CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

Of course, skeptics challenge the Biblical teaching of the resurrection of Jesus. In doing so, they challenge virtually every aspect of the teaching. They challenge the idea that Jesus actually died on the cross, that he was buried in the tomb, and that the tomb is empty. In addition, they challenge the idea of the post-resurrection appearances on several grounds. One ground (raised in the horrendous book, The Empty Tomb) is that those who saw the risen Christ suffered from a mass hallucination.

Of course, if a skeptic is going to rebut the post-resurrection appearance accounts on the basis that the disciples and witnesses of Jesus suffered a mass hallucination, it seems reasonable to expect that there would be some scientific study that concludes that there is such a thing as a mass hallucination. My problem (and, therefore, the problem for skeptics) is that I don't find any such studies. Instead, I see pages by bloggers and skeptics with either unsubstantiated accounts of supposed massive trances or arguments that conflate mass hallucinations with common delusions (which are not the same thing).

Here's what I am seeking from our readers: I am seeking a link to a scientific study that concludes that there is such a thing as mass hallucinations. I am not interested in a link to some other blogger's web page making an argument that people do have mass hallucinations. I am not interested in stories about multiple people viewing apparitions which are labeled (in a gross example of prejudgment) as mass hallucinations. I want a study of mass hallucinations which concludes that not only are such a thing possible, but which sets forth a theory as to how they happen.

Can anyone help?


Are you looking for any mass hallucinations, or only ones that are of the same hallucinatory event? I don't really have anything to offer, I'm just wondering if that's an important clarification for the purpose of application.

I will take either. Obviously, what I am aiming for is something that skeptics of the post-resurrection appearances can use to say, "See, here's a scientific test/experiment that demonstrates that such a thing as mass hallucinations or hallucinations seen simultaneously by several people are possible. Moreover, here's a theory as to why this happens." I know of no such study or experiment, but I do know that some skeptics invoke mass hallucinations as if they are established fact.

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