Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Evidence and the Shroud of Turin

There was an article in the Denver Post dated March 3, 2013, which reported on a lecture by scientist Rudy Dichtl who was a part of the research group which examined the Shroud in 1978 and conducted extensive scientific tests. The tests established that the Shroud contained blood and a mysterious still inexplicable image of a crucified man. There was doubt shed on the claim that the man was Jesus Christ by C-14 carbon tests from a corner of the Shroud but there has been substantial “factual” doubt about the validity of those test that are explained in the Denver Post article. 
Yet, he says that as scientist, it can’t be said that it has been proven to be the burial cloth of Christ. Rudy Dichtl has made great contributions but there is a point where we have to make decisions on the evidence available. Based upon all the evidence available, the Shroud is a burial cloth of Jesus Christ. It is a matter of probabilities. How many Jews were crucified in 30-33 CE who claimed to be the Messiah?
That is the specific event we are considering. Best bet is probably only one, but I would like to challenged on that with specific cases if they exist. Saying there MAY have been others when there is no historical evidence of any others in that time period does not create doubt, reasonable or otherwise.

Yes, there were other individuals who claimed to be the Messiah, but how many were crucified by the Romans circa 30 CE (AD). The Roman historian Tacitus noted that "Christus" was executed by Pontius Pilot at that time period but that the execution didn't put an end to his superstition which spread to Rome where 20 or so years later Nero launched his persecution of the Christians that ultimately took the lives of Peter and Paul.


It's circumstantial evidence - you betcha. But every year in the United States people are convicted of crimes and sometimes executed on the basis of circumstantial evidence where the burden of proof is "evidence beyond reasonable doubt." We do not order our lives by proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The circumstances are such that they establish the authenticity of the Shroud, and, I believe, beyond REASONABLE doubt.

Reasonable doubt is a not a lingering suspicion that comes in the middle of the night. Where the facts point so strongly in one direction, Reasonable doubt must then be based on facts. When evidence is adduced that a certain event probably happened, doubt not based on facts is not reasonable.

There is no authentic doubt about the Shroud once it is established that it is a linen cloth that once enwrapped the body of a crucified man who was scourged, beaten, nailed to a cross   and his side pierced with a post-mortem (after death) spear wound. There is even evidence that he carried the cross-bar on his shoulders and walked through streets that had limestone stone dust compatible with the streets of Jerusalem. There is also evidence that he fell and because he was carrying the cross-bar, he couldn't break his fall, injuring a knee and the tip of his nose.

The accumulation of facts is overwhelming. The question that nobody has ever answered, given the circumstances is: If not HIM, who?

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