Monday, April 25, 2005

The Virgin Mary In Chicago

The Virgin Mary has "appeared" in Chicago, on an underpass at the Fullerton Avenue entry ramp to the Kennedy Expressway. I know that underpass well, having spent plenty of time in my younger years in that neighborhood.

Anyway, it is a salt stain that someone thought looks like the Virgin Mary. The best way to test the stain, of course, would be to sandblast or wash it off and see if it appears again, but the Illinois Dept. of Trasportation won't do that, as they don't wash the concrete on any regular basis. Fair enough.

This post won't go into whether the appearance of Mary in such a shithole as the Fullerton Avenue underpass means we are all going to die tomorrow or we all will receive the full glory of Mary if we drive over there and touch it. The purpose of this post is to discuss these sorts of "miracles" in general and why I think they are so stupid.

I think I choose not to believe in them because of my strict Baptist indroctination at an early age, believe it or not. In the sect of Baptists that I was raised in, it was very conservative, and the literal translation of the Bible was the rule. Oh yes, the translation that they used was exclusively the King James version of the Bible - no modern day translations would do. They poo-pooed all of the faith healers, people who speak in tongues and all other miracles, indicating that it says nowhere in the Bible that these things are legit. It is an interesting duality as they believed in the miracles in the Bible itself (i.e. loaves and fishes), but nothing in the modern day. No shroud of Turin, no Lourdes.

The main crux of the matter was that they believed that there was no man who could interfere with your communication to God or Jesus (God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the same thing in Baptists minds - the Trinity as one). I think that this is right. I believe that Jesus, if you believe that he is a god, would have wanted no ritual or person to stand in the way of your worship of him. That is also why these Baptists poo-pooed the Pope as simply just another guy. Catholics as far as I know think that the Pope is descended of Peter and is a saint on earth. That may be an incorrect definition, but I think it is close. People are constantly trying to get blessed by the Pope or touch him or kiss his ring. These things are strictly verboten in the Baptist sect I was brought up in.

Every time I hear of another Virgin Mary sighting, whether this one on the Fullerton Av. underpass, or on a grilled cheese sandwich or anywhere else, I just shake my head.

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