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Loopy Christian college kid stabs himself at atheist gathering to prove God exists

AN “Ask an Atheist Day” event at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA, turned nasty this week when Alexander M Huppert, a freshman university studies major, stabbed himself in the hand with a pen, then assaulted an officer who approached to check his welfare.

Alexander M Huppert

After a short struggle with the officer and several witnesses, he was taken into custody.

The incident took place on Wednesday near a table promoting a local version of “Ask an Atheist Day.” The student group Freethinkers at Virginia Tech sponsored the table.

Witnesses said Huppert stood near the table for nearly an hour, then borrowed a pen and drew a circle with a cross inside on the back of his hand.

Nicole Schrand, a senior psychology major, said Huppert then asked students at the table to stab him in the cross with the pen to:

Prove to us God existed.

The students declined.

Schrand said:

We don’t believe in assaulting people. We’re very against assaulting people.

Huppert then asked for the pen back, a request Schrand and other students declined. Seeing another pen, Huppert grabbed it and began stabbing himself in the back of the hand.

Schrand said:

If it had been a more streamlined pen, I would have expected it to go through.

When a police officer showed up, he was “smacked” by the “glassy-eyed” Huppert.

While in custody Huppert broke out a police car window and assaulted two other officers. None of the officers’ injuries required medical attention, and no other individuals were injured during the incident.

Huppert was charged with three counts of felony assault on a police officer, as well as charges of resisting arrest and destruction of property.
He was processed and transferred to Montgomery County Jail, where he is being held without bond.

41 responses to “Loopy Christian college kid stabs himself at atheist gathering to prove God exists”

  1. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    Okay, I know I’m a bit slow but could someone please explain just how the fuck stabbing yourself in the hand with a pen proves the existence of a god, ANY god?

    These people really are loopy, I sometimes wonder if there was a case for eugenics when I read this sort of shit.

  2. Maria Byrne says:

    I know Graham – lol – one word, KNOB!!!!!

  3. ZombieHunter says:

    Well he certainly convinced me…..

    …..that religion makes people incredibly stupid.

    is this the same virginia tech where those shootings happened a few years ago??

  4. Broga says:

    Whoever is trying to give Huppert a college education has an uphill task. Every fact, opinion suggestion will be filtered through his fundie clouded brain. I suppose he was driven into a religious frenzie by learning that atheists exist. This knowledge seems to have unbalanced him. It doesn’t take much to tip these fundies into mania.

    I wonder what his background is?

  5. Andy says:

    The latest ‘must have’ Christian accessory – stigmata, courtesy of Quink, Pelikan or Parker.

  6. Amanda Lynn says:

    I’m not so sure he’s stupid. It says he was “glassy-eyed” and it didn’t mention drugs under the charges. I would say it’s entirely possible that this guy has some mental health issues. I will refrain from judging him negatively until there’s more information about this guy.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Signs of mental illness noted before stabbing
    http://www.collegiatetimes.com/stories/17407/signs-of-mental-illness-noted-before-stabbing/p1

    The father of a student arrested for assaulting several police officers after stabbing himself on the Drillfield Wednesday described him as a good kid who needs some help…

    Michael Huppert, Alexander Huppert’s father, said he had made the decision to bring his son home Wednesday morning [before the incident] with the help of a counselor from Virginia Tech’s Cook Counseling Center….

    Alexander Huppert won several awards in 2009 after saving the life of young boy, his neighbor, who suffered respiratory arrest.

    According to a report from insidenova.com, Alexander Huppert, then 17 years old, performed life saving CPR until fire and rescue personnel could respond.

  8. Stonyground says:

    As far as I can see, the draw on your hand and then stab it argument is just as valid as all the other proofs for God’s existence that I’ve read over the years.

  9. Nathaniel says:

    I once knew a kid who tried to prove he was a vampire by stabbing himself in the hand with a pencil. After a trip to the hospital and a few days off from school, he came back with the realization that maybe he wasn’t a vampire. I’m not sure he made much more sense than this guy, but at least the kid who believed himself a vampire was in the right ballpark (vampires supposedly being stab/pain-resistant).

  10. Broga says:

    @Amanda Lynn: I agree with you. Having read more about Alexander Huppert I think my original comment was wrong. This is a mental health issue and not a religious one. He seems a decent, shy and anxious young man who has serious emotional problems. I hope the charges are dropped and his life gets back on track.

    The way he behaved invites the assumption that he is a religious fundamentalist. They, at the extreme end of the spectrum, are ready to have themselves literally crucified. Alexander Huppert is not particularly religious. He seems to be a brave and modest young man and I hope he manages to leave this episode behind him.

  11. Jachra says:

    His assault on the police officers both before and after being put into the squad car clearly indicates mental illness, rather than religious motivation. Though religion certainly didn’t help.

  12. MrGronk says:

    Although religion at the very least definitely mimics mental illness. Poor silly boy – I hope he gets the treatment he needs.

  13. JHC says:

    Religious issues are mental issues.

  14. jan says:

    There is something sincere in Alexander’s action (of stabbing himself) that does not fit ordinary religious freaks whose religious motivation is to some extent based on fear of unknown.

  15. Jules Manson says:

    I believe this young man should be treated as a psychological case. He may be better served in an institution for the criminally insane and perhaps have all charges suspended. I do however support his defiance of authority (police). But he went about it the wrong way.

    I recently wrote an article for a fine non-profit website, supportatheism.com. It is called, Christianity, The Religion of Peace. It is about the connection between government and religion and why it is detrimental to have religious faith. It can be found in the main flash header and below it. I explain this because URL’s in comments are often removed by many sites.

    http://www.supportatheism.com/2011/atheism/christianity-the-religion-of-peace/

  16. Broga says:

    Jachra: The symptoms are indicative of schizophrenia although the illness could be other things. One problem is that the behaviour of religious fundamentalists is so weird that it is difficult to differentiate from mental illness: a point Mr Gronk makes. Or what about Roman Catholics who claim to be eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus.

    I thought the reaction of the atheists at the college offers a lesson in decency, tolerance and forgiveness to so many christians: they wished Alexander well, said their only concern was him and hoped all the charges would be dropped.

  17. Poppaconn says:

    Pen goes in, blood comes out. You can’t explain that!

  18. Harry says:

    This strikes me as one of those cases of people turning to religion as an alternative to counselling. Not that it’s necessarily any different to someone turning to drink or burying themselves in their work.

  19. Daniel Newcomb says:

    I am a member and the future Vice President of the Freethinkers at Virginia Tech whom was there at this said event. Our club is of the opinion that religion was not the driving force behind this event, mental illness is. From the new evidence that has came to light Mr. Huppert is not a bad guy (he saved a boy in cardiac arrest by giving him CPR during), but a guy that has been afflicted by depression and mental issues. Alex was clearly not in his own mind during this event nor acting in a manner that he had conducted himself in the past.

    Mr. Huppert does not deserve our judgment, but our support. Mental health issues are not just a problem on the Virginia Tech campus but for millions worldwide. We will continue to keep Alex and his family in our thoughts during the troubling time.

    We are friends of Alex, We Are Virginia Tech.

  20. Bran says:

    This guy obviously has mental/psychological issues, so I have a real problem with the story being heralded as the prime example of crazy Christian behavior. As an Atheist, I’d like to see coverage of far more pressing and important issues that face us today.

    One also has to wonder about the European obsession with American religiosity. Why not concentrate on your own religious crazies (and I include your believers in homeopathy, those who worship the British royal family, etc.)?

  21. nicole says:

    i tend to agree that this incident is most definately one of mental health issues over religion. The young man doesnt need to be institutionalised as suggested by jules manson, but he definately does require intense pyschological counselling combined with medicinal help. It seems that his heroic act of saving anothers life might have tipped his psyche over the edge. I also think criminal charges would be more of a hindrence than help.

  22. MarkNS says:

    Religious belief or mental illness…what’s the difference?

  23. NeoWolfe says:

    Previous contributers have voiced a consensus that this is not a bad person. I agree. The evidence is substantial. But, as I read on the internet about his intelligence and his demeanor, I found a critical piece of evidence missing. What was his religious background?

    I once knew a kid, as nice a guy as you could ever meet, but if you fired up a joint with him, He’d start saying how he was an evil person and that Mormonism is the “true religion”. BUZZ KILL!!!!

    The first time I got high, I lost a game of ping pong to my neighbor, and I was the god of ping pong at the time. 🙂 I did several very strange things, but I can recall them, and I would explain them as I thought I was dreaming. Glassy eyed? Maybe a first time user.

    It could be a psychotic episode, as well, but, as other contributers dismiss too readily, if the brainwash wasn’t there ingrained in his psyche neither drugs nor phychosis would have triggered this behavior.

    I’ll be watching how the story unfolds.

    NeoWolfe

  24. Milz says:

    wow…erm…Firstly, what the hell, how does any of that make any sense in terms of proving the existence of a god? Secondly, I have severe mental health problems and I have never done anything half as crazy as that guy!!! Religion truly is the 21st century’s answer to Schizophrenia, multiple personality disorders and bipolar disorder. I swear that compared to most religious people, even I seem normal!

  25. I’m seriously confused as to how you people are differentiating “mental illness” from “crazy religious person.” How is there a difference, if they’re both crazy?

    Similarly, I find it odd that we all acknowledge that it’s wrong to insult a mentally handicapped person, but still feel it’s ok to insult a stupid person for being stupid. As if there’s some specific line that they cross, beyond which they’re too stupid to insult.

    The reality is that we’re surrounded by stupid crazy people who wouldn’t be so stupid or crazy if they could help it. They all deserve our pity, even when McCain selects them to be Vice President. Nobody wants to be stupid or crazy, and if anyone chooses to be that way, it’s because they’re too stupid or crazy to know better. To suggest otherwise is absurd.

