Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


The Flop of the Century

 

The Blessed Virgin Mary allegedly appeared in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917 to three children, Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco. The visions culminated in an alleged solar miracle on October 13, the miracle of the sun. In this miracle, the sun allegedly changed colour and zigzagged around the sky and almost came down on a crowd of people. The miracle was supposedly seen by up to 70,000 people who had gathered to be with the children during their visions.

THE WEB

An Agnostic Looks at Fatima,
http://www.portcult.com/index.fat.htm
 
The apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima in Portugal in 1917 are the number one weapon believers in the supernatural use to counter those who disbelieve in miracles and religion because they allegedly climaxed in the world’s greatest miracle, the spinning sun which reportedly 70,000 people saw. But this work shows that this weapon is a bugbear and has been allowed to threaten because sceptical material is rare and much that does exist does not deal with it adequately. If we can refute the alleged force of Fatima we can justify disbelieving anything to do with religion.

A Testimony
 
Dr José Maria de Almeida Garrett claimed he saw the Miracle of the Sun. He was Professor at the Faculty of Sciences of Coimbra in Portugal. He wrote the following.
 
It must have been 1:30 pm when there arose, at the exact spot where the children were, a column of smoke, thin, fine and bluish, which extended up to perhaps two meters above their heads, and evaporated at that height. This phenomenon, perfectly visible to the naked eye, lasted for a few seconds. Not having noted how long it had lasted, I cannot say whether it was more or less than a minute. The smoke dissipated abruptly, and after some time, it came back to occur a second time, then a third time.
 
And Rev Dr. Formigão, a professor at the seminary at Santarém claimed, "As if like a bolt from the blue, the clouds were wrenched apart, and the sun at its zenith appeared in all its splendor. It began to revolve vertiginously on its axis, like the most magnificent firewheel that could be imagined, taking on all the colors of the rainbow and sending forth multicolored flashes of light, producing the most astounding effect. This sublime and incomparable spectacle, which was repeated three distinct times, lasted for about ten minutes. The immense multitude, overcome by the evidence of such a tremendous prodigy, threw themselves on their knees."
 
MY COMMENT: THIS "MIRACLE" INDICATES THAT GARRET IS NOT VERY RELIABLE. IT IS STANDARD TO DISMISS ACCOUNTS OF MIRACLES BY WITNESSES WHO REPORT BIZARRE ELEMENTS LIKE THAT. THE CHURCH ITSELF DOES THAT. GARRETT GIVES THE IMPRESSION THAT ALL SAW WHAT HE REPORTED FOR SAYING SOMETHING IS SEEN BY THE NAKED EYE IMPLIES EVERYBODY SEEN IT.
 
AS FOR THE PRIEST, HE SEES NOTHING UNUSUAL. LOTS OF PEOPLE SEE THE SUN SEEMING TO SPIN AND COLOUR APPEARING. HE IMPLIES THE CROWD ALL SAW THE SAME THING WHICH IS A LIE.
 
The sky, which had been overcast all day, suddenly cleared; the rain stopped and it looked as if the sun were about to fill with light the countryside that the wintery morning had made so gloomy. I was looking at the spot of the apparitions in a serene, if cold, expectation of something happening and with diminishing curiosity because a long time had passed without anything to excite my attention. The sun, a few moments before, had broken through the thick layer of clouds which hid it and now shone clearly and intensely.
 
MY COMMENT: THE HIGH MOISTURE CONTENT IN THE AIR MAY HAVE REDUCED THE STRENGTH OF THE SUNLIGHT MAKING IT LESS DANGEROUS TO LOOK AT. IT MAY EVEN HAVE MADE A RAINBOW EFFECT ACCOUNTING FOR THE COLOUR CHANGES.
 
Suddenly I heard the uproar of thousands of voices, and I saw the whole multitude spread out in that vast space at my feet...turn their backs to that spot where, until then, all their expectations had been focused, and look at the sun on the other side. I turned around, too, toward the point commanding their gaze and I could see the sun, like a very clear disc, with its sharp edge, which gleamed without hurting the sight. It could not be confused with the sun seen through a fog (there was no fog at that moment), for it was neither veiled nor dim. At Fatima, it kept its light and heat, and stood out clearly in the sky, with a sharp edge, like a large gaming table. The most astonishing thing was to be able to stare at the solar disc for a long time, brilliant with light and heat, without hurting the eyes or damaging the retina. [During this time], the sun's disc did not remain immobile, it had a giddy motion, [but] not like the twinkling of a star in all its brilliance for it spun round upon itself in a mad whirl.
 
