Shroud of Turin - Data is very compelling/challenging on all levels

#1
Hi all,

I want to encourage EVERYONE to watch this presentation by a Dr William Guy. Dr Guy it seems is a "believer" (I am not) in the traditional Biblical Christian sense, but his presentation is masterful and comprehensive. Please do not be put off by his Christian faith, it does not seem to bias his presentation, and his credentials and objectivity seem evident to me.
(Personally, I would suggest skipping to 08:30 ish and watching from here, as the first bit is a little too Christian appologetics for my liking and lends nothing to the main body of the presentation, but the rest seems to be pure "following the data wherever it leads" stuff)


I recently stumbled upon a number of documentaries regarding the Shroud of Turin. I like many had thought that it was a proven medieval forgery, and the story ended there, but boy was I wrong. Turns out, that EVEN if it is a forgery (which I cannot see how it is), it is impossible to explain. Bizarrely, after being exposed to all the data that is presented by Dr William, and using Occam's oh so sharp razor, I must conclude that the simplest explanation for how the image got onto the cloth, must be a paranormal and non conventional one.

One of the reasons the Shroud has really got my attention is that in terms of my views on religion, Christianity and Spirituality in general, I think my evolution in this regard has been very similar to Alex's. In fact, listening to this podcast has been a major force in my spiritual evolution and thinking, and the information Alex has shared has been of inestimable value.

Like Alex, I have been drawn towards Indian philosophy in my personal spiritual journey, and have an attraction towards Bhakti yoga, but also many eastern philosophical perspectives and philosophies. Jesus was an important figure in my youth, and then I became more atheistic/agnostic during my years at University studying philosophy (God is educated out of most of us), and slowly rediscovered the spiritual later through buddhism, Hinduism (particularly vedanta philosophy) etc, and podcasts like Skeptiko.

I always felt that of all the spiritual figures throughout history, the one which really had the most powerful emotional effect on me was the Jesus figure I learned about and wondered about in my youth, so I was always sad to have lost that along the way. As a Jungian archetype, the Jesus figure still resonates most powerfully with me. I came to accept that the unembodied myth was enough, and that a real human was not necessary.

But as Alex himself has said and wrestled with in a number ofepisodes, what do we make of the fact that this Jesus figure turns up in so many NDE's?

I loved the episodes covering Ceasars Messiah, and swallowed it all down without any resistance, however, this cloth certainly now gives me pause. I would particularly love to know what Alex makes of this Shroud, and the data surrounding it, and what his thoughts are on the interplay of anomolous data like this, with wonderfully presented evidence for the Flavian usurping or even creation of the biblical Jesus.

Also, I know I can count on the wonderful Skeptiko forum users to share their broad knowledge of so many topics, and also dig and uncover things not easily accesible or readily apparent.

I would love to know everyone's thoughts and opinions on this most interesting artifact, and the implications. But please, I ask, watch the video first.

Also I am posting links to other videos on YouTube below, as there are so many wonderful documentaries and presentations on this, and it is so seemingly compelling. Please share your thoughts on this.

Soul









https://youtu.be/P0wsbxJGuus
 
#2
Thanks for posting. I've not had time to watch any of the linked videos yet. I think I'm in a fortunate position where my worldview doesn't stand or fall based on the literal truth any scriptures. I do though think the shroud is interesting, I tend to lean more to the side that it is 'genuine' - whatever that might mean, but I don't have a fixed conclusion.
But please, I ask, watch the video first.
Oops! Sorry.
 
#3
Thanks for posting. I've not had time to watch any of the linked videos yet. I think I'm in a fortunate position where my worldview doesn't stand or fall based on the literal truth any scriptures. I do though think the shroud is interesting, I tend to lean more to the side that it is 'genuine' - whatever that might mean, but I don't have a fixed conclusion.

Oops! Sorry.
Interesting statement. I too would agree that my worldview doesn't stand or fall based any literall interpretation of any scripture. However, my worldview is entirely informed by the world I discover around me.
Often, I have had to dig, and look in often surprising and obscure places to find the truth's of many things - Skeptiko being one of those places.
My world view is on a trajectory of ascension up the mountainside of truth, and I feel that I have reached a plateau from which I have a good vantage point to see many things clearer than many of my friends and colleagues who have not embarked upon the climb with the same fervour I have. However, I am not even a fraction of the way up the mountain, and some of the things we encounter on the way up, will change our vista permanently.

For some reason, right now, and for reasons I cannot rationally explain, this feels like it could be a vista changing one ... though it may turn out not be.
 
