The Shroud of Turin and the Myth of Jesus Christ

In spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, many Christians still believe The shroud of Turin to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ.  In fact, as it went on display last weekend, it was expected that approximately two million people, including the Pope, were expected to view it  hanging in the Turin Cathedral over the next six weeks.  During this time, the faithful will fawn, bow, cry, prostrate and cross themselves over it.  They will spend obscene amounts of money on air-fare, hotel rooms, tour fees and souvenirs and will formulate stories about being “touched by the divine” which will be relegated to countless congregations the world over.  The myth is perpetuated and the media frenzy around this obviously fake relic soothes the flock into forgetting about child abuse for a while.  Perfect timing.

The fact that so much time and money has already been wasted on this rag is preposterous.  The image that it holds looks suspiciously like every other “picture” of Jesus that you’ll find hanging in churches everywhere, and just because this particular piece of millinery hails from a millennia ago, it does not make it “divine”.  It just makes it old.   For the shroud to be legitimate there needs to be two things considered.  One, that the person of Jesus Christ was actually a real and extant individual.  Two, either god choose another paradoxical venue of revelation in addition to the already flawed and inconsistent bible or he made a mistake by allowing Christ’s image to be magically superimposed upon a burial cloth and tried to hide it for the first thousand years or so.

Let’s go with number one, that Jesus Christ was not an historical figure but a mythical one.  In fact, messianic Saviors that were surprisingly similar to Christ have existed through many millennia preceding the advent of Christianity. It needs to be thoroughly understood that the driving reason behind the perpetuation of the shroud hoax is the validation of Christianity, itself.  It takes amazing feats mental gymnastics that bend logic and reason beyond the borders of sanity to prove that the shroud is the actual burial cloth of a mythical being.  This is what it has come down to, because in spite of the billions who believe that Christ walked the earth, no one has the slightest physical evidence to support a historical Jesus.

There are no artifacts, dwellings, works of carpentry, self-written manuscripts or contemporary extra-biblical documentation that have not been proved either completely fraudulent or later interpolations, as in the example cited from Josephus. The biblical writings are authored by unknown persons who were also not alive while Jesus allegedly walked the earth and there are no Roman documents that record Pontius Pilate executing a man named Jesus. What we end up with is nothing more than hearsay claims of an historical Jesus.  As is true in courts of law and with modern scholarship, hearsay automatically renders any accounts of the veracity of Christ as invalid because they provide no reliable or factual evidence.

The belief in mythical beings arise for a variety of reasons, and I have covered in previous entries to this blog a very plausible reason as to why religion continues to be a strong draw to so many people, as well as how and why gods came into being in the first place.  The fact remains that a simple scan of the TV Guide will reveal that there are millions of people who believe in a number of other fantasies, as well.

I have had many conversations about the lack of extra-biblical eyewitness accounts to the existence of an historical Jesus. One that stands out was with a highly educated individual.  Although he was otherwise lucid, well spoken and learned in a variety of subjects, he was also suffering under the delusion of religious belief.  He spit out a very common talking point by asking how I could know that George Washington was real, since there exist no contemporary witnesses or photographs.  A foolish argument, especially coming from someone with a post graduate degree.  There exists a plethora of verified documentation and historical information from a wide variety of legitimate sources that prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that George Washington existed.  There are also renderings of his appearance from multiple sources that allow us to know, beyond doubt, what President Washington looked like.  We even know the color of his white horse. In comparison, none of the historians who have written about Jesus give reliable sources to eyewitnesses.  There sits a vast difference between historical figures and Jesus.

Returning to the actual image on the shroud, millions of people believe that it is the image of Christ simply because, as I have previously stated, it looks suspiciously like every other “picture” of Jesus that you’ll find hanging in churches everywhere.  Of course, nowhere in the Bible do we have a description of the human shape of Jesus and it remains an oddity that none of the disciple characters record what he looked like.  This is yet another point of reason as to the mythical nature of Christ.  In fact, it was hundreds of years after the alleged crucifixion that pictures finally emerged, and these depictions were rendered according to the characteristics of the indigenous.

In the book “Modern Thought”, Moncure D. Conway [1832 – 1907] states:

The world has been for a long time engaged in writing lives of Jesus… The library of such books has grown since then. But when we come to examine them, one startling fact confronts us: all of these books relate to a personage concerning whom there does not exist a single scrap of contemporary information — not one! By accepted tradition he was born in the reign of Augustus, the great literary age of the nation of which he was a subject. In the Augustan age historians flourished; poets, orators, critics and travelers abounded. Yet not one mentions the name of Jesus Christ, much less any incident in his life.

Christianity depends on establishing a historical Jesus and it will defend even the most unreliable sources. When something as ambiguous as the shroud comes along, it provides the perfect mix of pseudo-science and mystery to perpetuate the myth because the faithful want to believe in Jesus and the fervor that surrounds these relics cause them to forget that while beliefs can live without evidence, facts depend on evidence.  The fact is that there is no proof that Jesus the man ever existed

The shroud is nothing more than the horn of a unicorn.

  9 comments for “The Shroud of Turin and the Myth of Jesus Christ

  1. June 5, 2010 at 4:57 am

    Excellent article. Thanks!

  2. michael
    July 19, 2010 at 12:41 am

    I must thank you for allowing a forum to this because I am a christian saved by the grace of our God Jesus Christ who willingly allowed himself to be crucified for the redemptive purposes of God.(To redeem mankind)
    He does Love us and did die for us and he really did rise from the dead (conquered death)
    what I would like to comment on is the argument about Jesus being a myth amazing how someone who believes he never existed could give that much mental ability and effort But to deny something you believe never existed,( now either there are no other worthy causes out there) to dedicate those energies to or those who deny the existence of God really know there is a God who walked and talked and died on a cross and is risen indeed.

  3. July 19, 2010 at 7:50 am

    @ michael,

    So you’re saying that the writer must really be a believer because he worked hard on writing an article that raises at least two very good points against the historicity of Jesus?

  4. August 24, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Excellent post.

    I am amazing how few people notice that it’s just the front and back image – no sides or top of the head.

    1 inch thick savior?

  5. J.S.
    November 2, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Oh my my my, get all the facts before you degrade something so Holy. Jesus is real, just ask Him…so simple…He lived, died, and rose from the dead for you as well as me…we all need a Savior, if you dont believe in Him look in the mirror, you are created in His image…Look around you, a dying world who needs a Savior, and one came….God is Love! If you dont accept him here on Earth, at least cry out to Him on your death bed, but whatever you do DONT GO TO HELL!

  6. December 30, 2010 at 4:06 am

    To date nobody has given objective proof that Christ is a myth. The talk is just opinions. It matters not whether the talker is a PhD or not it is just opinion. I had an argument with a theologian about two theologians who disagreed on a point of theology. Now which of the two ‘experts’ am I supposed to follow.

    • December 30, 2010 at 6:00 am

      Here’s a hint: follow the one who doesn’t believe in magical men in the sky and insists on asking for proof of a negative. People who ask for evidence that something does not or did not exist are asking a fool’s question.

  7. Vivian
    April 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Everything that Jesus said would come about is at this very moment in time being played out before your very eyes. Try reading the Urantia Book. and These are two sources alone that will make you regret you said anything disrespecful towards your Saviour. He came to teach the connection to God and that it is possible! Too bad so many people have turned to the worldly things and neglected their spiritual heritage!
    Blessings to all of mankind_ May they wake up now and do as Christ Immanuel asked us to walk with Him in building the Kingdom to come. Look to the skies! The signs are there!

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