Sorting out my thoughts on Fatima, help?

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Mikhael's picture
Sorting out my thoughts on Fatima, help?

On and off since I left Catholicism the supposed sun miracle at Fatima still gets me, and I'm trying very hard to arrange my thoughts on it in a rational way. If anyone could help me on this I would be immensely grateful.

First, researching this is frustrating and frightening because most sources are religious and I've found it very hard to find facts. No, there were not 70,000 witnesses, Catholic news papers, because not everyone saw anything...byt I can't find any account of how many were interviewed or claimed to see anything. I've heard that people as far away as 40 km and on a ship saw...something ...but nobody tells me what they saw. Did they come forward on their own, were they questioned and lead on? I dunno!

Another issue I have is that I always want to know what the religious rebuttle to scepticism is, and I find stuff like this,

Which does little more than drag me further. Why? Because I see the errors in his logic, but I feel incapable of being able to refute him. He says that the fact that everyone saw something different proves a miracle, the fact that no one explanation proves a miracle. And the fact that this explanation makes perfect sense to him makes me feel like it should make perfect sense to me.

My own thoughts though?

I wonder if Fatima was just a perfect storm. Weather conditions and excitement and staring into the actual sun culminating in a brew of alignment. I have a visual disorder where my eyes shake slightly and sometimes make objects shake. Out of thousands of people, dozens at least would have this condition. The thickness of water droplets or clouds shifting, if someone had cateracts, someone staring longer, all probable variables to explain, over the backdrop of perfect weather conditions, why there are so many different reports.

The above article finished by saying that even if everything was explainable with nature, the timing was a miracle the timing was a perfect storm coincidence that could have happened any other rainy to sunny day.

But still, I'm sick with anxiety, because I feel like, even though people like Dr. Nickels have surely done more research into this than I ever could, I feel somehow that they're missing something or that if i went to read a Catholic blog they could debunk it all on 13 paragraphs and I would have to believe.

My brain just. Sometimes doesn't work right

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David Killens's picture
Let us begin by attempting to

Let us begin by attempting to make this a logical examination. The biggest mistake is to inject a third party without any explanation. In other words, leave "god" out of it. Just follow the evidence. If there was a god involved, then that will come out during the investigation, not at the beginning.

What do we know with certainty?

This "miracle" occurred in 1917.
The location of this event was in a VERY conservative and religious part of Portugal.
The estimated crowd was 30,000 to100,00 people.
It was raining with heavy clouds just before the "miracle"
The three children claimed to see something, others in attendance did not.
Despite the simple fact the sun can be observed anywhere where the Earth faces the sun, this celestial phenomenon was "witnessed" in just one location.
Despite the fact that cameras and motion picture cameras now existed, there is zero photographic proof to substantiate the claim.

Can we agree on those facts, and now attempt to figure things out?

Mikhael's picture
Yes, agreed, that's

Yes, agreed, that's definatelt a baseline event as far as I've been able to find information (I don't think I'm wrong in assuming most sources prefer to keep the grand details rather than the mundane setup)

David Killens's picture
There are many other factors

There are many other factors that I take into consideration.

Since the size of the crowd is so uncertain, I doubt it anyone kept proper records or made an attempt to document this in it's entirety.
This was 1917, at the very end of WW1, when the world had become very weary from the carnage and death. In times like that people grasp at anything that makes them feel better.
When I examined photos of the crowd, many were barefoot. That does not mean those people were inferior, only that they came from a very destitute station in life. If they were that poor, they were also most likely poorly educated.

Mikhael's picture
I can agree here too. One th

I can agree here too. One th ing that struck me as odd with the religious answers to skeptics was why they did nor, in 1917, talk about bleached retinas. I would think that even an educated journalist wouldn't be well versed in medical terminology, though I could be wrong.

I also don't take much stock in the stories of people's clothing drying suddenly. That just sounds like hysterics or bullshit

David Killens's picture
What were the weather

What were the weather conditions?

