Friday, June 15, 2012


"Nothing astounds like Truth."
~ Yoey O'Dogherty (internationally renowned, Peruvian poet)

Imagine this if you will:

You discover an ancient burial shroud containing the mysterious, anatomically correct image of a dead man in a state of rigor mortis. The man had been crucified and buried according to First Century Jewish custom, and his image, which shows no signs of body decomposition, takes on a three-dimensional appearance when photographed.

Unlike many crucifixion victims, this man’s legs were not broken to hasten his death by asphyxiation; forty-five of the fifty-eight pollens found on this shroud grow in Jerusalem; and the victim’s side was stabbed after death, creating a wound from which blood and water flowed. There are more than one hundred scourge marks on the man in the shroud, and those scourge marks contain real blood and blood serum – some of which requires a microscope to detect.

And suppose that the mysterious body-image fibers were made up of oxidized, dehydrated, degraded cellulose, indicating that the most likely explanation for them was that some form of radiation with qualities analogous to X-rays had emanated from the body. Perhaps the image was associated with some form of electromagnetic energy or corona discharge.

And what if a world-class scientist who had spent many years studying your shroud with the latest Twentieth Century equipment later confided to you that if he were given a budget of ten million dollars and told to make a replica of your shroud, he would not know how to go about it?

Who would you name if you had one guess as to the identity of the man whose dead body was once wrapped in that shroud?

Now you understand some of the basic reasons so many researchers have come to the conclusion that the famous Shroud of Turin is indeed the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, and they suspect that the mysterious image on the Shroud was a result of some sort of energy that emanated from His body at the moment of His resurrection.

Last week I read for probably the third time one of my favorite books, ‘The Resurrection Of The Shroud’ published by lawyer Mark Antonacci in the year 2000. And like a good lawyer marshalling his evidence to present to a jury, Antonacci explains in great detail all the many anomalies that make the Shroud in Turin, Italy, one of the most studied marvels known to man. Nearly twelve years have passed since the publication of ‘The Resurrection Of The Shroud’, but the artifact remains as mind-boggling and unexplained as ever.

Since my boyhood I’ve been thrilled by great nonfiction mysteries, and so I took an interest in the Shroud long before I had taken an interest in the life of Christ; I was captivated by the mystery surrounding it even before I was captivated by the miracles and teachings of the Messiah Himself.

"The Shroud of Turin is either the most awesome and instructive relic of Jesus Christ in existence...or it is one of the most ingenious, most unbelievably clever products of the human mind and hand on record. It is one or the other; there is no middle ground."
~ John Walsh, ‘The Shroud’

When the 1988 Carbon-14 test results were publicly announced, indicating that the Shroud was dated somewhere between 1260 and 1390 A.D. and thus supposedly "proving” it to be the work of some medieval hoaxer, a lot of us assumed that put the final nail in the Shroud's coffin, so to speak.

Aww, not so fast, NOT SO FAST!!

In ‘Resurrection Of The Shroud’, Antonacci spends considerable time explaining fully why the Shroud sample chosen for C-14 dating was “the most controversial location on the cloth”. Furthermore, laboratory experiments have established the fact that irradiating cloth and then heating it in a fire simulation (as the Shroud was exposed to fire in 1532), will cause new Carbon-14 to form and drastically alter the test results, making the samples seem much younger than they’re known to be.

In other words, even if the C-14 tests had been conducted as they should have been, using ideally chosen multiple Shroud samples - if the image was formed by radiation emanating from the body, as a number of scientists believe - the test results would have still been inaccurately skewed against a First Century A.D. dating of the Shroud. Even under the best of circumstances, the C-14 test was probably a “no win” situation from the get-go.

The public has been led to believe that C-14 tests are the final word in dating samples, but when a person has read many science-based books they eventually learn that there are myriad ways artifact samples can become corrupted and give exceedingly false C-14 readings. Therefore this form of dating must often be regarded as suspect. When every other process for dating an artifact is in controversy with the C-14 test results, it’s the latter which ought be discarded first, rather than the consensus based on the bulk of the study.

Every so many years, someone else comes forward claiming to have demonstrated how the Shroud was manufactured in the Middle Ages by a hoaxer. But most of the Shroud’s astounding anamolies have never been adequately explained, much less duplicated.

