The Miracle of Fatima

On May 13, 1917, three Portuguese children in the town of Fátima, a small village seventy miles north of Lisbon, claimed to have witnessed a vision of the Virgin Mary. According to the account given by Lúcia Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, Mary had appeared to them, clad in luminous white, above a holmoak tree in a pasture known as Cova da Iria. She urged the children to say the Rosary every day to bring peace to the world, and promised she would return on the 13th day of each of the next five months.

According to the legend, the children returned to the site in the following months, where the apparitions of Mary appeared on schedule as promised. Reports of the vision begans circulating in the community, drawing pilgrims to the site, although no one except the three children ever saw Mary. On July 13, the apparition granted Lúcia three prophetic visions. She also told the children that when she returned in October, she would perform a miracle so that all who were there would believe.

Prophetic fever swelled the countryside, and on the appointed day, contemporary accounts record a crowd of around 70,000 people at Fátima. What allegedly happened next has passed into Catholic legend:

“Before the astonished eyes of the crowd, whose aspect was Biblical as they stood bareheaded, eagerly searching the sky, the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws – the sun ‘danced’ according to the typical expression of the people…”

I’ll discuss this tale in a moment, but first, the three prophecies. The first one contains no content other than the usual gruesome fantasizing about the torments of the damned. The second is more specific:

The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illuminated by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes… If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church… In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.

Although most of this is vague, conditional or simply false, it’s true that World War II did break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. (Actually, to be precise, Pius XI died in February, while Germany invaded Poland in September of that year.) Catholic apologists have hailed this as a miraculous prediction. And yet, all are agreed that this prophecy was not revealed to the world until 1941, after the events it claimed to foretell. The mention of a future pope by name is suspicious, since prophecies hardly ever commit themselves to such specific, verifiable details. The most likely scenario is that this prediction was, in whole or in part, fabricated after the fact.

And what of the third? After being kept secret for decades, it was finally revealed to the world in 2000:

And we saw in an immense light that is God… a bishop dressed in white… we had the impression that it was the Holy Father. Other bishops, priests, religious men and women going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other bishops, priests, religious men and women, and various lay people of different ranks and positions.

No doubt you’re wondering what all the fuss was about. That seems to have been the general reaction, and Catholics have struggled to find an event which fits this foretelling. Some claim this was a prophecy of the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II, although most of the specific details don’t fit that scenario (the pope in the vision dies, which John Paul did not; he is assaulted by a small army, not by a lone gunman; and his death is accompanied by the deaths of many other clergy). Interestingly, there’s a cottage industry of Catholics who claim that this isn’t the real third vision, that the Church is still holding back the real prophecy in whole or in part – a tacit recognition of the fact that the prophetic content of this one is disappointingly generic.

Finally, consider the miracle of the sun. What’s interesting is that, although many witnesses claimed to have witnessed a miracle, they did not all agree on what it was. Some said that the sun changed color repeatedly; some said it spun and moved around the sky; some said it became possible to look directly at the sun without harm to the eyes; some said to have seen visions of Mary’s face. Some people claimed to see various combinations of these. Importantly, some people who were present at the site claimed to have seen nothing out of the ordinary at all. Most apologetic reports claim that 70,000 people witnessed the miracle, but every Catholic site I’ve seen reprints the same six to eight testimonies. Most likely, these apologists are simply assuming that everyone who was present saw it.

Some skeptics have suggested that some unusual weather phenomenon, such as a sundog, took place there and gave rise to the miracle claims, but I don’t think any such explanation is necessary. I think human psychology alone can account for what happened. EWTN unintentionally provides a key piece of the answer, in its excerpt from the testimony of Alfredo da Silva Santo:

When Lúcia called out: “Look at the sun!” the whole multitude repeated: “Attention to the sun!” It was a day of incessant drizzle but a few moments before the miracle it stopped raining.

