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?
- Tell her parents they need to give their brat a firm talking to
- Suggest psychiatric help
- 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
- 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.
- 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)