[Side Note: This is an updated version, the author of the press release contacted me to point out that I had misrepresented him, and he was in fact correct, so I have applied some wording changes]
The Friendly Atheist has a posting about a press release revealing that Jesus has been discovered in a star alignment. The claimed observation is that the planets Saturn, Uranus, Jupiter, Earth and Venus all aligned in AD 33 to form an image that looks like Jesus on the cross.
(This would perhaps now be about the right place for me to pause and grant you a few moment to pick your jaw back up off the floor)
My immediate thought was that this just has to be satire, and yet apparently not.If curious, you can find the press release here, and to help, there is picture that illustrates it for …
There is one word that sums this up.
Assigning meaning to random patterns is something that our brains are very good at doing because sitting there between your ears is a pattern seeking engine that will sometimes yield misleading results. When faced with a random collection (clouds, stars, etc…) we will see things that are not actually there are all.
Most of us when faced with this can immediately grasp that it is simply a chance illusion and not a real manifestation, but unfortunately when religion is in the mix then such occurrences can sometimes take on a different interpretation (while the rest of us simply face-palm)
A few examples of Paraeidolia
Here are a few happy faces …
… and to get you in the mood, we have this …
… ah but let’s not forget that Jesus often pops up in some unexpected places ..
… and it is not always on toast …
… and yes, that is Jesus on the butt of a puppy, so if we are indeed going to take the Jesus on the cross in the stars claim seriously, then we should also be taking Jesus appearing on the butt of a puppy seriously as well, and so perhaps those who do can be encouraged to kiss it.