The Disciples Saw a Ghost: Evidence from the Bible Itself

The Mystery of Paranormal Ball Lightning

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.

–Matthew 28

Some doubted?  Hadn’t the eleven disciples just seen the resurrected Jesus at least twice in Jerusalem (once without Thomas and once with Thomas)?

If we are to believe the Gospels, even some of Jesus’ disciples weren’t sure that the being who appeared to them was Jesus. Think about that: Your friend just died a few days ago. Suddenly he appears to you in the flesh. He allows you to touch him. He speaks to you. You recognize his voice. You watch him eat a fish lunch. As he eats, you recognize his mannerisms. He even shows you his wounds and lets you poke your finger into them. (You have to be up pretty close to someone to poke around in his wounds.)  And this dead friend has now appeared to you not once, not twice, but (at least) three times!

Yet after he leaves the third time…some of them aren’t sure it was him!


There is a very simple answer, folks: They saw a ghost (an illusion).

Stories about watching a resurrected body eat a fish lunch, levitating into the clouds, and poking fingers into his wounds were literary embellishments—written decades later—titilating fictional additions to the original story; a story that probably only involved the sighting of a phantom (ghost)…a ghostly image which consisted of nothing more than a cloud formation, a shadow, or a bright light!

Poorly educated, superstitious minds are fertile ground for ghost sightings. Modern, educated people should not believe in ghosts.




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Trust in Soap, Not in Jesus

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I’m still waiting for Pat Robertson, Franklin Graham, or one of the other peddlers of religious superstitions to blame the coronavirus pandemic on sin.  The purveyors of religion have been blaming sinful behavior as the cause of natural disasters and plagues since the beginning of time.

But it will be difficult for the purveyors of fear to blame this pandemic on sin.  After all, it is the most religious age groups in our societies that are being the most severely affected—the older generations.  Survey after survey has demonstrated that although the younger generations are leaving religion in droves, the elderly by and large still cling to their “faith”.

In addition, it is not just that the older, more religious members of our societies are being the most severely affected by this pandemic.  Currently, this deadly plague is concentrated in some of the most devoutly Christian countries on the planet (Italy, Spain, and the United States).

Where’s Jesus?

Trust in soap, my friends, not in Jesus.





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Franklin Graham Calls On Americans to Accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior during Coronavirus Pandemic

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Did you see the ad on TV today?  Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, has an ad out calling on Americans to pray to Jesus, asking him to come into their hearts to be their Lord and Savior during the coronavirus pandemic.

How disgusting.

But religionists have been doing this for millennia:  Playing on people’s fears to lure them into their superstitious cults.  When human beings are afraid, they seek comfort.  Unfortunately, many humans still find comfort in ancient tales of invisible superheroes coming to their rescue—coming to their rescue if they bend the knee to them, or more accurately, bend the knee to their earthly underlings such as Graham, other tele-evangelists, priests, pastors, mullahs, etc…

Jesus (Allah, Lord Krishna, etc.) is not going to help you in this crisis, people of the world.  Science is the best source of information and comfort.  Abandon your superstitions.  Invisible superheroes are not coming to the rescue.  Arm yourselves with science.

And That's How I Saved The World Jesus Poster | Superhero vbs ...




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Was Jesus’ “Glorified” Body a Ghost?

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I do not come to the same conclusion as you. When you say that “we must come to the conclusion that Paul had a fantastical experience in his mind,” by “we” you mean whom?

Your conclusion is seriously flawed: Is Paul also having a “fantastical experience in his mind” when he says that the resurrected Jesus appeared to Peter, the 12 apostles, to more than 500 brethren, to James? This is found in an undisputed epistle written by Paul: 1 Corinthians. Was all this in his mind?

When you say “vision” you believe that is in Paul’s mind, but that is not what the Greek word means. It is not a figment of Paul’s imagination. Paul literally saw light; it was not in his mind as you believe. To say that this is not Paul’s reality, is your opinion, because simply put that is the reality of Paul’s experience! Is this a miracle? Of course it is!

