Saturday, 5 January 2013

The peril of the circular argument – for both Christians and unbelievers

A common accusation levelled against Christians by unbelievers is that we present a circular argument in the way we discuss the authority of the Bible.

On the one hand we say that Jesus is the Son of God and produce proof texts from the Bible to make our point.

When they reply that they don’t accept the authority of the Bible we then produce sayings of Christ to prove that the Bible is Word of God – from the Bible itself!

The argument is circular. It’s analogous to Muslims saying that we must accept the authority of the Qur’an because it came from Muhammad who is a prophet, and that we know he is a prophet because the Qur’an says he is. But if you can’t accept the premise then you can’t get into the circle.

One reason Christians get into this predicament is that it was the Apostle Paul's usual practice to persuade Jews by reasoning with them from the Old Testament Scriptures that Jesus was the promised Messiah and Son of God.

The Jews however believed these Scriptures to be inspired and authoritative. Paul had a very different approach addressing Gentiles (Acts 14 & 17). His theology remained biblical without presuming that Bible texts should be the final court of appeal.

A second reason Christians tie themselves in knots is because they don’t think clearly about the real object of Christian belief. We are asking people primarily to put their trust in a person, Jesus Christ, not a book.

As a Christian I believe the Bible to be the Word of God. But I don’t expect unbelievers to accept that.

As Christians we regard the Old Testament Scriptures to be the revealed word of God ultimately because Jesus himself had that view of Scripture (see argument here) and trusting the Old Testament Scriptures is a proper consequence of first of all submitting ourselves to Jesus and becoming his disciples.

Similarly we believe in the authority of the New Testament Scriptures because we believe that Jesus commissioned the apostles to write them and guided them in the process (see argument here).

But it is not necessary for unbelievers to believe that the New Testament documents (including the four Gospels) are God-breathed Scripture in order to assess the force of our argument about Jesus.

The argument flows instead from the fact that they contain eye-witness testimony about Jesus and our appeal to them, in the first instance, is not as authoritative Scripture, but as credible historical documents.

Unbelievers cannot reasonably deny that these documents were written in the first century and we can produce compelling evidence that these writings have survived the centuries essentially as they were written.

They describe the amazing figure of Jesus of Nazareth, who gave the world a body of teaching which is there for everyone's evaluation. He is described as an exemplary character who practised what he preached. He is said to have performed amazing deeds, and his sayings are shot through with the most extraordinary claims he made about himself. The events of his life are said by eye-witnesses, who later became his followers, to have climaxed not only in his death but in his resurrection.

The whole saga, because of the importance of his teaching, the example of his character, his astonishing claims and the impact he had made on the world's stage, demands evaluation from every thoughtful responsible person. They may conclude that the whole story is invention, but history is not on their side.

So Christians need to avoid using the circular argument and instead argue from the historical accounts about Jesus that he was in fact who he claimed to be.

And unbelievers need to take on board that they do not have to first accept that the New Testament documents are Scripture in order to make an assessment of whether or not Jesus was the Son of God.

The Gospel accounts do not actually claim to be God-breathed Scripture, just to be credible historical accounts of what Jesus said and did. So let’s allow unbelievers to start from this point and see what conclusions they draw.

‘Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.’ (Luke 1:1-5)

‘Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.’ (John 20:30-31)

See also:

1.Why the whole Bible carries Jesus’ authority

2.Has the Bible been corrupted?

3.Is Jesus Christ the only way to God?

4.Is the Bible reliable?

5.Jesus Christ – One solitary life


  1. What you are saying is that you don't need to accept the Bible as inspired as a starting point, you only need to accept that it is 100% true, even when it documents things which have never been known to happen. In other words, that it is infallible.

    Christians like to gloss over this, but "historical accounts" that make claims like "a man ate lunch" should not be treated the same as claims like "a man made lunch appear out of thin air." All claims of things which defy known laws of physics can be dismissed out of hand, since natural explanations (lies, exaggeration, misunderstanding, mental illness, etc.) are, by definition, always more probable than supernatural ones. I realize that this is an impossible standard for you; even if Jesus really did rise from the dead, it could never be proven by testimony. That doesn't make it more likely that it happened.