Consider: Who would have made the pilgrimage to a rural village of Portugal, to stand in a muddy field all day in the rain, all because three peasant children claimed there would be a miracle? Clearly, this situation would only attract the most fervent of the faithful, the people who were already strongly predisposed to believe in Marian apparitions and other miracles. To judge from similar cases, the pilgrims present that day probably worked themselves into a highly emotional state, praying, singing hymns, perhaps starving or flagellating themselves as the vision had previously suggested. And then, when the crowd had worked itself into a frenzy of expectation, one of the children dramatically points upward and cries out, “Look at the sun!”

To a crowd of eager believers in a suggestible state, this suggestion is all it would have taken. Pilgrims in a state of religious ecstasy, dazzled by looking at the sun, may have convinced themselves that they saw it move or that it changed color, or that they saw a vision of Mary’s face. Any such report would have spread like wildfire among the crowd, and as is human nature, once one person reported a miracle, dozens of others would doubtless have agreed that they saw it as well. From that point, all it takes is the normal process of drift and mutation that always occurs when a rumor spreads, resulting in exaggeration of the most salient details, the addition of others that fit with the tale, and suppression of the ones that don’t. Human suggestibility and eagerness to believe are the best explanation of the tale of Fátima; and lacking any tangible evidence that anything unusual occurred there, Catholic believers have no firm ground on which to claim otherwise.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • lpetrich

    I agree that that Fatima Sun Miracle was likely a side effect of staring at the Sun. I recall from my childhood the Sun having a swirling effect when I looked at it.

    I’ve found some skeptical articles on it:from skeptoid.com and from miraclesceptic.com.

  • http://whyihatejesus.blogspot.com OMGF

    Finally, consider the miracle of the sun. What’s interesting is that, although many witnesses claimed to have witnessed a miracle, they did not all agree on what it was. Some said that the sun changed color repeatedly; some said it spun and moved around the sky; some said it became possible to look directly at the sun without harm to the eyes; some said to have seen visions of Mary’s face. Some people claimed to see various combinations of these. Importantly, some people who were present at the site claimed to have seen nothing out of the ordinary at all.

    It’s like the contrary accounts of the gospels…they all happened, so therefore they are all harmonized!

  • Stephen

    As an aside, sundogs (or “mock suns”) are not unusual. I see them maybe half a dozen times a year (though not normally as bright as the one in the Wikipedia photo.) But for some reason they are almost unknown among the general public. I point them out to people often, and the reaction is almost always “I’ve never seen one of those before”. In fact the only time that the people around me were familiar with the phenomenon was at a skeptics’ meeting!

    Having said that, I agree that a sundog is unlikely to be involved in the Fatima phenomenon.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    If Adam doesn’t mind be pimping my blog here, my post below highlights the absurdity of the Fatima miracle by contrasting it with the slaughter going on in the trenches on the Western Front.

    http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com/2006/12/fatima-candle-part-two.html

  • Christopher

    I agree that that Fatima Sun Miracle was likely a side effect of staring at the Sun.

    Or perhaps a case of mass sun stroke – after all, these poor fools were standing out in the sun for hours (probably dehydrated as well). Perhaps the report of a “vision” caused the stir crazy masses to hallucinate with similar visions as well?

  • Robert

    70,000 witnesses. Why don’t Protestants accept this miracle? After all,they point to (only) 500 witnesses who saw a resurrected Jesus. If 500 is good enough…..

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    That’s a fantastic post, Tommykey.

  • http://lifebeforedeath.blogsome.com Felicia Gilljam

    I’m with Christopher. First thing I think when I hear about a load of people standing around “bareheaded” and looking at the sky is that they’re pretty much BOUND to see something unusual. Even if it had been raining and then the sun breaks out – everyone looks at it, straining to see something… of course they will.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Thanks, Adam.

    You should see the comments I got from riled up Catholics in response to part 1:

    http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com/2006/12/fatima-candle-part-one.html

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Oh, how the mighty have fallen; we’re now left only with images of Jesus in a tortilla, when once the sun had danced. How I long for the grandeur of yore….

  • Penguin_Factory

    I’ve never seen a sundog myself. I have seen moondogs on occasion, though. They can be quite spectacular on clear nights- the biggest one I ever saw was about five or six times the moon’s circumference. I couldn’t stop staring at it.

  • valhar2000

    Yeah, I’ve seen those moondogs too. Pretty nifty.

