What do you think about the Fatima miracle of the Sun?

I have heard about 3 three children in Fatima Portugal in the early 1900s that witnessed a apparition on a regular basis.

Apparently there were some 3,000 people witnessing the last apparition. Nobody but the children saw the apparition that occured during a pouring rainstorm. Suddenly the rain stopped, exposing the Sun, that whirled about as if it was falling from this sky. At the end, everybody was unexplainably dried off as was the pasture.

So the sun was perceived to dance around the sky where this event occurred. Yet people in other areas did not see anything unusual. Nothing reported in Berlin, nothing reported in Paris, nothing reported in New York.

Despite there being thousands of people and photographers and cameras, it was not documented. The only photo published by the vatican was later proven a fake.

I heard it wasn’t true, where do we go from there? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Apparently there weren’t, but since this is a bare appeal to numbers, that would make it an argumentum ad populum fallacy anyway.

Two r’s in occurred, but that aside I’m sure a bare claim about what some children may or may not have seen, during a rainstorm is pretty meaningless to be honest.

You know that the same sun is visible to everyone right? So it would have been whirling about to everyone else as well, also the earth would have been destroyed, so not very convincing is it?

I Yes there is no explanation as to why people and things dry off in the sun after a downpour, seriously? Also this would be an argumentum ad ignorantiam fallacy.

There is no objective evidence here at all, only thirdhand bare claims.


LOL. If I were you, I would not start correcting my spelling errors. You won’t have time for anything else :wink::wink:

People witnessing the supposed miracle couldn’t agree on what they saw, while thousands of others didn’t see anyting unusual at all.

The fact that different people experienced different things — or nothing at all — is also strong evidence of a psychological explanation. No one suggests that those who reported seeing the Miracle of the Sun — or any other miracles at Fátima or elsewhere — are lying or hoaxing. Instead they very likely experienced what they claimed to, though that experience took place mostly in their minds.

And of those who did see something,

some […] claimed they saw the sun dance around the heavens; others said the sun zoomed toward Earth in a zigzag motion that caused them to fear that it might collide with our planet (or, more likely, burn it up). Some people reported seeing brilliant colors spin out of the sun in a psychedelic, pinwheel pattern

And as before,

thousands of others present didn’t see anything unusual at all.

There are, of course, rational explanations to the whole thing;

This suggests that the experience was something else. In his book, Nickell suggested that the crowd saw a sundog, a patch of light that sometimes appears beside the sun. Sundogs are stationary, however, so that doesn’t explain why people thought they saw the sun moving. So perhaps the “sun dance” appeared in the minds and perceptions of those pilgrims present — not in the skies above them. There must, therefore, be a psychological explanation, and indeed we can find one: an optical illusion caused by thousands of people looking up at the sky, hoping, expecting, and even praying for some sign from God. It is of course dangerous to stare directly at the sun, and to avoid permanently damaging their eyesight, those at Fátima that day were looking up in the sky around the sun, which, if you do it long enough, can give the illusion of the sun moving as the eye muscles tire.

In short, mass psychosis coupled with confirmation bias.

(The Lady of Fátima & the Miracle of the Sun | Live Science)

Thanks Sheldon!! Did you see the movie that recently came out? It seemed about 70% consistent with what I had read about it. I personally don’t know what to think about this. Mass hysteria (no pun intended) doesn’t seem to fit as the 3000 were a diverse group not suffering a common concern about the sun.

Very interesting. They talked about this in much detail on Catholic radio when the movie was coming out. I recall them saying that there was a witness some miles away, but said nothing about a photo.

I provided it in my post. I will repost it.

Sorry, I did read about the witness and photo in the articles you posted. I was just commenting that the Catholic radio comminators left that part out of their story. As a Lutheran, I’m not surprised :grin:

So do you, a Lutheran, believe or disbelieve this story that came from the Catholic world?

Do you understand that where this event occurred, almost everyone was a devout catholic? Heck, one of the main players, Lúcia de Jesus Rosa dos Santos became a nun.

There are so many problems with the account, and many possible natural explanations.

  1. there were immense sandstorms in in the Sahara months earlier that were known to have caused atmospheric anomalies in Europe. Ice crystals could form on the sand suspended in the atmosphere causing ‘sun dogs’ which in turn, cause light to diffract.
  2. many people there saw nothing out of the ordinary
  3. the man who did the interviews with many of the people there that claim to have seen something out of the ordinary, worked for the Church, and he didn’t do the interviews until days after the events. No conflicts of interests there, and no possibility that the people exaggerated (unconsciously) their stories. After all, that swordfish I caught off the coast of Baja 10 years ago, is exactly the same size it was when I first told the story…yep, not gotten any bigger in the retelling…at all…
  4. No other neighboring areas noticed anything
  5. No astronomers anywhere in the area noticed anything out of the ordinary.

