Editor's Note: Tanya Marie (“T.M.”) Luhrmann is a psychological anthropologist and the Watkins University professor in the department of anthropology at Stanford University in Stanford, California. She is the author of "When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God."
By T.M. Luhrmann, Special to CNN
(CNN)—In the Bible, God spoke directly to Abraham. He spoke directly to Moses. He spoke directly to Job. But to your neighbor down the street?
Most people reading the ancient scriptures understand these accounts of hearing God’s voice as miracles that really did happen but no longer take place today, or maybe as folkloric flourishes to ancient stories. Even Christians who believe that miracles can be an everyday affair can hesitate when someone tells them they heard God speak audibly. There’s an old joke: When you talk to God, we call it prayer, but when God talks to you, we call it schizophrenia.
Except that usually it’s not.
Hearing a voice when alone, or seeing something no one else can see, is pretty common. At least one in 10 people will say they’ve had such an experience if you ask them bluntly. About four in 10 say they have unusual perceptual experiences between sleep and awareness if you interview them about their sleeping habits.
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And if you ask them in a way that allows them to admit they made a mistake, the rate climbs even higher. By contrast, schizophrenia, the most debilitating of all mental disorders, is pretty rare. Only about one in 100 people can be diagnosed with the disorder.
Moreover, the patterns are quite distinct. People with schizophrenia who hear voices hear them frequently. They often hear them throughout the day, sometimes like a rain of sound, or a relentless hammer. They hear not only sentences, but paragraphs: words upon words upon words. What the voices say is horrid—insults, sneers and contemptuous jibes. “Dirty. You’re dirty.” “Stupid slut.” “You should’ve gone under the bus, not into it.”
That was not what Abraham, Moses and Job experienced, even when God was at his most fierce.
For the last 10 years, I have been doing anthropological and psychological research among experientially oriented evangelicals, the sort of people who seek a personal relationship with God and who expect that God will talk back. For most of them, most of the time, God talks back in a quiet voice they hear inside their minds, or through images that come to mind during prayer. But many of them also reported sensory experiences of God. They say God touched their shoulder, or that he spoke up from the back seat and said, in a way they heard with their ears, that he loved them. Indeed, in 1999, Gallup reported that 23% of all Americans had heard a voice or seen a vision in response to prayer.
These experiences were brief: at the most, a few words or short sentences. They were rare. Those who reported them reported no more than a few of them, if that. These experiences were not distressing, although they were often disconcerting and always startling. On the contrary, these experiences often made people feel more intimate with God, and more deeply loved.
In fact, my research has found that these unusual sensory experiences are more common among those who pray in a way that uses the imagination—for example, when prayer involves talking to God in your mind. The unusual sensory experiences were not, in general, associated with mental illness (we checked).
They were more common among those who felt comfortable getting caught up in their imaginations. They were also more common among those who prayed for longer periods. Prayer involves paying attention to words and images in the mind, and giving them significance. There is something about the skilled practice of paying attention to the mind in this way that shifts—just a little bit—the way we judge what is real.
Yet even many of these Christians, who wanted so badly to have a back-and-forth relationship with God, were a little hesitant to talk about hearing God speak with their ears. For all the biblical examples of hearing God speak audibly, they doubt. Augustine reports that when he was in extremis, sobbing at the foot of that fig tree, he heard a voice say, “Take it and read.” He picked up the scripture and converted. When the Christians I know heard God speak audibly, it often flitted across their minds that they were crazy.
In his new book, "Hallucinations," the noted neurologist Oliver Sacks tells his own story about a hallucinatory experience that changed his life. He took a hearty dose of methamphetamines as a young doctor, and settled down with a 19th century book on migraines. He loved the book, with its detailed observation and its humanity. He wanted more. As he was casting around in his mind for someone who could write more that he could read, a loud internal voice told him “You silly bugger” that it was he. So he began to write. He never took drugs again.
Now, Sacks does not recommend that anyone take drugs like that. He thinks that what he did was dangerous and he thinks he was lucky to have survived.
What interests me, however, is that he allowed himself to trust the voice because the voice was good. There’s a distinction between voices associated with psychiatric illness (often bad) and those (often good) that are found in the so-called normal population. There’s another distinction between those who choose to listen to a voice, if the advice it gives is good, and those who do not. When people like Sacks hear a voice that gives them good advice, the experience can transform them.
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This is important, because often, when voices are discussed in the media or around the kitchen table, the voices are treated unequivocally as symptoms of madness. And of course, voice-hearing is associated with psychiatric illness.
But not all the time. In fact, not most of the time.
About a third of the people I interviewed carefully at the church where I did research reported an unusual sensory experience they associated with God. While they found these experiences startling, they also found them deeply reassuring.
Science cannot tell us whether God generated the voice that Abraham or Augustine heard. But it can tell us that many of these events are normal, part of the fabric of human perception. History tells us that those experiences enable people to choose paths they should choose, but for various reasons they hesitate to choose.
When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. sat at his kitchen table, in the winter of 1956, terrified by the fear of what might happen to him and his family during the Montgomery bus boycott, he said he heard the voice of Jesus promising, “I will be with you.” He went forward.