    In addition to what others have said, I’d like to thank Adam for telling us about sundogs. I remember having seen, as a child, the bright sun hazily through the clouds, with a dimmer but still very bright second light to the right of it. My parents saw it too, and my father took a picture of it, but we never could figure out what it was. After seeing the photos in Wikipedia I am quite sure that I saw a sundog.

    20 years later, the mistery is solved! All hail the skeptical blogosphere!

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Glad to be of assistance!

  • mike

    I recently read a nice article about UFOs. The thesis was that amateur astronomers are looking at the sky every day and night, and they are experts about all the interesting things that go on up there. Logically, they should be the ones reporting (or at least confirming) the vast majority of UFO sightings.

    Similarly, I wonder how many amateur Portuguese astronomers in the area reported seeing the sun dance around the sky strangely. That would certainly lend some much-needed credibility to the story. Without something like that, it’s ridiculous. If even well-intentioned skeptics have never heard of something as mundane as a sun dog (for instance), then the testimony of a bunch of impressionable regular folk about strange things in the sky is pretty meaningless.

  • http://lamberthml@hughes.net skeptic griggsy

    Consider what would have happened had that solar matter actually had occcured or if the sun had stopped as Joshua commanded it to! Such lunacy [ solarity?]

  • John Nernoff

    lpetrich says: [the] Fatima Sun Miracle was likely a side effect of staring at the Sun….

    JN: Yes, you have that right. There is no doubt at all that the so-called dancing sun phenomenon is simply the eye averting its glancing at the bright and painful sun. The human eye cannot stare at the intensely bright and potentially damaging direct image of the sun; the eye simply moves back and forth to avoid the painful effect. That’s ALL the “dancing sun” is. The sun obviously does not and cannot dance. It’s the eyeball that does the dancing. End of discussion.

    Folks, as they say, DON”T TRY THIS AT HOME. As in viewing solar eclipses, dense optical filters must be used in any direct examination of the sun. DO NOT STARE AT THE SUN WITH THE NAKED EYE. Enough said.

  • lpetrich

    I’ve seen several sundogs over the years, and they sit there and don’t dance around. They are caused by tiny ice crystals in the upper troposphere, which get oriented as a result of their slow falling.

    Furthermore, sundogs tend to appear at low elevations, which is unlikely for the Fatima Sun miracle.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Of course, if the sun really was dancing around in the sky, it would have been seen by the inhabitants of the half of the planet that was experiencing daylight at the time, rather than being a localized phenomenon.

  • Wedge

    Tommykey,

    That gets back to a huge problem in discussing these kinds of things with theists; differing ideas of what is real.

    I don’t think most Catholics who are impressed by this event actually believe that the giant ball of gas known as the sun was dancing around. I think they don’t think about it at all–and if forced to the wall, might say that the miracle was in the perception that the sun was dancing. Or that the image of the sun in the sky was dancing, or something. Then you have to wonder–what’s the difference between a miracle and a hallucination?

    But that’s only if you pushed them to define what happened, and mostly they are happy not to do that. They really don’t care about sundogs or retinal damage or physics or psychology. In their eyes, you’re just trying to explain away the miracle.

    A miracle is simply that which the believer finds amazing. Explaining how it happened is like explaining a magic trick to the audience. Most just don’t want to hear it.

  • http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    mike “Logically, they [astronomers] should be the ones reporting (or at least confirming) the vast majority of UFO sightings.”
    (/me puts on tinfoil hat)…that’s because they’re in on it. It’s the only reasonable answer…(/me takes off tinfoil hat)

    Wedge “Then you have to wonder–what’s the difference between a miracle and a hallucination?”
    Your god = miracle
    Someone else’s god = hallucination

  • Chris Allen

    I don’t think most Catholics who are impressed by this event actually believe that the giant ball of gas known as the sun was dancing around. I think they don’t think about it at all–and if forced to the wall, might say that the miracle was in the perception that the sun was dancing. Or that the image of the sun in the sky was dancing, or something. Then you have to wonder–what’s the difference between a miracle and a hallucination?

    Actually I think about it a lot. don’t go underestimating us. “They beleive in God, therefore they are stupid.”

    There were 70,000 people there. Members of the press and photographs. There are also reports of people seeing it in other villages to. What was it from a scientific point of view? I don’t know. BUT- A lot of people saw SOMETHING, and the timing was really impeccable since these little kids managed to have it happen at just the right time when everyone was asking for a sign. Amazing coincidence, eh?

    But here’s the real question. It had been raining for weeks and the ground was waterlogged. In the space of what- 15 minutes? The ground became totally bone dry. How did that happen?

    Oh, and I have another miracle for you to dismiss. The Eucharistic Miracle at Lanciano. If you truly believe in what you say, you won’t stick to straw man arguments. Find your hardest to disprove argument and use it. Thoroughly study it- unless you’re scared.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    There were 70,000 people there.

    Yes, there were. What we notably do not possess is 70,000 independent testimonies. As I said in my post, most Catholic sites just reprint the handful of testimonies from the same few people. As for “photographs”, I have no idea what you might possibly be referencing. Photographs of what?

    A lot of people saw SOMETHING, and the timing was really impeccable since these little kids managed to have it happen at just the right time when everyone was asking for a sign. Amazing coincidence, eh?

    It was no coincidence, as you’d know if you’d read my post: the “sign” happened at the moment when everyone was most expecting it precisely because it was a product of that expectation.

    But here’s the real question. It had been raining for weeks and the ground was waterlogged. In the space of what- 15 minutes? The ground became totally bone dry. How did that happen?

    Easily explained: it didn’t happen, but was just an embellishment that was added later as the story grew in the telling.

    Oh, and I have another miracle for you to dismiss. The Eucharistic Miracle at Lanciano.

    The “miracle” of Lanciano is even less convincing than the Fatima story: a church in Italy possesses some congealed blood and preserved human tissue which it says was the result of a miraculous transmogrification that occurred during a Eucharistic ceremony 1200 years ago. I’m perfectly willing to accept that the human tissue is real. As to how you propose to demonstrate that it was created miraculously from bread and wine, I have no idea.

  • Polly

    I’ve been reading “Creations of Fire.” Basically a history of (al)Chemistry. The tenacious hold that rotten theories and notions had on people for 2,000 years who were performing EXPERIMENTS moreoever is a great illustration of humanity’s capacity for perseverance in delusion.

    Each small pseudo-succesul attempt to create gold out of base metal egged everyone on for another 100 years. The preservation of a Chinese emperor’s corpse after dying from what was surely mercury poisoning in the elixir he drank gave hope that they were getting close to an immortality potion (usually based on the idea of extracting gold’s “essence” which requires Hg). What we can probably guess is that the Hg killed off the bacteria in his body and kept him from decomposing.
    What should have been major setbacks for certain erroneous ideas were instead turned into amplifiers for those very ideas. There were also plenty of hucksters around who would plant gold in their reactions in small quantities to show that their methods worked. And this went on for a LONG, LONG time even under critical and careful observation.
    I’m flabbergasted.
    This is what I see going on in the continuation of religion. Every purported miracle no matter how lame, every near hit by the religious just gives that extra impetus to keep the whole thing going another generation or 2, because people have already bought into the basic theory.
    transubstantiation / transmutation – whatever.

  • Dave Charest

    Too bad none of you people are capable of research beyond a cursive glance at existing material, and your own preconcieved ideas. First of all the major secular newspapers of the day, in what was a very secular state, reported the phenomenon known as the Miracle of the sun. Most, if not all of those people were good athiest, like yourself. For goodness sakes, one of the papers was called, “O Seculo”. Most of these reporters could not wait to laugh the people out of there. Secondly , why were there no reports of blindness? even temporarily? Also why were there documented reports of people far away and not aware of the situation seeing this same phenomenon? So if I get a bunch of UFO loving idiots together and tell them “look in the sky!!!” they are all going to see UFO’s in the same way and shape and same amount of time? Give me a break. there was more similarity in what was reported to have been seen and wild disparities. Maybe they were all taking LSD…..Any i just happened an this site and i will pra for you because obviosly Satan has a firm grip lp yoon your weak and lazy minds. God help you.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Dave:

    The fact that you think of Portugal as a “secular state” where “most, if not all” people were “good atheist[s]” impeaches any credibility you might have.

