Did the resurrection really happen? Part 3

Image: Did the resurrection really happen? Part 3

Part 3: The hallucination theory

The Bible claims that Jesus really rose from the dead. In the last couple of articles, I've argued that:

a) Without the resurrection of Jesus, Christianity doesn’t work. So it is worth exploring all the possible explanations for the resurrection of Jesus, and;

b) It's not possible that the body was stolen, or that the disciples went to the wrong tomb.

However, some suggest that Jesus didn’t come back to life, but that the disciples all experienced hallucinations or dreams of Jesus. Let's take a closer look at that idea now.

The hallucination theory

The big problem with this theory is that hallucinations are individual occurrences. By their very nature only one person can see a given hallucination at a time. They certainly are not something which can be seen by a group of people.

Hallucinations are linked to an individual’s subconscious and past experience, making it very unlikely that two or more people could have the same hallucination at the same time.

Jesus appeared to multiple people, and descriptions of these varied appearances involve great detail, which are good indicators that those individuals were in contact with reality.

The many witnesses

So how many people did Jesus actually appear to after his resurrection? Plenty!

1) To Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9; John 20:14)
2) To women returning from the tomb (Matthew 28:9-10)
3) To Peter later in the day (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5)
4) To the Emmaus Disciples (Luke 24:13-33)
5) To the apostles without Thomas (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-20)
6) To the apostles with Thomas (John 20:26-29)
7) To the 7 by the lake of Tiberias (John 21:1-23)
8) To the multitude of over 500 believers on a Galilean mountain (1 Corinthians 15:6)
9) To James (1 Corinthians 15:7)
10) To the eleven (Matthew 28:16-20; Luke 24:33-52)
11) To a group of disciples as the ascension (Acts 1:3-12)
12) To Paul (Acts 9:3-6; 1 Corinthians 15:8)
13) To Stephen (Acts 7:55)
14) To Paul in the temple (Acts 22:17-21; 23:11)
15) To John on Patmos (Revelation 1:10-19)

Is it really possible that all of these people were hallucinating? I don't think so.

Hallucination or resurrection? What do you think?

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