Saturday, 26 September 2015

Lesson From Lot - The Rocamadour Fraud

Rocamadour, Lot, France.
Rocamadour, just outside the Dordogne in the Lot Department, France, is a mediaeval pilgrimage site consisting of a cluster of building clinging to the almost sheer side of a deep gorge. It is also the site of the ‘Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin’ sitting just below the top, accessible only via a steep and winding path (before the modern lift was installed).

If only the pilgrims had looked across the gorge, and had even a superficial understanding of geology and the courage to shake off their theophobic superstition, they would have seen the glaringly obvious evidence that their superstition was (and still is) based on a lie.

The lie is, of course, that the Bible is a book of truth and describes how Earth was created by a god who then killed almost everything in a flood.

Destroy that superstition, and the entire reason for the Christian religion, and the need for the priesthood disappears.

This particular legend goes to the heart of the Christian superstition that humans have inherited ‘sin’ and must forever beg this creator god’s forgiveness or suffer unimaginably grotesque consequences – because this god loves us. Needless to say, those whose livelihood depends on selling that superstition and fooling ignorant people into believing that they alone can provide the 'salvation', will do almost anything to maintain it.

The legend on which Rocamadour bases its claim to fame and its claim as a site of pilgrimage is the legend of St Amador which appears to have been invented out of whole cloth in about the 12th-Century. Then as now, the Catholic Church had no compunction about inventing legends and miracles to keep the people under the power and control of the priesthood. St Amador supposedly built the ‘Sanctuary’. As with anything associated with the ‘Virgin’ Mary in deeply Catholic Medieval Europe , the ‘Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin’ was assumed to have special magical powers.

A legend supposed to explain the origin of this pilgrimage has given rise to controversies between critical and traditional schools, especially in recent times. A vehicle by which the legend was disseminated and pilgrims drawn to the site was The Miracles of Our Lady of Rocamadour, written ca. 1172, an example of the miracula, or books of collected miracles, which had such a wide audience in the Middle Ages. According to the founding legend, Rocamadour is named after the founder of the ancient sanctuary, Saint Amator, identified with the Biblical Zacheus, the tax collector of Jericho mentioned in Luke 19:1-10, and the husband of St. Veronica, who wiped Jesus' face on the way to Calvary. Driven out of Palestine by persecution, St. Amadour and Veronica embarked in a frail skiff and, guided by an angel, landed on the coast of Aquitaine, where they met Bishop St. Martial, another disciple of Christ who was preaching the Gospel in the south-west of Gaul. After journeying to Rome, where he witnessed the martyrdoms of St. Peter and St. Paul, Amadour, having returned to France, on the death of his spouse, withdrew to a wild spot in Quercy where he built a chapel in honour of the Blessed Virgin, near which he died a little later.

This account, like most other similar legends, does not make its first appearance till long after the age in which the chief actors are deemed to have lived. The name of Amadour occurs in no document previous to the compilation of his Acts, which on careful examination and on an application of the rules of the cursus to the text cannot be judged older than the 12th century. It is now well established that Saint Martial, Amadour's contemporary in the legend, lived in the 3rd not the 1st century, and Rome has never included him among the members of the Apostolic College. The mention, therefore, of St. Martial in the "Acts of St. Amadour" would alone suffice, even if other proof were wanting, to prove them doubtful.


It was this all-consuming fear, and the belief that clerics knew the magic spells that could persuade various mythical saints to interceded with the creator god so it wouldn’t inflict the most grotesque of punishments on them that induced unfortunate victims of this phobia to go to Rocamadour seeking ‘salvation’.

To show their sincerity as they begged the mythical ‘Virgin Mary’ to save them from the fate worse than death which they had no doubts awaited them because the clerics to whom they gave money said so, they had to crawl up the steep rocky path barefoot and on their hands and knees. If their hands, feet and knees were bleeding by the time they reached the sanctuary, this would impress ‘Mary’ and might - just might – impress their loving creator enough to let them off their allotted fate. If their hands, feet and knees weren’t bleeding it was almost certain that they had cheated and walked part of the way with shoes on.

They wouldn’t know if it had worked until it was too late to do anything about it of course, so more begging and grovelling, more money to the Church and more obedience to the commands of the priests was called for, and maybe other pilgrimages to other Catholic collecting boxes sites of pilgrimage, just to make sure.  And of course, just one word or even a thought out of place and the whole thing was undone.

Rock strata directly opposite Rocamadour
As I said, if only they had looked across the gorge and had had the courage to doubt and question, and if they had had the slightest understanding of geology, they would have seen what we saw as we sat on a restaurant balcony enjoying a light lunch of confite du canard avec salade rocamadour et frites, washed down with a glass of cold Perrier.

They would have seen proof that Earth wasn’t created in a single day, and that the rock strata forming the walls of the gorge were not laid down as sediment a few thousand years ago as the result of a single, global flood lasting about a year. They would have seen evidence that the process had been slow, occurring over hundreds of thousands or millions of years.

In other words, they would have seen proof that the Bible on which their ‘faith’ and irrational phobia was based, is a lie.

Look at this photograph taken from the restaurant balcony. Notice that there are three main outcrops of rock, all identical in type and obviously laid down by the same sedimentary process, interspersed with tree-covered scree. Notice that the bottom layer is buckled downwards in the centre.  the right-hand is partly obscured by the tree in the foreground but the left side shows a marked upward inclination.

Now look at the central outcrop; it is only very slightly buckled downwards in the centre, but the top layer is more or less flat.

If those layers had been deposited in about a year, they would all run parallel, no matter what had happened in intervening years. In fact, because the process was slow, the bottom layer became buckled first and the middle one later as snapshots over time of a slower process of buckling and deformation. And then the top layer was laid down over the whole thing.

What we have here, in these rock strata, is a record of gradual buckling as they were being laid down slowly over time. It is inconceivable that this record would have been produced in about a year. In addition, there is none of the grading of particles that would be produced if the sedimentary rocks had been produced from the settling out of the sediment from a single global flood where the larger, heavier grains would have settle out first. Try this at home with a mixture of sand and soil in a glass jar of water, shaken well, then left to stand for a week or two.

And where are the jumbled fossils?

In this legendary flood, remember, everything was killed and no species have been created since. Since 'all living substance' was destroyed there would be no bacteria or fungi, so the conditions for fossilization would have been ideal, so there should be a layer of fossils of modern species somewhere in this sediment. Where are they? Not there, of course, because it didn't happen.

What fossils there are in these rocks are entirely consistent with the geological picture of formation over geological time, just as you would expect, because the science is right and the biblical legend is wrong.

And those poor wretches who underwent that agonising crawl up the side of the gorge, over those very rocks which proved their superstition to be wrong, had been conned by a religion which cared more for the power and control it gave them over ignorant and superstitious people and for the money they could extract from them, than it did for the truth or for the needless suffering of its victims.

That same religion is still using the same tactics on it unfortunate victims today as it did in Medieval France. Fortunately, we now have science and education to use as an antidote for those who want to know the truth and do mind being conned and abused to satiate the lust for power and wealth of the Christian Church and it's clerics.


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