Last year I introduced myself in the Introductions section and summarized my discussion on the topic. A few people replied and then the forum crashed. So I want to repost our discussions that we had in the old "Introductions" thread.
Hello, I have been thinking about the arguments for Christ's Resurrection because it is a central topic in Christianity. I made a thread in the Apologetics section listing the major Evidence for the Resurrection and asking which one forum users considered to be the strongest. The most common response, chosen by three people, was that the apostles must have met Jesus after His resurrection because most of the disciples were killed for their beliefs.
In order to evaluate this evidence, I considered the possibility of whether they could have mistakenly believed that they saw Jesus, ie. that they envisioned an unreal experience. So I made a thread in the Apologetics section asking whether a group of people could realistically hallucinate a figure having physical interactions:
Could 11 people have a group hallucination with seemingly physical characteristics?
Three people responded. One assertedthat they couldn't have hallucinated Jesus' presence because it had physical interactions. The second person (Gary Mac, apparently a JW) didn't believe that Jesus' physically resurrected and that only "What they saw of these was the same Spirit in these who was in Christ Jesus". In other words, the witnesses didn't see Jesus' physical body risen, they just saw Jesus' Spirit acting in other people.
I replied to Eik:I don't think hallucination is a topic worthy of discussion, given that Jesus was seen by numerous different people, five hundred at one point, over a period of time in many different settings. BTW Mormonism wasn't built on hallucinations. I don't think anything is built on hallucinations excepting occultism, which is heavily into drugs. To be frank, I am bored stiff by such hypotheses that come without a shred of evidence for them.
In the thread "Could 11 people have a group hallucination with seemingly physical characteristics?", I got into issues similar to those that you raised about Jesus' manifestations being hallucinations. For instance, the Virgin Mary is seen by numerous different people, including thousands at Fatima, over centuries in many different settings, from South America to Egypt. But non-Catholics tend to be skeptical about those mass sightings of Mary.
There are several basic issues worth considering for the hypothesis that the witnesses were confused or mistaken about what they saw:
1. Could a group of 11 people hallucinate or mistakenly believe that they were viewing a figure with physical characteristics?
A. Are there other possible instances where groups mistakenly believe to witness objects with physical characteristics? (eg. Charismatic Christians' group visions)
B. Are there natural explanations for why groups of people might mistakenly believe that they were witnessing real figures (eg. physical exhaustion, lack of food and sleep)
2. Did the Resurrection appearances have features that could match such mistaken group visions?
A. Did the Resurrection witnesses share characteristics with the groups above that could cause them to have mistaken group visions? (eg. were they Charismatic-type believers?)
B. Did the conditions during the appearances match potential causes of mistaken group visions (eg. had the witnesses been lacking food due to fasting?)
C. Did other circumstantial or direct evidence suggest they were visualizing something that lacked physical reality (eg. why was Stephen the only one who saw Jesus in the sky when the synagogue elders mobbed around him?)
3. What arguments could Christian apologists make to show that the manifestations were physical? (eg. the women held his feet, which suggests that the feet had physical form)
A. What replies could Skeptics make to those arguments (eg. could someone envision themselves holding something that did not in fact exist)?
B. How could Apologists respond to those replies (eg. a person normally should know the difference between something real and imagined)?