Science behind faith

Charles Dietzen to present a medical perspective of the crucifixion of Jesus at Franciscan St. Francis

Charles J. Dietzen.

As a pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist who has practiced global medicine most of his career, Charles J. Dietzen is often hired to take medical legal issues and break them down in clear English where everyone can understand.

He uses that ability to present complicated issues in a clear way to present the forensic evidence behind the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth and the Shroud of Turin, a linen cloth showing the image of a man who shows trauma consistent with crucifixion and believed to be the burial shroud of Jesus. Dietzen, of Zionsville, will present Crucifixion Scene Investigation: Jerusalem on April 3, 11 a.m. at Franciscan St. Francis Health – Indianapolis.

“We live in a cynical world,” Dietzen said. “Somehow the idea this science will disprove faith or creation never made sense to me. I think this is where they both come together.”

Close-up image of the Shroud of Turin.

When Dietzen was asked to proofread an article by Joe Bergeron on the forensic examination of the Passion of Christ and prepare it for publication in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, he said the idea came to them to begin presenting that evidence to the public. Dietzen does six to 10 presentations each year, and even more when photographer for the Shroud of Turin Research Project, Barry Schwortz, comes to Indiana. The two of them will give two presentations daily when Schwortz visits the state early July.

In the presentation, Dietzen will explain the Roman practice of execution, the physiological aspects of Jesus’ death and a medical analysis of opposing theories on the resurrection. He brings a variety of artifacts and replicas for public viewing and explanation. Included is an authentic first-century Roman spear, nail and die, life-size replica of the cross and a life-size replica of the Shroud of Turin.

“This was always considered the ‘great relic of the Catholic Church’ but really it’s the great relic of Christianity,” Dietzen said. “This is the single most important relic and it’s the hinge pin for our faith – the resurrection. In a sense, it’s like God gave you the opportunity to see a snapshot of Jesus.”

A first-century Roman spear owned by Dietzen.
A first-century Roman spear owned by Dietzen.

Dietzen said the presentation is not always something that’s easy to listen to as it does discuss the trauma Jesus would have faced and how this is demonstrated with the Shroud.

“People love hearing about it from the medical perspective,” Dietzen said. “It’s interesting to see the impact on people. I had a couple ladies that it was just too terrible to sit there and listen to this and think about it so they left. We’ve been told of all the wounds that Jesus suffered. Well, there it is.”