this.

    Geir

  116. #116 Rawnaeris
    April 28, 2010

    Give the audience a break. If that had happened at my Uni in Texas, the silence would have been from shock as much as anything. Its when the audience joins in like at a church service I got talked into attending that you need to worry.

    There is a lot of social pressure to just let the prayer-person do their thing and then you can get along with the graduation. I remember taking a short nap during the religious part of my graduation. The words are unfortunately not that unusual, although I’ve never heard someone ‘repent’ from Humanism before.

  117. #117 sophia-daniels
    April 28, 2010

    if you hate intellectualism so much you should have dropped out before you got to graduation. i mean you had to choose to go to this institution lady. though i guess you didn’t pay attention in english 101 when they talked about irony.

  118. #118 davita22
    April 28, 2010

    @negentropyeater
    Having been raised in a Tamil family, I’ve also seen some crazy shit happening at Thaipusam (although we call it Kavadi for some reason). For me this kind of stuff highlights the amazing capacity of the human brain and I would love to know if any one has done any substantial studies to find out exactly what happens on a biochemical level during trances or “fire-walking”.
    Anybody here heard of any such research?

  119. #119 ambook
    April 28, 2010

    Also: Some of them do get so worked up to go into their Jesus Seizure that they pass out. Most don’t. The kids who went to those churches where I lived always made quite bets on who would flop out first, and if any of the women would show their panties in the process.

    I have extended family who are Pentacostal and when I was 11 or I got taken to a tent revival with one of them. I didn’t have a choice, but fortunately I was pretty skeptical even then. Anyway, the ladies all fainted from speaking in tongues, which was creepy. But the creepier thing was the little boy who was assigned to walk around with a basket of blood red towels to drape over the nether regions of the passed-out ladies in the name of modesty. The preacher made a big deal of this, announcing it several times before the part of the service where he encouraged the crazo glossolalia stuff. I thought then, and still do, this was one of the funniest things I’d ever seen.

    I wonder if the boy is now making toilet-brush analogies in discussions of marital sex…

  120. #120 Cheezits
    April 28, 2010

    Apparently she was physically sick.

    Leaving that aside, how was any of that appropriate for a graduation ceremony?

  121. #121 AJ Milne OM
    April 28, 2010

    Regarding questions re ‘inducing’ glossolalia in a clinical setting: in fact, it’s been learned and reproduced in such settings. See this ccite.

    And re Snow Crash, I like Stephenson’s stuff okay, on and off. But if I were to discover he really meant that explanation as anything more than a silly yarn that happened to drive a fun little plot, I’d think a great deal less of him.

    As to the question of whether the speaker knows she’s doing this deliberately, and in some sense dishonestly: with the usual caveats, I’d say: essentially, yes, she almost certainly does. I’d wager it’s one of those learned, complex, half-lies with which religious practice is so rife–a lie she’s seen so many other people tell, and maybe she convinces herself temporarily she’s moved to such displays by some external force… It’s hard to know the degree to which she ever believes it, as she’ll rarely or never admit doubt, at least unless she leaves her sect, as the culture in which she’s immersed will generally discourage admissions of the same.

    (/This, I suspect, is the character of most, if not all, religious ‘belief': half-lies–or doublethink–you talk yourself into a given delusion at least long enough to look half convincing, as expected within the culture that carries that religion. So it’s a complex dishonesty–and one often coerced through methods that might recommend much sympathy for those so coerced–but dishonesty, all the same.)

  122. #122 Paul W., OM
    April 28, 2010

    I think this happened in 1999.

    Here’s an old article about it. Note the byline.

    Those were the days.

    O Lord, Lead Us Not Into Graduation
    by Chris Mooney

    Last May at Midwestern State University, an evangelical Christian student named Mary King made a very strong case against graduation prayer. She did so not by argument, but by frothing at the mouth.

    During her spring commencement benediction, she asked God to forgive her fellow students for their sins. In particular she begged forgiveness for the sin of using their time to get a university education instead of devoting their lives to prayer. After demanding that her audience repent for their caps and gowns, King collapsed, crying and gasping for air. University President Louis Rodriguez, not recognizing these symptoms of Holy Spirit infestation, called an ambulance.

