Michael Goulder and the Resurrection
Mark Goodacre has a short clip of Michael Goulder from BBC Radio. Goulder is explaining how he gave up on Jesus' resurrection and his Anglican orders. A story that apparently had much to do with this was the account of Susan Atkins, who had been a follower of Charles Manson. When entering her prison cell for the first time, and faced with the brute reality of a life sentence and contemplating suicide:
"She saw a door in the wall and heard a voice saying, 'Open, Susan' -- in her imagination of course -- and inside there was a brilliant light, and in the middle of the light there was a figure. She said, 'And it was Jesus.' This story comes in an introduction to the psychology of religion [and] gives a good parallel to the vision element [of Jesus' resurrection]. And it seems quite enough to say that the disciples had the experience of seeing Jesus because they were under extreme tension."This is a reasonable parallel, but I don't think it adequately accounts for the disciples' belief in a resurrection. Visions of Jesus, without an empty tomb, would have resulted only in a belief that he was vindicated and assumed into heaven. But taken together with the empty tomb, they could have plausibly yielded the resurrection belief.