Some Advice from Stephen Jones

imageYou might want to read the whole thing. I wish I hadn’t encountered this in the morning. Coffee isn’t strong enough. A couple shots of 100 proof Virginia bourbon would help with the reading of this.

Stephen warns:

If Jesus caused His scourged, crowned with thorns, and crucified and speared in the side image to be imprinted on His burial sheet and then has preserved it against all the odds down to this day, then it is highly likely (to put it mildly) that He expects those who become aware of His image on the Shroud, to repent and believe in Him and His death on the cross to pay for their sins. So those who become aware of the evidence for the Shroud’s authenticity, yet refuse to believe in Jesus and His death for them, will, like Chorazin and Bethsaida receive a more severe judgment than if they had never heard of the Shroud.

Stephen writes mostly about me:

[Because] Mt 7:22-23. "22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’"

I hasten to add that it is OK to be a non-Christian in the Shroud discussion. Barry Schwortz and Thomas de Wesselow are two non-Christians who think the Shroud is authentic. But according to Jesus’ words above (which Dan will probably dismiss as a mere "metaphor," it is not OK to be a non-Christian and especially a non-Christian who THINKS he is a Christian when he isn’t.

Whether it is metaphor or poetic hyperbole or a prophetic vision understood literally, the interpretation is nutty.

Stephen is also closing in on evidence that the carbon dating results were fraudulently changed by computer hackers. (I continue to leave out the names of people he blames but you can read them on his blog):

I have since found documentary evidence of how Zurich and Oxford’s AMS control console computers could have been accessed remotely by [so and so] (with the help of [another so and so] who confessed he had hacked for the KGB) and their programs changed, yet them never having been connected to Arpanet or the Internet. And that would explain why [the so and so and the other so and so] unexpectedly `committed suicide’ within days of each other.

I have asked Stephen for examples of how he was defamed on my blog – that is one of his complaints about me. He explains that since he no longer reads the comments about him he cannot do so.

36 thoughts on “Some Advice from Stephen Jones”

  1. Arguing with a fanatic can bear no fruit worth the eating, and as for winning an argument with such it is impossible. It is an easy matter to take scripture out of context, Screwtape does it all the time. Stephen has taken Matt 7:22-23 out of context. What is the context? It is Matt 7:21; “It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord”, who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven.” So it is not a matter of mere piety. At the end of his earthly mission in his last public discourse, we have the picture of the Last Judgment, and we learn what must be done. Does it focus on belief? Does it focus on faith? Does it focus on prayer. Does it focus on confessing Jesus as Lord? They’re all important, but no! The key to the kingdom is only held by those who have carried out the corporal works of mercy, repeated three times! see Matt 25: 21-46. So much for the Faith versus Works debate!

    1. If we would enter the Kingdom through our good works, then there would be a big bunch of God’s children (those for whom he died on the cross) who will be left outside… This idea that you need to do good deeds to merit the Kingdom is a Jewish idea (repeated some times in the New Testament by the Jewish writers) that comes from the Old Testament and they put this in Jesus mouth. Of course, the ideal in life is to do good deeds and to be merciful, but that’s not what matters the most for God (as Jesus show us on the cross when he forgives even his executioners and when he said, just prior to his Passion that once lifted up, he would attract EVERY person to him). No! What matters the most (at least for God) is simply the fact that we’re all his beloved childrens… Look : When your child do bad deeds, do you reject and condemn him for eternity or do you keep on loving him (even more than before maybe)? For God at least, be sure that he will ALWAYS choose the second option… And it’s a blessing that it is like that because I would certainly be one of those who would be left outside his Kingdom if he would be the God of Daveb! I repeat it : Doing good deeds and being merciful is what God would love to see us do all the time, but at the same time, he know perfectly well that we’re all sinners and poor people and that’s why the Kingdom is a FREE gift. A FREE GIFT. He we still keep on believing the Kingdom will only be for those who do good deeds, then we don’t believe in that it’s free and we’re simply not worthy of being called Christian and in fact, we’re just another pharisee (since this idea of a Kingdom for the good persons only was already the central belief of these Jews of Jesus time). Look again : Did St Paul received all his blessings from the Resurrected Jesus for having done good deeds? Not at all! It was a FREE GIFT of God for him and we must see this as a very great sign of the FREE GIFT God wants to give to us all…

