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Does the Shroud of Turin Prove God?

This picture taken on February 20, 2012

I've written here at Strange Notions in the past about miracles and skepticism, and about the greatest miracle claim of all, Jesus' resurrection from the dead. Such miracles serve as arguments for God’s existence, but not philosophical arguments based on design, prime movers, etc. They are based on physical, historical evidence.

The arguments go like this: If atheistic materialism is true, then the natural world must be a closed system. Everything must be explained within that closed system. There is no room for angels or aliens, demons, devils, goblins, or gods. If atheistic materialism is right, there are not intelligent, reasonable, personal exterior forces superior to the natural world who might interfere or interact with the natural world.

However, if there is physical, historical evidence for a miracle, then there is a force outside of nature and greater than nature, and if the miracle in question is intelligible, reasonable, and fits with the rest of what we know about history, science, and the natural world, then the only conclusion is that the force that interrupted nature and altered the natural order is not only outside the natural order and superior to it, but is also an intelligent, reasonable and determined force.

Note that it only takes one miracle to prove this. If the system is closed there can be no miracles at all.

If, however, the system is not closed, then only one miracle is required to show this to be the case.

Where then might we find that one miracle, and is there historical, documentary records of this miracle? Are there multiple eyewitnesses whose stories fit together? Is there documentary evidence from other sources that corroborate the primary source? Is there archeological evidence,? Is there any scrap of evidence which can only be explained by the miracle that is testified to?

What miracle could possibly meet all of this criteria? The resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The more I study the evidence for this miracle, the more I am convinced of it. One piece of evidence stands out:

The Shroud of Turin.

The Shroud's official website, Shroud.com, gathers the evidence of students of the shroud from around the world.

Whenever I dialogue with atheist friends, I now usually skip all the philosophical arguments and simply point to the Shroud.

My challenge to atheists is, “I dare you to seriously study the Shroud with an open mind in an objective manner.”

Most of them will dismiss the Shroud with a wave of a hand and say, “Carbon 14 dating proved that the shroud is a medieval fake long ago.”

The problem with this argument is that Carbon 14 dating is not foolproof, and the Carbon 14 testing is far from the only evidence that we must weigh.

Here are a few others that the person who doubts the atheist, or Shroud skeptic, must answer:

  1.  The image of the man on the cloth. The image is not a stain. It is not painted on the shroud. It is not burned on in a conventional manner. Instead it is an image seared on to the cloth with some technology that has yet to be explained. Not only can scientists and historians not reproduce the image using medieval technologies, they can’t reproduce it with modern technology.
  2. The 3-D capabilities of the image. The image of the man on the shroud can be read by 3-D imaging technology. Paintings fail this test.
  3. The positive-negative image. The image is a photographic negative. That means when a traditional photograph is taken of the Shroud, what should be the negative appears as a positive image. If it is a medieval painting how did they do that and why?
  4. The anatomical accuracy. Not only is it an accurate image of a dead man but the image is distorted as it should be if it was laying over a real body and the body vanished from within it.
  5. The historical accuracy to crucifixion. The wounds are all consistent not only with Roman crucifixion, but the details of Jesus’ particular crucifixion like the crown of thorns, no broken bones, the scourging, and the wound in the side.
  6. Geographical accuracy. Pollen from the Shroud is not only from the Jerusalem area, but from Turkey and the other places the Shroud is supposed to have resided. Dust from the area on the Shroud by the knees and feet is from the area of Jerusalem.
  7. The accuracy to Jewish burial customs. The Shroud details are perfectly consistent with first-century Jewish burial customs. There are even microscopic traces of the flower that would have been used in the burial–flowers that grew locally and were known to be used for burial.
  8. The blood and the image. The blood was on the Shroud first and the image happened later. If the image was painted (and there is no evidence of paint anywhere) the two would be part of the same faked image.
  9. The type of cloth. The cloth is consistent with fabrics from first-century Israel, but not with medieval Europe. A forger would have had to not only forge the image in some as yet undiscovered way, but would have had to have detailed knowledge of linen weaves of the first century and then not only reproduce it, but age it convincingly.
  10. The age of the cloth. The 1987 Carbon 14 tests are now believed to have been taken from an area of the cloth that was not simply patched in the middle ages but patched with a difficult to detect interweaving. The Carbon 14 tests were therefore compromised. The latest technology and testing suggests a date for the Shroud between 200 BC and 200AD. Go here for news of Professor Fanti’s test in 2013.

The only piece of evidence from the Shroud which may not match up is the 1987 Carbon 14 testing (however, even that testing, per #10 above, is in dispute.) You have nine items which fit with the known facts and fit with each other, and just one piece of evidence which may not fit. Thus it is common sense to challenge that one piece of evidence and reject it or try again to see why it doesn’t fit. This is what Fanti’s research has done and proven that the 1987 tests were faulty.

If atheists really want evidence for the existence of God, then they should seek genuine evidence of a miracle, and they should do so objectively, carefully, and with an open mind.

There’s plenty of excellent scientific evidence for the Shroud out there. I encourage all skeptics to take a look.
 
 
(Image credit: Huffington Post)

Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Written by

Fr. Dwight Longenecker is an American who has spent most of his life living and working in England. He was brought up in an Evangelical home in Pennsylvania. After graduating from the fundamentalist Bob Jones University with a degree in Speech and English, he went to study theology at Oxford University. He was eventually ordained as an Anglican priest and then in 1995, he and his family were received into the Catholic Church. For the next ten years he worked as a freelance writer, contributing to more than fifty magazines, papers and journals in Britain, Ireland and the USA. In December 2006 he was ordained as a Catholic priest under the special pastoral provision for married former Anglican clergy. He now serves as parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary parish in Greenville, South Carolina. Fr. Dwight is the author of many books including The Quest for the Creed (Crossroads, 2012); More Christianity: Finding the Fullness of the Faith (Ignatius, 2010); and Catholicism Pure and Simple (Stauffer Books, 2012). Connect with his website DwightLongenecker.com, or his Patheos blog, Standing On My Heard.

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  • Mike

    "Note that it only takes one miracle to prove this. If the system is closed there can be no miracles at all."

    This is a very important point: it's like Fermat's last theorom: it has to work for all "situations" or else "at the very least" it's not "true" or a closed system as you put it.

    Other religions are evidence here as if the closed system theory is correct 100% of all the religions, miracles that have ever existed (there are tens of 1,000s of religions that have ever existed not to mention reports of ghosts, supernatural events etc. etc.) have to be 100% false ie imagined made up or explainable my some 100% natural "occurence" or the close system theory is false.

  • Mike
  • stevegbrown

    Finally, an article/discussion on the Shroud of Turin. Along with this, Fr. Longenecker maybe should have given a mention of the Sudarium in Oviedo Spain. Certain features of the Sudarium match the face of the Shroud such as certain apparent blood rivlet flow patterns.

  • stahrwe

    I am surprised to see the CARBON14 issue still listed as a problem with the shroud. Empirical investigation after the CARBON dating was done demonstrated that the sample tested was taken from a portion of the shroud which had been repaired with material originating at the time the repair was made. This rendered the carbon dating meaningless. That being said, If God Himself appeared in person there would still be deniers. Our faith is not by sight.

    • Doug Shaver

      Empirical investigation after the CARBON dating was done demonstrated that the sample tested was taken from a portion of the shroud which had been repaired with material originating at the time the repair was made.

      So it has been claimed. The claims have been disputed.

      Considering the controversy, I'm willing to stipulate that the C14 tests are inconclusive. I am not willing to stipulate, though, that the Shroud should be presumed authentic until conclusively proven otherwise.

  • SJH

    I wonder if there is a way to compare the blood remnants with blood from one of the many examples of a bleeding Eucharist. Is it possible to determine if it is the same blood? Wouldn't that be interesting?

    • Philomena

      I read an article once about the blood type on the Shroud being the same as that of the Eucharistic miracle at Luciano. I don't remember where the article was, but a Google search may find it. :)

      • SJH

        Blood type is nice though there aren't many blood types to begin with so it would be better if you could show that it was the same blood from the same person.

        • Foreign grid

          The blood type was AB blood to be specific. A really rare kind if you look it up.

  • Even if all of the claims made by Fr L are accurate, this is simply not evidence of a miracle, it is evidence of a shroud with bloodstains from someone in Palestine 2000 years ago.

    Even if it is actually the cloth Jesus was buried in, it tells us nothing as to whether his body was resurrected or any other miraculous claim.

    There have been thousands and thousands of claims of relics from the Catholic Church over the centuries, indeed so many pieces of the cross were thought to be posessed by churches, abbeys and so on, that Calvin exclaimed that there was enough wood to fill a ship.

    On whether the burial customs are consistent with Iron Age Judea, I can accept that. But we should also accept that burying a crucified criminal days after nailing him up is utterly inconsistent with Roman practices of crucifixion. Key to the punishment was making the body rot on the cross as a deterrent and further indignity. See Bart Erhman's latest book on this. Taken together these facts suggests this cloth was not Jesus'

    • frdlongenecker

      I'm sorry, but this is more than a "shroud with bloodstains". Please take my challenge seriously and examine the mysterious nature of the image of the man on the shroud. There is simply no scientific explanation for this. It is completely unique and completely consistent with the everything we know about the death and supposed resurrection of Jesus Christ. Again, please don't take my word for it, spend some time investigating the shroud.

      Regarding the "enough wood from true cross relics to make Noah's Ark" myth. This was disproven by the researcher Charles Rouhault deFleury in 1870. He researched the matter and wrote it up. All the known relics taken together are scarcely even one-fiftieth of the original volume! They would not make even one-third of a cross, let alone Noah's Ark.

      • I cannot investigate the shroud, I can only investigate what you and others say about it.

        I am afraid I do not see you actually making any "miraculous" claims about to object. You say that the image was created by some unknown technology, not divine causation.

        At best you are saying there are mysterious qualities about it for which you cannot account. I don't see how our lack of understanding of how or what the image is leads us to any conclusions about its origin, nature, or the resurrection of an Iron Age Jew.

      • George

        "There is simply no scientific explanation for this."

        Does that make the claimed catholic explanation stronger?

      • Doug Shaver

        There is simply no scientific explanation for this.

        Maybe there is, and maybe there isn't. But I'm not going to infer "God did it" from "We don't know how it happened."

      • Doug Shaver

        Please take my challenge seriously and examine the mysterious nature of the image of the man on the shroud.

        The Wikipedia main article on the Shroud cites 238 sources for its information. A separate article devoted just to the radiocarbon dating controversy lists 101 sources. Must I read them all before I can have a justified opinion about the Shroud's authenticity? And if not all, how many?

    • Roman

      If that is what Bart Erhman claims, then he is mistaken. Read Josephus. He talks about how the Roman's allowed the Jews to practice their sacred burial customs, for whatever reason...maybe because the Jews had a habit of revolting. I have the specific Josephus citation somewhere. If you need it, let me know.........

      • If I'm not mistaken Josephus is one of Erhman's source on Roman crucifixion practices. There is no dispute that Jews were allowed to continue their traditional burial practices. But no one was allowed to do so if the dead was crucified. Central to the punishment was the decay and humiliation of the corpse. The Romans wanted the death to be as painful and humiliating as possible. There were two exceptions to this. On rare occasions, on the emperor's birthday, or if you were an important well-connected family. And these exceptions were never allowed for high treason, and Jesus was apparently executed for treason.

        It is very clear that Jesus was not from a family with the kind of connections that would grant him an exception and it was not the Emperor's birthday.

        • Marie Van Gompel Alsbergas

          The request to remove the Body of Jesus came not from His immediate Family, but from an important political figure within the Jewish hierarchy. The records also state that because it was the Feast of Passover, certain local concessions were made to forestall riots. Do your research before you dismiss the whole thing.