Furthermore, when a person comes to realize the implications of the facts that the natural blood flows were transferred onto the Shroud BEFORE the body-image was encoded on it; and that there are anatomically flawless wounds recorded on the Shroud that can’t be seen with the naked eye and had to wait for the development of 20th Century scientific instruments before they could be discovered, it makes the idea of the Shroud of Turin being a fabricated religious artifact seem preposterous. 

[I'll tell you one thing for certain: if the Shroud is phony, it was certainly faked a whole lot better than Barack Obama's birth certificate was!] 

There is a breed of cat that simply refuses to accept even the slimmest possibility that the Shroud of Turin could be a supernaturally produced photograph of the resurrecting Christ. Regarding the aforementioned blood, some skeptics argue that the blood flows on the Shroud are “unrealistically neat”, but is there really any doubt those same people would argue that the blood flows were “too irregular” to be real if they were LESS neat? No matter what it looked like, no matter what all the tests indicated, the Shroud couldn’t win over the hearts and minds of any pseudo-atheists. And as I’ve stated on this blog before, most self-professed atheists are intellectually dishonest and their words and behavior often betray them as being haters more than disbelievers.

Of course it will never be proven that the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial cloth of Christ until the day Jesus returns and claims it as His own. However, until His Second Coming, I stand firmly in Mark Antonacci’s camp:

“Instead of revealing how the image was encoded, science has been able to reveal only how it was NOT encoded. The more science has learned about the image, the more it appears to transced the laws of physics, requiring something very extraordinary to account for all of the Shroud’s unique features. … Extensive and unforgeable medical, scientific, archaeological, and historical evidence indicates that the Shroud is the burial garment of the historical Jesus Christ.”
~ Mark Antonacci

While it’s necessarily a tad dry at times (as most any science-based book will be) and tends to be slightly repetitive toward the end, I highly recommend Antonacci’s ‘The Resurrection Of The Shroud’. It’s probably the only Shroud of Turin book you’ll ever need to read – although I own other Shroud-related publications as well, because I can’t seem to get enough of this mystical mystery.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.


  1. Stephen,
    I don't know enough to comment on the authenticity or lack there of concerning the shroud. Based on your blog I would probably lean toward it being authentic. Of course I would be trusting your research (which I am) and not my own. I look at this issue like this, "It's really neat on some level but has no impact on my relationship with God." Which is only to say given the facts you've presented I would probably lean toward believing it to be authentic without claiming to know 100% that it's authentic.

    If I ever get time to read this book I will. But to be honest I think most people would probably be better served reading The Bible one time through before they die. Most people can't even say they have read the new testament ONCE. If they read JUST the New Testament (though they should read the Old Testament too) and look around they shouldn't need a shroud to convince them. That being said you have peaked my interest and time and world affairs willing I will probably get this one in my collection eventually.

    Br'er Marc

    P.S. I love your pseudo-atheist definition. I only wish I had come up with it myself. It's that good. Loved your intial blog on that one too.

  2. Part 1 Of 2:

    BR'ER MARC ~
    I'm glad at least one person took the time to comment here.

    In essence, I totally agree with you; there is no substitute for "The Word Of God", and if tomorrow the Shroud were proven beyond all doubt to be an incredibly brilliant forgery, it would not affect my belief in God and Jesus one iota.

    You wrote: "Most people can't even say they have read the new testament ONCE."

    That's true, and it's particularly pathetic that the same could be said of "most Christians". They go to church once a week, listen to what their chosen pastor says about The Bible, and that's the beginning and end of what they know about it.

    I have a friend, a great guy whom I like a lot, but he is an evangelical Christian who hasn't read The Bible even once from Genesis to Revelation. (Or if he has, it was only in the last 6 months that he finally completed it, after calling himself a Christian for most of his life.)

    And yet my friend is so sure I am off-the-track in some of my beliefs. Never mind the fact that I have read The Bible completely 15 or 16 times, and some portions of it (like the 4 Gospels, 1st John, Job, and Revelation) I have read many more times than THAT!

    So, my friend has been trying to convince me that my misinterpretations have me destined for hell, but even he hasn't read his own Sacred Words, the God-breathed Scriptures even once all the way through! (Or maybe he has, ONCE!)

    Anyway... I got off on a tangent there. Sorry.