      1. Correction: You should read “IF we still keep on believing the Kingdom will only be for those who do good deeds, then we don’t believe in that it’s free and we’re simply not worthy of being called Christian and in fact, we’re just another pharisee…”

    2. Oh, by the way, Salvation is no more a question of faith in Jesus than a question of doing good deeds and being merciful. Again, if this would be the case, that would mean that a majority of human beings would be left outside of God’s Kingdom (including our friend Barrie Schwortz!) and that would also mean Salvation would not be free at all. The only thing that save us in the end is our being of God’s children. Life is not a passing exam. It is simply a growing process that is needed to prepare us for eternal life. To believe in Jesus can help some (like me) going through life, but that’s not an obligation in order to be saved. In fact, everyone is already saved. The only difference is that there are some who believe it while they’re still on Earth and the rest who will be face to face with this great truth when they’ll die. Some understand quicker than others… That’s the only difference and that’s not very important in the end.

    1. You got me. I was thinking of Virginia Gentleman. I used to live near the Smith Bowman distillery in Reston before it moved to Fredericksburg. But when the picture of the Wild Turkey came up in Google and it seemed to fit the posting, well I copied and pasted without thinking it through. Now, some folks will say it isn’t bourbon unless it is made in Kentucky but that is a topic for another blog.

    1. Don’t you know that we judge all the time? It’s an integral part of human nature… The Christian way to act is trying hard to not condemn… That’s very different. In other words, when you judge, try to understand why the person you judge is acting or talking or believing that way (there’s ALWAYS extenuating circumstances), instead of blindly condemning him to hell, eternal pain or whatever else.

      1. Just Ray at the front and an ‘s’ on the end of your current name and you’ll be there, Yannick!!

    2. To conclude my though about judgment, I would say that another very important and Christian way to act is to try hard to keep separate our judgment concerning someone’s way to act or talk and the person himself (because this persone, whoever that is, is a beloved child of God, no matter his bad deeds).

  2. I am knee deep in distractions and perhaps I should refrain from this thread but I can not remain silent.

    John wrote: “God is love.” I believe in the reality of that in some ways that might seem both arcane and hyper-modern. It’s a quantum thing.

    Christ gave us two commandments taken from scripture but combined in a unique way. They were to love God with our whole being and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

    That’s it. But what does it mean to love both God and neighbor? How does one “love” a disembodied spirit existing before space and time and beyond our comprehension. Christ nswered that question in the parable of the Last Judgment. [So described by Pope Benedict and Pope Francis].

    When one reads the litany of deeds that enable salvation, there are some things lacking. No where is tithing raised as a necessary deed, nor even honoring the Sabbath. Rather only through the works of love to the neediest CAN we express our love of the deity.

    Pope Francis realizes this. That’s why he saw Jesus in the person of a young Moslem delinquent girl whose feet he washed during his first Holy Week as pope.

    Mother Theresa found Christ in the desperate neediest in the slums of Calcutta.

    It a real test to love the neediest, particularly if he or she is a homeless person on the subway who hasn’t bathed in a while and who, frankly, smells awful.

    But that’s what Christianity is about. At least that’s what Christ said Christianity is about. Three little words, twelve letters: LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

    1. Nice comment. I would add: it’s important to understand that we must try hard to love, while always keeping in mind that we will always be loved by God, no matter if we succeed or not. God is not only love, but eternal loving mercy for the poor people that we all are. Read again the parable of the two sons if you don’t believe me… The youngest was the first to enter into God’s Kingdom, even though all that he did was bad deeds. Same thing for St Paul: it was surely not his good deeds (or his faith) that were the reason why the Resurrected Christ visited him…

      1. You are forwarding dangerous doctrine, Yannick. The bible is infused with warnings about the wrath of God. Ignore this at your peril!!