          • Who was this important political figure who would override the Jewish clergy and king and convince Pilate that this carpenter who claimed to be king should get an exception for treason, when they never made exceptions for high treason?

          • Caravelle

            Joseph of Arimathea I presume ?

          • Marie Van Gompel Alsbergas

            Nicodemas ben Gurion was a follower of Jesus. Both he and Joseph of Arimathea were absent from the secret Sanhedrin meetings in which the Jewish leaders decided to ask the Romans for the death of Jesus. Both men are noted in the Talmudic writings of the period, and among the non-Jewish historians of the period, as well as in the Gospels and Apocryphal writings.

            According to Jewish law, the death for blasphemy was first stoning, then hanging until the corpse was destroyed by natural elements. That portion of Jewish law had been removed from their responsibilities by the Romans decades before these events. "The body remained on the cross, food for birds of prey until it rotted, or was cast before wild beasts. Special permission to remove the body was occasionally granted. Officers (carnifex and triumviri) and soldiers were in charge." (Jewish Encyclopedia)

          • So, are you saying Nocodemus made the request for a traditional burial? He does not seem to be the immediate family of Jesus. And I do not see any reference to a request that the body be taken down or for the Romans to make an exception.

        • Roman

          I realize that atheists, agnostics, secular types put a lot of stock in what Bart Erhman says but that's unfortunate because he has a tendency to do inadequate research in many cases and overstate or mistate his case based on cherry-picked evidence. This is a perfect example of that. He actually does refer to a statement in Josephus' Jewish War 4.317, but it is one that contradicts his assertion that Jesus wasn't buried. Here is an excerpt "although the Jews are so careful about burial rites that even malefactors who have been sentenced to crucifixion are taken down and buried before sunset." His answer for this is that Josephus is not telling the truth or is somehow inacurate. That's a convenient way of getting rid of evidence. Then he claims that this is the only evidence in ancient writings. WRONG. There are a number of other ancient writings that attest to the fact that Jews were allowed to bury the dead after they were crucified. For example, in a Roman writing known as the Digesta, it says "The bodies of those who are condemned to death should not be refused to their relatives and the divine Augustus in the Tenth Book of his Life said this rule has been observed....Even the bodies of those that have been sentenced to be burned can be claimed in order that their bones and ashes .....may be buried" (Digesta 4.24.1) and "The bodies of persons who have been punished should be given to whoever requests them for the purpose of burial" (Digesta 48.24.3). What Erhman gets wrong is that in times of peace in the are around Jerusalem, the Roman's allowed the Jews to bury victims of crucifixion, in part because the Jews would be infuriated if they didn't and the Romans knew the Jews were prone to rebellion. It was only during times of war between Jews and Romans, that this practice was denied. During Jesus' lifetime there was no war with the Romans. Many major scholars disagree with Erhman on this (including secular). All the references that Erhman lists to support his case are irrelevant because they say nothing about the area around Jerusalem during peacetime.

          • I think these are fair criticisms, and I am just not in a place to tell if either you or Ehrman is correct. I do know that Ethman is a respected authority in this area. I say so because he is required reading In an introduction to New Testament stuties course at Yale.

            For all I know you may be more of an authority. But I just can't tell in this forum. So I am going to accept what Erhman has said as a reasonable interpretation of the texts we have.

            Not that it makes a huge difference. The empty tomb does not entail a resurrection, the visions of a resurrected Christ are what were convincing it would seem.

        • Foreign grid

          However the Romans weren't the ones who had a bone to pick with Jesus in the first place. It were the Jewish high priests.

    • Foreign grid

      A shroud that has 3D information? A shroud that can only be duplicated with the energy of 3 nuclear power plants (yes the exhibition does reveal this info)? This shroud indicates either a miracle, or the doing of aliens. Take your pick.

      True. However this is the only one that we are acertain that has the evidence that comes from this time period and was carried around by the early Catholic Church.

      As to the inconsistency, someone of high authority In the Jewish culture is said to have negotiated in taking the body and giving it the proper burial or something like that. Pilate, feeling already a bit guilty, must have given the body to them.

  • David Nickol

    Does the Shroud of Turin prove God? No.

    Is investigating the Shroud of Turin a helpful starting point for atheists or agnostics who are seeking to determine whether God exists? I would argue it would be among the least helpful starting points. In my experience, unbiased information about the authenticity of the shroud is next to impossible to find. Shroud "enthusiasts" are determined to demonstrate its authenticity, and shroud skeptics are determined to expose it as inauthentic.

    One question I have is why, after the questioning of the 1987 carbon-14 tests, which "enthusiasts" claim was done not on original shroud material but on later patches, additional carbon-14 tests were not done using other samples from the shroud.

    Father Longenecker says the following:

    Not only can scientists and historians not reproduce the image using medieval technologies, they can’t reproduce it with modern technology.

    However, note this article titled Italian Scientist Reproduces Shroud of Turin.

    I think the Shroud is an intriguing and mysterious object, and I am not prepared to say with 100% confidence that it is not authentic. But I think focusing on the Shroud as if it could provide a yes or no answer to ultimate questions about God, Jesus, and the resurrection is not a worthwhile endeavor. And I think any debate here about its authenticity would probably consist of believers looking up information from "pro-Shroud" web sites, and skeptics countering it with rebuttals from skeptical (or "anti-Shroud") web sites. It is really not worth doing.

    • "That is simply not true. Note this article titled Italian Scientist Reproduces Shroud of Turin."

      Have you seriously examined the claims of this "Italian Scientist" (aka Luigi Garlaschelli) or are you just quoting a convenient headline that seemingly debunks the Shroud? Wouldn't you agree that article titles are not serious arguments?

      This paper outlines the serious deficiencies in Garlaschelli's attempt:

      http://www.acheiropoietos.info/proceedings/HeimburgerWeb.pdf

      If you can't read the whole thing, at least read the Conclusion.

      "And I think any debate here about its authenticity would probably consist of believers looking up information from "pro-Shroud" web sites, and skeptics countering it with rebuttals from skeptical (or "anti-Shroud") web sites. It is really not worth doing."

      You're entitled to your opinion. However, I and others think the Truth is worth pursuing, even if it's difficult to find (and discuss.)

      It's worth weighing the evidence for any truth claim, and in this particular case, almost all the evidence leans one way: toward a miracle.

      • David Nickol

        This paper outlines the serious deficiencies in Garlaschelli's attempt

        I am perfectly willing to concede that no one has created an exact duplicate of the Shroud of Turin that is indistinguishable from the original. That would be a miracle! We can only hypothesize about the method of creation or construction of many an object from the past—a Stradivarius violin, for example. But just because we cannot create an exact duplicate of a Stradivarius does not mean they are miraculous instruments.

        It seems ironic to me that shroud "enthusiasts" rely so heavily on scientific tests as proof that the Shroud is somehow miraculous. I am not an expert on the Shroud, but what scientists seem to agree on is that it is an image formed by a human body having been wrapped in a cloth. Exactly how the image was formed may never be known, but that does not make the image miraculous.

        It's worth weighing the evidence for any truth claim, and in this particular case, almost all the evidence leans one way: toward a miracle.

        I am not sure exactly what the miracle would be. The Shroud already is a remarkable artifact. It would be even more remarkable if it were the burial shroud of a crucified man from the first century. It would be particularly remarkable if it could somehow be proven to be the burial shroud of Jesus. But if the miracle is supposed to be that when a human body is resurrected, unknown physical (or "spiritual") forces leave a negative image of the body on a burial shroud made of a particular type of material, that can't be proven by science.

        However, I and others think the Truth is worth pursuing, even if it's difficult to find (and discuss.)

        I am not against pursuing truth. I am just saying that arguing about the authenticity of the Shroud in this forum, with one side googling for all the "pros" and the other side googling for all the "cons" is not going to get us anywhere. I think there are further tests that could be performed on the Shroud—more carbon-14 dating tests, for example, that might shed more light on its true age.

        It must be remembered that the Catholic Church went through a phase (which continues in a much more reasonable vein even today) when having impressive relics was very important. Here are a couple of passages from Paul Johnson's A History of Christianity that are both amusing and illustrative:

        In 1517, Archbishop Albert of Mainz . . . . The archbishop had a permanent and lucrative exhibition of relics, some 9,000 items, which included whole bodies of saints, a bone of Isaac, manna from the wilderness, a bit of Moses's burning bush, a jar from Cana (with actual wine in it), a bit of the crown of thorns, and one of the stones that killed St. Stephen.

        It is a pity we do not know more about the big Dark Age collections. We have a full catalogue of the collection formed by the newly founded Reading Abbey, between the 1120s and the 1190s. It was composed of 242 items, and included Our Lord's shoe, his swaddling clothes, blood and water from his side, bread from the Feeding of the Five Thousand and the Last Supper, Veronica's veil and shroud, Our Lady's hair, bed, belt, and the rods of Moses and Aaron, and various relics of St. John the Baptist.

        • Caravelle

          Moses's burning bush makes perfect sense given it wasn't consumed, but scoring some manna from the wilderness is truly impressive. And, I'm pretty sure, sacrilege.

      • Doug Shaver

        Thanks to another poster, I found what looks like a good summary of that evidence at the Colorado Shroud of Turin Research Center's website. If I accept everything they say about the evidence, it points to an unsolved puzzle.

    • Ignatius Reilly

      I agree with this wholeheartedly. Besides the article about the Italian Scientist, I have not found one unbiased source on the Shroud.

      • "I have not found one unbiased source on the Shroud."

        All historians and archaeologists are biased. The good ones admit it. Yet whether someone is inclined to believe in the veracity of their subject matter is no reason to dismiss their findings or analysis.

        Do you dismiss the findings of evolutionary biologists because most of them are biased toward naturalism?

        • Ignatius Reilly

          If all I can find on the internet are sites devoted to the Shroud and Skeptic, I do not consider there to be any sources that I could legitimately cull knowledge from without extensive research and fact-checking.

          Do you dismiss the findings of evolutionary biologists because most of them are biased toward naturalism?

          No, because they have evidence, which is displayed for all to see. For instance, they want fossils to be carbon dated. Those who promote the Shroud claim that the original carbon dating is false, but will not submit it for a second carbon dating. Why is that? If I had a dinosaur bone that had a bad carbon dating test, I would test it again. Shroud research and evolutionary biology do not live in the same scientific universe.

          • Joe Ser

            Hmmm - the dino bones returning dates 28K YA? They did it again and guess what. Quite a few of them are returning the same dates, not to mention soft tissue.

            They claim it is false because they dates a repair made much later. Examining the cloth shows pollens that date to the first century.

          • David Nickol

            Examining the cloth shows pollens that date to the first century.

            I believe it's a bit more subtle than that. There is no claim that pollen found on the Shroud was approximately 2000 years old and had been on the Shroud for 2000 years. The claim was that the pollen came from the kinds of plants that were in the Jerusalem area in the first century. The age of the pollen samples from the Shroud was not determined.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Hmmm - the dino bones returning dates 28K YA? They did it again and guess what. Quite a few of them are returning the same dates, not to mention soft tissue.

            Exactly what are you claiming about the age of dinosaur bones?

            They claim it is false because they dates a repair made much later. Examining the cloth shows pollens that date to the first century.

            Then why don't they let us retest the shroud? If they really believed that it was genuine, they would retest.

            No, the pollens are not dated to the first century.

          • Caravelle

            Unless this was an avian dinosaur bone I'd suggest that the solution to "a bad carbon dating test" wouldn't be further carbon dating... ;)

          • Ignatius Reilly

            However, in the case of the shroud they are saying the scientists tested a medieval patch to the shroud. The logical next move would be to test a portion of the shroud that wasn't medieval patch work.

          • Caravelle

            Absolutely! I was just making a little joke based on your mistaken reference to carbon dating on dinosaur bones (carbon dating is only used for biological material younger than 100,000 years old; for older things the word you're looking for is "radiometric dating").

            I'd have said something self-deprecating about how pedantic I was being, if I didn't have Joe Ser's comment below mine playing 100% into that particular Creationist trope...

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Ah...I see now. I'm still not sure what he meant with his comment - I was hoping he would clarify.

      • Roman

        The Colorado Shroud of Turin Research Center was started by scientists that were part of the original group that investigated the Shroud of Turin and produced most of the data we have. They do a good job of keeping an objective summary of the evidence. see http://www.shroudofturin.com/shroud.html

        • Ignatius Reilly

          From their website, which they apparently don't have the time to keep up do date:

          We, at TSC, seek to develop a new tool to help the Church, with its mission to teach about Christ in a scientific age, by conducting credible and sophisticated scientific studies on the Shroud of Turin.

          Looks like bias to me. Any scientist, who does not believe the shroud is genuine is not going to be part of The Shroud of Turin Research Center, because it would be a waste of her time.

          Secondly, analyzing the data that we already have is a nice thing to do, but it would be better to collect new data. That is how science works. The data and experiments that we do lead us to new data and experiments.

          Thirdly, it has already been proven via Carbon14 dating that the shroud is a medieval fraud. If the scientist think that that Carbon14 dating was inaccurate, then they can retest.

          • Roman

            Any scientist, who does not believe the shroud is genuine is not going to be part of The Shroud of Turin Research Center, because it would be a waste of her time.

            Not so. There are scientists who are fascinated with this project simply because they haven't been able to explain how the image was formed and others who are interested in keeping a record of the facts because this is such a hotly contested issue. For example, http://www.shroud.com is maintained by Barrie Schwortz who was part of the original team of scientists that did the research and tests on the shroud back in back in 1978. Barrie is an agnostic Jew. Another website http://www.shroudofturin.com was founded by Dr. John Jackson who headed that team of scientists back in 1978. Dr. Jackson continues to update the scientific evidence and keeps a current list of theories on how the image was formed. You can find a nice summary of the evidence as a pdf on this website.

            Thirdly, it has already been proven via Carbon14 dating that the shroud is a medieval fraud. If the scientist think that that Carbon14 dating was inaccurate, then they can retest.

            You keep repeating this but its a little intellectually dishonest to do so. There is more than enough evidence (which you can find in many places in addition to these two websites) which prove the sample was taken from the edge of the shroud in a location that was both exposed to fire in the 13th century and repaired by weaving in new cloth. Hence why it dates back to the 13th century. And there are plans to redo the Carbon 14 testing. However, I think you can understand the hesitancy on the part of the Church since the sample would have to be taken close to the middle where it risks damaging the image or the appearance of the cloth

          • Ignatius Reilly

            The problem is that there is a lot of misinformation on both sides. There are many "facts" about the shroud whose source I cannot ascertain. This includes almost ever fact in the original article. I don't trust the websites that you listed, but I also don't trust the skeptic sites.

            I heard that the Church will never be able to do a carbon14 on the shroud because it was irradiated to kill bacteria.

  • Kraig Boyle

    Another interesting study is the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

    • Joe Ser
      • Ignatius Reilly

        Looks man made to me. Do you have evidence for its miraculous origins?

        • Joe Ser

          You can go see it yourself.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            That would not prove anything. I am not disputing its existence. Do I have to travel to the site of every alleged miracle?

            To borrow from David Hume, any miracle claim is more likely a case of the witnesses being mislead or lying than an actual miracle.

          • Joe Ser

            By seeing it yourself you can judge it yourself.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            I assume you are holding up this alleged miracle up for the truth of Christianity. Do you have any evidence that it was in fact a miracle?

            The point is that I cannot investigate every miracle claim, and I agree with Hume on the origins of every miracle claim that I have investigated, so I will reject other miracle claims, unless I am shown actual evidence.

          • Roman

            So, because David Hume made this claim, it must be true, right? Where's his proof of this claim?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Perhaps you could read David Hume and find out. I am often told to read books that I have already read, so I can better understand Catholicism, so why wouldn't you want to read Hume's Of Miracles to better understand some of the critiques skeptics have of your miracle claims?

            I said that any miracle that I personally have ever investigated has turned out to be a case of the witnesses being mislead or outright lying.

          • Roman

            I guess I'm curious as to which miracles you've actually investigated.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Growing up there was this nun that "cured" people with what was supposedly Padre Pio's glove. She was later shown to be a fraud. Mother Teresa's miracle that lead to her beatification is most likely fraudulent. I highly doubt the Fatima miracle's ever occurred - I certainly find the message of Fatima to be utterly distasteful. Most Marian apparitions are fraudulent with questionable messages, especially Medjugorje and Garabandal.

            I would assume that most medieval relics are in fact fraudulent. For instance, there were multiple shrouds and veils, pieces of the cross, Mary's breast milk, and others.
            Incorruptible saints are not what I was lead to believe as a child. I.E. their bodies are not perfectly preserved, and in many cases they are perfectly grotesque.

            I have also seen questionable everyday miracles (cures usually) that turn into larger stories in the Catholic community. I think most miracle stories are something like fisherman's tales.

        • Garbanzo Bean

          "Do you have evidence for its miraculous origins?"
          I hadn't heard of that one before. The article indicates that German geologists bore samples of the image, and it was actually the color of the rock, not a paint or dye. Is that really true, or were these geologists really enthusiastic to find what they wanted to see? Who knows.
          I am not sure why folks are harping on "miracles" as proof of something, they certainly do not generate faith. Perhaps if someone is on the boundary, wanting to believe but unable, they will help. Maybe it gets believers and unbelievers talking, and that can help both "sides".

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Is that really true, or were these geologists really enthusiastic to find what they wanted to see? Who knows.

            Obviously I believe the latter.

            I am not sure why folks are harping on "miracles" as proof of something, they certainly do not generate faith. Perhaps if someone is on the boundary, wanting to believe but unable, they will help. Maybe it gets believers and unbelievers talking, and that can help both "sides".

            I find it interesting that very few believers ever push back on any of the miracle claims. I have never felt much affection for any of the Marian apparitions except perhaps Guadalupe and the Immaculate Conception, and I never felt any affection for the shroud.

            Personally, I think that the most logical Catholicism is the rational irrationality of someone like Chesterton. I think conversations along those lines would be more fruitful than Cosmological therefore God or miracles therefore God interspersed with an occasional polemic article that gets us skeptics all excited.

          • Garbanzo Bean

            "I find it interesting that very few believers ever push back on any of the miracle claims."
            People are at varying stages of maturity, neediness, faith or skepticism, etc. The investigations done by the church should be very strict, and involve skeptics, naturalists, and the very-slow-to-believe.
            The most skeptical people in the world about miracles are probably parish priests.... they have just heard too many strange stories from unbalanced people. Out of mercy they listen and do not judge harshly (one hopes), but the ones I know have heard just too many stories that indicate mental health issues, excessive credulity, things easily explained by psychology, and so on.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            So I take it you are not a fan of the abolishment of the devil's advocate.

          • Garbanzo Bean

            Probably not a fan. AFAIK that nickname concerned canonizations, not the investigation of marian apparitions or claims of miracles (other than those attributed to a dead person up for canonization?). I have no idea how much scrutiny is given this stuff these days. I would lean toward "lots is needed" rather than "looks good to me". I dont think any Marian apparitions have been approved since Fatima? Maybe that Las Lajas one.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Yes, it only applied to sainthood. I believe Fatima was the last apparition to be approved, but I am not a fan of that particular apparition.

          • Garbanzo Bean

            You mentioned that you liked somewhat Guadalupe and Lourdes. I find many folks aren't aware there was a miracle of sorts claimed at the founding of Lourdes. What do you mean by Chesterton's "rational irrationality"? He did like paradox. That phrase sounds more like Kierkegaard.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            I also like Kierkegaard. Chesterton accepts that there are things about Christianity that are contradictory or paradoxical. He isn't surprise by this, as the universe is full of paradox. He seemed to think that if one tries to reason their way around the universe, they would go mad. There is a passage from Orthodoxy where he talks about God being like an infinite sea with the logician trying to build a bridge across, while the poet happily floats in a boat.

            I could be misreading Chesterton. I have read Orthodoxy, The Man Who was Thursday, Napoleon of Notting Hill, and Fr. Brown, so I haven't read all of his books and some time has passed since I read him last. He's a very good essayist, and I've always felt that Thursday is underrated.

          • Garbanzo Bean

            I think I see what you mean... Chesterton does explain in Orthodoxy how "reason" is not what a madman has lost, but is all a madman has left... perhaps that is what you mean by his "rational irrationality". Further, Chesterton was far from a rationalist; he might have deemed rationalism the most irrational position possible. "Pure reason", after all, would have no content?

            I have read the others you mention, but I have not read Thursday. I will have to remedy that soon.

            If you like Kierkegaard and Chesterton, you might like Johann Georg Hamann. He wrote such things as "New Apology for the letter 'h'" and "Metacritique of the Purism of Reason". I have yet to read these myself. I was introduced to Hamann by this essay: http://www.firstthings.com/article/2005/01/the-laughter-of-the-philosophers

    • Joe Ser

      The Tilma's Constellations are also a novel feature. They show exactly where the stars were on the date of the miracle. The eye images too are fantastic.

      • Ignatius Reilly

        Evidence?
        I don't think it is geometrically possible to map out the stars on a veil. The perspective would be wrong.

    • Ignatius Reilly

      Interesting in its political ramifications.

  • Steven Dillon

    I think the Shroud can function as evidence for Jesus' passion and death (as depicted in the canonical Gospels), but not his resurrection. The reason is simply that we don't know what to expect from a resurrection. So, we're not in a position to say the Shroud is more expected given Jesus' resurrection than not, and that's all it'd mean to say "the Shroud of Turin is evidence for Jesus' resurrection."

    Would a resurrection be of such a nature as to sear an image like this into cloth? It *could*, theoretically, since God can do anything. But, on what grounds could we say that it *would*?

    • If Christianity claims the death of Jesus is highly unusual and the science shows this man's death was highly unusual then that is something. We can't develop expected results but when 2 sets of unexpected results line up then that is not likely to be a coincidence.

      • Steven Dillon

        Sure, this would confirm the core of Jesus' passion and death as depicted in the canonical Gospels. I think that's pretty significant. But, the additional claim that after Jesus' highly unusual death, he was resurrected by YHWH? I think we'd need something more indicative of a resurrection.

        • Really? A highly unusual artifact signifying a highly unusual death event. That death just happens to be the exact same death that Christianity has long professed as being highly unusual. Does that not make you want to take much more seriously all of what Christianity has said about that death?

          • Steven Dillon

            Well, the thing is Christians aren't the only ones who say Jesus was crucified. It's a claim that's not so much the property of Christianity as of history. If the Shroud's authenticity confirmed the whole of whatever account Jesus' death was a part of, it'd lend just as much credibility to those accounts which say Jesus was resurrected after dying by crucifixion as those that say he didn't.

          • It is a burial cloth. If Jesus was crucified and not resurrected then would you not expect his body to remain wrapped in his burial cloth? You could suppose it was part of a fake resurrection where the body was stolen. Still it does not seem reasonable to say it is equally consistent with both accounts. It has to be considered supporting the resurrection account even if it does not definitively prove it.

          • Steven Dillon

            If all you're saying is that the Shroud would corroborate the resurrection narratives, then, yeah, I agree. But, if you mean it'd corroborate the resurrection narratives *more* than alternative narratives, I think your argument is unsound, although I'd agree these alternative narratives are improbable on other grounds. (I think all our explanations are)

          • Many alternative narratives would be have to be dismissed. The theory that Jesus' body was eaten by dogs comes to mind. The mere existence of a burial shroud means he was buried.

