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  • Is the Shroud real? Probably.

    The Shroud of Turin may be the real burial cloth of Jesus. The carbon dating, once seemingly proving it was a medieval fake, is now widely thought of as suspect and meaningless. Even the famous Atheist Richard Dawkins admits it is controversial. Christopher Ramsey, the director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Laboratory, thinks more testing is needed. So do many other scientists and archeologists. This is because there are significant scientific and non-religious reasons to doubt the validity of the tests. Chemical analysis, all nicely peer-reviewed in scientific journals and subsequently confirmed by numerous chemists, shows that samples tested are chemically unlike the whole cloth. It was probably a mixture of older threads and newer threads woven into the cloth as part of a medieval repair. Recent robust statistical studies add weight to this theory. Philip Ball, the former physical science editor for Nature when the carbon dating results were published, recently wrote: “It’s fair to say that, despite the seemingly definitive tests in 1988, the status of the Shroud of Turin is murkier than ever.” If we wish to be scientific we must admit we do not know how old the cloth is. But if the newer thread is about half of what was tested – and some evidence suggests that – it is possible that the cloth is from the time of Christ.

    No one has a good idea how front and back images of a crucified man came to be on the cloth. Yes, it is possible to create images that look similar. But no one has created images that match the chemistry, peculiar superficiality and profoundly mysterious three-dimensional information content of the images on the Shroud. Again, this is all published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

    We simply do not have enough reliable information to arrive at a scientifically rigorous conclusion. Years ago, as a skeptic of the Shroud, I came to realize that while I might believe it was a fake, I could not know so from the facts. Now, as someone who believes it is the real burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth, I similarly realize that a leap of faith over unanswered questions is essential.

Of inexplicable explanations

Posted by Dan on 2014

I was prompted by an email from a reader of to find this and post it again on the blog. So why not reblog it, as well.

Shroud of Turin Blog

imageBT writes from New London:

After reading this blog for more than a year, I have decided the image was not produced by a manmade, a natural or even a supernatural process. Yet, there it is, very faint, seemingly a negative, which when processed “photographically” reveals more details than any human or lesser god could have imagined. But it is not an image is it? It is analog 3D data that just happens to look like an image.

The more we try to understand it the more unexplainable it becomes. I was therefore very pleased to read the thoughtful discussion between Matthias and Hugh Farey about the unexplainable nature of what we call the image.

Me. too! Here, to make it easier for anyone who missed it or wants to reread it, is an ever-so-slightly edited version of that discussion:

Matthias asks:

You are not willing to consider a…

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