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Monday, June 22, 2009

Beliefs and Hypocrisy

Hey there everyone!

Sorry for posting late and for not keeping things moving this weekend. As it happens to be my 6 year anniversary with my husband today, I kind of took the weekend off the Internet and some other things too, but not before writing a prequel story to my Centurion 54 novels, but you'll see that another day.

Early this morning, before I went to bed and when I should have been writing this blog, I chad the opportunity to watch a movie that was my favorite when I was a child. To this day, I'm not sure why I like it, but I have a few theories. The movie is from 1943 and is called The Song of Bernadette.

This is supposed to be a movie based on the account of St. Bernadette Soubirous. For those of you not familiar with her, she is said to be the girl who saw a beautiful lady appear in the town dump of Lourdes. According to legend and lore (I say this because it happened so long ago that neither science nor the religious investigation group did not have the same abilities then that we do today to investigate this claim properly and satisfactorily), a young, sickly girl was waiting for her friend and her sister to return from gathering wood on private land. She had a "vision" of beautiful lady that told her to do things, etc. No one else saw the lady, and she never said who the lady was, but others around her claim it was the Virgin Mary.

The lady apparently told this girl to return every day for 15 days. So, she does this, but it turns into a spectacle that both the French government and religious "higher-ups" want to ignore and make go away. Convinced that this is a fraud, the local priest tells Bernadette to tell the lady to make a miracle and have the rose bush underneath where she stands bloom now in the last week of February. The funny thing is, I don't think the rose bush ever bloomed because the lady apparently told the girl to eat some plants and wash in a seemingly non-existent spring. At some point, the girl starts to dig and rather than keep digging, she washes herself in the mud that she finds there. Everyone laughs and calls her a crack-pot and begins to leave the area. Then, before everyone has a chance to completely vacate, water starts to bubble up from the spot where she was digging. The interesting thing is that her father is one of the first to "use" the water and he has his sight miraculously return, even though there is no sign that his injury has corrected itself. He couldn't read, so there was no real way to test how good his vision really was in the first place. Since he started out as a stone carver, he easily could have been good at what he did, even an eye down. Yes, there were people who supposedly were injured and miraculously healed by bathing in/drinking the water.

Again, I say that the medical field in the late 1800s was not sophisticated or educated enough to handle an investigation of these people because they had more trouble properly diagnosing people then than we do now (although many do still fall through the cracks). The question is, what was in the water? Was it truly blessed or was it the fact that it was just a fresh water spring that made a difference?

I don't think we'll ever know because there's no way to test the water, and even if we could, any supposed healing properties it may have had, probably disappeared long ago. We must also not forget that she was so sick with asthma and who knows what else. The town dump was also where a lot of diseased cloth and remains would be burned, so who knows what was surrounding them.

So, could it really have been that it was just a matter of "clean" water that really did the trick? Also, how many people were really sick and not just "depressed"? Seriously, at that time, people were suffering from economic hardships and as we now know, depression and stress can cause and exacerbate a variety of problems. With the "mental idea" of being healed, many of these issues could easy just "go away," indicating the true power of mind over matter.

Case in point, before 2007 (when I did suffer from the effects of CO poisoning albeit low and over the course of about 4 months), I was sickly and stress always seemed to make me sick, very sick. However, since I have a "new lease" on life, and different point of view, things that bothered me then, don't bother me now. What I mean is that I thought my tolerance for pain was high then, but it grew even more. My allergies, as nasty as they've ever been and really still are, don't seem to be as bothersome, but I think it's just that I am not as bothered by them because my head doesn't feel like it has spikes driven in it when I think and I can read with ease and when I do have headaches, they are manageable, even when I am hanging over a toilet. Medication will make them go away.

For me, it was a shift in thinking that seems to be making my body work better, even though it's still in as much if not more pain than it's ever been in. For me, it's about fighting against the pain, not letting it win. It's hard and can be very depressing, but I don't let myself feel depressed about things for too long anymore because I can still wake up to see another day. I can still tell my husband I love him and I still write and create.

The skeptic that I am, I totally feel that these "miracles" seemed that way because they caused a shift in thinking from negative to positive. Positive thinking does have power.

I don't mean that you have to become religious and pray and all that. No. What I mean is that you need to just appreciate what you have and focus on that rather than what it is you don't have. Right now, even though my husband had to take a pay-cut, he still has a job and a steady income, insurance, a roof over our heads and each other. I am grateful for that.

That being said, I think the reason I always liked the movie is that the girl used logic to defend herself and never fell for their trickery (such as agreeing when they tried to say she said something when she didn't) and it also (in my opinion) brought to light the ever present hypocrisy of the current religious leaders. How can I say that? Well, they didn't believe her in life and continually ridiculed her all her life, why did they all of a sudden believe her in death? What made the situation so different that they made her a saint after she died? It makes no sense to me, even though I do believe that these "miracles" did happen during her lifetime.

4 Moonbeams (comments):

Kate Douglas said...

Neat post, Carrie, and something I find really interesting. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when I was 35--it's an incurable, debilitating disease, but I'm now disease free. No miracle and I'm not religious, but I'm certainly not going to complain, either. Point being, things that aren't supposed to get better often do. I like to think a positive attitude helps--that and the fact I'm just too darned busy to be sick!

Carrie said...

Thanks Kate! I had no idea that you were an MS survivor. I think that is awesome!

How did you do it? Did you take any sort of pills or did it just go away on its own?

Sheila Deeth said...

Fascinating post, and fascinating topic. I like your non-agressive take on it.

Carrie said...

Thanks Sheila! Being raised Catholic, I have learned quite a bit about religion in general.

I respect faith and all that goes with it especially because many people need the connection it offers.

However, the people in a place of power have always been men. I always felt it was hypocritical in that there are churches that struggle month-to-month to stay open yet there's always enough money for the pope to have a bulletproof golf cart (which ain't cheap) not to mention all the money that has had to be spent to cover lawsuits. Churches have to raise so much extra funding because they have always had to send so much up the ladder!