            Then you look at point #4. Maybe some alternative narratives have Jesus' body vanishing.

            Anyway, if I am accused of a crime I want you on the jury. You are might hard to convince.

          • Steven Dillon

            Haha, funnily enough I'm on jury duty soon. You're right though, it would disconfirm those sorts of theories, I just meant it wouldn't harm those alternatives which grant that Jesus was crucified and buried.

          • crucified and buried and does not stay buried

          • Steven Dillon

            It's interesting that early Christians don't seem to have known the whereabouts of Jesus' burial place, otherwise, we'd expect them to have widely venerated it. Who knows what happened in the interrim.

          • Roman

            It's interesting that early Christians don't seem to have known the whereabouts of Jesus' burial place

            Don't know where you get that idea. The early Christians always new where the burial site was. That's how later Christians were able to build the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on the burial site.

          • Steven Dillon

            We don't have anyone identifying that location as the burial place of Jesus until 300 years after Jesus died. That's the exact opposite of what we'd expect had the apostolic Christians thought as much of this location. It's just a legend.

          • Roman

            You're way off...You're probably referring to the date when the church of the Holy Sepulchre was built in 325 AD over the burial spot of Jesus. However, its recorded in history (for example, by Historian Eusebius in "The Life of Constantine") that the Roman emperor Hadrian decided to stop Christians from worshipping at that site by filling it in with soil, paving it over, and then building a large temple in honor of Venus. This was completed in the year 135 AD. So, obviously Christians had been worshiping at the site for years prior to 135 AD.

          • Steven Dillon

            No, I'm talking about the remarks from The Life of Constantine (which *seems* to be of Eusebian authorship). These are the earliest remarks we have alleging this is the location of the holy sepulchre, and they're three *hundred* years after the fact, from a work whose literary genre does not involve straightforward history.

          • Roman

            That doesn't prove he's wrong. He likely had access to sources that simply no longer exist. Much of what we know about ancient history was written by historians hundreds of years after the events took place and we take for granted that they're true unless there is something we know that conflicts with their writings.

          • Steven Dillon

            Dude, it's a panegyric, not historiography. The author is also negligent of details and exaggerative. It's not at all strange that, in a text whose goal is to big up Constantine, Constantine is said to have done something grandiose like build over Jesus' tomb. Such a story was bound to make the cut, whether or not it was true.

          • Roman

            ....and you're point is what? That nothing in the text is true??? Even the scholars don't believe that. There is definitely some historical value in that writing. No doubt he said things to make Constantine look good. But Eusebius was a Bishop of Caesarea. Highly unlikely he would purposely mislead the flock regarding the burial site of Jesus.

          • Steven Dillon

            Why would my point be that every claim in the text is false? It's just that we should be skeptical of the text's claim that this is the site of Jesus' burial. Why? Because (i) it's made over three *hundred* years after the fact, (ii) in a sort of literature more interested in bigging someone up than reporting historiography about them, and (iii) by someone known to be uncritical with these sorts of claims.

            The text may be generally reliable, and the author's clerical position may have inclined him toward honesty, but in light of the above considerations, it's best to take this claim with a grain of salt.

          • Roman

            I would agree if Eusebius' work was all we had. However, we also have archaelogical evidence that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is in an ancient burial ground dating to the time of Jesus. They've discovered four tombs around the Church including the one underneath the Church thought to be Jesus'. There is also archaelogical evidence from a dig in 1969 that found remnants of the Temple of Venus there. The description of the location is also consistent with the Gospel accounts of the burial place being near Calvary just west of the original city walls.

          • Steven Dillon

            Yeah, I think Constantine did have the Church built over a Pagan temple -- as was common to do -- and in part because its location was consistent with the Gospels. But, the tomb thought by contemporary Christians to be Jesus' was only recently discovered, and there are strong, independent grounds to doubt the Gospel's entombment narratives.

          • Doug Shaver

            If Jesus was crucified and not resurrected then would you not expect his body to remain wrapped in his burial cloth?

            I don't expect history to always happen the way I expect it to.

    • Ignatius Reilly

      Do you think it is genuine or the work of a medieval forger/artist?

    • Doug Shaver

      I think the Shroud can function as evidence for Jesus' passion and death (as depicted in the canonical Gospels)

      It could be evidence for that. Or, it could be evidence for human credulity.

      I'm not just picking on Christians here. I've known plenty of atheists who have swallowed Kersey Graves's Sixteen Crucified Saviors hook, line, and sinker.

  • Ignatius Reilly

    1) This is not true. Scientists have reproduced the image.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/06/shroud-of-turin-reproduce_n_310605.html

    2) Not sure what this means. Would like to see some evidence that the Shroud possesses this property that an ordinary painting does not.
    4) I would like to see evidence for this claim as well
    5) This isn't remarkable at all. I would expect a fraudulent relic or painting to fall into the line with the mythos of Christianity.
    8) Evidence for this assertion?
    9) Disproved in 1.
    10) If the church would let actual scientists investigate the cloth, I'm sure we could get the carbon dating cleared up. Regardless, I thought that the medievals could not weave a cloth like the shroud?

    • "This is not true. Scientists have reproduced the image.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/..."

      I'm not sure quoting a Huffington Post article offers much support for your claim, especially this particular article. Please see my comment above to David Nickol who reference the same study. I'll ask you the same question I asked him:

      Have you seriously examined the claims of this "Italian Scientist" (aka Luigi Garlaschelli) or are you just quoting a convenient headline that seemingly debunks the Shroud?

      This paper outlines the major deficiencies in Garlaschelli's attempt:

      http://www.acheiropoietos.info/proceedings/HeimburgerWeb.pdf

      I notice The Huffington Post chose not to highlight this rebuttal.

      • Ignatius Reilly

        I wouldn't expect the scientist reproduction to match the shroud exactly. The fact that they are similar, suggests that a medieval forger or artist made the shroud using similar methods.

        I don't think that article was written at the time of the Huffington Post's article.

        • Roman

          The fact that they are similar,

          They're not similar. Just because they look similar in photographs doesn't prove that they were created in the same manner. The miraculous aspect of the Shroud is the fact that it was not made using paint, dyes, coatings, stains,, etc. according to the NASA team of scientists that examined it. Your buddy, Garlashelli, painted the image of the Shroud of Turin on the cloth. ANY ONE CAN DO THAT.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            The miraculous aspect of the Shroud is the fact that it was not made using paint, dyes, coatings, stains,, etc. according to the NASA team of scientists that examined it

            That is an assertion. Please provide evidence.
            Are you telling me that NASA spent time researching the Shroud of Turin? I thought they had better ways to use our tax dollars.

            Your buddy, Garlashelli, painted the image of the Shroud of Turin on the cloth. ANY ONE CAN DO THAT.

            Yes and that is what the medieval forger did. We now have a decent idea of how he did it.

          • Roman

            That is an assertion. Please provide evidence.

            Its not an assertion. Its a conclusion based on a lot of physical/chemical testing done by the STURP team that investigated the Shroud of Turin in 1978. Again, they found no trace of coating, paint, stain, dyes, etc. If the image was painted, and 100% of the pigment was removed, e.g., say with a solvent, there would be no image. The scientists used an electron microscope and found NO PIGMENT. Go read the evidence on the websites I listed in my last comment.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            That is not what Walter McCrone says. He was a member of STURP till he was allegedly kicked out for not towing the party line.

        • Gabriele Silvagni

          Dear Ignatius, here is an article that explains how much Garlaschelli is wrong: http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/thibault-lg.pdf.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Exactly what in that article suggests that the shroud could not have been made by a medieval forger using methods similar to Garlaschelli.

            Of course, we can't have a side by side comparison with the shroud and Garlaschelli's work, because the Church hasn't allowed scientific analysis on the shroud in over 30 years. I wonder why....

    • frdlongenecker

      I encourage you to spend some time researching the shroud and you will see all the evidence there in the detailed scientific analysis that has been carried out. In fact, the Church has allowed the shroud to be extensively examined and tested. That's why we have so much information about it.

      • Ignatius Reilly

        I don't see why I should have to spend week of my life investigating every "miracle" claim - especially since if I still rejected the miracle, I would either be accused of wanting it to be false or told I need to study it more. It would be like if I told you that if you study cosmology extensively, you will find that the Christian God does not exist. This would be especially bad argumentation on my part, if I did not even mention what about cosmology excludes the Christian God.

        If the Shroud has been extensively examined and tested, then why don't we get a new carbon14 dating? As I understand, no testing has been done since the late 80s.

        • stevegbrown

          Unfortunately, church officials in Turin in 2002 were told by scientific experts that the Shroud of Turin needed to be stabilized because evidence (I'm not sure - I think perhaps bacterial) was presented that it was starting to deteriorate. A process was recommended (I believe uv irradiation) that would halt any baterial damage but the trade-off was that it could render invalid any future radio-carbon dating.

          Remember also that radio carbon dating is always destructive. You have to burn the sample and pass the gas past a type of geiger counter that measures the radiation in the carbon.

          There are however samples of the Shroud from the STURP team that did the tests in 1978. So those are the only possible samples to use.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            How convenient. Why isn't the miraculous shroud immune to bacterial damage? If it were, I'm sure everyone would be putting that forth as evidence of the divine nature of the shroud.

            I suppose they couldn't test the shroud one last time before the shroud underwent a treatment that would invalidate further carbon14 tests, which would again conclusively show that the shroud is a medieval forgery.

          • stevegbrown

            "How convenient."

            Are you saying that the officials were conveniently destroying evidence? They were just doing what they were told in 2002 by scientists to do this. It apparently wasn't their idea, yet it was a very bad decision, no doubt. The default position is to not touch anything like this because it is considered to be an exceptional relic.

            Well, let's put this into perspective. All the evidence up to the time of the carbon 14 testing pointed towards the authenticity of the Shroud.

            The whole handling of the carbon 14 testing by both church officials and scientific researchers was, yes, a fiasco. It was scientists who criticized the church, the proprietors of this artifact, to do a carbon 14 test. Somehow this would conclusively settle the authenticity question.
            Barrie Schwartz points out that the British lab approached the church officials with their agreed plan of procedure. They would take samples from various areas of the Shroud. The more samples throughout the artifact surface would give a most accurate measurement. They only took one sample from the corner. The sample from the corner was clearly different from the main area of the Shroud. The Shroud was woven in a herringbone pattern - in line with ancient weaving practices. Why didn't the lab researchers take a herringbone sample?

            The samplers were supposed to then send a sample to each of 7 labs. For some reason they only chose 3. Each of the labs were supposed to do a chemical analysis before destroying their respective sample in the carbon 14 test. Not one of the labs did this. Why not?

            In any case. I already stated above that there is a sample from the 1978 expedition. But once it is tested, that's it, there won't be a second chance because. Who will do the test? The dog and pony show of 1988, the 3 scientists who sat in front of a blackboard with the date "1260-1390!" scrawled? They had their chance and they botched it royally.

            BTW here is an interview with Barrie Schwartz, if you are interested. He was a skeptic and now thinks that it is the burial cloth of Christ.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dkRiX1JfkA

            He goes over the carbon 14 testing that was done.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Are you saying that the officials were conveniently destroying evidence? They were just doing what they were told in 2002 by scientists to do this. It apparently wasn't their idea, yet it was a very bad decision, no doubt. The default position is to not touch anything like this because it is considered to be an exceptional relic

            Yes. I do not place as much trust in the Church as you do.

            Well, let's put this into perspective. All the evidence up to the time of the carbon 14 testing pointed towards the authenticity of the Shroud.

            What evidence?

            Barrie Schwartz is not a reliable source of information. He's interviewing on Coast-to-Coast.