Voices may form part of human suffering. They also may inspire human greatness.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of TM Luhrmann.
So, again, I ask: If the voice inside your head tells you to murder, it can not be shown to not be the voice of your deity and said murderer should be accorded the highest honors for having heard the voice and acting in such a manner that is pleasing to the voice, correct?
Another question: Should any survivors of said murderer feel some small shame that they were deemed unworthy to die by his or her hand?
I find it telling that in her story she refers to it as a 'hearty dose' of meth and not what it should have been called 'a foolish, dangerous, ignorant, life-threatening, illegal, moronic, stupid and utterly unnecessary dose' of meth. You can have a hearty breakfast, a hearty morning jog... a hearty dose of meth? Not so much. Oh, he heard the voice call him a, what was it? Silly bugger. Right. Well gosh that's more than enough proof of a deity.
The article didn't say that it was proof of a deity.
The ti-tle of this piece is: My Take: If you hear God speak audibly, you (usually) aren’t crazy. I suppose you could see a different view and I'm sure you want to, but it seems to me that she is saying that hearin voices is a proof of a deity.
And you didn't answer my questions. Weird.
Not a proof of a deity, but an unproven assumption that some god(s) exist.
She is just saying that hearing voices is more normal than people think it is. She may believe that God speaks to us, but she does not say that in the article.
I also like how she tries to say that hearing 'good' voices is fine and dandy, but hearing 'bad' voices is, well, bad. Who makes that descision? 'Oh, I don't agree with what you heard in your head so it is bad'. Silly.
And I read through my original post and did not state that she was making that connection. In my post about the ti-tle, I'm saying that the connection can be made that she believes this.
The bottom line is that if you go along with what she is saying, any jackwagon can say that they were inspired by the voice of a deity. It would be the ultimate in hypocrisy if you were to believe one person and not believe all people who make that claim.
On the bright side, court cases would be way easier:
Judge: Why'd you do it?
Crazy killer: My deity voice told me to do it.
Judge: Oh, well, kudos to you sir! I await the day that my voice tells me what to do. You are so lucky.
Well that is true. It is impossible for anyone but the person to really know what is going on in their own head.
Don't you see it? Look at what believers say:
1) Something can't come from nothing. Yet they give a pass to their deity and claim that he created everything from nothing.
2) Non-belief leads to a basically 'do what you want' mentality with no consequences. Claiming a voice in your head, which no one can deny you, told you to do something is living without the consequences.
It's funny in a sad way.
O Damocles, thou whose life is a mighty thread to be cut at any moment!
O Fearful One!
Embrace the sword, thus becoming the sword.
Thy death is but an ending, not a thing in itself.
The sword has no point and there is no thread."
– Oracle of Phi Theta Kappa, Biography, Dunkirk Press, 1793
Yeah, not really what the story is about.
"Can't fool me, man. Shoot is shit with two "o"s." – George Carlin
"True. True." – Budweiser™ commercial
"Who dares question the Oracle? Surely they have lost their wits!" – bystander who later escaped the Krakatoa eruption
"Calgon! Take me away!" – Prisoner of Zelda
"Move over bacon! Make way for Sizzlean™!" – The Spanish Inquisition
"Fake quotes are fun!" – Jesus on the Mountie
"Take off, eh!" – Nelson Mandela
Hrolthgar – i was drinking a rich delicious chocolately yoohoo when i read your quotes – and i laughed – causing yoohoo to spew out of my nose...
"The internet is a silly place." – King Arthur
Is the internet round ?
"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." – The Invisible Man
"It's a lemon-tree, Watson." – Sherlock Holmes on Homes, HGTV
"They'll never see it coming." – Mrs. Invisible Man
Actually, according to the Bible, murderers shouldn't be put in prison because they've done nothing wrong. That's because the Bible says that God has a plan for every single person. This plan covers a person's entire life from birth to death. God knows exactly when and how a person is going to die. So, why punish a murderer for carrying out God's plan? Before you think I'm crazy, let me say, I do not believe the Bible malarkey. Murder is wrong and should be punished. The reality is, God has no plan because there is no God.
Abraham was told to sacrifice his son... what kind of f'd up god does that? Then pulls out a lamb, oh just kidding, ha , ha ,ha.
I haven't always had a nice life. I had a rough childhood. I know reality. OK. Reality is very tough to get through. But I am living through it.
And I know God is real.
Please stop insulting me with references about mentally ill people. I am not diagnosed with any mental illnesses, but I know people who are. It is hateful what you are insinuating.
I take a stand against people like you.
You can make fun of me all you want, I can take it. But leave the mentally ill out of it. They don't deserve your discriminating words.
That was in response to Hrolthgar and his disrespect of the mentally ill.
TLDR, I have nothing but compassion for the mentally ill.
Like I said, understanding is not one of your talents.
I hate to see you so messed up in the head, and I want to help.
But I also know from long experience that you are one of those least likely to escape the brainwashing you have received.
Mental illness can sometimes be treated. If you were de-programmed you'd be able to look back on your life and realize just how gullible and accepting you've been to what was done to you.
I feel sorry for you. And you won't find anything out after death, either, so you're out of luck there. Too bad, so sad.
You are correct – it is disrespectful to arbitrarily lump the mentlly ill in with believers. That being said, believers believe silly myths for which there is no independent, objective, verifiable or factual proof, not even after a couple thousand years of charlatans and their death cult followers claiming otherwise. They are delusional (mentally ill), liars or both.
What part of my life is fine do you not understand? I think "understanding" is one of my talents that I can handle well. I can understand people have different viewpoints and accept them. You seem to demonstrate difficulty in doing this.
I have not had a good life... so when I look back I thank God for getting me through those difficult times. And that today I'm fine.
You don't have to "fix" me. I'm fine. I don't need your help. I've got God.
And yea, like OG says: "it is disrespectful to arbitrarily lump the mentlly ill in with believers"
Or anyone you just don't like or share the same viewpoint with.
The rest of what OG says are opinions I don't share with him.
> TLDR, I have nothing but compassion for the mentally ill.
What? Are you serious? ARE YOU SERIOUS? And you think I have problems. WHAT????
I'm sure Hrolthgar is very open minded. It is just that everyone who doesnt think exactly like him is ignorant
I know. I used to think that way. Hopefully not that bad. But, thanks to Hrolthgar, I've now got a good illustration of narrow-mindedness.
TLDR, you are in denial and I can't respect that, but it's obvious you have been brainwashed so how could I hate you?
It's not your fault and never was.
You don't understand what mental illness is and all the many different forms it can take.
From within your fantasy-world, you are protected from having to see the harsh truths of reality.
I understand how this can be a comfort, but I prefer to think clearly without being delusional about anything.
Sometimes I enjoy a little fantasy, but I don't let it run my life, control my mind, or teach me to hate or love things that do not exist. That would be ridiculous.
Delusion is delusion. Schizophrenia is schizophrenia. No matter how thin you slice your beliefs, they are still baloney.
You might not like it, but it's the truth.
>TLDR, you are in denial and I can't respect that, but it's obvious you have been brainwashed so how could I hate you?
I'm not brainwashed. I function in our secular society just fine.
> You don't understand what mental illness is and all the many different forms it can take.
I do to understand mental illness. I understand it enough not to use the word "schizophrenic" as an insult to someone. I have loved ones that have mental illness issues. Some of them receive treatment that help. Some of them are on disability because they can't work.
> From within your fantasy-world, you are protected from having to see the harsh truths of reality.
I understand how this can be a comfort, but I prefer to think clearly without being delusional about anything.
HOW WOULD YOU POSSIBLY KNOW THIS? You don't. That is the stupidest line I have ever seen written on here. Wow! I'm no different from you. I'm not protected from the evil in this world. I HAVE SEEN EVIL AND I DON'T WANT ANY PART OF IT.
> Sometimes I enjoy a little fantasy, but I don't let it run my life, control my mind, or teach me to hate or love things that do not exist. That would be ridiculous.
Delusion is delusion. Schizophrenia is schizophrenia. No matter how thin you slice your beliefs, they are still baloney.
You might not like it, but it's the truth.
No, that is your opinion. THAT IS YOUR TRUTH FOR YOU. But you don't get to decide my truths.
Once you grasp an understanding of this your life will be easier.
I feel like I'm at equal standing with you in this world. I'm sure we are very similar in our day to day life. Both of us are mentally sound. We just have different beliefs. Can you accept that?
Also saying that religious people are brainwashed and ignorant isn't any better than making the assumption that an atheist is immoral and evil.
TLDR, that is what is commonly referred to as a "false equivalency". Sanity is not equal to mental illness. Just because you feel "well adjusted" doesn't mean a damn thing in terms of your psychiatric problems. You really are dense but I am used to seeing it from you and others like you.
You can be programmed to believe anything if you've been raised to believe crazy stuff. It's all too easy to do, even to one's self. Brainwashing doesn"t have to come at you all at once or from other people at all. You can do it to yourself.
I understand where you are coming from quite well. I used to be a preacher of sorts, preferring to live by example when possible instead of arguing with people.
I fit in with other delusional people at that time. Religion is a form of schizophrenia no matter how bad you want to deny it.
Just look up the definition of schizophrenia, and tell me why religion does not fit into the definition.
Your imaginary friend and father-figure who only exists in your imagination do so with a total lack of rational evidence for any of it being true and is in direct opposition to reality where people who believe fairy tales are known to exist.
You are one of those people. All you have is what you imagine to be true. You can't even show anything that cannot be explained by mental illness as the true cause of your delusions.
Look up "confirmation bias".
That is what reinforces your brainwashing to the point of extremism if you let it. Crazy stuff, man. I wish you were healthy instead. Is that a crime? You think I'm insulting you? Telling someone they are sick is not an insult. It is a diagnosis as someone who cares about your mental health.
So I have a crappy bedside manner. I've tried other ways of reasoning with the delusional and it is rare to get through to them or you, since you are one of them. You hate me because I threaten your worldview. That's typical of those who have been brainwashed. The violence of your reaction is a direct gauge of how deeply you've been brainwashed.
Read up on it. Don't take my word for it. I'm not scared of reality. It is how it is. Facing harsh truths is hard.
I do not blame you for clinging to your imaginary god. I did the same thing when I was a Christian. Your god does not exist.
I'm sorry if you were brainwashed when you considered yourself a Christian. That is unfortunate. Some people have been harmed by religion and hold onto resentments.
That is not my experience at all.
I'm fine today. Thanks.
TLDR, any crackpot could say the same. "I'm fine thanks." Not to me, you're not.
Pat yourself on the back all you want. It neither changes the truth nor refutes anything I have said.
Only people who feel up to handling it should seek to face harsh reality.
Disillusionment is painful. It's not for everyone. Just keep it in your pants and you become a low-priority case. Simple.
I don't care if I'm not fine to you. I don't really like you. You are mean and very narrow-minded.
I'm thanking God for the good people in my life right now... so you are helping me in a way.
> Just keep it in your pants and you become a low-priority case.
This is a "Belief" blog. You know, for people who believe. Most of the stories are written for the audience of believers.
TLDR, I'm just asking you to not violate anyone's rights due to your religious beliefs. If you can do that, I will respect you for it.
Please show us your proof that your imaginary friend exists. You have none. You might not be mentally ill but you are not too bright. You WANT to believe there is a god because of your difficult childhood or because you were brain-washed by religion. Either way, this does not prove anything. Stop wasting your time believing in this absurd magical religious nonsense. Stop wasting 10% of your income on the child molesters at your church. Grow up and use your brain.
Why should he have to prove anything to you Dan? How do you know anything about his church? You are just judgmental.
The religious can just shove their holy texts up their asses.
For about 60 years, I have asked this question of all the glassy eyed god 'believers', since I was 10.
" Why is god a 'he'? Is it a man, a male, with facial hair? ( Later, I asked," does he have a penis and balls"?)
Not one human being, priests of all faiths included can give a rational answer.
To me this is pretty conclusive proof that god has been constructed by the human male mind to represent an earthly father figure. Nothing more.
ib42, I am not a believer, but if I were "mother Nature" would make i lot more sense
A woman is just a man, who has been weakened.
@ib42 Your argument shows that You don't really care.
And you don't really want to know God. Read the letter to the Romans.
I have always wondered why a being capable of creating a universe actually needed a gender. It seems to me that the christian god is nothing more than patriarchal construct created by a patriarchal society that could not imagine anything more powerful than an autocratic, supernatural father.
Vedas declare that Brahman (the absolute truth) is neither man nor women. It can not be compared to anything in this world.
I hear voices again. Gotta be ... don't worry folks , it only my apartment neighbors having a good time. See, I am not crazy. Pray on.
Hi fake prayer bot.
Person A: God speaks to me when I pray or meditate and gives me advice on how to live and how to plan for my family and my community.
Community: Oh, wow! That's wonderful. You have such a close relationship with the Lord!
Person B: God speaks to me through the baby monitor and the car radio and gives me advice on how to live and how to plan for my family and my community.
community: Oh, my gosh!! Go get help! Do you have medical insurance? Oh, I'll be praying for you. Maybe God will tell me what doctor you should go to!
I believe the Hebrew prophets audibly heard the voice of God, as did Yeshua the Christ and many of his disciples. However I do not trust anyone who claims to hear God now. That would defeat the purpose of having scripture.
If you believe then you must believe now otherwise God is a moving target.
Before Christ you can read how the Hebrews were disrupted constantly with direct interventions from prophecy and supernatural phenomena. After the death of the Apostles the miracles ceased. After the Revelation of Saint John, prophesies ceased. After the canon of the gospel was written, only prophecy remaining is a believers' testimony, and the only miracle is that of faith.
Why does your god hide himself away? Why is he only revealed to ancient bronze-age desert nomads? Oh yeah, it's because he wants to test our faith. But wait, hasn't he charted out our whole lives? Then what is he testing us for? What an unethical contradictory god you have...
"All the races and tribes in the world are like the different colored flowers of one meadow. All are beautiful. As children of the Creator they must all be respected."
– A "delusional" Native-American (Inter-Tribal Times, 1994-OCT)
I take no issue with religious folks who think that way. I take issue with those who think I'm going to suffer eternally or I shouldn't be considered a citizen or that their views about the law of the land are more important than mine--all because of their particular flavor of invisible sky wizard.
To the people of the CNN Message board,
No one person's view is totally complete. Maybe we need many points of view in order to understand life more fully?
If someone takes a position unlike yours, think of these 2 choices:
1. You can assume one of us is wrong and defend yourself.
2. You can be grateful for the chance to see that there are countless ways of looking at life.
An abundance of wisdom is availabe if you keep an open mind.
Saying things like:
"Belief in god = LOL"
"only between the ears of the delusional people who believe."
"God is a joke."
"irrational and schizophrenic ways."
That is hateful.
You are worst than those you profess to despise.
I believe what I am saying is well though out and respectful. And I'm the "delusional" and "irrational" Christian.
Thank you God. If this is delusion, I'll take it over these hurtful and mean-spirited souls.
okay, so if your'e really what you think, what do you say about guns?
