Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Fatima Challenge

Back in December of last year, I did a two part series contrasting the so-called miracle of the Lady of Fatima in the Portuguese countryside in 1917 with the horrific carnage being wrought hundreds of miles away on the battlefield in Flanders.

Somehow, The Fatima Candle - Part One has generated comments from true believers, including, it would appear, the actual Robert Ritchie of America Needs Fatima. I'm not quite sure how they found my humble little blog. In summary, the Fatimites, as I will call them, believe I am going to hell for blasphemy, and I think they are a bunch of superstitious loons with their minds stuck in the 14th century. Anyone who wishes to click on the link and add their two cents to the debate is welcome to do so.

I told them the only way I would recant and accept their beliefs would be if the Virgin Mary herself appeared to me in person. But that got me to thinking. How would I know if it really was the Virgin Mary? There are of course no photographs or paintings of her from when she was alive. There are plenty of representations by artists that portray her in a reverential fashion, such as here and here. But what would she really have looked like? What was her height? Her eye color? Did she have lots of freckles on her face? What was her bra size? (What Fatimites? We're supposed to pretend that Mary did not have breasts?) If I walked past her on the street in the prime of her youth, would I have found her to be attractive? And what kind of personality did she have? Was she shy or talkative? Was she cheerful or dour? Was she patient or temperamental?

But there is more to it than that. How long did Mary allegedly live? If she lived to be seventy, then what age should she appear in visions? Should I see a seventy year old toothless hag, a twelve year old girl, a fully developed eighteen year old woman, or fifty year old lady mourning the loss of her son? Or, like just about any other woman, would Mary want to be seen at the peak of beauty?

Anyway, last night I called upon the Virgin Mary to appear to me to make me repent for my blasphemous ways. As of this post, I am still waiting.

20 comments:

Stardust said...

It's important to note that apparitions of the Virgin Mary is typically a Catholic phenomenon, while Protestants typically see Jesus in things like fish filets, and muslims see Allah in eggplants. Superstitious people are going to see patterns of what they are familiar with, and what they have been taught to believe, as well as what they WANT to believe.

Also, the power of suggestion, as in the Fatima story is quite strong amongst people who really want to see these things. Some people believe that the moon turned to blood during a lunar eclipse, while most people understand the scientific reasons for the colors changes that we see through the atmosphere of planet Earth.

Rarely, do people see visions of things that are not part of their belief system, traditions and environment. Why don't catholics find allah on a eggshell, or Buddhists see sightings of Virgin Mary in the clouds, or Hindu seeing Jesus in a pattern on one of their sacred cows? Catholics not only see Mary in a waterstain under a viaduct, but also in honey-mustard pretzels or on a lump of chocolate. Protestants see Jesus in an asparagus plant, and some even find the Pope himself in things like a chicken breast.

Here you can read about mass hallucinationsmass hallucinations, and you can find links there for also pareidolia and apophenia.

Another instance of mass hysteria was Orson Wells' radio version of War of the Worlds that was adapted to sound like a contemporary news broadcast, it panicked a large number of listeners. Welles and his biographers subsequently claimed he was exposing the gullibility of American audiences in the tense preamble to the Second World War.

Tommy said...

Here is an intersting article in Wikipedia about some really funny mass delusions:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penis_panic

Tommy said...

Oh, and it has been about 24 hours so far, and the Virgin Mary still has not answered my call. Guess she's playing hard to get! ;-)

Stardust said...

tommy, just when you think you've seen it all, along comes something else!

Scary how many superstitious, crazy ideas there are on this planet! Maybe we need to start sending out "reason" missionaries instead of allowing religious folks to add more superstitious nonsense to the mess.

Stardust said...

Oh, and it has been about 24 hours so far, and the Virgin Mary still has not answered my call. Guess she's playing hard to get! ;-)

tommy - any news yet? ;-)

Stardust said...

Interesting website with links. The Influences on Fátima. Read the link in the last paragraph titled The Abbreviated Mission.

excerpt" Was the Secret inspired by the visions of La Salette or by another book called the Missão Abreviada, written by Padre Couto in the nineteenth century (date unknown)?
This book was supposedly present in Lucia's house. The mother had the habit of reading to the daughter some passages, mainly the description of the apparitions of La Salette which the book contained.
These readings have been thought by some skeptics as having inspired Lucia to imagine the scene of the apparitions and above all the description of Hell which the children, according to later statements, said that they had seen.
The book, however disappeared, and was not found after the apparitions (Was it destroyed or stolen to cover up the contents?) Neither Lucia nor her family could say the exact name of the book or its author, which on the other hand they supposedly had read.

Stardust said...

tommy - where did all those "fans" go who were so anxiously awaiting your next post?

BigTex71 said...

I think they are busy watching Jason get grilled on his blog. :)

Tommy said...

Yeah, that cracked me up when he wrote "Anxiously awaiting your thoughts" as if his day wouldn't be complete without reading what I had to say.

I tend to not like getting into philosophical debates like that because they don't have any bearing on the real world.

How is Jason's blog anyway? I haven't checked it out yet.

No word from the Fatimites either. It seemed like every time I would post a reply, two or three of them would respond within a day or so. So far zip.

No Virgin Mary sightings either.

Stardust said...

How is Jason's blog anyway? I haven't checked it out yet.

tommy - he writes "books" instead of posts (LOL!), and his most recent post is so long that as I was scrolling to see how long it was, I was laughing so hard! Then the people who comment write just as long of posts in response and in much the same lengthy, long-winded way therefore *yawn* it is as if he is debating himself. (Not saying that he makes up fake people to argue with himself, but it was like that...who has time to read all that?)

If I am going to read all that, I might as well drag out my War and Peace and give it a go again!

Tommy said...

I ended up going on his blog a few times and left a few comments.

While he has some intelligent things to say, he also had some really stupid questions, something along the lines of "Do atheists think our morals came out of the big bang or an explosion?" I was like "What?"

I'm disappointed that none of the Fatimites has returned to with anymore comments.

Stardust said...

While he has some intelligent things to say, he also had some really stupid questions, something along the lines of "Do atheists think our morals came out of the big bang or an explosion?" I was like "What?"

I read that, too. That was kind of a childish question and inconsistent with his usual intelligent commentary. He is a good writer, and organizes his thoughts very well, and must admit is a great debater. When christians come up with wild comments like the one you mentioned, it makes me laugh.

I would like to read what Jason's thoughts would be about The Miracle of the Sun and this post...so if you are lurking Jason, we are interested in what you have to say on the subject. (But hope you will keep it concise as we are busy working people with families.)

Stardust said...

Is everything ok, tommy?

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