Our Lady of Gullibility

So when a teenage girl tells you that if you stare into the sun for long enough, you will see the Virgin Mary miraculously cause the burning orb to spin, what do you, as a 37 year old woman, do?

  1. Tell her parents they need to give their brat a firm talking to
  2. Suggest psychiatric help
  3. Point out that Mary doesn’t need to make the sun spin, it already spins thanks to well understood physical forces, just like the earth
  4. Calmly explain to her that it’s incredibly dangerous to stare directly at the sun and you would be risking blindness, and that the apparent spinning is most likely caused by her eyes watering as she squints at the sun.
  5. Stare at the sun until you go blind

For Amal Nassif, the answer was a definite 5. She so strongly believed what 17 year old Francesca Zackey told her that she stared directly at the sun for a full minute. Now, eye specialists have told her that she will likely never get her sight back. And it turns out she’s not the only one either – at least four other people have done the same thing at Francesca’s urging.

There are a lot of questions here, and a horrible combination of religious indoctrination and poor science education are the answer to all of them. I’m sure Francesca, as a devout catholic, has heard about Our Lady of Fatima and the “Miracle of the Sun“. I’m also sure that, like the Cottingley Fairies girls, she has discovered that what may have begun as an innocent prank has turned into something that gets her an incredible amount of adult attention. And perhaps it would all be a quaint little story in the ‘Step Beyond’ section, about a girl in South Africa who says the Virgin Mary appears to her, and people would believe what they wanted to believe and move on.

But it isn’t. People got hurt, physically and emotionally, and more will be hurt if it carries on. Such is the nature of religious delusion, and until people realise that it is a delusion just like any other, this sort of thing will never stop happening.

(tip of the mitre to kyknoord for the link)


16 Responses to “Our Lady of Gullibility”

  1. Con-Tester Says:

    At the risk of sounding callous, this is a case in point of stupidity being its own punishment. The real tragedy, of course, is that those who were complicit and ultimately responsible, i.e. the RCC and its mindless minions pushing an indefensible mythology, won’t be brought to book any time soon. Nor will their culpability be considered, let alone conceded, by any significant number of people.

  2. residentRsole Says:

    If I were a fundie, this is what I have to say about this:
    “God had a reason for this. This will encourage these people to pray more than ever before. Furthermore, it is a wonderful opportunity for them to prove their faith. God’s ways may be mysterious and sometimes hard for us to understand, but we must never question His infinite wisdom. One should not anger Our Almighty Father by trying to understand Him. This is arrogant because our minds are too feeble to understand. Satan was arrogant and God cast him out of Heaven. Don’t allow Satan to tempt you !!!!!!!!!”

  3. I agree completely, Moonflake, and wrote my own entry about it here, if you will forgive the shameless self-promotion.

  4. I wonder if Our Lady also appears when you do arc-welding?

  5. tenmiles Says:

    residentR has it wrong, I’m afraid.

    You need to be far more subtle than that. See, there are some really smart people in the church who would criticise this event with the rest of us, yet still somehow manage to push their agenda. You’re being far too obvious….a more accurate account would probably go more like this…..

    “This just goes to show the dangers of placing our faith in anyone other than God. He has given us the ability to reason and to understand logic and science and how it manifests itself in the world around us. It is when man attempt to usurp God’s authority that tragedies like this occur. We should be wary of anything other than humility in others, especially when we are so easily fooled by our own attempts at greatness. This young woman clearly lacks in understanding of the Gospel, and in her attempts to claim fortune for herself, has drifted from the loving arms of God. This incident should act as a warning, and a reminder of who it is we must relinquish control to. Who would you rather have in charge of your life? A young girl who looks to the sun for answers? Or a loving God who cares for us and wants us to be with Him for all enternity? If you want God in control, then all you have to do is pray this prayer with me……”

    There is a new breed of The Faithful out there. He is smarter then we might give him credit for. He has removed the word Satan from his vocab, he admits that The Ark and Genesis are allegorical. He has reinvented Hell as simply the absence of God. He is charming, well-spoken and in debating Richard Dawkins, would reveal himself to be witty, understanding and would hold his own. As foolish as Ms Zackey’s actions were, the new breed are far more dangerous.

    Sorry. I do go on a bit sometimes. New breed. I make it sound like a faction in professional wrestling…….

  6. Con-Tester Says:

    kyknoord: Naah, I don’t think so, but you might get to see Mrs Noah…

  7. residentRsole Says:

    tenmiles: I have to admit that your account is better than mine. Well done.

  8. Con-Tester Says:

    residentRsole: Don’t run yourself down — you did clearly say that your version is one that might issue from a fundie’s festering brain, whereas tenmiles‘s account would be one expected to be given by a “New Breed” proponent. I don’t therefore think it’s an “either/or” situation, and I feel that both descriptions convincingly do justice to the spongy sieves that pass for minds in their respective originators.

    The underlying non-reasoning is essentially the same in each case; the only differences are in eloquence and blatancy.

  9. tenmiles Says:

    Yep, I do believe that Con has brought balance to the force. The new breed may be out there, but residentR’s fundie is still in the disconcerting majority……

  10. here’s what the fundie actually did say. Apparantly little miss Zackey is utterly unrepentant, claiming that it’s not her fault and she’s praying for the woman. “It went out of my hands, people look at the sun at their own risk,” she said. “I am not the sun.”

    But here’s the piece of religious doublethink that really pisses me off – quoting her doctor:

    “Let’s hope that God is kind to her and she recovers,”

    You know what? If God was kind to her, he wouldn’t have got her into that situation in the first place! If God was kind to Amal Nassif, she wouldn’t be blind in the first place!

  11. Con-Tester Says:

    Or, more generally, if god had any real benevolent concerns for humanity, he’d’ve (a) made us out of adamantium (he left out the “-antium” on his first stab) instead of long, semi-stable hydrocarbons, and (b) kept the amount of stupidity in the universe at a minimum instead of making it nearly as common as hydrogen.

  12. *goes out to look for the virgin mary*

  13. con-tester: one thing that you forget is that the stupid people are generally far more common than hydrogen

    if someone is stupid enough to stare into the sun, then he is stupid enough to to stay blind. there was an episode of house where a nun was admitted, one of her sisters said: if i break my leg, then i believe it was god’s will. but i also believe that it is his will that i put a cast on it
    if only real religious people were that sensible, then there would be no problems. religion would simply be something that some people do, like play tennis or erode the human soul

  14. mayhemgolgotha Says:

    hahaha that’s funny … i’d confront the parents that their kid is STUPID

  15. Con-Tester Says:

    dystopia: Hmm, you may have a point. I neglected to count the isotopes of stupid, which seem to be uncountably infinite in number while hydrogen has a mere three. The question then arises whether there are any isotopes of stupid that can be fused or fissioned and what its critical mass might be. If so, we may yet find an inexhaustible supply of energy but the very real danger of producing a black hole of stupid cannot safely be ignored.

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