Monday, April 25, 2016

Is Christianity A Threat To India?

            An article published by, “Why Christianity poses a clear threat to India,” accuses Christianity of being a threat to India, so much so that the writer proposes implementing “Ghar Wapsi” (converting Christians to Hinduism).1 

            Why this hatred against Christianity? Are the foundations for such accusations against Christianity legitimate?

Christianity’s Western Connection

            The accuser of Christianity posits America as the chief instigator, as a Christian nation, to impede Hinduism, “Just like the Syrian Christians backed their western co-religionists over the local Hindu and Muslim communities, with whom they had co-existed – and from whose help they had thrived, prospered, and gentrified – modern Indian Christians look up to the West, especially the United States. In their view, America, being the most Christian nation, should help them in keeping India – and thereby Hindus – in line.”(Emphasis Mine). 2 Thus the article presents Christianity as a threat to India.

            Make no mistake; the United States of America was constructed upon the Judeo-Christian foundations. However, any unbiased observer of the present-day USA would concede to the progressive deterioration and the sustained abandonment of the Judeo-Christian foundations. Those who deem USA as a Christian nation have misplaced their facts.

            Christianity is the largest religious group in the USA. But this does not make America a Christian nation. Only a minority of 19% Americans identified America as a Christian nation, whereas 69% Americans identify America as a “Nation of many Religions.”3 Since America is not a Christian nation, the accusation that Christian-America impedes or destabilizes Hinduism is invalid. Therefore, Christianity is not the reason for America to impede Hinduism.

Christianity’s Role in India’s Partition

            The accuser of Christianity posits Christians' alignment with the Muslims during the partition as a destabilizing factor to India’s unity. This is far from being true. Why?

            The Bible – the Word of God – governs Historic Christianity and its adherents. Christianity should be questioned only if the decisions of the Christians are bible-based. If the decisions of the Christians are not based on the Bible, then these decisions are independent of Christianity. Hence, Christianity should not be questioned in these scenarios.  

            The Bible does not make any specific assertions to help the Christian decide whether to align with India or Pakistan. Hence, the decision made by the Christians to align with Pakistan – provided that the narrative of Christians aligning with Muslims during partition was factual – has nothing to do with Christianity. This was not a Christian decision, but a political decision.

Christianity a Fifth Column?

            The accuser of Christianity accuses Christians of being a fifth column in India. defines “Fifth Column” as a group of people who act traitorously and subversively out of a secret sympathy with an enemy of their country.

            This accusation exposes the extreme hatred of the accuser towards Christianity. Hence, it would be worth one’s while to examine the reasons behind this rather unsympathetic accusation.

            Some Christians Suffer from Foot in the Mouth Disease: To blindly attribute a natural disaster as God’s act against those who persecute the Christians is to speak firmly with both our feet in the mouth.

            While I examined this theme in 2013, I pondered, “On 22nd September 2013, militants killed many Christians at a Church in Peshawar, Pakistan. On 25th September 2013, a powerful 7.7 magnitude earthquake hit the Baluchistan region of Pakistan killing more…Was this earthquake God’s response to the killing of HIS people?”4 Finally, I arrived at this conclusion, “…deficiency of evidences of God’s wrath upon Pakistan should motivate Christians towards a godly and a legitimate reaction. First, pray for those affected whose lives are changed rather irreparably. Second, if we are able, we should offer material assistance, for we are mandated to love our neighbor. Third, if we cannot corroborate our inner convictions with objective evidences, we should refrain from uttering derogatory statements that adds more pain to a burning wound. Many lives need our moral and physical support, so let us be agents of love and comfort in this situation.”5

            Indian Christians are not Stooges of the West: The accuser of Christianity says, “today’s Indian Christians are a means for the West to penetrate the higher echelons of power in New Delhi.”6 The premise for this accusation is predicated on the hypothesis that the Indian NGOs funded by the Americans act against the Indian interests.

            It is a known fact that Americans fund both the Christian and the non-Christian NGOs. A study undertaken in 2010-2011 reveals that Christian NGOs receive 40% of the total American funding to the Indian NGOs.7 So who benefits from the remaining 60% of American funds? Hindu religious organizations such as Mata Amritanandamayi Math could be the beneficiaries of these foreign fundings.

            There is another interesting aspect to this theme. India’s single largest temple trust had a revenue of Rs. 2262 crore (Rs. 22.62 billion) in 2014, which apparently is twice the foreign donations received by 10 biggest Christian and Christian affiliated organizations in India!8 This statistic trivializes the foreign funds Indian Christian NGOs receive.

            Could it be a fact that only Indian Christians are used as a means for the West to destabilize India? No, not by any stretch of imagination!

            Consider the Indian nationals arrested by India for spying for foreign countries, Diplomat Madhuri Gupta, Navy officer Commodore Sukhjinder Singh, Manmohan Sharma, a senior Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) officer, 1975 batch Research and Analysis Service (RAS) officer Ravi Nair, Rabinder Singh , Ashok Sathe, RAW officer K V Unnikrishnan and the likes.9 There are more names here.10 I will let you decide who in these lists were Christians and who is not. To the best of my knowledge, none of these were Christians.

            Therefore, it is very unfair to blame Christians of being the stooges of the West.

Christianity’s Proselytization Efforts

            Wasn’t it the renowned atheist and magician Penn Jillette (from Penn & Teller) who said that he respects Christians only if they proselytize (evangelize)? Christianity is an actively evangelizing religion. But Christianity is NOT the only actively evangelizing religion. Hinduism (Asaram Bapu, Murari Bapu, Swami Ramdev, Amma, Satya Sai Baba, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar etc.), Islam (Zakir Naik, Shabbir Ally etc.), Atheism (Dawkins, Harris, Dennett etc.), and Buddhism are actively evangelizing religions as well. Significantly, Indian constitution does not prohibit evangelization.

            Evangelization is not to lure people into Christianity for material benefits. This is not the biblical mode of evangelization.

            Has Christian evangelization been so successful that Hindus or those from other religions ought to be cognizant of Christian evangelization? Christian evangelization, as per the Indian census statistic of 2011, has yielded a mere 2.3% of Indian Christians,11 which is a decline from 2.6% in 1971.

            So much for Christianity’s proselytization efforts!

Christianity Breaking India?

            The accuser of Christianity quotes authors Rajiv Malhotra, Aravindan Neelakandan and Koenraad Elst to accuse Christianity of attempting to delegitimize Hinduism as India’s native religion.12 This seems to be a thought process inhabiting the theoretical realms without actualizing in the existential.

            How so?

            Despite Christianity’s presence in India for almost 2000 years, Christianity has neither established itself as a majority religion, nor has Hinduism tumbled down to a meager state of a minority status. Therefore, the accusation that Christianity is a divisive force fails against this existential reality.

            Has Christianity served India? Yes, absolutely! A cursory glance at the number and the age of Christian orphanages, old age homes, homes for the destitutes, schools, colleges and hospitals reveals the prolonged existence and the magnitude of Christianity’s selfless service to India. Apart from this, Christians and Christian churches serve the poor and the needy in their community.


            The Bible mandates Christians to serve and submit to governing authorities, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong…Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Romans 13: 1-7, NIV).

            Moreover, none of the accusations leveled against Christianity is valid. Therefore, Christianity is not a threat to India.



2 Ibid.  



5 Ibid.



8 Ibid.





Monday, April 18, 2016

Why Do Christians Become Atheists?

            If we have had our “questioning-God” moments in our own life, we can most surely empathize with those who convert to Atheism. Atheism is disbelief or lack of belief in God, a minority of atheists do believe in a universal spirit or god.

            On the other hand, if our [Christian] life has been hunky-dory and comfortable thus far, we would be surprised, shocked, and even judgmental at those converting to Atheism. But the fact of the matter is that we ought to empathize with those who convert.

            Today’s younger generation is more resistant to Christianity. 70-80% of young non-Christians believe that Christianity is judgmental, hypocritical and old-fashioned.1

            Why do people convert to Atheism?

            Notable author and columnist Larry Taunton, based on a research conducted in the USA, lists seven characteristics of those who have become atheists: 2

            1. They had attended church.

            2. The mission and message of their churches was vague.

            3. They felt their churches offered superficial answers to life's difficult questions.

            4. They expressed their respect for those ministers who took the Bible seriously.

            5. Ages 14-17 were decisive.

            6. The decision to embrace unbelief was often an emotional one.

            7. The internet factored heavily into their conversion to atheism.

            Moreover, proselytes or those who convert to atheism think that Big Bang Theory and the Theory of Evolution adequately explains the origin of the universe and life, respectively. Hence, they see no need for God.

            Then there are those who believe that science offers all answers to their questions. Scientism is a view that any belief should be scientifically proven. If it cannot be scientifically proven, then it should not be believed. So Scientism posits science as the sole source of knowledge and truth.

            But Scientism is not all encompassing. Scientism does not permeate into all domains e.g. how would science determine morality e.g. whether torturing a little child is right or wrong?

            Scientism is also self-refuting. Scientism argues that any proposition, if it cannot be proven by science, should be discarded. But this very proposition i.e. any proposition that which cannot be proven by science should be discarded, cannot be proven scientifically. Therefore, scientism is self-refuting. So we do not need to believe in Scientism.   

            Best selling author Nancy Pearcey considers the unanswered intellectual questions as a great motivating factor for people to abandon Christianity. Churches should take the blame for this occurrence.

            Churches, Pearcey reckons, are good at establishing an emotional commitment but fail to satisfy the young Christians intellectually. Although apologetics resources are freely available on the internet, churches continue to neglect these resources.3

            People are confounded when they try to understand certain aspects of the Biblical narrative such as God killing people or the concept of hell, the virgin birth of Christ, hatred towards homosexuality etc. Since reasonable answers are not forthcoming from the local church the migration towards atheism continues.

            But there is another side of the coin to this predicament. Some people do not want to hear the good answers. It is not that any amount of good answers convinces these people but that these people do not want to be convinced. They consciously reject the perfectly reasonable answers to the biblical conundrums.

            Why do people not want to be convinced by reasonable answers to the difficult questions?  

            Quite a few people embrace Atheism because of emotional reasons such as an untimely death of a loved one, abuse, childhood scars etc. But they would not openly cite these reasons as cause for their conversion; instead they would cite intellectual reasons as cause, since citing intellectual reasons elevates them in their society. These emotional reasons remain unattended and unresolved in their lives plunging them deeper into the realms of warfare against God.

            BBC hosts an article that cites more reasons for people choosing Atheism. The reasons are: 4        

            Lack of evidence

            God is unnecessary

            Arguments for God aren't convincing

            The problem of evil

            Science and the history of thought

            God is meaningless

            God is a psychological factor

            God is a social function

            Karl Marx's criticisms of religion

            God is not apparent

            Christian scholars have debunked every reason to more than adequately claim that Christianity is true. If Christianity is true, then Atheism is false. If Atheism is false, then none need believe in Atheism.

            Consider this from another perspective. What does Christianity offer that Atheism does not? Here are a few salient features of Christianity that demonstrate God’s power upon those who believe HIM.

            First, the salvation (deliverance) offered by the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for the sins of mankind, is the most realistic and practical solution. All we need to do is to believe in Christ, love HIM for what HE has done for us, and obey HIM all through the days of our lives. No amount of good work that we may do will fetch us salvation, for we cannot be perfect in this life.

            Second, God offers hope and justice to every Christian – a hope that I will blissfully coexist with God in heaven unto eternity. I know that God will annihilate evil and judge men for what they have done. Hence justice would be upheld, especially to those who did not receive it in this time and age.

            Third, God offers joy to every Christian. I am joyful, for I am wonderfully made in the image of the living God and that I am not alone but God lives in me to help me through life’s painful situations. This joy is neither predicated nor is an entailment of my material possessions, but this joy is a fruit of my spiritual connection with God.

            Lastly, God offers me peace. God overwhelms me with HIS peace especially when I am in distress. This peace transcends human understanding.  

            In a nutshell, God redeems me and offers me hope, justice, joy and peace! These intangible essentials are not linked to our earthly success but God offers it to everyone who believes in HIM, for these are necessary for the successful sustenance of our life.

            In contrast, what does Atheism offer?

