My Mom saw a stigmatist, a lady who came to her church and bled from the forehead and wrists when the host was consecrated. The stigmatist sold a tape too, that told about what happens to her at Easter. She locks herself in her room and God or the Devil beat the crap out of her just like she was Christ suffering the whole ordeal of being beaten up and crucified. Then she unlocks the door to her room and tumbles out, and gets taken to some hospital or something. She also loses so much blood, bleeding at every Mass, that she is always weak and some Catholic priests look after her.
I told my Mom that if God was gonna perform miracles, He sure could be performing more kindly and helpful miracles, like stitching up people on the battle field rather than beating the crap out of his own followers (or allowing the devil to beat the crap out of them).
Rachel: Thanks Ed!
You're right. I should hope god has better things to do than to beat up his followers, or allow them to be beaten up. Then again, what's with all the craziness in the world? But, isn't it interesting that folks who seem to desire a "relationship" with God are so willing to undergo such levels of pain and torture? Is that what life is meant to be about, if one follows God? What is the point? Why must one desire to suffer horrible wounds, pick up snakes, give up total self-control in the midst of a crowd, and debase one's very dignity? Is it to prove devotion, or to prove a point to themselves? These are just some of the questions that bother me about such devotees, whether they bleed the wounds of the crucifixion or fall to the floor under the influence of the holy ghost.
Ed: You made some great points. And there's even added craziness once you look outside of Christianity (and outside of it's flip side, Satanism).
Hinduism has festivals where people stick metal things through their flesh and parade around (without bleeding!). Santeria is a part Christian, part voodooish, hybrid that also has speaking in tongues, and falling to the ground. Ancient Greek and Roman religions had temples where healings and oracle "prophecies" supposedly took place. There's Jewish mysticism like the Kabala. And Islamic mysticism like the Sufis and whirling dervishes. Hinduism and Taoism even has sacred sex as part of their faith. Buddhism has monks who set themselves on fire to protest war, and who make intricate designs with colored sand, which are then simply swept away, and of course, there's the infamous book, Zen and the Art of Farting, and the Zen practice of contemplating the enjoyment of a bowel movement. I doubt if I've exhausted all the weirdness of religion. (But I must admit I like Zen and Taoism. There's no sycophantic spirit in either of them, no fear, just being here now.)