Snake Salvation

Common Sense Media says

Docuseries explores religious snake handling; gory images.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The history, tradition, and purpose of religious snake handling is discussed in an objective, informative context. God, the devil, faith, prayer, and other worship-related themes are central to the show. Patriarchal roles of husbands and wives are discussed.

Positive role models

The pastors are faithful people who worship according to the teachings of the Bible and out of respect for family tradition; they do everything they can for their church and its congregation. One pastor illegally captures and handles snakes for his church; others take dangerous risks when hunting them. One pastor refuses to seek medical attention when he is bitten, and has paid a price for it.

Violence

Worshippers handle deadly snakes and fire; people are sometimes shown getting bitten. Gruesome images of poisoned, inflamed, bloodied, and rotted body parts (both attached and non attached) are visible. Snakes are shown eating live mice. The death of former snake-handlers is discussed.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

Occasional iffy words like "crap" are audible.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Snake Salvation is a docuseries featuring people handling snakes and fire while practicing their religion. Although these activities are discussed in an informative context, kids should be reminded that they can lead to potentially fatal injuries. Expect some gruesome images of snake bites and bloody, rotted limbs (sometimes in jars), that resulted from getting bitten. There's some occasional iffy language ("crap"), and some dangerous snake hunting, too.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

SNAKE SALVATION is a reality series that features people practicing the tradition of snake handling in the name of God. The series features young Tennessee Pastor Andrew Hamblin, and his former mentor, Kentucky Pastor Jamie Coots, two Pentecostal preachers who are continuing the 100-year-old tradition of handling deadly snakes, fire, and other dangerous things as a way of celebrating God's presence. They allow cameras into their church services to document how they pray, speak in tongues, and praise while holding the serpents. When the number of snakes they have in captivity dwindles, they must go out and hunt and capture snakes that they use or trade for those they can use for church services. The risk of getting bitten and poisoned is high, and when it happens, prayer is used as a cure. It's dangerous, but for these worshippers, it is a small price to pay for practicing their faith.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Snake Salvation offers a voyeuristic look into the world of a specific subset of Pentecostalism that believes that handling snakes and fire brings them closer to God by allowing them to experience God's protection. They also underscore some of the challenges they face by practicing their religion, including being forced to break the law when they hunt for or handle snakes in areas that ban these practices.  

It's interesting, but viewers may be disturbed by some of the practices highlighted here, including the general refusal to seek medical attention when people are bitten. Some may also find the patriarchal norms church members adhere to a little troubling, too. But the overall series offers a non-judgmental glimpse into a religious community that considers its faith, and its snakes, to be central to their way of life.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about different religious practices. Throughout history, different religions have practiced painful, dangerous, and/or fatal activities, like circumcisions, human sacrifices, and handling poisonous animals. Where do these practices come from? Is it appropriate for lawmakers to regulate these activities, especially in countries where people enjoy freedom of religion?

  • How does the media portray religions and religious practices that are different from the mainstream? Are shows like this one designed to teach viewers about different religions, or are they really designed to showcase how strange they are?

TV details

Cast:Andrew Hamblin, Jamie Coots
Network:National Geographic Channel
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:Streaming

This review of Snake Salvation was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byDEE k October 25, 2013
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Stop playing with snakes.

These guys are missing the whole message of the gospel. Im sure there are good christians that are in those churches but if you read the bible you'll see that what they are doing is a humongous waste of time. The time they spend drawing attention to themselves and the snakes would be much better spent worshiping and praising god. When Paul was bit by the viper he did not sit there and play with the thing, he flung it into the fire. These people focus so much on the "take up serpents " verse that i think they are neglecting the rest of Gods word. It also says if you are not capable of following mans law, how do you expect to be able to follow Gods law. What they are doing is not only illegal, but totally unnecessary to promote the glory of our loving God. I wish they would use the time to talk about a God so loving that he would send his ONLY son to earth to die for our sins so we could be reconciled to him.
What other families should know
Too much violence

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