Monday, April 09, 2012

If by 'controversial' you mean 'stupid'

His followers were dummies
then we have a controversial new theory:
As [Thomas] de Wesselow is quick to admit, this idea is only a hypothesis. No one has tested whether a decomposing body could leave an imprint on shroud-style cloth like the one seen on the [Shroud of Turin]...
It's likely, he says, that Jesus' female followers returned to his tomb to finish anointing his body for burial three days after his death. When they lifted the shroud to complete their work, they would have seen the outline of the body and interpreted it as a sign of Jesus' spiritual revival.
So that's the theory. Mary, Mary, Mary, and Mary went to the tomb on Easter morning, saw the marks on Jesus' shroud and, ignoring the stinking, decomposing corpse they had come to prepare, instead posited the cloth "as a sign of Jesus' spiritual revival."  All of that stuff about, "They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him" is just to be ignored.

But it fits the pattern. As is often the case (see: Jesus walked on the ice), whenever someone comes up with a naturalistic theory to explain a miracle,* that theory posits theoretical but unknown natural forces that gullible people interpret as a miracle. And it does so while ignoring everything those people said about it, or puts words in their mouth they never spoke. We therefore are supposed to ignore the testimony Jesus' disciples gave, the fact that no Christians ever returned to Jesus' tomb even though they knew he was there, and the fact that they never mentioned this 'miracle cloth.' We must do this in order to account for how a natural process that no one has seen or tested really explains why Jesus' idiot disciples ran all over the Middle East and Europe claiming that he had risen from the dead.

This, I guess, is what is called science.

* as I may have mentioned before, I neither know nor care if the shroud is "genuine," by which I mean it is really the burial cloth of Christ.  If it is, it's pretty cool. If it's not, that's fine, too.  But there can be little doubt that de Wesselow's argument is designed to get around a potential miracle.


Professor Hale said...

It may also be a genuine article, but not in any way related to Jesus, His death, or His resurrection.

Chain of custody on all such relics and artifacts was pretty loose for about the first thousand years. I have heard that the Vetican has done a credible job of collecting up a great meny such items and that fragments of the true cross fill a room (like a loaves and fishes miracle-- but with a much more mundane cause).

Many Italian catherdrals still have reliquaries will all sorts of "apostle's toes" and "Saint whose-it's decayed hand". They are known only to be genuine in that the custody can be verified for the past couple of hundred years. Everything else must be taken on faith that there wasn't a substitution made during one of the frequent sackings or that they din't lose track of teh right names somewhere along the way. 2000 years is a long time.

Fortunately for Christians, nothing about our salvation is in any way dependent on those items or what we believe about them.

El Borak said...

I just can't believe the guy went to all the trouble of writing a book without first wrapping a dead body in a sheet for three days to see if a shroud results.

bw said...

Mary, Mary, Mary, and Mary

LMAO. Not a very good start for the "scientists". And is this guy using the multiplier effect to hint that females are especially more stupid than the average gender?!

The whole Jesus' "relics" thing - and therefore Catholicism specifically - has always been just straight up Idolotry from my pov. As an ex (I believe?) your pov on all things Catholic would be interesting.

I remember the Jesus Ice Skating post. I've got it around here somewhere. Don't forget the wind-blew-tide-out-Hebrews-crossed-through-muddy-reeds Red Sea thing - I HAVE always heard you really can drown entire horse/chariot armies on mud flats after that 4 inch wall of water on each side comes crashing down.

El Borak said...

I think relics are historical items that retain the magical power to separate the credulous from their money.

But lest we think the Catholics are uniquely susceptible to such, I present singed hair from a dead singer. I've seen Elvis' hair for sale, too. The record for weirdest has got to the be $25k someone paid for William Shatner's kidney stone. That's almost as cool as the nipples of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Almost.