Do we prevent somebody being hurt by superstition or faith by rejecting and challenging those things? 

Is it mistaken to support organised religion in membership or donations?

If people do good because they are human, not because God prompts them then is it right to risk giving God any credit when they alone own their good?

 


DID JESUS FAIL TO EXPIRE ON THE CROSS AND END UP BURIED ALIVE?

In the Cathedral of Turin what many people hold to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ is enshrined. The Shroud is around fourteen feet by three and a half feet. It is a sheet of linen. It looks like a big strip that covered the back and front of a man completely. The image it bears is supposed to be the imprint of the dead wounded body of Jesus.

The believers say that the man in the cloth is definitely dead for his legs were not broken.  The gospels say that the Bible predicted that not a bone of Jesus' would be broken.  The men nailed with Jesus had their legs broken but he was spared as he was already dead.  But that is an odd argument.  If the shroud man is not Jesus it is not surprising his legs are not broken.  You can't argue, "The shroud may be real for its legs are fine and it may be real for the gospel says Jesus' legs were not broken."  That is a circular argument.
 
John's gospel says that Jesus had a big enough gash in the side for a man to put his hand in for he appeared to Thomas and asked him to put his hand in. Thus the gospel refutes the Shroud where the man has a small neat slit. If you want to hold that what Thomas saw was not the real Jesus but a hallucination that is up to you.  Shroud man has a small slit from a spear wound.  Nothing fatal about that!
 
Almost half the children in Israel died before they reached five years of age. The adults lived in great hardship and near-starvation. Yet if we look at the Shroud we see a well fed man with muscle who appears to have been doing the equivalent of the modern Body for Life body building programme. This man was not Jesus. If he was then Jesus was exceptionally wealthy and well off and in that case the gospels are lies and we cannot rationally derive religious beliefs about Jesus from them. Then it would be foolish to trawl them looking for evidence that the resurrection was a real event.
 
Shroud science is divided between unbelievers and believers. The unbelief side talks the most sense.
 
The believers ignore the fact that the shroud man was supposed to be lying down in the cloth and yet his face and hair are arranged as if he were standing up. They imagine some kind of band must have been put on him that caused this effect. There is no evidence for this band and its far fetched. It would still mean that whoever put it on went to great lengths to make Jesus' hair look like it would be if he were standing up!
 
Charles Foster in The Jesus Inquest notes how "the position of the arms is unnatural but entirely what one would expect if one was forcibly folding arms that were locked in rigor mortis." That is just an excuse for there is no evidence that the arms were tied together. It is clear that they were not.
 
Some ancients believed that dead men did not bleed (eg. Origen (185-254 AD) so whoever forged the Shroud wanted it to say that Jesus bled even after being put on his back in the cloth after being removed from the cross and so was not dead. By the way, when top Christians were acknowledging that corpses donít bleed it shows that there was no Shroud around in those days. It didnít exist.
 
The man in the Shroud was either not washed for he has too much blood or he bled after being put in the cloth meaning he was alive. The bodies of criminals were buried unwashed so you canít blame the washing for the fresh blood. It is not known if Jesus was washed.

If there was a man in the cloth, he bled after being covered up. A little blood can trickle out of a new corpse but it is easy to tell the difference between that and bleeding. Quantity for one thing!
 
Christian believers in the Shroud and the death of Jesus say that the blood is just the oozing of blood that takes place after a man has had a long and very cruel death.  This is far fetched. And besides there is still too much blood. A big gash can perhaps seep blood after death but most of the Shroud manís bloody wounds are not big enough to facilitate a seepage and even the tiny pricks from the crown of thorns bled into the cloth.
 
Prof. Wolfgang Bonte is the former head of the Forensic Medicine Institute at the University of Dusseldorf. He was president of the International Organization of Forensic Scientists (IAFS).
 
He determined the truth about what the apparent blood on the Shroud says. To keep it neutral, he had to deliberate without knowing that it was the Shroud.
 