By the way, Jesus is in glorified state meaning that Jesus is spirit and does not have a body. Jesus resurrected bodily and His body was glorified — transformed from matter to spirit and is not restricted by anything. However, Jesus does have the ability to appear (manifest) Himself to anyone (as He did with Paul and others) in time and space.

Peter also made it clear that Jesus died and was made alive in spirit. 1 Peter 3:18


In First Corinthians 15, Paul specifically states that he received this information from an unnamed source. We have no idea who this source was. Therefore, without more information, we must conclude that this is simply “hearsay”. Hearsay may be factual but it also may be rumor, legend, or a lie.

“When you say “vision” you believe that is in Paul’s mind, but that is not what the Greek word means. It is not a figment of Paul’s imagination. Paul literally saw light; it was not in his mind as you believe.”

Actually, even Christian scholar NT Wright admits that the word used in that passage can mean an internal sighting in the mind, so that issue is disputed. However, even if Paul did literally see a bright light, that is not a (resurrected) body. The fact remains that Christians have ZERO undisputed eyewitness testimony of anyone claiming to have seen a walking, talking, resurrected body.

“By the way, Jesus is in glorified state meaning that Jesus is spirit and does not have a body.”

There you go. No one saw a body, they saw a spirit. Another word for spirit is: a ghost. The Christian appearance stories are simply ghost stories. Ghosts are not real, Rachel.

Regarding Peter, very few scholars believe that the Epistle of First Peter was written by the apostle Peter.

Check out this article:  The Science of Ghosts.



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Challenge to Readers: Is Jesus’ Resurrection the Only “Back from the Dead Story” in History?

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If, in our modern database records of case studies we can’t find a single instance in which just one person had an hallucination of a deceased person, and then insisted that the dead person had come back to life (not as a ghost, but as a corporeal being) and left the grave, then how on earth are we going to find SEVERAL people who have had hallucinations, and who then insist that the dead person had bodily come back to life, and left the grave?

–Christian reader of this blog


The problem with this statement is that it contains a huge assumption.  It assumes that we know anything about what the original eyewitnesses to Jesus appearances believed they saw, and then, what these eyewitnesses then told others about what that they believed they had seen.

Detailed stories about Jesus appearances were not written down until five to six decades after Jesus’ death, by authors whom most experts suspect were not eyewitnesses nor even associates of eyewitnesses.  These detailed appearance stories do not appear in the earliest Christian writings, the epistles of Paul, nor do they appear in the earliest gospel written, the Gospel of Mark.  Therefore, the most that we can assume, if we listen to the majority of experts, is that a significant percentage of early Christians quickly came to the belief that Jesus had been resurrected from the dead.

But what period of time is “quickly”?

Even if the Early Creed as quoted by Paul in First Corinthians 15 was formed approximately three years after Jesus’ death, as many conservative Christians claim, that still gives time for the Appearance Stories to have evolved and to have been embellished.  Rumors in our own time evolve very quickly.  Why should we expect it to have been any different in the first century?

Bottom line:  We have no idea what the original eyewitnesses saw nor what the original eyewitnesses told others that they had seen.  Even conservative Christians will admit that the Early Creed is not chronologically accurate as it fails to mention any women discovering the empty tomb prior to any appearances to the male disciples.  This indicates one of two things:  the Early Creed is a theological statement, not an historical statement, or, the Early Creed is chronologically accurate and the appearance stories in the last three Gospels are historically inaccurate.  And both these options are bad for conservative Christians.  If the Early Creed is only a theological statement, never meant to be read as an accurate recording of historical events, but rather for the purpose of evangelization and perhaps to establish the authority of the Jerusalem church, how do we know that certain appearance stories weren’t invented?  And of course if the detailed appearance stories in the Gospels are historically unreliable, that leaves the bare-bones account of appearances in the Early Creed, in which not one single description is given of what the eyewitnesses saw or even where these appearances occurred!

But what about the claim that there are no recorded accounts of anyone else claiming to have seen a dead person and then continuing to believe that that dead person is alive and that his or her grave is empty.  I suggest that if we dig (no pun intended), we will probably find such stories.  Here is one.