    As a result of the incident, the MSU Faculty Senate voted 8-7 to remove prayer from future commencements. But President Rodriguez vetoed the decision. At winter commencement, student government President Gant Grimes delivered a much less sectarian prayer, which according to the Wichita Falls Times Record News began, “Lord, we come to you at this special time in our lives to offer our thanks . . .” and ended, “God bless you all and peace be with you. Amen.”

    What a relief. President Rodriguez may yet see compelling reasons for doing away with commencement prayer altogether. The likely formation of a Campus Freethought Alliance chapter on the MSU campus will no doubt quicken the process.

    Chris Mooney is Field Director of the Campus Freethought Alliance and a Senior at Yale University, where he is co-President of the Yale Univ. Society of Humanists, Atheists, and Agnostics.

  123. #123 ambook
    April 28, 2010

    Snow Crashis a wickedly funny commentary on contemporary American stripmall culture, is fiction, and generally comes down on the side of the “glossolalia is bad” view. His basic premise that brains have operating systems that can be hacked doesn’t seem so outrageously weird – it would certainly explain a lot of strange behavior associated with religious memes.

  124. #124 Guy Incognito
    April 28, 2010

    “I repent for the humanism that we have embraced…”

    Hmmm…given that a common response to my lack of belief in god is “HE believes in YOU!” wouldn’t that make god a humanist too?

  125. #125 PZ Myers
    April 28, 2010

    Yeah, whatever happened to that forthright young Yale journalist?

  126. #126 Matt Penfold
    April 28, 2010

    Yeah, whatever happened to that forthright young Yale journalist?

    He realised he could make more money by abandoning ethics and instead write books blaming scientists for everything with as little regard to the truth as he could get away with.

  127. #127 tariqata
    April 28, 2010

    I’ll start off by saying I have no idea whether that was a conscious dramatic performance or not. But the discussion of whether or not she was “faking it” brought to mind a couple of points.

    I was fortunate in that all of my grandparents were, for various reasons, seriously turned off of religion, but my parents were involved in some Christian youth group as teenagers and had friends who were full-on Pentecostals who went in for speaking in tongues. My mother’s (obviously anecdotal) feeling is that they really, really believed they were seized by the “Holy Spirit” and that caused the shaking and convulsing – and when she pretended to speak in tongues, they believed she was too. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I think the woman in the video is almost certainly from a church that has that kind of ecstatic mode of prayer.

    So, combine that background with the fact that she’s making a speech in front of a huge audience. She probably felt butterflies in her stomach, maybe a little bit nauseous, shaky, restless – I know this is how I feel when I speak to an audience. If she’s used to interpreting those physical feelings as the presence of god, even if she planned a somewhat less dramatic “benediction” (although I don’t quite understand how calling on people to repent of their imaginary “evil” is a benediction of any kind), that might explain why she gets so worked up as the speech progresses. I don’t think that she’s necessarily deliberately faking it, or having an epileptic seizure – but I wouldn’t be that surprised if she was seriously misinterpreting some of the physical sensations of nervousness.

  128. #128 Quagmire
    April 28, 2010

    Good grief…and since she’s speaking at the graduation, she’s presumably one of the better students. Of what might her lesser classmates be capable?

  129. #129 Knockgoats
    April 28, 2010

    I would love to know if any one has done any substantial studies to find out exactly what happens on a biochemical level during trances or “fire-walking”. – davita22

    Firewalking does not involve any particular biochemistry: it’s possible simply because coal is a very poor conductor of heat – walk briskly, avoid falling, and you won’t get burned. Try doing it on metal at the same temperature and you’ll get severely burned in seconds.

  130. #130 Matt Penfold
    April 28, 2010

    Firewalking does not involve any particular biochemistry: it’s possible simply because coal is a very poor conductor of heat – walk briskly, avoid falling, and you won’t get burned. Try doing it on metal at the same temperature and you’ll get severely burned in seconds.

    If I recall it is pretty essential that the coals have formed a layer of ash and that the ash acts as a form of insulation.

  131. #131 Paul W., OM
    April 28, 2010

    I noticed that the video seemed to have been edited at several points, so I googled up a transcript, apparently taken from a full video, from a Texas Observer article.

    The differences don’t seem as interesting as I expected; there’s a bit more Jesusy blather, but nothing that seems extra freaky or revealing. Nonetheless, for completeness, here’s it is.

    Jesus vs. Humanism at M.S.U.