MY COMMENT: LOOKING AT THE SUN WILL CAUSE DISTORTION. HE WAS WORKED UP BY THE SUDDEN DRAMA WHICH WAS HOW HE WAS ABLE TO SWITCH OFF THE PAIN OF LOOKING AT THE SUN. THAT EXPLAINS WHY HE THINKS HE LOOKED AT IT LONG.
 
During the solar phenomenon, which I have just described, there were also changes of colour in the atmosphere. Looking at the sun, I noticed that everything was becoming darkened. I looked first at the nearest objects and then extended my glance further afield as far as the horizon. I saw everything had assumed an amethyst color. Objects around me, the sky and the atmosphere, were of the same color. Everything both near and far had changed, taking on the color of old yellow damask. People looked as if they were suffering from jaundice and I recall a sensation of amusement at seeing them look so ugly and unattractive. My own hand was the same color.
 
MY COMMENT: NO WONDER - HE COULD HAVE BLINDED HIMSELF OR TEMPORARILY DAMAGED HIS EYESIGHT. AS A SCIENTIST HE WOULD NEVER ADMIT TO HAVING DONE DAMAGE. AND FOR MANY THE DAMAGE HEALS IN A FEW DAYS. AND NO TWO PERSONS EXPERIENCE THE SAME KIND OF DAMAGE FROM LOOKING AT THE SUN.
 
Then, suddenly, one heard a clamour, a cry of anguish breaking from all the people. The sun, whirling wildly, seemed all at once to loosen itself from the firmament and, blood red, advance threateningly upon the earth as if to crush us with its huge and fiery weight. The sensation during those moments was truly terrible.
 
MY COMMENT: IF THIS WAS TRUE THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN A STAMPEDE AND PEOPLE WOULD HAVE BEEN KILLED. AND THE CLAIM THAT ALL THE PEOPLE WERE UPSET AT THIS SIGHT IS A BLATANT LIE. HE COULDN'T KNOW THAT FOR A START. AND CONSIDERING THAT THE CHURCH TEACHES THAT REVELATION STOPPED WITH THE DEATH OF THE LAST APOSTLE MEANING THAT WE DON'T HAVE TO BELIEVE IN ANY REVELATIONS SINCE THEN AND THEY SHOULD HIGHLIGHT THE FINISHED REVELATION, HAD THE VIRGIN OF FATIMA THE RIGHT TO FRIGHTEN PEOPLE BY DOING THAT WITH THE SUN? CERTAINLY NOT.
 
All the phenomena which I have described were observed by me in a calm and serene state of mind without any emotional disturbance. It is for others to interpret and explain them. Finally, I must declare that never, before or after October 13 [1917], have I observed similar atmospheric or solar phenomena."
 
MY COMMENT: CALM? REALLY? HE WOULD NOT ADMIT TO BEING FRANTIC WITH EXCITEMENT ANYWAY. FINALLY THE TESTIMONY IS NOT THAT OF THE PROFESSOR AT ALL BUT HIS SON WHO WAS CALLED JOSE MARIA DE PRONECA DE ALMEIDA GARRETT. JOSE WAS A LAWYER - HE WAS NOT TRAINED IN SCIENCE AND PERCEPTION. IS THERE NO END TO THE CATHOLIC'S PIOUS DESPERATION TO FOOL OTHER PEOPLE? THE WAY THE TESTIMONY IS WRITTEN FITS A PERSON WHO HAD NO SCIENTIFIC EXPERTISE. A SCIENTIST WOULD HYPOTHESISE AND CREATE POSSIBLE EXPLANATIONS AND WRITE HIS ACCOUNT TO ELIMINATE THESE. BUT HE MENTIONS NO POSSIBLE EXPLANATIONS AT ALL. HE JUST SIMPLY TELLS HIS STORY.