            Significantly, some secular thinkers have even reasoned that Atheism is nothing but a farce. Here are the words of one such secular thinker, “I was in fact rather a staunch atheist myself. I tried to be respectful but in private often railed against the “silly” people with their “sky god fairy-tales.” Pretty standard stuff really, the funny thing, the funniest thing is that all throughout this time, decades of life. I was both completely ignorant of the fact that my beliefs themselves were the product of cultural indoctrination of a rather crude variety.. At that stage I also believed that all religious beliefs were the result of indoctrination and that having avoided that my atheism was the natural and correct human response to life on earth.

            Eventually I realised that Atheism, was rather flawed in its confident claim to know that there is no god. It occurred to me that it would be almost impossible to prove or know that there is no god.

            The point about the death of Atheism is not that the existence of god has been proven, the point is that the existence of non-material interactions of many kinds has been proven. The existence of the world beyond the visible physical material world has been proven in dozens if not thousands of ways.”5

            Atheism isolates man by disengaging God from him. An atheist would be lonely. He would be free to act on his own selfish and imperfect counsel or be dependent on the imperfect, selfish and corrupt counsel of fellow men. Atheism neither posits salvation nor offers an eternal hope, joy and peace.

            Atheism is firmly anchored in the temporal and the tentative now. Atheism reduces our life to a mere social activity thereby robbing us of a fascinating and a life changing communion with God. Atheism robs man of the hope and joy of expecting an eternal life post our death.

            In a nutshell, Atheism is a dark phenomenon, for it dumps man into a greater darkness.

            What could we as Christians do when we see fellow Christians embrace unbelief?

            Here’s a very simple thought. If we are in the domain of those abandoning Christianity to Atheism, then we could love and pray for them and offer ourselves as an ever-available option for any discussions or prayers.

            May we be able to present the reason for the hope that we have in Christ. May those who have abandoned God realize God’s presence and offer their lives to Christ. Amen.


Websites were last accessed on 18th April 2016.






Sunday, April 10, 2016

Could Christians Donate Their Organs?

            The second greatest commandment mandates Christians to love each other. Loving each other translates into donating organs to either a loved one or a fellow neighbor. Or does it?

Biblical Objections to Organ Donation

            Some Christians object to organ donation. Their objection is based on passages such as 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. This passage per se does not pertain to organ donation, but sexual immorality. Moreover, this passage refers to those living whereas the organ donation happens after the death of the donor.

            The resurrection of believers poses a problem for other Christians. If believers will be given glorified bodies at resurrection, they reckon, it is not appropriate to donate organs, for to donate organs would deprive them of that very organ at their resurrection. This thought smacks of gross theological misunderstanding.

            Dead bodies decompose. The Bible teaches us that our bodies will return to dust or decompose (cf. Genesis 3:19).

            There would be almost nothing left of the believers, who have been dead for 50-100 years. Decomposition or loss of our physical body does not impact the health of our glorious body that we receive during the resurrection of believers of Christ. At the resurrection, believers would receive perfect glorified bodies.

            During our existence on earth, certain individuals may possess certain deficiencies in their body parts e.g. absence of a limb or malfunctioning kidney. These deficiencies would not be carried over to our glorified bodies, for our glorified bodies would be perfect.

            Flesh and blood would not constitute our glorified bodies i.e. the glorified bodies would be imperishable. In other words, our glorified bodies would be complete, but would not be a perishable physical or a material body as we have now.  

            Therefore, organ donation would not deprive our glorious bodies during our resurrection in any manner whatsoever and the Bible does not oppose organ donation.

Killing & Deceiving for Organ Donation

            Beware of bioethicists who justify harvesting vital organs before the donor is technically dead. It is perfectly justified to remove organs from a dead person. But it is a crime to kill the living, even if they are irreversibly disabled or unconscious, so to harvest organs.

            These bioethicists use situational ethics to argue that it is perfectly justifiable to kill those who are irreversibly disabled or unconscious. Those who are irreversibly disabled or unconscious, according to these bioethicists, are dead and have no abilities to lose. Hence, they argue that it is not a crime to remove life support a.k.a. kill these “living dead” so to harvest their organs. A classic case in point is terming the anencephalic neonate (a newborn child, or one in its first 28 days, which is bound to die in a matter of a few days) as an organ donor.

