Thoughts Inspired by a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

BVM_Grilled_Cheese.jpg

I came across an article today mainly about a skeptic responding to an occurrence I hadn’t heard about before.

That occurrence was, of course, the appearance of an image of the BVM on a grilled cheese sandwich. I guess the lady who noticed the image on her sandwich (ten years ago, by the way) is now selling it on eBay. Here’s an article about the actual story of the lady’s discovery and sale:

“Bids roll in for Virgin Mary grilled cheese”CTV News

I guess the bidding got upwards of $70,000.00…

Anyway, what really got me thinking was not even the sandwich, but this skeptic I read about in that first article. I guess he’s been “debunking” supposed myths like these for a long time. He goes around to all these different places with different images and pretty much just tells everyone how wrong they are. He is also appararently an expert on symbols, simulacra, etc.

I’m wondering why there are people so hell-bent on robbing people of their faith. What did a grilled cheese sandwich ever do to this guy? Another aspect of this is that these people are usually talking about how they are enlightening the dimwitted superstitious masses. I guess, at least in this instance, there is the issue of people “ignorantly” spending thousands of dollars.

Related to this, why do most of us feel the urge to have every little thing explained? Why can’t there be a little mystery? What happened to faith? And, bothering me the most at this point, why do we have to figure everything out for everyone else, even if they don’t necessarily want it to be figured out?

That skeptic said that images of the Virgin are more common because we all see simulacra (for example, an image in a cloud), but those who come from traditions with heavy use of visuals (i.e., icons/religious art) will be more likely to see these more religious images. More and more, I’ve been drawn to the more mystical side of Christianity, and I actually am okay with unanswered questions. I’m realizing that I need to be much more humble than I am and just be okay with my finiteness. God didn’t tell us everything for a reason.

So perhaps the skeptics are the ignorant and superstitious ones, clinging to the myth that human reason can solve and/or explain any problem. Maybe that sandwich, an iconic revelation of some divine mystery, really is worth seventy grand…

UPDATE: Hey, have any of you read Simulacra and Simulation by Baudrillard? I’ve had my eye on it for a couple years now (haha), but haven’t gotten around to getting it. Let me know what you think of it if you’ve read it.

UPDATE #2: I wish I could actually post to my own blog! Oh irony of ironies! The spammer fiends have free reign with my site, while I cannot even post comments to it! Anyway, the whole theological question of knowledge, especially the question of why God chose to limit our knowledge, is interesting. One thing that keeps coming back to me is that pursuing and gaining knowledge usually results in a loss of innocence. It seems like you have to betray part of yourself, trade it in so to speak, in order to gain most knowledge. Maybe that’s part of the whole thing. Oh, and the fact that we aren’t God. I guess that’s kind of important, too.

The popular religion facet got me thinking about a quote from The Brothers Karamazov. Maybe I’ll put it up later, if it’s practical (I think it’s going to end up being kind of long…)

Escaping, it is wasteful

evilpinkjapbear.gifSomewhere in Japan (perhaps Osaka), as you read this, there is a psychotic person who draws disturbingly violent images of, except for its razor-like claws and the bloodstains on its chest, an otherwise cuddly-looking pink bear. My dear, sweet friend Nancy sent me a link to a website in Japanese that opens with a large image of this psycho-bear, bespattered with blood and twitching in a post-gore frenzy (Nancy was bored at work).

A visit to this site, for English-speakers at least, is most enlightening (and most disturbing) when viewed through the magical lens of a translation site. I use Babel Fish. Just go there and paste this URL into the field for translating websites:

http://www.chax.net/frameset.html

Make sure you select “Japanese to English” in the accompanying menu. Once you follow these steps you will be taken to the English version of the site. Once you’re there, the first page you should visit will be accessed by clicking on the link entitled “CHAX.” There you will find links to myriads of images of all kinds of violent grotesquerie the Japanese mind is capable of conjuring.

Anyway, check it out. And then for more Japanese insanity, you can always check out Japan Today. There’s always something on there about some psycho mom who drowned her two-year-old, or a middle-school girl who slashed her best friend’s throat or something. In fact, you, my dear reader, are in luck. The latest is the plumber who kicked his four-month-old daughter to death “because of her night crying and because his wife would not listen to his complaints.” (??) And he only gets seven years for this!! Jeez. Check it out for yourself:

Plumber gets 7 years for kicking 4-month-old daughter to�death