Looking for a Miracle

According to a news report from India, “At least 50 people in Kottayam district have reportedly lost their vision after gazing at the sun looking for an image of Virgin Mary.”

My first reaction to news like this is that it confirms my prejudice that the human race is, generally speaking, insane. Still, I wonder how religious examples of self-harming behavior are different from more secular examples. No small number of people have lost their shirt investing in a stock market bubble, which with hindsight can look pretty stupid. Is it generally the religious examples that look more drastic or weird in some special way? Am I merely showing my secular culture when I think so?

About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06394155516712665665 CyberKitten

    Generally speaking people are pretty stupid – especially when they get together in groups.

    Religion is just one aspect of human stupidity – there are many more. I mean… just look how many people smoke!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16826568465831489492 Alex Dalton

    I’m a religious person and I find this kind of thing to be insane as well, so I think we need a more nuanced description of such behavior than just “religious”.

    Suppose an atheist, desiring to show the world that there is no God, decides to run and jump off of a giant cliff, say a prayer in mid-air in order to be saved by God, and subsequently falls to his death. I wouldn’t be inclined to say that there is anything inherently secular about such behavior.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05516574151553582372 Mitch I. Gann

    Apparently this all started when a “hotelier . . . claimed that statues of Mother Mary in his house [had] been crying honey and bleeding oil and perfumes.” That would have been a rather harmless delusion, along the lines of seeing the face of Jesus in a gravy stain. But I guess when the statue failed to produce more honey and perfume, people decided to look elsewhere for a miracle. Looking for and believing in this type of “miracle” does seem to be a Christian habit. Perhaps people of other faiths do it, too, but it’s Christians you hear about. I always wonder how people know that a slice of pizza, say, looks just like the Virgin Mary when there are no photos of her. Or of Jesus, for that matter.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06394155516712665665 CyberKitten

    Mitch said: Looking for and believing in this type of “miracle” does seem to be a Christian habit.

    Happens all the time in India…. So its not just Christians….


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X