The Shrining

Many years ago I was shipped off to the holy shrine of Lourdes in Southern France. Apparently about 110 years ago jesus' mum appeared to a girl called Bernadette Soubirou. Since then the site has grown into a rather large shrine or should I say commercial venture. Part of the rituals include lighting candles, being plunged into baths of icy water, drinking form a miraculous spring and walking in a torchlight procession. The last experience is truly remarkable if viewed from a height and at a little distance. All the candles merge into a river of light wending its way along the hillside, really beautiful. My own trip included about forty 14 to 16 yr old boys under the scrutiny of a couple of teachers and accompanied by the Parish Priest.

The commerical acumen of the Lourdians ( I coin a phrase) knows no bounds and at the end of the trip a very fine selction of daggers, switchblades and truly impressive flickknives were presented to a rather shocked school teacher. The redeeming feature of this assorted weaponery was the image of the virgin on one side and St. Bernadette on the other. To top this off the old priest actually blessed this cache of arms. I kid u not. I suppose the thought being if you were unlucky enough to fall foul of one of these items u were assured a speedy transit to the land of milk and honey.

stevester stevester
46-50, M
10 Responses Feb 11, 2009

Stevester - I understand your enjoyment (and for me wonder) at the religious manifestations on earth - such as the ones you mentioned. For me, even as an atheist, I love cathedrals and the sound of a church organ - and especially the sound of monks singing in a traditional choir - at vespers or in the early morning. One of my favourite places to visit is the Benedictine monastery in the middle of nowhere about an hour from where I live. I even go to prayers 2 or 3 times a day just to hear them sing and to sit in silence. It doesn't make me believe though. Just makes me glad to be alive.

there's probably no single cause but it is my personal experience that fear of punishment is a central element of organised religion. Islam doesn't wait until the descent to hell and catholicism used to promote the idea of limbo whic was a transit camp for those who were not baptised. I have listened to the odd fire and brimstone preacher and it's a pretty fearsome tale. The alternative to the fear factor is not being able to explain something and therefore it is attributed to god. Perry Marshall offers a fine line in this type of wizardry. I recommend his site for a laugh.

stevester... that is one of the worst fallacies when it comes to religion (or the lack of it). Danger does not a theist make...<br />
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http://richarddawkins.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=11&start=0

right on, there's no atheists in foxholes. But the old deathbed conversions probably don't count in the scramble for a place in paradise.

amen whutup

Usually through indoctrination or desperation. Many people come to their faith during a time of personal crisis. <br />
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Its a coping mechanism. Nothing magical.

with all due respect, why does god allow himself to be known to you but not to me or to millions of others?

In many ways it was not an unfortunate experience. I ahd questioned god and the church since the age of 10. The commercialisation was not the shock. Many years later a muslim friend who experienced the Haj told me it was very similar. It was the blind faith. I never got my head aornd seemingly rational people beleiving in someting so unbelievable. I enjoy many of the manifestatins of religion on earth, the inspired art of Micheangelo, Rapheal, Tintoretto and so on. The architecture in Saint Chapelle, Gaudi's Cathedral in Barcelona is exceptional but the devotion to god doesn't do it for me.

We know it's true, because no one would try to make this stuff up. Amazing.

astounding, lol