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The most obvious synthesis of all the evidence

clip_image001Joe Marino passes along a Mark Shea (pictured)  column in the National Catholic Register: The Atheism of the Gaps and Its Sacramentals. Read it to understand why Mark concludes

. . . The Atheist of the Gaps believes in such fake relics [e.g. the Luigi Garlaschelli fake pictured below] with childlike faith no matter how badly that fake fails to actually reproduce the Shroud. That’s because they need it to be a fake. It is an article of faith in advance of and in the teeth of all evidence.

[ . . . ]

But materialist dogmatists cannot follow the evidence for miracles where it leads because they have a dogma forbidding miracles at all costs. One genuine miracle–just one–brings the atheist project down in ruins.  Unfortunately, in this case, all the evidence supports the claim that the Shroud is real. Catholics know that God, under carefully controlled laboratory conditions, can do as he pleases, even when that screws up the dogmas of atheists.  Catholics, at ease in a strange world where God sometimes does strange things, are cool either way. If the Shroud turns out to be a fake, oh well.  If it’s the real deal, then cool:  Praise God for this wonder.  As I have said, I think it genuine, not as an article of faith but as a matter of ordinary human evidence, as I think Lee Harvey Oswald shot President Kennedy.  It’s the most obvious synthesis of all the evidence we have.

Strangely and hilariously, the absolute atheist refusal to consider the possibility of the Shroud’s genuineness vs. the Christian openness to all the strange possibilities this strange world holds is called by the Atheist of the Gaps, "Christian obscurantist close-mindedness vs. Atheist rational willingness to follow the facts wherever they lead". It’s of a piece with the "open-minded" atheist Emile Zola who, witnessing a miraculous healing at Lourdes, responded by declaring "Even if I saw all the sick at Lourdes healed, I would not believe."

Image on right by Luigi Garlaschelli

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