Did Jesus rise from the dead, or was it hallucinations by his followers? | After Life #08

Did Jesus rise from the dead, or was it hallucinations by his followers? | After Life #08

(serene music) – [Narrator] We’ve seen
that the historical records of Jesus rising from the dead go back very close in time to the original events. They weren’t later
legends or borrowed myths. We’ve seen that it
wasn’t a deliberate hoax by Jesus’s first followers. They themselves believed
it enough to die for it. But if they weren’t hoaxers,
could they have been deluded? Could his appearances
have been hallucinations? – The question arises as to whether or not the resurrection of
Jesus could be a belief that his followers had perhaps as a result of wish-fulfillment
or cognitive dissonance, or maybe even hallucinatory activity. And I think if you deny
the resurrection of Jesus as a historical event, you’ve pretty much got to go that way. You’ve got to try to explain
it away psychologically. – Shortly after my father-in-law died, a friend of the family
who had been very close to that bit of the family
experienced my father-in-law in the room with him looking very well, smiling, greeting him and
then disappearing again. I’ve heard other similar stories like this from people that I’ve known,
a friend whose daughter was tragically murdered in a
random shooting in America. Her boyfriend who was
hundreds of miles away suddenly experienced
her as though physical, but certainly visible
in the room with him. This is actually a common phenomenon which has been written up, people have done scientific studies of it. And the thing is this, that was well known in the ancient world as well. People knew that that
sort of thing happened. So the idea which some have
suggested that actually that’s what went on three
days after Jesus’ death, that his followers found
that he mysteriously appeared and then disappeared
again, well there it is. That’s one of those
death-induced hallucinations or whatever you call it. These odd spiritual phenomena. But I don’t think even those
are pure hallucinations, because they can happen to
people when they don’t know the person concerned has
been killed or has died. So there’s all sorts of
mysterious things going on there. However, the point is this. Those phenomena, when they occur, and when people realize
that they’ve occurred, are taken as a sure sign
that the person is dead, not that the person is now alive again. In other words, if you have
one of those experiences of somebody that you knew,
whether or not you knew that they’d just died,
the thing that it means pretty certainly is that they have died, and that they are dead,
whereas the seeings of Jesus which the early disciples
had were taken as clear signs that he wasn’t dead,
that he was alive again. – I think the fact that
five hundred people at the same time claimed
to have seen the same thing goes against the idea of hallucination. We don’t have psychological data for mass hallucination of the same thing. People hallucinate as individuals. And so this again goes
against the evidence. You also need to be predisposed to believe in the hallucination, to
have some kind of a seed, of a thought, of why this might happen. And again that goes against
the scholarly consensus that there wasn’t this idea
of an individual resurrection of an individual Jesus. – Well it’s interesting that
the hallucination hypothesis has had a sort of resurrection over the last 20 years you could say. But it suffers from the
same problems that it did a hundred years ago when
it was largely rejected. It’s what we do know about
hallucinations that makes the resurrection appearances
of Jesus extremely unlikely. For example, in multiple studies we find that about 50% of
bereaving senior adults, grieving over the loss of a loved one, about 50% of them experience
some sort of a hallucination of their deceased loved one. And these are the group
of people most likely to experience a hallucination. But of those sorts of hallucinations, only 7% experience a visual hallucination. So that’s what I mean is
7% of all senior adults bereaving the loss of a loved one experience a visual
hallucination of their loved one. Now think about this. When it comes to the disciples, it says that Jesus appeared to them. All these things about
appearing, these are visual. He appeared to all of them, all of the 12 and then to more than 500 at one time. So you’ve got not just 7%,
but an unthinkable 100% who would have seen Jesus, visually hallucinated
Jesus simultaneously, and the content would have been the same. For example, they hallucinated
Jesus rather than the Jewish or Roman guards coming through the door. So these things make it extremely unlikely that what the disciples experienced, that these appearances
were hallucinations. – But I think that when you
weigh this counter explanation by the standard criteria that are used for assessing historical hypotheses, like explanatory power,
explanatory scope, plausibility and so forth, this isn’t
a credible explanation. Take, for example, the empty tomb. The empty tomb obviously
cannot be explained as a result of psychological
or hallucinatory factors because it’s an objective, historical fact that would be available for anybody living in Jerusalem to go and investigate. The fact that the belief
in Jesus’ resurrection originated in Jerusalem,
under the eyes of its enemies who had publicly crucified
Jesus, is an astonishing fact. It could never have happened in the face of a tomb containing his corpse. So the empty tomb of
Jesus is an objective fact that cannot be explained
away psychologically. – Again you have the
question of the empty tomb. If it was a hallucination what it did actually happened to Jesus’ body? Something must have happened to that body. Scholars are united on
the fact of the empty tomb even those who don’t believe
in the resurrection of Jesus don’t question whether
Jesus’ tomb was empty. The evidence points to this. Other explanations might be offered, but where did Jesus’ body go? – Had they had experiences
like those post-death bereavement experiences,
whatever, then it would have been perfectly compatible with
going to the tomb and saying, “But he’s still in there.” And so basically, he’s not
only dead but he’s very dead, because we’ve had those experiences that mean someone is dead. So the appearances plus the empty tomb, together mean something
radically new has happened. – Secondly, as for the
post mortem appearances, these outstrip anything in the case books of hallucinatory experiences
studied by psychologists. They didn’t just appear to one
person but to many persons. Not just to individuals
but to groups of people. Not just on one occasion or at one locale but many different occasions
at different locales. Not just under one set of circumstances but under a variety of circumstances. Not just to believers but
to unbelievers as well. And so in order to try to
explain these psychologically, you’ve got to cobble together all sorts of different
hallucinatory experiences to try to make a parallel to
the resurrection apparitions. And there really just isn’t
anything in psychology that parallels it. – In the book of Acts Chapter 12, Peter is expecting to be executed. The early church is expecting that he’s going to be executed. He’s in prison, they want
to kill him the next day. The church is praying. They’re in a secret room
somewhere, and they’re praying their socks off that
Peter will be released. Then an extraordinary thing happens. Peter gets out of prison with an angel opening the doors for
him, a very weird story. Peter comes and knocks at
the door and a little maid called Rhoda runs to the
door and hears Peter’s voice and is so excited she
doesn’t open the door. She runs back and says,
“It’s Peter, it’s Peter.” And they say, “You’re mad.” She says, “No, it is him.” And then they say, “It must be his angel.” Now, that’s a very significant thing. What do they mean? They think that Peter has in
fact been killed in the prison, and that this is one of those post mortem hallucinations
that we’ve all heard of. And that this means that
Peter is, as it were, coming spiritually to say goodbye before then, he remains dead. That would be perfectly
compatible with them going to the prison next
day, getting his body, burying it and grieving. So that’s precisely what
they didn’t do with Jesus because this wasn’t a hallucination. This was something radically,
thoroughly different. – [Narrator] The idea that
the appearances of Jesus were mass hallucinations doesn’t work. And the hallucination theory can’t explain the fact that his tomb was empty. His body really had gone. For if someone wants to believe
the hallucination theory, they have to bring in
two separate explanations that are both unlikely, one
for the mass hallucinations and another for the empty tomb. But in recent years, it’s
been claimed that the story of the empty tomb was
made up more than 30 years after the event, perhaps by
the author of Mark’s Gospel. We’ll look next time
at whether Jesus’ tomb was really empty. (serene music)

10 thoughts on “Did Jesus rise from the dead, or was it hallucinations by his followers? | After Life #08”

  1. I've often wondered about the New Testament accounts regarding Jesus's post-crucified body.  These accounts say that he still had the wounds in his hands, feet, and side, and that he ate fish and honeycomb.  This tells me that his body was not a perfected body as resurrected bodies are purported to be.  What if Jesus survived the crucifixion, had an NDE, and came back?  For people of that day, this would have seemed miraculous, 'rising from the dead'.  So much so that they would have been willing to die for their belief.  This argument seems more reasonable and logical to me, than that Jesus's body was magically immortalized.

    George Rodonaia, a Russian man who was run over by a car, was considered dead and placed in a hospital morgue where he stayed for several days before coming back to consciousness when the autopsy was begun.  So there is modern precedent for survival after being declared dead, even after several days. Josephus himself recounted his personal experience of one of his friends who was crucified and lived afterward.  Also, some NDEers have been known to return with 'psychic' powers such as healing abilities, clairvoyance and others. 

    In the account of his appearing to his disciples, he could simply have already been in the house where they were meeting and just didn't show himself until they were all gathered.  For sure, if he survived the crucifixion, he would have been a wanted man to the Romans, so he would not have wanted to make himself publicly known since, if he was still mortal, he could have been killed again. 

    And this is another good argument for his still being mortal.   If he had been 'resurrected' and was immortal, never to die again, why not reveal himself publically?  So people would have to 'exercise faith'?   People do exercise faith, in all sorts of ideas and concepts.  This does not mean those ideas and concepts are true.  Exercising 'faith' is fraught with the danger of believing what we want to believe rather than what is truly based on reality. 

    So, if Jesus was still mortal, where did he go?  There is an account that after he recovered from his wounds, he left the Roman Empire and traveled to the Kashmir province of India, where he lived a long life as 'St. Issa', was known for healing others, and is buried in a shrine there.   You can watch a number of videos about 'Jesus in India' on YouTube.

  2. What Prof Tom Wright experience happened to my aunt as well. Her husband showed up and disappear. I believe that too. wow

  3. you're crucified- you're lungs & heart collapse, stabbed in the side (heart) w/ a spear,
     so you're in a dark cave with no exits or anyone else in there with limited oxygen, wrapped in 3-7 layers of cotton which roasty toasty& limiting further oxygen with the cave& F* circulation system,  the door is 5 metric tons, and no extra blood on the bandages or foot/machine prints on the outside……….

  4. Your question, the premise of the video "Did Jesus rise from the dead or was it hallucinations by his followers" is a false dichotomy. There are many more possibilities than those two. For instance it could all be made up out of whole cloth.

  5. Paul says the appearances were visions. He equates his own experience (which was a vision) to the other "appearances" in 1 Cor 15:5-8. No distinction is made in nature and Paul is the earliest and only firsthand source.

  6. It is often claimed by apologists that the earliest Christians experienced "appearances" of the Risen Christ after his resurrection – 1 Cor 15:5-8. But did they really "see" him?

    Let's take a look at a few passages in the New Testament to give an example of what was claimed to have been "seen" while using Greek verbs for normal seeing.

    Mark 1:9-11 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

    Luke 10:18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven."

    Acts 7:55-56 "But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

    Acts 10:9-10 "He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners."

    John 1:32
    Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 

    Did Jesus, Stephen, Peter and John really "see" these things? If other people were standing there would they have seen these things too? Obviously, we're dealing with an ancient superstitious culture that did not make distinctions like we do between normal "seeing" with the eyes and having some sort of subjective spiritual experience. The authors also may just be using "seeing" as a figure of speech. This must be kept in mind when reading passages in Paul such as 1 Cor 9:1 "Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?" or saying Jesus "appeared/was seen" in 1 Cor 15:5-8. Second Temple Judaism was a superstitious visionary culture in which people claimed to have "visions" of God and angels all the time. This provides a cultural background context which raises the prior probability that the "appearances" of Jesus were originally thought of as "visions" or spiritual revelations from heaven. https://www.reddit.com/r/DebateAChristian/comments/8iq6k9/the_cultural_background_of_judaism_supports_the/

    This evidence proves that just because something was claimed to have been "seen" it does not follow that these encounters were to be understood as objective physical sensory experiences. This has severe implications for Christian origins. If these people were just imagining they "saw" Christ or were simply mistaken then Christianity is obviously false. Once we combine this evidence with the fact that the appearance to Paul was a "vision from heaven" which he equates with the other "appearances" in the list of 1 Cor 15:5-8 then it can be inferred that the later gospel details of the risen Christ who is physically seen, touched and witnessed floating to heaven are almost certainly embellished legends.

