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Why the Disciples 'Hallucination Theory' is Invalid

Discussion in 'Religious Issues' started by Paul7, Jan 27, 2012.


  1. Paul7

    Paul7
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    It is often speculated by skeptics here that the Resurrection appearances (and accounts of other miracles, for that matter) were some kind of false vision or hallucination. You know, they merely believed they witnessed miracles. Here are some interesting comments on that:


    "The problem with this theory is that, in the case of the Resurrection appearances, everything we know about hallucinations is violated. The appearances did not follow the patterns always present in hallucinations, for hallucinations are private and arise out of a state of expreme emotional instability in which the hallucination functions as a sort of wish-fullfillment. What occurred after the Resurrection was very different. The disciples had little trouble accepting Christ's departure; they decided to go back to their fishing. The appearances came as surprises while the diciples were intent on other things. Most importantly, the appearances came to groups of people, with each member seeing the same thing. That is simply not how hallucinations work. Thus the Resurrection appearances could not have been hallucinations."

    Winfried Corduan

    "Any theory of hallucination breaks down on the fact (and if it is an invention it is the oddest invention that ever entered the mind of man) that on three separate occasions this hallucination was not immediately recognized as Jesus."

    C.S. Lewis


    Normally, only particular kinds of people have hallucinations. They are described as high-strung, highly imaginative and very nervous. The appearances that Christ made were not restriced to people of any particular psychological make-up. John R.W. Stott says:

    "There was a variety in mood......
    "Mary Magdalene was weeping.....
    "the women were afraid and astonished....
    "Peter was full of remorse......
    ".....and Thomas of incredulity.
    "The Emmaus pair were distracted by the events of the week...
    "....and the disciples in Galilee by their fishing."

    It is impossible to dismiss these revelations of the divine Lord as hallucinations of deranged minds."
     

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  2. ksg0245

    ksg0245
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    Have you ever been tricked by a magician into thinking you've seen something that didn't actually happen?

    Have you ever thought you observed something it turned out you were mistaken about and didn't actually see?

    Have you ever played the telephone game?
     

  3. Paul7

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    Have you ever seen something that really happened?
     
  4. ksg0245

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    Of course, but that's irrelevant; seeing something that's really happened doesn't mean one can't be tricked, or mistaken about what one has seen.

    Care to answer my questions now?

    Have you ever been tricked by a magician into thinking you've seen something that didn't actually happen?

    Have you ever thought you observed something it turned out you were mistaken about and didn't actually see?

    Have you ever played the telephone game?
     
  5. Paul7

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    Yes, I've seen a magician, but I knew it was fake going in, and they don't pretend they aren't tricks. Never heard of the telephone game.

    Being tricked doesn't mean we can't see real events.
     
    #5 Paul7, Jan 27, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
  6. ksg0245

    ksg0245
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    Really? No magician anywhere has ever claimed what they were doing was real?

    It's the children's game where one person whispers something to another, who then whispers it to the next, and so on. The last person in sequence reveals what they heard, and it's compared to the initial whisper.

    They never match.

    Of course not, but it does mean we can be tricked, or can misinterpret what we see, without "hallucination" even being a factor. That's why science is such a great tool; it filters out trickery and misinterpretation.

    Here's another interesting aspect of the topic:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57362197-10391704/mass-hysteria-outbreak-reported-in-n.y-town-what-does-it-mean/
    Why did 12 teens from the same town in upstate N.Y. all begin to experience odd symptoms at once? Doctors say it's an outbreak of mass hysteria.

    Last fall, 12 teenage girls from LeRoy Junior-Senior High School - located in a town about an hour outside of Buffalo, N.Y. - began to show symptoms similar to those of Tourette's syndrome, including painful shaking and jerking their necks, Gothamist reported. ...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_hysteria
    Mass hysteria—other names include collective hysteria, group hysteria, or collective obsessional behavior—is the spontaneous manifestation of the same or similar hysterical physical symptoms by more than one person.
     
  7. Paul7

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    The Gospel accounts DO match. Your example is quite different from testimony from an eyewitness, or someone who interviewed an eyewitness.
     
    #7 Paul7, Jan 27, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
  8. ksg0245

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    Actually, no, they don't, which is surprising, given that there's been a couple of thousand years to work out the discrepancies.

    But that's beside the point; that several people CLAIM they witnessed something doesn't mean they weren't all mistaken, for the reasons I've already listed.

