left biblioblography: Allegories Gone Wild–Holy Mary, Mother Of Who…?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Allegories Gone Wild–Holy Mary, Mother Of Who…?

Cross-posted @ the Atheist Oasis

whatifvirginmaryAh so long Marianne
It’s time that we began
To laugh and cry and cry
And laugh about it all again – Leonard Cohen, “So Long Marianne”

“Read the Bible again sometime. Women are painted as bigger antagonists than the Egyptians and Romans combined. It stinks.” Serendipity, the movie ‘Dogma’

One of the more familiar tirades against that compendium of cautionary fables is the correct accusation of misogyny. And let’s face it: it’s true. From Eve to Jezebel to Mary Magdalene, women have been maligned, mistreated, and bartered off like chattel. There’s old Abraham, pimping his wife (not once, but twice!) under the disguise of siblinghood. Eve ate the fruit (apple, whatthefuckever) and doomed all of us. Samson met his demise because of Delilah (although from all accounts, Mr. Jawbone was a multiple jackass anyways). Women weren’t taken as disciples during the alleged Palestinian Ministry but were second-raters, right behind the 75 righteous guys (messiah groupies?). And the man-child myth constantly dressed down his mother through 3 of the 4 books.

Becoming a vessel for the divine, however symbolic it may be, is considered something of an honor. Pre-Christian fertility rites were ubiquitous until the holy-rollers rolled in and started banging bibles over the pagans’ heads. Males have always feared and been mystified by a woman’s ability to conceive. A shift from the matriarchal to the patriarchal intensified this irrational fear, even fostered it. But there is no denying the power of a woman – it is a reality, and one that even the most fortitudinous delusionist cannot explain away. And so begin the stories…

I speak of that strange illusion of the Marianne Apparition.

This woman is seen everywhere. On grilled cheese sandwiches, for one. Tree stumps for another. There’s no doubt a laundry list, but we’ll skip over those. They’re everywhere anyways.

Anyways, the definition (from the link above) says:

A Marian apparition is an event in which the Blessed Virgin Mary is believed to have supernaturally appeared to one or more people.They are often given names based on the town in which they were reported, or on the sobriquet which was given to Mary on the occasion of the apparition. They have been interpreted in religious terms as theophanies.

Marian apparitions sometimes are reported to recur at the same site over an extended period of time. In the majority of Marian apparitions only a few people report having witnessed the apparition. Exception to this include Zeitoun, and Assiut where thousands claimed to have seen her over a period of time.

And as well to be expected, the reports vary so widely in so many ways, it’s obvious that they can’t be taken seriously. I’ve gone on at length on one such topic, but centuries of ‘eyewitnesses’ would seem to testify that…these people saw something, albeit the likelihood is that they saw what they wanted to see.

For the most part, careful examination of these events opens subsequent cracks in the stories, some with holes in them large enough to drive a semi through. In fact, there is so much wrong with eyewitness identification, that there are actually rigorous standards used to assess the reliability of a witness. Note that when religion is involved, these standards vanish like light clouds on a windy day.

We’ll go ahead and skip to the criticisms for the sake of brevity:

Some Protestant Christians and non-Christians regard claims of Marian apparitions as being hallucinations encouraged by superstition, and occasionally simply as deliberate hoaxes to attract attention. Many such apparitions are reported in economically depressed areas, attracting many pilgrims who bring trade and money into the region. For instance, some sources dispute the very existence of Saint Juan Diego.

Yes, it’s mostly Papists who indulge in this sort of tomfoolery. Small wonder there.

Some spontaneous healings reported at apparition sites such as Lourdes are also disputed by some scientists[who?]. Other scientists[who?] have claimed that a handful of unexplained cures have occurred; the Lourdes Medical Bureau has recorded sixty "inexplicable" healings which match its requirements.

I don’t know about anyone else, but this is the first Wiki entry I’ve ever seen where the footnotes says [who?].

Critics maintain that some other healings are incomplete, leaving the sufferer with disabilities or chronic illness, and that other claimed healings are likely to be the relatively rare but unmiraculous spontaneous remission of illness or injury. Such remissions might be expected to occur in a few of the large numbers of ill (and perhaps credulous) people who visit such sites. That viewpoint is debated by religious people and by some in the medical profession. The Lourdes Medical Bureau will not review cases of claimed healing involving illnesses known sometimes to go into remission by themselves, or incomplete healings, or those which take place gradually.[106]

It always boils down to this one sentence: It’s all guesswork. Nobody subjects any of these ‘miracles’ to anything resembling the scientific method, the ‘testimonials’ turn out to be a smorgasbord of ridiculous anecdotes that nobody in their right mind would take seriously, and the only people doing any exhaustive research on these hallucinations are the Catholics (can you say ‘conflict of interest’, boys and girls?).

So there you have it: if you see a woman in your grilled cheese sandwich, everyone will laugh at you. Unless you claim there’s divine iconography involved, in which case you can sell the fucking on EBay for thousands of dollars. Nice return: it costs what? About a buck-fifty to make the sandwich?

It’s a sad, stupid world we live in sometimes.

Till the next post, then.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: