Re: Botanist: Shroud of Turin came from Jerusalem

George Murphy (
Fri, 06 Aug 1999 20:24:57 -0400 wrote:
> As a lurker, I would like to gently ask a question about the Shroud and
> relics in general. The Protestant tradition, or at least the Presbyterian
> Church, to which I belong, does not seem have the same ideas on the
> importance of relics as does the Catholic Church. If anything, I see, what
> might be an "anti-relic" sort of bias from the time of the Reformation.
> That being the case, for those of us who are not from the Catholic
> tradition, does the authenticity of something like the Shroud of Turn have
> any relevance to us? Not that the science isn't interesting, but unless we
> accept the importance of relics as objects of veneration, then does it
> matter one way or another.

A lot of negative attitudes toward relics are associated with either
a) the fact that many purported relics are spurious, &
b) the notion that special merits can be obtained from them in one way
or another.
But recognizing that even genuine relics can become objects of superstition, protestants
should not forget a basic truth which they can exhibit: The doctrines of creation,
Incarnation, and resurrection of the body mean matter has religious value (which is not
to say that it is to be worshipped). Our salvation has been brought about through
matter - most centrally, through the material body of Jesus. Even though the Shroud
cannot _prove_ the resurrection "with the certainty of faith" & even though prayers
spoken in its presence have no more intrinsic value than those spoken anywhere else, IF
it is genuine (a big if, of course), Christians should have a sense of awe at seeing
something with such close connections with the most important events in the history of
the universe. If we're willing to spend millions of dollars to preserve the flag from
Fort McHenry, think of how much more value genuine relics of the life of Jesus should

George L. Murphy