If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
DID JESUS USE HYPNOSIS?
THE HYPNOSIS EXPLANATION
If Jesus existed then he may have used hypnosis to do his miracle healings. If he didn’t then the stories are based on the life of some other hypnotist (s).
The four gospels in the New Testament report that Jesus Christ did miracles and healings and cast out demons and after his death, some people reported that he was alive again.
Ian Wilson in his Jesus: The Evidence thought it was possible that Jesus used hypnosis to do his miracles and fake his return from the dead.
Wilson said that Jesus did not do many miracles among those who knew him. So does the gospels in Mark 6:5,6 That is where hypnotists have the least success among people who are familiar with them as persons. The Case For Christ argues that Jesus could not have had success with everybody if he was practicing hypnotic tricks (page 201). But the gospels may only report the successes. And no account need be understood as speaking of instant miracles. It is important for Christians to insist upon the miracles being immediate for hypnotic miracles are sometimes – but not always - slower and they want to eliminate hypnosis as an explanation (page 202). Jesus could instantly cure good subjects by hypnosis if he hypnotised them to think they were paralysed or whatever in the first place. It is complained that Jesus never talked soothingly to the crowd and then picked out the ones that seemed to respond the best so he was not a hypnotist. But Jesus would have been afraid of copycats and would have been discreet and had the cured to be in the crowd by prior discreet arrangement. And it is never said that Jesus didn’t talk to them that way.
Page 201 sneers at the suggestion that hypnosis had anything to do with the feeding of the five thousand for Jesus could not have hypnotised all these. True but he only needed to hide the source of the food and alter the memories of some after the event so that they thought they saw the food coming from nowhere. One of the greatest hoaxes of all time, Mormonism started off with only a few witnesses and is becoming a major world faith. Jesus he only needed a few witnesses and could slam those who saw what really happened as liars if they told a different story. He could alter the memories even without hypnosis. And if he used hypnosis and their real memories came back when the suggestion wore off they were likely to stick with what they originally “remembered” to save face. And the Devil was handy as well to blame if doubts and unbeliefs crept in.
The crowd was distracted by getting into groups and getting prepared so heaven knows what Jesus was doing.
The next puzzle is how sceptics like the apostles, Thomas and James and Paul, were able to see Jesus after the resurrection for doubters are resistant to hypnosis. But you can regress them back to a period before they doubted so you can make them believe subconsciously. And how do we know that these three men had not changed their minds about Jesus half an hour before anything happened or believed now and again and disbelieved the rest of the time?
Hypnosis can’t explain the empty tomb unless Joseph was hypnotised to send the attendants at the burial away on an errand and remove the body himself and forget and then get the men to close the tomb without looking inside. The Case for Christ dishonestly gives no refutation of the hundreds of ways hypnosis could be used to steal a body.
It is insisted on page 202 that Jesus never spoke to the guests at Cana to trick them hypnotically into believing that the water they got was wine. But all Jesus had to do was to hypnotise one good subject to bring wine and then wipe his memory and keep the others out of the way a while. When Jesus snapped at his mother who told him there was no wine in a go-and-do-something-about-it tone it suggests that they might have known where to get wine but were afraid to ask at that time. And what evidence is there that Jesus did not speak to all the people? None.
He Walked Among Us suggests that it is absurd to have Palestine full of hysterical people for Jesus to have gone up and down curing them by hypnosis (page 273). But there is no reason to believe that Jesus cured that many people. And in those troubled times there had to have been a lot of unbalanced people around. Next it is complained that anybody who says Jesus was a master-hypnotist ignores events like Jesus making the fig tree wither, feeding thousands with a little food and walking on water. But perhaps Jesus hypnotised somebody to think these things happened and to think it after his death and to start the whole story. The story could have thrived for Christianity was secretive. There is no need for hypnosis to explain everything. He could have used it when it needed it and used plain trickery the other times.
It is also complained that Jesus could not have cured the pagan woman’s possessed daughter if he was a hypnotist for he never even went to visit her and long distance hypnosis is not possible. Hypnosis works through suggestion and all hypnosis is really self-hypnosis. It is letting another take over you. The girl could have been better when her mother arrived home but could only have been in remission. Then when the mother tells her about Jesus’ power the girl develops the mental suggestion that is strong enough to prevent her going off at the deep end ever again.
The Christians tell the lie that the gospel healings were complete and sudden unlike most hypnosis cures but there is no need to read the gospels that way for they are only brief accounts. Hypnosis can be used to make a person think they are cured and their thinking that makes them behave as if they were cured and finally get cured for positive thinking makes the body kick itself back on track.
