Last week in New Jersey some of the faithful flocked to see something strange and wonderful–the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in a tree trunk. The story is reported here. Then there was the face of Mother Teresa in a bun in Tennessee. You can see that here along with an image of Jesus on a piece of toast, and here is an image of Jesus that appeared in a frying pan in England.
I like this stuff. I find it encouraging that the human race is still so sweet and gullible and so capable of seeing things that don’t really exist. Rather than the cynic who see through everything, I’d like to be like the believer who see into everything. Of course facts matter, and frauds should be exposed, but on the other hand, anything which turns the facts upside down and make people look at reality twice and perhaps for once start to think that reality is rubbery and the cosmos is unpredictable and the whole of everything might be an open system rather than a closed one–I like that. It makes me smile and feel poetical and piratical and subversive and submissive both at the same time.
One of the reasons I am so down on atheism is because it is so dull. The atheists seem so burdened down with facts and arguments. Indeed facts are important, but they’re not much fun are they? I mean, they’re so completely utilitarian and unimaginative. “Yeh, well, show me! Prove it! Where’s your evidence?” Yawn. Where’s the fun in that? Now seeing Mother Teresa in a cinnamon bun, Mary in a tree trunk and Jesus on a piece of toast or a fry pan. That’s interesting. A plaster statue that weeps blood? Fascinating. A saint who has been dead for three hundred years, but whose body is fresh as a daisy? I’m interested. Two cars going for a head on collision and they de-materialize? Bewildering but fun. A woman who sees angels and a man who prays for dead people? Curious. A mysterious linen shroud with a scorched image that no one can explain (except for people who believe it is a photograph of the resurrection) Intriguing.
So I was therefore delighted to find that there are some atheists who also “see things” and believe in stuff that isn’t there. Check out this fascinating article in which some folks see pictures of human brains hidden in Michelangelo’s famous Sistine Chapel. This is secret coded evidence of his being a secret atheist don’t you know? Can’t you see it? Now we’re getting somewhere. I wonder if atheists have ever come up with any other outlandish beliefs, amazing conspiratorial connections or any other examples of vivid imaginations gone wild? Oh yes, the idea that giraffes grew long necks so they could eat the leaves off the tops of trees, or that the Catholic Church officially killed millions of people in the Spanish Inquisition! Then there’s the idea that the Pope is a Nazi who wears ruby slippers and is responsible for the AIDS epidemic, the genocide in Rwanda, subjugation of women, the institution of slavery and just about every bad and nasty thing you can think of.
I’m entertained by cranky theories, funny miracle stories, amazing conspiracy theories and far out stuff, and I thought the atheists were rather dull in this respect, but when I stood things on their head I realized they’re just as entertaining as we are. You just have to see it from the other side.