Collective Hallucination In Christianity

1758 Words8 Pages

...If Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

—1 Corinthians 15:14 (King James Version)

Since the crucifixion of Jesus, opponents of Christianity have directly criticized the religion’s foundation, attempting to belie the historicity of Christ’s physical resurrection. Aiming to nullify Christianity and confute the prospect of supernatural intervention or divine involvement, skeptics and opponents of Christianity continually disseminate naturalistic alternatives, or conspiracy theories, to contradict the resurrection account. One popular notion reasons against the validity of witness accounts, postulating post-crucifixion appearances of Jesus were merely hallucinations, temporarily experienced
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These advocates contend these groups suffered a “mass” or “collective” hallucination, asserting that hallucinations are not always isolated, and “mass hallucinations are extremely well documented.” This argument is problematic in multiple respects. First, the concept of a mass/collective hallucination is inherently contradictory to the medical and scientific definition of hallucination, describing the phenomena as a fundamentally subjective experience, invoking spontaneous activation of internal sensory organs and cognitive mechanisms, without external stimulus. An event cannot be both objective (a sensible experience, independent of individual thought, and perceptible by all observers ) and subjective (an experience conditioned by personal mental characteristics, lacking in reality or substance ) at the same time, and in the same respect. Moreover, to suggest an entire group of people could suffer from simultaneous sensory malfunctions, producing a collective hallucination in which all participants agree on the subject of the hallucination, and the hallucination’s actions and speech, runs contrary to scientific evidence and the current medical understanding of hallucinations…show more content…
Post-mortem appearances occurred under various circumstances, at various times and locations, and the multitude of individual witnesses each exhibited varying emotional states, and maintained differing opinions concerning Jesus. The vast diversity of witnesses includes skeptics (e.g. Thomas), nonbelievers (e.g. James), and opponents of Christianity (e.g. Paul) , all of whom converted to Christianity following personal encounters with the resurrected Jesus. These dramatic conversions, and the drastic alteration in the behavior of the disciples, following post-resurrection interactions with Jesus, remain unexplained by the hallucination hypothesis. The hallucination hypothesis recognizes these transformations, conceding the apostles believed they saw Jesus, yet asserting hallucinations provided the basis of their belief. Recognizing the transformation power of these encounters, the hallucination hypothesis must provide a logical explanation for such transformations, while addressing the diversity of the
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