    And regarding your praying for me, would you please have God write the winning Lotto numbers for Saturday’s drawing on my coffee table? I’ll leave a Sharpie there for him. Oh, and a properly-made Bloody Mary would be good evidence of a miracle, too.

  • goyo

    Hey Dave:
    Before you go calling us “weak and lazy-minded”, turn your spell-check on.

  • Jim H

    Hey goyo, why are you assuming a spelling error? Dave called the Portuguese not just “athi” but the “athiEST”, the most athi. I think there are people elsewhere who might be athi-er than the Portuguese, don’t you? Which makes this a different sort of error.

    Oh well, MY spell-checker is complaining… how do you spell “athi,” Dave? ;-)

  • Alex Weaver

    Too bad none of you people are capable of research beyond a cursive glance at existing material, and your own preconcieved ideas. First of all the major secular newspapers of the day, in what was a very secular state, reported the phenomenon known as the Miracle of the sun. Most, if not all of those people were good athiest, like yourself. For goodness sakes, one of the papers was called, “O Seculo”. Most of these reporters could not wait to laugh the people out of there. Secondly , why were there no reports of blindness? even temporarily? Also why were there documented reports of people far away and not aware of the situation seeing this same phenomenon?

    [Citation needed]

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Goyo, I’d rather he turn on his fact-check.

  • K. Barbosa

    I’m the child of Portuguese immigrants. In comparison to the rest of Western Europe, which is indeed very secular, Portugal is not today and certainly was not in 1917 a “secular” society. The majority of my family are fervently Roman Catholic and believe in the “miracle” at Fatima. They would certainly have been even more credulous in 1917. I’m not sure where Dave gets the idea that Portugal was a secular society at the time of the “miracle” — perhaps from the revolution that unseated the monarchy several years before the event and the unrest that resulted before the ascension of Salazar? events which, if anything, would have made the average man on the street cling even more belligerently to his supersitions — but in a rural village seventy miles from Lisbon, anyone claiming to be a secularist in 1917 would probably have been in hiding. Also, I’m aware that there were witnesses at Fatima that day who claimed to see nothing out of the ordinary. Little is made of these folks, though much is made of those supposed skeptics who showed up to represent the secular media and were converted. I’ve been hearing about Fatima my whole life, and the details grow more elaborate with each retelling. It is folklore. It has the stamp, smell and look of folklore. It is folklore, plain and simple. Oh, but Fatima has profited nicely from it. Maybe Dave can take a trip there and see all the shops and kiosks peddling junk to the masses of credulous pilgrims (perhaps all closet secularists?), since it’s quite obvious he’s never stepped foot in Portugal nor met many Portuguese people. In any case, it’s not a bad bit of serendipity for a village that was once poverty-stricken, is it?

  • prase

    For goodness sakes, one of the papers was called, “O Seculo”.

    For goodness sake, o seculo means the century in Portuguese. Really nothing to do with secularism. Could you please check some translation tool before you start making hypotheses concerning foreign countries and languages about which you had no idea before?

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Even if that’s true, prase, “the century” in English in Portuguese means “obscenely secular”. So there!

  • Thumpalumpacus

    K. Barbosa wrote:

    I’m not sure where Dave gets the idea that Portugal was a secular society at the time of the “miracle” — perhaps from the revolution that unseated the monarchy several years before the event and the unrest that resulted before the ascension of Salazar?

    K., Dave knowing about Dr. Salazar? Now that might qualify as a miracle.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    For goodness sakes, one of the papers was called, “O Seculo”.

    For goodness sake, o seculo means the century in Portuguese. Really nothing to do with secularism. Could you please check some translation tool before you start making hypotheses concerning foreign countries and languages about which you had no idea before?