It was obviously a turbulent day with rains and clouds. Was it warm, how strong was the wind, how long were they standing there? How long was it raining? Was it a many hour deluge or just a few minutes?

Every photo I have examined indicates the crowd was standing on a very rocky patch of ground. That type of soil can drain quickly

Additionally, it is reasonable to assume that just about everyone was wearing wool products, known for it's water-resistant abilities.

Mikhael's picture
I had actually thought of

I had actually thought of that too, I do a lot of mending and sewing and you have to /make/ wool take water honestly.

Calilasseia's picture
Mikhael ...

Mikhael ...

Go here, and enjoy the contents. I think you'll like this particular exposition of the reasons why the Fatima assertions are basically bullshit :)

David Killens's picture
To add support to this

To add support to this treatise, scientists live for the opportunity to chase down unexplained events. If the scientific community had any reason to examine Fatima, they would be over it like crazy, it would be a new branch of science and dutifully explored.

One misconception propagated by many theists is the conspiracy, that the entire scientific community has somehow agreed to shun studying certain religious phenomena. The reality is just he opposite. Just like Sheldon in "Big Bang Theory", many crave winning the Nobel prize, and would jump at the opportunity to be in the history book, famous, and rich.

Mikhael's picture
You know that's an angle I

You know that's an angle I had bot thought of before honestly. I hear many atheists and acid that's say on the matter that they would be ENAMORED with such proof of the supernatural

Mikhael's picture
Thank you!

Thank you!

For me I feel like anyone who thinks there was actual movement is crazier than most. Supposing anythting magical happened, it was an illusion...and I suppose in that vein there's no way to tell a god made illusion from one made from weather patterns and crowd hysteria huh

David Killens's picture


"Supposing anythting magical happened, it was an illusion...and I suppose in that vein there's no way to tell a god made illusion from one made from weather patterns and crowd hysteria huh"

So the intellectually honest answer is "we do not know".

A biased anti-theist may declare that it was all fake, a theist may declare it was a miracle, but when you peel away personal opinions and stare directly at all known verified facts, we don't know.

And please remember, the rules of claim still applies. It is incumbent on the claimant to prove their case.

Cognostic's picture
@Fatima: May 19, 1917,

@Fatima: May 19, 1917, ignorant goat hearers, the Catholic Church's favorite target. There is no space to debunk Fatima here. Too many characters and events with as much confusion as the Church can muster tossed in to divert the attention.
Here is the link to a solid debunking:

Who was Lúcia Santos ?
What was Portuguise Society like in 1917?

ARE YOU AWARE - "Accordingly, a crowd variously estimated to be somewhere between 30,000 and 100,000 people gathered to witness this 'miracle' which was to become known as the 'miracle of the Sun'. The apparition dutifully appeared, BUT ONLY TO LUCIA!"

The miracle of the sun is a natural phenomena and occurs throughout the world.

1. A straightforward vision of Hell (Nothing miraculous here,)
2. Something bad will happen while Pontificate of Pius XI is in office.... (Then 18 to 25 years later.....)
"These 'secrets' were not written down until between 1935 and 1944, well after the events they describe, and during the pontificate of Pius XI himself."

3. The problem is, it's psychotic gibberish. It smacks of a narrow, wasted life spent steeped entirely in Catholic dogma, medieval Christian imagery and apocalyptic eschatology, by a little girl pushed into a world not of her choosing and cruelly forced to live out her own childhood fantasy for the benefit of an uncaring Church.

When was it revealed? 1957 in a supposedly sealed envelope. (HA HA HA HA HA HA Sorry, this one is rich!) "No wonder Pope Pius XII reputedly opened the sealed envelope in 1957, read the 'secret' - and promptly put it back into the envelope and consigned it to the Vatican Secret Archive. A face-palm moment if ever there was one."


Mikhael's picture
You know I had not thought

You know I had not thought before how I don't believe in the apparitions at all nor do I believe in the prophesies, so why should the sun dancing be what uoaeta me so much? It was a hyped up crowd from a little girl known to tell stories that happened in ideal conditions. This post actually helped me organize some perspective on this

David Killens's picture
Lúcia dos Santos was nine

Lúcia dos Santos was nine years old, and out herding sheep. That tells me she (and her two cousins) had basically zero education. When you have that level of ignorance and superstition, wow, crazy shit happens.

Mikhael's picture
Very true. I do still wonder

Very true. I do still wonder some about the skeptics and those farther away. Do you reckon it's reasonable that a fair few skeptics saw somet ing based on the atmosphere issues alone, same as how some believers saw nothing?

David Killens's picture


"Do you reckon it's reasonable that a fair few skeptics saw somet ing based on the atmosphere issues alone, same as how some believers saw nothing?"

What do we know?

We know that it was cloudy and raining earlier.
We know that whatever was (allegedly) observed was specifically local, no one in China, Egypt, or New York witnessed whatever it may have been.

We do not know what happened that day.

It is OK to say "I do not know", rather than injecting "god" to mask our inability to produce a true answer.

There may have been weird cloud movement, there may be some form of atmospheric distortion, there may have been some mass hysteria. IMO any one those explanations are more PLAUSIBLE than " an invisible dude of incredible power and abilities in the clouds made the universe, created this planet and everything on it, did a lot of weird, and oh yea, got three children to say stuff"

I know weird cloud and atmospheric stuff happens.
I know mass hysteria can happen.
I do not know if a dude in the sky exists.

There is a long list of unusual atmospheric phenomena, which have all been explained. Lightning, thunder, Northern lights, tornadoes, solar eclipses, lunar eclipses, cloud inversion, and other stuff have all been attributed to some god, but all have been examined and scientifically explained.

Mikhael's picture
Honestly I know this is what

Honestly I know this is what it all comes down to, and I'm tr ing to get there. I feel like my brain knows this but my fear instinct wants to be on high alert.

I think for me it feels like, I don't believe in the legitimacy of the Bible or it's god, but for some reason stories accredited to a debunked book...somehow make the book credible? Whic is a logical backflip my brain really shouldn't be attempting!

When I identified was pagan, our usual response to this kind of thing was, shit happens but thatbdoesnt mean it's Yahweh. And I guess as an atheist that notion really hasn't changed

David Killens's picture


but for some reason stories accredited to a debunked book...somehow make the book credible?

Two half-truths do not make one truth.

Mikhael, please keep in mind that you spent years in heavy indoctrination, and although you may be able to arrive at an intellectual resolution quickly, it may takes years to shake off the emotional baggage.

I see this condition frequently in this forum. Someone realizes they are an atheist, but still carry around the fear of heaven and hell. That is the baggage that one cannot casually discard.

Mikhael's picture
Yes, it's honestly just the

Yes, it's honestly just the same issues I had as a believer. I have a very hard time deciding what reality is, I guess I go between too trusting and too skeptical and always of the wrong people, but I'm working on it. Today at my job sorting books at a thrift store I pulled at a book on Fatima and my first thought was well, this is a sign. But follow up thought was, bullshit i sort 2000 books a day. So theres progress in moments

David Killens's picture


"Today at my job sorting books at a thrift store I pulled at a book on Fatima and my first thought was well, this is a sign. But follow up thought was, bullshit i sort 2000 books a day."

I am glad that you figured that out, because previously you were counting the hits and ignoring the misses.

For example, many theists claim prayer works, and point to examples of someone praying, and getting a favorable outcome. But they ignore the fact that right now, thousands are praying for dying loved ones, and almost all will die.

Mikhael's picture
Putting it that way yes, I'm

Putting it that way yes, I'm very good at counting the hits. I'm really glad to have found this space, and I'm looking forward to getting some audio books next week to start building a good foundation for this worldview. I've been listening to Seth andrews and Jimmy snow and other folks for a while now but I'm ready to dig a little deeper. Thanks for being patient with me y'all, I think we all know what kind of baggage religion can bring

Nyarlathotep's picture

I recently discovered an audio version (link to "audio book") of an interesting old book: Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Volume 1 (link to printed copy), published in 1840s.