Oh, please, just be grateful for the chance to see that there are countless ways of looking at life and quit complaining about every little word and believing that somebody's viewpoint is "hurtful." :)
> complaining about every little word and believing that somebody's viewpoint is "hurtful."
I'm seeing words by some people that are uglier than that they claim to be so disgusted by.
It is kind of interesting, in that they don't realize it.
But yea, I'll let them carry on. And jump from "belief blog" posting after posting declaring this.
To denounce a delusional and schizophrenic point of view is not hateful towards the person but is aimed towards their delusional and schizophrenic point of view.
I can see that understanding things is not one of your talents.
If you felt just as strongly about Santa Claus, there would be zero difference.
We hate your delusion, not you, as you would do in our place were you more rational like us.
You judge without any real facts to back you up on your made-up values. You need de-programming and it is sad to see people like you insisting on your father-figure fantasy being real.
Time to grow up and realize this is it – life without alien beings controlling you. I know you'd be disappointed if you realized the truth and can only say that disillusionment is nearly always painful, but it is the loss of a treasured illusion that causes the pain, not the loss of anything real.
My viewpoint is different from yours. God is strength in my life. My faith is very helpful to me. And my faith is helpful to other people.
I think it is ok that you don't believe in God. Good for you. No need for me to try and belittle you viewpoint by attaching medical conditions that indicate mental illness.
I have a lot of compassion for mentally ill people. I want to help them, not ridicule their condition.
Your condition is likely to continue for the rest of your life, and yet we sometimes try to reason with crazy people here, it is more fun to ridicule your obviously infantile beliefs as they deserve. Maybe you'll learn, but probably not.
You can't fix stupid but sometimes you can reason with people. You are still so deep into your madness that you refuse to see all reason. I can see that easily enough from your posts.
Your views have zero credibility. Why should we respect them in any way at all?
Thanks for trying to "fix" me, but I'm doing fine.
I'm not the one 'hanging out' in the 'belief' section ridiculing people.
> Your views have zero credibility. Why should we respect them in any way at all?
They actually do have credibility. I can't make you understand. I don't understand you, but I can respect you.
TLDR, you can't brainwash me, so don't bother trying. You can't make me understand because I am unable to understand any of your delusional nonsense because I am rational and insanity cannot be "understood", you idiot.
Hrolthgar what you are saying is no different than a Christian saying "Love the sinner, hate the sin."
What? I'm not trying to brainwash you. I'm saying I can respect your opinions. I don't understand them. At all.
Are you having a bad day or are you always like this?
It is similar but not the same. A victim of mental illness is a medical patient without much luck of getting treatment for their condition. I wish all mentally ill people could be healed of their illness. It is not the same as the back-handed "love the sinner but not the sin" when there is no such thing as sin and the love is so often expressed as hate towards people who have done nothing against any imaginary being. Not the same at all. Crazy religious believers get special treatment by other crazy people and they are in the majority. That's a far cry from wanting everyone healed of delusions when they are in the majority. There is no negative stigma for crazy people as long as they claim some religious variant that is approved by the majority of crazy religious people as worshiping the same god as them.
There should be no stigma against the mentally ill because they have no control over their illness. No sick person does.
Imaginary "trespasses" against an imaginary being can be made-up on the spot by delusional people and then they say they love those they treat horribly yet hate the imaginary crimes that never happened. No, not the same thing at all.
You were referring to religion when you said that, which can be controlled. And it is your opinion that it is a mental illness. So what you are saying pretty much is the same thing as "Love the sinner, hate the sin"
In that I have compassion for sick people and wishing them to be healthy, it is similar. There is no such thing as sin.
I'm going to sit back and watch this go right over Hrolthgar's head again.
My point is what you are saying is equally hateful as someone who saying love the sinner hate the sin would be to you.
I know it is going to click in his mind.
What Hrolthgar claims he despised about others, is what he is actually doing.
It's Psychology 101. We lash out and criticize in others those things we hate about ourselves.
It is kind of funny to watch it play out.
I happen to understand the well-meaning compassion of those who say "love the sinner and not the sin", yet there is no sin, so they sound a little silly to me. What you see as an insult is "tough love" – a harsh diagnosis without any illusions to distract you from the intervention. You are in denial and causing real damage to other people with your religion.
Get help. If you can't handle someone telling you the truth, what does that say about you? Denial all the way.
So no matter what someone says, it is to be received as wisdom, and not evaluated in any way?
Okay then, I am a cheese sandwich who can type by telekenesis. My statement is equally valid to any statement that Jesus is Lord and God of all.
You would likely argue that the statements cannot both be respected and taken at face value because one is patently absurd and made-up. You're right. At least there is such a things as a cheese sandwich.
Good job tldr. It is refreshing to read you and to read opinions like yours. Just that many are silent cause who wants to waste more time with the moby likes. The Lord lives and He reigns. And it is truth all will find out what the deal is at the end of our lives. Too bad some prefer to waste away. Truth is truth. Jesus lives. Jesus is Lord God and Master whether you accept it or not. one more chance to repent before the Almighty who gives you life moby ones.
Good job tldr. It is refreshing to read you and to read opinions like yours. Just that many are silent cause who wants to waste more time with the moby likes. The Lord lives and He reigns. And it is truth all will find out what the deal is at the end of our lives. Too bad some prefer to waste away. Truth is truth. Jesus lives. Jesus is Lord God and Master whether you accept it or not. one more chance to repent before the Almighty who gives you life moby ones....
I support Thor. . . He has as much credibility as any other god.
Most people who believe have better things to do with their life than post in a "belief blog" message board. I should, too. But I'm weak and feel like I have to tell the truth.
Despite "Hrolthgar" "concerns", I'm quite stable in my life today.
I know some people have been hurt by religion. It is true, it happens.
But that resentment they hold and display really only hurts them.
For me it has changed. Thank God!
Oh, oh! I support Kiaransalee. Evil as all get out, but she's so darn cute that I can forgive her!
TLDR, your "stability" is neither here nor there. Your delusional view of the world will of course reinforce itself in this way.
You are in denial just like every religious person. It is easier for you to be a lazy thinker than to do the hard work of figuring out the truth of the matter. I used to be the same way. There is hope. You just have to fight against the lies with a realistic perspective and humor helps fight brainwashing too.
Read up on brainwashing. All it takes is emotional stress and you are a total sucker for anything. It's normal, but not healthy.
Ok, I just read up on it. I'm not brainwashed.
I made a choice to believe. Based on evidence in my life.
I make mostly healthy choices today. I choose to thank God for that ability. Because of abuse earlier in my life, I did not always make healthy choices.
With God's help I'm able to do that today.
My life is fine. None of my friends who don't believe in God feel they way you do about me. I have friends from all belief backgrounds.
I'M FINE. REALLY. Maybe you should just focus on yourself. You keep telling all about me. YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ME!
What about you? Can you say something positive that is happening in your life?
TLDR, just like with you, my positive life experiences have nothing to do with my mental health per se, so they are not proof of your sanity, just proof that you have things you view in positive ways.
If I want to give people the expected response to how I'm doing, I say "fine, thanks", but everyone has problems. There are things I view as good and things I view as bad in my life. When someone asks me how I'm doing, they are not expecting my life story nor do they really want to hear about any problems I might be having.
In some ways I am doing very well. In others, not so well. None of it means anything in general as regards my mental health.
I have quirks, habits, reactions, etc. that show I am not perfect. You think your god makes you perfect or will do so later, but you are expecting Santa Claus and nobody bought you presents so you take anything you like and say it's a present from your god. Confirmation bias, I'm afraid. You interpret everything around you in a way that conforms with your beliefs, not the other way around. Delusional, like I said.
I don't care what your personal life is like. I just want you to be healthy. Your religion is one of hate. You have a built-up vision of what your faith means to you that has nothing to do with reality. If your neighborhood is filled with people like you, you are more likely to get along with everyone. It doesn't mean a damn thing.
I'm surrounded by people with different views than me.
Seriously, I get along with atheists, Jews, agnostics, Buddhists, Jehova's Witnesses, and people who just don't care about "belief."
The only person that has a problem with me is you. And you do not know me, so I'm not worried about that.
You're welcome. All criticism is given as a free service.
This is a free comment area. All are free to comment here, not just religious nutcases like you.
Yes, of course you are a wonderful human being and everybody just loves you including your "god".
I wouldn't dream of shoving your ignorant face into a hot steaming pile of reality. Nope. Not me.
Today is night of crazies, Evangelical crazies
Even evangelicals can get better. Good therapy, and lots of hand holding to get past the brain washing they have endured.
if you are hearing voices, may be you aren't crazy, but high!!! ya you sure do
If you hear God speak audibly, you (usually) are crazy
I hear voices all the times. See I am not crazy. Pray on.
Belief in god = LOL
"Science cannot tell us whether God generated the voice that Abraham or Augustine heard. But it can tell us that many of these events are normal, part of the fabric of human perception."
Even if Abraham did exist, it would have been easy had science existed then to test his claim. Besides, the fact that people hear voices naturally seems to actually invalidate the idea that it's God talking at all. In any case, emotional distress or lack of sleep is most often associated with hearing voices, showing once again how lame religious claims of "hearing" God is.
Even if Abraham did exist? Pft. You fool.
And the evidence of Abraham's existence is...? A story about him written by his self proclaimed descendants several hundred years after he supposedly lived...
Ha, I suppose the Exodus of Moses is also a revisionist lie. So in your scholarly mind, which of the patriarchs, prophets, judges and kings did actually exist? Upon which authoritative research are you basing this refined opinion?
remember kids – if you believe in an imaginary man in the sky – you're delusional.. and just because delusional thinking is common – that does not mean it's good.
if you suffer from delusional thinking – it means you're out of touch with reality.
The image of "God" as some imaginary man in the sky probably comes from watching too many cartoons.
God is within us. And all around us.
"The more you know..."
TLDR- the "image" of god being an imaginary man in the sky is from reality... as there are precisely no gods.
the more you know!
cha cha cha
Do you have an imagination? I do. It helps me understand God.
I believe my imagination is a gift from God.
