I recommend this as an entrance exam for the priesthood

Maybe it would have been more sensible to start with the water-and-wine trick, and later work up to the walking-on-water finale.

A priest has died after trying to demonstrate how Jesus walked on water. Evangelist preacher Franck Kabele, 35, told his congregation he could repeat the biblical miracle. But he drowned after walking out to sea from a beach in the capital Libreville in Gabon, west Africa. One eyewitness said: “He told churchgoers he’d had a revelation that if he had enough faith, he could walk on water like Jesus. “He took his congregation to the beach saying he would walk across the Komo estuary, which takes 20 minutes by boat. “He walked into the water, which soon passed over his head and he never came back.”


  1. says

    The water-to-wine trick is much more practical.

    But walking on water would be nifty, ‘cuz then we’d be able to watch 133t mad n1nja fights on the water.

  2. Mena says

    and later work up to the walking-on-water finale.
    By “later” do you mean in January? Even *I* can walk on water then!

  3. Steve Watson says

    By “later” do you mean in January? Even *I* can walk on water then!

    Not in Gabon, I bet you can’t ;-). But where I live, we make a major community activity out of water-walking, sometime around early February — people take their kids, vendors sell snacks and everything. Ottawa must be such a faith-filled place……

  4. says

    Definitely start with the water-and-wine trick. If we find someone who can do that, we don’t want to let them go drown themselves. The Bible doesn’t mention walking on wine does it?

  5. Alex says

    Francks eyes: brain, the water’s up to the waist
    Francks brain: it’s ok. The lord will lift me up.

    Eyes: OK, now it’s at the neck, you beter tell the lungs to get ready to stop inhaling.
    Brain: I have faith in the Lord.

    Lungs:we weren’t made to process this stuff!!!….gurgle, gurgle…
    Eyes:everything’s becoming dark….
    Brain: I see Jebus!!

  6. says

    I read a book written by a Christian missionary to Gabon. Apparently it’s a rather credulous audience, to put it mildly. Of course this pleased the missionary no end.

  7. says

    Golly gee, PZ, don’t you know that faith can do anything? You just have to believe. This poor guy just didn’t have enough faith. With enough faith, you can move mountains. You might say this is just idle speculation or foolish superstition, but I’ve seen it with my own eyes! Of course, I was reading Johnny Hart’s B.C. in the Sunday funnies at the time!

  8. idlemind says

    And didn’t he realize he wasn’t walking on water when it was up to his waist?

    Does anyone else see the sheer narcissism involved in this sort of “faith”? I mean, even if one believes that there is a God that can enable one to perform miracles, you’d have to think that it is His choice whether or not to do so, not some believer who decides on a whim to call upon Him for a demonstration of His powers…

    Personally, I can’t think of a worthier candidate for the Darwin award.

  9. Ick of the East says

    He never came back….YET!

    But I believe that he will come back one day (alongside Jesus and the Hidden Imam) to lead us all to an earthly paradise of Thai massage and custom motorcycles.

  10. SEF says

    So that’s how the cthulhoid / cephalopod overlords make their play: use their mind-control rays to convince some poor fool (who perhaps failed to wear his protective foil hat) to come to them – with the most “open-minded” gullible and deluded ones being the easiest victims to summon. He may be doing the water-to-wine trick right now – in the reverse blood-of-Christ vein.

  11. says

    I predict Franck will come walking up out of the surf somewhere near South Nag’s Head, NC with a message for the authorities to send a boat back for Gilligan, the Skipper, too, the Millionaire…and his wife, the Movie Star, and the rest.

  12. TomK says

    If you want to turn ‘water’ to ‘wine’ such that many people will think you are holy, here is how to do it. Eat a bunch of aminita muscaria mushrooms. Then uriniate into a wine jug. Then serve. You’ll start babbling hippy shit about loving your neighbors, and the audience will think you are holy. It’s similar to what happens at Grateful Dead shows.

  13. Uncle Joe says

    I liked the miracle where Jesus got the rich haves to share with the poor have-nots. Now there’s a real miracle, by gum!

