The Shroud of Turin

Since it’s Sunday and I have no A to Z post for the day, I’ve decided to share a little video with you. I follow James Phelps on twitter (Fred Weasley from Harry Potter) and he tweeted this link about a week ago. Perfectly timed to coincide with Easter, I was intrigued by the nature of the site. 

Growing up in a Christian household has it’s ups and downs. There are certain things that I just take for granted as being truth because of my own personal spiritual beliefs. Certain things I don’t even question because of what I have grown up believing. However, over the years, I have grown quite defensive of my faith, and while I won’t preach at you (everyone has the right to believe what they want), I will openly talk about my religion if you initiate it, and I will most certainly defend my choice in religions if provoked – and that includes the defense of my choice to have tattoos while still following the Christian doctrine (it comes up quite a bit actually, and I’ve become very good at shutting people’s negativity down quickly and without having to get into an argument).

After being subjected to society’s ridicule for about 15 years now (I honestly didn’t notice it until my teens), and completing 5 years of a religion degree, I’ve become very cautious of new evidence that either proves or disproves Jesus’ existence on earth. However, watching Mr. Phelps outside of the Harry Potter franchise, he’s earned quite a bit of respect in my mind so I took a look at the video. And I’ve got to say that I was very much impressed.

There is a bit of scientific jargon throughout the video, but if I can understand it, I’m sure it’ll be just fine for you.

Basically, the video chronicles the scientific dating of the Shroud of Turin, and the problems with it. They used a process called C-14, which is explained in the video. This process dated the cloth in the middle of 1200-1300 (exact dates are in the video) and thus labels it as a forgery. However, as evidenced in the video, the outcome of this testing is highly unreliable, and there is a case made within for the cloth being much older, and not a forgery as the C-14 tests claim.

Now I can’t say for sure whether or not I believe that the Shroud of Turin is the actual cloth that wrapped Jesus in the grave. I’m not sure if anyone can ever really claim that (aside from Jesus himself perhaps) but the evidence given in the video is quite compelling. Especially the part where a Dr. Paolo Di Lazzaro is talking about the depth of the image in the fabric – “it does not penetrate the cloth beyond a few nano meters”  He speaks about the light needed to create such an image without destroying the cloth and how that technology doesn’t even exist today, let alone in medieval times to a forger. This evidence is given closer to the end of the video (around the 19-20 minute mark) and is by far the most convincing out of the whole thing in my mind.

I also really appreciate how at the end, the commentary says that if the image was of any other significant historical figure (an emperor, warrior etc), the academic world wouldn’t rest until they understood how the image transferred to the cloth. But is Jesus of Nazareth too potent a figure for a scholar to tackle with? Too dangerous for reputations? What are they scared of? 

I kind of find this statement to be true around a lot of Christian research. I personally stayed as far away from any Christianity classes as I could in university. Not only because I was specializing in Eastern religions and philosophies, but also because the readings and assignments for these classes angered me to the core. I couldn’t take those classes without having the teacher, other students or required readings try to justify away the entire religion which never happened in any other course. As if their entire world would crumble if even one small piece of information was proven to be true.

I highly recommend you watch the video, it’s less than 30 minutes and well worth it. At the end of the video, it asks you to make up your own mind. So, watch it, examine the information as it is presented to you, do extra research if you so choose, and then let me know!

2 thoughts on “The Shroud of Turin

  1. I am a student of science. What people do not realize is science is a theoretically based. We spend our lives posing (and proving) theories but another generation will go past them. Carbon 14 dating should be put out to pasture – I read about an eating utensil that was carbon dated to be thousands of years old but all you had to do was look at the utensil to see that it was a poplular style in the late 1800s. I guess like many things you have to have a plus or minus variance.
    I agree that the shroud of Turin regardless of its authenticity cannot change my belief in God.

    Liked by 1 person

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