    What I REALLY meant to say is this:

    While I fully agree that The Holy Bible itself should be enough to convince everyone that it is Divinely-inspired and THE message of God to His children (i.e., us); and that no reasonably intelligent person could possibly study The Bible OBJECTIVELY and not come away convinced that it is a supernatural document, the plain fact of the matter is that there are various personality types, and some people need alternative ways to discover their Creator; The Bible, at least at the very start, is not likely to be the initial signpost to God for every person on the planet.

    We need to make allowances, realizing that NOT EVERYONE arrives at the Ultimate Truth by beginning their journey on the same road. (Which damn sure should NOT be taken to mean that "all paths lead to God", which the New Agers love to say and the belief of which will cause them untold pain and suffering!)

    But I myself am a good example of what I'm defending. Do you know how I came to Jesus Christ? It wasn't initially through The Bible. I had purchased a book which I hoped would contain weapons I could use in a debate against an orthodox Christian friend of mine.

    In the course of reading that book, looking for good arguments to use against my friend, something mystical happened and I suddenly and unexpectedly received some kind of understanding of what Jesus did and what His Sacrifice accomplished and signified. Next thing I knew, I was on my knees, crying, and being baptised in my own tears!

    I wasn't looking for Christ, but He used a New Ager's book by which to snag my attention and save me!

    Continued Below...

  3. Part 2 Of 2:

    Likewise the author of this book 'The Resurrection Of The Shroud', Mark Antonacci, was saved by Christ by a non-Biblical starting point.

    In the Preface to this book, author Antonacci describes himself as "definitely a committed agnostic". But one morning he purchased a certain newspaper for the first and only time in his life, and that newspaper happened to contain an article about The Shroud Of Turin.

    For awhile, he tried to ignore the Shroud article, but the picture of the Man on the Shroud kept coming back to haunt him. Finally, Antonacci said to himself: "All right, I'll read the !*$#?% article."

    That article led him to a 20-year study of The Shroud, and his conclusions about The Shroud led him to become a committed Christian.

    So, I think we must not dismiss that overused maxim, "God works in mysterious ways", and be open to the idea that God has multiple ways to lead His various children to Himself and to His Holy Word.

    I am as convinced that the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial cloth of Christ as I am convinced that Charles Darwin had his head up his ass.

    But even if The Shroud were proven to be a hoax tomorrow, I already know too much about The Holy Bible to be kidnapped again by the devil. And I'm pretty sure that Mark Antonacci's faith is now so secure that proof of the Shroud being a medieval hoax could not shake the faith he's found.

    Also, bear in mind that if the Shroud is indeed the authentic burial cloth of Jesus Christ, then God has preserved its existence in "this world", through fire, centuries, and anti-Christian revolutions for some very, very good reason. Perhaps the reason is so that it could lead empirical-minded people to His Son.

    'The Resurrection Of The Shroud' is probably the best nonfiction mystery story I've ever read, and I contend that it could only strengthen an informed person's faith, but never weaken nor destroy it.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  4. Stephen,
    My brother, first let me say that I can't believe NO ONE else has commented on this blog. You really have peaked my interest here, and regardless if I read the book or not I'm forever better for reading it.

    I have to admit I have not been as good with the old testament as I have been with the new. I have read most of it, but not all of it (which I'm in the process of fixing). Over the past 10 years I have read the new testament more times than I can count (I used to love reading some of the epistles five times in a row throughout the course of a few days to a week). I have read most of the old testament at one time or another. I'm working my way through Psalms right now (which I've read 90% of them but want to make sure I hit them all). After that I can officially say I know for a fact I've read the whole thing at least once (which I'm sure I already have but I since I haven't kept track I can't be sure which is why I'm fixing that). I can say I've read every new testament book at least 10 times (book of revelation I've read the least). Most over 30 plus times (emphasis on the plus). Unlike you though I tend to read the bible in power sessions. I'll read a book, read the bible, read a book or two, read the bible. Just how I work.

    "So, I think we must not dismiss that overused maxim, "God works in mysterious ways", and be open to the idea that God has multiple ways to lead His various children to Himself and to His Holy Word."