  26. Dave Gilbert says:

    He should have known that the pen is mightier than the Lord. Hope he got the point after all that.

  27. I am also a member and one of next years officer’s for the Freethinkers at Virginia Tech. As Daniel said before, this does not seem to be a case of religious extremism, but rather, something caught up in mental illness.

    While what I observed at first seemed to fit symptoms of schizophrenia, new information has come up indicating that Alex Huppert may have taken some sort of drug (which he thought was the Paxil he had been prescribed) that could have triggered the incident.

    The Freethinkers at Virginia Tech are of the opinion that Mr. Huppert is deserving of help and respect, not judgment and ridicule. We hope for the best for him.

  28. Alex says:

    This is just another instance which clearly indicates that religion has all the hallmarks of mental illness.

  29. Joseph says:

    I agree with you Schrand, he definitely deserves help and to be treated with dignity. However, I wouldn’t rest this squarely on mental illness. Just because the mind is physical doesn’t mean it’s only at the whim of current chemistry; there’s a lot of emergent properties of our thoughts and environments that can profoundly influence the chemistry within. Mental illness is characterized by behavior that is far outside of normative cultural behavior and persists despite causing the individual distress, real or subjective. Mental illness can be (some would argue that they always are) caused by social environments. I will not blame the victim, but I’m guessing that he did not see what he was doing as negative behavior, and that may come from growing up in a cultural circle where people often behaved in ways that most college students would find abnormal; this may also be the cause for his social anxiety ‘disorder’. This leads me to think it’s fair to place some of the blame on religion (which was apparently a large part of his social development)

    On a Lighter note:
    We run an “Ask an Atheist Table” at the University of Missouri as well. The next time we’re approached by an antagonistic theist, We’re going to have to tell them that THE BAR HAS BEEN RAISED!

    Also, Schrand, I love your second quote in the article. Very dry, very pragmatic, very hilarious ^.^

  30. Joseph says:

    Ah, I just remembered you are a senior psychology student. I hope I was not stepping on your toes while talking about psychology; I am a proponent of Thomas Szasz view of mental illness.

  31. Anonymous says:

    This incident didn’t have as much to do with religion as all the articles are making it out to be. Alex wasn’t a zealot and barely even a practicing christian. I personally know him. I grew up with him. He struggles with depression and has a social disorder. When he went away to college this year he started experimenting with drugs. He was on hallucinogens during this event. I doubt he even realized what he was doing and would never have done something like this sober. He just needs help. This has much more to do with mental illness than religion.

  32. NeoWolfe says:

    Anon said:

    “I personally know him”

    What might add creedence to that is that a recent gag reel was filmed at a mormon temple in my home town in Boise, Idaho, USA. But, that you know him, grew up with him, would seem to be against the odds. But, that doesn’t make it false.

    I already testified that your first experience with hallucinogens is an experience that no one is really prepared for, but, it is impossible that it created something in his mind that was not already there. It just pulled a cork off a bottle.

    But, we are all bottles with corks, and we do our jobs with our corks in place, and then try to blow off our pressure in our leisure time. I can definitely conceive that he let the cork hit the ceiling and lost track. Fighting the cops and kicking out their window sorta means he and the hard stuff don’t mix. I hope he learns his lesson the first time.

    NeoWolfe

  33. Anonymous says:

    I am a proponent of Thomas Szasz view of mental illness.

    That’s too bad, because he’s a discredited quack who has said there’s no such thing as schizophrenia and that mental illness is a myth, and who partnered with Scientology to further their paranoid anti-psych agenda.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Szasz

  34. Thoreaua says:

    Sounds a lot like this kids cage was rattled by the atheist event. I suspect he is probably very invested in remaining a christian for numerous reasons but deep down has serious doubts. These doubts might promise all manner of trouble with family and friends if allowed to breathe so must be stifled. Trouble is, along comes temptation in the form of an atheist forum.

    Cue emergency defense against feeling overwhelmed – drastic situation calls for a drastic diversion, with a massive does of punishment mixed in to the self-harm to satisfy the surge of irrational guilt.

    And his ears look weird.

  35. Nate Phelps says:

    This isn’t a story about religion. It’s the story of a mentally disturbed young man. I hope he gets help.

  36. Vasthie says:

    Christianity isn’t a religion, but a lifestyle choice

  37. Sean says:

    I guess he made his POINT. HA!!! See what I did there?

  38. Solarcide says:

    This kid is even crazier than most Christians! And that’s saying a lot!

  39. Bob says:

    He is using logic to prove that god exists!

    He stabs his hand with a pen.
    He stabs his hand with a pen OR god exists.
    He didn’t stab his hand with a pen.
    Therefore, god exists.

    LOL

  40. Dave says:

    “We are friends of Alex, We Are Virginia Tech”

    Oh please… just another Hokie nutjob.

  41. Irene says:

    Hello police department! Let’s avoid another college shooting spree and keep this delusional violent mental case out of the population! Institutionalize him, get his family involved and medicate. This could have been so much worst but if you release him you are idiots.