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A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

Odds and Ends Heading into Easter

Bill Maher -- In case you were unaware, Bill Maher, comedian of Politically Incorrect fame, has made a few . . . uh . . . shall we say, disparaging comments, about Christianity. He has worn his ignorance like a bad tatoo by saying such enlightened comments as "I think religion is a neurological disorder." Well, Scott Pruitt of Pensees has written a rather lengthy response to Mr. Maher which is well worth the time to read.

The Shroud of Turin -- One of the shroud experts has now chimed in on the shroud-like images created by Nathan Wilson which I blogged about in my post entitled "Maybe the Shroud is Dead After All (or maybe not)". In the Associate Press article entitled "Teacher Claims Shroud of Turin Is Fake", Shroud expert Dan Porter said

. . . that while Wilson's theory is ingenious, it does not produce images identical to those on the shroud.

"It is not adequate to produce something that looks like the shroud in two or three ways," said Porter, who lives in Bronxville, N.Y. "One must produce an image that meets all of the criteria."

Porter contends sun bleaching cannot have produced the image, which he and many others say is the result of chemical reactions on the cloth.

A problem with Wilson's hypothesis is that sun bleaching merely accelerates bleaching that will occur naturally as the material is exposed to light," Porter wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "Eventually, Wilson's sun bleach shroud image will fade into the background as exposure equalizes the bleaching."

The shroud has often been displayed, sometimes in bright sunlight for days at a time, and no such image fading has occurred, Porter said.

Porter and others also question whether panes of glass at least 6 feet long were produced in medieval times, as Wilson's theory would require.

The JAMA Article on the Crucifixion -- For those looking for information about exactly how Jesus died, you may want to consider reading On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ, William D. Edwards, MD; Wesley J. Gabel, MDiv; Floyd E Hosmer, MS, AMI, Reprinted from JAMA - The Journal of the American Medical Association, March 21, 1986, Volume 256, Copyright 1986, American Medical Association. Here is the abstract:

Jesus of Nazareth underwent Jewish and Roman trials, was flogged, and was sentenced to death by crucifixion. The scourging produced deep stripelike lacerations and appreciable blood loss, and it probably set the stage for hypovolemic shock, as evidenced by the fact that Jesus was too weakened to carry the crossbar (patibulum) to Golgotha. At the site of crucifixion, his wrists were nailed to the patibulum and, after the patibulum was lifted onto the upright post (stipes), his feet were nailed to the stipes. The major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion was an interference with normal respirations. Accordingly death resulted primarily from hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia. Jesus' death was ensured by the thrust of a soldier's spear into his side. Modern medical interpretation of the historical evidence indicate that Jesus was dead when taken down from the cross.

At the same time, we should recall, as Greg Koukl reminds us on the Stand to Reason blog, that:

At the last, it was not the cross that took Jesus’ life. He did not die of exposure, or loss of blood, or asphyxiation. When the full debt for our sin was paid, and the justice of God was fully satisfied, Jesus simply gave up His spirit with a single Greek word that fell from His lips: “Tetelestai.” “It is finished.” The divine transaction is complete. The debt was cancelled. (Colossians 2:13-14)

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