The list goes on…

As Hume said, “a wise man proportions his belief to the evidence, and should always, reject the greater miracle”.


Lutherans (aka Catholic lite) differ—general speaking—by not getting worked up about stuff like that. Still animosity between them, but getting better.

The jury is out for me personally. Hence, the reason I asked about it. I look for the other side of what I have heard and read (and watch, as I did see the movie).

No I didn’t, and movies are not necessarily based on evidence.

Yes you do, I made that clear in my response, and you responded to it above, but only mentioned my correction of your spelling of the word occurring, you ignored the rest.

You’ve now added a straw man fallacy to the two previous logical fallacies I explained, as I never mentioned mass hysteria.

FYI You may want to look up common logical fallacies, and understand what they are and what it means when you use them.

So what? Can you demonstrate any objective evidence for the claim this was a miracle? If you can’t this is a repetition of your earlier bare appeal to numbers, that is called an argumentum ad populum fallacy.

  1. Nothing can be asserted as logical if it violates a principle of logic.
  2. A basic principle of logic is that nothing that contains a known logical fallacy can be asserted as logical.

So using a known logical fallacy is by definition irrational. Now you ignored the logical fallacies I pointed out in my previous post, so I’m curious, do you care that your assertions about this claimed “miracle” are so far by definition irrational?

I don’t even know what that means, but apparently from the claim, they appear to not know that the sun moving in the solar system would destroy our planet, or understand that their claim was not witnessed by countless people elsewhere on the planet.

Do you know what Occam’s razor is? I think your rationale would benefit from understanding it, and how it applies here, and in general.

That’s an unevidenced claim, and of course the alleged eyewitness would also be offering an unevidenced claim, unless anyone can demonstrate some objective evidence? No offence but you don’t seem to understand the difference, and are pretending you don’t care. If you want to debate a claim, you can’t simply relate it, then state you have no evidence and move on, that’s farcical.

I just watched Son of Godzilla. That movie?

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That does not even qualify as hearsay. You need something stronger, such as evidence or at least the names of the witnesses.

Please understand (and I mean this sincerely) that your standards of evidence for religious stuff is incredibly low.

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You are sure tough to please.

I simply was asking what readers thought about the claim that I relayed in my introductory post. I am not claiming it occured. I am skeptical too. It absurd to think the sun was truly doing something unusual.

If there is anything to this, my explanation would be that the miracle was achieved by God inducing similar hallucinations in some and nothing in other. But that is speculation by me.

I suggest that, because:

  1. I believe in God.
  2. The idea that some real phenomenon (sun dogs, dust storm etc…) would have been apparent to all, not some.
  3. No where else did anyone see the sun do anything strange (except for maybe one poorly documented person).

On the other hand, there is the possibility the story is exaggerated and is gaining traction now that few eye witnesses remain.

That is what I mean when I say I don’t know what to think.

I do understand why you say that, and Don blame you, because I have not offered why I became Christian and have dismissed those point where we agree the bible is questionable.

My faith is rooted in a highly personal experience that is very real to me.

Are you sure you not trying to convert me?

Not really, I try my best to be open minded by setting the same, and therefor unbiased standard, for all claims.

Well all I did was offer my thoughts on that very (unevidenced) claim.

Still two r’s in occurred… :wink:

Ok, but that wasn’t clear, especially given you are a theist, and this is an atheist debate forum, so you may see where the confusion came from. I also addressed individual claims you offered relating to the so called “miracle.”

[quote=“Agnostotheist, post:16, topic:2216”]
It absurd to think the sun was truly doing something unusual.[/quote]

My point exactly.

So which is it?

Well yes, I think I have had enough of these conversations to know that much, I just find it surprising that people start with belief then bend the narrative to suit, yet always fail to see what that means?

Those are unevidenced assumptions, I’m not sure why the significance of this is still lost on you?

I don’t care if “the story” is reported verbatim, and with 3000 signed affidavits, that’s still just 3000 bare claims, why do you still not understand the difference between a claim and objective evidence?

Well that is up to you, but no objective evidence at all has been demonstrated here. So there’s nothing to think about…

You see that this is again an unevidenced claim right? This is why my initial response is always “what objective evidence can you demonstrate for any deity?” Subjective anecdotal testimony is not evidence, and I know it is an objective fact that self deception is very real.

David is an atheist, what would he convert you to exactly?

From a Christian to an atheist…