The Case for Christ rejects Ian Wilson’s belief that Jesus could have learned hypnosis from the mystery religions (page 274). Astonishingly, the book says that hypnosis was not used in the ancient world! How else did mediums and initiates get their visions? How else did they manage to set up centres of faith healing? Healers like Hanina Ben Dosa must have used hypnosis if the stories about them are true.
The idea that Jesus’ powers were not unique when he told his disciples to do miracles for him in Matthew 10:1 is rejected for the verse says he gave them authority. But the disciples could have had healing powers like everybody else but only received the authority from Jesus to do them not the power. The gospel would say if they received the powers from Jesus for it seeks to prove that Jesus was the messenger of God. It doesn’t so there was nothing unique about Jesus’ powers. None of the gospels say there was. Jesus once condemned the disciple for forbidding a man to cast out demons in the name of Jesus though he was not a follower of Jesus. This suggests that Jesus supported occultism for when the man was doing that instead of learning more about Jesus and following him he was using Jesus’ name as a magical charm. Was the occultism hypnosis? Probably! Once, a possession victim was brought to Jesus for the disciples could do nothing for him and Jesus complained about the lack of faith in the world and that he could hardly stand it much longer implying they could not cast out because they had no conviction or too little. Hypnotists have to be extremely self-assured and confident and have amazing faith to accomplish any success in their therapy. This is so that the subject may be worked up to feel confident too. Confidence rubs off on people.
He Walked Among Us then says then that using hypnosis would make liars of the disciples and would mean they were willing to die for their testimony to healings and miracles performed by Jesus that were actually hoaxes. But they would have thought that hypnosis was supernatural. And it was not healings etc they were supposed to have died for but their love for Jesus’ teaching and his resurrection. And people suffer and die every day for pious fraud. Funny how Christians say the apostles allegedly dying for Jesus proves their sincerity while a person who becomes a Christian heretic which brings in the threat of a fate worse than death – eternal damnation – is still condemned as unreliable! The absurdity and bigotry and sickly sweet viciousness of Christianity certainly show the power of self-hypnosis and self-deception. Human nature is strange at the best of times. Belief in Jesus is belief in faith constructed by men. It is not helpful to say that Jesus directed and guided their faith by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. That is begging the question. It is the very thing that needs to be proven and it is treated as if it is proven. Any religious leader or inventor could say the same. Following the faith is really following what men have created. That their word is made identical with the word of Christ surely speaks of Christians using self-hypnosis to have their “faith”.
Hypnotic suggestion doesn’t last that long. People come out of it gradually if the hypnotist doesn’t bring them out. It is a fact that all of us do hypnotise ourselves. We make ourselves believe things when there is an emotional investment in it for us. The apostles and Jesus’ disciples engaged in prayer and meditation a lot so they knew how to hypnotise themselves. Hypnotic suggestions can be put into a persons mind and the person can be programmed to repeat the suggestion by meditation and prayer so that it lasts longer. In other words, Jesus may have conditioned the apostles to condition themselves.
Even the most bigoted Christian fundamentalist says the gospels started off as oral tradition. They claim without evidence that memorisation of the correct tradition was easy and commonly practiced in those days so the lack of paperwork to verify the claims made for Jesus is considered to be a non-problem. There is no evidence for the gospel content of the oral tradition at all apart from the gospels. Several people bringing their insight in when the gospel was being invented could explain the signs that seem to indicate that the gospel was put together from oral tradition. It is possible that people were regressed by hypnosis to recover the gospel story. And it is known that this method leaves the person open to fantasising. The oral traditions could have started off with the gospel of Mark which was produced by a combination of history and the use of regression to fill in the missing pieces.
“One thing that I did want to comment about was the claim that Jesus used hypnotic means on those individuals that he came across. This does not seem to be a very valid argument, as there are many loopholes that surround it.
First of all, any professional psychologist/ hypnotist /psychiatrist will tell you that post-hypnotic suggestions only last for so long, and as a Christian, that wouldn't matter, because "true" religious individuals believe in their hearts, and not so much with their minds. Stating that Christianity has survived and endured for over one thousand years based on hypnotism seems like a far stretch, doesn't it?
