On this Feast of St Raphael the Healer, I share my reply to an email that came from my old Buddhist community (sangha) after several years of silence:
Well, it isn’t exactly for atheists but I thought “those who don’t believe in angels” was long-winded and didn’t seem quite right either. Anyway, the question is; how did people in the fifth century, and beyond, manage to independently build seven buildings dedicated to the same person on a straight line stretching from Ireland to Israel? For those smart Alecs who start talking about the line not being straight because of the curvature of the earth: one, you’re missing the point, and, two, I did say it was a rhetorical question. The answer is, of course, that the builders weren’t building independently at all. Now, one could come up with all sorts of convoluted theories as to how people separated (often widely) in time and space, without the benefit of GPS, could work together on such a project but the simplest answer is the historical one. Tradition has it that the buildings were inspired by St. Michael the Archangel.
For those who have already come up with an alternative theory I offer this last thought:
“For those with faith, no evidence is necessary; for those without it, no evidence will suffice.”