I Goofed on Top Ten Religion Stories of 2010 Posting

A reader from Virginia Theological Seminary writes:

imageOn Dec 22 you wrote,” It’s interesting that Kevin Eckstrom’s article in the Huffington Post, For Top Religion Stories Of 2010, A Major Case Of Déjà vu, was illustrated with this picture of Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, with Pope Benedict XVI because it highlights the fact that the pope’s visit to England wasn’t even mentioned.”

Did you notice that the exhibition of the Shroud of Turin wasn’t mentioned? Eckstrom seems to think that these were more important stories:

  • Since 1976, when Episcopalians opened the priesthood to women, the last hold-out diocese, in Quincy, Ill., finally ordained its first female priest.
  • Ill health forced Donald Wildmon to retire as head of the American Family Association.

And you missed this fact. Wake up.

I goofed. I think that I intended to point out this fact. I should never post anything before my first cup of coffee. Thanks.

The best reporting I’ve seen is Turin 2010: A Personal Report by Barrie Schwortz

This posting is in reference to: Top Ten Religion Stories of 2010 « Shroud of Turin Blog

Paper Chase: In Case You Still Thought the Garlaschelli Technique Might Have Been Used to Create the Shroud of Turin

imageHere is the abstract of a convincing paper by Thibault Heimberger and Giulio Fanti. This pretty much settles it:

Luigi Garlaschelli recently provided an interesting “Shroud-like” image. He used a variant of the well-known NIckell’s rubbing technique on a sheet lying on the body of a volunteer and a bas relief for the face. For the first time a beautiful whole front and back image made by chemical discoloration of the cellulose was obtained.

After having explained the experiments, we examine the characteristics of the image at macroscopic level as well as’ at fabric, threads and fibers level to compare them with those of the Turin Shroud image. We conclude that most of the critical characteristics of the Turin Shroud image are very different from those of Garlaschelli’s image. As a consequence, it is unlikely a forger may have produced the body image or the Turin Shroud by this technique. We conclude the image is still not reproducible.

Full paper. HeimburgerWeb.pdf (application/pdf Object)

Three Anglican bishops received into Catholic Church

As Anglo-Catholic as I may be, I don’t like this. It is ant-ecumenical. At least the bishops wives were received in the same ceremony. From Catholic News Service:

imageLONDON (CNS) — Three former Anglican bishops were received into the Catholic Church just hours after they officially gave up their ministries in the Church of England.

Bishops Andrew Burnham of Ebbsfleet, John Broadhurst of Fulham and Keith Newton of Richborough will be soon ordained as priests for a special Anglican ordinariate that will be set up in England later in January.

. . . former Anglicans [will be permitted] to retain much of the patrimony and liturgical practices, such as married priests.

Also received into the church at the Jan. 1 Mass were Judi Broadhurst, the wife of the former bishop of Fulham, and Gill Newton, the wife of the former bishop of Richborough.

Three former Anglican nuns — Sister Carolyne Joseph, Sister Wendy Renate and Sister Jane Louise — who had left the Sisters of St. Margaret to join the ordinariate, were also received into the church during the Mass, along with an unspecified number of former lay Anglicans.

. . . Most former Anglican groups will be encouraged to share church buildings with their local Catholic parishes.

CNS STORY: Three former Anglican bishops received into Catholic Church in London

The Deacon on William Skyvington’s Take on the Shroud of Turin

Promoted Comment by The Deacon to I Guess the Debate Offer Was BS

imageWhen Dr. Skyvington [pictured] writes, “For everything concerning allegedly ‘miraculous’ manifestations of certain facets of Humanity (as interesting as they are), I recommend strongly the reading of books by Richard Dawkins, who is a brilliant and serious dispeller of bullshit,” he illustrates an inherent weakness in the thinking of atheists when it comes to the shroud. They cannot accept the possibility of anything miraculous and thus must reject out of hand anything that threatens that belief. That is religious behavior. Atheism is a religious belief, not a non-belief, and in the extreme, as is the case with Prof. Dawkins, it is indeed blatant fundamentalism, as Prof. Alister McGrath makes clear (thanks for that link).

The shroud’s authenticity does not depend on any miraculous explanation, not for carbon dating failure and not for the formation of the images. To suggest so is utterly unscientific. So why do atheists such as Dr. Skyvington allege “allegedly miraculous manifestations”? It is because the shroud threatens their belief. The shroud might be the explanation of a miracle, which is quite the other way around, which then makes Prof. Dawkins a frivolous dispenser instead of a brilliant dispeller of bullshit.

