Tis the season we celebrate the Spring Equinox. Of course thanks to the Catholic Church, most people call it Easter. In point of fact the Spring Equinox occurred on March the 20th, but hey! We’re close enough.
Easter is the celebration – helluva thing to celebrate – of the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. “Good Friday” marks his death and “Easter Sunday” marks his resurrection. Each year preachers compete to tell the story in new and more profound ways. I’m not going to compete with them, but I will point out a few rather glaring problems with the entire account.
Problems With The Crucifixion Story
The first glaring problem is the actual historical reason Jesus was supposed to have been crucified. That form of capital punishment was generally reserved for the really bad actors. According to Biblical accounts, Jesus wouldn’t qualify for crucifixion by a long shot. He certainly hadn’t murdered anyone. He had not led or been involved in a revolt against Rome. If they merely wanted to kill a Jew, there certainly was no need to go to the expense – nails were expensive – of building a cross and tacking him up. They could just as easily have run him through with a sword and been done with it.
What we do know according to the Bible is that above his head, they hung a sign which read, “King Of The Jews.” The whole point of crucifixion was that it be an extremely effective form of societal control. You walked by, looked up and read the offense the person had committed and immediately became convinced that you probably wanted to avoid repeating whatever that poor soul had done. This is why when a person was crucified, they remained on the cross until they started to rot. The smell was also part of the process. It served to get your attention.
If being or claiming to be the “King of the Jews” was a capital offense, shouldn’t King Herod have been tacked up beside Jesus? After all, he actually was the “King of the Jews.” If Rome had a problem with there being a “King of the Jews,” Herod would have been crucified long before Jesus.
Then there’s the problem of Jesus being removed from the cross on the same day he died. Remember what the whole point of the exercise was. Crucifixion was not a trivial form of execution. Once the Romans went to the trouble to tack you up… you stayed there. Thus, the story is rather suspect to say the least.
Of course, this brings us to the whole “3 days and 3 nights” prophecy. If Jesus was indeed crucified and buried on “Good Friday” and resurrected “Easter Sunday Morning,” You have a very difficult time getting 3 days and 3 nights out of that time span. You’ll find these and other Biblical errors explored in my article, “Biblical Errors – Why The Bible Is Not God’s Word.”
Holy Shroud – Holy Fake?
Your first clue as to the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin is that the Catholic Church refuses to declare it as authentic. Given all the other – sometimes questionable – miracles they’ve documented, the fact they’re not willing to declare the Shroud of Turin the authentic burial shroud of Jesus should tell you something.
This might have something to do with the fact, when it first made it’s official appearance in Lirey, France in 1390, Bishop Pierre d’Arcis wrote a memorandum to Antipope Clement VII, stating that the shroud was a forgery and that the artist had confessed. Thus from its very inception, it was found to be a forgery. They discovered the artist who created it and he confessed to having done it. Ordinarily this would be enough and we could close the books on this matter. If only it were that simple… Once faith and belief get involved, the human propensity for ignoring facts in an effort to alter reality to fit their faith can be overwhelmingly powerful. Of course it doesn’t hurt any, that you can make a lot of money putting it on display.
Science Weighs In
In 1988 the Catholic Church agreed to allow the Shroud to be subjected to “Radio Carbon Dating.” Knowing that the Shroud had been damaged in a fire they took pains to select a portion of the cloth that was away from the site of any repairs and patches. To wit: they took pains to test a piece of the original cloth. Since this test is destructive, they divided the swath of cloth they were permitted to test and sent it to three different labs. Labs at the University of Oxford, the University of Arizona, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology concluded with 95% confidence that the shroud material dated to 1260–1390 AD. This of course makes it about 1,000 years too young to have been the burial shroud of Jesus. Nevertheless, if you don’t like what one group of experts says, keep shopping until you find some experts who will say what you want them to.
There have of course been later experts who have attempted to impugn the protocols of the original tests, even though they were not involved with those tests, nor were they present to have witnessed any flaws in how the science was conducted. Thus they are in essence proffering opinions about something they simply do not know. Because carbon dating is a destructive test – the sample is destroyed – the Catholic Church is not letting them cut any more pieces of the Shroud. Of course, this hasn’t seemed to present a problem because they’ve theorized that the piece selected for testing “must have been from an invisible repair.” It is this same type of thinking that causes people to fall for those Nigerian scam artists. They so want to believe that someone they’ve never met, picked their email address at random and wants to share 20% of $32 million dollars with them. They focus on the hope and ignore the reality.
Notice Anything Odd About The Image?
I’m not talking about the reverse photographic negative effect. That is simply a by-product of the process. I’m talking about the ethnic genotype of the face. The face on the Shroud is that of a white European, not a Semitic person. As a matter of fact, it does bear a striking resemblance to Max Von Sydow’s portrayal of Jesus in the movie “Greatest Story Ever Told.”
In point of fact Popular Mechanics commissioned a study a few years back on “The Real Face of Jesus.” They used forensics and genome typing to come up with a face that matched that of a Jewish male living in that area at that time. Did they come up with what Jesus actually looked like? Of course not. However, the face they came up with is a lot more realistic than any of the white European depictions that are so popular today.
At that time in history, the only Europeans in the area were the Greeks and the Romans. Jesus was neither. Since the Bible goes to great length to give Jesus’ genealogy, if the Bible is correct, Jesus had no European ancestry in his lineage. If the face on the Shroud was actually Jesus’ face or even the face of a Semitic person, it would not resemble the face of a European from the middle ages.
One of the main arguments of Shroud proponents has to do with how the image got on the Shroud. Never mind the fact that the Bible forbids worshipping graven images, according to these people, the last miracle Jesus performed was taking a rather unflattering photograph of himself at the very moment of his resurrection. You hear such things as there was a burst of resurrection energy that imprinted the image of Jesus on the cloth.
They point to such things as the lack of brush strokes, claiming this as proof no human hand could of produced the Shroud. As you know, the only options available to artist back then were paints and brushes. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. We are always quick to assume, that we are more advanced, have better technology, know more than our ancestors did. I’m still waiting for someone to conclusively prove how the Pyramids were constructed, how stone was cut and how stones weighing tons were moved at a time when the hardest metal they supposedly had was copper and they had yet to invent the wheel. Perhaps they knew some things we have yet to discover today?
The fact is, the Shroud is easily reproducible today, using the tools and techniques available in 1390. No resurrection energy required. The image has all the same characteristics. It is a negative and when photographed produces a positive image. Since the fellow used as the model is still alive, and doesn’t have the power to walk on water or raise the dead, I think it’s safe to say he’s pretty normal and fairly average.
So, Holy Shroud – Holy Fake? What do you believe?