Let us look at what he says about the side wound. The lack of smearing and its trickling downwards as if the man was standing up shows we are meant to believe it came out after the man was laid down in the Shroud even though the artist has got the direction wrong. The blood would go out sideways.
 
His conclusions were:
 
The wound on the right side could not have a blood flow after death for the wound was on a high point of the body. The level of any blood would have been further down in the body and could not seep out.
 
Now to the lower back.
 
He wrote, "A blood flow in the proportions described by you, including the direction of the flow, would agree with the idea that the individual involved was still alive at this time . . . this applies especially then, when larger arterial vessels are opened and when involved was still alive at this time . . . this applies especially then, when larger arterial vessels are opened and when the blood pressure produces the necessary pressure against gravity for the blood to leave the body."
 
Though he was informed that it was a corpse during burial he stood by his analysis, "I will not repeat my earlier arguments. In my opinion, everything speaks to the fact that the blood circulation activity had not yet ended."
 
Believers argue that the body was put in the cloth only in the tomb which is why there were no smears. That does not help at all. There should still be smears. And when the body would sink more into the cloth there should be huge smudges. Their only hope is to argue that the man was carefully laid out in the cloth and that he miraculously rose again when the tomb emptied and that would mean a few minutes. This scheme makes the burial too careful for comfort and too deliberate. It is so perfect that it is clear that it is not truly a burial cloth. And their scheme contradicts the doctrine that Jesus did not rise again shortly after dying - he waited nearly three days.
 
There is no evidence at all that if it is blood then the blood is corpse blood, the blood that might seep out of a dead man. So the professor tells us, "It cannot be concluded from any results that the one or the other type of blood is involved."
 
Rivers of blood ran along the cloth below the Shroud man's back and from the back of his feet. They ran wide in a variety of directions. That alone is unnatural for you would see something more like a pool. If he was Jesus then Jesus did not die on the cross and the Shroud refutes the gospels which assert that Jesus gave up the ghost on the cross and was not by any means buried alive. However, that was only their assumption. The gospels give no proof that Jesus really was dead. They only gave hearsay and their own interpretation. None of them tested him for a pulse.
 
The bloodstains on the shroud look as if they were made all at the same time. This contradicts the gospels where Jesus was wounded at different times. There are no congealed wounds at all and there should be. If anything, and if real, the shroud suggests that there was some kind of hoax taking place maybe a fraudulent crucifixion. There were some Docetist Christians who believed that the historical Jesus was not a real man but a vision appearing to be a man. They might have pointed to the unusual features of the shroud as showing that this theory is true. For example, if Jesus was wounded at different times but the cloth was showing he was wounded at the same time it might imply that Jesus was not a normal man but possibly a vision. Another example would be how the trickles of blood from the crown of thorns at the back of the head look like trickles when they should have matted the thick hair and made smudges instead. In fact all the "blood" is clearly defined - no smudges smacks of forgery. They look like they levitate.
 
If the blood did come from a body then the Shroud man was nailed up and crowned with thorns and scourged all about the one time and then fired immediately into the cloth. Brown sees that there is nothing to show that the blood came out at different times but the wounds seemed to have been inflicted at the one time (Biblical Exegesis and Church Doctrine, page 152). Thus, the Shroud man could not have been Christ. He would only have been treated that way to get the blood on the cloth in a convincing way. He would only have been treated that way if the cloth were a fake
 
If the Shroud depicts Jesus Christ then the Christian and biblical message that he died on the cross is false. Nothing that the Shroud man went through need have killed him, he showed no sign of death, he bled after being put in the cloth and showed signs of circulation, and it is more likely that the image came from a live body than a dead one assuming a body was in the cloth. Many forensic scientists who believe that the Shroud is authentic also are insistent that the man in the cloth was not dead but alive.
 
Though it is true the injuries the man got could have killed him nobody knows if they should have done. Nobody claims that it is proven that from the nature of the injuries he must have been dead when he was put into the cloth (allegedly put in). There are indications that they did not kill him.
 