I recommend the whole book for everyone; but I specifically would like to recommend to you Mikhael, the listening/reading to sections 21 and 22 which are titled: Modern Prophecies part 1 and 2.

boomer47's picture
2 cents:

2 cents:

The Catholic Church made the alleged miracle of Lourdes dogma . This occurred with the first and so far only time a Pope has spoken Ex cathedra .IE 'From the chair (of St Peter) since the doctrine of infallibility was introduced in 1870 .

SO FAR the Church has refused to declare the alleged miracle of Fatima doctrine. I think that might be a hint about the credibility of that miracle.

Short answer: due to the lack of any credible evidence, I'd say it's reasonable to conclude the Miracle of Fatima is woo, accepted by superstitious and gullible people.

What's next? The Angel Of Mons perhaps?

Cognostic's picture

@WEIRD WEATHER: "5 Creepy Weather Phenomena That Shouldn't Be Allowed" or

Want to claim any of these are sent to us from God? Weird shit happens.

Mikhael's picture
Hey everyone

Hey everyone

So today, it so happened that I got another book donated in, on Hell, everyone's favorite subject , and flipping through it to check for damage of course I opened it to an entry on Fatima. I wknt lie, I had an immediate panic response, sure that 2 books two days in a row were some kind of sign, becsuse im still wired to think that way. Totes fun. But im calming down, trying to remember to be a rational human being who doesn't see signs in coincidences. But boy was that a huge part of my life as a Catholic

Tin-Man's picture


Just hang in there, friend. As others have already said, it can often take awhile to completely shake the old feelings/habits of your religious indoctrination. And that insidious and rudely invasive threat of eternal torture in hell is the absolute hardest one to escape. Believe me, I know. But here is a little something I hope will help you a bit on your journey....

Stop trying so hard. That is one major problem I had when I finally made my break. I felt like I absolutely HAD TO get that shit out of my head as quickly as possible even if I had to shove a coathanger up through my nose into my brain and drag it out piece by piece. (Thankfully, saner minds talked me out of doing that... *chuckle*...) Basically, the more you think about it and worry over it, the longer it stays right there directly in the front of your mind. Stop dwelling on it. Let it go. You are free now. Find other (better) things to occupy your brain/time. You already spent a large part of your life in "hell". Why keep going back to visit? For me, once I finally realized what I was doing, I simply found other things to read, write, and discuss. Then one day it just randomly dawned on me that I had not had any thoughts of dread or concerns about hell in many, many days. To this day, I cannot pinpoint an exact time when that final release happened. And I have had zero problems with all that nonsense since then. Matter of fact, it is actually difficult for me now to even believe I was ever afraid of it all in the first place, and I just have to laugh at the absurdity of it all.

So, like I said, just hang in there and try not to over-think the whole thing. And one day you will be walking along and realize that last bit of poison has finally exited your system, and you will likely not even remember when it happened.

Mikhael's picture
I need control you first that

I need control you first that as a Kansas native your persona is wonderful xD

And second, I know you're right, you absolutely are, but Satan almighty is that hard. I'm sure we all, or at least many of us have so much baggage. I was very close to suicide over it. It was a dark place but I'm doing my best. It's hard to bot think about things that your brain things are the most important. Anxiety and terror over these issues have robbed me of so much. I'm an illustrator and I can't tell you how many hours Imof potential work I've lost to this. But I have a weekend coming up tomorrow and I'm trying to focus on the good and not waste it all on stress

LogicFTW's picture


If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, or do so in the future I urge you to seek free professional help. There are toll free numbers and free online resources as well.

They can actually help you if you need it.

Mikhael's picture
Thank you. I am not currently

Thank you. I am not currently in danger. These recent feelings have been very reminiscent of the emotions I've had back then, but I have a better real life support network now than I did then

LogicFTW's picture
That is great to hear :) And

That is great to hear :) And now you have the additional support of this community :)


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