    On top of that, the Gospels are not good historical documents. Critical scholars believe that the accounts were altered from other sources (Mark and Q) to appeal to different audiences. Why are we to believe that the resurrection account was not altered? You claim they are eyewitness accounts, yet their authors are anonymous. Can you imagine a court of law accepting an anonymous account as eyewitness testimony? You also admit they were written up to 70 years after Jesus' death, as if that is a short time. It is not; it is literally a lifetime.

    To expect people to accept the Gospels as proof of Jesus' resurrection when they can't even agree what was found at his tomb is not rational. You accept all this because you treat the Bible as God's infallible word, and you believe in God because of what the Bible says. This is circular reasoning. The graphic fits your logic perfectly.

    1. There are a number of points on which all the early testimonies agree. That is, there is no early tradition, inside or outside the gospel accounts, that denies any of the following claims of fact.

      Namely: Jesus died, His body was put in a tomb, the tomb was later found to be empty, no one could produce the body, the disciples claimed to have seen him, they were transformed from fearfully fleeing the scene to confidently proclaiming the resurrection, 11 of them chose to be killed rather than deny this belief, the church grew very rapidly.

      This of course does not prove the resurrection but raises two questions:

      1. What is the best explanation of these events?
      2. Are we prepared to act on Jesus' message?

  2. If the Gospels agree on something, what does that tell us? As I pointed out, scholars believe that the later 3 Gospels were based on Mark and a lost source referred to as Q. Their partial agreement simply confirms that theory. Their total disagreement on what was in the tomb (nothing, a young man, an angel in blinding robes, 2 angels) proves that they are not reliable eyewitness accounts of a real event.

    If willingness to die for belief makes the belief true, there are a lot of contradictory, yet true religions.

    Also, you are incorrect on their agreement. The Gospel of Mark, the first Gospel written, does not claim that Jesus appeared to anyone, unless you include Mark 16:9-20, which did not appear in the oldest manuscripts we have, and therefore appear to be added later. The oldest Mark ends at the empty tomb. The later Gospels, added on to the story in a way perfectly consistent with mythologizing.

    Since you admit it doesn't prove the resurrection, then what is left? Your apologetics have failed and this post is debunked.

    To answer your questions:

    1. Pick any wacky explanation that you like, as long as it doesn't involve the supernatural, and it will be more likely than your supernatural explanation. Commando grave robbers would be more likely than resurrections. Even more likely still, disciples made up stories about an empty tomb after their disappointment at Jesus' death; the stories spread by word of mouth and were later written down.

    2. No, rational people will not be prepared to act on Jesus' message given the low probability that he was who Christians claim he was. We will use some of his philosophy and reject some, based on intrinsic merits, not on stories of his divinity. Vicarious redemption will be on the "reject" list.

  3. Low probability maybe.
    But not impossibility.
    I am genuinely interested to know what evidence would be required for a non-believer to become convinced that Jesus really was who he claimed to be.
    Or is it like Jesus himself said, there will be some who will not believe even if they see the dead raised.

  4. Sarah, my claim was not just low probability. My claim was: much lower probability than the alternative explanations (lies, exaggeration, misunderstanding, mental illness, etc.)

    You are trying to shift the standard; as if it's reasonable to believe whatever you like as long as it isn't proven impossible. Sorry, that isn't reasonable, and could be used to rationalize belief in Santa, unicorns, leprechauns, anything you like. None of those things are any more unlikely than Jesus' claimed miracles.

    You are also implying that I am just being stubborn; refusing to believe. I will believe Christianity's claims when they are established like any other claim: shown to be more likely true than false. The fact that it is impossible for you to do that doesn't mean I'm unreasonable; it means the claims are most likely false. What evidence would you need to believe in a flat Earth? Or is it like Samuel Shenton said, that there would be some who will not believe, even if they are shown its flatness?

