The Shroud: a culture war between science and religion by Sonoma residents Steven and Michael Meloan
The Shroud begins with a classic adventure story premise—a genetic research team from the NIH has been asked by the Vatican to use the latest findings of the Human Genome Project to shed new light on the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. The investigative journey has global repercussions, and takes the story from Washington D.C., to Israel, to Belize.
Within this adventure narrative, Steven and Michael Meloan have created strong and believable characters—the intrepid woman journalist, the slightly wounded brilliant doctor, the researcher with a heart, the rogue genetic scientist, and the transient college buddy who has spiritually transcended. There are also supporting gems—the good-hearted ship’s captain, and the computer hacker cousin operating at the edge of the law.
The Shroud offers explorations at the edges of current science—from reanimation imaging based on genetic sequences, to ethnogenomics and the politics of cloning and stem cell research. But beyond the specific genetic analysis of the Shroud of Turin, the book explores far bigger topics—the human spiritual impulse, the impact of organized religion in the modern era, "tribalism" and its manifestations in human behavior, and the arguable re-convergence of science and spirituality within certain scientific disciplines.
Throughout the story, as conflict with those wishing to protect their institutions and beliefs rises, a new possibility unfolds. In a synthesis of all things "spiritual but not religious", the Meloans offer a manifesto for a third millennium spirituality that is based on compassion, transcendence, and peace. In fact, they have created a website (www.neoteric.net) supporting this component of the book. Where will the novel end and the "real world" call for a new spiritual movement to begin? www.TheShroud.net
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