Does any one have an explanation thus far about the SOT, or significant information revealing the truth behind the mystery? I question whether or not we will be able to solve this enigma within out lifetime (I'm 25 BTW). Although with the advancement in science and technology maybe I'm wrong. Does any have a theory of their own? I must admit this has me intrigued as a former Christian, yet as a skeptic I am only interested in the facts (not merely opinion).

Also, how do atheist plan to contend the idea with believers (if they should bring it up)?

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You might appreciate this article from Skeptic:

Shroud of Turin: Redux

by Daniel Loxton

Skeptics sometimes express impatience with discussion of seemingly quaint paranormal claims. (“What, Bigfoot—again?”) But the great lesson of paranormal history is that it is a wheel: no matter how passé or fringe a claim may sound, it is almost guaranteed to come ‘round again, in the same form or in some novel mutation.

In the last few days, global headlines have resurrected a nostalgic case from my childhood, just in time for Christmas: “The Shroud of Turin Wasn’t Faked, Italian Experts Say.” The cutting edge of yesterday—today! Even in my youth, this mystery was centuries old.

The Shroud of Turin is a 14-foot length of linen cloth that bears a stylized picture of a bearded man. Legend holds the Shroud to be a burial cloth wrapped around the Biblical Jesus following his execution. This linen was allegedly flash-imprinted with an image of Jesus during his miraculous resurrection, presumably by an intense burst of energy released under such circumstances.

The case for fraud has been strong since the 14th century, but enthusiasts insist on rolling that wheel ‘round again. According to news reports this week, Italian scientists used an infrared CO2 laser to scorch images onto cloth and ”conducted dozens of hours of tests with X-rays and ultraviolet lights” in an effort to prove that the image could be created by a burst of electromagnetic energy. (Here’s a PDF of their Italian-language report.) What is the wavelength of a resurrection miracle? If there is one, the scientists were unable to discover what it might be. They learned (in ABC News’s paraphrase) that “no laser existed to date that could replicate the singular nature of markings on the shroud.”

Full-length photograph of the Shroud of Turin

Full-length photograph of the Shroud of Turin which is said to have been the cloth placed on Jesus at the time of his burial. (Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.)

All this business with lasers is neither here nor there. I’m reminded of magician James Randi’s line from Flim-Flam! about the pseudoscience technique of the Provocative Fact.

The same technique was used by the Gellerites when they assured us that at no time did Uri Geller use laser beams, magnets, or chemicals to bend spoons. This was quite true. It is also quite true that he had no eggbeaters, asbestos insulation, or powdered aspirin in his pockets either. So what?1

Turns out it’s hard to make a Shroud copy using lasers. That’s hardly surprising, but neither is it relevant. There was never a good reason to think the Shroud was created by anything but the tools and artistry of a painter. Failed attempts to replicate the Shroud image using lasers only underline the argument skeptics have made for decades: the object is a medieval fake.

The bottom line on the Shroud remains the same: the Shroud continues to fail several key practical tests, as discussed by skeptical investigator Joe Nickell in his classic work on the subject, Looking for a Miracle:2

  • Provenance: there is no sign that this object existed before the 14th century;
  • Art history: the Shroud fits into art history as part of a genre of artistic depictions and recreations of burial cloths of Christ;
  • Style: the image upon the shroud looks like a manufactured illustration consistent with 14th century religious iconography, not like a real human being;
  • Circumstance: a 14th century Catholic bishop determined that the Shroud was a “cunningly painted” fraud—and discovered the artist who confessed to creating it;
  • Chemistry: the Shroud contains red ochre and other paint pigments;
  • Radiometric dating: carbon-14 dating tests showed in 1988 that the Shroud was likely created between 1260 and 1390 CE. In 2008, the hypothesis that this date was distorted by carbon monoxide contamination was tested—and results of the original tests confirmed.

Overturning the robustly supported conclusion that the Shroud was manufactured by a medieval artist would take extraordinary levels of evidence in favor of some alternate explanation. The current media hype carries no such breakthrough news. The opposite is true, in fact: the Italian researchers concede (as quoted by Vatican Insider) that their “inability to repeat (and therefore falsify) the image on the Shroud makes it impossible to formulate a reliable hypothesis on how the impression was made.”

After decades of controversy, the real shame is not merely the miasma of pseudoscience surrounding the relic (that’s a fog skeptics are happy enough to cut through) but the blurring of the lines between science and metaphysics—or if you like, between science and faith. The Shroud’s popularity seems to stem from the hope that it could deliver tangible evidence for the divine, but that hope is misplaced. Even if Shroud researchers were to prove their (exceptionally unlikely) speculation that the Shroud image was imprinted by “a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation,” this would in no way confirm the existence of God, only of a unique printing process—a process enthusiasts have thus far been unable to demonstrate. The truth is that the tools and methods of empirical science would remain powerless to confirm the existence of a transcendent metaphysical God even in the event that such a being existed. It’s just not the sort of question science can answer.

Pressing science into the service of metaphysics may do harm to religion—I’ll leave it to the religious to say if that is so—but it cuts out the heart of the scientific enterprise. And that is a Christmas present that none of us should want.END

  1. Randi, James. Flim-Flam! (Prometheus Books: Amherst, New York, 1982.) p. 129
  2. Nickell, Joe. Looking for a Miracle. (Prometheus Books: Amherst, New York, 1998.) pp. 22–29

The fact that the catholic church is neutral on this subject I think is very telling.

Pretty much, yeah. I grew up in the Catholic church, and I never heard the first thing about the Shroud until my late 20's, long after I had completely ditched the church. They don't talk about it much, because they know it's bullshit.

If Jesus actually lived and the shroud was his burial cloth it just proves that the stories of his burial in the Bible are made up because they are very inconsistent with such a shroud as a burial cloth. If those stories are made up why wouldn't all of the stories about a supposed him in the Bible be made up? The shroud suggests a cheap Roman burial in a common grave with other crucified people as was common for crucified people at that time. This is very inconsistent with the Biblical account of the burial of a supposed Jesus and, again, if the Biblical burial story about a supposed him was made up why wouldn't all of the Biblical stories about a supposed him be made up? It'a no wonder that the Catholic church is reluctant to insist the shroud was the burial cloth for a supposed Jesus. Given the above situation it would shoot itself in the foot to insist such a thing. 

John Jubinsky

Many years before, I have certainly read an article in the Reader's Digest that it has been proved that the cloth of the shroud was of 13th century make (or some such year, I don't remember correctly) thus proving that it was fake. This article also said  that after some efforts, the christian authirities had finally permitted to take a piece of the cloth for research. If the present christian authorities are mum about it now, it could be fault of public memory. At least some old persons should remember it. 

I heard about it too. The church said that the part of the shroud that was carbon dated represented a repaired part so the carbon dating did not reflect the true age of the shroud. My understanding is that other evidence such as spores in the shroud are supposed to date it to the time of a supposed Jesus. Wikipedia probably explains the whole scenario. I don't have time right now to go into it. However, the shroud suggests a cheap Roman burial, not the kind a supposed Jesus is to have had according to the Bible. As such, the shroud contradicts the Bible and supports the position that a crucified man was buried in it in the same way the Romans buried all crucified people. The Romans buried them in common graves sticking identification on them because they did not allow the family of the individual to have the body right away. Close scrutiny of the shroud is supposed to show that someone, probably a wise guy Roman soldier, put a cheap Roman coin on each eye of the corpse, and from studying the mint of the coins the shroud is supposed to be dateable to the time of an assumed Jesus. I have even read that by scrutinizing  the shroud researchers have made out an imprint of the name, Jesus, that the Romans are supposed to have stuck on the body to identify it. The thing to remember is that, even if all of this is true, what it means is that the early Christians falsified the burial and resurrection stories and, if they falsified these, how can any of the stories about a supposed Jesus be believed? If the shroud is the burial cloth of a supposed Jesus what it represents is a discrediting of Christianity.

Thank you for your replies. I'm curious, did everyone, or anyone, watch all the videos in their entirety? If not I have gone through to supply some interesting highlights in regards to some of the responses.

I found these parts most interesting... Your thoughts please..?

(15:21-19:30) - In regards to the Aritst & Chemistry:the Shroud contains red ochre and other paint pigments; ( - If you don't have time simply read the conclusion, pretty much sums up the paper.

(41:00-48:05) - In regards to the Burial

(48:15-52:00) - In regards to the Crucifixion

I do find the idea that scientist cannot truly say for sure how the shroud was created interesting. If it is indeed a hoax, then it is truly eluding none the less (for now). - I forgot about this video that goes into detail about the carbon dating.

I have heard from an impeccable source that the real shroud is immutable and cannot be damaged  by any earthly source.  It also comes with a heavenly glow from above and a sound so beautiful that visitors are brought to tears (though some contend that this is because they've been kneeling on a stone floor for too long).


So, as you can see, this has none of the attributes of the true shroud.  The real one resides in the museum of heaven , along with other relics such as the nails (a real draw) the cross, wax Roman soldiers, etc.  And of course Jesus never tires of telling the story over and over again.




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