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Is the Shroud Evidence for God’s Existence?

not from the conference

I like Fr. Dwight Longenecker, former Evangelical Christian, former Anglican priest and now Roman Catholic parish priest, with a wife and children, no less. I like reading his blog, Standing on My Head! This week Longenecker posts, Evidence for God’s Existence in which he writes:

It is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, of course, which is the one miracle that rules them all, and I am more and more convinced by the evidence of the Shroud of Turin.

[ . . . ]

Whenever I am now in dialogue with an atheist I skip all the philosophical arguments and simply therefore point to the shroud.

My  challenge to the atheist is, “I dare you to seriously study the shroud with an open mind in an objective manner.”

I’m reminded of David Rolfe’s challenge to Richard Dawkins.

Okay, but . . .  Being skeptical about the shroud (or not) and being an atheist (or not) are not the same things. I’ve met an atheist who believes the shroud is real. And I know many Evangelicals, Anglicans, Catholics and Christians of all kinds who are skeptics of the shroud, just as I know many who are not.

Should it be skeptics of the shroud rather than atheists who we should be daring “to seriously study the shroud with an open mind in an objective manner”?

But then again does that work? Hugh Farey is an example to consider. He is the Editor of the British Society for the Turin Shroud (BSTS). He has studied the shroud for years. He is one of the more knowledgeable and articulate students of the shroud. He knows the facts but remains skeptical of the shroud’s authenticity. He happens to be Christian. In fact, he is Catholic. But he remains a skeptic. Would it be different if he was an atheist?

I doubt it.

Longedecker writes:

If atheists really want evidence for the existence of God, then they should seek genuine evidence of a miracle, and they should do so objectively, carefully and with an open mind.

There’s plenty of excellent scientific evidence for the shroud out there. They should take a look.

I just know too many open-minded skeptics of the shroud to agree. Some are Christian, some not. Some are atheist, some not. All have taken a serious look at the excellent scientific evidence but, typically, I think, that’s where it ends.

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