Hi All,.

I was born into a Roman Catholic family. Around 20 years ago I stopped practicing religion. I said to myself what’s the point! I am busy with other stuff and religion is just an extra burden on me. So I quit it and got on with life. Recently I started to question the meaning of life so I started to search. I discovered the following information.

Did Jesus exist after all?

Independent Non Christian sources on the existence of Christ Jesus

1 -Cornelius Tacitus Non Christian  (56 – 117AD) historian and Roman Senator in a passage ‘Annales, book 15, verse 44’ refers to Christ, Pontius Pilate and a mass executions of Christians. General scholarly view considers Tacitus to be authentic

 

2 – Flavius Joseph a Romano-Jewish historian (37-100AD) Book 20 Chapter 9,1   "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James" Modern scholarship has almost universally acknowledged the authenticity of the reference

 

-          How does one explain what happened in Portugal at Fatima in 1917, “The Miracle of the Sun”  which was witnessed by an estimated 30,000 – 70,000 people?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_of_the_Sun

 

-          How to explain the Apparation of Mary in Egypt Cairo 1968 witnessed by 1000's of people called Our Lady of Zeitoun?

-          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_Zeitoun

 

-          How to explain the miraculous healing of people in Lourdes France and in Bosnia-Hercegovina in a place called Medjugorje where 100,000’s of people go annually.

 

-          How to explain the wounds on the hands, feet and side of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (1887 – 1968) which he had for 50 years which apparently were those of Jesus & his ability to read people and heal people all in the name of Jesus.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pio_of_Pietrelcina

 

-          How to explain how the body of St Bernadette of Lourdes 130 years after her death has not decomposed. Her body is not artificially preserved.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernadette_Soubirous#Exhumations

 

-          How to explain how Alexandria da Costa (1904-1955) survived on no food for 13 years only the Eucharist.  Verified by independent doctors

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandrina_of_Balasar

 

-     How to explain how Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774 – 1824) had wounds which apparently were those of Jesus on her body. 

Can someone please give me some answers based on facts?

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Why do you need to answer anything?

You can simply say "I don't know" and the burden of proof is still on them. If you simply state that you have no answer, they still have all the work ahead of them. All those things can just as easily be attributed to the Invisible Pink Unicorn, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

They need to prove that any of those things you listed actually refer to, or are done by their version of a deity. Unless they can provide solid proof of that, they have no grounds for their belief other than "faith" and therefore, you have no reason to answer anything, nor do you have any way to counter their argument because it is very difficult to prove "feelings" wrong.

** Consider the place for new values in a world of facts and fictions

Start by reading a book by Michel Onfray. Atheist Manifesto is its title in the US edition and translation from French. Ought to be many used copies -- it deals with questions related to yours -- and more besides.

It offers a clear destructive set of arguments against the "great" monotheisms in general and xianity in particular. But, Onfray goes beyond destroying xian belief and consequently xian morality -- he provides a completely secular foundation for personal and social behavor rooted in the rational hedonism of Epicurus.

Reported apparitions depend upon the reliability of supposed witnesses, which is notoriously unreliable.  Millions of people have testified to seeing faces on Mars.  Despite the FACT that the claim has been thoroughly debunked, people still report it as true.  And there is no shortage of "witnesses" to flying saucers and such.  That does not make them true.  Why do people persist in believing this delusional nonsense? Because they WANT to believe it.  So all these purported miracles, visions, etc. mean absolutely nothing.

As to those supposed historical records relating to Jesus, Erich von Daniken supplies similarly specious evidence for ancient visitations from space aliens, so that means nothing, either.   As to the allusions to Christ: the notion of a "Christ" was a common concept among the Jews. In fact, they are still waiting for him to make his debut on Earth.   And Jesus?  How many millions of them were there in the middle east at the time?

Of the two historians you mention, only Tacitus is considered an authentic, unbiased historian.  And his only mention of a Christlike figure named Jesus is contained in a single paragraph, wherein he labels the claim as "superstition."  He goes on to mention that a number of Christians were killed.  Had he been aware of a specific Jesus being crucified and subsequently resurrected, he no doubt would have mentioned it; but he didn't.

To take some of your questions at random: You evidently accept the report that Catherine...had Jesus wounds on her body.  Then I assume you accept as fact that Jesus' likeness appears randomly on pieces of toast, right?

30,000 to 70,000 people witnessed the "Miracle of the Sun"? Who counted them?  The Vatican?  Of the tens of thousands of people who evidently witnessed some  "extraordinary solar activity," only three children reported seeing visions.  Now THAT'S what I call proof.  Nevertheless, the Vatican endorsed it as a true miracle, so I'm convinced.  