          • stevegbrown

            Just because Barrie Schwartz willing to talk to anyone who will listen does not render him an unreliable source. He also does a TED talk on youtube. His website is a superb source for all of STURP's scientific papers.
            Schwartz's website may seem too technical in places, but the late John Heller’s entertaining book: "Report on the Shroud of Turin" (1983) has a very personable, down to earth description of STURP’s work; it is also a good place to learn who these scientists were and how they reached their conclusions.

            John Heller's book was my introduction into the scientific study of the Shroud and it is easy enough reading for a layman to follow and it is not too lengthy. John Heller received his bachelor's degree from Yale University and did graduate work both at Yale and Cornell. He also had a doctorate in medicine from Case Western Reserve and was a professor of internal medicine and medical physics at Yale University

            In case you are not aware STURP is source of documents and papers on the researce done in 1978 - and it is peer-reviewed.

      • Doug Shaver

        I encourage you to spend some time researching the shroud and you will see all the evidence there in the detailed scientific analysis that has been carried out.

        Two questions:
        1. Are there people who have already done that?
        2. If so, have they all reached the same conclusion?

    • Roman

      Scientists have reproduced the image

      Not they haven't. The work of Garlashelli was debunked because he painted the image on the shroud. The NASA scientists that examined the shroud found no trace of pigment, dye, coating. They couldn't wash the image off either. Other problems include:

      1. Image produced by Garlashelli has "directionality" just as any artwork made by humans would. The shroud image has no directionality,

      2. Garalashelli added blood stains after the image was created. In the real Shroud of Turin the blood was on the cloth before the image was formed - difficult to impossible to duplicate because the the image would ruin the blood stains.

      3/ The real shroud of turin has a 3D image. Garalashelli was not able to reproduce the 3D image.
      4. Garalashelli's work has never been peer reviewed to this day. Gee, I wonder why???

      etc. etc.

      Just another fraud trying to get attention for him self

      http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/experts_question_scientists_claim_of_reproducing_shroud_of_turin/

      http://theshroudofturin.blogspot.com/2009/10/italian-scientist-says-he-has.html

      • Ignatius Reilly

        1. Image produced by Garlashelli has "directionality" just as any artwork made by humans would. The shroud image has no directionality,

        Found no evidence for this claim in either of your sources.

        Garalashelli added blood stains after the image was created. In the real Shroud of Turin the blood was on the cloth before the image was formed - difficult to impossible to duplicate because the the image would ruin the blood stains.

        Evidence for this assertion? Why would the image ruin the blood stains?

        3/ The real shroud of turin has a 3D image. Garalashelli was not able to reproduce the 3D image.

        No he was not able to reproduce the 3D image exactly, but he was able to get a 3D image. Before this was thought to be impossible. Now you are moving the goal posts.

        4. Garalashelli's work has never been peer reviewed to this day. Gee, I wonder why???

        I wonder why miracle claims in general are not peer reviewed. Any science done on the Shroud is by default non-science, because it is not repeatable.

        Why do you care so much about the Shroud? If it is fake, are you no longer going to believe in Jesus?

        • Roman

          Why would the image ruin the blood stains?

          If you paint the image on top the blood, you will at the very least cover up the blood stain but the solvent portion of the paint (water or organic) is going to dissolve the blood stain as well diluting it and distorting its appearance.

          No he was not able to reproduce the 3D image exactly, but he was able to get a 3D image

          I don't think you get it. Any painting of a surface is going to appear 3-dimensional, i.e., it has height, width, and length. That's not the point. When the scientists talk about the 3-D image they found, they are saying that the image is not the typical result you would normally have if you painted or stained, etc. an image onto a cloth where the information of the image is 2-dimensional. The image on the shroud has 3-D information about the appearance of Jesus' face. If you haven't see it, its worth watching the documentary PBS did called the "Face of Jesus" where scientists and graphic designers took that 3-D information and tried to replicate the face of Jesus using computer simulation.

          Any science done on the Shroud is by default non-science, because it is not repeatable.

          This is a nonsensical statement. Science is non-science? You're misusing the term repeatable. In science "not repeatable" means that when you get a certain result during the first test, you fail to repeat that same result in subsequent tests. That's not the case here.

          Why do you care so much about the Shroud? If it is fake, are you no longer going to believe in Jesus?

          You're right, I will still believe in Jesus even if the Shroud of Turin were proven to be a fraud. I care only to the extent that I want people to get the facts straight. There is far too much propaganda on the Internet about the whole Shroud of Turin subject.

  • Dwight,

    Thanks for the article. It's given me some hope that the shroud could really be Jesus's. And how amazing would that be, to have an artifact of clothing from one of the greatest historical figures of all time?

    But I wonder, in terms of miracles, why does it matter if the shroud was made in the middle ages or was Jesus's shroud? If the image is miraculous, it's just as miraculous for the middle ages as it would have been in Roman times.

    The point here, as @briangreenadams:disqus also points out, shouldn't be whether the shroud is Jesus's (although wow! how cool that would be!). The point here should be whether there's anything miraculous about it. Are you going to write an article about that, at some point, or do you simply want us to go and research this topic for ourselves?

    Thanks,
    Paul

    • Roman

      Paul

      THe Colorado Shroud of Turn Research Center was started by former members of the NASA scientists that did the original research on the Shroud. They keep the most updated and accurate tabulation on the historical, forensic, archaelogical, and scientific data for the Shroud of Turin

      http://www.shroudofturin.com/shroud.html

      • Well, when I look at the papers (I'm not an expert), I don't find this being the best theory, but one of several possible theories. I can link you the number of papers if you like. There are lots of theories about what caused the image, and there doesn't seem to be consensus among the experts.

        As a non-expert, it seems the best thing I can do is remain agnostic about the shroud claims, and wait for consensus.

        The only alternative would be to make myself expert in the claims, and I'm not interested enough for that.

  • Ignatius Reilly

    If the shroud is what the church claims it is, why wont they allow it to be scientifically examined?

    • Mike

      i agree i think they should allow another part of it to be "severed" so that it can be analyzed or 2 parts 1 given to each team of disinterested parties.

      • Ignatius Reilly

        Just because something is examined scientifically does not mean that we have to destroy it. Scientists carefully examine all sorts of important archeological artifacts without cutting them in half.
        If you feel that it would be blasphemous to submit the shroud to scientific study, that is fine, but don't expect me to believe that the Shroud is miraculous and don't offer it as proof for God or Catholicism.

        • Mike

          i know i wasn't be sarcastic; i agree with you. And no there's nothing blasph. about examining the "real" shroud of JC.

    • Roman

      It was scientifically examined by a team of scientists from NASA THey conducted over 100 tests. All but one proved the shroud of turin to be genuine. One test, he Carbon 14 dating, was inconclusive. The sample was taken from the edge of the cloth that was exposed to a fire in the 13th century and then patched with new cloth. That's why the Carbon dating resulted in a 13th century date.

  • One general observation:

    It is true that a single miracle is enough to falsify atheistic materialism.

    It is also true that a single piece of contrary evidence is enough to falsify a miracle.

    • Mike

      i agree but can you explain the single piece?

      • In the case of the shroud? I don't know enough about it to say, and was never very interested to find out, frankly. I always thought it was a forgery.

        • Mike

          no i meant generally; i guess what i don't understand is how just 1 piece of evidence can refute a miracle; i would think you'd need to cover all the possible "angles".

          • Maybe there's this flesh in a box. The flesh is claimed to have been miraculously transformed bread from the Eucharist. Dozens of witnesses claim to have seen the transformation, lots of people tested and found that the flesh is real flesh, miracle claims are associated with praying to the flesh, everything.

            But there's this one piece of evidence against the flesh: a DNA test connects it to an Italian priest who was alive during the purported miracle.

            That's it. You don't need to consider all the evidence. The one piece of contrary evidence invalidates the entire miracle theory.

          • Mike

            oh yes i see now, thanks. so like if we found the actual bones of christ; yes that would be a defeater of christianity orthodox anyway; in your ex i am assuming you're assuming the flesh is purported to be christ's not that the miracle is that a "host" turned into anyone's flesh.

          • Darren

            Mike wrote,

            no i meant generally; i guess what i don't understand is how just 1 piece of evidence can refute a miracle; i would think you'd need to cover all the possible "angles".

            I don't see why one would need to address all the angles, just the actual miracle part (and here I will use Fr. L's definition of a non-material cause impacting a material object, which seems pretty reasonable). In a previous post I posed a long series of questions, some of them concerned just exactly _where_ this non-material cause came into play to effect the material object.

            Give me the precise claim you are making as to what effect this non-material cause accomplished and the mechanism you are proposing if acted by and then we can posit what evidence might support or refute it. Without you actually defining the miracle, we are simply in the land of Russell's Teapot or Sagan's invisible dragon.

          • Mike

            Interesting take; thanks for this.

        • Reuben Andrew Herrle

          Thinking something to be true without evidence to support your claim? Tsk, tsk, tsk.

    • Depends what you mean by miracle. Evidence of the immaterial would falsify materialism, supernatural, naturalism and god, atheism.

      Are several discussions on the subject I am quote confused as to what Catholics mean when they say "miracle".

      Fr L seems to mean something external to a closed system affecting that system without penetrating it in any way. This seems incoherent to me.

      • Mike

        good point a miracle can't just be a spontaneous one off event; then again could the resurrection have been natural in the sense that "god" is just a natural part of the world and he was acting naturally and totally within his nature even if that action seems miraculous to us?

        • Could be, but then why call it a miracle or Him a "god". But if that is what the words mean to you I would not have any philosophical dispute. I just think we have better candidate explanations for the stories of resurrection than an unknown natural process that really did animate a corpse.

          • Mike

            maybe we call it that because it's something amazing which i think is the original latin/greek word used for miracle; something that defies "normal" explanation; so for us it's a miracle but from the "agent's" perspective it is perfectly "natural".

            ps have you ever looked into some of the unexplained healings that the church declares miraculous after secular disinterested docs look into them and say there is no know scientific explanation?

          • I would say there are many amazing things which do not have a normal explanation, but have scientific explanations that make them more interesting and fascination, the fact that time literally passes at different rate at the poles compared to the equator is much more fascinating than our ignorance of how an image was burned on an old bit of cloth. It seems the ignorance of the cause makes it a miracle?

            I have looked into these things and at best we don't know what happened. People get healed all the time, they also get worse and die. Sometimes we know why often we don't. See my blog post on miracles from Feb 2014 if you are interested in more of my thoughts. In that piece I go into the claims of healing of Dr Manuel Nevado.

            Briangreenadams.wordpress.com

          • Mike

            interesting thanks.

      • In the context of falsifying materialism, miracles would involve the immaterial doing something to the material; moving it, changing it, etc.

        • I am a materialist and I do not accept that anything immaterial is real in any sense.

          • Then a single miracle would prove you wrong.

          • You got it. But my ignorance of the causes of phenomena in the material world will never lead me to conclude that there is a non-material world and that this is causally connected to observable reality.

            It seems to always come down to an argument from ignorance, for obvious reasons.

            I do not see any way out of the problem that for any unexplained phenomena, an unknown material cause will be more likely than an unknown immaterial cause. Whenever we identify the cause of an unknown material phenomena, rainbows, magnetism, aurora borealis, we find material causes. We never find immaterial causation. It would seem that immaterial causes are unobservable in any way and this indistinguishable from not existing.

            They may exist, so may several layers of super-immaterial causation, ultra-super immaterial causation.

            Theists and miracle proponents seem to be doing nothing more than labelling ignorance with divinity.

          • Why do you think that an unknown material cause is always more likely than an unknown immaterial cause?

          • Mike

            and just exactly how you define "material" could also be a big issue, couldn't it? like gravity is itself not material but some field which seems to me to "move" things but via some invisible non material "force" or whatever no? plus doesn't the church say that grace perfects nature and so god can work a miracle via the material world? anyway it just seems like the "divide" bt material non material can be tricky to define.

