Ever since I began writing this Blog, I have been conscious of the effect of my sometimes strident attacks on religious credulity. “How to lose friends and alienate people” some claim is my principal (if not only) talent. Good, honest , kind people (including some fellow-atheists) have openly criticized my “sledgehammer” approach to what I have arrogantly called blindfaithblindfolly. Little old ladies in tennis shoes, simple folk who have spent their lives believing everything their priest or pastor or rabbi or imam taught them, and practising a traditional piety most people would consider harmless if not admirable, deserve respect, I am scolded, rather than the ironic, cruel broadsides with which I bombard their credulity. It seems that my militant atheism has made me an insensitive Grumpy Old Man who has forgotten the meaning of kindness, respect and tolerance.
In my own defense, let me refer you to the post immediately previous to this one, “How Credulous Can You Get ?” I not only criticize belief in but ridicule the Marian “apparitions” and thereby offend millions of believers who accept as historical facts the supposed appearances of the Virgin Mary to children at Lourdes, Fatima and La Salette. By what right do I accuse devotees of these “events”, declared to be authentic by the highest authorities of the Catholic Church, of being naïve victims of the quaint illusions of ignorant peasant children ?
It should be enough to reread my account of Mary’s supposed “revelations” at La Salette to discover the answer. It is patently absurd to claim that the Mother of God, piously wearing a crucifix (!) on her breast (why not a Miraculous Medal ?), would have actually delivered a discourse in French which the children could not understand – and no one else witnessed – but which is reported as having in fact been spoken by her. It is even more incredible that she would speak of her Son – filled with a vengeance worthy of His Father, the ferocious Yahweh – as causing a famine to punish people … for not going to Mass or for taking His name in vain. Am I expected to refrain from pointing out the nonsensical nature of the children’s story, so as not to offend pious believers ? I do not, in this Blog, directly address the little old ladies in tennis shoes. The readers I target are Believers on the Brink who deserve to discover just how absurd the La Salette myth really is. They have already begun to doubt the truth of certain articles of their faith. They deserve to be challenged to ask themselves how they can continue to believe ANY of the doctrines preached by a Church which would approve the superstitions of La Salette.
“Quod scripsi, scripsi”. “What I have written I have written”. Take it or leave it.