            But the Bible teaches us that man’s created in the image of God. This essentially implies that all lives are of equal value. The multimillionaire doctor and the impoverished sanitation worker are equal in the sight and presence of God. A supremely conditioned athlete and totally paralyzed man are both of equal value in God’s presence and sight. Hence, the lives of the unborn human embryos and the lives of the weak and the helpless have equal value in God’s presence and sight, because God created man in HIS own image.

            Therefore, man does not possess the authority to kill anyone, even if he is irreversibly disabled or unconscious. God forbids murder. So organs can only be taken from those who are dead – which is the state of irreversible and complete loss of heart, lung and brain functions.

            Beware of those who deceive the living organ donors.

            The living donor should be free (not coerced) to either consent or decline to organ donation. These donors must be properly informed about the pros and cons of the procedure involved. Such donations must abide by the strict ethical codes of medicine in general (Hippocratic Oath states: “…Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. Above all, I must not play at God.”), so that the donor is not put in harm’s way. The donor must not be under any pressure or duress to donate his organ.

Christians Should Favor Organ Donation

            A few precautions should be mentioned. Sale and purchase of organs should be discouraged in Christianity because such transactions could entail commercialization of human organs. Human organs are not objects of trade - that can be bought or sold at the right price. The poor should not be exploited to offer their organs in lieu of money.

            Yes, Christians should support organ donations. Organ donations of the living donors are legitimate e.g. donating a kidney. But it is unjust to harvest an organ from the irreversibly disabled or unconscious. Organs should be removed from those who are irreversibly and completely brain dead.  

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Shroud of Turin Is The Burial Cloth of Jesus Christ

            The Shroud of Turin was believed to have been wrapped around Jesus Christ as a burial cloth when HE was taken down from the cross. The shroud is a 14½ foot long and 3½ foot wide linen cloth bearing the image of a crucified man. The image is widely believed to be that of the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The shroud is the single most studied religious artifact ever.1

            Controversy rages over this shroud. Many scientists and evangelical Christians dispute the historical veracity of the shroud. They claim it is a medieval forgery or a hoax perpetrated by the Church.

            Are there reasonable evidences to indicate that the image of the man in the shroud is that of Christ? If so, the shroud should be the burial cloth of Christ.


            Some detractors of the shroud claim that there is no historical data of the shroud prior to the 13th century. If this claim is true, the chance that the shroud was the burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth is rather slim.

            But Professor Gary Habermas cites a number of historical references to the shroud prior to the 13th century:2

            1. There are records of a second century historical citation of the shroud by St. Braulio of Seville, a sermon about the shroud by a church official, and painting of Jesus’ face based on the shroud.

            2. An early Christian tradition asserts that a mysterious cloth with the imprint of Christ’s face was carried by Christ’s disciple Thaddeus to Edessa, the modern day Turkey, subsequently this cloth was moved to Constantinople and then to Turin.

            3. At least 6 species of pollen was found by Swiss Botanist Max Frei in the cloth which was limited exclusively to Israel.

            4. The images of coin placed over the eyes of the man in the shroud, a Jewish practice in the first century, were identified as the lepton (coin) of Pontius Pilate, minted from AD 29-32.

            5. The linen material and the weave have been dated by the textile experts as being from the time of Jesus (plus or minus 100 years).

Radiocarbon Dating

            The shroud’s website disputes the claim of the radiocarbon dating in 1988 that declared the shroud as a fake, “Although substantial scientific data now exists that indicates the sample chosen for dating was anomalous and not representative of the main cloth, most of the world and the media still ignore the massive amount of published science that points to the Shroud's authenticity and accepts instead that single dating test as proof of the Shroud's medieval origin. What very few people know about are the events that occurred behind the scenes that further disqualified the 1988 results. Two new videos that reveal just that are now available online from David Rolfe and Francesca Saracino that deal specifically with those issues and we thought they were important enough to let you know immediately via this Special Update.”3

            A video titled “A Grave Injustice” on the website, reveals that the C14 labs (that determined the shroud as fake) were themselves severely flawed in their dating protocols. 