A lot of people do believe in God. He is real to us.
That's ok if you don't believe in him.
Maybe you can try and accept us as we are? A little diversity is good for this world, no?
q/ Do you have an imagination? I do. It helps me understand God.
a/ i possess a wonderful, fecund, inventive imagination – which i very easily distinguish from reality.
you may believe your imagination is a "gift from god" but in reality – it's just a belief you have in your mind – based on nothing substantial... and bears no resemblance to reality.
and while a lot of people may believe in gods – and he may be real to you – i would agree – he is real and does exist – but only between the ears of the delusional people who believe.
i'm glad it's ok with you that i don't harbor delusional ideas or thoughts... and i'll be happy to be more accepting – when self righteous xian zealots stop attempting to secularize their delusional theological ideals onto the rest of society.
tolerance of religious idiocy has to end – and it is.
You are the one who came into a message board about people and God. No righteous xian zealots made you read this article.
I think you are doing what you hate about Christians. Usually what we hate about others is actually self hate about ourselves.
tldr – no...what i have done is added a comment – expressing my opinion which is comprised entirely of facts.
this is an opinion blog where people are encouraged to "sound off"
to be clear – i don't hate anyone – least of all myself, and my sentiment is shared by many:
monotheists are big on dictating their morals and nullifying equality for other americans based entirely on their bronze-aged, tribal-minded, idiotic theological ideals. flat fact.
I think you might be stereotyping monotheists. I'm not going to say all are great, but in no means are they all "dictating their morals and nullifying equality for other americans based entirely on their bronze-aged, tribal-minded, idiotic theological ideals."
That is not a fact. That is actually false. If even 1 does not do that then there goes your fact.
Look at MLK, JR., who this article mentions. Sorry, but he did big things and worshipped & believed in God.
I think Martin Luther King, JR took a stand against people like you. Thank God for him.
if you are denying the fact that religious idiots work overtime pushing ID or fighting against gay marriage – then you're beyond delusional.
evolve, son – you're retarding the rest of humanity.
I never denied that. What?
On that same line, do you deny that some Christians work very hard for gay civil rights?
Because many are fighting for gays. Just like they did for women and people of different races.
It is not so black and white as you portray it.
"retarding the rest of humanity" Come on. That sounds hateful.
i couldn't care less about the xian nutbags that do "good things" – while they may not be the problem – they're still delusional and propagate ignorance.
and yes – those of you who cling to delusional religious ideologies do in-fact retard progress.
Abraham and Moses, and many others in The Babble, most likely are mythical (not actual) characters, unless you have evidence to the contrary.
I though it was interesting when these studies came out a few years ago about how many people hear voices (most of the research has nothing to do with religion). It reminded me of how until recently it was a dark secret that most pregnant women have horrible imaginings about their babies that they couldn't share for fear of being marked insane. Now we know how common it is. I can only imagine how people who have heard the occassional voice and not realized it was relatively normal must have worried...and maybe still do. It may not be god, but in most cases it appears it isn't insanity either.
This lady is an idiot. Keep telling yourself your not crazy. Its cool. You still hear voices, psycho.
One might wonder if you actually ARE an IDIOT.
She didn't say she heard voices. She is researching people who do.
Thanks for not demonstrating any reading comprehension skills.
There's a lot of research out on this. Most of these people don't appear to be crazy any more than those with tinnitus are crazy.
Wow the only ones I have encountered that hear God are the "now religeous" former addicts or deeply troubled souls that are still in need of blindly following and like a child who is told "Good Boy/Girl"or the Leaders whose word cannot be questioned fearing retribution or alienation. Most only hear him speak when deeply troubled or in a ferver type state similar to many other religions or native peoples. A good soul and person, is a good person no matter what their label and a person who would use a mentally ill or dillusional person for their benefit is the lowest of low. I've encountered my shareof them recently.
Hearing sounds that don't exist is a form of epilepsy. Where did they dig up this stupid professor at Stanford? Why doesn't she mention the neurological condition that causes people to hear things that do not exist? Because she is a fraud is the only reason I can come up with. Brain malfunctions are a physiological thing, not a religious thing. Fire this woman for cause, ASAP.
"There’s a distinction between voices associated with psychiatric illness (often bad) and those (often good) that are found in the so-called normal population."
– from the article.
TLDR, yes I saw that. I guess you didn't notice that it doesn't refute anything I said. Don't you know anything about how the brain functions? Too busy doodling in class or what? I wonder about people like you, I really do.
God is a joke.
Your comments are interesting. Have you been a victim of religious abuse sometime in your life? If so, you are not alone.
The author of this essay is reporting in lay language her findings of a study she did. Probably a qualitative study. If she publishes the results of the study in a peer reviewed scientific journal, that is what I want to see. All studies have limitations and bring up more questions. I don't know–perhaps the study is flawed.
@Kenneth- "Out of the tens of thousands of deities to exist in human minds, do you have single shred of evidence your god exists?"
Do you a have a shred of evidence he does not exist?
"1) Something can't come from nothing. Yet they give a pass to their deity and claim that he created everything from nothing."
Same can be said of the "BIG BANG". Where did that first bit of dense matter that exploded, responsible for our existence, come from?
"Delusion is delusion. Schizophrenia is schizophrenia. No matter how thin you slice your beliefs, they are still baloney.
You might not like it, but it's the truth."
I would love to meet you. You are a Fu$%@^&*(ng genius. Unfortunately, Atheism is a belief as well. So slice away at your beliefs as thin as you would like too. Until you can empirically prove "GOD" doesn't exist you sound like the thousands of fat windbags who have the same argument as you. You are the type of Atheist that gives Atheists a bad name.
@ TLDR "This is a "Belief" blog. You know, for people who believe. Most of the stories are written for the audience of believers."
Although I don't believe in a giant bearded man in the sky, guiding my way through this sh1thole called life. It is a "belief blog", free to everyones beliefs. No matter how stupid they may sound to some.
Faith-a belief not requiring proof.
Truth- None of you can prove your beliefs are correct, using science or faith. At best, they can only be "true" to yourselves.
Man, you fundies are even more F ed up then I thought.
This chick is basically defending the delusional.
If any of you, even the funndies were around someone who said they were hearing god speak to them, they would run for the hills.
A mind is a terrible thing to lose, to religion.........
"When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. sat at his kitchen table, in the winter of 1956, terrified by the fear of what might happen to him and his family during the Montgomery bus boycott, he said he heard the voice of Jesus promising, “I will be with you.” He went forward."
– from the article. You basically are saying MLK was F ed up and delusional.
TLDR, you think being a priest in a racist religion isn't f-ed up and delusional? Jesus was a racist like pretty much every other Jew of that time. The OT is about justifying slavery because the priests said it was OK.
How ironic that so many people with higher levels of melanin in their skin continue the forced indoctrination of their forebears in worshiping a god that says Jews are his only chosen people and everyone else is a lower life form, including many who have the higher levels of melanin.
A sad state of affairs, yet MLKjr tried his best to do what he felt was right for everyone, a very honorable effort on his part, in my opnion, because he focused on fairness and equality and not on the letter or spirit of the bible that was the basis for his religious views.
In other words, MLKjr was a nice guy and they shot him for it, but he was delusional as far as his religion is concerned because all religions are delusional. Its how they work so well on people and sucker them in.
A person vulnerable due to massive ignorance can be manipulated much more easily than one who has accurate knowledge and is on guard against nonsense from any direction.
Martin Luther King, JR was a baptist. There are and have been racist baptists. But not all are.
I think the ones that practice what Jesus Christ taught are not racist.
I have friends that are African-American Christians. They don't believe it is a racist religion. That is fine if you do. But that is not how we see it.
In Christ there is no se.x, race or class.
"The same Bible that the advocates of slavery used to protect their wicked self-interests is the Bible that inspired slaves to revolt and their liberators to action. "
– Peter Gomes
The Bible can be used for good or bad. Just like you.
TLDR, since nowhere is anything written by Jesus himself, and since he was a Jew of his times who was clearly racist, you have no idea just how ridiculous you sound in trumpeting your twisted interpretation of your religion.
You are delusional and this will affect your point of view and decision-making in irrational and schizophrenic ways.
Quit drinking the koolaide of a made-up god. Your god and your "Jesus" never said a thing about melanin in the skin, did they?
Hmmm, ever wonder why? And how do you explain away the racism and slavery? Your answer is to turn away and proclaim something without any biblical basis: -that in your delusional schizoid fantasy, there is no se.x, race, or class.
I think I'll continue with the teaching of Jesus Christ over your rant.
I would describe your understanding of Jesus Christ and his importance to that of a 4th grader. You are very childish and mistaken.
jesus never existed, nor your god. Please, get professional help....
TLDR, What you think you know about your god is all made up fantasy to make you feel better about being so easily manipulated and powerless due to your brainwashing.
Everything you think about is now geared towards reinforcing your delusional fantasy world.
You are nothing but a prisoner-slave groveling under the hobnailed boots of your religious leaders.
Your opinion means nothing because you have been programmed to think and talk that way.
I feel sorry for you, a puppet of greedy nasty scammers, and wish you all the best in escaping your prison.
You assume a lot.
Don't feel sorry for me. My life just fine. I have a good job. I volunteer to help in my community. I'm happy most of the time.
I don't have "religious leaders" ordering me around. I have a pastor at my church. She helps me. I participate at church. Our church does a lot of good.
Nobody tells me what to think or believe. I disagree with the leadership at my church sometimes.
I have my own relationship with God and my church life helps nurture that.
What you describe is not accurate at all. Thank God it isn't!
TLDR, you are so easily manipulated it's just criminal to not try and point it out to you when I run across your blind remonstrations that you do not "feel" brainwashed.
Such blindness is what they all treasure the most, and their boots only leave tracks inside your skull.
You are one of those who refuse self-awareness because you cannot handle real problems or reality.
I will have to pick up the slack because of people like you who refuse to think for themselves, and I resent having to do so.
I am only one person. I can only do so much to fight your insanity. You laugh at the bodies of innocent children by following your religion and that is pathetic and sad.
You belong in a rubber room, not out in public with a weapon.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.