This posting with many comments was just recycled on an Italian Tourism website. (I don’t like the practice of plagiarizing and not giving any links or credits so I’m not linking to the tourism site but to the original posting, Are Atheists biased or just uninformed? that appeared in Yahoo Answers. Here is how it starts:
I find it interesting how a number of atheists will demand the application of "science" and "intellectual thought"…and then, when it comes to a topic they want to brush aside, they simply ignore the evidence and make inane comments that make them sound like the very people they ridicule.
WRONG! Read the article and read the comments. Most of the people from BOTH SIDES are largely uninformed and biased.
YES. The Shroud of Turin has been debunked many times. So many of the commenters are right. BUT, none of the “debunking,” with time, has stood up to scientific scrutiny. That is not uncommon in the world of science. In the case of the shroud this includes the carbon dating, the claim of finding inorganic paint particles and the most ridiculous recent claims that it has been reproduced. Consult and limit yourself to ethical peer-reviewed scientific journals. Always search the archives for newer data. Be scientific in your approach.
NO. That doesn’t mean that the Shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of Jesus. It may be. I don’t think it is possible to prove this, however. I think, if one does not limit oneself to science alone and embraces the study of history, it is possible to infer that it is real. INFERENCE is not PROOF.
NO. No one has reproduced the image of the shroud. Every year the Associated Press (AP) announces a new method by someone who claims to have reproduced the shroud image. ASK YOURSELF why there is a new method each year. Is the latest the last? Instead of getting your scientific facts from the AP, read peer-reviewed journals like Nature and JIST, Journal of Imaging Technology.
DON’T SAY ATHEIST WHEN YOU MEAN SKEPTIC. I know many well informed, believing Christians who don’t think the shroud is real. On the other hand, I know an Atheist (there is more than one and there are some non-Christians as well) who believes it is really the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth but that nothing religious can be proven by that belief. The distinction is important.
I have noticed, with considerable chagrin, that God has not provided us with the kind of “proof” that many demand. It would be so much easier if the Ark were found on Ararat, and the mysteries of the Shroud could be nailed down, and the actual cross upon which Jesus died had been preserved from the very beginning, just to name a few artifacts that Christians would love to place in our historic museum of “Proof.” But we don’t have much.
God is looking for more than this, apparently. He’s not willing to make it easy to find the spiritual path. Besides, things which are spiritual cannot be proven by natural means anyway. And this is the really HUGE point on which the skeptic and the athiests make their error. They demand proof of what is supernatural, but they require the proof to be in Natural terms.
Ultimately it comes down to the leap of faith, every time. There’s no way to avoid it. Christianity is about faith in Jesus Christ. It is about bridging what it natural in order to obtain what is supernatural.
And for those of us who have taken that leap, we are not left as fools. We know Him whom we have believed, so there are no doubts. This is why the scoffing of unbelievers is so astonishing: they really don’t know what they’re talking about. But we can’t “prove” it to them, because each of us needs to take the step of faith for ourselves, individually. The journey is a personal one.
Instead of spend precious time with the eternal debate wether the Shroud is authentic or not, we should suppose that it is in fact, and to attempt understand what happened in the process of Christ´s Resurrection. Also, this could offer clues about the other eternal debate creationism x darwinism. Explaining: In the Resurrection, Christ’s body disappeared and was rebuilt again, as suggested by the Shroud. This way, all the living creatures could arise by assembly of its component parts (God made Adam from existing matter,as quoted in Genesis), for example
That’s a truly unique point: I love it. Perhaps “Science” could learn more about the origins of Man from this Shroud than they can learn from their huge microblaster in Switzerland. It’s quite possible! Perhaps, by denying the reality of God they shun the very Clues that God is willing to give them. :)
Sorry but the only thing science can do with the Shroud is analysing the material aspect of the cloth and tell us more about the cloth, also more about man who suffer in it and about the kind of torture he endure. But as long as learning something about the resurrection by scientifically analysing the Shroud, forget it ! Resurrection was a SPIRITUAL event, completely out of the field of science… By definition, science cannot go outside of the physical world. In fact, science is chained to the physical world. To conclude this point, I would like to quote Barrie Schwortz who once said : We cannot go in a lab and resurrect a corpse to see what kind of imprint he’ll make on a linen cloth !!!
I don’t understand why Christians are so quick to back off of the idea that the Shroud could be evidence for the Resurrection — it was my own studies on the Shroud that led me from athiesm/agnosticism to join the Orthodox Church. While we shouldn’t point at the image and just say “God did it”, there are other clues we know that when fit into the context of what happened on Easter Morning makes the Resurrection a very powerful explanation for all the events.
No putrefaction or signs of decay? Blood clots that have perfect outlines that would have been ruptured if torn away from the Shroud? That coupled with what the apostles saw?
I apologize if I come off as rude, but when people say that the Shroud can’t prove anything it simply strikes me as strange seeing, as I said, as it was what made me come to believe. epistomological belief and faith are two things.
Hello Nick !
You wrote : “No putrefaction or signs of decay? Blood clots that have perfect outlines that would have been ruptured if torn away from the Shroud? That coupled with what the apostles saw?”
You put the finger on the biggest SIGN of the resurrection ! But, it’s a SIGN, not a PROOF… A sign just like the empty tomb was ! This is why I like to call the Shroud of Turin “The Empty Shroud” !!! Because there was really a dead man in this grave cloth and he left the shroud before the putrefaction of the body.
I have some question for you (It’s not an attack. I’m just curious to know) :
1- Would you call the empty tomb a proof of the resurrection ??? I don’t think there was ever an apostle who claim that this was a proof… No, it was just a sign ! Why would it be different with the Shroud ? William Meacham said it the best : ”
2- If science ever proof without any doubts that the Shroud cannot be the one of Jesus, how would you react ? If your faith is based on the Shroud, no question you would have a big problem…
Here’s a little personal reflexion on this particular subject : If God would have wanted to give us a PROOF of the resurrection, I think Jesus would still be here with us today, walking this Earth and showing his Holy Wounds to everyone !!! :-) But, FORTUNATELY, that’s not how it goes. I said fortunately because I would really fear a God who would impose his presence to me ! God is Love and when your name is Love, you don’t want to force anybody… Remember what Jesus said to Thomas in the upper room ? “Blessed are those who believe without seeing me !” That was not a joke !!!
Thank’s for your post and God Bless You !
From a proud catholic guy who don’t need the Shroud to believe in Jesus-Christ… but who is really happy to see a sign with the Shroud ! I can say that the Shroud have deepened my faith.
P.S. : As a catholic, I’m also proud that my Church is very prudent with this relic and don’t try to convert people with it. Doing the opposite would not be correct.
It’s more of a cumulative argument kind of thing — what is the best worldview that explains both the mutation in Second Temple Judaic thought that gave birth to Christianity and all the data we have on the Shroud? To me, the Christian worldview simply put it all together without any leaks while my metaphysical naturalistic outlook seemed to collapse on my face. So it’s not as much as relying off of one or two ‘hints’ but the big picture.
I suppose ‘prove’ is not the right word as one cannot show it to be the absolute case. Rather, the right idea would be ‘best possible explanation’.
As for my faith, obviously if the Shroud was shown to be false I’d do a double take, but I would not jump ship and go back to atheism/agnosticism. I’ve experienced and seen things that make no sense in a naturalistic worldview. I can’t say for sure (and I don’t think I will ever have to), but I’d probably remain a Christian. The Shroud was the straw that broke the camels back for me; apologetic works of the likes of N.T. Wright and others had already put me on shaky ground.
As for using it to convert or not, there’s nothing against it in the Orthodox Church so I guess we’ll have to disagree. I know that I’ve gotten my friends to at least reconsider their worldviews and are giving the time to look into the Shroud. Plus, at the end of the day, if the Shroud really is Christ’s and can at least provide possible evidence (not proof) for the Resurrection, then why shouldn’t we use it? Are we not called to evangelize all nations? Would this not finally be the ‘scientific evidence’ Dawkins et. al have been asking for (on their faulty epistomological assumptions)?
Perhaps, though, I’m just a case of zeal without knowledge. It’s just that the Shroud did so much for me and I want to thus share it with others. Lord, have mercy.
As a Christian since childhood, I never gave the Shroud much thought until reading the comments here. I don’t need proof, so what does the Shroud matter to me?
So I think it’s fascinating that God has used the Shroud as evidence for the unbeliever, to bring people to faith. What a fantastic witnessing tool, especially for those who are more concrete in their way of thinking… such as my brother who is an engineer and a math genius. Some people have a very difficult time making the “leap of faith” because it doesn’t make sense to them. I think they have difficulty believing that spiritual things exist at all, anywhere – since it’s not in their nature to be sensitive that way.
I should learn more about the Shroud.
Frankly, if the Shroud has THIS kind of influence… in my mind, this is the “proof” that it is, indeed, very real.
Hello AnnieCee !
I think you’re totally right. The Shroud can be sort of a turning point in someone’s life because, authentic or not, when you look at it, it forces you to face the mysterious question of the death and the resurrection of Christ. In face of the Shroud, you don’t have much choice : You got to ask yourself if you believe in Jesus-Christ or not. The Shroud can really shake some convictions ! Nick is a good example of that process initiated by the Shroud… That’s why I think it’s a very good tool for reflection and meditation about Jesus-Christ.
Thank’s for your comments !
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