Monday, September 05, 2011

Divine, Demonic, Or Something Else?

The subject of Marian apparitions came up in another thread. Some resources are mentioned by some of us who posted there, and I put up a post concerning some of the principles involved in evaluating such phenomena.


  1. Timothy Kauffman wrote a book on the subject titled:
    Quite Contrary: A Biblical Reconsideration of the Apparitions of Mary

    He spoke on the subject in a conference on Christianity and Roman Catholicism. One can download the lecture at the following url (see Collection 3)

    direct url,_Timothy_Kauffman.mp3

    Here's a brief summary of his conclusions. Because of past scientific tests that were performed during the alleged apparitions, he concluded that something real is happening. He made note of the fact that the descriptions of the various apparitions of "Mary" in the various locations differ. "Mary" would be wearing different clothing and even had different hair color and different eye color. That suggested to him that it might be demonic.

    I tend to agree. If all of them are genuine, why not appear with the same hair color and eye color? Especially since, truth is often distinguished by consistency. If one (or more) of them is genuine, and some false, has any of the apparitions denounced the others that are false? These apparitions have had many things to say.

  2. In the other thread, Jason said...

    Christians often respond by broadening the range of possibilities, but they don't broaden it enough. They mention the possibility of demonic miracles, but then they leave it there. Actually, there are more options to choose from.

    I posed the following response in that thread too (with corrections).

    I agree. But the Marian apparitions often have detailed messages that are coherent and thought out. They don't appear to be erratic, like brain and/or soul emanations like dreams or such. There's intentionality and purpose in the messages. The apparitions seem to be genuinely personal. So, here are the possibilites as I see it assuming that something genuine is happening:

    1. Coherent messages can come from non-personal unconscious physical sources.

    2. Coherent messages can come from non-personal unconscious spiritual/supernatural sources. Are there spiritual/supernatural non-personal entites? Something equivalent to a supernatural "rock"? The Bible does mention things like "chariots of fire" and angels holding "swords" (etc.).

    3. Coherent messages can and are coming from a PHYSICAL conscious personal being or beings that is (are) non-human and non-angelic/demonic and is (are) pretending to be Mary. Namely, terrestrial, extra-terrestrial, or extra-dimensional hitherto unknown and undocumented personal being or undiscovered species (this would include messages from some other universe if the multiverse/World ensemble theory were true).

    4. Coherent messages can and are coming from a SUPERNATURAL conscious personal being or beings that is (are) non-human and non-angelic/demonic and is (are) pretending to be Mary. Namely, some hitherto unknown and supernatural personal being or species not described in the Bible but are neither human, angelic nor God.

    5. Some human or humans are consciously creating these messages.

    6. Some angels (good or bad) are consciously creating these messages.

    7. A mixture of some or all of the above mentioned entities are *UN*consciously creating a seemingly *CON*sciously constructed message. For example, maybe a clashing of human (and/or angelic spirits) resulting in a kind of collective psychic external dream.

    8. Some or all are really from Mary.

    continued in next post:

  3. With respect to #1: This seems HIGHLY unlikely (massive understatement). Otherwise, BOTH Intelligent Design AND Darwinism ARE false (!!!). Same with #2.

    With respect to #3 and #4: There's no documented evidence of such conscious creature(s). If there are, what motivation would they have for lying since they really aren't "Mary"? Presumably, since they are personal, they are moral creatures and therefore are morally responsible to God and guilty of lying. Which means it or they are Fallen creature(s). But we have no positive reason to believe such creatures exist.

    With respect to #5: This is unlikely because of the scientific evidence and eyewitness accounts. Unless, as Jason suggested, maybe some human or humans naturally possess, or developed or acquired paranormal powers. The use of such powers is either conscious, or unconscious. If conscious, then there's deception and lying involved because it's not really Mary. In which case, they fall under the same problems as #3 and #4 with respect to it's morality. If unconscious, then it falls under the same problems as #7.

    Skipping # 6 for the meantime....

    With respect to #7:This seems unlikely because of what I said above. They don't appear to be erratic or irrational like dreams. The apparitions seem to be genuinely personal. There's intentionality and purpose in the messages. Not to mention the fact that the messages are well constructed and sometimes refer back to previous messages and historical events.

    With respect to #6: I think this is the most likely candidate (at least from my Evangelical Christian worldview). But if it's angelic, then it's deceptive because it's not really from Mary. Therefore it would be demonic. Unless the messages are angelic but sent and commissioned by and approved by Mary (cf. Rev. 1:1b). Which leads to #8.

    With respect to #8: It would depend on whether one were Catholic or not. Even some Orthodox folk suspect it's demonic because it doesn't match up with Orthodoxy. As an Evangelical, I would have to seriously doubt that any of the apparitions are genuinely from Mary the mother of Jesus because they are in doctrinal error. So, my best guess is #6 and it being demonic.


    As I mentioned in the other thread, I haven't studied Marian apparitions much. I have more to say about the general principles involved than the details of the apparitions.

    I agree with a lot of what you've said. Some personal agent would be involved in producing the messages in question. We have good reason to conclude that the Roman Catholic view of Mary is false based on evidence outside the apparitions. Angels, as distinguished from demons, wouldn't produce something like a Marian apparition that conveys a false view of Mary. Etc.

    At this point, however, I would stop short of your conclusion. I would say that demons are good candidates for the personal agent(s) involved in these apparitions. But I think some of the other entities you've mentioned are good candidates as well.

    The involvement of conscious or unconscious human psi is a better option than you're suggesting. Conscious human deception would be immoral, but that doesn't give us reason to prefer the demonic explanation. Sometimes humans act immorally. And conscious human psi wouldn't have to involve conscious deception. Some people are honestly mistaken about the source of impressions they have. They mistake what they desire to be true for reality. And I don't think that the unconscious human psi option can be dismissed as easily as you're suggesting. As I've mentioned in the past, near-death experiences often seem significantly different than dreams for the most part, yet exhibit some dream-like characteristics. And even our ordinary dreams sometimes have phases that are more similar to our waking lives.