Why the Shroud of Turin Matters
I hope I don’t alienate too many with the following comment.
We live in an very unsettled age where orthodoxy, both religious and scientific, is challenged as never before. The advance of science has rendered literal readings of scripture close to impossible. The Earth was not created six thousand years ago and man never walked with dinosaurs. Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, wrote about the origins of the creation myth of Genesis and concluded, as most biblical scholars do, that it was allegory, not history. Yet, a poll of American Catholics found a majority accepting Genesis as history and blithely unaware of the direction the Church was moving. And when a new Catechism was adopted at the turn of the millennium, biblical scholarship was virtually ignored.
But if uncertainty about the literal truth of Scripture is an issue, take some heart because the scientific method and the “rational” view of existence are taking hits that make the creationist-evolutionist controversy small change.
What is the actuality of existence, both of myself and the Universe? Since the time of Newton, the direction of science has been guided by developing “rational” philosophy that first separated itself from religion and finally rejected any spiritual answers.
But beginning at the turn of the last century, the entire basis of the Newtonian view began to unravel as science delved into the mysteries of the most basic level of existence, the quantum. Quantum Mechanics defied rational analysis and there has emerged, and continues to emerge, the realization that the basic organizing principal of existence is consciousness. Among its quantum concepts is quantum entanglement – a relationship among entities that works beyond time and space and it has been demonstrated that what affects one entangled entity simultaneously affects the other, even if light years away. To Einstein that was “spooky.”
And now, paralleling this ferment is Shroud science. Beginning with the discovery in 1898 that the Shroud of Turin’s faint images of a man, front and back, were in fact negative images demonstrating the reality of the Crucifixion, Shroud science has demonstrated that reality of Jesus Christ, his crucifixion and death. It also lends support to his Resurrection.
The current flash of publicity concerning Thomas de Wesselow’s “The Sign” is an indication of the vitality of the Shroud Science and vindication of the work of a host of individuals in studying the Shroud, particularly the Shroud of Turin Study Group (STURP) whose work is preserved at http:// http://www.shroud.com, among other places.
Wesselow, like the atheist pope Richard Dawkins in “The God Delusion” rejects out of hand any miraculous or spiritual explanation of anything. An art historian by training, he makes mincemeat of the claims that Shroud was a painting from medieval times and concludes that it was the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.
However, after having stated his bias as a “rationalist”, he then goes on to make many irrational and dubious claims, essentially arguing that the Shroud accounts for all the reported post-Resurrection apparitions of Christ. Instead of the “walking corpse” the rationalists disdain, we now have a “talking Shroud.”
As important as the Shroud is, it is not the Resurrection. It is however a material object that factually supports the Resurrection.
In this era of philosophical turmoil and doubt, where science is now reaching the conclusion that at the most basic level of existence, consciousness governs, it is a new revelation, but a revelation brought to us by the application of science. In this time, and this place, it can not be ignored. To an anxious and confused generation, facing complex and near insolvable problems of existence, Christ is coming again.