          • Because I have enormous experience of observing material causation and none of immaterial causation.

          • We don't need to keep going on this here, but I think I may be misunderstanding you, and am curious about your thoughts on this matter. How does present experience help to determine future experience in all instances?

            It seems to be similar to the sort of argument:

            I have had enormous experience observing white swans and none of observing black swans.

            A swan I haven't seen is always more likely to be white than black.

            But this seems not to be true in all cases. For example, if I start seeing black feathers that look just like swan feathers otherwise, and I hear swan calls over a hill, I'd probably suspect that the swans over the hill will be black.

            On the other hand, I can run the same arguments for flying horses. I've seen no flying horses, I don't think flying horses exist, and it seems unlikely that feathers near horse hair would cause me to change my mind on the possibility of flying horses. But there are other reasons for me to reject flying horses in general (such as knowledge of the physics of flight and the biology of horses).

            There may be scientific or metaphysical reasons to think immaterial causation always less probable than material causation, but common experience by itself doesn't seem to be enough. Unless I'm misunderstanding you.

            Do you think that there are no possible new circumstances where an unknown immaterial cause would be more likely than an unknown material cause? Do you think you need anything more than your past experiences to justify your answer?

          • No I am certainly not ruling out immaterial reality, but I also have no reason to think it does exist.

            We know what swans are and we know what black is. When it comes to immaterialist reality it is utterly undefined other than to be not material, not like anything we have ever encountered or can even conceptualize. All we even propose about it is that it explains mysteries we do not know how to explain materially.

            It is more like saying:

            There are x swans

            What do you mean by "x" swans? Is it their colour, species, size?

            No, its totally different that that.

          • (Continued)

            How do we know these x swans exist, has anyone seen, heard or detected them in any way?

            No, because of what x is, an x swan would not be detectable by humans.

            Then why do you suggest they exist?

            They would explain something scientists have so far failed to explain with the swans we observe.

            Could it also be explained with the kind of swans we do observe?

            It is possible but I believe x swans are the best explanation.

            Why?

            Because there is something in x swans that explains it?

            How?

            I don't know, I would have to have property x, to know

            Well I don't accept x swans exist?

            But you can't explain the swan mysteries! You are being closed minded to say it isn't x swans!

            No, I'm not saying x swans are impossible.

            Which do you think is more likely, x swans or something like the kind of swan we observe?

            Well, since I have no idea what x is, I'm going to guess that the explanation for things unknown in swans will come from the kind of thing

          • Con't

            ...s we have already answered many questions with.

            No, I am confident x swans are the answer.

          • The letters and words of your non-acceptance are material, but is their meaning real in any sense, whether material or immaterial?

          • I would not say so. Absent brains and brain states holding concepts related to these words, absent the objects if these word, I would not say there is any meaning left.

  • Mike

    Thank you for the article, it was a good read. I have yet to determine if the Church has said anything definitive about the Shroud. By that I mean, has a document been issued claiming that it is indeed the burial cloth of Jesus, or has the church only said it's ok to revere the Shroud?

    • Mike

      You'd better change your name buddy! ;)

    • Mike

      no doc. just that you can revere if you want and that it may lead to you to deeper faith.

  • There is nothing ''but'' FACTS, PROOF, EVIDENCE that the Shroud is the true burial cloth of Jesus.
    There are literally 100's and 100's of experts, scientists, ''ARCHAEOLOGIST'' Shroud scholars, textile experts, historians and researchers who prove without a doubt the Shroud is genuine. Including The peer reviewed info referring and validating the Shroud. http://www.realdiscoveries.info/Shroud-of-turin-.php

    NO person in the whole world even NASA can create the 3 D Image of Jesus on a single cloth. BECAUSE. The 3 D Image of Jesus on the Shroud of Turin is the supernatural physical scientific visible undisputable evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God being raised from the dead by God almighty through the cloth that made and left the 3 D image of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Glory be to God. Amen.
    Yes the Shroud is a fake to many. NOT because of the lack of evidence. NO. But because they want it to be. The whole world will very soon see Jesus come with power and glory IN OUR LIFE TIME. Amen.
    “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. Mark 13:26 - 27.
    Soil on Shroud of Turin Is Same Soil Outside Garden Tomb http://youtu.be/iR0-PwT4R3w?list=UUrHRtJu3O3yBkfqxzA8BADg

    • Logike

      Man, I was convinced by your excitement alone! All those adjectives really drove any lingering doubt away.

      • Hello Logike. Great to read you belive in Jesus. I pray you will follow Him and be saved. Amen.

      • Doug Shaver

        Adjectives don't impress me, but an argumentum ad capslock will convince me every time.

        • Peter Shumacher, the inventor of the NASA VP-8 Image Analyzer, describes the discovery of the 3 D image of Jesus Christ on the Shroud of Turin. He states: Modern science does not understand the process by which the image on the Shroud was formed and all duplication efforts have failed to duplicate all the peculiar properties of the Shroud of Turin image. READ FULL ARTICLE http://www.realdiscoveries.info/Shroud-of-turin-.php

          • Doug Shaver

            I accept, for the time being pending further study of my own, that nobody has yet figured out how the image was made.

          • Hello Doug. Yes that's true. Which means God created it as a calling card for the lost.
            A have researched it for over 20 years http://www.realdiscoveries.info/Shroud-of-turin-.php

          • George

            "which means god created it"

            how can you say that?

          • how can you say that? you say.

            Because Jesus said: unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26

          • George

            how does that answer the question?

  • Very good and accurate article written by Fr. Dwight Longenecker. May God bless you.

    Just as St Thomas needed to see the holes in the hands and feet and side of Jesus, to believe. The same stands for most of the world.

    Now we can understand why God preserved the physical and visible evidence of Jesus. Because God is love which is why He has provided the physical and visible evidence of Jesus, for ALL to see, to believe and gain faith in Jesus and be saved. Because He desires no one to perish. What a GREAT God. Amen.

    • George

      "Just as St Thomas needed to see the holes in the hands and feet and side of Jesus, to believe."

      and we don't need to see that too?

      • and we don't need to see that too? you said.

        Wow what about most of the human race who will burn in Hell became that believe Jesus IS a fairytale? It is clear they need to see.

        God proves the evidence of Jesus. And people like you Condemn Him for that. We don't need to see that too, you say. I all right Jack, you say, I am saved.

        I believe there are many many people who are spiritually hungry and are spiritually searching for evidence of God, which I believe was clearly illustrated by Jesus in His parable called The Pearl Of Great Price in Matthew 13:45-46.
        Although this parable told by Jesus was illustrating the value and preciousness of the kingdom, Jesus also illustrated a merchant, who was "searching" for that "pearl of great price". which I believe was a person who was on a mission to find the truth of God. (Just as people who are looking at Bible Discoveries and The Shroud of Turin) who find the truth of God, if they have open hearts.
        Who believe there is something out there worth looking for, or they would not be seeking for it. As was the merchant, "searching" for that "pearl of great price". After seeking (Bible Evidence) They discovered The Pearl Of Great Price. Jesus Christ himself (becoming Born Again) and experience the ultimate blessings of the "kingdom of heaven"

        I pray ALL scoffers and the Doubting Thomas will change their way of thinking and use the Shroud to bring the lost to faith and know the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and testify to the majority of the world who are lost and not as blessed as born again believers, who clearly need to see the evidence of Jesus to bring them to faith. Which is precisely why Jesus said in Matthew 7:7 seek, and ye shall find.

        May you be blessed in the love of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen. Simon Brown.

      • Guest

        and we don't need to see that too? you said.

        Wow what about most of the human race who will burn in Hell because they believe Jesus IS a fairytale? It is clear they need to see.

        God proves the evidence of Jesus. And people like you Condemn Him for that. We don't need to see that too, you say. I all right Jack, you say, I am saved.

        I believe there are many many people who are spiritually hungry and are spiritually searching for evidence of God, which I believe was clearly illustrated by Jesus in His parable called The Pearl Of Great Price in Matthew 13:45-46.
        Although this parable told by Jesus was illustrating the value and preciousness of the kingdom, Jesus also illustrated a merchant, who was "searching" for that "pearl of great price". which I believe was a person who was on a mission to find the truth of God. (Just as people who are looking at Bible Discoveries and The Shroud of Turin) who find the truth of God, if they have open hearts.
        Who believe there is something out there worth looking for, or they would not be seeking for it. As was the merchant, "searching" for that "pearl of great price". After seeking (Bible Evidence) They discovered The Pearl Of Great Price. Jesus Christ himself (becoming Born Again) and experience the ultimate blessings of the "kingdom of heaven"

        I pray ALL scoffers and the Doubting Thomas will change their way of thinking and use the Shroud to bring the lost to faith and know the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and testify to the majority of the world who are lost and not as blessed as born again believers, who clearly need to see the evidence of Jesus to bring them to faith. Which is precisely why Jesus said in Matthew 7:7 seek, and ye shall find.

        May you be blessed in the love of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen. Simon Brown.

      • and we don't need to see that too? you said.

        Wow what about most of the human race who will burn in Hell because they believe Jesus IS a fairytale? It is clear they need to see.

        God proves the evidence of Jesus. And people like you Condemn Him for that. We don't need to see that too, you say. I am all right Jack, you say, I am saved.

        I believe there are many many people who are spiritually hungry and are spiritually searching for evidence of God, which I believe was clearly illustrated by Jesus in His parable called The Pearl Of Great Price in Matthew 13:45-46.
        Although this parable told by Jesus was illustrating the value and preciousness of the kingdom, Jesus also illustrated a merchant, who was "searching" for that "pearl of great price". which I believe was a person who was on a mission to find the truth of God. (Just as people who are looking at Bible Discoveries and The Shroud of Turin) who find the truth of God, if they have open hearts.
        Who believe there is something out there worth looking for, or they would not be seeking for it. As was the merchant, "searching" for that "pearl of great price". After seeking (Bible Evidence) They discovered The Pearl Of Great Price. Jesus Christ himself (becoming Born Again) and experience the ultimate blessings of the "kingdom of heaven"

        I pray ALL scoffers and the Doubting Thomas will change their way of thinking and use the Shroud to bring the lost to faith and know the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and testify to the majority of the world who are lost and not as blessed as born again believers, who clearly need to see the evidence of Jesus to bring them to faith. Which is precisely why Jesus said in Matthew 7:7 seek, and ye shall find.

        May you be blessed in the love of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen. Simon Brown.

        • David Nickol

          Wow what about most of the human race who will burn in Hell because they believe Jesus IS a fairytale?

          Do you really believe God created the world so that he could send "most of the human race" to hell?

          • Friend please read the Bible. Jesus Himself said most will be going to HELL. Because they refuse to accept God love forgiveness and grace. This is what He said: Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Matthew 7:13. http://www.realdiscoveries.org/videobox/watch/112/enter-through-the-narrow-gate-matthew-713.html

            It seems there are Christians who have become Doubting Thomases, who say they do not need to SEE to believe. But condemn the Shroud and STOP others like Doubting Thomases who do need to SEE to believe and gain faith in Jesus and be saved.
            We clearly see God wants ''ALL'' to be saved.
            Just as Jesus demonstrated the kind of love for the lost displayed by our heavenly Father in heaven.
            In "The Lost Sheep" Luke 15:1-7"The Lost Coin" Luke 15:8-10"The Prodigal Son" Luke 15:11-32.
            These parables answered the charge that Jesus received sinners and ate with them, and beautifully illustrate "The Father's Yearning Love For The Lost" (Hendriksen)

            Jesus made it clear to us how The Father goes out of his way to call and save even one lost soul.

            We clearly see when we look at the Shroud God has provided ALL THE PHYSICAL AND VISIBLE EVIDENCE OF JESUS FOR EVERYONE TO GAIN FAITH IN JESUS AND BE SAVED.