Even if the cloth is strange and inexplicable and even if there is real blood on it it cannot be used as evidence that Jesus rose again miraculously from the dead.
 
The assumption that the body was dead is the main reason why scientists claim that the making of the image was inexplicable. Their tests are based on cadavers. They obviously cannot torture a living man and put him in a tomb like Jesus was in. If they could they might get some answers. But until then they have no business setting it up to make it look like the Shroud is beyond natural explanations.
 
Even if the cloth is strange and inexplicable and even if there is real blood on it, it still does not give us any reason to think these effects came from a body. The image does not carry the huge distortions that would be seen if a body had lain in it and imprinted the images. The image has nothing to do with proving the existence or resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is better at proving that Jesus did not die on the cross than that he did!

FINALLY

If Jesus did not die on the cross then his promise that he would and rise again is false.

People say that people don't suffer for lies and die for them.  But they do for half-truths.  What if Jesus was found alive in the tomb a few days after he was laid there?  They were expecting a corpse to have started rotting and here he was like he was sleeping,  They might even find him a bit warm if he was not dead yet.  That was only a short step to lying that he was conscious and well again.  He was alive - that bit was true.

 
http://www.sillybeliefs.com/shroud.html
 
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/another_easter_for_the_turin_shroud/
 
BOOKS
 
Ante-Nicene Christian Library, Roberts and Donaldson, T&T Clark, Edinburgh, 1870
Biblical Exegesis and Church Doctrine, Raymond E Brown, Paulist Press, New York, 1985
Free Inquiry, Spring 1998, Vol 18, No 2, Article by Joe Nickell, Council for Secular Humanism, Amherst New York
From Fasting Saints to Anorexic Girls, Walter Vandereycken and Ron van Deth, Athlone Press, London, 1996
Holy Faces, Secret Places, Ian Wilson, Corgi, London, 1992
Inquest on the Shroud of Turin, Joe Nickell, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY, 1987
Jesus Lived in India, Holger Kersten, Element, Dorset, 1994
Looking for a Miracle, Joe Nickell, Prometheus Books, New York, 1993
Miracles, Ronald A Knox, Catholic Truth Society, London, 1937
Sceptical Inquirer 9/10 2001 Vol 25, No 5, Article by Joe Nickell, CSIOCP, Amherst New York
Relics, The Society for Irish Church Missions, Bachelorís Walk, Dublin
The Blood and The Shroud, Ian Wilson, Orion, London, 1999
The Book of Miracles, Stuart Gordon, Headline, London, 1996
The Divine Deception, Keith Laidler, Headline, London, 2000
The DNA of God?, Leoncio A Garza-Valdes, Doubleday, 1999
The Holy Shroud and Four Visions, Rev Patrick O Connell and Rev Charles Carty, TAN, Illinois, 1974
The Holy Shroud and the Visions of Maria Valtorta, Msgr Vincenzo Celli, Kolbe Publications Inc., Sheerbrooke, California, 1994
The Image on the Shroud, Nello Ballosino, St Paulís, London, 1998
The Jesus Conspiracy, Holger Kersten amd Elmar R Gruber, Element, Dorset, 1995
The Jesus Relics, From the Holy Grail to the Turin Shroud, Joe Nickell, The History Press, Gloucestershire, 2008
The Second Messiah, Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, Arrow, London, 1998
The Skepticís Guide to the Paranormal, Lynne Kelly, Allen & Unwin, Australia, 2004
The Turin Shroud is Genuine, Rodney Hoare, Souvenir Press, London, 1998
The Turin Shroud, Ian Wilson, Penguin Books, Middlesex, 1979
The Unauthorized Version, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
Turin Shroud, Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, BCA, London, 1994
Verdict on the Shroud, Kenneth E Stevenson and Gary R Habermas, Servant Publications, Ann Arbour, Michigan, 1981