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When the Flea Disproves the Elephant, Post 2
09/26/2002

The second point of what was supposed to be a short post had to do with an article from UPI (link via Mark Shea) about recent evidence debunking some of the debunking of the Shroud of Turin (the cloth in which Christ was wrapped after he died). The article reminded me of a personal anecdote.

I think it was the first time I visited my parents' house after I came to believe in God and began the process of converting to Roman Catholicism. My father was flipping through the stations on television, and I made him stop at a documentary about the shroud. At one point, it was explained that (to the best of my memory) the shroud ended up being hidden in a cave in the area of Spain when the Huns swept through the region. "That's nonsense!" my father declared. "The Huns were very accepting of other faiths; there would have been no reason to hide the shroud."

My father is a very rational man, but it seemed clear to me that this was the proof for which he had been waiting throughout the whole documentary. To exaggerate only slightly: thus did a declaration about the tolerance of the Huns disprove Christianity.

Oddly enough, I've wondered what it is that makes many non-believers so fanatical. I say "odd" because, having made the transition from one to the other, myself, I ought to understand it. I think it has something to do with the implications for one's sense of reality, in entirety. There's a whole of lot investment in that by the time a child becomes an adult. Looking back, my conversion required, before all, a fully felt realization of the implications for reality of there being no God.

Dark days, those. Dark enough that I'm willing to give the Shroud of Turin at least as much credulity as I give to other historical artifacts.

Posted by Justin Katz @ 11:40 PM EST