            Just as Jesus told Doubting Thomas to look at His hands and side and believe.

            The Shroud of Turin as told in John 19:40. And the Sudarium of Oviedo as told in John 20:7, PROVES, CONFIRMS, and DEMONSTRATES the Holy

            Bible to be forensically accurate and perfectly reliable in every possible way and in every detail truthful concerning the most important event in human

            history-the crucifixion of Jesus, the greatest miracle in the world, the Resurrection of Yeshua.

            When we "believe" that Jesus Christ truly died on the cross for our sins and if we believe that Jesus rose from the dead, and follow Him

            by taking up our cross, you shall be saved.

            1 Thessalonians 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

            Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

            MANY need physical proof as Doubting Thomas DID.

            AS Jesus clearly DEMONSTRATED. Well here it is. http://www.realdiscoveries.info/Shroud-of-turin_MIFQ.php

          • David Nickol

            I don't believe there is anything in the Catholic faith that asserts the majority of human beings will go to hell. Can you back up your own interpretation of scripture with any authoritative Catholic teaching?

          • Yes I believe the words of Jesus Himself backs it up.

            King James Bible.
            Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matthew 7:14.

            Parallel CommentariesMatthew Henry's Concise Commentary

            7:12-14 Christ came to teach us, not only what we are to know and believe, but what we are to do; not only toward God, but toward men; not only toward those of our party and persuasion, but toward men in general, all with whom we have to do. We must do that to our neighbour which we ourselves acknowledge to be fit and reasonable. We must, in our dealings with men, suppose ourselves in the same case and circumstances with those we have to do with, and act accordingly. There are but two ways right and wrong, good and evil; the way to heaven and the way to hell; in the one or other of these all are walking: there is no middle place hereafter, no middle way now. All the children of men are saints or sinners, godly or ungodly. See concerning the way of sin and sinners, that the gate is wide, and stands open. You may go in at this gate with all your lusts about you; it gives no check to appetites or passions. It is a broad way; there are many paths in it; there is choice of sinful ways. There is a large company in this way. But what profit is there in being willing to go to hell with others, because they will not go to heaven with us? The way to eternal life is narrow. We are not in heaven as soon as we are got through the strait gate. Self must be denied, the body kept under, and corruptions mortified. Daily temptations must be resisted; duties must be done. We must watch in all things, and walk with care; and we must go through much tribulation. And yet this way should invite us all; it leads to life: to present comfort in the favour of God, which is the life of the soul; to eternal bliss, the hope of which at the end of our way, should make all the difficulties of the road easy to us. This plain declaration of Christ has been disregarded by many who have taken pains to explain it away; but in all ages the real disciple of Christ has been looked on as a singular, unfashionable character; and all that have sided with the greater number, have gone on in the broad road to destruction. If we would serve God, we must be firm in our religion. Can we often hear of the strait gate and the narrow way, and how few there are that find it, without being in pain for ourselves, or considering whether we are entered on the narrow way, and what progress we are making in it?

            Pulpit Commentary

            Verse 14. - Because (ὅτι); for (Revised Version); "many ancient authorities read, How narrow is the gate, etc." (Revised Version margin). The reading, "how" (τί) is much easier, as avoiding the difficulty of the connexion of this verse with the preceding, but probably ὅτι is right. The connexion is either that it is parallel to the first ὅτι, and thus gives a second reason for decision in entering through the narrow gate; or, and better, that it gives the reason for the statement in ver. 13b - many pass along the wrong way because the right way requires at the very outset so much determination and afterwards so much self denial. Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way; narrow is the gate, and straitened the way (Revised Version). Not only is the gate narrow, but the way itself seems compressed (τεθλιμμένη) by rocks, etc., on either side. That leadeth unto life (εἰς τὴν ζωήν). Observe, Christ does not say, "life eternal." He only cares to emphasize the thought of life in the fullest nature of life - life as "the fulfilment of the highest idea of being: perfect truth in perfect action" (Bishop Westcott, on 1 John 3:14). And few there be that; Revised Version, and few be they that (ver. 13, note). Our Lord here affirms more than the disciples ask in Luke 13:23; for there the question deals with those in a state of salvation (οἱ σωζόμενοι), here those finally saved. Find it; i.e. the gate and all it leads to. The narrow gate is here looked at as involving life. Find. It needs a search (contrast ver. 13). But there is the promise of ver. 7, "Seek, and ye shall find."

            Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

            Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,.... And so, difficult to enter in at; and when entered, the way is unpleasant to the flesh to walk in, being hedged up on each side with afflictions and tribulations; and moreover, is like the "narrow place", or , "the strait place", as the Septuagint in Numbers 22:26 render it; in which the angel that met Balaam stood; and in which there was no turning to the right hand or the left; and such is the way to eternal happiness. The great encouragement to walk on in it is, because it is that way

            which leadeth unto life: unto eternal life: it certainly leads thither; it never fails of bringing persons to it; believers in Christ, all that walk in Christ the way, though they are said to be "scarcely" saved, by reason of their afflictions and trials, they meet with in their way to the kingdom; yet they are, and shall be certainly saved: they shall be safely brought to glory; which will be an abundant recompense for all the troubles and sorrows that have attended them in their journey.

            And few there be that find it; the way, and so consequently the life it leads to. "The gate is strait"; small and little, and so unobserved: there is but one way to heaven, and the generality of men neglect it. "The way is narrow", and so disagreeable; the company few, and not engaging. Men choose large gates, broad ways, and much company. The flesh loves to walk at liberty, unconfined, and uncontrolled, and with a multitude to do evil: hence, Zion's ways are thin of passengers; a small number, comparatively speaking, walk thereto, and will be saved; a remnant, a little flock, a little city, and few men in it. It is asked in the Talmud (q),

            "why is the world to come created with "jod?" (the least of the letters in the "Hebrew alphabet") the answer is, because , "the righteous which are in it are few".''

            Some read the words, as the Syriac, Arabic, and Vulgate Latin, with a note of admiration, "how strait is the gate!" &c. and so some copies.

            (q) T. Bab. Menachot, fol. 29. 2.

            Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

            14. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life—In other words, the whole course is as difficult as the first step; and (so it comes to pass that).

            few there be that find it—The recommendation of the broad way is the ease with which it is trodden and the abundance of company to be found in it. It is sailing with a fair wind and a favorable tide. The natural inclinations are not crossed, and fears of the issue, if not easily hushed, are in the long run effectually subdued. The one disadvantage of this course is its end—it "leadeth to destruction." The great Teacher says it, and says it as "One having authority." To the supposed injustice or harshness of this He never once adverts. He leaves it to be inferred that such a course righteously, naturally, necessarily so ends. But whether men see this or no, here He lays down the law of the kingdom, and leaves it with us. As to the other way, the disadvantage of it lies in its narrowness and solicitude. Its very first step involves a revolution in all our purposes and plans for life, and a surrender of all that is dear to natural inclination, while all that follows is but a repetition of the first great act of self-sacrifice. No wonder, then, that few find and few are found in it. But it has one advantage—it "leadeth unto life." Some critics take "the gate" here, not for the first, but the last step in religion; since gates seldom open into roads, but roads usually terminate in a gate, leading straight to a mansion. But as this would make our Lord's words to have a very inverted and unnatural form as they stand, it is better, with the majority of critics, to view them as we have done. But since such teaching would be as unpopular as the way itself, our Lord next forewarns His hearers that preachers of smooth things—the true heirs and representatives of the false prophets of old—would be rife enough in the new kingdom.

            Matthew 7:14 Additional Commentaries http://biblehub.com/matthew/7-14.htm

        • George

          I asked you that because you're using a story in which a man didn't have to settle for a old shroud as evidence, but instead got an encounter with a physical body that was resurrected. As a story, it's irrelevant to the goal of persuading people who are paying attention to basic epistemological issues. That supposed event itself must be repeated for other people, to have any weight.

          You pray people will use the shroud? Why? It's not even second-hand, it's claimed to be second-hand by the believers. Why does anyone have to settle for you, the believers, the non-resurrected humans giving promises?

          • George send your complaints to God. Why? Because He created the Shroud. NOT me. Nor any man, ALL scientifically PROVED. I just use it as a tool to call people to repentance. Which is clear why God preserved the ''THE PHYSICAL AND VISIBLE EVIDENCE OF JESUS FOR EVERYONE TO SEE, BELIEVE AND GAIN FAITH IN JESUS AND BE SAVED.''

          • Peter Shumacher, the inventor of the NASA VP-8 Image Analyzer, describes the discovery of the 3 D image of Jesus Christ on the Shroud of Turin. He states: Modern science does not understand the process by which the image on the Shroud was formed and all duplication efforts have failed to duplicate all the peculiar properties of the Shroud of Turin image. READ FULL ARTICLE http://www.realdiscoveries.info/Shroud-of-turin-.php

          • George

            If modern science doesn't understand it, does that mean *you* understand the process by which the image on the shroud was formed?

  • Issac

    One thing that always struck me is that the shroud is wrong way round. It's "head to head" when in any real logistical use it should be feet in the middle.

    It's too perfect an image to have been a cloth that was wrapped with a beloved person's head layed at the bottom/middle of the wrapping. There should be extra cloth that would have bundled around his feet as it was folded over.

    A bespoke cloth idea seems too reaching to me. It just seems sensible to lay a person's head at the top of the shroud.

    • Joe Ser
      • Issac

        I'm aware of the facecloth.... I think its irrelevance is obvious here.

        I'm just pointing a simple, to me, problem I've always had.

        Even if it is 100%(I hesitate to say that) that the shroud is that of Jesus, it still shows nothing about the real claims of the RCC.

        • Joe Ser

          Now that is moving the goalposts. LOL I was simply pointing out the poster may be thinking of the wrong cloth.

      • Issac

        OOPS I switched goalposts.

        Sorry but the different claim doesn't back up the original claim.

  • Joe Ser

    Another is the Sudarium.

  • Joe Ser

    Divine Mercy and Shroud of Turin - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2aSav1SQnc

  • Gabriele Silvagni

    Great article!
    For those of you who may be interested (there are many scientists here), some italian phisicists of the Italian Agency for New Technologies (ENEA) tried to replicate the Shroud coloration using deep ultraviolet radiations.

    You can find the study here: http://www.academia.edu/3478921/Deep_Ultraviolet_Radiation_Simulates_the_Turin_Shroud_Image

    Here is the abstract:

    The faint yellowed body image embedded into the linen cloth of the Turin Shroud has peculiar chemical and physical char- acteristics that at the moment cannot be replicated all together in laboratory. The authors present experimental results of ArF excimer laser irradiation (wavelength 193 nm) of a raw linen fabric, seeking for coloration similar to that of the Shroud image. The authors achieved a permanent yellow coloration of linen as a threshold ef- fect of the laser beam intensity and number of shots. Most impor- tant, the authors have achieved for the first time a submicrometer depth of coloration of the outermost part of the fibers, leaving a colorless fiber medulla. The authors also obtained latent coloration that appears after artificial aging of linen following laser irradiations that at first did not generate any visible effect. The authors have recognized different physical and chemical processes involved in both coloration and latent coloration. The comparison of the Turin Shroud image with the results of our ArF laser irradiation shows an interesting overlap of the main physical and chemical features.

    • Thank you for your link. Very true and helpful. I will add it to my site as well. God bless you.

  • Marie Van Gompel Alsbergas

    I find it very interesting that individual atheists are picking their specific preferred arguments to refute the entire Shroud story. Few, if any, are accepting Fr. L's challenge to (pardon the pun) disprove it is made of "whole cloth".

    • David Nickol

      I find it very interesting that individual atheists . . . .

      One doesn't need to be an atheist to doubt the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin.