    I believe the appropriate descriptive term for this exchange is, “Owned.” ;)

    That said, I think Dave’s comment unintentionally offers an insight into how miracle stories steadily become more impressive as they’re retold. I’ve heard other Catholic apologists, not just him, make the claim that the Fatima apparition resulted in mass conversions among atheists and agnostics. None of them ever produce any evidence to back up this claim, and I’ve yet to find any testimonial account that supports it.

    What seems to happen is that believers fix on some detail of the story as they heard it, assume it means more than it actually does, and then turn that assumption into a “fact” which gets tacked onto the story in subsequent retellings and eventually becomes part of the mythology. In this case, I’d guess, many Catholics assume that O Seculo was a secular newspaper, assume that its mention of the story constitutes an endorsement, and leap from those premises to the conclusion that atheists must have been converted as well. They add that juicy-sounding tidbit to the story when they retell it, and it then becomes a reliable part of the Fatima lore, passed on and repeated by theists who uncritically accept whatever their fellow believers tell them and don’t ask for them to cite their sources.

    Another example of this is the “conversion” of Jesus’ brother James. No such event is described in any book of the Bible, but Christian apologists have taken one verse from the gospels that says “even his brothers were not believers in him”, note that James is described as a follower of Jesus in a later book of the New Testament, and extrapolate some sort of dramatic conversion event (rather than, say, two biblical authors who just didn’t compare notes beforehand). The story spreads predictably through the apologetic literature, and nowadays you have defenders of the faith bragging about how Jesus’ miracles were so convincing, he even won over hardcore skeptics like his own brother.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    nowadays you have defenders of the faith bragging about how Jesus’ miracles were so convincing, he even won over hardcore skeptics like his own brother.

    You would think that if Jesus was a miracle worker, his family would have been the last people in the Galilee to need convincing.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    I’m not so sure of that, Tommykey, considering his opinions about the importance of family — Luke 14:26, no?

  • goyo

    Yeah, Ebon, I’ve even heard evangelists tell stories about how James had knees like camel’s knees because he prayed so much. I always wondered how people knew so much about him. He’s become another “bible urban legend”.

  • Steve

    When I was a young boy, and a budding astronomer, I stared at the sun during weather conditions much like those described at Fatima.

    At the time, I didn’t know a damn thing about Fatima, but the sun did almost every one of the things described during the Fatima ‘event’ as miraculous: the sun appeared to move towards me, appeared to vibrate and change colors.

    My conclusion at that young an age? That if you stared at the sun during the right conditions it does some pretty cool things, which were actually an optical illusion anyone can replicate during the clearing of a rain storm.

    Had I been ‘wiser’, I could have founded a holy site, made a mint off the trinkets, and had the Vatican declare me a saint.

    What do I tell my young son now? God has already provided you with everything you need for salvation; you are Gods miracle; he does not need self serving Vatican pronouncements to talk to you: everything else is bagain basement histrionics.

  • http://debbrunsberg@comcast.net Deb Brunsberg

    For those who do not believe in God, his power, miracles or the supernatural, nothing anyone can say will convince them. It is futile to try.
    I was not a believer in God, nor Jesus as the son of God, nor any faith or respect in organized religions. That all changed within forty-eight hours in Medjugorje, a place I did not want to go to, but was sent there. I witnessed the Miracle of the Sun after I laughed at a few people in my group I encountered who were looking at the sun. On a brilliant, sunny day, I stared at the sun for fifteen minutes while it spun and danced and threw out brilliant, beautiful colors. I had to leave because I was so overcome with what I was seeing. That was just the beginning of God revealing himself and his power to me. That was also two and a half years ago and every single day, I can stare at the sun, regardless of the time of day, as long as I want, and it will dance and spin and bounce and give me an incredible show of color that fills the sky. I no longer need sunglasses because the sun has no effect upon my eyes.

    The Miracle of the Sun is a gift. I know many people who experience this on a regular basis. It however is only a supernatural sign of God. He has blessed me with many more gifts since I first met him in 2007. The Lord walked me right into the Catholic Church and let me know that this was HIS Church and that my salvation was through the Holy Eucharist. My prayer is that the Lord will reveal himself to all sinners and unbelievers. I was like Thomas, I had to see to believe and the Miracle of the Sun was just the first thing I was allowed to see.