    I agree!!! I myself actually was very interested in God from a young age. My father actually forbid my mother from taking me to church in fear I would become a priest. Though I was agnostic through my teen years which had a lot to do with the parental influence of my father. Strangely I talked with a few evangelical christians, decided to read the gospel of Matthew, and it was a done deal. I cried and almost immediately spoke in tongues upon confession. I had no concept of the trinity at the time. I later learned that one from my friends, and was an unquestioning trinitarian for over two years.

    "I am as convinced that the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial cloth of Christ as I am convinced that Charles Darwin had his head up his ass."

    Who can argue with that.

  5. Part 2

    Also recently I had a friend of mine I had on Amazon (which I met around the same time I met you) comment on one of my reviews. This was a man who was a christian pastor turned atheist. It was over The Evolution Handbook By Vance Ferrell

    He stated, "I remember you from years ago when I was an active Christian. You were always a gentleman and I respect you.

    We both had similar views and enjoyed a lot of similar authors. One of the reasons I became an atheist, for whatever its worth, was seeing the dishonesty in books such as these. I would check the references with the books they mention and see that in most cases, the Christians (who are suppose to be people of truth) tend to lie, quote mine and of course have foundational bias. And of course the methodologies:

    The scientific method says, "Here are the facts. What conclusions can we draw from them"
    The creationist method says, "Here is the conclusion. What facts can we find to support it"

    If you read this book, I would encourage you to read:
    1. The Fact of Evolution by Cameron McPherson Smith
    2. Why Evolution Is True by Jerry Coyne
    3. The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidences for Evolution by Richard Dawkins
    4. Scientists Confront Creationism: Intelligent Design and Beyond by Andrew J. Petto, Laurie R. Godfrey

    For counter-balance"

  6. Part 3

    My response,

    " John,
    I tend not to believe anyone just because. Though I tend to think of Dawkins as at least partially crazy. I actually don't have a lot against evolution as long as we call it what it is, a theory. A similar case has been made for the historical and archeological accuracy of the bible (which it does have). Believe it or not I actually liked studying evolutionary theory in college. It just never changed my outlook or religious beliefs. Maybe it was because I was once agnostic. My main issues with orthodox christians, evolutionists, or anyone else stem from anyone over stating their case. Believe it or not a long time ago in college I did whole papers on evolution, I have three associate degrees, one in nursing, one in science, and another in arts. I acutually stopped 15 credits shy of a bachlors degree. Most of my science came in the form of anatomy, microbiology, and the sorts. Though I wouldn't call myself a scientist I have more more science than most.

    As for bias, everyone has a bias. Yes, a lot of what is considered orthodox christianity in my opinion is a house built on a sand foundation with a deck of cards used for framing. Just the minimal amount of church history could make anyone shake their head. If I were alive just a couple hundred years ago I would have been burned at the stake by "orthodox" Christians. I have been asked to leave, not to return, uninvited, and told I was going to hell by trinitarian "orthodox" christians. Nevermind that the term "trinity" never appears in the bible. Though to be fair even my biology teacher got mad at a few phony evolutionary artifacts when I was in school. So both sides have been guilty of cooking the books so to speak here and there.

    For me, I find circumstantial evolution to be totally out of the picture. What I mean by circumstantial is "by chance." To get the world we live in by accident, evolution, or what ever someone wants to call it is difficult for me to believe. The odds for something like that seem to be between slim and none. I guess in that regard I'm a true believer. No matter what has been put in front of me concerning evolution it is next to impossible for me to buy into that aspect of it. In my opinion a lot of evolutionists have a preconceived idea as well. We have a lot of very powerful theories in evolutionary circles (many of which are impressive I'll admit). I just find the arguments for the bible to be better. Trust me, I've challenged myself. Usually when I was really looking into it I would get a concept, it would make me question, I would research, look deeper, and either find something wrong with their conclusion, or not find the argument convincing enough. This is when I wanted to disprove christianity. Where you started as a christian, I started as an agnostic.

    I've read Bart Ehrman and others who are agnostic. I've read the scientific text books of my time in school. I feel I have challenged myself adequately. Most the "christians" you have issues with wouldn't like me and would state that I'm going to hell. Ultimately I think you and I both have similar issues with "orthodox" christianity but have arrived a different conclusion. I have no issues with atheists and many of my friends hold such beliefs. I do have issues with pseudo-atheists but they are easily exposed which are not true atheists at all.

