“Forensic Research (Once Again) suggests the Shroud of Turin is fake.”  This was the title of the on-line article NBC ran on July 17, 2018.  Many other news outlets, including Reuters, Fox, and CNN, ran similar articles.  The clear impression these articles give is that the latest forensic analysis of the Shroud has now created a consensus among the experts that it is a medieval forgery.

The only problem with this is that no such consensus exists.

Religion is extremely dangerous.  It convinces people they have a corner on the Truth, that they are right and everybody else is wrong.  This leads to a feeling of superiority, which, in turn, breeds intolerance, fanaticism, and, many times, violence. 

Recently, a bunch of Christians were upset with Justin Bieber.  But probably not for the reason you would think.  They were upset because he sang a worship song at the Coachella Music Festival, written by Cory Asbury, called “Reckless Love”.

With his fame, he exposed many more thousands to the faith.  So what’s the problem?  According to these Christians, the problem is that the song implies that God’s love is reckless.  That God is careless, rash, impulsive, irresponsible, indifferent to the consequences of his actions.  

But as provocative as the song may be, the problem with the criticism it’s getting is that “Reckless Love”  is based squarely on Jesus’ teaching.  Jesus consistently paints a picture of a God who does love with reckless abandon. 

Without an empty tomb, the case for the resurrection falls apart.  When I was teaching, I used to tell my classes that if someone could produce Jesus’ corpse, if they could point to the tomb it was still buried in, I’d be the first one to renounce my faith.  Of course, no one ever has, and most likely, no one ever will.  

However, one of the most impressive features of resurrection faith is that, confronted with an empty tomb, no one in those first few days and weeks after Jesus’ crucifixion (when his body would still be identifiable) was ever able to produce his dead corpse—even though many had strong motive to do so.  Most scholars recognize what a powerful piece of evidence this is. 

But, what if Jesus’ body was never buried in a tomb in the first place?  Then all bets are off.  The fact that no one could produce his body wouldn’t prove anything.  

Know the most dangerous place in America on Sunday mornings?  The Church parking lot! 

I know this is just a joke, but, like all humor, there is an element of truth in it—a large element.  (I’ve certainly had my share of close calls leaving church!)  The thing many people find most unbelievable about Christianity is the way so many Christians behave. 

A lot of people die for their sincerely-held beliefs.  What’s any different about Christianity? 

One of the most frequently cited proofs for Jesus’ resurrection is the fact that his disciples were willing to die for their beliefs.  But so were the 9-11 hijackers.  So were the Branch Davidians.  So were many very sincere, but seriously deluded people throughout the ages.

Jesus’ disciples may have been utterly sincere in thinking they saw him risen from the dead.  But so what?  What does this prove, other than the fact that they are like so many others who’ve died for an ideology, charismatic leader, or deeply-held belief?

About Me

E.J. Sweeney is a true skeptic. He needs to see to believe. Hard Evidence. Compelling Proof. Solid Logic. This is what he believes in. In college, he encountered questions that the superficial faith he was raised on couldn’t handle. So he began a quest for Truth, a quest for the answers to life’s ultimate questions.

EJ Sweeney

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