And you evidently take as fact that "...deCosta survived 13 years without food... Verified by independent doctors"?  Which doctors exactly? Did they conduct a 13 year experiment in which they isolated deCosta and monitored his daily consumption of Jesus' blood and flesh?  Or did they weigh and measure his stool every morning for 13 years?  Ludicrous!

Finally,  It hardly counts as reliable evidence that someone at sometime wrote something down in a book.  These are claims only.  And, of course, that includes the preposterous claims of the most popular book ever written.

Face it, Con: you never left the church.   

Let's just take the 'miracle of the sun'.  You get a bunch of cult devotees all frothed up about magic, prime them on the sort of experience they'll have, then tell them to stare at the sun for 10 minutes.  Would it surprise you to discover that a bunch of them started seeing weird stuff, having colour disturbances in their vision, and then began blithering on like lobotomized buffoons?  Mass hysteria has been well documented, and it only takes a few very charismatic believers to peel back the sanity from a larger group of devotees.

I've been part of these sorts of things countless times in my youth while attending Pentecostal rituals.  The other believers buy the whole show - hook, line, and sinker.  Those with doubts don't dare say a word around those all worked up into a frenzy over the shenanigans.

Moreover - there were plenty of cameras floating around in 1917 yet I notice that no one even suggests any photos of the phenomena either exist or were ever taken.  The story has changed and grown over the years as much as many such urban legends.  Do you actually think there could possibly be anything to this silly old legend?  Seriously?

According to the Wikipedia article on Bernadette Soubirous, the third paragraph states:

"Since her death, Soubirous's body has apparently remained internally incorrupt, but it is not without blemish; during her third exhumation in 1925, the firm of Pierre Imans made light wax coverings for her face and her hands due to the discoloration that her skin has undergone. These masks were placed on her face and hands before she was moved to her crystal reliquary in June 1925." (Emphasis mine.)

If this woman's corpse is "incorrupt", why the need for the wax coverings on her face and hands? Why the "blemish"?

The only explanation: the body isn't "incorrupt"...it's decaying. Slowly, but still decaying. 

Every one of the incidents you have described have sane, rational explanations, do some research (somewhere other than christian resources!)

One other note: it seems that almost all of the examples you have requested explanations for are catholic.

Perhaps if you ask another catholic about these "miracles", they will give you the catholic line, and drill you back (possibly) into the fold. Likewise, you ask a baptist or a methodist for answers, they will only tell you what they've been trained in sunday school or university or seminary what their respective theological answer is, with the intent on converting you into a good protestant. 

Now, since you have come to an atheist site for answers, I can only give what I truly believe is the only logical explanation: that these supposed supernatural events were invented by the catholic church hierarchy to keep the faithful in the fold, and at least demonstrate something that god really exists, knowing full and well it cannot possibly happen in nature. No one cares about any of these "miracles", except "good catholics".

As far as facts to back up my answers, the only thing I can give is that neither I, nor anyone else that I have met in my (as of time of writing) 42+ years of existence on this earth, has ever seen or experienced anything like a "miracle", and furthermore, anyone who claims to have witnessed something of the sort to me or anyone else, we have to really wonder what the state of mind of that person is in.

In any event, things like incorrupt corpses, fountains of healing, Marian apparitions, stigmata, etc., don't really matter to me. I don't lose sleep anymore wondering about these things, or the threat of hell, or living on a cloud forever. Today...NOW...live your life for now to the fullest, to all this world has to offer, and don't follow such medieval nonsense.

Did you know, Con, that people taking a placebo pill will often show signs of improvement?  And that even when they are specifically told they are being given a placebo, they still sometimes show signs of improvement?  Scientists have studied it with fascination.  It has nothing to do with theology.  Lourdes is a placebo.  Nobody ever blames it for their deterioration, do they?  Only their 'healing'.

And there's that whole Jesus toast thing...

As for miracles, my backspace key is a daily miracle :)

Come one, you mean you haven't heard about carbolic acid for stigmata, Fatima in 1917, not one observatory recorded the sun zig-zagging for that "foretold" event. All photos are of the crowd..interesting. Is that what you would photograph if the sun was exploding?

The catholic church is, was, and will always be a magic show. How many murdered popes have there been? The closest thing to a miracle is how rapist priests continue to evade the law.

You cant take the word of 1, 10, or 1,000,000 of the faithful. They want to believe more than anything. Their accounts are all useless.