#4
My beliefs don't stand or fall on signs and wonders, but the shroud has always been intriguing. At worst (phenomenally speaking) it's a photographic image by unknown process that predates and improves on early attempts to fix an image by a few hundred years.
 
#5
My beliefs don't stand or fall on signs and wonders, but the shroud has always been intriguing. At worst (phenomenally speaking) it's a photographic image by unknown process that predates and improves on early attempts to fix an image by a few hundred years.
If you watch the YouTube link I posted, I think you will agree that all things considered, the photographic image by a truly genius and supremely learned forger hypothesis simply does not account for enough of the data.

The image being imprinted without any liquids or burning does lend itself to some kind of (though what we do not know) photographic explanation, but the other data (pollen data, weave of the cloth, blood and bilirubin levels suggestive of real person undergoing severe prolonged trauma and more etc) also need explaining.

Again, please watch the video (s).
 
#7
If it is a forgery, it is the most sophisticated artefact in existence simply because no one knows how it was created. The complexity of it defies explanation and personally I think it's genuine.
Thing is, IF it is genuine, what do we do with that information?

I don't think it leads to a literal interpretation of the Bible at all. I still think the bible is more a political manipulation tool than a historically accurate word of God affair. I think more is gleaned from the Bible reading between the lines, and putting on a pair of thick lensed gnostic reading glasses.

However, there will still be massive implications. NDE experiences of jesus for example, rather than being somehow subjectively archetypal experiences may now have to be interpreted more literally perhaps?

I wonder also, if Jesus was real, could this shroud be explained in terms of the "rainbow body" phenomenon described by tibetan Buddhists?

So many questions, but let's first look at the data, and evaluate it, look for holes etc.
 
#8
it's a photographic image by unknown process
The problem with that is, the image is a photographic negative and someone from medieval times would have to have invented photography (and then buried their discovery) But they would have also required the insight, motivation and sophistication to set up the image as a negative so that it could/would be discovered at some point in the future when photography was (re) invented.
Then there is the problem with the image, it can't be reproduced by any known method.

Furthermore, some of the details of the shroud image such as the position of the thumbs, the composition of the blood stains and the direction of the flow, their perfect consistency with the anatomical facts that would arise from crucifixion, couldn't have been known to someone from that age. They didn't have forensic pathology available.
 
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#9
Thing is, IF it is genuine, what do we do with that information?
That's not something I would want to discuss personally :) I don't make a good preacher, trust me.

I don't think it leads to a literal interpretation of the Bible at all.
I struggle with giving the Bible much credence, but personally I accept the historical Jesus of the new testament although I don't think he was actually the son of the creator of the universe. (But who knows)

I wonder also, if Jesus was real, could this shroud be explained in terms of the "rainbow body" phenomenon described by tibetan Buddhists?
I don't know what the rainbow body is TBH. Some of the other questions you've raised are interesting but wouldn't they need another thread ?
 
#11
The problem with that is, the image is a photographic negative and someone from medieval times would have to have invented photography (and then buried their discovery) But they would have also required the insight, motivation and sophistication to set up the image as a negative so that it could/would be discovered at some point in the future when photography was (re) invented.
Then there is the problem with the image, it can't be reproduced by any known method.

Furthermore, some of the details of the shroud image such as the position of the thumbs, the composition of the blood stains and the direction of the flow, their perfect consistency with the anatomical facts that would arise from crucifixion, couldn't have been known to someone from that age. They didn't have forensic pathology available.
I haven't had the chance to look at the videos yet, I'm rammed with jobs this week but hope to see them over the weekend. There were positive image experiments in the early history of photography, but none that match the shroud. However you look at it, the shroud is an extraordinary artefact that appears to resemble a form of radiation as much as anything. It's difficult not to see it in terms of the Transfiguration, where Peter, James and John were said to have seen Jesus on a mountain with Moses and Elijah, "transfigured" and radiant, accompanied by an invisible voice from above. Jesus tells the disciples not to speak of the things they have seen. Cue UFO buffs!

Being a cynic, I find it difficult to believe a global religion should on the rest on the verisimilitude of a bit of old cloth. I think the church preserves it as an object of veneration, along the lines of paintings, sculpture and other works of art rather than an approved image of Christ. The last video on the subject I watched did a 3-dimensional projection of the shroud figure, and it was consistent with real human contours, rather than a simulacrum or work of art. Given the figurative nature of medieval art, it's unbelievable that such an image was "designed", so it would have to be a contact "print" of some kind on a real body. My hypothesise run out at that point, and I'm prepared to put the shroud in the pending tray along with so much of this thing we call reality.
 
