I had a vision that bullshit would sell very well….and other stories from this Diwali weekend

Local news from this weekend is that between 50 and 100 people continue to visit the Zachey home in Benoni, South Africa, two years after then 18-year-old, Francesca Zachey claimed to have had a vision of the Virgin Mary.

And despite advice that allegedly caused one of her mesmerized followers to be blinded after she obediently gazed into the sun, in an attempt to glimpse the Virgin Mary, Francesca maintains that she is god’s vessel who is changing people’s lives for the better. Not surprisingly, these days, the Zachey home spots a gift shop selling rosaries, prayer books and 120-Rand T-shirts. Perhaps she would have us believe that a rosary and a T-shirt make-over can work wonders for your life.

Maybe Francesca really thinks she had a supernatural vision, but the cynic in me concludes that ultimately, that vision became the realization that bullshit sells, and very well too.

In a non-related incident, Hindus celebrated (or not) Diwali, on Saturday, October 17th  this weekend. Better known as the Festival of Lights, this religious observance happened to fall on the same day as the religious month of Purtassi was ending. Purtassi is apparently observed in obeisance to the planet Saturn (which supposedly represents a trinity of Hindu gods and goddesses), and is marked by abstinence and strict fasting, while Diwali is more joyous and associated with feasting. Cynical Hindus would be inclined to believe that either the gods were playing a cruel joke on them to curb their merry-making, by causing the two religious festivals to clash, or that the Hindu priests who interpret the solar and lunar movements in the heavens, and set dates thereby, had got it a tad wrong. I’m inclined to go with the latter interpretation.

And on this particular Saturday morning which was overcast with intermittent rain, I happened to overhear my friend’s wife who is incidentally a staunch Hindu [rather forced to overhear, as she is inclined to speak rather loudly], mention that it was an unlucky day and Hindus were not permitted to do anything until midday, but all feasting must be postponed until the next day entirely. She backed up her assertion by saying that even the sun was not shining as usual. Evidently, the overcast and rainy nature of the day was merely coincidental. She then went on to proclaim that since  rain was symptomatic of the Diwali festival [not in those exact words], she was thus assured in her conviction that the timing of Diwali was right. Yet again, the seasonal rain at this time of year was merely coincidental. Apparently, she had also forgotten the many years, I can clearly remember when there was not a spot of rain about, during Diwali.

Francesca is representative of many others who apparently have supernatural visions, and the people who flock to them are symptomatic of the intense desire to believe, in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. My friend’s wife is also representative of many people from various different religious persuasions who still believe that the stars and the planets somehow influence their lives and destinies.

It’s rather sad that in spite of all the information available so widely and freely, superstition and irrational thinking still plays such a dominant role in the lives of ordinary people. Perhaps that’s the problem; people are quite satisfied to remain ordinary.

Holy bird poop!!!

Right now, Cristal and Salvador Pachuca of Bryan, Mexico are probably sitting on their porch worshipping admiring the side mirror of their pickup truck mounted on a shelf, which has some bird dropping splattered on it.

Last month (on the 12Th of July) a bird pooped on the Pachuca’s pickup truck which Salvador had just washed. Upon examining the smear on the side mirror (more likely the side window, from this photograph) he thought it contained the image of the Virgin Mary, and it seems that a steady stream of visitors have confirmed it as the Virgin Guadalupe. Cristal Pachuca was quoted as saying:

We just all feel protected. It’s a blessing to our family and to everybody that comes to see it


I think we’re going to just put it on a shelf outside, probably take off the mirror and keep it there cause its something special to us. I’m not going to wash it off

It seems that the Virgin Mary (and even Jesus) are desperately craving attention by manifesting themselves in all sorts of strange objects from chair covers to peanut butter bottles. Either that or people desperate for some sort of spiritual intervention in their lives, are manifesting their desires onto the strangest of objects. And there seems to be a direct correlation between the strangeness of the object and the desire to believe: the more outrageous the object, the stronger the willingness to accept that a supernatural force is at work.

As long as the need to believe is stronger than the need to think critically, I suppose the Virgin Mary and Jesus will continue to appear in fruit, vegetables, peanut butter and even poop. Why Allah, Krishna, Vishnu, Buddha, and other non-Christian gods are being so coy, has never been successfully explained to me. Maybe they are just too proud to appear in common poop, or they are indeed false gods.

Now imagine if an atheist found proof in an edible object, that indicates that god does not exist? It would probably go something like this.