    What is sad is that this world has turned so far from God, that He cannot penetrate the hearts of those sinners. It is very frustrating to not just believe, but to KNOW that God exists and what his will is and not be able to give that to others. Only God can do that. Jesus said that to those that deny Him, He will deny to the Father. Every soul will know the truth on their last day, but sadly, it will then be too late. May God have mercy.

  • http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com Tommykey

    Every soul will know the truth on their last day, but sadly, it will then be too late. May God have mercy.

    Ah yes, the appeal to fear. “You better believe what I believe, or you’ll be sorry someday!”

  • Peter N

    Deb,

    For those who do not believe in God, his power, miracles or the supernatural, nothing anyone can say will convince them. It is futile to try. …
    I was not a believer in God, nor Jesus as the son of God, nor any faith or respect in organized religions. That all changed within forty-eight hours in Medjugorje

    So God is powerful enough to change your heart, but too weak to change mine.

    Let me get this straight. You read about the time when a crowd of hopeful pilgrims, who were told there would be some miraculous manifestation of the Virgin Mary, gathered together, and when someone yelled, “Look at the sun!” they all did, and they saw strange tricks of the light. So you went out and tried it — you stared at the sun for fifteen minutes, and as your retinas sizzled, you, too, saw strange things. And you have discovered that you can reproduce this experience at will, every time the sun is shining. Is that basically it?

    It seems to me you have proven that this is a predictable, natural phenomenon. No miracles involved.

    Hint: start learning to read Braille and using adaptive technology now, before you go blind. It will much easier in the long run.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Deb, I strongly advise you visit an eye doctor as soon as possible to save whatever is left of your vision.

  • Peter N

    Deb,

    Ebon is right. I couldn’t resist pointing out that you had created an experiment that actually disproved your experience of a miracle, but this is serious. You wrote “I no longer need sunglasses because the sun has no effect upon my eyes”, which strongly suggests that you have already damaged your eyes by looking directly at the sun. You’ve had your miracle, now please don’t do it any more, and please seek medical attention. If there is a god, surely He doesn’t demand that you injure yourself as proof of your faith.

  • 2-D Man

    What is sad is that this world has turned so far from God, that He cannot penetrate the hearts of those sinners.

    So much for omnipotence.

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Wow, that gives new meaning to the term “blind faith”.

  • http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Paraphrased from the MadTV skit (I think), Idiots Anonymous (or maybe Stupid Anonymous):
    Blind Guy: “I used to spend hours and hours staring at the sun and, if there’s one thing you taught me; don’t.”

  • Quester

    The Portuguese newspapers reported this spining sun at Fatima in October 1917. The London Times and New York Times and a hundred other newspapers that had reporters covering the event made no mention of it other than that it had rained in the morning and the sun came out at noon. Two weeks later a Spanish tabloid El Tiempo reported a dozen people had seen the “miracle of the sun”. Others then came forth claiming to have witnessed the miracle.

  • jerry

    I find it hard to believe that I’m the only one that has read Dave’s post that understood that “Most, if not all of those people were good athiest, like yourself.” referred to the newspaper reporters, not the assembled crowd. It is totally obvious from the context. This reflects either dishonesty or poor observational powers.