#13
I wanted to add this video which is a presentation by Barrie Schwortz, who was the photographer on the original scientific team to investigate the Shroud in 1978.

It provides a very intimate look behind the scenes, and really gives colour and insight into what went down and how it unfolded. Well worth a watch:

 
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#14
Another point that strikes me as relevant is that if indeed some great genius was behind this image (who had the unfathomable ingenuity to create it) ..surely they would have been aware that at some time in the future, a method of dating it would be discovered. So what would the point of the whole exercise be ? Doesn't make sense IMHO.
 
#15
Another point that strikes me as relevant is that if indeed some great genius was behind this image (who had the unfathomable ingenuity to create it) ..surely they would have been aware that at some time in the future, a method of dating it would be discovered. So what would the point of the whole exercise be ? Doesn't make sense IMHO.
"surely they would have been aware that at some time in the future, a method of dating it would be discovered"

Through much of history, humankind has believed the end of the world was just around the corner. Perhaps it was expected (hoped?) that the world would end before we progressed that far.

Today we have prophets declaring the end every few months. More practically, I (and you I guess) grew up in an era where nuclear war was considered a significant threat. Nowadays we live in fear of carbon dioxide. Or computer AI and rampant robots wreaking havoc. Predictions of the end are always with us.
 
#16
Perhaps it was expected (hoped?) that the world would end before we progressed that far.
Maybe, Typoz it's a fair point but I still can't see why anyone of the intelligence and sophistication required to create that image (ie having the technological ability to create something so incredibly complex) .... would feel the need to perpetrate a hoax (about a religious figure/albeit the Christ) and a hoax that certainly could not be understood by anyone else around at the time, and was not going to be understood for who knows how many years in the future. And if they thought the world was going to end soon, why did they bother ?
 
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#17
Well Tim, I'm not claiming it's a hoax. However I do consider that over the centuries, religious texts have been manipulated in order to exert control over the masses. In that sense, using other relics, such as bones of the saints, or pieces of the cross and so on may sometimes or often be part of that same political control. Often with the best of intentions perhaps, but also with the aim of keeping people in their place.

I do see the point you are making too, which is a fair one.
 
#18
Well Tim, I'm not claiming it's a hoax. However I do consider that over the centuries, religious texts have been manipulated in order to exert control over the masses. In that sense, using other relics, such as bones of the saints, or pieces of the cross and so on may sometimes or often be part of that same political control. Often with the best of intentions perhaps, but also with the aim of keeping people in their place.
Agreed of course but if someone was seeking to give Christianity "a boost" why go to the trouble of creating something so incredibly complex ? Surely such an advanced intellect capable of producing that image would be a bit beyond religious bigotry ?
 
#19
Watched the videos expecting an easy debunking, was surprised at the complexity of the relic. I find the superficial nature of the image intriguing, since painting penetrates more deeply into cloth. However, I'm not convinced by the argument that there is bilirubin in the cloth, as it is photosensitive and with all the parading and exposition that it has received, its bound to have decomposed by now. I would like tests by another source before accepting the idea. A new round of carbon dating also needs to take place, but I'm not sure how to keep it drama-free and unbiased, since the history of the piece and its associations make it ideal for tampering by the Church itself or dogmatic atheists.

Lets say for the sake of argument that this is indeed the burial cloth of one Jesus, what exactly would that change? If more bizarre data keeps appearing, that may pile up to the point that it leads some to conclude that it is evidence of something paranormal. But, that would not automatically validate all of the Christian dogma, most of which was writen years or decades after the historical Jesus was suposed to live. Furthermore, if an individual cheated death by some unkown means, that does not make him the son of god and/or god incarnate by default. For all we know he simply found some red pill and exploited it to escape the matrix, maybe even something that its inherent in all of us.

In conclusion, I am open minded that it may be a piece suggestive of some paranormal process, but don't expect me to convert anytime soon.
 
#20
what do we make of the fact that this Jesus figure turns up in so many NDE's?
Not trying to be controversial but the guy I'm talking to now (an NDEr) saw "him." He just emailed me before, complete coincidence (nothing to do with Skeptiko) apparently he'd seen a picture of the shroud for some reason and he said it looked an awful lot like the face he saw in his NDE. Doesn't prove anything but I thought it was very interesting.
 
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