Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Something to think about: Jesus in the Cheetos

From page A4 | December 13, 2013 | 10 Comments

Stories of simulacra — religious imagery in natural phenomena — have been around for centuries. The Shroud of Turin, the Veil of Veronica, the image of Jesus in an oat cake — all ancient examples of images that people see in everyday objects that seem to be miraculous appearances.
The latest, the “angel of 9/11,” is a face that seems to be imprinted on a twisted steel girder taken from the wreckage of the Twin Towers. I’ve seen pictures and the face is easy to see — easier than the image of Jesus on a moldy shower in Florida.

Every year, miraculous images surface on unmiraculous objects and lend themselves to plenty of ridicule from some and veneration by others. Jesus’ image has been seen in cloud pictures, Cheetos, tortillas, dental x-rays, tree trunks, rocks and on the backs of walls. When the Hubble Space Science Institute published photographs of the Cone Nebula in 2002, they received a record number of requests for the nebula photos that some people had dubbed the “Jesus Nebula” for the image of Christ that seemed to be captured in the swirling gases.

In recent years, the image of the Virgin Mary has been seen on a rock in Ghana, a chocolate factory in California, a pizza pan in Houston, on the glass facade of a finance building in Clearwater, Fla., on a grilled cheese sandwich in Florida and in the coffee of a Venezuelan sailor.

It’s not just Jesus and Virgin Mary that people see. Mother Teresa’s image was sighted in a cinnamon bun in Nashville. It’s not just Christian images either because Islamic religious writings and images have also been seen.

I fully believe that all of these images are caused by a combination of odd but completely natural and explainable forces. I don’t believe many, if any, are spiritual manifestations, but I love that some people believe it to be so. It’s like hearing the silver sleigh bell in The Polar Express or bringing Tinkerbell back to life by saying, “I believe.”
How wonderful that some people see the Virgin Mary in their coffee and believe she is there as an affirmation of their life or that a grilled cheese sandwich with the Virgin’s face makes you feel so protected and lucky that you take a chance on the lottery and win $50,000.
It’s further proof that we all look at life through our individual filters. Jesus in a moldy shower doesn’t cause me awe; it makes me wonder about the hygiene of the family that owns the shower, but I fully support the person who sees Jesus in the mold on the tiles and believes His appearance means they have received His approval.
Maybe the chemical degradation of the steel girder and the twists in its frame cause a face to appear as one expert suggested — a face that some interpret as an angel. But, then again, maybe that chemical degradation is just the method used to produce a spiritual manifestation. As we head down the home stretch toward Christmas, I hope that everyone will be able to see something wonderful in the everyday world around them. Merry Christmas, El Dorado County.

Wendy Schultz is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. Her column appears bi-weekly.


Discussion | 10 comments

  • Good Comes to Those Who Obey...December 11, 2013 - 5:43 pm

    The Bible, God's Word, tells us not to put up pictures, images, or other things related to idols. We're to only worship the LORD our God. & Good Comes to Those Who Obey... ‘Do not make gods for yourselves. Do not set up for yourselves something to look like a god or a holy object. Do not set up something cut from stone in your land to bow down to. For I am the Lord your God.' Leviticus 26:1 New Life Version

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  • Phil VeerkampDecember 12, 2013 - 11:06 pm

    Wendy, the mars rover, Curiosity has sent back a curious picture ~~~ LINK - PETROGLYPHS ON MARS? ~~~ This image was taken by Mastcam: Right (MAST_RIGHT) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 475 (2013-12-07 07:44:11 UTC). ~~~ These "petroglyphs" are reminiscent of the undecipherable hieroglyphics reported by Jesse Marcel at Roswell in 1947. Why is JPL not commenting? What are they covering up? Are the 1% keeping secrets from the 99% so that the 1% can exploit the masses? We are entitled to know, Wendy. You solved the Nevada "booms" case. Help!

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  • cookie65December 13, 2013 - 4:55 am

    Phil, did you read about the ancient city they found under water? Some pretty amazing stuff. They even found a statue of the Greek god Hapi. He was the god of flooding the Nile, a symbol of abundance and fertility. Way back then those people understood what our enviro-wackjobs don't understand in modern times. Floods are good and they make for fertile soil and food production. Today they are viewed as a way to separate people from the money they earn.

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  • cookie65December 13, 2013 - 4:59 am

    **Egyptian god Hapi.** duh!!

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  • cookie65December 13, 2013 - 4:45 am

    The best part is all those images are based on 14th century art works. It is laughable.

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  • Phil_VeerkampDecember 13, 2013 - 5:59 am

    Cookie, Hapi campers? . . . harrrr . . .

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  • cookie65December 13, 2013 - 6:16 am

    LOL Phil!!! Now that is funny.

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  • Placerville NativeDecember 13, 2013 - 10:08 am

    Ah Wendy, what if? What if those images are the result of the only True and Living God trying to get your attention? What if He really does love you more than you could ever comprehend because that is who He is and that is what He does? What if you could know the Maker of the Universe and have an intimate relationship with Him? What if Wendy, what if......

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  • miracle makerDecember 13, 2013 - 5:24 pm

    I had my own little miracle this morning that very closely resembles our POTUS.Thank gawd for prunes.

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  • billzzDecember 13, 2013 - 6:09 pm

    Humans have a unique ability to see patterns. This is a survival adaptation which allows us to see the tiger in the grass, when other prey animals cannot. It involves the connection between the two halves of the brain. A horse has no connection between what the left eye sees and what the right eye sees. Going around a ring the horse sees one thing with one eye, then coming back sees another thing with the other eye. The first image might not alert the horse, but the returning image might, and the horse spooks. This is a survival instinct to the horse. Without "thinking" the horse can react, and move swiftly, not depending upon the other hemisphere of the brain. Humans don't move fast, so developing pattern recognition is the early warning system. Einstein's brain, upon autopsy, was discovered to have a large amount of cells devoted to interpreting both sides of the brain. And why he is noted for his "thought experiments," which allowed him to perceive patterns, and only later derive the math to prove the "experiment." And we all have the ability, which also leads to "seeing" Mother Mary in the shower curtain. The pattern is real, but not necessarily relatable to any real thing. The military art of camouflage is devoted to "breaking up" any recognizable pattern into non-recognizable "bits" which cannot be interpreted. In a cartoon Charlie Brown asks Linus what he sees in the clouds, and Linus says that he sees, in one, a molecule of Lithium with a free radical, and in the other a renaissance Italian Tintoretto painting with the familiar gold and greens. Linus asks Charlie Brown what he sees, and the response is, "A horsey and a doggy." We perceive what we have experience in. But they are still just clouds.

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