    During the May 1998 commencement ceremonies at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, student Mary King gave the following Invocation and Benediction (transcribed from a videotape of the ceremony):

    Invocation

    [As she approaches the lectern, King is visibly trembling]

    Dear Lord:

    Before I ask you to bless myself and my fellow graduates, I repent for myself and my peers for the sin of idolatry. Forgive us Lord, for worshipping the intellectual mind. I repent for the humanism that we have embraced. I repent for our attempt to fill the void in our lives with anything other than you. I repent for impure passions and desires, for our compromise, for our disobedience.

    Now Lord, I ask you to just bless this generation. The young and the old. Let us be truly a people branded with the name of Christ, a people of God, a people who will know God intimately.

    Now Holy Spirit, I ask you to descend on this place with your presence and prepare our hearts, our souls and our spirits for this day of destiny. This will be a day of death to old habits thoughts and ideas. This will be a day of new life.

    We praise you God. We worship and adore you. We stand in awe of the king of the universe who is so passionately in love with his creation. It was because of this love that he sent his son to suffer through all our sins on the cross.

    Thank you Jesus for your death. We do not esteem it lightly. You are holy and you alone will be lifted up in this place and in all of our lives. Amen.

    Benediction

    Peace, hope and love. These three, but the greatest of these is love. Lord have mercy on us this day. We cry out for mercy rather than judgment. Mercy on our country, mercy on our lives. Lord we need your love to make it through this world.

    [Again, King is visibly trembling]

    Father, God, I just ask right now that you just let your glory fall into this place. Lord, Jesus let you pour out your mercy on this place. Lord, I know there are people here who don’t know you. People who are making wrong decisions. People who are not living their lives as you’ve called them to live.

    [King is now struggling to speak, mumbling]

    Have mercy on them, Lord.

    [Vice-president Howard Farrell steps up behind King and whispers “okay” as she continues to tremble]

    Mercy on them, Jesus.

    [Farrell whispers, “It’s okay” as he grabs King’s notes and holds on to her as she collapses to the floor, shaking, whining and sobbing. Farrell asks President Rodríguez to call for an ambulance; Rodríguez does so, as he dismisses the crowd and cues the band.]

  132. #132 Anti_Theist-317
    April 28, 2010

    Fck ths btch. lthgh rlz sh s typcl thst t s nt ftn thr ctns r cght n tp n ths typ f sttn/fshn. Ths s cllg stdnt, crrct? Sh dd grdt, crrct? Ths s th typ f prsn wh rprsnts n bvs dngr t my chld wh frqntly gs t f stt. Ds nyn hv ny prsnl nfrmtn n hr?

    Tny

  133. #133 naddyfive
    April 28, 2010

    I’m a woman, with TLE, who’s had orgasms just before seizing, and I have to say, that looks nothing like TLE to me.

    And it doesn’t look much like a real orgasm, either. If she had known her performance had a sexual air about it, she’d probably be horrified, as another poster already pointed out. My guess is she’s never had an orgasm– all her libido’s been sublimated and shunted into that old time Jeebus-lovin’.

    If she does have TLE or some form of epilepsy, she’s not ictal in the video, anyway. I’ve had some pretty strange and eerie experiences, some long and spirituality-themed seizures, but I’ve never been tempted to do anything like that. The first thing that goes when you begin to seize, or during a particularly intense aura, is most often your ability to speak. Plus, the more out-there the sensations, the more terrifying the whole thing is. You basically freeze up and just wait for it to be over.

    What she’s doing is creepier than any seizure I’ve ever witnessed, and the obvious performative dimension makes me think the whole thing is voluntary and conscious on a level that pre- and post-ictal symptoms like graphomania often aren’t.

  134. #134 martha
    April 28, 2010

    Faking is not the right word.

    Some people like to mess with altered states of consciousness. Pray hard and harder and pretty soon you are in never never land. Meditation sutras can do the same thing.

    And it is such a strong experience that people end up believing very peculiar things, such as being touched by the holy spirit or becoming one with the absolute.

  135. #135 PZ Myers
    April 28, 2010

    Any attempt to publish personal contact information for the woman in this video will be deleted and the poster banned.

    I agree with those who are saying this is not faking, it’s not an orgasm, and it’s not an epileptic seizure. Visit a charismatic church sometime; the intensity of the feelings in some small number of the people will look just like this, with uncontrollable physical effects and often great personal distress. Your mind alone can really mess you up.

  136. #136 truthspeaker
    April 28, 2010

    Posted by: Rawnaeris | April 28, 2010 11:14 AM

    Give the audience a break. …

    There is a lot of social pressure to just let the prayer-person do their thing and then you can get along with the graduation.

    That’s one of the points PZ and others are decrying.

  137. #137 Ing
    April 28, 2010

    I say it’s fake in the same way hypnotism is fake. Agreeing with an illusion/delusion because it is expected/enforced. It’s the same way you get people acting like demons when they’re being exorcised.

  138. #138 Paul W., OM
    April 28, 2010

    For me this kind of stuff highlights the amazing capacity of the human brain and I would love to know if any one has done any substantial studies to find out exactly what happens on a biochemical level during trances or “fire-walking”.
    Anybody here heard of any such research?

    Not so much biochemical stuff, but there’s been some brain scan and lesion work done.

    Malfunctions of several different brain regions seem to be correlated with different kinds of “spiritual” experiences.

    Temporal (?IIRC?) lobe epileptics and people with surgical damage to the same region seem to be especially prone to sensing the world being suffused with profound meaning.

    The “oceanic” feeling of loss of sense of self and/or oneness with everything seems to be caused by a malfunction of a brain region called the Orientation Association Area, that’s responsible for integrating different maps of the world—e.g., the near-by stuff about limb position and body boundaries, and stuff within reach vs. stuff further away. When the OOA stops working, you simply lose track of where you end and the rest of the universe begins. You get clumsy and weak in the knees and don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground.

    According to Andrew Newberg, that sort of thing seems to work pretty much the same way in several different kinds of experiences—grooving on loud rhythmic music, chanting, repetitive praying, and intense fucking. Allegedly, what happens is that a nearby brain region that processes rhythmic information overloads and flakes out, and stops sending reasonable signals to the OOA, which just shuts down, so that you feel one with the object of your meditation, the whole universe, the music, or your sex partner. (And certain drugs seem to potentiate this sort of thing.)

    Unfortunately, Newberg’s a flake who can describe things like this, which are clearly textbook examples of hallucinations, as “perceptions” that might be there because God wants us to experience God, and made sure our brains were wired that way so that we could “perceive” deep truths, or something like that. He’s a serious panderer to religion, who thinks its important to believe something, whether it’s true or not, as long as it’s nice and not fundamentalist.

    A buzzword to google for in finding this sort of thing is “neurotheology.”

    Another interesting but maybe flaky line of work is Robert Persinger’s, on the “God Helmet” that uses transcranial magnetic stimulation to disrupt the functioning of targeted brian regions and make (some) people feel an invisible presence that may be interpreted as God or some other supernatural entity.

    Used as he prescribes it, he thinks it disrupts communications between the cerebral hemispheres, so that one hemisphere of your brain doesn’t recognize stuff from the other hemisphere as being internally generated, and thinks it’s perceiving thoughts of another mind nearby.

    Unfortunately, Persinger seems to be a flake about several other subjects, so I don’t trust him on this. I do think the general idea is likely roughly right, at some level—disrupting the source-tagging of information flowing from one brain region to another can make imagined things seem real. (Some brain regions are used both for processing external information and for imagining things, and presumably the information from those regions is tagged somehow to indicate whether it’s actually being perceived from some external source, or internally (imaginatively) generated.)

    Basically, the brain has a whole bunch of relatively specialized regions for processing interestingly different categories of information, so it’s not suprising if you can generate various very interesting and “meaningful” kinds of hallucinations by selectively fucking them up. Depending on whether you accentuate or turn down various frontal lobe vs. limbic system stuff, you can get serene positive-affect stuff, or intense fearful Wrath Of God kinds of things. If you fuck up internal vs. external encoding of various different kinds of things, you’ll get various qualitatively different kinds of real-seeming hallucinations.

    Newberg talks about most of these sorts of things in How God Changes Your Brain, but as I said, he’s a flake and an insufferable panderer, so he’s annoying as hell to read and I don’t know how seriously to take him on particular details. (I am not enough of a neuro expert to know what’s an interesting “just so” story vs. pretty well evidenced.)

  139. #139 Bethistopheles
    April 28, 2010

    I have to disagree with you there. Can you really “fake” a phenomenon of that sort? Especially one that transcends individual faiths.

