The Shroud of Turin: A Rejoinder to Basinger and Basinger

THE SHROUD OF TURIN: A REJOINDER TO BASINGER AND BASINGER by Gary R. Habermas Originally published in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 25:2 (June 1982): 219-227. Also available at Liberty University Digital Commons. The response to my article (and partially to my book) on the Shroud of Turin by Basinger and Basinger is a fair treatment. It is much more pleasurable and certainly preferable to answer such honest queries than it is to respond to attacks. Because this is a subject that generates questions, I welcome such an opportunity to explain my research. Initially I must point out that, while Basinger and Basinger have raised some good issues, they have generally failed to take note of clear indications in both the article and the book that point out that my argument is somewhat different than they surmise. In the introduction to the JETS article two limitations were specifically listed. First, a limitation of space was mentioned,1 and I noted my preference to cover much ground briefly rather than to specialize on certain issues. I also stated that I especially concentrated on the questions frequently asked by evangelicals. Second, I indicated my limitation in not having shared certain facts. Yet I also referred to my manuscript on this topic as a more complete treatment of the subject.2 Basinger and Basinger

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Are There Ghosts?

Are There Ghosts? Dr. Ron Rhodes The line, “I see dead people,” became a popular catch-phrase in the years following the release of the block-buster movie, The Sixth Sense. Many other Hollywood movies have had ghost themes, including Ghostbusters, Poltergeist, Ghost, White Noise, The Ring, Just Like Heaven, The Grudge, Hereafter, and Paranormal Activity, just to name a few. A recent Gallup poll revealed that 38 percent of Americans believe ghosts or spirits can come back and visit people on earth. That means over one third of Americans — over 100 million Americans — believe in ghosts. As well, 28 percent of Americans think people can communicate with or “mentally” talk to the dead.[1] A Barna poll revealed that more than seven million teenagers in the U.S. claim to have personally encountered a spirit entity. Are there ghosts? Are there dead people walking the earth as spirits? Are living people today communicating with the dead? Do ghosts provide hard-core proof for life after death? In what follows, I will briefly address these and other pertinent questions related to ghost phenomena. What Is a Ghost? Our English word “ghost” comes from the German word geist, which can also mean “spirit.” Many people today believe that a ghost is a spirit of a dead person that still dwells on the earth. Let

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The Shroud of Turin and its Significance for Biblical Studies

Gary Habermas*, “The Shroud of Turin and its Significance for Biblical Studies.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 24:1 (1981): 47-54. Also Available At: http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/lts_fac_pubs/27/ Abstract: This essay addresses the four areas most commonly questioned in a study of the shroud of Turin: its history, its relationship with the NT descriptions of Jewish burial techniques, correlations with the person of Jesus, and any possible evidence for his resurrection. Evangelical critics usually concentrate on the NT data related to Jesus’ burial: the author therefore gives special attention to this area. There is little question that the shroud of Turin has occasioned much recent interest in evangelical and non-evangelical circles alike. My own interest in this subject was aroused years ago by my studies on the apologetic value of Jesus’ resurrection. Because of these studies it has been my privilege both to do research with some of the scientists who investigated the shroud in October 1978 and to have recently co-authored a manuscript along with the official spokesman for these scientists. My chief area of research has been the philosophical questions surrounding the shroud and any possible evidence for the resurrection of Jesus in particular. These opportunities have given me a different perspective from which to view the shroud. Most reports concerning the scientific investigation have been based on news releases and

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The Three Views of Eschatology

Christians generally hold various views concerning the end of the age. Before we examine some of these different views on eschatology, I will share what we all believe in common. First of all, Christians agree with the immortality of the soul, acknowledging that man is composed of material and immaterial components. At death, the physical body dies but the immaterial essence of man, comprised of his soul and spirit, lives in an eternal and conscious state either in heaven with Christ or in Hell, eternally separated from Him. Secondly, the immaterial essence of man exists in an intermediate state awaiting the resurrection of the physical body, which will occur at a future time. Thirdly, the Bible teaches that at some appointed time, the physical body will be resurrected, transformed into its eternal state and united with the soul and spirit of the individual. Fourthly, the Bible teaches that there will be a divine judgment at the end of the age when the righteous will receive their rewards and the unrighteous will be sentenced to the Lake of Fire. Furthermore, Christians agree that Christ will one day return physically to rule over the earth. Finally, all Christians look forward to the eternal state. Christ will one day create a new heaven and a new earth and judge evil once and for

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Answering the New Atheists

The New Atheist Agenda Nearly thirty years ago John Lennon sang the song, “Imagine.” The words went like this: Imagine there’s no Heaven It’s easy if you try No hell below us Above us only sky Imagine all the people Living for today Imagine there’s no countries It isn’t hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too Imagine all the people Living life in peace Imagine there’s no heaven… You may say that I’m a dreamer But I’m not the only one I hope someday you’ll join us And the world will be as one In other words, according to Lennon, the source of much evil in the world is religion, belief in God, life after death, and a universal moral code. Would the world be a better place if faith in God were eliminated? Many atheists now think so. Leading atheist spokesman Richard Dawkins states, “Imagine with John Lennon a world with not religion. Imagine, no suicide bombers, no 9/11, no 7/7, no Crusades, no witch-hunts, no Gunpowder Plot, no Indian partition, no Israeli/Palestinian wars, no Serb/Croat/Muslim massacres, no persecution of Jews as “Christ killers”, no Northern Ireland “troubles”, no honour killings”, no shiny-suited bouffant-haired televangelists fleecing gullible people of their money (“God wants you to give till it hurts.”) Imagine no Taliban to

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Gabriel’s Vision: An Angelic Threat to the Resurrection?