  3. Why waste time with these posts, Dan? There is a lot more interesting material to post in connection with the TS. I don’t see any reason why you should make some “official” pronouncement” about the authenticity of the Shroud when even the relic’s owner has not done so. The blog exists to stimulate discussion, involving both pro- and anti-authenticists and that is the way it should be.

    1. I was about to suggest the same. Dan, Jones is becoming more and more entrenched and fanatical and could I suggest ignoring his posts and not flaring things up here? Just a suggestion, you’re the boss.

  4. Tom Devins writes “Wild Turkey is made in Kentucky, not Virginia”

    I made it through about half of the SJ article-

    I vote for a double-one of each

    I would also suggest including Maker’s Mark as well, somehow that seems appropriate :)

    I’m not sure of the purpose of debating if there’s no difference of opinion and opposing views aren’t considered The best scientists are those who are willing to try to prove their own ideas wrong, not merely reinforce them.

    1. Quote: “The best scientists are those who are willing to try to prove their own ideas wrong, not merely reinforce them.”

      Comment: I agree totally with this point of view and, concerning the question of image formation, I just want to underline with a big red marker the FACT that, on the contrary to a lot of pro-Shroud researchers who have proposed image formation theories over the years (most of those are in direct link with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ), Raymond N. Rogers did just what Kelly Kearse said, i.e. he was willing to challenge his own image formation hypothesis whenever he could and was not affraid, while he was still seeking for the best explanation, to test the image formation proposals of Jackson, Fanti, Rinaudo, Moran, etc., in order to see if some of those ideas could explain, at least partially, the Shroud image. It’s interesting to note that he came out of all these tests completely empty…
      And isn’t that interesting also to note that we never heard of Fanti, DiLazzaro, Rinaudo, Moran, Jackson, etc. doing the same thing as Rogers (i.e. doing some lab testing to see if Rogers’ hypothesis could have some chances to explain the Shroud image)? All we see from those people is endless trials to back-up their ideas about image formation, which is very different from what Rogers did. This is a very good clue to judge the profesionalism of all these Shroud researchers…

    2. Oh, I forgot that we also hear sometimes from some of these researchers big trials to not only back-up their personal idea about image formation but also to crush down other explanations (like the one proposed by Rogers) that doesn’t fit with their notion of what could have been the primary cause of the Shroud image…

  5. Strange that it should come to this is so short a time. Until January this year all Dan’s references to Stephen’s site were complementary. Even his response to Stephen’s first suggestion that the radiocarbon data might have been hacked was interested and encouraging. “This ‘mini-series’ sounds promising. Stephen isn’t joking and the title of this posting, being as it is a play on the title of Feynman’s most famous book, is meant as a full-throated compliment to Stephen, assuming he pulls it off.”

    I was less complimentary, as even in this first post there was a serious misunderstanding of Gove’s statistical analysis of the shroud (which it is not clear Stephen really understands even now), and a misrepresentation of Robert Hedges’ viewpoint. Although he was quick to qualify what he meant by fraud, he firmly announced his intention to “set out the evidence for … the bias and dishonesty of those involved in the dating,” which seemed, in the absence of any such evidence, libellous.

    Stephen second post (Labelled Part 1) was in February. Now the ‘fraud’ had become some kind of computer hacking, but no evidence at all was put forward. Dan was disappointed. So was I. Stephen thanked Dan for the publicity he was being given. Part 2, the following day, added nothing more, and to be fair to the dubious, Dan suggested we look at Wikipedia’s Timeline of Computer Security Hacker History.

    Part 3 appeared a few days later and “the hacker” was more or less established. However still no evidence had been put forward and I was prepared to dismiss this whole idea as preposterous. Dan didn’t comment at all.

    By March 7 it was either “a KGB agent hacked into the AMS system control console computer at each of the three C-14 labs and inserted a program” or “anyone with the requisite computer skills, even a university student hacker testing his ability.” When both Professors Jull and Ramsey had replied to my emails saying this was impossible, they were described as “ambiguous,” “misleading” and “defensive,” with “fallacious reasoning and false facts.” However Stephen now turned his attention to the possibility of individual hackers at each of the three labs, and, picking on Arizona University first, fingered two of the radiocarbon team with deep suspicion, while announcing boldly that he couldn’t prove they were guilty.

    Until this moment, Dan still hadn’t murmured a derogatory word, but at last, under some pressure from his readers, felt that direct personal accusations of fraud without any evidence whatsoever were unacceptable on his blog.

    Nothing constructive has occurred since, but I cannot find that Dan has been derogatory about Stephen anywhere. Stephen’s “evidence” concerning hacking has been robustly challenged without much defence and his hypothesis cannot be considered to be in any sense established.

    And finally: “However, unlike Porter, it is part of my long-standing, stated policies that I do not to allow offensive or sub-standard comments. This includes offensive comments against Porter.” !!! (Falls off chair in hysterics…)

  6. “Comment: I agree totally with this point of view and, concerning the question of image formation, I just want to underline with a big red marker the FACT that, on the contrary to a lot of pro-Shroud researchers who have proposed image formation theories over the years (most of those are in direct link with the Resurrection of Jesus Christ), Raymond N. Rogers did just what Kelly Kearse said, i.e. he was willing to challenge his own image formation hypothesis whenever he could and was not affraid, while he was still seeking for the best explanation, to test the image formation proposals of Jackson, Fanti, Rinaudo, Moran, etc., in order to see if some of those ideas could explain, at least partially, the Shroud image. It’s interesting to note that he came out of all these tests completely empty…
    And isn’t that interesting also to note that we never heard of Fanti, DiLazzaro, Rinaudo, Moran, Jackson, etc. doing the same thing as Rogers (i.e. doing some lab testing to see if Rogers’ hypothesis could have some chances to explain the Shroud image)? All we see from those people is endless trials to back-up their ideas about image formation, which is very different from what Rogers did. This is a very good clue to judge the profesionalism of all these Shroud researchers…”

    The quote feature is not working for me, so I have pasted the above comment by…let’s see whom-ah yes, “Roger”

    Well “Roger”, I think you are completely out of bounds in judging the professionalism of any scientist because they wish to concentrate on their own interests and not test those of others. My comment was directed towards working within one’s own system. I think you misunderstand what this is about.

    Showing that another mechanism is wrong does not prove yours is right. Or that if another one appears to be true that yours is necessarily false. It is a scientist’s prerogative to work on whatever he or she wants to. It has nothing to do with professionalism-your statement regarding “clues” is falsely judgemental of those you list.

    If Rogers came up “completely empty”, who’s to say he did every single experiment possible? My understanding is that Jackson spent a certain amount of time considering a type of scorch mechanism at one point. And, unlike yourself, I don’t believe Rogers was fully convinced that the Maillard reaction was the entire picture.

    For the next pseudonym I might suggest the name “Mantra”

  7. I don’t think Rogers actually tested the image formation proposals of Jackson. I’m not sure he knew how to go about it. Neither do I. Any ideas?

    1. Yes. It was how to test the “mechanically transparent” body I was really thinking of…

  8. Hi Dan,
    Haven’t you seen a “newcomer” here, this time with another pseudonym…?

  9. Hugh,

    Now that’s a bit of a toughie-coming up with a good, positive control on that one! Having said that, I personally believe Jesus defied many “natural laws” when He was here on earth. In my own view, I prefer to think that He didn’t so much defy them, but that God and God alone has the full manual, we just have a few pages. I don’t know how a body could be dematerialized-not a clue, but I do believe Jesus entered a locked door to visit His followers. I don’t know how. I would be personally fine with a totally naturalistic mechanism of image formation on the Shroud, if that’s how it happened. It’s often said that the Shroud is the most studied artifact in human history-I might be tempted to substitute in the word “discussed” for “studied” -I think there is much that remains to be systematically investigated.

