The fallible god

Usually on a Tuesday I call mum. This morning, however, she didn’t answer her phone. Given the fact that I can’t text her or communicate in any way other than phone, I was forced to assume she was asleep. I shall WhatsApp Denise.

I discovered something while I was waiting for Mum to not answer her phone. The Healing Pool at Lourdes has been shut down because of Covid-19.

It had me surmising that people don’t really believe in god and heaven and all that jazz. Otherwise why close off something that has been claimed can heal people? Surely god would protect his own and keep his magical waters therapeutic rather than poisonous?

As the number of people testing positive for the coronavirus in Europe continues to grow, the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes announced that pilgrims were still welcome, but the pools where the sick bathe in hope for healing would be closed temporarily. “Our first concern will always be the safety and health of the pilgrims and the shrine’s working community,” said a note posted on February 28 on the shrine’s website. “As a precaution, the pools have been closed until further notice.”

Catholic Herald:

The whole Lourdes thing is very interesting. Originally the Romans set up a pagan temple there in order to harness the healing properties of the water flowing from the natural spring. There’s also some evidence that there was a necropolis nearby. I’m wondering whether this was needed for the failure of the healing water.

There followed a period of unknown activity before the Muslims took over and lived there. These were the Al-Andalus Muslims, our friends from Southern Spain who Isabella the Psycho didn’t like. I have no idea if the Muslims thought the water had miracle curative powers but I do know they rather liked water features. The ones in Southern Spain did.

Following a bit of argy bargy, Lourdes was handed to the English during the Hundred Years War as a sort of good will gift. This was not a gift for good. Lourdes was put under siege by the French and taken back later in the Hundred Years War.

There followed a long period of nothing which is possibly not surprising given the place was not much more than a little backwater nothing of a town. Well, until 1858 that is.

That’s when a local teenage peasant called Bernadette, decided to tell people she saw an apparition of a beautiful lady there. 18 times she said she saw her. No one else saw her. Of course, on the strength of her assertion, everyone believed her and it became a place of pilgrimage for all believing Catholics.

The Catholics instantly assumed this mysterious beautiful lady was Mary, mother of Jesus. No-one questioned the history of Lourdes. I mean, this apparition of a beautiful lady could quite easily have been anyone. She could have been Roman, Muslim, English, French, anything. There’s even evidence of prehistoric habitation of the place. She could have been a cave dwelling early European.

According to Bernadette, Mary told her to dig a hole and drink the water that came out of it. Ignoring the fact that the apparition of a beautiful lady spoke French and not Hebrew, the teenager obediently did this and ever since, millions of Catholics drink and/or bathe in the water from the spring and claim to have been cured of all manner of things.

Incidentally, while Bernadette drank the water it didn’t prevent her premature death at 35 of tuberculosis. Presumably to make her feel better, the Pope made her a saint.

The Catholic Church Claims that their god (among the thousands) is the only true one and that their god is all powerful. I guess the fact is he’s powerful over everything but Covid-19. Who knew? A virus more powerful than god.

The fact that the same god gave us Covid-19 in the first place seems to me to indicate that he’s not particularly all loving either.

This should present true believers with something of a quandary: If god created a plague then god’s intention was for humans to be ‘called home’ by the plague and so trying to avoid it is going against god’s will. Surely. On the other hand, if this plague was the work of Satan then why doesn’t god get rid of it? Oh, that’s right, he’s not all powerful.

It’s enough to make one become an atheist…well, if one wasn’t one already.

Meanwhile in Farnham, it was time to open my latest batch of pickled beetroot. It was very, very good. Eating it was almost a religious experience.

My all powerful pickled beetroot
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