Collective hallucinations and the Fatima miracle

Latest post in my blog on popular science:
Collective hallucinations and the Fatima miracle

Happy summer vacations.

I’ve been interested in Fatima for a long time, because one of the visionaries, Lucia, recalled that the Blessed Virgin Mary said on July 13,1917 (4 months before the Russian Revolution) that “If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred…various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph…Russia will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”

Right now there is certainly a great deal of religious revival in Russia. As a matter of fact, in her recent appearances in Medjugorje (which I believe in), the Blessed Virgin said that Russia will glorify God more than anyone else.

Lewis did not want to say much about the Blessed Virgin Mary because of the differences between Catholics and Protestants about her veneration. And as far as I know, he never mentioned Fatima, although it seems to me hard to believe that he would not have heard of it. If he had, would he have agreed with what Manuel writes below?


“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)

I think he would have agreed with my version of the trilemma, applied to miracles in general and similar to his trilemma about Christ.


I’d think he’d have to, as I can’t see any other logical possibility. The claimed event either happened or it didn’t. If it didn’t, the witness either knows he’s in error, or he doesn’t.

Now, the case where the witness is wrong and doesn’t realize it can have many explanations (and thus is probably the most interesting), and the possible explanations probably will vary a bit depending on the event that’s said to have happened. But mass hallucination doesn’t seem like a very good explanation, at least in the absence of drugs.

And really, this trilemma could be applied equally well (if not better) to the resurrection. Even if you confine it only to the apostles, that’s twelve men who say they saw Christ alive after his crucifixion. In every case but John, they went to their deaths proclaiming (and on account of their proclaiming) that he had risen, and that they had seen him on multiple occasions after the resurrection.

So what are the options? Twelve can more easily agree on a lie than tens of thousands, but to what end, and would they all die for that lie?

In fact I did apply it to the resurrection in this post I published some time ago: