I am taking a break today from the all bad news all the time format that this blog has become to report something interesting. The Huffington Puffington Post is reporting that the Shroud of Turin is likely authentic according to a team of scientists based on their most recent findings. Go and read.
As a Christian, I don't really know how I feel about the Shroud. On the one hand, if it is indeed the Shroud that Jesus wore when he was buried, and the image was somehow burned into the cloth at the moment of his rising, I am awed again by the power of God to perform such miracles. On the other hand, if the the Shroud is not the cloth worn by Jesus when he was buried, and the image, presumably of someone else, was made by still unexplained means, there remain the Gospels and the Letters. One either has faith, or one does not.
I saw a piece, I think it was on the History channel, but I could be wrong, where Peter M. Schumacher was demonstrating his discovery of a thee dimensional image in the cloth, and his supposition that it was because the shroud was wrapped around the body. Schumacher's paper can be found here at www.shroud.com. Interestingly, what we see today is a flat image that was once three dimensional. When that is taken into account, one can see the actual image of the person buried in the Shroud. But again, the question of just who was buried in the Shroud remains a matter of faith. You either believe it was Jesus, or you don't.
So here is the great mystery. If knowing that the Shroud is special, different, and likely the result of a great miracle helps you believe and strengthens your faith, then that is a good thing. But even if the Shroud is eventually shown not to be the cloth Jesus was buried in, that doesn't falsify the Gospels or the Letters. In the end, you must have faith to believe. There will never be enough positive proof if you do not. It has been so for 2011 years.
Update: Meanwhile it appears that Frankincense may be endangered according to a report at USA Today. Frankincense was one of the three gifts of the Magi to the child Jesus. The tree, from which frankincense is harvested grows in small pockets, and the tree doesn't reproduce itself prolifically.