Dirty Laundry Shrouded In Mystery.

Posted by admin on August 7, 2012 in Religion |

I started thinking about faith recently. No, not New Orleans Faith, the one whose nose I hooked.

As you know, my faith has been shaken several times in my life. People dying on you, being poor, almost dying from a illness… these things can really test your faith. So can marrying a Republican agnostic.

I was agnostic at one time, true. I doubted the existence of God. I suppose I turned my back on Him at a couple points. And what happened was never a good thing. So, I learned the hard way that having faith is one of the greatest tests you have in your life, mainly because, yes, it tests your faith.

I only mention this because the Shroud of Turin was in the new a month or so ago. If you recall, it’s believed to be the burial shroud of Christ. Science debunked this in 1988 after carbon dating it, saying it was a medieval fake, created between 1260 and 1390.

Now, without me having to ask the obvious question – if God is all powerful, why wouldn’t he just be able to throw science off with a fake age carbonwise just to shake our faith – I have come upon someone else who is an art historian who took up the cause.

Now, I suppose there are people out there who will say that a scientist will trump an art historian because science has all the answers, which as we know if bullsh**t. Scientists used to believe that the earth was flat and that water was the source of common diseases… so give me a break here.

Back to Thomas de Wesselow, art historian. He wrote a book about the Shroud of Turin and best of all, and I am not making this up, he is an agnostic!

He thought the shroud was a fake too. Until he studied it. And studied it. He found that indeed the shroud’s fabric, the blood stains on the wrists (that’s where you drive nails that support the body, not the hands), and the stitching are consistent with what is known about crucifixions. What’s more, people in medieval times didn’t understand anything about negative images and how to create one. It wasn’t until the shroud was photographed that the image really became clear of a man who had obviously been crucified.

De Wesselow felt so strongly about his findings that he wrote a book on it. Yes, an agnostic wrote a book about a religious artifact, a book that supports it as being authentic and more important, correct to the period.

Now, you can argue, and I would think quite successfully, that there’s no proof that this particular shroud is that of Christ, that it could be any of any guy who was crucified by the Romans.

Go ahead, I say, have at it. Argue until you’re blue in the face. Show us you scientific evidence, big freaking deal. Again, I’m sure that the best scientists of the late 15h century paraded their know-how to Queen Isabella, trying to convince some explorer that he shouldn’t set off an expedition that would almost certainly end with his falling off the edge of a very flat earth.

But Columbus had something that these bozos didn’t. Faith. And no, The Big Easy, as I used to call her. It doesn’t matter whether his faith was based on a supreme being or in his own beliefs. He had faith… that belief in something that you can’t see, you can’t touch, something that your logical mind may say is impossible.

And so it is with the Shroud of Turin. Faith drives your determination of what it really is. An atheist will dismiss it outright, for they believe in nothing, at least nothing that they can’t see, taste, feel, touch or smell. They will say that someone just forgot to do the laundry… that it’s just a sweaty old piece of material and that we could do the same thing if we didn’t wash our sheets every Saturday morning.

Agnostics will question its authenticity, largely because they can’t stretch their imaginations far enough to understand that perhaps we are not fully in control of our own lives. They want us to be omnipotent, at least in terms of our own life, not some supreme being who might have a master plan that runs counter to their own plans in life.

But those who have a measure of faith can make that leap. They can go beyond their own limitations and see that there are more things we don’t understand about our existence than we understand. Each day brings new wonders to our world that didn’t exist before, whether that faith is grounded in religion, science, fiction or fancy.

I have to laugh when others feel a need to piddle on someone else’s belief system. And then I feel sorry for them. None of us can be right on this earth. We don’t know it all and never will. Someday, the ultimate truth will be revealed to us, whether it is the awful, black hole of non-existence after death or the glory of white light, singing angels and meeting God face to face.

I have infinite patience with those who want to explore, question, pontificate and doubt. But I have no patience for those who want to look down on others who choose to believe in something or those who believe in something and want to convince me that there’s is the only correct choice.

By its very nature, having faith in anything is a big intellectual leap. I go so far as to suggest that having conviction in something takes far more courage and intellectual horsepower than dismissing it outright.

The beauty of the whole thing, my friends, is that none of us can be right here. But some day we’ll find out who got all A’s on their test and who got F’s. Me, I’m studying for the final just in case there is one. I hate being caught unprepared for a pop quiz on a Monday.

Out in the Emerald City, finally… counting my blessings on this sunny day,

– Robb

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