A reader writes:

imagePeople laugh at you if you say you think the shroud is real. “How can you believe in that thing?” Those are the unspoken words in that laughter. But I believe in it. I do so because all of the science and history about the relic favors authenticity. I have tried to be careful in making up my mind. BTW, I am a liberal-minded Methodist, so my religion is not really a factor. In fact, those who laugh at me the most are fellow Methodists at my church.

There is not a single bit of solid evidence against authenticity. I once thought the carbon dating had proven it fake. Thanks to people like you, Russ Breault, John Jackson, Ray Downing and Barrie Schwortz, I now know better. You were all great in the History Channel special. Thank you for that.

Unfortunately, and mainly because the shroud is gaining credibility and popularity, people with all manner of surreal beliefs about it are popping up like weeds in the lawn. They spoil the careful work that has been done by so many.

Should you ignore them? You will hurt some feelings. Actually, you will hurt their feelings if you don’t ignore them and if you do. I write book reviews for a small literary journal. If I ignore an author, he complains. When I then write an unfavorable review, he verbally attacks me.

Should you ignore the people of the Urantia cult? Should you ignore the people trying to connect the shroud to little green men (or is it grey men) from outer space? Should you ignore the people who invent half-baked “scientific methods” to help them imagine that they see all manner of peculiar things on the shroud? Should you ignore the conspiracy theory nuts?

Do not ignore them, not if you are honest. Bring them to our attention. Let us decide. Risk a few hurt feelings among the UFO crowd, cult followers and people with excessively vivid imaginations.  For your sake and our sake, please help all of us laugh away these crazy folk before they become another reason people laugh at us for believing the shroud is real.

Thank you.