Proof of God #387: by motorcycle jumping through wall of fire

| September 11, 2006 | 24 Replies

A friend from Wyoming recently sent me this newspaper clipping from the Sept. 9-10, 2006 Jackson Hole Daily. As you can see, a devout man will prove his faith by jumping his motorcycle through a wall of fire.  

Proof of god by motorcycle - small.jpg

Here is the note my friend sent along with the clipping:

dear e: you are such a good friend that I feel i owe it to you to let you know i am signing off of DI, and probably won’t need to return. i have enjoyed the blog, but you have to admit that so much of it has been devoted to the lack of proof of the existence of god (or God, I am never sure which it is). Now that I have found positive proof, i don’t need DI any more so I wanted to say thanks and bye. your friend

p.s. oh, I meant to mention. here’s the proof, attached. (and who would have thought I would have found proof in a small town newspaper??? go figure.) anyway, the way i see it, if this guy (Gene Sullivan) will jump (as he says, “launch into life”) through fire (“the barrier which stands between us and our eternity”) that is good enough proof for me that god (or is it God?) exists. feel free to share this with grumpy and all your pals (without my name) but it might be the end of DI if they too become believers.

This friend thought he was on to something new and innovative.  This proof, however, the ontological motorcycle through wall of fire proof has been kicking around for years.  I learned about it in a graduate level philosophy of religion class, where we also learned of the proof of God by smashing 10,000 pumpkins and the proof of God by invading and occupying Middle Eastern countries. 

If my friend ever writes back, I’ll then update this post to indicate whether Sullivan successfully proved the existence of God.

Update:  According to Jhnews and Guide, Gene Sullivan did jump his motorcycle through a wall of fire, successfully demonstrating “his faith in Jesus Christ.”

                                  Gene Sullivan.jpg

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Category: American Culture, Humor, Religion

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (24)

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    This guy isn't putting much faith in Jesus: his bio says he worked with Evel Knievel, and then did stunts on his own, so he has a practiced hand at jumping motorcycles through fire.

    If he *really* wanted to demonstrate his faith in Jesus, he'd jump off a cliff without a parachute.

    Speaking of which, the 9/11 remembrance was featured today on one of the religious television channels, complete with the "miracle" story of one of the survivors. Given that many thousands of people survived the attack, and many thousands didn't, is it really a "miracle" that at least one person had a narrow escape? A "miracle" would have been if everyone had survived.

  2. friend of Erich&#039 says:

    grumpy, i am erich's friend who sent in the "motorcycle through fire" article that convinced me of the existence of g[G]od, which i have been looking for for nearly 60 years. I would appreciate your not bursting my bubble. OK?

  3. Erika Price says:

    I must have missed the other 386 proofs of God. I may have lost out on 386 chances to truly test my (lack of) faith. Maybe the religious like to keep them a secret? Heaven might have limited room.

  4. grumpypilgrim says:

    "Maybe the religious like to keep them a secret? Heaven might have limited room."

    LOL! Yes, indeed! How could the faithful truly enjoy their eternity in heaven without the schadenfreude of peering over the ramparts and yelling, "SEE! I TOLD you so!" at all their enemies down below?

  5. Erich Vieth says:

    See the update to this post re: proving God exists via motorcycle jump through wall of fire.

  6. Deb says:

    Look at that picture of fire really closely. I think I see God there! I recognized him from all the photos in churches (although admittedly, there are more of Jesus). Maybe Erich's friend is onto something.

  7. Erika Price says:

    I have to echo grumpy's first comment to this post. Why didn't he go through the wall of fire without a helmet? Did he have flame-retardant clothing on? Shouldn't the presumption that he must protect himself offend God?

  8. grumpypilgrim says:

    I think people who get into their cars and drive to work every day — braving all the crazies on our roads — are doing just as much to "prove" their faith in God as this guy has done. His stunt was a highly controlled event, far more so than the average morning commute. As Erika points out, his faith in Nomex clearly surpasses his faith in God.

    So, here's my question:  if his (low-risk) leap through fire is supposed to be a profound statement of faith in Christianity — one that is supposed to persuade us all to become followers — then how should we view Muslim suicide bombers, who demonstrate their faith by blowing themselves up?  Seems to me it doesn't make much sense for Christians to play a round of "Hey, everyone, look at my faith in God!" when radical Muslims have already won that game.

  9. Braddles says:

    Poor God. He has to put up with all this crap. There is no testimony in the natural man! Unless one is enjoying Christ as their reality and living by His divine life, with their own life terminated – galatians 2.20 style – there can be no expression of Christ, no glory, no testimony!!! There are two unique sins, out from which all sins have their source: for the unbeliever it is to deny Christ as Lord, for the believers it is to not live by Christ as the life-giving spirit mingled in their own spirit. Its like they have a billion dollars in their bank account, but they can't find their eftpos card and they have to search the gutters for pennies.

    When you see this kind of thing, please – don't hold it against God. He was incarnated to bring God to man, crucified to terminate the Devil and redeem us from our ugly fate, resurrected to bring His Body the church into resurrection so the believers can be supplied by the divine life (zoe in original greek) and acended to become the life-giving spirit (1 cor 15:45) and as such has imparted Himself into many people and begotten them as His children of which I am one. As the life-giving spirit, He can come into you and fill you with God – including such elements as love, joy, faith, peace, and more, all much better than the mere human equivalents such as natural human love and joy which are really only a shadow. You want proof in God? You really want proof in God? You try spending 3 hours crying out the Lord's name ("Lord Jesus!") and confessing your sins and shortcomings and weaknesses and telling Him you love Him. Boom. You'll get your proof and more. Your universe will be turned inside out and everything you thought was reality will turn out to be a lie and Christ will become your only reality. You try it, I dare you.

  10. Ben says:

    "try spending 3 hours crying out the Lord’s name (”Lord Jesus!”) and confessing your sins"

    The *three minutes* I spent deciphering that crappy post was pain enough, thanks.

  11. Mindy Carney says:

    I am believer in God – altho' I believe in God as the power behind, over and around everything else. I believe God comes in many forms to many people. I believe we are all connected in ways we have yet to begin to comprehend.

    I also believe that were I to spend three hours crying out anything – Lord Jesus, Allah, Yahweh, God Almighty, Bruce Almighty, Stringcheese – while simultaneously confessing and listing my sins and shortcomings and weaknesses (given, of course, that I could even fit all that into a mere three hours) – I would get proof of nothing more than the absurdity of most everything humanity has created to try and explain what we cannot understand. And if I didn't feel compelled toward suicide by this picture of the evil side of Mindy (I mean, just get me out of everyone else's way, for crying out loud), then I might find a renewed sense of awe in the fact that I am still sane after all that, and a renewed sense of the messy beauty of humankind.

    Or I might just need a nap. Not sure. 'Course saying and doing are two different things, so next time I have three hours of nothing planned, perhaps I'll use it to cry out instead.

    Oh, wait. I've already done that. Long ago, when I'd fallen apart and lost my way. I needed help to find it again, and in the course of accepting that help, I did a long version of what Braddles described here. Sadly, I didn't find Christ. Blessedly, I did find me. And God, and Allah, and the simple perfection of the teachings of Buddha. It's all good.

  12. Dan Klarmann says:

    As Braddles points out, chanting a mantra such as "Allah Akbar", "Jesus is Lord", or "Rams All the Way" in loud company goes a long way to convincing the chantor of the irreducible and eternal truth of the chant.

    He also points out that Jesus came to eliminate the stain of sin. If JC succeeded, those who believe in a Zoroastrian/Christian style afterlife have no worries. If he failed, then they'd better pray hard.

    I like the binary millionaire metaphor. Either you must use your ATM card, or you must dig for pennies. I prefer a multi-valued view that includes the ability to think, and therefore realize that there are many other ways to get to your assets.

  13. Mindy Carney says:

    Grumpy wins. He says the Muslims won the game, but he wins, simply for noticing that the Muslims won.

    I am frightened by the possibility that a large crowd of people actually watched the guy jump through the fire and immediately fell to their knees in praise of Jesus.

    How many times can God roll his eyes before they get stuck that way?

  14. Ben says:

    "I believe in God as the power behind, over and around everything else"

    (Bangs head against dresser, repeatedly)

    I hate to throw you to the lions already, but your quote begs the question… "what is the power behind over and around God?" Or does it just stop right there at God, with a little sign saying this cute old man is God, and you have reached the end of the universe?

    Of course this is an age old question, what came first God, or the Earth/Womankind. And if God came first, what came before God? You see, we (I) don't get anywhere "believing" just for the sake of believing. I will probably not be satisfied if you say something like, "well it's better to be safe than sorry" or "it's just too cold/boring to think we die when our body does".

    I will however be willing to accept "I use religion as a personal crutch/empowerment to explain things which I don't understand, but am too lazy/busy to investigate through modern science".

  15. Vicki Baker says:

    Ben, why does anything at all exist?

    What if God is not a cute old man, but the "ground of being" a la Paul Tillich? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Tillich)

    What if the spiritual teachings of our ancestors are not crutches or explanatory devices, but adaptable tools for building a meaningful life right now?

    I realize that your job of debunking religion would be a lot easier if all believers were fanatical literalists who believe in the inerrancy of scripture and go around praying for the laws of the universe to be suspended in their personal favor. Take it as a challenge, or as they say, an opportunity to excel. : )

  16. Mindy says:

    I've never prescribed to "better safe than sorry" even when I probably should have, Ben, so I guess in your world I fall into the too lazy or stupid to research it and figure it out thing.

    I use "God" because I don't have a better term for it. Yes, it explains what I don't understand, I suppose – altho' I am well aware that just because I, being lazy and all, don't understan it doesn't mean that science can't explain it.

    I believe, actually, that one day science may actually explain what is my perception of God. I've had these conversations with Erich, too, and he looks at me as if I'm a little lost child, not quite capable of grasping it all. There is a power, a connectedness among humankind that transcends what is yet explicable by science. God, as it were, is the hub. Eventually we'll figure it all out, and then God will explain where it came from.

    Please don't bruise your forehead on my account. I have an almost 12-yr.-old who is a proud agnostic, and she does her best to keep me in line.

  17. Ben says:

    I use the bible paper when I run out of toilet paper, would that be considered a "tool" in the sense you meant? Just kidding, I have learned quite a bit from you Vicki.

    BTW, Are you the same "Vicki" who wrote…

    "I don’t believe, I KNOW. The Kingdom of Heaven is within you. And me. And you. Also the hell and the Devil."

    Oh, and yes, I believe in the Little Cute Man Theory of the Universe. His name is Stephen Hawking.

  18. Ben says:

    Thanks Mindy,

    You seem very rational that's why I asked, and you have given me the best answer I have seen in while. One thing which I picked up on in your last post (I could be wrong) you seem to think that humans hold a sacred or at least "special" role in the universe. Hard to argue with that without sounding like a complete cynic.

    The God/universe you describe "a power, a connectedness among humankind that transcends" sounds similar to some other *self-centered* beliefs we have seen in history which have been either debunked or deemed immoral. What I have in mind is things like: Heliocentrism, flat-earth, young earth, *greek gravity*, conquerors, conquistadors, kings, queens, aryan supremacy, white supremacy, black supremacy, north korean supremacy, christianity (sorry, no free pass here), islam, piltdown, demonic possesion, blood letting, slavery, the lochness monster, umm I guess thats a stretch… but you probably get my point by now.

    http://www.andrews.edu/~calkins/math/biograph/bio

  19. Mindy says:

    Rational? Me? I'm blushing, Ben.

    Truly, I agree that it sounds self-centered to say "a connectedness among humankind" – and I shouldn't have phrased it that way. It is a connectedness among all living things.

    That being said, I admit to being an omnivore and to acknowledging a hierarchy, such that it is, of among species, with humans are at the top, at least on this planet.

    Do other creatures have language and emotion? Yes. Has any species other than human learned to record their thoughts for posterity? Books have been written on the impact of that alone on culture. Check out Walter Ong's Primary Orality for a nice light read.

  20. Dan Klarmann says:

    Humans are on top of a human-defined hierarchy. Most school text books (that show evolution) still show evolutionary progression from unicellular creatures to Man, the traditionally presumed top.

    However, when you frame speciation in a purely genetic view, man belongs to a phylum that is just a side shoot off of the global family tree. Many phyla are more advanced, more deviated from the common origin, than are mammals.

    I'm sure I read a Stephen Jay Gould article about a museum display in the last decade that arranged a walk through evolution based on this new understanding. What a brouhaha that raised! Man was in one of the earlier displays, as evolution progressed beyond him.

    Coral reefs have left us quite a saga of their struggles over the last few million years as they battled climate and geological changes. I doubt it was a conscious legacy, but it is a lasting one.

    Mindy, do get a copy of Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought, where the author walks you through how various sciences have figured out many of the roots of human perceptions of God.

  21. Ben says:

    Dan is correct. It seems that bacteria, crocodiles and roaches, even Ants have us beat in terms of and predicted longevity as a species.
    http://www.amnh.org/nationalcenter/youngnaturalis
    (…from matthew age 12, he seems to recommend studying the behavior of roaches to draw cues to how we can be more successful as a society, but maybe thats a stretch.)

    The following article about intelligent design mentions roaches, wow that guy musta been REALLY smart, the great designer guy I mean…
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/cosmo.html

  22. Ben says:

    "However, our best estimate today is that the total energy of the universe is zero (within a small zero point energy that results from quantum fluctuations), with the positive energy of matter balanced by the negative potential energy of gravity. Since the total energy is zero, no energy was needed to produce the universe and the first law was not violated."

    "why humanity rather than cockroaches was the goal God had in mind"

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/cosmo.html

  23. Ben says:

    "It is a connectedness among all living things."

    Nice try Monkey, but to me that didn't clarify things too much because it's still very much self-centered.

    Not saying self-centered in a bad way, just in a true/false way. Yes,

    That "connectedness" you speak of is also palpable to me, on occasion. But the feeling has been described by science too. Animals, including humans, can pick up on very small changes in environment, miniscule facial cues, body language. My dog even can sense impending low-pressure weather systems, impending trips to the vet, and the occasional Ben storm.

    Here is another way I am thinking about it, like a heirarchy of self-importance with most self important being 1. I guess each person might rank these differently though…

    1. I am central to the universe

    2. Animals are central to the universe

    3. Earth is central to the universe

    4. Living things are central to the universe

    5. The sun is central to the universe

    6. Matter is central to the universe

    7. Energy/gravity is central to the universe

    8. Science of Chemistry/Cosmology/Physics/etc. is central to the universe

    My "money" is invested more heavily toward the bottom of this scale.

  24. Ceci says:

    for more proof that God uses this guy, read about how he raised the 4 children of a murderer and rapist…….

    http://www.precious-testimonies.com/BornAgain/a-c… story of my life

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