    The point of this blog post was that Christian reasoning is not circular. I have shown that it is; without the assumption of the Bible's infallibility, the arguments fail. You are welcome to believe anything you like, but not to claim it's rational.

  5. Sadly this highlights some of the problems I have with apologetics. I haven't read much because I have only read a few books that I considered to be rather poor (even books by McGrath and Blanchard). Not that the books weren't edifying, but I was a Christian when I read them and I don't know if I would be convinced! My own testimony is that I found personal testimonies very powerful, so I read some of the Bible and later a friend challenged me, asking when I had been saved, which forced me to consider my own situation. I still find personal testimonies to be very powerful and consider the transformed life to be the best form of apologetics.


  6. Discountbutcher,

    >> even if Jesus really did rise from the dead, it could never be proven by testimony.

    Why not? Courts accept personal testimony, that's why we have "eye-witness" accounts.

    >> That doesn't make it more likely that it happened.

    You've lost me there. WHAT does not make it likely that it happened? A personal testimony?

    In that case, all historical accounts (which, incidentally, are examples of the "personal testimony" of many many people) shuld be dismissed out of hand, as there is no evidence apart from the eye-witness accounts of numerous individuals.

    >> as if it's reasonable to believe whatever you like as long as it isn't proven impossible

    Yes, it's reasonable. Santa Claus and leprechauns are KNOWN inventions, so it is ludicrous to put them in the same category as the death and resurrection of a man. There are several medically recorded instances of people coming back to life after they have been declared dead for 24 hours or more - recently there was some bloke in South America who was declared dead (after prolonged resuscitation attempts failed in the hospital), was buried, and then "woke up" and banged on the coffin almost 48 hours later. I don't think the doctors have any medical explanation for these sorts of events, but it is absurd to deny they ever happened, as they have been well-documented. Just because something happened 2000 years ago, long before the age of the print media and the internet, does not make it any MORE implausible.

    Was it not Sherlock Holmes who famously said, "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"

    Unicorns and leprechauns are not events, they are beings. A resurrection is an event. You must compare like for like, mate.

  7. JohnFG,

    Thanks for your honest comments. The problem I have with personal testimonies is that they are known to be unreliable. I have heard many heartfelt personal testimonies on Islam or other religions that contradict Christianity, and on astrology and other things that we probably both agree are false.

  8. > Why not? Courts accept personal testimony,
    > that's why we have "eye-witness" accounts.

    You are trying to use the same failed logic I debunked above, the idea that everyday claims and supernatural claims are equivalent. There is no court in a First World country that will accept eyewitness testimony of a supernatural event like a resurrection.

    > In that case, all historical accounts (which,
    > incidentally, are examples of the "personal
    > testimony" of many many people) shuld be
    > dismissed out of hand, as there is no evidence
    > apart from the eye-witness accounts of
    > numerous individuals.

    Same answer as above. You are trying to say that the claims "I saw a man" and "I saw a man raised from the dead" deserve equal skepticism. You do not follow this practice with any claims other than those of your chosen religion. If I tell you I am a man, you might reasonably take me at my word. If I tell you I am a man who can fly under his own power, you probably will not. That is using reason.

    > Yes, it's reasonable [to believe whatever you
    > like as long as it isn't proven impossible].

    No, I am sorry, it is not. It is not in any way reasonable to believe something is true just because it hasn't been proven impossible.

    > Santa Claus and leprechauns are KNOWN
    > inventions,

    False. Most people AGREE that they are invented, but there is no more evidence that Santa and leprechauns are invented than that god(s) are invented. Even if you could prove the origins of one of those legends, you could not prove that they were not based on fact. I know this sounds ridiculous to you, but that's what your supernatural claims sound like to me: obvious myth, that some people believe.

    > There are several medically recorded
    > instances of people coming back
    > to life
    > ...
    > Just because something happened 2000 years
    > ago, long before the age of the print media
    > and the internet, does not make it any MORE
    > implausible.

    Your claim without evidence of other resurrections is not very convincing, but assume it's true. Are you claiming the South American bloke was a god also, or was it a natural occurrence? I assume you are not saying he was a god. If it was natural, then you are implying that Jesus' resurrection was a natural event, too. I guess that is remotely possible, but doesn't make him a god. In any case, I don't see how it helps your case.

    > Was it not Sherlock Holmes who famously said...

    Ironically, Sherlock Holmes was a fictional character, so I don't feel the need to refute "him".

    > Unicorns and leprechauns are not events, they
    > are beings. A resurrection is an event.

    That is true. Irrelevant, but true.

    You can post as many distractions as you like, but the fact will remain that it is more probable that the supernatural accounts in the Gospel are false than that they are true, since supernatural events are always less likely that natural.

  9. We are not talking about natural events here. We are talking about GOD! I am not an expert philosopher but I think that it is fairly pointless to use the words "probable" and "likely" when discussing a person who Christians believe stepped into the world he created and became one of us! I would argue that if he actually did that, then consequent supernatural events are just a small piece of cake...

    So surely we need to look at the claims he made and weigh them up. My understanding is that we have a FAR greater number of reliable ancient manuscripts and MUCH nearer the date of witness than ANY other ancient source of literature considered reliable. (please refer to

    I do also agree however with johngf that when you meet a person whose life has been transformed from the inside out by God, that can be more powerful than all the cold hard evidence put together, as Jesus meets the deepest need in a persons heart. And sometimes in the least "likely" of ways!

  10. Sarah,

    Please reread the title of this blog post. It is about convincing nonbelievers that Jesus is God by using the Bible, without circular logic. You are right back on the circle. You believe Jesus is God because of the Bible, and if I say the Bible isn't likely to be true because of the unlikely stories, you say Jesus can do miracles because he's god as it says in the Bible. Do you not see the circularity of this logic?

    It makes me wonder if, in 1000 years, people will be having this discussion about Harry Potter:

    "I don't believe it's true; they talk about doing magic. No one has ever seen magic; it seems really unlikely."

    "I think that it is fairly pointless to use the word "likely" when discussing a wizard! And there are a huge number of reliable ancient copies."

    I don't see the point in continuing to reply if no one can address the points I have made. You are now saying that there are a lot of ancient copies of the Bible, as if that makes it more likely the story is true. When I make 1000 photocopies of a story of me flapping my arms and flying, its truth value does not change. If I claim 2 people, or 500 people saw it, its truth value does not change. If I claim it's not as unlikely as it seems, because I am a wizard, or a god, its truth value does not change.

    Repeating the "testimony" claim without addressing my point about testimony of Muslims and astrology believers is also pointless. I do not deny that people believe God, or the stars, or whatever can transform their lives. I do not deny the placebo effect, either.

    Stick with faith, because apologetics is a dead end. Apologetics is about making believers feel more rational about the beliefs they already have, not about convincing rational people.

  11. All historical accounts of past events come from personal testimonies of past events from eye witnesses. As for the Resurrection, we DO have a visible evidence for it in the Shroud of Turin. The Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development carried out research on it two years ago, trying to understand how the image of a crucified man got onto the fabric, or most precisely, on the surface of the fabric on a thin layer. Their conclusion is that it would have taken 34 trillion Watts of VUV radiations to imprint the image. The best equipment currently available comes only to several billions, according to the same agency. You can google it if you're not convinced. So how did the image get on the fabric? Surely this cannot be medieval forgery. We Catholics have got an answer. Discountbutcher, what is yours?

  12. So it happens that men in such matters easily persuade themselves that what they would not like to be true is false or at least doubtful."_Pius XII

  13. Yes, for the nth time, historical accounts of past events come from personal testimonies. And historical accounts of supernatural events are rejected out of hand, except for those accounts which coincide with the reader's particular supernatural beliefs. Why do you not accept supernatural accounts of other religions? Do you think Jesus was the first resurrection claim?