    How is it "quite different?" My examples demonstrate that the initial problem with your claims is the unreliability of eyewitness testimony, magnified by the distortion that creeps in through multiple repetition.
     
  9. Paul7

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    The Gospels haven't changed since the were written. If it was all a hoax why would there be ANY minor discrepancies. Or for that matter why would the disciples make themselves look bad, or have women (whose testimony was less valued) be the first to witness the Resurrection?

    Frank Morrison was an attorney who set out to write a book disproving the Resurrection and ended up becoming a believer. In Who Moved the Stone? he commented that the Gospel accounts are similar to what we see in modern court testimony from multiple witnesses of the same event, agreement on the big picture with minor disagreement on secondary issues.

    It is less likely when hundreds see the same thing, with no contradicting testimony. Where is your evidence for this conspiracy?

    Your example was, I believe, based on several dozen people hearing a story, very different from hearing it from an eyewitness or someone who interviewed an eyewitness.
     
    #9 Paul7, Jan 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
  10. eracer

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    Where's my EBT?

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    Does that mean the Witches of Salem weren't suffering from Ergotism, and really were witches?

    [​IMG]
     
  11. GreenDrake

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    It's gotta be true

    [​IMG]
     
  12. ksg0245

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    False.

    I didn't say it was a hoax. I said "eyewitness testimony is unreliable" and "people are easily tricked or mistaken." I also offered the example of mass hysteria.

    There are discrepancies because different people are retelling stories they've heard, exactly like in the telephone game.

    The disciples didn't make themselves look bad; the people who wrote the stories did that.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Henry_Ross
    Albert Henry Ross (1881 – 14 September 1950[1]), (pseudonym Frank Morison), was an English advertising agent and freelance writer.

    Ross grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.[2] He worked for Lever Brothers until 1910, then joined advertising agents S. H. Benson's of Kingsway. He managed the printing department and became a director in 1936. After his retirement in 1947 he became an honorary fellow of the Institute of Incorporated Practitioners in Advertising.[1]

    Apart from his work, he was a keen colour cinematographer and amateur astronomer. He was married, with one daughter.

    He is best known today for writing the book Who Moved the Stone?,[3] under the pseudonym Frank Morison. ...​

    That he claims he became a believer doesn't actually verify the gospels.

    And, as I've already pointed out, eyewitness testimony is unreliable, people are often mistaken about what they think they've observed, and can be easily tricked.

    You don't have reports from hundreds seeing the same thing; you have four stories (two of which may have come from one source). And despite repeating the claim that they don't contradict each other, they do.

    I'm not claiming it's a conspiracy.

    You don't have eyewitness testimony; you have stories claiming to be eyewitness testimony, at least two of which appear to come from another source, and which contradict each other on significant details. And even if you did have eyewitness testimony, it's unreliable, for reasons you seem to want to ignore.
     
  13. Paul7

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    OK, who has been tinkering with the NT for 2,000 years? We have fragments of it from as early as 114 AD.

    Then your testimomy never to have seen a miracle should be rejected.

    Not when an eyewitness is involved.

    And the disciples went along with it and got themselves killed for this myth, right? I want in on that action, LOL.

    I never claimed it did, what it does point out is that the Gospel accounts correspond to what we see today in court testimony from different witnesses of the same event - agreement on the big picture with minor differences on secondary issues. Why would there be ANY differences if it was made up?

    "Ross was skeptical regarding the resurrection of Jesus, and set out to analyse the sources and to write a short paper entitled Jesus – the Last Phase[3] to demonstrate the apparent myth.[5] In compiling his notes, he came to be convinced of the truth of the resurrection, and set out his reasoning in the book Who moved the stone?"

    How many sources do you need? I said hundreds because hundreds did claim to see the risen Lord, 500 at one time. Nobody contradicted this prior to AD 100, while the church was growing. Why would that be?

    Not on the big picture, Christ died, was buried, and rose again.

    What was it then? I addressed the hallucination theory on another thread.

    What I reject is that eyewitness testimony CAN be unreliable, it is to be assumed that the foundation for the church is also unreliable, for no other reason than your bias.

