John I was wondering if anyone has ever suggested a hypothesis based on drug hallucination for the resurrection? I know there’s a hallucination hypothesis but has anyone ever brought up drug hallucination like psilocybin mushroom hallucination? And if someone has how would you respond to that hypothesis? Thanks John!


Hello from Conakry, Guinea;

Obviously, no one proposes the eating of psilocybin mushrooms, because they do not exist in the Middle East. However, the answer is yes, the mass hallucination theory has been proposed. As far as I know no intelligent persons actually stick with this theory because it is so full of holes. The idea that 500+ people could have the identical hallucination of Jesus simultaneously is too hard to swallow, even for those desparate to look for an alternative to the physical resurrection of Jesus. Add to that the appearance to the twelve apostles, plus other believers would also need to have had a similar hallucination, and besides that Peter and John would have had a similar hallucination, except including that hallucination eating fish. If we look at the summary in 1 Corinthians 15 we see that there were a variety of resurrection witnesses.

Mass hallucinations are virtually unknown in history. The only exception I know of is what happened at Salem. This event has no important parallels with the resurrection appearances of Jesus. The emotional stress, the huge variety of different hallucinations and much more makes the claim that there is an analogy between Salem in the 17th century and the resurrection appearances seem extremely flimsy.  By the way, with the Salem hallucinations, it has been proposed that perhaps the people ate spoiled grain which had the bacteria which produces lysergic acid.  Even if that was true, there is no significant parallel.  Identical group hallucinations have never been reported as far as I have heard.

So, my answer is that even those who desparately seek for a reason to discount the empty tomb and the resurrection appearances of Jesus have not been willing to publicly propose this theory, at least not in writing.

John Oakes



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