  10. How did the risen Jesus manifest himself? He “stepped on the accelerator” to enter our “frequency” so that his disciples, who had known him, could see and believe. Doubting Thomas wanted more, he wanted to probe.
    When it came to Paul, he “stepped only half way on the accelerator”. Why? There was no point in presenting himself in bodily form to Paul, who had not known him in the life and would thus not recognise him. The voice and blinding flash would therefore to convey the message to Paul, who understood it immediately.
    When in our “frequency” Jesus could also materialise and dematerialise …

  11. As an unreformed pre VII style Catholic, I can say flat out that Stephen is wrong. Belief in the authenticity of the Shroud(or any relic or apparition) has never been necessary for salvation, even in the Catholic Church. On who is saved, I believe that every person who goes to Heaven gets there from the saving work of Jesus Christ on Calvary, and through the Grace of His Church. How God applies that grace in every circumstance is His business. God is good, God is loving, and God is just. I trust Him with the souls of all people of good will. But hell does exist. Our Lord Himself said so. So we must be prepared to meet Him at our own Judgement, and at the General Judgement at the end of time.

    1. Two of the twentieth century’s heavyweights in philosophy, Heidegger and Wittgenstein, did not look for God in their philosophy. In the end, the former intuitively felt that something was missing and asked for a Catholic burial, having regained his faith through “history”. It is obvious, then, that he viewed history as the interpretation of events and not as collective karma. Collective karma could have meant that “God is an illusion”, which would take him back to his philosophy, and the rationale would be circular. The latter had a religious sixth sense throughout his life, whatever he wrote on philosophy, and, fearing judgment, asked his “Catholic friends” to pray for him as he prepared to depart from this world:
      https://www.academia.edu/6085481/Why_was_Wittgensteins_burial_attended_by_a_religious_ceremony

  12. “When both Professors Jull and Ramsey had replied to my emails saying this was impossible”…

    Hi Hugh,
    Why didn’t Stephen Jones contact the labs before exposing his theory in the first place? This was really the very least that he could and should have done !! Why is it that you had to do this ? I think that this tells a lot about Mr Jones ….

  13. Stephen Jones has taken Matt 7:22-23 out of context. In the context of Matt 7:21, it seems that it is not sufficient to confess Jesus is Lord. As for the General Judment mentioned by Chesterbello, the key to heaven will only be granted to those who have carried out the corporal works of mercy, stated and specified three times in Matt 25:31-46. No mention of Grace, no mention of Church. So much for the Faith vs Works debate. Claims of allegiance are not enough, not even prophesying. Acts of care are what is required.

    1. Dave, Acts of mercy done with the wrong motive can be equally condemning

      1 Corinthians 13:3 “if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing”

      With regards to the faith vs works debate, don’t forget Jesus telling Nicodemus that he must be “born again” to enter the Kingdom of God.
      And
      Ephesians 2:8-9″ For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast”

      I think James has the best explanation for this “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

      We are sinners and dead in our sins, we can only be saved by being born again by accepting, in faith, the free gift of salvation. The presence of works are the Litmus paper that Validates our conversion.

    2. Agreed 100%, daveb. Acts of care are the hardest to see, the rest is mostly idle talk.

  14. Mike M: “Acts of mercy done with the wrong motive can be equally condemning.” Check Matt 21:28-31, Parable of the two sons.

    “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ 29He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went. 30The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go. 31* Which of the two did his father’s will?” They answered, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.”

    Motives are clearly secondary. I think I would place the direct words of Jesus as recorded in Matthew ahead even of St Paul’s more obscure theology. I agree James’ epistle has the correct approach and is consistent with Matt 25:31-46. Luther was reluctant to include James epistle in his translation and only did so out of respect for tradition.

  15. Dave, I dont think the parable you mentioned was about motive. He was basically saying “Actions speak lowder than words” irrespective of the motive.
    However, I believe according to Jesus, the motive is very important, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues”…(Matthew 6:1-4) clearly Jesus is condemning people giving to the poor to be recognized by others and not out of love to the poor, which is in agreement with what Paul was saying.
    Also, according to the dialogue with Nicodemus being born again was imperative for entering the Kingdom of God, no mention of acts of mercy or good deeds. He also clearly said, ” No one comes to the Father except through me” so if someone is doing good deeds but rejects Jesus salvation, he won’t make it to the kingdom of God.
    I Agree with you that James has the correct approach. Salvation demonstrated by works.

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