Just find a few hundred million dollars in gold and silver or maybe gem stones not enough for you? Do you want something with a little “kick?”
How about the Rolls Royce of treasure –
Yup, that’s right, religious relics. And though these short video clips I am sharing with you are Judeo-Christian artifacts all religions have religious holy artifacts – some of which are lost.
Before you get too excited there are a few problems not shared by lost treasure ships, lost mines, or lost cities.
The first problem is that during the middle ages religion was an undisputed authority and in many places in the world exercised great political power. So great was religions political power that it crossed national boundaries. If a church, synagogue , or mosque claimed a certain grave was the grave of a great religious figure – no one disputed it. If that same organization had a relic it claimed was tied directly to a saint or religious figure people would make pilgrimages to see these relics and no one doubted the claim. Relics became big businesses and brought lots of money into churches. Where there is great opportunity for money there is also great opportunity for forgeries. There are many relics around the world today that are believed to be genuine but can only be traced back to the middle ages.
A case in point is the holy grail. The cup that Jesus used at the last supper. There are a couple in Italy, France, England, and a few others around the world as well – including one in the United States. Obviously there is only one, but which one if any of the ones claimed to be THE Holy Grail.
Then there is another problem that is most obvious with the Shroud of Turin, but also exists with many supposed relics. If you find a treasure ship and you find an item you can identify as being on a particular lost ship and you find that item on a discovered shipwreck people accept that you have found that particular ship. Not so with religious relics.
Which brings us back to the Shroud of Turin. You do not just have people who wish to know if the relic is authentic. You have those. But you also have people with a hidden and sometimes not so hidden agenda. Some people want to believe because it will validate their belief in their religion in their mind. Others believe that at best religions are based on fairy tales. They do not want to believe and they believe that if they can show a relic is a forgery then they have debunked that particular religion.
This second agenda means that some of these people will try to hide evidence that places their opinion in doubt. Like the radio-carbon dating of the shroud. This method dates the shroud to the middle ages. But the area where the threads were taken for dating were from a corner where cloth was added to repair the shroud after it was damaged in a fire during the middle ages. The skeptics say that the particular threads tested were original threads and the date is accurate. The supporters say that the newer cloth contaminated the sample and the date is wrong.
Every argument for or against the shroud has an equal and opposite argument. And as if that was not enough, even if by some miracle all the experts finally agreed the shroud dates to 33AD, you still cannot prove who is the image of.
This is an interesting field, but I think I will stick with treasure that does not have a religious tie-in.
Have a great week.
2 responses to “The Rolls Royce of Lost and Found Treasures”
I recently attended a viewing of a collection of religious relics. It was fascinating. And incredibly hard to accept that many of these were actual relics. There was a tiny piece of cloth that was claimed to be from a personal veil of The Virgin Mary as well as a tiny piece of wood supposed to be from The One True Cross as well as over 200 other pieces of bone, hair, and dried blood from many saints and holy people. I guess in this instance the best thing to do is to suspend your disbelief and try to remember that all things are possible with God.
I agree with you, but there was a time when I was more skeptical. My article this Sunday will shed more light on my attitude about relics and other things we cannot prove or disprove. Thank you for the comment, have a good day.