    Please explain this:

    "There is an amazing reference in the Talmuds
    that verifies that after Jesus was crucified, God no
    longer accepted the sin offering and the scapegoat
    offered by the high priests. The Talmuds state:
    "Forty years before the Temple was destroyed
    (30 A.D.) the chosen lot was not picked with the right
    hand, nor did the crimson stripe turn white, nor
    did the westernmost light burn; and the doors of the
    Temple’s Holy Place swung open by themselves, until
    Rabbi Yochanon ben Zakkai spoke saying: 'O most
    Holy Place, why have you become disturbed? I know
    full well that your destiny will be destruction, for the
    prophet Zechariah ben Iddo has already spoken
    regarding you saying: 'Open thy doors, O Lebanon,
    that the fire may devour the cedars' (Zech. 11:1).'
    Talmud Bavli, Yoma 39b"


    Why would the very Jews who worked to have Jesus killed make up the above event supporting the New Testament account?
     
    #13 Paul7, Jan 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
  14. Guss

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    You don't even need hallucinations. You just need a handful of people spreading the story that he was seen.
     
  15. ksg0245

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    Think about it for a couple of seconds, maybe the answer will come to you in an epiphany.

    Sure, except there is no objective, verifiable evidence anywhere ever for any miracles, so claiming to not have seen one doesn't seem very remarkable.

    There are two huge problems with that:

    1: EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY IS UNRELIABLE.

    2: YOU DON'T HAVE A SINGLE VERIFIED EYEWITNESS. You have stories THAT CLAIM TO BE REPORTS FROM eyewitnesses.

    But feel free to keep spouting "EYEWITNESS! EYEWITNESS!"

    The disciples, if they even existed, may have been mistaken about what they observed, or may have been deliberately tricked. Just because someone REALLY BELIEVES something doesn't mean that person isn't mistaken. The guys that flew the planes into buildings on September 11 gave up their lives and the lives of thousands of others for what they REALLY BELIEVED; does that mean they were right?

    Are you not understanding what I've written, or just pretending?

    The stories were written YEARS after the events that supposedly inspired them, and may be second hand accounts. IF the events happened, there is no way of determining whether the initial reports are accurate because of the unreliability of eyewitness testimony (and there are no confirmed eyewitnesses, just more CLAIMS), but there was plenty of time for those stories to circulate and homogenize and the best bits emphasized.

    And you've got no unbiased, outside confirmation.

    Ross CLAIMED to have been skeptical. It's a common story; theists think being mad at god is atheism, and then trumpet their "coming back into the fold." What evidence is there he actually WAS skeptical?

    That's a STORY. Do you have 500 separate independently confirmed reports from that event, or just a story about the event?

    I've already answered your question when you asked in another thread.

    Yes, that's the claim. Hmm, did I already address this?

    Well, there's this: "The stories were written YEARS after the events that supposedly inspired them. IF the events happened, there is no way of determining whether the initial reports are accurate because of the unreliability of eyewitness testimony (and there are no confirmed eyewitnesses, just more CLAIMS), but there was plenty of time for those stories to circulate and homogenize, like what happens in the telephone game."

    My first guess, without any objective, verifiable evidence to support the claims of the stories, is that they're stories that grew and coalesced over time, some of which may have been inspired by reports of what people thought they'd observed, and others which may have been inspired by previously existing mythologies.

    Well, you waved it away.

    You're free to reject whatever you want; you like and find comfort in the church, so assume you haven't been mislead. That doesn't change the fact that eyewitness testimony is unreliable, or that stories can distort over time, or that you don't have any outside, contemporary, confirmed reports.

    Is there any direct reference to the crucifixion in that report, or is it just a report about two events that may have happened in the same time frame but aren't actually connected? The way I'm reading it, the Talmud report starts with the phrase "Forty years" and ends with "may devour the cedars," and between those two points I don't see any mention of Jesus.

    Unless you've got additional information, I don't see it supporting the New Testament account.
     
  16. Javelin

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    Quantum level theory would probably state they were sane and rational people experiencing something of divine origin.

    Truth.
     
  17. ksg0245

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    Could you please cite the relevant theory?
     
  18. Javelin

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    I don't really care to get into it but there is a really good book called Deepak Chopra - How To Know God. It pretty much sums up the relevance of matter and energy that exists but does not exist and disappears at the quantum level every second of every day.

    Science, through quantum physics, proves the existence of God. I recommend you read it.

    :wavey:
     
  19. ArtificialGrape

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    You look to an outspoken evangelizing Christian medical doctor for your interpretation of physics? Funny how the physicists doing the actual research don't come to the same conclusion.

    -ArtificialGrape
     
  20. ksg0245

    ksg0245
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    Science does no such thing, through quantum physics or otherwise. I recommend you read about it.