Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Christian entity encounters

There are some Christians out there who claim to have experienced miracles. Well, the Christian understanding of a miracle has always been that it is an event that brings the recipient closer to God. No, when I say a miracle, I mean an event that is far harder to explain in naturalistic terms than by an appeal to the divine. Anyways, these miracles usually involve seeing and/or communicating with Angels, Demons, Jesus and Apparitions. Skeptics usually label these visionary experiences as entities- and usually group them together with UFO's, Bigfoot, and other strange, supernatural beings.

However, despite the popularity of entities amongst laymen, intellectuals rarely mention them, if ever. Really, the only ones I have ever heard even mention these kinds of events are Gary Habermas, Mike Licona and JP Moorland. And even they say little of value about them. I suspect the reason why they are unpopular in academia would be because, sadly, these events rarely have any evidence other than bare testimony. Even Habermas, who has argued in favor of these Miracles, admits this here.
"In my own study of apparition cases, in spite of my very positive mindset, I hardly ever saw a case for which there were not several potential alternative theses. In fact, when even the best cases are studied, something regularly seems to be lacking"
Usually the problem with entities are that they never interact with the environment (ie: leave footprints) and that they are usually experienced using one sense (usually sight, but they are sometimes heard, see here). However, there are exceptions, such as cases in which the supernatural entity is seen and heard, and/or appears to multiple people. These experiences are challenging to fit into a naturalistic worldview, but they are not impossible. Many explanations have been put forward from skeptics, such as Pereidola and false memory recalls. Personally, I think that some cases can also be explained by some form of group hallucinations. The experiences themselves tend to be very simplistic and short, so it seems plausible that many Apparition reports can be explained with them. Also, don't forget that Christians of all creeds- and even non-Christians (see here and here) claim to have these types of experiences! Dale Allison is certainly open to the possibility of group hallucinations- and he supposedly experienced one himself!

Just as a final thought, I'd just like to say that, if there really were supernatural entities out there- why haven't they ever been photographed or caught on film? Bill Nye makes an excellent point in this video that, only a little while ago, car collisions were considered impossible to catch on film. Nowadays, there are so many traffic cameras out there that they are captured regularly. So, my question is simple: why do so many of these entities appear when no one else is looking? There should be far more entity reports than there were several years ago, simply because of the fact that we now have the means to record them. Yet nothing unexplainable has turned up. This is a real problem for believers indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment