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Religious Tolerance logo


About miracles:

A Pastor Allegedly Seeks a
Miracle and is Eaten by Crocodiles.

1

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What is a miracle?

A miracle is an event that violates the laws of nature.

One example is described in Matthew 14: 25-33 when Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ) and his disciple Peter are described as having walked on water. Jesus was on the shore of the Lake of Galilee. His disciples were in a boat at some considerable distance from the land. The author of Matthew described that Yeshua walked on the surface of the water towards the boat. Peter asked Yeshua to tell him to get out of the boat and walk on water. At first, Peter was able to walk successfully. However, he became fearful and started to sink. Jesus pulled him from the water, admonishing him saying "You of little faith. Why did you doubt?” They later climbed safely into the boat together.

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Does it take a miracle to walk on water?

"Tyler" writing for NaturalHeightGrowth.com concluded that:

"From an analysis of skeletal remains, archeologists had firmly established that the average build of a Semite male at the time of Jesus was 5 ft. 1 in., with an average weight of about 110 pounds." 2

A man's sandals in contact with water are typically less that a square foot or 930 square centimeters in cross section. Depending on their construction, they might float on water by themselves. But if a man is wearing them, then his body will be pushing the sandals down into the water with his full weight. It would be impossible for him to either float on or to walk on top of the water -- unless, of course, a miracle happens.

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The story of a failed attempt to stage a miracle on the Crocodile River in Nigeria:

John Owen Nwachukwu wrote an article in the Daily Post/Nigeria newspaper about Pastor Johathan Mthethwa of the Saint of the Last Days Church. The pastor allegedly attempted to replicate the walking on water miracle in Matthew 14. Nwachukwu quoted from an article in the Herald Zimbabwe, which said that the pastor sank into a river, -- known locally in Zimbabwe as the "Crocodile River." He drowned and was viewed by some of his church members being eaten by three crocodiles.

Deacon Nkosi, a member of the church at the scene, was said to have told the newspaper:

"The pastor taught us about faith on Sunday last week. He promised he would demonstrate his faith to us today, but he unfortunately ended up drowning and getting eaten by 3 large crocodiles in front of us. We still don’t understand how this happened because he fasted and prayed the whole week." 3

The members of his congregation explained that the pastor initially waded into the river. When he was about 30 meters (100 feet) from the shore, he attempted to climb on top of the water so that he could start walking on its surface. But three crocodiles appeared from nowhere and started feasting on him.

Deacon Nkosi concluded:

"They finished him in a couple of minutes. All that was left of him when they finished eating him is a pair of sandals and his underwear floating above the water." 3

Emergency responders arrived on the scene a half hour later, but the pastor was already long dead.

Many newspapers in the UK, including The Independent, The Daily Mail, Unilad, Metro, the Express carried the story. They cited the Daily Post in Nigeria, which in turn cited the Zimbabwe Herald as the original source of the story.

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Did the event really happen?

Apparently, the story is false. Snopes.com is a fact-checking web site. After an investigation, they concluded that the events in the story never happened. It is almost identical to an article that was circulated during 2016 in which only the names were different.

Kim LaCapria, writing for Snopes on MAY-15, said:

"The 2017 claim first appeared on Zimbabwe Today on 24 March, and was republished on 13 May 2017 by the Daily Post. The Post notes in its disclaimer that information shared on it is unvetted, and should therefore be read with skepticism." 4

Kim performed a Google search for "Jonathan Mthethwa" and found multiple hits. However, they all were directly related to this story.

Staff at the Skeptical Science web site searched for the:

"... name of the pastor, the name of his church, and even a very specific location." 5

They found lots of hits, all of which describe the same crocodile eating event.

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Some readers' comments:

Within two days, there were over 230 comments posted by readers of the Daily Post article. Some postings, with minor spelling and grammar corrected, were:

  • Promise Chimuanya Nwachukwu posted:

    "Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God. Whatever you hope to achieve with your action is not faith, that's a serious suicide mission you embarked on. No one lives to tell the story. Shadrach, Meshak and Abednigo didn't [voluntarily] jump into the fiery furnace nor did Daniel jump into the lions den, they only had strong faith in God in the face of trial."

  • Daniel O'Hanlon posted:

    "Dialing-up a miracle is the height of vanity; and vanity is never, ever, holy."

  • Karen Cartwright posted:

    "A pastor lost his life and 3 crocodiles gained a well needed meal... Mother nature takes no prisoners.. and cares nothing for human religions and human stories -- we all would do well to remember that."

  • Melanie Boothe Tersigni posted:

    "he was a jackass.....didnt use common sense!!!!, u cant walk on damn water unless there is a bridge or better yet stay on dry land or a boat!!"

  • Barbara Maxtone-Graham posted:

    "Ahhhh...another entrant for the 2017 Darwin Awards."

    The "Darwin Awards" are named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution. They recognize "those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it." 6

Just about everyone seems to have believed that the incident actually happened. So I added a posting myself:

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Lessons to be learned from the story:

1. There is a lot of fake news out there containing descriptions of events that never happened. If it is as riveting as this one, suspect that it never happened. Do a Google search or two as Snopes and Skeptical Science did.

2. If you want to evaluate your ability to walk on water, select a river that is not infested by human-eating animals like crocodiles or alligators.

3. If you want to test your faith by seeking for a miracle -- a result that defies science -- expect to fail. However, make certain that people with cell phones are present so that your attempt is recorded for posterity.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Free image downloaded from Pixabay.com. Image by Steve Buissinne from Sedgefield, South Africa. See: https://pixabay.com/
  2. "Tyler," Natural Height Growth," 2012-DEC-20, at http://www.naturalheightgrowth.com/
  3. John Nwachukwu, "Pastor eaten by crocodiles while trying to walk on water like Jesus," Daily Post/Nigeria, 2017-MAY-13, at: http://dailypost.ng/
  4. Kim LaCapria, "Was a Pastor Eaten by Crocodiles While Trying to Walk on Water?," Snopes, 2017-MAY-15, at: http://www.snopes.com/
  5. "Dave,"Claim: Pastor trying to walk on water at the Crocodile River gets eaten by 3 crocodiles," Skeptical Science, 2017-MAY-15, at: http://www.skeptical-science.com/
  6. "2017 Darwin Awards," Darwin Awards, 2017, at: http://www.darwinawards.com/

How you may have arrived here:

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Author: B.A. Robinson
Originally posted on: 2017-MAY-18
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