SCEPTIC.INFO Free your mind - question!
SCEPTIC.INFO Free your mind - question!
VERIDICAL HALLUCINATIONS - WHAT IF THE JESUS VISIONS ARE OUTSIDE OF THE PSYCHIATRIC NORM?
It has been well established in the world of religion that people swear by visions and voices from saints and gods that cannot be true. The experiences all conflict with each other. Is this evidence for some paranormal or poorly understood natural force causing hallucinations that do not fit the norm?
Christians argue that the reports of visions of Jesus raised bodily in the New Testament do not fit very well with the theory that hallucination was at play. But in all medical examinations, there are cases that judgements have to be suspended on as the illness does not seem to fit the known framework. What happened might not be what you would expect of people hallucinating but that does not mean you can rule out hallucination. Also if you are religious then what if some paranormal input or something was involved? What if it was not an entirely natural hallucination? Plus you cannot assume that all the information written decades after the event is there. Or that what is written is perfect. Maybe the oddities are down to errors and inaccuracies in the accounts?
Explanatory scope is the downfall of the resurrection doctrine. The doctrine needs to explain all the data. The data is that Jesus supposedly really died. Was taken from his cross and buried. The tomb was protected and yet the body vanished. Jesus had no loyal friends then apart from a handful of people, mainly women. Then Jesus appeared claiming to be resurrected bodily from the dead. Then those who seen him reported he had ascended to Heaven. The disciples though they turned against him had now become ardent apostles of his message and celebrated his return from the dead and exaltation to eternal life. Hallucination of the risen Jesus is supposedly ruled out by this information. What believers mean is all the information points to Jesus really rising and they would mention that you cannot hallucinate an empty tomb and then its occupant appearing to you. They would need to say you only need one explanation for having too many is a bad idea.
Psychiatry has found shock can cause people to let their imaginations run riot and hallucinate. The shock of a dead person being supposedly alive would take care of visions of the person even if the person is actually now hiding in a cave. It is a lie to try and present this situation as in any way similar to any existing hallucination case studies.
The trouble is if a man dies and is alive again that is all you have. You can only guess why he is alive. The resurrection interpretation is only one of millions. Maybe Jesus like one of Ron Hubbard's Scientology clears was able to suspend his body at the point of death and come around and heal rapidly.
Educated Catholics including priests and bishops believe that God can make nature work in an extremely unlikely way and give a person visions and hallucinations that are not easily fitted into our usual understanding. That does not mean they cannot fit but just that they do not seem to given our inadequate state of knowledge and inability to test. The evidence for such hallucinations is how most visions of the Virgin Mary clearly do not mean the witnesses are really in the presence of Mary. It is as if they are having some experience through which God teaches them. The saints believed that God uses nature to teach you and did not necessarily think all their dreams and impressions and sensations that somebody in Heaven was talking them to them were supernatural in themselves.
Another piece of evidence is the elusive phenomenon of veridical hallucinations. They seem so real, unlike most hallucinations, but it is clear that they are not. They are hard to study for there is no such thing as somebody going into a psychiatry unit to have one. They are very elusive.
These hallucinations are caused by knowing and being close to the person who appears and are said by some to be caused by telepathy. It is a hallucination caused by another mind so to speak. You don't need telepathy as in psychic power to explain it for mind to mind communication is so much more powerful than we realise and when we talk to somebody we are communicating with them more than just verbally. That is what is at work when people think they experience telepathy - they have simply connected with the feelings and thoughts of another more than they have realised for there is more to communication than just talking. They are reading the other person better than they are aware of. A relationship with another can cause a hallucination. Religious people would say that on paper the experience is a hallucination but it is a good meaningful hallucination so it is not a hallucination in the usual sense of the word which can be very frightening and pejorative. It is an exception to the rule.
Jesus Christ was crucified and supposedly rose three days later from the dead. The "evidence" is an empty tomb and visions of the risen Jesus.
Did the women and the apostles hallucinate the appearances of Jesus veridically?
Hugh Montifiore in The Womb and the Tomb (page 157), says that though a group cannot have the same hallucination the person having one can spread it to others and the sense of touch can be deluded to make them think they have touched the dead person. And you can see a person you don’t recognise at first. It is easier to hold that if Jesus appeared then it was not him but a hallucination he or something put into the minds of the visionaries. The Gospels and Jesus erred in thinking that visions could and would prove the resurrection. However, Hugh thinks the visions of Jesus were not veridical for they happened too often and changed the lives of the apostles making eager missionaries of them (page 159). But a veridical hallucination would make some people tend to have subjective hallucinations afterwards or mistake their imagination for a new vision. You could have had some members of the group having visions that the others could not see for it is not said Jesus was seen by all at the places where he appeared all the time. Jesus might not have appeared very much and many of the things that he said might have been heard though a sense of prophecy so there was no need for a lot of visions. Some of these visions could have been revelations in dreams. It was the Pentecost hallucination or whatever, not the resurrection that changed the apostles. I am sick of Christian lies saying it was the resurrection when even their Bible does not say so.
They don’t want it to be Pentecost for there was an outbreak of phenomena that need not have been supernatural. Dubious charismatic groups create zealots all the time.
Also, a veridical hallucination of a person claiming to be a special prophet from God could have a life-changing effect. Hallucinations that are religious in nature which change lives are well-known but Christians usually say that in a lot of cases they are just the work of demons and not hallucinations in the psychiatric sense. So we are to assume miracles then when instead we can assume a hallucination that may be inexplicable but which may not necessarily be supernatural.
It is unfair to of critics to argue that the visions of Jesus were not hallucinations of any kind because hallucinations do not turn the visionaries into missionaries. They wouldn’t when it is ordinary people they see. The Jesus case could very unique if the gospels are accurate and thus outside the scope of that criticism. But it could be argued that those who see visions of the dead or ghosts do become missionaries in the sense that they can suffer derision and inconvenience for telling their story. It could be that the appearances of Jesus had no life-changing effect but then afterwards when the apostles thought about them and got revelation from God and searched the Old Testament for guidance that they got their effect. This however would mean the interpretation not the experience had the effect. It is dishonest how we are led to think that Jesus was not a hallucination because he changed lives by appearing when the consequences could have been what was doing the changing. Interpretations make most missionaries.
There is no need for veridical hallucinations to be necessarily psychic. People only report them and consider them to be psychic when they happen at the time the person dies or something. Otherwise they just think they are imagination and ignore them.
No matter what anybody says, if the visions of Jesus did not behave always in a normal way it is medical practice and medical science to regard any appearance of a dead person as a hallucination if they go through walls or glow or look different or whatever. Christianity has a Jesus so different from the nailed one that one wonders what the point of saying he rose from the dead is! They will not call it a re-creation but that is what they are talking about not resurrection.
The visions of Jesus might have been veridical hallucinations and that should be accepted before a resurrection appearance for it is simpler and more rational. There is no evidence that the visions lasted any longer than it takes to read the story of an appearance. Brief visions fit the data best. And we have to remember that if some had a veridical hallucination of Jesus that paves the way for them to imagine him later on. A combination of factors would explain it.
The most important fact is that it was too unique of a situation to rule out hallucination and the data is not all there. We only have selections.
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