    Please don't claim evidence exists and then tell me to Google it. When I Google it I find saying that it is carbon dated to between 1260 and 1390, and that some claim the carbon dating is wrong. Denial of science that contradicts belief is not new or surprising.

    I assume you are referring to:

    I notice it isn't exactly a scholarly journal. Why do you suppose they didn't publish their amazing results in a peer reviewed journal? Let me guess: science conspires against religious people.

    The claim that they believe the image must be supernatural because they were unable to duplicate it is not a scientific claim. Science does not make "god of the gaps" claims like that. Religious scientists may make them, but it isn't science. The scientific claim is "they were unable to duplicate it."

    I know you will view this as me rejecting what I don't like, but ask a scientist. "We don't know how to do it, so God did it" is not science.

    Here's a more respectable source:

    I don't think it's me that's easily persuaded about what I want to be true.

  14. Note also, you speak for yourself on the Shroud, not for Catholics. The Catholic Church has not taken a position on it, to my knowledge. They learned a lesson with Galileo: Don't make claims that can be disproved.

  15. Why not just present the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour of mankind? The bottom line is this - we all put our faith in someone or something - God, self, atheism, science, religion, wives,husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, children, material things, riches, pop stars, graven idols, democracy, communism etc. However, whoever or whatever we choose to put our faith in will have consequences at some point. The key consideration is to find out what such consequences (beneficial, detrimental, indifferent) are, see the consequences that are presently evident, if any, and then come to a decision on how to move forward. Following Yeshua is no different, but you have to put your faith in Him as our Lord and Saviour and choose to accept and follow His teachings and commandments.

  16. False. Following Yeshua is different, because everything else you named has good evidence to support it. You can choose to believe in any random thing you like; you just can't claim it's rational, and that is what apologetics does. Science is shown again and again to work. My wife is here; I can see her. God is not visible to me, and the "evidence" that believers present is very consistent with what I would expect to see if God didn't exist.

    You are using a common theist trick of equivocation: pretending that faith in my wife is the same as Faith in God. It is not.


    faith [feyth] noun
    1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.

    2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.

    3. belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.

    2 and 3 are different than 1. I have 1, not 2 and 3. 1 is rational. 2 and 3 are not.

    1. You are right, faith in your wife and faith in God are not the same, as your wife's teachings and commandments are likely to fallible, while those of God are not. I simply pointed out that we all put our faith in someone or something. Science is also fallible, and since it is based on observation and testing, will not always achieve expected outcomes. In fact, these may be totally opposite. Do you really only believe in the visible, what you can see and touch? You cannot see the wind, yet because of its effects and feeling it, you accept that the wind exists. I experience the effects of and feel God's presence in my life, so that is ample evidence for me. In any case, all of God's creation is sufficient proof that He exists. I will give you God's definition of faith, which is practical and can be lived out daily - Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see... (Hebrews 11:1NLT)

    2. Faith in God includes faith that God exists, despite a lack of evidence that he does. My wife does not have that same problem. You wind analogy fails as well, as I am a sailor and I have instruments that measure wind. As strongly as you feel God's presence in your life, my mother in law feels the effects of astrology and tarot. She feels that because she is a poor judge of evidence, as are most non-scientists (and many scientists as well).

      God's creation is not proven to exist. The universe is. You claim it is God's creation, but have no evidence. Silly question begging and faulty logic don't help with that.

      The Hebrews verse is not God's definition; it is the definition of the author, who coincidentally was also trying to convince people of something he could not prove.

    3. The point has been clearly made, we all put our faith in someone or something. In some cases there are people who put their faith in nothing...

    4. Still wrong. I trust things that have good evidence for their existence. Trusting in science or my wife is rational. It is "faith" as in definition 1, a synonym for "trust".

      Faith as in definition 2 is not rational: "belief that is not based on proof." Another way of saying that is "belief without good reason to believe."

      I'm sure you think it's convincing when you simply decree that "God's creation" is proof, but it isn't. Repeating your logical errors doesn't help.

