Friday, June 03, 2022

Did Paul experience a guilt hallucination on the road to Damascus?

Jonathan McLatchie and Alex O'Connor (CosmicSkeptic) recently debated the topic "Theism or Naturalism, which provides a better account of reality?". I want to comment on a couple of issues related to Jesus' resurrection that came up in the debate. I'll address one of those issues here and the other in a later post.

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Enfield Miscellany (Part 8)

(See part 1 here for an explanation of what this series is about. Here are the other parts in the series: two, three, four, five, six, and seven. I'll make use of the tapes produced by Maurice Grosse and Guy Playfair. I'm using "MG" to reference a tape from Grosse's collection and "GP" to cite one from Playfair's: MG82B refers to tape 82B in Grosse's collection, GP96A refers to 96A in Playfair's, etc.)

Where The Poltergeist Operated

The large majority of events in the Enfield case occurred inside the Hodgsons' house. But the scope of events outside the house is often underestimated. There were frequent reports of phenomena at neighbors' houses, especially the Nottinghams' and Burcombes', but also on the property of other neighbors. See my earlier post here for some examples. That post mentions some paranormal events that occurred in Grosse's neighborhood in the relevant timeframe, events apparently connected to the Enfield case. Or think of the phenomena produced in a 1982 experiment involving Janet Hodgson at Birkbeck College. It seems that the poltergeist was able to operate at locations as geographically distant from the Hodgsons' house as Grosse's neighborhood and Birkbeck College. And while Janet was present in the latter context, none of the Hodgsons were present in the former. An especially striking example of phenomena occurring with all of the Hodgsons geographically distant was an apparition seen by John Burcombe. Go here for a portion of a documentary discussing the incident. Playfair mentions in his book on Enfield that the Hodgsons were about 50 miles away, on vacation, at the time (This House Is Haunted [United States: White Crow Books, 2011], 237). Presumably, none of the Hodgsons were nearby when the events of 2004 reported by Clare Bennett and her family occurred at the house. Even when one or more of the Hodgsons were home, the events that happened in or near the house were frequently far outside their reach, such as events on another floor of the house or the apports that fell from the sky above the house on May 30 of 1978. The geographical parameters of the poltergeist's activities went far beyond the Hodgsons and their house. Keep in mind that there was an estimated quadruple-digit number of events in the case, so that the phenomena that were more geographically distant could be a small minority, yet still involve a relatively large number. Events that were geographically distant from the house and/or the Hodgsons were reported from the earliest months of the case onward and continued for years.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Agreement Among The Gospels About How Jesus Raised The Dead

One of the reasons why people often underestimate the amount of agreement among the gospels is that they overlook or underestimate the lesser details, because they're so focused on larger issues. An example is a common thread we see in accounts of the resurrections performed by Jesus. We can be so focused on the resurrections that we miss the significance of some of the other details involved in the accounts. When Jesus raised people from the dead, he would tell the person to move in some manner, probably at least in part to demonstrate that a resurrection had occurred. A description of the person's movement follows, which suggests that Jesus' references to "rising" and such were about moving the body after a resurrection rather than the resurrection itself (Mark 5:41-42, Luke 7:14-15, 8:54-55, John 11:43-44; Matthew 9:25 is in agreement as far as it goes, even mentioning that Jesus took the girl's hand, but doesn't say whether Jesus made any comments telling her to move). We see something similar with Peter's raising of the woman in Acts 9:40-41, perhaps in imitation of what Jesus did, but the other resurrections referred to in the Old and New Testaments don't involve any such scenario (1 Kings 17:21-23, 2 Kings 4:34-37, 2 Kings 13:21, Matthew 27:52-53, Acts 20:10, Revelation 11:11).

For other examples of agreements among the gospels, including many that are often overlooked or underestimated, see here.