    So people from different religions experience a similar experience. So what? This doesn’t transcend anything. The commonality is not spiritual…whatever; the reason is that they’re all humans with imperfect brains just like everyone else. That they choose to waste part of their brain on something this stupid just shows that they aren’t interested in reality, and does not lend any evidence for some sort of universal bizarre religious experience.

  140. #140 Vicki
    April 28, 2010

    That it’s a thing people can learn to do doesn’t mean it’s faked: “faked” implies intention. In this case, I’d say such a thing is faked iff the person having the experience knows or at least suspects that it has nothing to do with god(s). If s/he thinks that spending time with other Pentecostals has helped her become more open to god, that’s no more fakery than someone who has practiced anything else.

    Sad and/or foolish, yes, but not faked.

  141. #141 SantaCruzOM - this OM does not signify a Molly :-(
    April 28, 2010

    I have a theory that she’s having something similar to a panic attack. At risk of serious ridicule, I’m going to tell this story as an example.

    When I was younger, I used to get very flustered before having sex. I would have something akin to a panic attack. It felt as if I was very cold. My body would tremble, sometimes uncontrollably. It would go away within minutes, but it was very intense for a brief period. It was literally debilitating to the point that I would curl up in the fetal position until it subsided. I think this happens to some people when they experience intense emotions.

  142. #142 Joey Mack
    April 28, 2010

    She might not be orgasming, but the ability to have those feelings and be that in love with something must be related to that circuitry and hardware. I don’t think evolution shaped that kind of state for anything else but sex.

  143. #143 naddyfive
    April 28, 2010

    Panic attack makes more sense than a seizure… especially the apparent “weak knees” she has.

    But I remain unconvinced this has anything but a psychogenic origin.

    Ask a neurologist: plenty of people fake seizures on a regular basis, without even knowing they’re doing it!

  144. #144 Paul W., OM
    April 28, 2010

    Given PZ’s comments and the discussion here, I think this would be a more appropriate version of the video:

    If you’ve seen the original, just skip the first two minutes.

    Here’s the link in case the embedding doesn’t work:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKF8KQIcK3E

  145. #145 TransHero
    April 28, 2010

    Not the first time I’ve seen this video. It is DEFINITELY disturbing.

    I honestly couldn’t tell back then if she was actually having a mental breakdown, or if she was having multiple orgasms from her speech.

    “Forgive us for idolatizing intellectuals”? “Forgive us for embracing humanism”?

    That sort of nonsense merely shows how deluded or evil some of these people are.

  146. #146 RijkswaanVijanD
    April 28, 2010

    clearly psychotic… like the man in the dr. manhatten special:P

  147. #147 https://me.yahoo.com/a/Tr6w6REC19V6YzurHQQjNi1POa8rSooRDss-#7e9c3
    April 28, 2010

    As others have said, I would have walked out on this anti-intellectual rant of a speech pretty early on, in protest. They could mail me the damn diploma later.

  148. #148 drf5n1
    April 28, 2010

    Why did they pick her to give the benediction?

    Was she a guaranteed dramatic performance?

  149. #149 Katharine
    April 28, 2010

    If I had been on that stage, I would have been very tempted to kick her after she fell.

  150. #150 Katharine
    April 28, 2010

    And if this happens when I finish undergrad, I am going to walk out of the ceremony in protest and tell them to mail me the sheet of paper declaring that I have a degree; and I will LOUDLY state my objection to that part of the ceremony.

  151. #151 glenister_m
    April 28, 2010

    If it wasn’t a religous university, rather than reacting to her speech I could see myself/other people having a ‘deer in the headlights’ moment, ie. What kind of nutcase have they got on stage?!

    What the believers fail to realize is that the “I know there are people here who don’t believe in you, they are wrong and need to be shown the way” speech is exactly what you say if you want your audience to think “You are a nutcase, and you are the one who is wrong.”

    Another hypothesis is that she just broke up with her boyfriend, and was retreating to her religion to deal with it.

  152. #152 KOPD
    April 28, 2010

    As much as I hated to, I turned down the opportunity to join the Order of the Engineer when I got my BS because the oath contained these words: “in humility and with the need for Divine guidance”. I could not claim to be in need of “Divine” guidance (whatever that is) without lying, and I will not take an oath in bad faith.

  153. #153 Mike in Ontario, NY
    April 28, 2010

    1) If I was in that graduation, I would have WANTED to walk out on teh crazy, but remember that graduation is for families, too. I wouldn’t have my family travel to see me graduate and then disappoint them by walking out.
    2) For that reason, people like this woman PISS ME OFF to no end with their selfish need to push jeebus on everyone around them. I fucking despise Tim Tebow for the same reason…go ahead and be all goddish if you like, but stop trying to foist it off on the fans, your teammates, and everyone else. Selfish assholes like them always seem to pick the moments when no one is able to walk away without sacrificing something, and then turn on the crazy spigot. Fuck them!

    I can’t wait for Timmy-boy to pull his jeebus bullshit in the NFL. When you alienate your O-line for your own selfish bullshit, they tend to get lax. Even most Xians don’t like other Xians from a different cult pushing their BS. I’m looking forward to seeing Tebow on his back. A lot. I might even become a Raider fan this year.

  154. #154 jcmartz.myopenid.com
    April 28, 2010

    Those types close to her don’t even bother to call 9-11 themselves.

  155. #156 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 28, 2010

    I fucking despise Tim Tebow for the same reason…go ahead and be all goddish if you like, but stop trying to foist it off on the fans, your teammates, and everyone else. Selfish assholes like them always seem to pick the moments when no one is able to walk away without sacrificing something, and then turn on the crazy spigot. Fuck them!

    IANAL

    Exactly the reason that there have been lawsuits against public schools that have had overtly religious speakers (Lee v. Weisman for example) at their ceremonies because of the captive nature of the audience.

    Unfortunately for those not wanting to hear a student blabber on insanely like the subject of this thread (but fortunately for free speech), I’m pretty sure that their speech is protected under certain circumstances where religious speech is not encouraged by the school staff (Adler v. Duval County School Board).

  156. #157 bbgunn071679
    April 28, 2010

    Jesus Emesis.

  157. #158 Magic Pants
    April 28, 2010

    Holy fuck.

    “We’ve heard the benediction, we’ve called an ambulance, now let’s begin the recessional”

    queue music.

  158. #159 DaveL
    April 28, 2010

    She “repents” from “worshiping the intellectual mind”, yet here she is, accepting her degree? That’s like a bank robber “repenting” of his crime… but keeping the loot.

    I guess repentance isn’t what it used to be. No doubt at some point this young woman will get married, at which point she will “repent” of all the pre-marital sex she had. If, of course, she were to get pregnant first, however, I’m sure she’ll “repent” her abortion and be back on the picket line the next day.

  159. #160 faisons
    April 28, 2010

    I fainted in church once. I was raised in a Catholic church. Towards the end of mass, I just randomly blacked out. Blood pressure plummeted. The guy in the pew behind me happened to be a doctor. Nobody suggested it was a religious swoon. The doc said my blood pressure had dropped, and that I might have vasovagal syncope, and possibly anemia. A tilt table test and a blood test later confirmed both. Aaah, science!

    Sadly, when I left the church, I didn’t leave the syncope issue behind.

    But what this nutbag girl did at the graduation? I think it’s shameful, disgusting, and embarrassing. Shameful that someone trained her to act like that (because it’s a trained act), disgusting that the other graduates had to put up with it, and embarrassing that an institution of higher learning is now represented by that video.

  160. #161 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawnmfT6aBFwl3MgiYcsQJa_mnknTQi96v7s
    April 28, 2010

    Bwah! And here I thought it would be this or this.

    I, on the other hand, thought it would be this.

  161. #162 anthonzi
    April 28, 2010

    This video does not appear to be new to the internet.

    March 20, 2007

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMDCWnclzKs

  162. #163 anthonzi
    April 28, 2010

    And here is an article by Chris Mooney on the event:

    http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=world_15_1

    O Lord, Lead Us Not Into Graduation
    by Chris Mooney

    Last May at Midwestern State University, an evangelical Christian student named Mary King made a very strong case against graduation prayer. She did so not by argument, but by frothing at the mouth.

    During her spring commencement benediction, she asked God to forgive her fellow students for their sins. In particular she begged forgiveness for the sin of using their time to get a university education instead of devoting their lives to prayer. After demanding that her audience repent for their caps and gowns, King collapsed, crying and gasping for air. University President Louis Rodriguez, not recognizing these symptoms of Holy Spirit infestation, called an ambulance.

    As a result of the incident, the MSU Faculty Senate voted 8-7 to remove prayer from future commencements. But President Rodriguez vetoed the decision. At winter commencement, student government President Gant Grimes delivered a much less sectarian prayer, which according to the Wichita Falls Times Record News began, “Lord, we come to you at this special time in our lives to offer our thanks . . .” and ended, “God bless you all and peace be with you. Amen.”

    What a relief. President Rodriguez may yet see compelling reasons for doing away with commencement prayer altogether. The likely formation of a Campus Freethought Alliance chapter on the MSU campus will no doubt quicken the process.

  163. #164 https://me.yahoo.com/a/tL1MkU0ghY0gNMrxrvSjJFsEYJYQ0ZIPjQ--#5f870
    April 28, 2010

    Voluptuous Gopi seized by ardor for Krishna ? in Texas

    Krishna couldn?t resist a little sex play by stimulating Texas xian in midst of prayer to wrong divinity.

    What would the US porn industry do without ?God? to pimp for it? True believers? knee jerk horror and disgust with sex are produced by religious conditioning which grinds into the neurons another xian Big-Lie, the inherent ?filth? of sexual organs, sexual attraction, and sexual behavior.

    What-is-forbidden becomes unbearably attractive given the high psychological cost of repressing a beneficial and wholesome drive. Just thank Saul of Tarsus, who had erectile misbehavior problems:

    ?[B]ut I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. Rom 7:23 NIV

    After all no one knows the voluptuous pain of rigorism better than sexual involutes. They are constantly tormented by sin within their “members” — each true believer a do-it-to-yourself Marquis de Sade.

    anti_supernaturalist

  164. #165 Galactus35
    April 28, 2010

    I’m kind of impressed actually. I didn’t think commencement ceremonies could get anymore excruciating until I saw that clip.

  165. #166 Memie
    April 28, 2010

    This young lady is no doubt experiencing what pentecostal holy rollers call being “slain in the spirit.” It occurs when they get so worked up emotionally that they collapse. It used to be a frequent occurance at revival meetings in pentecostal denominations such as Church of God and Assembly of God among others.

  166. #167 Eamon Knight
    April 28, 2010

    Newberg talks about most of these sorts of things in How God Changes Your Brain, but as I said, he’s a flake and an insufferable panderer,

    I read his Why God Won’t Go Away; all that neurological stuff was interesting, and sounded plausible enough (to this layman, anyway). Then in the last chapter he wanders off in to la-la land and starts quoting CS-fucking-Lewis and talking about how maybe this is how God interacts with his worshippers and maybe we can now have a real religion based on this understanding. OK, strictly speaking, showing neurological correlates with spiritual experience doesn’t absolutely disprove that a god is involved, it just pushes his possible action a little further back into the phenomenom — but jesuschristonapogostick when the “explanation” is so obviously *superfluous* to the phenomenom being studied, sensible people (especially scientists) should file it under “Irrelevant, Probably Bullshit”. Even my devout Catholic friend agreed Newberg was being stupid.

  167. #168 Memie
    April 28, 2010

    p.s. I have studied about the Great Awakening which was a time of intense religious fervor in America. It led to the beginning of many new denominations and cults such as the Church of Christ, Disciples, Seventh Day Adventists and pentecostal churches, etc. During some of the revivials it was recorded that some people got so worked up they got down on all fours and barked like dogs or bayed at the moon. Others swooned as the young lady at the Midwestern U. commencement did. As someone mentioned earlier it can happen in non-religious settings too like when all the teeny boppers used to swoon over Elvis and the Beatles. I think it is an interesting phenomena from a purely psychological point of view.

  168. #169 pittige
    April 29, 2010

    you musn’t have compassion with this girl nor must
    somebody laugh with it. What you see here is the
    virus of the mind (dawkins) : religion. Don’t forget religion
    is a coin with two sides: one side creep for your
    god, other side kill everybody who don’t. What you see here is the start of a war against reason, a war against humanity.

  169. #170 Traffic Demon
    April 29, 2010

    In the posting of orgasm videos, I was disappointed that we hadn’t seen this one yet.

  170. #171 Rorschach
    April 29, 2010

    What you see here is the start of a war against reason, a war against humanity.

    Calm down and take your meds.