  17. How does the the Daily Mail not being a scholarly journal make the results of the study untrue or doubtful?

    I never said, by the way, that the Catholic Church had pronounced Herself on the Shroud. However she has still brought it forward as a relic, which is why Catholics go to Turin to venerate it, and which is also why I said that Catholics, we do have an explanation for the Italian discovery.

    Your (far from) respectable source not only fails to explain why they believe the Jerusalem shroud to be Jesus' burial clothe but they also go on to contradict themselves by quoting one the archaeologists credited with the Jerusalem discovery:

    "The Shroud of Turin, by contrast, is made of a single textile woven in a complex twill pattern, a type of cloth not known to have been available in the region until medieval times"

    after then referring to an 2005 study, which they also reported and which concluded that

    "But new tests show that the piece that was tested is of a different material from the rest of the shroud, says chemist Raymond Rogers—it was a patch added in medieval times. Published in the journal Thermochimica Acta, the findings greatly increase the possibility that the shroud may be as old as Christianity itself.

    And yes, men do "easily persuade themselves that what they would not like to be true is false or at least doubtful". This is why you've sent the link to this National Geographic report without even analysing its content properly.

  18. The fact that it was reported in the Mail does not make the study untrue. The fact that the "study" does not appear to have been published in a scientific journal at all indicates that it was not done in a scientific manner. Peer review is an integral part of the science process, and "science" that is not published in peer reviewed journals is highly suspect.

    If you want to claim that National Geographic is unreliable as a science source and the Daily Mail is not, I don't know what to say to you. Your delusion is deeper than I could reason you out of.

    The article I linked does not claim the Jerusalem shroud was Jesus', so I don't know what you're talking about there. It says it was from the era/area of Jesus' death, and used a different weave.


    Douglas Donahue, a retired physicist from the University of Arizona, traveled to Turin in 1988 to collect the shroud samples for testing. He was co-director of the National Science Foundation-University of Arizona Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Laboratory—one of the three labs chosen to date the shroud.

    "I'm satisfied with the way it was sampled. We had several textile experts present from a number of countries, and all unanimously agreed that the sample we received was representative of the whole cloth," Donahue said. "It wouldn't be unreasonable to sample other spots of the cloth, though you can understand that they wanted to preserve it and didn't want holes cut all over the place."

    One of the earliest records of the Shroud was a letter from Bishop Pierre d'Arcis claiming it to be a forgery in 1390. It hasn't grown more authentic since then.

    Believe what you want; believe it was woven by fairies if you like. Maybe you can even find a scientist to claim it was, and make "scientific" proclamations about it. What you won't find is peer reviewed articles making claims like that.

    Science shows it was made in the 13-14th century, using a weave unknown in Jesus' time. Sorry.

    All of this is way off topic. If it were found that the Shroud was 1400 years older than it is, and science couldn't duplicate the image, it would be a mystery. Not proof of a resurrection.

  19. While I do not deny that publishing in a journal usually carries more weight than simply writing a technical report, I would stress that the study was carried out by a national scientific body (the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, ENEA) and that as far as I am aware, their findings having not been discredited. On the other hand, I notice that the findings regarding the Jerusalem shroud were published in a journal, but the conclusion that the Shroud of Turin "could not have originated from the city [of Jerusalem]" because it is of a different weave have been challenged as "a big assumption, given that there are no other known shrouds from the same place and time for comparison—though in one case clothing had been found in a Jerusalem tomb."

    In that light, it appears completely arbitrary to challenge the credibility of the ENEA's findings solely on the grounds that these have not been published in a journal, especially when you ignore other findings which have indeed been published in journals. And whatever your opinion about my "delusion", I would add that if it were not for the Daily Mail's article, you would probably have accused me of making the whole story up.

    As for the respectability of the National Geographic,I do notice a difference in the treatment given to studies/reports that challenge the authenticity of the Shroud (

    or at least maintain the doubt around it (

    and the treatment reserved to studies that support its authenticity:

    In the latter case, it is noteworthy that we do have a mention of a publication in a scientific journal ("Thermochimica Acta").