Jewish Burial Practice & the Gospels

            If the Gospel account of Christ’s burial contradicts that of the shroud, then the shroud cannot be the actual burial cloth of Jesus. Gary Habermas offers insights into this aspect to assert the authenticity of the shroud.4

            Some object that the facial image in the shroud could not be that of Jesus since there would have been a napkin placed flat over the face of Jesus during HIS burial. Hence, the image of Jesus’ face would be on the napkin and not on the shroud.

            But careful investigation reveals that the napkin was folded up and tied around the head to keep the jaw closed (cf. John 11:44 & John 20:7). Interestingly, the image of the man in the shroud reveals that he had a cloth tied around his jaw!

            The man in the shroud was not washed before the burial, hence there were blood stains. Was not Jesus washed before the burial? If Christ was washed before HIS burial, how could there be blood stains on the shroud?

            The code of Jewish law states that people killed by the government would not be washed before burial so to allow the blood to remain on the body as a payment for the person’s acts against the state. John 19:40 states that Jesus was buried according to the Jewish burial customs; hence HE could not have been washed.

            Furthermore, the gospels speak of Jesus buried in more than one strip of linen; the gospels speak of graveclothes in both the singular and the plural. But the shroud is just one piece of cloth, if so, how could the shroud be that of Christ’s?

            Scientific testing of the shroud indicates that the man buried in the shroud was buried in at least four strips of linen. Apart from the single piece of shroud cloth, his head was wrapped around in a napkin as well as having his wrists and ankles tied together (cf. John 11: 44).

            Therefore, the gospel accounts of Jesus’ burial, the Jewish law and the Mishna do not contradict with that of the man in the shroud.

Identity of the Man

            The image of the man in the burial cloth reveals amazing data that’s so remarkably similar to the suffering of Jesus Christ:5

            1. The man in the shroud was beaten severely by the Roman flagrum. There were number of blows to the face, large bruises on the cheeks, twisted nose, one eye swollen half shut and a cut upper lip. He suffered more than 120 whipping wounds.

            2. The large rub marks in the shoulder blades of the man in the shroud indicates that he was forced to carry a heavy object (cross) across his shoulders. There are five major wounds associated to death by crucifixion – puncture wounds through the wrist and through the top of both feet, and a pierce wound in the right side of the chest.

            Therefore, we cannot be absolutely certain that the man in the shroud was Jesus, but we can reasonably infer that this burial cloth is probably that of Jesus, for there are many minute points of agreement and the absence of contradictions.

Evidences for Christ’s Resurrection

            The shroud provides strong evidences for resurrection, asserts Dr. Gary Habermas, who is an expert in the study of Christ’s resurrection, “The man buried in the shroud did not remain in it for more than a few days, since no decomposition is present. Yet the body was not removed or unwrapped because, among other reasons, the blood clots and borders of the stains are intact. And as a grand climax, there is a probable burst of radiation from the dead body. What makes all of this data even more exciting is that it is empirical, scientific evidence that is repeatable.”6

Extent of the Shroud’s Relevance

            Should the authenticity of the Shroud validate Christianity, the Bible, and Christ’s historical existence? No!

            Alternatively, if the shroud is authentic, would the Bible be deemed infallible? No!

            The Bible is inspired, inerrant and infallible. However, the authenticity of the shroud is not a necessary factor to validate the Bible. The Bible and Christ’s existence are validated by other means. The garments or the vessels that Christ used are neither the validating factors of the Lord’s existence nor that of the Bible.  


            The shroud is a fascinatingly miraculous artifact.

            Absolute certainty is impossible when we contend with historical data. If we need absolute certainty of any historical event, we ought to take a time-machine, go back in history to ascertain the validity of that event. But we cannot go back in time. So we can only be reasonably certain about any historical event with the evidences at hand.

            Was the shroud Christ’s burial cloth? Given the plethora of evidences why should we not believe that the shroud belongs to Christ? The shroud is consistent with the biblical data. It is also highly probable that the man in the shroud is Jesus. Furthermore, the shroud has been preserved in history as that of Christ’s burial cloth.

            Given the availability of the evidences, we can be reasonably certain that the shroud was the Lord Jesus’ burial cloth.