A July 7, 2008 TIME magazine article titled, “Was Jesus Resurrection a Sequel?” opened with the statement, “A 3-ft-high tablet romantically dubbed ‘Gabriel’s Vision’ could challenge the uniqueness of the idea of the Christian Resurrection.” 1 What exactly is this tablet, and does it have any significant impact on the teaching of the resurrection of Christ? About a decade ago a stone tablet owned by a Swiss-Israeli antiques collector received the attention of historians. This tablet contained eighty-seven lines in Hebrew text written, not engraved, on the stone, several parts of which are missing or difficult to decipher. Experts date the tablet to the late first century B.C. or slightly thereafter. The origin of the tablet is unknown. Some surmise that it came from the Transjordan region, and other scholars think this may have been a part of the Dead Sea Scrolls collection. The tablet contains an apocalyptic prediction of the end of the world spoken by a person named Gabriel. Some scholars believe the name refers to the angel Gabriel. Knohl’s Interpretation The connection to the resurrection of Christ is found in line 80. Jewish scholar Israel Knohl, expert in Talmudic and biblical languages at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, believes the line begins with the words, “In three days” and includes some form of the verb “to live.”2 He believes

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Resurrection: Fact or Fiction?

Introduction  The most significant event in history is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the strongest evidence that Jesus is the Son of God. This event gives men and women the sure hope of eternal life a hope that not only gives us joy as we look to the future but also provides us with powerful reasons to live today. Throughout the centuries, however, there have been scholars who have attempted to deny the account of the Resurrection. Our schools are filled with history books which give alternative explanations for the Resurrection or in some cases, fail even to mention this unique event. In this essay we will take a look at the evidence for the Resurrection and see if this event is historical fact or fiction. But, first, we must establish the fact that Jesus Christ was a historical figure and not a legend. There are several highly accurate historical documents that attest to Jesus. First, let’s look at the four Gospels themselves. The authors Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John recorded very specific facts of the events surrounding the life of Jesus, and archaeology has verified the accuracy of the New Testament. Hundreds of facts such as the names of officials, geographical sites, financial currencies, and times of events have been confirmed. Sir William Ramsay, one of the greatest geographers of the 19th century, became firmly convinced of the accuracy of the

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Clash of Worldviews

At the foundation of all beliefs, world religions, and philosophies are worldviews. What is a worldview? A worldview is a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true partially true or entirely false), which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic make up of our world.1 Every person holds to a worldview. Our worldview undergirds the way we interpret the world around us and guides us in the daily decisions that we make. It influences how we think about reality, morality, humanity, sexuality, epistemology (knowledge), cosmology, sociology, theology. All areas of how we interpret the world and our experiences are filtered though our worldview. A person’s worldview is intensely practical. Charles Colson states, “It is simply the sum total of our beliefs about the world the big picture that directs our daily decisions and actions.”2 A worldview is like a pair of glasses we each wear and through these glasses we view and interpret the world around us. It is important that we are wearing the correct lenses, for if you have ever put on a wrong pair of glasses, you know how distorted the world around you appears. If you continue to wear the wrong pair it will be increasingly difficult to maneuver around your environment. In the same way, it is critical that each

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Do You Believe in Miracles?

Is it reasonable to believe in miracles? Skeptics question the credibility of any miracle claim. Many hold to a naturalistic worldview and believe that since we live in a closed system, the laws of nature are constant and cannot be violated. Therefore, there can be no such thing as a miracle. Christians however, believe that miracles, specifically the miraculous life of Christ and the resurrection, confirm Christianity to be true. Can miracle accounts be substantiated? Did they actually happen? In the following article we will investigate, the definition of a miracle, the purpose of miracles, and the possibility of miracles happening. What is a Miracle? Some say the birth of a baby is a miracle or every sunset is a miracle. Many have even jokingly commented that my college graduation is a miracle. Although these events are special, they should not be considered miracles. Rather, these are examples of God working through the natural order of creation or the laws of nature that He has set in place. A miracle, on the other hand, can be defined as an event in which God temporarily makes an exception to the natural order of things, to show that He is acting.1 Dr. Norman Geisler defines a miracle as a “divine intervention into or an interruption of the regular course of the world

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In Intellectual Neutral

A number of years ago, two books appeared that sent shock waves through the American educational community. The first of these, Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know, by E.D. Hirsch, documented the fact that large numbers of American college students do not have the basic background knowledge to understand the front page of a newspaper or to act responsibly as a citizen. For example, a quarter of the students in a recent survey thought Franklin D. Roosevelt was president during the Vietnam War. Two-thirds did not know when the Civil War occurred. One-third thought Columbus discovered the New World sometime after 1750. In a recent survey at California State University at Fullerton, over half the students could not identify Chaucer or Dante. Ninety percent did not know who Alexander Hamilton was, despite the fact that his picture is on every ten dollar bill. These statistics would be funny if they weren’t so alarming. What has happened to our schools that they should be producing such dreadfully ignorant people? Alan Bloom, who was an eminent educator at the University of Chicago and the author of the second book I referred to above, argued in his The Closing of the American Mind that behind the current educational malaise lies the universal conviction of students that all truth is relative and,

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