Respectful Insolence

Everyone knows that I’m a bit of a connoisseur of pareidolia. Pareidolia, for those not familiar with the term, is a phenomenon where humans see patterns in various things, you know, like seeing Elvis in a flame or the Virgin Mary on a stain under a freeway overpass in Chicago or in a window blotch in Perth Amboy, or seeing Jesus on a shell, on the wall of a shower, on a sand dune, a potato chip, or (my personal favorite) a pierogi. Heck, there have even been Jesus sightings on a cat, a stain on a ceiling tile, and even on a rather odd location on a dog.

However, I really, really have to question why any believer would advertise having seen the Virgin Mary in this particular stain, much less make a pilgrimage to see it and marvel at it.

I think I liked seeing the Virgin Mary apparition in a Lava Lamp better.

Comments

  1. #1 DLC
    July 18, 2009

    Wow. Just.. Wow. an oval-shaped blob of bird poo.
    And it’s Teh Virgin Mary. Uh Huh. I am reminded of the scene from The Simpsons where Marge is building a scarecrow.
    She gets the crossbar set up and goes in to get one of Homer’s old jackets, and as soon as she’s out of the scene Ned Flanders and his sons run up, fall to their knees, and start praying.

  2. #2 Thony C.
    July 18, 2009

    Oh Lord! Jesus shit on me.

  3. #3 JD
    July 18, 2009

    Blessed are the fecal virgins.

  4. #4 Joe
    July 18, 2009

    But … it looks so much like the autographed photo I bought from the Reverend Billy Sol Mountbanke.

  5. #5 bigjohn756
    July 18, 2009

    How can we educate people of the fact that, when they are seeing these images of their holy people, they are seeing images created by medieval artists at the behest and instruction of their sponsors. No one knows what the original people looked like and the religious leaders paying for these images wanted them to look like the folks in their congregation.

  6. #6 Rogue Medic
    July 18, 2009

    If PZ Myers had been the first one to suggest that this was a religious image, he would have been accused of all sorts of evil motives. Yet, when someone, who is apparently often thinking religious thoughts, sees a representation of those religious thoughts in bird skid marks, it is a miracle.

    Perhaps it was Hazel Motes first recognized this resemblance. I think I see a bit of Cydonia in this, too.

  7. #7 Martín Pereyra
    July 18, 2009

    Several years ago, an oval-shaped stain of moisture vaguely resembling the Virgin of Guadalupe (but then, almost any oval resembles the Virgin of Guadalupe) appeared on the floor at a subway station in Mexico City. The stained tile was removed and put in an altar at the station, where it remains to this day. An even more stupid story was a nationwide hysteria of “apparitions” of the Virgin in microwave ovens’ plates three years ago, supposedly prophesied by pope Wojtyla.

    As a matter of fact, Mexico is full of improvised altars near oil stains, tree knots, patterns in stones or rocky hills, etc., where people gather and pray, leave flowers, burn candles and perform other acts of devotion; and such petty “apparitions” are reported in news once in a while. Of course, the reporter takes the testimony of the local ignorant devotees at face value, and the closest thing to “skepticism” is a representative of the local (arch)bishop explaining that stains are not proper objects of religious veneration.

    And that’s why I think believers won’t consider bird poop too low and filthy for “Our Mother” to show in it, and why I think we Mexicans can’t have nice things.

  8. #8 Wholly Father
    July 18, 2009

    Actually, I majored in scatological iconography.

  9. #9 Phoenix Woman
    July 18, 2009

    Hell, Serrano and Mapplethorpe got reamed out for far less.

  10. #10 J Todd DeShong
    July 19, 2009

    That’s TX fer ya’!! YEE~F~in’HAW!!
    God, Guns and Guts!!
    Please, get me out of here!
    JTD

  11. #11 Dr X
    July 19, 2009

    Here is my very own apparition, Tow-truck Jesus:

    http://tinyurl.com/nvmh6m

  12. #12 The Blind Watchmaker
    July 19, 2009

    This evidence does it for me. I have converted. I will from now on take offense at just about anything anyone says.

  13. #13 Danimal
    July 19, 2009

    Wow funny! At least they had a U2 commercial with one of my favorite songs up front. I didn’t know U2 even did commercials.

  14. #14 adkay
    July 19, 2009

    I used to see the pirate Jean LaFitte in the wood paneling in my parents’ living room. Little did I know that the image was predicting my conversion to Pastafarianism. Yes… touched by His Noodly Appendage at age 8.

  15. #15 Ranson
    July 20, 2009

    Not paredolia, but a buddy of mine just had the “Virgin of Guadalupe” tattooed on his back, pretty much covering it. When he showed me, I asked this hyper-masculine young Latino, “You realize you just had a giant vagina permanently inscribed on your back, right?”

    I didn’t get a real response.

  16. #16 TheEngima23
    July 20, 2009

    From this they get “mono”theism?
    And isn’t there something about idolatry in those damn Commandments they keep trying to shove down our throat?

    Bird shit worship =! monotheism. Sorry guys, try again later.

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