  14. oldhippie says

    Yes we should produce a report saying that a man like this SUCEEDED and everyone was falling at his feet. Then maybe more would try. I rather hope Anne Coulter will be the first

  15. says

    I admire this guy (posthumously). Most other people claim they have faith, but actually rely on practical measures to get stuff done. No pretense with him, though. He really lived according to his faith. Well, for a while.

    Question for pondering: Is this the inevitable result of faith-based living?

    Of course, any good study requires replication. Get Falwell on the phone.

  16. oldhippie says

    By the way that is the only source I could find for that story and the source looked a bit unreliable. On the other hand a few weeks ago there was the one with the guy that jumped into the lions den and got eaten.

  17. Keanus says

    Anyone think we could convince Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, or the acolytes at the DI to demonstrate their prowess at this. Surely the reason the Gabon minister couldn’t do it was insufficient faith. I’ll bet our fundamentalist geniuses could do it. Just think of the rewards.

  18. says

    This is just to nitpick, but priests and preachers are most definitely distinct, and conflating them in an argument against religion will, at the very least, appear to weaken the argument.

  19. says

    Maybe it’s just me, but it seems there are nearly as many “religious nut puts trust in Jesus; Jesus fails to come through” stories as “Virgin Mary appears appears on random item” stories in the news these days.

  20. gregonomic says

    You should be careful, PZ. Stephen Colbert put the Journal of Paleolimnology “On Notice” for publishing a paper which suggested that Jesus walked on solid water.

    Perhaps you’ll consider treating the miracles with a bit more respect, lest you incur Mr Colbert’s wrath?

  21. Steve Watson says

    Perhaps you’ll consider treating the miracles with a bit more respect, lest you incur Mr Colbert’s wrath?

    Maybe PZ’s angling to get put on notice by Colbert, so he can appear on the show? That’s an interview I’d love to see: Colbert doing his trademark American Wingnut impression, PZ responding with one of his trademark rants about religious loons, including the one in the White House. Hell, I might even fly to NY to see it in person!

  22. Ktesibios says

    Well, sure. Walking on fluids such as water or air can only be done until the walker realizes what he is walking on. Therefore it’s impossible to walk on water deliberately.

    Guy couldn’t even get basic Cartoon Physics right.

  23. Nathan Perrier says

    I wonder if all his loyal followers lost a little faith after witnessing that failed test.

  24. Ichthyic says

    Get Falwell on the phone

    naww, he’s too busy being bribed to keep hurricanes away from various states.

    I hear it’s quite a lucrative business, even though his success rate is rather poor.

  25. Stuart Weinstein says

    “I wonder if all his loyal followers lost a little faith after witnessing that failed test.”

    Of course not. It was God’s will that the Priest was negatively buoyant.

  26. G. Tingey says

    Definitely a case for a Darwin award …..

    And reminds me of the two Irish priests and the Rabbi, out fishing – both priests “walk on water” to get bait, food, etc … the Rabbi tries to emulate them, and falls in – has to be rescued – punch line: “For Christ’s sake Mick/Paddy, why didn’t you show him where the stepping-stones were?”

  27. Paul says

    Great story – though I’d give it a little more credence if the apparent primary source wasn’t the Glasgow Daily Record – a fairly trashy Scottish red-top tabloid. The only other place my google fu can find covering it is WorldNetDaily (brr!) and they quote the Record as their source.

    So, while I’d really love this to be true, I think some more supporting evidence is needed to silence my pinging Skeptometer.

  28. Grumpy Physicist says


    naww, he’s too busy being bribed to keep hurricanes away from various states.

    I hear it’s quite a lucrative business, even though his success rate is rather poor.

    Oh, they’re just a bunch of charlatans. They don’t have my Magic Paperclip™ that has kept Nevada 100% free of hurricanes for many years now. Utah too, I think. Let’s see them try and top that record!

  29. HP says

    So, we’ve had historical reenactments of “Daniel in the Lion’s Den” and “Christ Walking on the Water.” Who wants to bet that the next act is “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego”?

  30. says

    You can walk on the water in the summer too – if you are holding on to a rope attached to a fast moving boat, but if you lose your faith… errh… balance, it hurts like hell when you fall.

    I guess when I tried I didn’t have as much faith as
    this guy.

