Science, although not incompatible with faith when properly understood, has more often served to reduce the wonders of nature to molecular conglomerates than to awaken man to the infinite wisdom and power of God as reflected in His creation. Because it acts to unlock the mysteries of nature, science has long been cast in the role of a protagonist by those seeking to destroy the stronghold of faith. Historian Lewis Spitz writes:
"The scientific revolution, which made its first giant strides in the 17th century, has won such a total victory through its apparent domination of nature that the Western mind has virtually capitulated to its truth."
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb. 11:1)
If scientists are gradually losing their position as high priests of society, generations educated in a system governed by the scientific method still carry the burden of doubting Thomas. Although faith does not rest on scientific evidence, unbelievers continue to clamor "Show me," "Prove it." Ultimately the case rests on the question of Christ's Resurrection. While there is not, and can never be, a scientific test for the resurrection of Christ, skeptics have used the lack of material evidence in their favor. Is it not providential that today, in this age of science's hegemony, they are being challenged by a mysterious piece of cloth, the Shroud of Turin, believed by many to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ?
To say that the Shroud is a challenge to hard-line materialists is not to say that the debate over its authenticity is neatly divided between believers and unbelievers. Not at all. In fact, until quite recently, most people-even Christians-have readily dismissed it as a fake. But over the past two decades the debate has sharpened as proponents of the Shroud's authenticity have been joined by number of eminent scientists, This has brought considerable publicity, to the subject, and understandably so, for science has not generally been kind to religion, and most scientists have a reputation for regarding relics of this nature as so much "flummery from the Dark Ages."
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