I will not do your research for you but I can assure you that each and every one of these have a rational explanation.

If they didn't have an explanation it still would not be reasonable to claim it as evidence of god, let alone the Christian god.

You can find just as many 'miracles' from Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. Belief is a powerful thing, unfortunately.

 

Cornelius Tacitus Non Christian (56 – 117AD) historian and Roman Senator in a passage ‘Annales, book 15, verse 44’ refers to Christ, Pontius Pilate and a mass executions of Christians. General scholarly view considers Tacitus to be authentic.

Dig deeper and you'll find many of these so-called 'scholars' are theologians; non-subject matter experts deserving of as much 'scholarly' repute as one who bothers to study leprechauns.

Tacitus may be considered 'authentic' in that he knew the Christian story of Jesus' death, he refers to Christianity as "mischievous superstition" and he wrote about the torture and killing of Christians in Rome. Go much beyond that and you have conjecture.

Note also that even if Jesus existed as a historical figure that no more makes him a God than Sathya Sai Baba.

"Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular." - Tactius

2 – Flavius Joseph a Romano-Jewish historian (37-100AD) Book 20 Chapter 9,1 "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James" Modern scholarship has almost universally acknowledged the authenticity of the reference.

Given that Wikipedia is the source of these claims, it's a bit unseemly to exclude the extensive section of arguments that challenge its authenticity. Note again, that even if the reference is genuine, it only demonstrates that Flavious knew a Christian story about Jesus, not that the story itself is genuine. Again, even if it IS genuine, it doesn't make Jesus a God.

How does one explain what happened in Portugal at Fatima in 1917, “The Miracle of the Sun” which was witnessed by an estimated 30,000 – 70,000 people?

15 million Americans claim to have witnessed flying saucers, and 3% of Americans claim to have been abducted by aliens. Naturally, no proof exists outside of somebody's say-so.

I explain this the same way I explain Fatima: it's nonsense. The people at Fatima were promised a miracle, so 30,000 to 70,000 of them saw exactly what they wanted to see.

- How to explain the Apparation of Mary in Egypt Cairo 1968 witnessed by 1000's of people called Our Lady of Zeitoun?

How do we explain Charles Darwin appearing on a parking garage wall?
How do we explain Kermit the Frog appearing on Mars?
How do we explain Abe Lincoln appearing on a french fry?

Human brains are good at finding and associating visual patterns; a natural process, not a supernatural one.

How to explain the miraculous healing of people in Lourdes France and in Bosnia-Hercegovina in a place called Medjugorje where 100,000’s of people go annually.

Over 200 million people have visited Lourdes of which 67 have been verified by the Vatican as 'healed'.

For added perspective, about 1 in 100,000 cases of cancer end in spontaneous remission (without Lourdes). Many other diseases end the same way. Why does a lack of explanation mean a supernatural process is at work? Why can't it be another natural process we don't understand yet?

I haven't seen any statistics regarding "healing" at Medjugorje. (I don't think there are any.) But statistically there's no reason to assume the record there is any better or worse than at Lourdes'.

- How to explain the wounds on the hands, feet and side of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (1887 – 1968) which he had for 50 years which apparently were those of Jesus & his ability to read people and heal people all in the name of Jesus.

A crackpot mutilates himself and says God did it. Other crackpots crowd around him and claim to have been healed.

- How to explain how the body of St Bernadette of Lourdes 130 years after her death has not decomposed. Her body is not artificially preserved.

We have thousands of examples where animal and human corpses have undergone natural mummification. But that is not the case here. The doctor who examined her corpse said, "The body is practically mummified, covered with patches of mildew and quite a notable layer of salts, which appear to be calcium salts. ... The skin has disappeared in some places, but it is still present on most parts of the body."

Calcium salt is an antibacterial and antifungal preservative. (Not artificially preserved, huh?) Besides that, her hands and face are made of wax. That would only be necessary if they had rotted away.

- How to explain how Alexandria da Costa (1904-1955) survived on no food for 13 years only the Eucharist. Verified by independent doctors

The article doesn't say the claim was "verified by independent doctors" it says she was "examined by medical doctors, with no conclusion". And even that information comes from a non-independent and unreliable source: the Vatican. 

- How to explain how Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774 – 1824) had wounds which apparently were those of Jesus on her body.

Another crackpot mutilates herself (or was mutilated by another crackpot) and says God did it.

Can someone please give me some answers based on facts?

Done. And that was asking a lot since the questions themselves were not based on facts.

Did you hear about the new Eucharist diet. Holy Crap ! I lost 120lbs praise the lerd!

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