  171. #172 peter.waine
    April 29, 2010

    Nah, it’s a teaser for a “Dr. House” episode.

  172. #173 davita22
    April 29, 2010

    Thanks Paul W., OM
    Kinda unsuprising that only the dodgiest of people research this sort of stuff.

    “According to Andrew Newberg, that sort of thing seems to work pretty much the same way in several different kinds of experiences—grooving on loud rhythmic music, chanting, repetitive praying, and intense fucking. ” – Paul W

    So given those options of getting mindblown, why would anyone choose praying/fasting/chanting? Ah the mysteries of the religious zealot…

  173. #174 Chinaski
    April 29, 2010

    It is a fascinating phenomenon. I once had the opportunity to visit a Christian Summer Camp in the UK. During one of the nightly prayer meetings, I watched several hundred middle aged, middle class, professional and reserved Brits (if you’ve met any of us you’ll know what I mean) descend into a writhing mass. Speaking in tongues, shaking, falling over and crawling around on the floor. Sadly there was no wailing or gnashing of teeth. I don’t recall any of the other few thousand looking alarmed or calling ambulances – they were all praying up a storm hoping to get there as well. I felt like the only person in the place who was disturbed by all the goings on. This went on for about an hour.
    After it was all over and God had left the building, everyone gathered themselves up and we all had tea and biscuits and a nice chat about the weather.
    It was quite possibly the weirdest thing I have ever seen.

  174. #175 pittige
    April 29, 2010

    rorschach

    good joke. I’am perfectly calm and need no meds.
    I know exactly what I’am writing. after 50 years
    and about 80 books about religion (history as well
    as influence on society and mind) i tell you this
    is like a vulcan who proves there is magma under
    our feet. Till now and 25 years your country shall
    not have a seperation between state and church
    anymore, and this shall only be the beginning.
    I don’t know if the books of Karlheinz Deschner
    are translated in English but if, read them you
    shall know what’s going on

  175. #176 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2010

    good joke. I’am perfectly calm and need no meds.

    And yet you follow that statement with this…

    I know exactly what I’am writing. after 50 years
    and about 80 books about religion (history as well
    as influence on society and mind) i tell you this
    is like a vulcan who proves there is magma under
    our feet. Till now and 25 years your country shall
    not have a seperation between state and church
    anymore, and this shall only be the beginning.
    I don’t know if the books of Karlheinz Deschner
    are translated in English but if, read them you
    shall know what’s going on

    Oh and not everyone who reads this blog is from the US

  176. #177 Michael Lonergan
    April 29, 2010

    I have seen this behavior exhibited hundreds of times within the evangelical/charismatic churches I used to be a part of. This is what those individuals believe to be the power of the holy spirit coming upon them. I believe that it is a type of self hypnosis or self delusion. It is very common behavior in many charismatic type churches today.

  177. #178 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 29, 2010

    blocky quotey faily

  178. #179 hilltop
    April 30, 2010

    In response to Rorschach,

    on Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. I have read the Idiot. I have also studied Medicine.

    The reason I’d asked you why you were so certain was because I had thought you had some detailed knowledge of seizure patterns and I’d hoped to learn the criteria you were using to make your judgement.

    I’m not claiming to be an expert specialist by any stretch and I don’t personally think this was epileptic either (though I’m less than certain) – but your flagrant certainty that it is entirely psychogenic isn’t justified. A little bit of doubt in your assumptions, please.

  179. #180 annemm13
    April 30, 2010

    You’re insulting mental illness.

  180. #181 hilltop
    April 30, 2010

    How so?

    I would have thought the abundance of comments from some others would have been more insulting than my gentle suggestion that this MAY not be entirely psychogenic. I don’t mean to suggest in any way that psychogenic illness is any less real or debilitating or worthy of treatment.

    I’m trying to be careful not to comment outside of my experience. I have some small and very limited experience with epilepsy and psychogenic disorders and I only started commenting to see if I could learn more from others who seemed to have more information.

    I understand that many others here have seen this kind of spectacle at churches before so it’s familiar to them. I haven’t had that kind of experience so I can’t make any comment about it.

    I don’t see how I was insulting mental illness but it wasn’t my intention.

  181. #182 scarygirl
    May 1, 2010

    Oh wow.
    Funniest thing I’ve seen all day.
    And today I marched with 4000 zombies (including a Zombie jesus who heckled a city preacher).

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