    In the same order of ideas, I also notice that the article you have just linked to and which you're quoting from was published in 2004, that is to say a year before it was confirmed that the samples on which previous carbon dating was carried out were not representative of the rest of the Shroud.

    This is what the same National Geographic has to say about it in a short, anecdotal report:

    "But new tests show that the piece that was tested is of a different material from the rest of the shroud, says chemist Raymond Rogers—it was a patch added in medieval times. Published in the journal Thermochimica Acta, the findings greatly increase the possibility that the shroud may be as old as Christianity itself."

    And I guess, were it not for that report published in your "respectable source", you would probably have dismissed my sources as unreliable in the same way.

    But the question remains as to why you would privilege the findings of a previous analysis of the Shroud over more recent ones which have not only discredited those findings but also fulfilled your requirement by being published in a scientific journal.

    I did not expect you to be convinced about the truth of the Resurrection because of the Shroud. My point was simply that we haven't made up what we proclaim and that in addition to words and testimonies, we also had visible signs, such as this negative-like picture of a crucified Man which was imprinted onto a piece of clothe, on thin layers, with no trace of pigments or colours, and which, a recent study suggests, may have required an intensity of light which far surpasses today's capabilities - let alone medieval capabilities.

    The only reason why the discussion went off-topic is because you've repeated the now discredited claim that the Shroud was a medieval forgery and added that "Denial of science that contradicts belief is not new or surprising."

    I just notice that this "denial of science that contradicts belief" is coming from yourself in this instance. That's all.

    1. The reason the discussion went off topic is because you took it off topic. The topic was proving Christianity true by using the Bible without using circular logic. Failing that, you tried to support the Resurrection using cherry-picked evidence.

      Facts: The international group of experts in radiometric dating that tested the shroud says the sample was representative. Some people, including Ray Rogers, say it wasn't. Maybe Rogers is right. If he is right, that does not make the Shroud Jesus' burial shroud. If it is Jesus' burial shroud, that doesn't make him God.

      I am not making the claim that the Shroud is 100% proven to be a forgery. You are claiming it is evidence for the Resurrection. That would require it to be proven to be Jesus' burial shroud AND supernatural, neither of which is remotely close to proven. Like all believers, you want to shift the burden of proof to me to disprove your claims, as if the Shroud is proof of God until I prove otherwise. Sorry, it doesn't work that way.

      In a single post, you both claim that the Italian unpublished "scientific" finding that "God did it" has not been discredited, and the C14 dating has. That is confirmation bias. The reason the Italian "study" has not been "discredited" is because it hasn't been published. The C14 dating has not been "discredited"; someone has raised a question about it that hasn't been answered. It probably will never be, because the owners probably don't want the Shroud retested. Guess why.

      You can claim there's a question of why I accept one group over another, but the answer is in my post. Peer review, and more than that, the scientific character of their statements.

      "Radiometric dating shows the sample to be approx. 700 years old" is a scientific statement.

      "The image on the Turin Shroud could not be the work of medieval forgers but was instead caused by a supernatural 'flash of light'" is not a scientific statement.

      The claim is patently ridiculous on its face. They failed to reproduce the image with UV lasers. Did they consider this radical possibility: maybe the image on the shroud was formed by some non-divine process other than UV lasers? I guess they exhausted those infinite possibilities, too.

      The claim is unscientific, and plain silly. That is why it was not published; no scientific journal would publish a foolish claim like that.

      Repeat: the Shroud of Turin was thought to be made in the Middle Ages by a Catholic bishop in the oldest record we have of it. The current consensus of science is that the Shroud was made in the Middle Ages. Some people disagree. Best case for you is unproven, worst case is disproved.

    2. P.S. Thanks for your apology and admission of error for accusing me of not reading or understanding my article, when it was, in fact, you that did not understand it. I appreciate your honesty.

      Oh wait, you didn't do that. My bad.


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