      • Doug Shaver

        Right. I'm pretty sure Muslims don't accept it, considering that they deny Jesus was crucified.

        The Shroud is not about theists vs. atheists. It's about Christians vs. everybody else. And only some Christians, at that.

        • Darren

          According to Wikipedia John Calvin was also a convinced skeptic, "How is it possible that those sacred historians, who carefully related all the miracles that took place at Christ's death, should have omitted to mention one so remarkable as the likeness of the body of our Lord remaining on its wrapping sheet?"

      • Marie Van Gompel Alsbergas

        Nor does one need to be Catholic to believe it is true.

        You have proven the veracity of my second observation, David.

    • David Nickol

      I don't understand your point.

      • Marie Van Gompel Alsbergas

        Fr. Longenecker writes: "If atheists really want evidence for the existence of God, then they should seek genuine evidence of a miracle, and they should do so objectively, carefully, and with an open mind."

        Many of the atheists here are commenting on 1 point (of the 10 presented) at a time, attempting to find fault with the wording of a translation of a scientific observation made anywhere from decades to centuries ago; trying to "poke holes" in the Shroud; to see if the assertions of authenticity "hold water".

        A whole series of fabric-based puns came to mind, and while it can be awkward to explain a pun, it is even more embarrassing to discover that one has actually mistyped the pun! For that, I apologize. It SHOULD read: "Few, if any, are accepting Fr. L's challenge to (pardon the pun) PROVE it is made of "whole cloth." (That is, to prove that it is a 'fabric'ation of later years.)

        • Jerome

          How would they prove that when the Church won't allow it to be tested again because it could cause irreparable damage? Also, are atheists just suppose to throw out names of people who could've possibly forged it?

          • Marie Van Gompel Alsbergas

            Now, Jerome, that would be quite the accomplishment! But no, I don't expect that. However, if you are serious about tackling this specific issue, you would want to be following the development of analyses to determine the ages and conditions of various fibers as they are assessed in the fields of cultural and forensic anthropology. When somebody comes up with a NEW technique which has NOT YET been used with the Shroud, AND which will not cause irreparable damage, you go through the proper research and administrative channels to make the request. Since science does not understand how it was made, can you appreciate the reluctance to allow a procedure which may destroy it?

          • Jerome

            Sure, but since it hasn't been made available to test, at least not a portion they "know" is part of the original shroud do you see why those of us on the skeptic side will remain skeptical about it's authenticity?

          • Marie Van Gompel Alsbergas

            With which new technologies would you test The Shroud? What new developments have come about since 2005 that you would like to use on The Shroud? Did you know that you can also purchase an app called Shroud 2.0 to inspect it yourself?

          • Jerome

            We don't need to use a new technology. We have methods we've been using that would work just fine. Though it would damage or destroy the portion of the shroud used for the test. What would an app be useful for? I mean in a way that's actually meaningful.

          • Marie Van Gompel Alsbergas

            Jerome, you really need to do the homework. The research refuting the findings in 1988 has already been completed, on the original material of the Shroud, and published in 2011 by Guilio Fanti. I would refer you to look for the following information. Remember that HuffPo is not a Catholic media outlet.
            Shroud Of Turin Real? New Research Dates Relic To 1st Century, Time Of Jesus Christ
            The Huffington Post | By Meredith Bennett-Smith
            Email

            Posted: 03/28/2013 2:51 pm EDT Updated: 03/29/2013 2:35 pm EDT

          • Marie Van Gompel Alsbergas
  • Doug Shaver

    My challenge to atheists is, “I dare you to seriously study the Shroud with an open mind in an objective manner.”

    Do you admit any possibility the someone could do that and still doubt that Shroud's authenticity?

  • David Nickol

    Reading the overheated comments of some Shroud enthusiasts, one almost gets the impression that, paradoxically, it is more important to believe in the Shroud than to believe in Jesus.

  • Mike

    why does the face on the shroud look like a 70s version of jesus; even if it was made in the middle ages it shouldn't resemble 70s versions of hippie jesus no? For ex the long hair.

    Does anyone know what they mean when they say the face has "semitic" features? Also has anyone attempted to reconstruct what the head would look like in 3d based on the burnt image?

  • Here's the last word on this article:

    “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible.”

    Stuart Chase.

    • David Nickol

      I would say another round of radiocarbon dating that placed the Shroud in the 1st century (instead of the 13th or 14th) would go a very long way toward silencing critics. Why hasn't it been done?

      As I understand it, older techniques required significant samples of the material, but new techniques require extremely small samples. There is no need to sacrifice a visible patch from the Shroud to do another round of tests.

      “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible.”

      This is the case for beliefs that are false probably even more than for beliefs that are true.

  • well, after reading the comments Stuart Chase's aphorism comes to mind"

    "'For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible.'

  • It is a question of individual judgment whether the Shroud of Turin is the burial shroud of Jesus. It can be seen that the authenticity of the Shroud is completely extraneous to the Catholic Faith, by how repulsed any faithful Catholic would be by the statement, ‘You must believe that this piece of cloth is the burial shroud of Jesus.’

  • Krzysztof

    1 Cor 11:14! Not a proof?

  • Peter

    Even if miracles, important as they are, did not exist, there would still be reason to know the Creator with certainty through his works, as the Church attests (CCC286).
    As Vatican I states:

    "The same Holy mother Church holds and teaches that God, the source and end of all things, can be known with certainty from the consideration of created things, by the natural power of human reason : ever since the creation of the world, his invisible nature has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.
    It was, however, pleasing to his wisdom and goodness to reveal himself and the eternal laws of his will to the human race by ANOTHER, and that a supernatural, way" (my capitals).

    It is Church doctrine that God can be known without miracles, and even without revelation, simply through the power of human reason and the observation of creation.

  • Vicq_Ruiz

    If the shroud "proves" God rather than suggests or implies Him, it can only be because it is, in fact, the burial wrapping of Jesus Christ.

    And if it is that item, Fr. Longenecker, why does your Church not officially say so?

  • John Morris

    For further homework on this age old controversy I invite you to seek out and view a DVD, Grizzly Adams Production, 2007 entitled "The Fabric of Time." It offers an extraordinary hypothesis--well worth 120 minutes of your time.

    Here's a trailer found on YouTube: http://youtu.be/11-VgO0NHfI

  • mriehm

    I read on this website, on the one hand, about the theological reasons why God must make it impossible for us to prove his existence - in revealing himself so strongly as to remove doubt, he would subvert our free will, our choice.

    And of course I read articles like this one, which claim strong, scientific proof for the central theme of Christianity, and a host of others which "prove", via philosophy and metaphysics, that God exists.

    How does that cake taste, when you're eating it, and having it, too?

  • John Morris

    For me, rather than proving or disproving the existence of God, I think the mystery of the shroud offers the possibility of a new perspective.
    For your consideration: http://youtu.be/bbl4EmoH_jg

  • Live interview Barrie M. Schwortz of Shroud.com. regarding the Shroud of Turin. http://youtu.be/bSQHnE1WW00

  • Darren

    The arguments go like this: If atheistic materialism is true, then the natural world must be a closed system. Everything must be explained within that closed system. There is no room for angels or aliens, demons, devils, goblins, or gods. If atheistic materialism is right, there are not intelligent, reasonable, personal exterior forces superior to the natural world who might interfere or interact with the natural world.

    An interesting article, thank you, however, there appear to be a few misunderstandings.

    There is no room for angels or aliens, demons, devils, goblins, or gods.

    This is not actually true. If Materialism is true (Physicallism, really, but not to quibble), then everything that can be said to exist, does so as part of the physical world. Matter, energy, laws of physics, abstract concepts (or at least the minds who conceive of them) all belong to the physical world, and they do, indeed, appear to exist. Is there something “outside” of the physical world (and is it a coherent concept to be outside of space)? Maybe, we have no knowledge of such a thing, and it is not at all evident how such knowledge could be had by us in a manner not involving the previously mentioned matter, energy, concepts, etc. So, Materialism does not really say that Angels and Aliens cannot exist, it just says that if they _do_ exist, then would have to be in some way a part of the physical world just like everything else that exists.

    I have no interest in debunking, so I shall take the Shroud at face value. This does, however, raise many questions about how it might serve as evidence of something that exists outside of existence. If there is a “place” outside of existence, and if there reside therein beings capable of affecting the physical world, by what mechanism do they do so? The physical world operates according to laws and
    rules, and so how is it that a non-physical being influences those rules? Would that not be a rule in itself, and thus in principle at least detectable?

    What is the nature of the shroud and the image upon it? The shroud is matter, cloth, the cloth is woven fibers, the fibers strands of cellulose, the cellulose long strings of Carbon and Hydrogen, the Carbon and Hydrogen bundles of Protons, Neutrons, and Electrons, the Protons and Neutrons bundles of Quarks, and the Quarks and Electrons, so far as we know, fundamental things below which we cannot peer. All matter so far, unless I am missing something.

    The image upon the shroud I suppose we can all agree is produced by reflected light, and not some spiritual emanation acting upon our spiritual senses (otherwise how to capture it photographically, unless the photographs themselves share in the spiritual emanations?). The shroud being more or less white, the image appears to be the result of differential light reflectance due to darker material arranged in a certain pattern. This darker material, is it an altered chemical makeup of the individual cellulose strands or is it material other than the strands?

    In either case, we have still only matter, chemically modified cellulose or some unknown non-fibrous material. By what mechanism do we propose the fibers to have been altered or the material to have been deposited? Since we said we would take the Shroud at face value, it is claimed to have been wrapped about the body of Christ and to have received its image at the moment of his resurrection. Resurrection of a corpse after some 36 hours of death is indeed an unusual event, but what about that event caused the image to form upon the shroud? Was some type of energy involved? What exactly about the resetting of 100 billion individual mitochondrial clocks required such an energy input or resulted in such a discharge? Why did this energy (if energy it was) result in the alteration of the fabric in such a manner as to leave an image instead of some other non-image marking? Cellular machinery and energy discharges are all definitively physical processes, so presumably our non-physical process must lie yet further removed. By what mechanism do we propose that these physical phenomena where accomplished by our non-physical means?

    One could assume that the author of the laws of the cosmos could indeed choose to alter those laws by whatever means he used to establish them in the first place or that these laws might contain ‘hidden’ clauses to explicitly allow such manipulations. Given the foreknowledge we typically ascribe to our non-physical entity, and with the understanding that the laws of nature pressed into service to allow resurrection, the marking of adjacent materials was deliberated selected for from among the other possible laws which would have accomplished resurrection without imprinting images upon adjacent materials. Why then, do we suppose the deliberate crafting of the rules of nature to produce the alteration of the cloth in just such a manner as to accomplish the image, but not to alter the cloth in such a way as to make it any more resistant to the ravages of fire, mold, and bacteria as any other piece of fabric? It is, indeed, a mystery.

  • Todd

    Hi, I am most interested in this debate. I have read most of the arguments regarding the Shroud of Turin. One thing that i fail to see commented on is that the shroud has been proven to be a 3D hologram? The image is unlike any other in existence. Modern science has realized that the image is so sophisticated that we currently do not have the technology to properly view it, let alone reproduce it. It is believed that. It is the only 2 dimensional image in the world that can be photographed and then turned directly into a 3D image. Science can't explain it, As far as they are concerned, it should not exist. I wonder what the skeptics will say about this?

  • Caravelle

    Here is an interesting article on the Shroud if anyone's interested:
    http://www.historytoday.com/charles-freeman/origins-shroud-turin

  • Sergio Guzman

    It personally doesn't add to my Faith for this shroud to be real. I couldn't care less about it. Jesus Christ is risen with the shroud or not.

  • Artie Stranberg

    DSGFGFJF

  • August September

    Savvy article . For what it's worth , if anyone was looking for a MD 896 , I discovered a template version here http://goo.gl/wMKtYu.