  • Damien Brennan

    The fact is that for those who believe, no explanation is necessary, for those who do not, none is possible. The Miracle of the sun. Ah yes it is amusing how you have twisted the truth to suit your atheistic agenda. The FACT is that 70,ooo people, more or less did witness this miracle. First of all, yes of course even an ignorant fool would know that if you stare at the sun for long enough, strange things happen to your eyes. However this is not what happened at Fatima. The people present were not expecting a miracle of the sun, they were expecting a miracle. Many of them were not believers and simply attended to mock the visionaries. The people were only told that there would be a miracle. Now when the miracle began, everyone at around about the same time watched the sun (which did not hurt blind their eyes as normal) spin, change color, and “dance” in circular movements around the sky” it then turned blood red, and plunged down toward them increasing in size. There were screams and many of the people fell to the ground covering their faces in fear. Now I don’t care about sun dogs, or whatever, or no matter how long I stare at the bloody sun THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN! Especially not to 70,000 people at the SAME TIME!!! And this WAS the testimony of thousands. If you did your research you would find that the Catholic church who do scrupulous research before authentication, interviewed thousands of people who witnessed the miracle, not a dozen as you claim. This was an amazing phenomenon and not something explainable by science, and to say it was because people were staring at the sun is just ridiculous! 70,000 PEOPLE DUH!!! Yes they were all imagining it, no even better it was because they all were staring at the sun for a prolonged time for no reason at all! Yes Lucia said “look” but when they looked they “saw” they did not keep staring thinking “mmm I don’t see nothing, but ill just keep staring till my eyes burn out and then well all see the sun dance” LOL LOL Give people some credit, even the most devout believer or extremist isn’t that stupid. And as for the ground instantly drying, and the clothes of the masses gathered, you say this was chinese whispers or here-say. Is this because you can’t think of any other explanation? Fact is thousands said that the ground “instantly dried up” yes “instantly” from wet mud to dry powder in an instant!!! And you have also spoke of Legend, and it was so long ago. It was 1917!!! the titanic sunk in 1912, but they have made a film about it and there are many factual testimonies, yet Fatima is just an urban legend? Hypocrites. No one asks you to believe but how dare you discredit the many witnesses who know what they saw. Some of these people are still alive.
    Atheists expect us to believe that In the beginning there was nothing, and nothing happened to nothing, until nothing exploded, and created everything. Then, the nothing that became everything magically rearranged itself for no reason into self-replicating complex life forms, that became intelligent beings that believed in God.Yet they have the audacity to call believers fools. Yes there are some individual nut jobs in all faiths, but Fatima was no illusion. It is you who are deluded.

  • Lukas

    Nice conversation folks, fun to read all the comments and see how a miracle can be undermine very quickly, I knew it was a mistification, but I didn’t realise its so easy to explain, in fact it dont need an explanation, you can take it literally – tell someone who is not well educated but willing to experience a mirracle to look at the sun for a couple of time and its done… he will surely see something strange.

  • Sean Gilinger

    Pardon me for I’m sure I am not welcome here as to I am Christian,but what do you think of the atheist communist newspaper ” O Seculo” which believed in the Fatima miracle? All healings that occured and the jailbirds,sinners,evildoers, atheists and all people from miles about to see it and converted. Fatima wasn’t just believers. Also not to assume, but I am a faithful christian who at a young age converted in my faith. Isn’t it a biased unresearched belief to assume that people that beleive in God are uneducated? Please comment to this rationally I’m just wondering, not trying to be jerky. Please also include if you ever had “Faith” and if so, why you lost it and what you think of converts. finally, It is not just to the reason for atheism to say there is simply no proof when if you read more about Fatima you could see it. T
    My prayers,
    Sean

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Ebonmuse

    Sean, I suggest you read the comment thread for this post, where the issues you raise have all been extensively addressed.

  • http://none Jim3031

    The “Miracle of the Sun” can be explained as being caused by various atmospheric conditions, however, one cannot explain why these conditions occurred at the exact time that they did seeming to fulfill the prediction. But the “Miracle of the Sun” is not even the most “miraculous” thing that happened that day. For about a radius of a mile (which would include more than 3 square miles), everything that had been a total quagmire of mud from the over 24 hours of rain that occurred previous to the time of the reputed apparition. dried up. And it dried up completely. The muddy, several inches deep quagmire dried essentially to dust. The ground became as if it hadn’t rained at all! All the water on the grass and trees was gone. Everyone’s soaked clothes became totally dry. Now, the energy required to evaporate all that water in the few minutes that the sun was purported to “dance” has been calculated to be comparable to an atomic bomb exploding over the site. Yet no one was incinerated, none of the vegetation was harmed. The water just disappeared! I find this to be the most inexplicable and “miraculous” part of the whole event, even though it is generally only mentioned in passing if at all.

  • Bob Jase

    Jim, read the whole comments – your ‘miracle’ didn’t happen but alot of fake testimony has accumulated over it, just as it did for the ‘Angel of Mons’.