  31. John M. Price says

    This is almost as good as my idea that churches need to pass the god test in 1Kings before they get tax exemptions. If that bullock just rots – well try again in five and maybe god will bless your dead cow with a bolt from heaven and ignite the waters surrounding it!

  32. says

    No, no, no, it was a miracle. The miracle was: he didn’t float!

    Praise FSM! Or Chtulthu. Or something. Someone. Anybody?

  33. Millimeter Wave says

    One down. Many more to go.

    Excuse me, but I consider this pretty offensive. However much disdain I have for religion, I wish noone ill, no matter how bizarre their personal beliefs might be.

  34. Numad says

    I was afraid I was the only one, Millimeter Wave.

    Plus, he must have been sincere as well as deranged. It’s just sad.

  35. TroyMichaels says

    Actually, this should be used as a test for all existing priests to prove their “faith”. Perhaps if they carried lead weights with them it might be even more impressive!

  36. Darmok and Jillad at Tenegra says

    “Doncha think that I know
    that walkin’ on water
    won’t make me a Miracle Man.”

    – Elvis Costello

  37. Samantha Vimes says

    It occurs to me that in a religion that forbids suicide this could be a depressed man’s way of working around it. He can’t be condemned– he had faith God would not drown him.

  38. zephyrQ says

    I read most of the beginning comments regarding this man that drowned in the name of faith in God. Your ignorance is sweet to only one and that not being yourselves. I logged on to this site to see what the hooplah was all about. And to be honest all I could think of while reading these entries is wouldn’t you rather live your life with God in your heart and find out that it isn’t true than live your life without God and find out it was all true? ……Something to ponder my little sweets:)

  39. Ziggy says

    Ah, Zephyr Q, don’t pelt us with that old standby. I’m sure we’ve all heard Pascal’s Wager and I’m equally sure that all of us consider it trash. Nice try.

    And I agree that this should be a test for all priests’ faith.

  40. Thomas C says

    walking on water maybe is the other meaning rather than physically walk on water. This guy really did not use his analytical mind but more on action.that is why he ended up to heaven i think based on his belief. i think if he believe that human are monkey , he will really perform in the jungle to proof that he is a monkey. this is not a good idea on testing faith… i believe the number of people who believe god after the going to be priest pass the message will be a good way.

  41. John Fragale says

    Oh well, trying to walk on water is not as odious as molesting young boys (and young girls,in a number of cases).

  42. says

    All the faithful should try this stunt, and we’d improve the average I.Q. of the global population, overnight.

    If they want a good card trick to start off with, I’ll be happy to teach them. But let’s get on with it.

  43. says

    They’d better be waterproof cards. Maybe a coin trick would be more reliable for a performer who’s going to be doing it at the bottom of a lake?

  44. Wend Song says

    You all know that it wasn’t lack of faith or intelligence. He continued to have faith that he would be saved, until he wasn’t. That’s why he drowned. He and his family deserve our sympathy. He was a victim of his own propaganda. He thought he was the “Little Engine who Could”.

  45. Emmanuel says

    Jesus Christ was 100% God and 100% man on earth. Yes, Jesus Christ did walk on water, turned water into wine at the wedding at Cana, He did feed the 5,000 with few fish and few loaves of bread. Jesus Christ did cast out deamons, Jesus Chrit did heal the blind, the sick, the lame. Jesus Christ did rise Lazarus from the dead. . YOu know what else? Jesus Christ was Crucified for your and for my sins. Jesus Christ was mocked, rediculed, punched, pushed, spat on, slaped. His Body was given up for us so that we can live, His blood was sheed for the forgiveness of our sins

    Jesus Christ was buried and God ressurected Him on the 3rd day defeating, sin, death, satan. Jesus Christ loves you. God Bless

  46. Emmanuel says

    You scientists can’t even cure cancer and other sicknesses. Yet God on the most high has healed people from cancer, dipression, other sicknesses which science will Never do. Blessed be the name of teh Lord Jesus Christ.

  47. Steve_C says


    Hello deluded godbot!!!!

    The next item up on the Christ is Right is your sanity.

    It’s kinda creepy when they don’t realize how insane they sound.

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