How do we know Jesus wasn’t just visions that the apostles experienced?

If God has the power to create the universe; then he has the power to raise Jesus from the dead.

Life on Earth had to start somehow. If God can create Adam from the dust of the ground, he can raise Jesus from the dead.

You’re posting questions that have been answered either a) in this forum already multiple times, so just use the search feature or b) on the actual Catholic Answers main website.

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I have read these articles before and was wondering if anyone had any other points.

Christianity stands or falls on the question of the nature of the NT - scripture/reportage or pious fiction - and that can’t be determined by vague allusions to Jesus in a couple of ancient texts.

Thanks for your reply, and you are correct. It is easy to dismiss the Holy Shroud as a 14th century creation on the basis of several factors:

  1. The 14th century owners of the Shroud refused to discuss its provenance other than to say it was a “spoil of war” and a “reward for valor.” It is really not believable to think that such a purportedly sacred object could have remained hidden for 1300 years.
  2. The Bishop of the Troyes diocese condemned the Shroud’s image as a painting.
  3. The British Museum, an organization of immense prestige, concluded that the Shroud’s carbon fourteen data was conclusive evidence that the Shroud dated to the 14th century.

However the Shroud is the most intensely investigated of all religious relics. The evaluation of the data gather in 1978 resulted in the conclusion that the image found on the Shroud was not a painting, printing, photograph, or scorch, and that its mechanism of formation was a mystery.
That finding invalidates objection number two: that the Bishop of Troyes (who probably never actually saw the Shroud) said that its image was a painting.

If there were no tradition or history of an image of Jesus on some kind of cloth, that would validate objection number one: that the Shroud had no provenance prior to the 14th century. But that is not the case. In fact we have a very strong tradition of that sacred image. Furthermore, as noted by Vignon in 1902, the facial image found on the Shroud has numerous points of congruence with icons of Christ’s face starting in the 6th century. The 14th century owners of the Shroud are hypothesized to have inherited the Shroud from the outlawed Order of the Knights Templar, all of whose property had been seized by the King of France. If that was the case, then the de Charney family had a very good reason for their reticence as to exactly how they came to own the Shroud.

The Shroud’s carbon fourteen data has recently been subjected to a mathematical re-evaluation. It appears that the British Museum, upon receiving that data, jumped to the conclusion that it was proof of a medieval date and subsequent to that conclusion subjected the data to statistical analysis. Recent robust statistical analysis of the Shroud’s C-14 data has resulted in the conclusion that this evidence is “heterogeneous.” That means that the piece of the Shroud that dated to 1453 must have originated at that date, and the piece that dated to 1195 must have originated at that date. Something is very wrong here.
An alternate hypothesis is that the Shroud was, at some point, subjected to a neutron flux which would have enhanced its C-14 content. The Shroud’s C-14 data is compatible with this hypothesis.

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I think they thought it was just a vision, after He appeared to them after resurrection. That’s why He asked for a fish, no?


Indeed. But that is a wee bit different.

He was dead. The first hard lesson in Human Being 101 is that you don’t get someone back from death.

So when they saw HIM in Emmaus; they believed they were seeing a vision, because He could not possibly be moving and breathing. That’s a lot different from his being altogether a vision.


One of the most ridiculous questions I have ever heard asked.

From the historical record, from oral tradition, and most of all from simple logic.

The apostles & early disciples were all willing to be martyred for their beliefs. This doesn’t happen unless there was a PHYSICAL encounter with someone. Occasionally, you might have mass ritual suicide within cults (which often has peer pressure as an added feature), but rarely do you have individuals willing to be martyred ON THEIR OWN for a hoax.

The point is, for all the 1st century martyrs to do what they did, they had to have seen (or had friends/family who saw) Jesus in the flesh.

If the life of Jesus was a hoax, it would have been the largest conspiracy and hoax ever pulled off in human history. If it was fake, you would have tons of Jewish and Roman historians blasting Christians for worshiping a person who never existed. Instead, the documents written which blast Christians focus on what Christians do, and don’t call into question the existence of Jesus.

Only SOME (not most) "modern historians"who believe in scientism, try to make the claim that there is no evidence for Christ. Because it’s true, there is no SCIENTIFIC evidence, but history isn’t a science. History relies on stories and circumstantial evidence. If history & anthropology were reliant on the scientific method, we would have very little knowledge of history.

I pray I’m making some sense to you.

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Well, for one, visions are the product of a single mind. Additionally, Jesus is spoken of by other sources than just those contained within scripture. Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny, and Suetonius all acknowledge the existence of Christ and that he is believed to have been resurrected from the dead.

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I beg to disagree on the point of “scientific evidence.” The Holy Shroud of Turin has produced a great deal of scientific evidence, which, in my opinion, proves not only the existence of Jesus of Nazareth, but also that His corpse vanished from the inside of a sealed tomb.

I agree. For Catholics its not a question that we take seriously. But some religions actually build their proselytizing around the idea that Jesus’ resurrection was not of the body, but was the result of visions and mass hallucination. The Bahai Faith is notorious for this.

I agree 100%. However, I tend to see a lot of researchers TRYING to poke holes in the science surrounding the Holy Shroud of Turin, so I usually don’t use it for an argument (at least not right way).

Do we really need proof"? I have little faith that the Shroud of Turin is authentic, but I have a whole lot of faith that Jesus was indeed here on this earth for the specific reason of the forgiveness of our sins.

Regarding the shroud, no, I don’t think it alone is going to bring anyone to faith. And yet, some of what is said about it is quite compelling, and it could serve to strengthen or encourage a budding faith. I saw a documentary about it some time ago. They analyzed the pollen embedded in the cloth and found that there were several plants represented that only grew in the Middle East in the area of Palestine. There is also some concern that the samples taken for carbon-14 dating were taken from a part of the shroud that was patched in the 14th century.

The documentary was fun, because at least one of the researchers said that he and others on that research team were initially very skeptical and thought they would have it disproven within a few weeks. And there they were years later still studying it.

I agree. One point that is often overlooked is that the hand piercings on the Shroud correspond to Destot’s space and not the palm area. A medieval forger would not have known that detail about crucifixions.

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