The Catholic Herald has just ran an article entitled, “Turin Shroud: the latest evidence will challenge the sceptics.” I can’t really seem to find in the post the compelling new findings, sort of promised by the title, that might turn Science on its head and force it to admit that the shroud is actually that of Jesus Christ.
But I suppose I more basic question I have to ask is: is this scientific evidence really necessary?
Is this evidence necessary to convince Catholics of the existence of Christ, first of all? I think they have been doing OK in this department without it. Certainly, there has been some drop-off in the # of Believers (though I wonder if growing # of converts + drop in birth rate of non-believers might balance that out in the end). But was this Belief ever really dependent on carbon dating?
OK, let’s step outside of traditional religion and just consider stuff like meaningful coincidences, psychic phenomena, UFO sightings, and the like.
Without a doubt, many many lives have been forever changed by witnessing/experiencing these types of metaphysical events. But scientific evidence has little-to-nothing to do with that. This is about the power of Belief and one’s personal conception of reality; something so strong, it’s been noted to fuck with things on the quantum level. Something so strong, belief alone seems to cure people of diseases.
Faith-healing is a Catholic staple; being cured by various relics. Is this a function of Science? Possibly only in the sense that the power of belief can sometimes supplant what we understand reality to be.
Unsurprisingly, the author of the Catholic Herald article, a Fr. Dwight Longenecker, pretty much makes the same conclusion by the end of the piece. After rightly pointing out that there are some more recent scientific findings on the Shroud that challenge previous skeptical findings (but are by no means “proof” of the item’s status as the actual cloth that the body of Christ was wrapped in), he writes:
I believe the Shroud is authentic, but if sceptics come up with a convincing answer to the questions the Shroud presents I am open-minded. My faith is rooted in the Resurrection, not the Shroud itself. The fact that the Shroud remains a mystery is a reminder of that other verse from the New Testament that “we walk by faith and not by sight.”
If it “works”…why mess with it?
More to read about on Butterfly Language:
Crisis On Infinite Realities
Why Fanaticism Is So Marketable And Damn Seductive
Professor Predicts Brain Transplants Will “Sweep Away Religion Forever”