Evidence #13 for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ: Weakness of the Hallucination Theory

Mark 16:11 “When they heard that Jesus was alive, and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it.”

Skeptics have invented 6 theories to try and debunk a physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. The challenge: can Christians show all of them are false? This week, we’ll look at the Hallucination Theory.

The Hallucination Theory = Christ’s post-resurrection appearances were supposed appearances because the people only had hallucinations. Therefore, all the post-resurrection appearances can be dismissed.

The Refutation = How could 500 people hallucinate at the same time? Also, the appearances happened under different conditions and occurred at different times. On top of that, the disciples didn’t believe in the resurrection in the first place! This involves a miracle of blindness to reason away the resurrection.

The hallucination theory is simply not plausible because it contradicts laws and principles which psychiatrists say are essential to hallucinations.

1) Hallucinations usually occur with certain types of people. These are usually high-strung, highly imaginative people. Usually, only paranoid or schizophrenic people hallucinate. But Christ appeared to many diverse types of people. His appearances were not restricted to people of any particular psychological makeup.

2) Hallucinations are linked in an individual’s subconscious – particularly past experiences. The resurrection was certainly not a part of any of these people’s past experiences.

3) Hallucinations are usually restricted to when and where they occur. They usually occur in a nostalgic atmosphere or in a place of familiar surroundings which places the person to a reminiscing mood. They occur in people when there is a spirit of anticipation or hopeful expectation. The historical record shows no such anticipation existed. The disciples did not believe even after they were told of the resurrection!

In this week’s verse, Mark records in his gospel how unbelieving His own disciples were, even though He told them numerous times He would resurrect from the dead:

“When they heard that He was alive, and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it. After that, He appeared in a different form to two of them, while they were walking along on their way to the country. They went away and reported it to the others, but they did not believe them either. And afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen.” (Mark 16:11-14).

We see this consistency in the disciples’ unbelief in His resurrection in the other gospels of Luke and John.

“The women found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ And they remembered His words.

They returned from the tomb and told these things to the eleven and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them.” (Luke 24:2-11).

“Thomas, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore were saying to him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.’

After eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving but believing.’ Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.’  (John 20:24-30).

The debunking of the Hallucination Theory is yet another convincing case for why the Resurrection is true.

“The Evidence of Faith’s Substance” _ Article #518

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