Anthony Alexander, after reading Slouching to Emmaus, remarked: “I get the sense you are now a more certain believer in the resurrection of Christ but at the same time on your way to becoming a complete skeptic of the shroud. Am I right?” Then he added, “Was it St. Louis?”
St. Louis was a precipitous event, in slow motion, like walking down a steep gravel trail with stones rolling and sliding beneath my feet, threatening to tumble me down the hill. In St. Louis, as I listened to Joe Accetta and stared at the photo of a death mask that Joe thought might have the same 3D characteristics as the face of the Shroud, I began to think, how wrong had I been about so much that I had once believed? Whose fault was that?
Those who saw images of coins over the eyes were well-intentioned. I had, for a short time, believed them. Was I not skeptical enough? Was I naive?
Those who saw images of flowers, teeth, bones, and whatnot were also well-intentioned. I believed them too.
Those who concluded that the Shroud’s image had unique 3D properties were well-intentioned. I believed them for a long time. I wonder now if someone should have tried (or tried harder) to prove or disprove the claims of this so often repeated statement. I promoted the uniqueness of the 3D and I now feel embarrassed for having done so.
Consider this popular quote:
This spatial data encoded into the image actually eliminates photography and painting as the possible mechanism for its creation and allows us to conclude that the image was formed while the cloth was draped over an actual human body.
Whatever data exists in the image, which may or may not be spatial, simply does not eliminate photography and painting or say anything about the image is formed. Simply take out the word “spatial” and the sentence is gibberish.
Three-dimensional-abiility of data does not make the data spatial.
I could have said what the Queen of Hearts said to Alice:
I don’t think we can say “the image was formed while the cloth was draped over an actual human body” though I think we have considerable bloodstain evidence to support the idea that the cloth probably covered a human body some of the time.
I don’t know if I’m on my way to becoming a skeptic. If I don’t know then I guess this makes me something of an agnostic on authenticity. Frankly, I’m not a skeptic because I find it more difficult to believe it ia not authentic than to believe it is. I believe that without sufficient justification. That’s not comfortable.
Anthony’s thinking that I am a more certain believer in the Resurrection is inteeresting. Compared to 1965, the answer is clearly yes. My essay makes that clear. Now, I am more inclined to think the Resurrection is physical rather than spiritual, circa 2001. That is not because of the Shroud.
For me, my belief is preemptive. It demolishes any form of miraculous/energetic hypothetical process for the images. That, too, I address in my essay.
Thanks for the chance to clarify.