Mourning seems to be a time when hallucinations are particularly common, to the point where feeling the presence of the deceased is the norm rather than the exception. One study, by the researcher Agneta Grimby at the University of Goteborg, found that over 80 percent of elderly people experience hallucinations associated with their dead partner one month after bereavement, as if their perception had yet to catch up with the knowledge of their beloved’s passing. As a marker of how vivid such visions can seem, almost a third of the people reported that they spoke in response to their experiences. In other words, these weren’t just peripheral illusions: they could evoke the very essence of the deceased.  Occasionally, these hallucinations are heart-rending. A 2002 case report by German researchers described how a middle aged woman, grieving her daughter’s death from a heroin overdose, regularly saw the young girl and sometimes heard her say “Mamma, Mamma!” and “It’s so cold.”  


Did this grieving mother believe that her daughter was still alive and that her grave is empty?  The article doesn’t say.  But I think it is pretty safe for us to assume that this mother believed that she was seeing and speaking to her daughter, not just an ethereal, ghostly representation of her daughter.  Why couldn’t the experiences of the disciples of Jesus have been very similar to that of this mother?

Using critical thinking skills, we can dismiss these stories, including the stories about Jesus, as nothing more than grief hallucinations; and in Jesus’ case, heart-gripping grief hallucinations which resulted in carefully crafted, heavily embellished works of evangelization decades later.




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When Paul Said “Have I Not Seen the Christ” Did He Mean It Literally? Who Cares!

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Paul of Tarsus

Ask a conservative Christian about her belief in the resurrection of Jesus and she will eventually point to Paul’s claim—“have I not seen the Christ”—as evidence of eyewitness testimony for the historical reality of Jesus’ bodily resurrection.

What better evidence can one get than eyewitness testimony, right??

Let’s use critical thinking skills to evaluate the Christian claim that Paul of Tarsus saw a resurrected dead body:

Our most detailed account of Paul’s alleged sighting of the resurrected Jesus occurs in the Book of Acts.  However, most exerts doubt that the author of the Book of Acts was a traveling companion of Paul. Therefore, the Damascus Road Story, found only in the Book of Acts, is simply a story. For all we know it is a legend (gossip and hearsay) or it is a complete fabrication by the unknown author of Acts, invented for theological and evangelization purposes.

But what about Paul’s own letters?  The fact is, Paul never once discusses his conversion in his epistles other than the very brief statement “have I not seen the Christ”. Did this sighting occur on the Damascus Road?  We don’t know. Maybe it occurred in Damascus.  Maybe it occurred in Jerusalem.  For all we know, Paul “saw” Jesus on the ceiling of his moonlit bedroom one night!

But what about Paul’s statement “have I not seen the Christ”?  Conservative Christians tell us that even if we don’t know when this sighting occurred, the Greek word used infers a literal sighting with the eyes.  So whenever it occurred, the sighting was a literal sighting with the eyes, not something going on inside Paul’s head.  Ok.  There is a dispute among scholars as to whether or not the Greek word Paul uses in this statement can only mean “to see literally with the eyes”, but we don’t even need to get into that debate.  Let’s assume that Paul meant that he literally saw the resurrected body of Jesus with his eyes.  So what!  Even if Paul’s use of the Greek word translated into English as “to see” was intended to convey a literal sighting of a real object (a body), this is no assurance that he really did. Let me repeat:  Just because Paul sincerely believed that he had seen a back-from-the-dead body does not mean he did!

Experts tell us that most people who experience a visual hallucination believe it to be real—even after the hallucination has ended—even though, by definition, a visual hallucination occurs only in the brain.  But human beings do not need to hallucinate to see things that aren’t really there.  These situations are called “illusions”:  the literal sighting of a literal object in one’s external environment but a false interpretation in the brain of what is seen.

If tomorrow, someone tells us that he really and truly saw his dog Fluffy abducted by three-foot tall, green, anntenae-toting space aliens, most of us are not going to believe him. So why do Christians believe a similar fantastical “sighting story” from 2,000 years ago???

It is not rational, folks.  Such a belief defies the principles of critical thinking.  Just because millions of people believe this tale to be true does not change the fact that such a belief is irrational.




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