    Take Care John,

  7. Part 4

    I had many really good talks with my buddy John. Still have a place in my heart for him, but have no interest in opening this can or worms. Last time I did this I did five years of research just to stay being a christian. So I'll probably leave this one alone after my last comment. There does come a moment where a conversation will go nowhere. Still, it sounds like he stopped believing in the bible based on the actions of other people (orthodox Christians). Wouldn't that be a preconceived notion and bias? I do hope one day John can see difference between God and his people. This is a guy who has a theology degree. Sad.

    Br'er Marc

  8. Three comments:

    1) Sorry I am late reading this blog, which I just accomplished. It was very interesting. This is not a subject I have read anything about, other than a news article or two decades ago.

    2) I love B'rer Marc's comments. They are without fail, cogent, interesting, to the point, and right-on.

    3) Stephen, the best thing about the blog here is your comment to Marc:
    "something mystical happened and I suddenly and unexpectedly received some kind of understanding of what Jesus did and what His Sacrifice accomplished and signified. Next thing I knew, I was on my knees, crying, and being baptised in my own tears!"

    Wow. That almost brings tears to my eyes, and is a tremendous testimonial to the power of the Holy Bible and to Christ. Thank you for that insight into StMcC.

  9. Great comment, BR'ER MARC ~
    And it is indeed sad that your Amazon friend John has been sidetracked from his faith by frauds.

    It's also a sad fact that so many (not all!) Christians do more to harm Christianity than to promote it. It's difficult for the uninitiated to realize that sometimes they must separate the message from the messenger, because the messenger is a poor example of what he professes.

    In his great book 'ONE WORLD', Tal Brooke hits the jugular on this topic, primarily on pages 146, 147, 196, & 202. It was while reading page 147 for the first time that I came up with the term "McChristians" - the "Mc" representing McDonalds.

    Tal wrote: "The Jim-And-Tammy Bakker mansion with its $2000 air-conditioned doghouse and gold faucets in Hee-Haw city....invalidates over 10,000 missionary huts in jungles and villages."

    Of course, it doesn't REALLY invalidate those huts, but in the eyes of the unbelievers and to a disbelieving world it does.

    I have known some Christians who were great messengers of Christ's principles, but not many. To mention but one thing, I myself am too combative to be a good messenger. I fail also, I know.

    I've not read any of those Evolution books you mentioned, although I think I saw 'Why Evolution Is True' by Jerry Coyne rather thoroughly dismantled in an Internet debate.

    Richard Dawkins is a liar, and the fact that he has dodged a debate with Dr. Stephen Meyer for years shows exactly how much "faith" Dawkins has in his pro-Evolution "evidence".

    If your friend John made a list of every piece of evidence he gleaned from those books that absolutely proved Macro Evolution to be a fact (not "evidence" for theory or conjecture, but evidence nailing down Evolution as a "fact"), he would find himself with a blank piece of paper.

    To an evolutionist willing to grasp at any straw and proclaim it "proof" of their religion, just the presence of keratin in a variety of animals represents "PROOF!" of Macro Evolution. (As if it is beyond the imagination of, and beyond the realm of possibility that a Creator might utilize the same material in a variety of ways and in a variety of His unrelated creations.)

    Yes, to someone willing to accept ANYTHING as "proof positive" that a Creator does not exist, keratin represents incontrovertible evidence. How sad. If my belief in The Bible rested on such flimsy "evidence" as that, I would not mention my belief in public and show myself a fool.

    And if lies used to promote theories bother John so much, he ought to be appalled by the evolutionists, because the theory of evolution has a DNA-chainlike history of lies behind it.

    Later this year, a new "missing link" will be discovered. Two or three years from now we'll be told that it turned out not to be a "missing link" after all. It's the same show over and over and over again.

    Oh well, what can ya do? For every person willing to be buffaloed by bullshit, there's a bullshit-peddler out there willing to accommodate them.

    Good discussion, Bro.

    ~ Stephen

    Ahh, thanks for reading and commenting. And I'm pleasantly surprised to find how much the remark about my conversion to Christ's teachings impressed you. Just stating a simple fact, but I'm glad you thought it to be a powerful simple fact.

    I really can't explain HOW that transformation occurred on that day, I can only state that it DID.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'


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