  7. The resurrection is a legend that grew over time. Watch how experiencing the Risen Jesus evolves in chronological order. Scholarly consensus dating places the documents as follows:

    Paul c. 50 CE – is the only firsthand report. He says the Risen Jesus "appeared" ὤφθη (1 Cor 15:5-8) and was experienced through "visions" and "revelations" – 2 Cor 12:1. The appearance to Paul was a vision/revelation from heaven – Gal. 1:12-16, Acts 26:19 (not a physical encounter with a revived corpse) and he makes no distinction between what he "saw" and what the others "saw" in 1 Cor 15:5-8. This shows that early Christians accepted visions as Resurrection "appearances." Paul nowhere gives any evidence of the Risen Christ being experienced in a more "physical" way which means you have to necessarily read in the assumption that the appearances were physical, from a later source that Paul nowhere corroborates. He had a chance to mention the empty tomb in 1 Cor 15 when it would have greatly helped his argument but doesn't. Paul's order of appearances: Peter, the twelve, the 500, James, all the apostles, Paul. No location is mentioned.

    Mark c. 70 CE – introduces the empty tomb but has no appearance report. Predicts Jesus will be "seen" in Galilee. The original ends at 16:8 where the women leave and tell no one. Mark's order of appearances: Not applicable.

    Matthew c. 80 CE – has the women tell the disciples, contradicting Mark's ending, has some women grab Jesus' feet, then has an appearance in Galilee which "some doubt" – Mt. 28:17. Matthew also adds a descending angel, great earthquake, and a zombie apocalypse to spice things up. If these things actually happened then it's hard to believe the other gospel authors left them out, let alone any other contemporary source from the time period. Matthew's order of appearances: Two women, eleven disciples. The appearance to the women takes place near the tomb in Jerusalem while the appearance to the disciples happens on a mountain in Galilee.

    Luke 85-95 CE – has the women immediately tell the disciples, contradicting Mark. Jesus appears in Jerusalem, not Galilee, contradicting Matthew's depiction and Mark's prediction. He appears to two people on the Emmaus Road who don't recognize him at first. Jesus then vanishes and suddenly appears to the disciples. This time Jesus is "not a spirit" but a "flesh and bone" body that gets inspected, eats fish, then floats to heaven while all the disciples watch – conspicuously missing from all the earlier reports. Acts adds the otherwise unattested claim that Jesus appeared over a period of 40 days. Luke's order of appearances: Two on the Emmaus Road, Peter, rest of the eleven disciples. All appearances happen in Jerusalem.

    John 90-110 CE – Jesus can now walk through walls and has the Doubting Thomas story where Jesus gets poked. Jesus is also basically God in this gospel which represents another astonishing development. John's order of appearances: Mary Magdalene, eleven disciples, the disciples again plus Thomas, then to seven disciples. In John 20 the appearances happen in Jerusalem and in John 21 they happen near the Sea of Galilee on a fishing trip.

    As you can see, these reports are inconsistent with one another and represent growth that's better explained as legendary accretion rather than actual history. If these were actual historical reports that were based on eyewitness testimony then we would expect more consistency than we actually get. None of the resurrection reports in the gospels even match Paul's appearance chronology in 1 Cor 15:5-8 and the later sources have amazing stories that are drastically different from and nowhere even mentioned in the earliest reports. The story evolves from Paul's spiritual/mystical Christ all the way up to literally touching a resurrected corpse that flies to heaven! So upon critically examining the evidence we can see the clear linear development that Christianity started with spiritual visionary experiences and evolved to the ever-changing physical encounters in the gospels (which are not firsthand reports). https://www.reddit.com/r/DebateAChristian/comments/6hj39c/the_resurrection_is_a_legend_that_grew_over_time/

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