[See: Antipodes]

Robert Lanza on the Existence of God

Must Read: Robert Lanza in the Huffington Post:

imageOf course, there have been myriad conceptions of God since the dawn of civilization. There are the Abrahamic conceptions of God, including the monotheistic God of Judaism and the trinitarian God of Christians. In Buddhism, God is almost non-theist. In fact, conceptions of God vary so widely there’s no clear consensus on the definition of God. In short, believers believe God has an incorporeal (immaterial) existence, and that there’s an afterlife. Atheists believe in a strictly corporeal (material) world, and it’s bye-bye when you die.

According a US News & World Report, cover story. "Robert Lanza was taken under the wing of scientific giants such as psychologist B.F. Skinner, immunologist Jonas Salk, and heart transplant pioneer Christiaan Barnard. His mentors described him as a ‘genius,’ a ‘renegade thinker,’ even likening him to Einstein himself."

Full story: Biocentrism and the Existence of God

Quote of the Day

imageAndrew Sullivan of The Atlantic:

The Incarnation remains the corner-stone of my own faith – because it is literally the only way I see myself coming anywhere close to the divine. It is the identification of the Godhead with the human that is the true surprise of Christianity. Not just the inhabiting of our souls but the sharing of our bodies and feelings and, yes, even absence from God. Why else do we weep?

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

I Guess the Debate Offer Was BS

imageI suspect that I got off on the wrong foot with William Skyvington when having read his words on his blog . . .

But there exist indeed hordes of crazy individuals—known as Roman Catholics—who are prepared to believe in such bullshit.

. . .  I wondered on this blog if this was Ignorance or Bigotry or PZ Myer-ism. Not exactly friendly of me, but I stand by my words.

Well, William Skyvington then wrote on his blog:

Maybe we’ll have a profound debate on my humble Antipodes blog about the alleged authenticity of the Turin Shroud.

Apparently he didn’t mean it. It was, to use a favorite word of his, “bullshit.” You can read his blog post and his comments here and his latest comment here. Here is part of it:

imageIn the region of France where I live, not far away from Chambéry, people are aware of the early days of the alleged shroud of Jesus. It so happens that the ecclesiastic historian Ulysse Chevalier [pictured] wrote about this strange object in several interesting French-language articles (which can be downloaded today from the Gallica database). Chevalier’s articles constitute, to my mind, a splendid presentation of the legendary background of the discovery and context of this object. Today, personally, I would not wish to waste too much time talking emptily with anybody who has not examined closely these comments of the great regional historian Ulysse Chevalier, who happens to be my constant reference in everything that concerns the ancient history of my adoptive home in the Dauphiné.

I am familiar with Ulysse Chevalier (1841-1923) and I will grant that he is an important regional historian. But I would hardly consider him the final word on the Shroud or on ecclesiastics in his part of the world anymore than I would consider Mark Twain (1835-1920) the final word on American culture. One would certainly want to read historian Emmanuel Poulle who argues convincingly that Chevalier was intellectually dishonest. One would certainly want to read historian and medievalist Daniel Scavone, as well, for he expresses significant doubts about Chevalier. Chevalier seems to have ignored many papers that challenged the veracity of the single document he relied on so heavily, the d’Arcis memorandum.

Skyvington continues:

As for more recent analyses of this cloth, I have nothing to add to what has already been exposed abundantly.

And what would that be?

And he continues on:

For everything concerning allegedly "miraculous" manifestations of certain facets of Humanity (as interesting as they are), I recommend strongly the reading of books by Richard Dawkins, who is a brilliant and serious dispeller of bullshit.

There we go with that oh so forceful substitute for reason: bullshit. Having read Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene (interesting), The God Delusion (Atheist fundamentalism) and The Greatest Show on Earth (excellent), I could simply say, using Skyvington’s own words, “I would not wish to waste too much time talking emptily with anybody who has not examined closely” . . . oh, let us say, Cambridge’s John Polkinghorne (FRS, Quantum Physicist) or Oxford’s Alister McGrath (Biologist) who know and meet Dawkins in debate. Polkinghorne and McGrath are highly respected theologians, as well. They, like Skyvington’s favorite historian, Ulysse Chevalier, are priests. But they are Anglican priests. Chevalier was a Roman Catholic priest, which doesn’t fit with his biased remark about crazy people called Roman Catholics who are prepared to believe “bullshit.”

This quote by McGrath from Richard Dawkins own website seems relevant.

The God Delusion is similarly full of misunderstanding. Dawkins simply presents us with another dogmatic fundamentalism. Maybe that’s why some of the fiercest attacks on The God Delusion are coming from other atheists, rather than religious believers. Michael Ruse, who describes himself as a ‘hardline Darwinian’ philosopher, confessed that The God Delusion made him ’embarrassed to be an atheist’.

Actually, the entire article by McGrath should be read at http://richarddawkins.net/articles/623

Skyvington declines to debate:

As for me, I must state "graciously" that I have nothing more to add to any eventual debate about the so-called Shroud of Turin… which bores me infinitely. . . .

That’s too bad. My willingness to accept his suggestion of a debate is still on the table.