A second concern focuses on the miracles that Jesus performed. While you would think some of the "simple" miracles could be explained away with logic, Jesus was specified as able to cure many terminal individuals, including paraplegics and lepers. Hypnotizing them to forget about their chronic conditions would not last very long and would equate to attempting to suggest to someone that they forget that they are suffering from cancer or AIDs. In regards to raising individuals from the dead, it should be noted that Roman physicians (including Luke himself) were not idiots, as it was very well-known that these professionals received extensive training in Rome, and from Muslim medical experts - considered the best in the world at that time. When they proclaimed someone as dead, I'm sure that they really were dead. You also mention the feedings of the multitudes as well. I think planting a suggestion to make people think that they were filled, and actually feeding people are too different things. Suggestions or no suggestions, the human body knows when it has not been nourished, and people would have dropped like flies. I'm not trying to put words or belief into your mouth, but these types of things - from my standpoint - require a ounce of faith, and a bit of common sense.
Another final aspect concerns the fact that if Jesus hypnotized everyone that he encountered, he obviously missed the Pharisees , the scribes, the lawyers, the Sanhedrin, and the various Roman officials that he conversed with throughout his life. It is common knowledge that various Jewish and Gentile writers and historians - from Josephus to Tacitus - were very well aware of who Jesus was, and what he stood for, even if they didn't believe in it. That's something to ponder.... “
To the first point the reply is that nothing in the gospels says that most of the people Jesus healed who really were sick were healed for long. Most ordinary people would consider even temporary healings as miraculous but more educated people wouldn’t. And people who only imagined or faked their illnesses could be “cured” permanently. And sometimes a person who is sick can be thought to be suffering from cancer when it is really the flu and a person like that might start recovering at the time of Jesus claimed to heal. In such a case, the healing could have been about to happen anyway and had nothing to do with Jesus’ alleged power.
A hypnotist can implant a suggestion in a person and make them crave it so badly that they end up hypnotising themselves to repeat the suggestion so that the hypnosis can last for ages. In such cases, the hypnotist is really just giving a kick start to their powers to hypnotise themselves. We all hypnotise ourselves. Some people cure themselves of depression by reconditioning their minds to see brighter days. They might need a hypnotist or therapist to be able to get to the stage where they can use suggestion on themselves but it’s the same process.
You say that believers believe with their hearts rather than their heads. Are they not hypnotising themselves to imagine they believe? Feeling that something is true is the same as believing it. Belief is a head action. Hypnosis could explain the two thousand years of Christianity. And besides we don’t need an explanation. The two thousand years has nothing to do with showing there is any truth to Christianity.
To the second point the best doctors in the world in those days didn’t amount to much and even better doctors in later ages have made huge mistakes. It is only fantasy that Luke trained in Rome. Another problem is that the Luke mentioned, is the reputed author of the Third gospel and the claim that the gospel was written by Luke is an assumption, the idea that this Luke was a doctor is also an assumption, and the idea that this Luke was a good doctor is also an assumption, and the idea that the gospel was the work of Luke alone is also an assumption. How about a gospel written by Luke that was rewritten by somebody else? People with skin disorders and alleged paralytics have always provided the sources needed by false faith healers. Nobody ever claimed that the dead raised by Jesus were certified dead properly. Jesus if a lot of people were brought to him would have been brought “dead” people who came around. It had to happen. And I did not suggest that Jesus hypnotised the thousands he fed. I suggested he hid the source of the food and convinced a few people who he knew that it came from nowhere and hypnosis isn’t even necessary for that. It wasn’t necessary for him to try and hypnotise the crowd. The story in the gospels where he sent the apostles to get a donkey for him and just to go and take it and say the master needed it if anybody objected suggests that Jesus did rig things to happen to impress people.
The third point that if Jesus was such a good hypnotist then why didn’t he use his powers on the Pharisees and his other enemies? To be a good hypnotist you have to instil trust in the people you are planning to hypnotise. You have to be their friend. Jesus couldn’t expect to hypnotise his enemies. All the people Jesus healed came to him or were recommended to go to him. They wanted to be healed. They were amenable then to hypnosis.
Many people convince themselves they are healed when they are not. They want to be better so badly that they can switch the pain off.
Finally, we know that most healing miracles that happen in the Catholic Church are scoffed at even by the Church itself despite the conviction of the witnesses. This shows the power of hypnosis and self-hypnosis.
Believing in God, PJ McGrath, Millington Books in Association with Wolfhound, Dublin, 1995
Jesus: The Evidence, Ian Wilson, Pan Books, London, 1985
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Volume 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
He Walked Among Us, Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson, Alpha, Cumbria, 2000
The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel, HarperCollins and Zondervan, Michigan, 1998
Jesus the Magician, Morton Smith, Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1978