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My Take: If you hear God speak audibly, you (usually) aren’t crazy
A woman prays in church. Many Christians say they can audibly hear the voice of God.
December 29th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Take: If you hear God speak audibly, you (usually) aren’t crazy

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.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Evangelical • God • My Take

soundoff (7,761 Responses)
  1. dulcimer172

    So. If the voice you hear is positive & eloquent, you are not schizophrenic. If the argument is – that means you're not mad, then the logic fails, because schizophrenia is not the only form of mental illness. It sounds more like your ego is subconciously decoding your intentions and giving you some justification for doing what you want,

    December 30, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • dreamer96

      Your mind is in many ways like a modern computer....when your computer acts up you reboot it....What about the human mind when a few neurons misfire...or you have a mini stroke and your brain gives off a blast of neuron activity....and your see and angel....

      December 30, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • MoronAtheist

      @Dreamer

      What about the human mind when a few neurons misfire...or you have a mini stroke and your brain gives off a blast of neuron activity.....That's when someone becomes an Atheist.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  2. MoronAtheist

    TheTwitCheeseMaker, TomTomTheIdoitPiper, BootyFunkMonkey, are all losers with no life living in their parents basements and doesn't have a job. A nighttime they go out dressed in long black trench coat and going around towns chasing vampires. They earned a Degree in Gothic Cult Shaving Contest.

    December 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • JJ

      Lol..they must've crawled right up your rightious Christian ass with their skeptic questions and request for evidence, etc. Perhaps you should ask baby Jesus to smite them.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • MoronAtheist

      Where's your evidence Atheists about the existence of vampires?

      December 30, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • mama k

      Lol. This must be a "poe". But just in case, what exactly did you mean by "doesn't have a job"?
      Which one of them do you think is unemployed? I'm just trying to wade through your "English". Lol.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • MoronAtheist

      Hey Mama K, what is your weight? lol

      December 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • don in albuquerque

      Been reading this guy off and on all morning and have discovered three things, he has a hair kink, loves long black coats, and is really into Vampires. Ooooh buddy, it could get off on you.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • End Religion

      You'd have to ask the Christians about their vampire god Jeebus who came back from the dead and whose blood they drink.

      December 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  3. matt

    If you are a Christian, why do you believe in a personal God like this? For over a thousand years the tradition in Christianity has been that God is transcendent. He doesn't speak to you like you're his buddy. God is not a person, nor could you ever hope to understand anything about him. He is unknowable in every single way, apart from the universe, not one with it. He is not a being. He is Being. To think that God somehow talks to you is akin to idolatry. You are making God into a being like you or me, albeit just much more powerful, in your image, with your beliefs. This was something Arius already tried, and failed at.

    December 30, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  4. VladBudapest

    If God speaks to you...in an audible form, you are having a psychotic episode. There are not two ways about it. This article is of the type to try and say that creationism is even at the same level as evolution.

    December 30, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • dreamer96

      Or your ear picks up a sound and your mind tries to interpret it and comes up with words....You do not know anyone that has a hearing problem that has misunderstood what you say to them....and come back with something off topic or strange...and when you ask them what are you talking about they say well you just said this...and you look at them and say What are you talking about I never said that.....Now image a person alone and a sound reaches their ears...and their poor hearing comes up with...Build and ARK there is a flood coming....Whoa ....

      December 30, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Christian7

      How do you naturally select from nothing to get the life process started?

      December 30, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      There are lots of things we don't know. That's when you say, "I don't know." It's an honest answer and much better than, "Big invisible sky wizard did it with magic spellz."

      December 30, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  5. Christian7

    Paul Davies (British astrophysicist): "There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind it all....It seems as though somebody has fine-tuned nature’s numbers to make the Universe....The impression of design is overwhelming."

    "God created everything by number, weight and measure." - Issac Newton (greatest scientist of all time)

    December 30, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Tohrm

      Nobody worships what those idiots said, you dipshlt. Nobody cares what they thought about religion. They were famous for science, not religion. They didn't know dick about religion and it shows.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Cosmology has embraced a Vacuum Fluctuation model of Genesis, just as black box radiation proves something from nothing.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • VladBudapest

      Those two scientists were trying to not offend the ignorant and the base. At heart they could not have believed such nonsense. There is no design...only the feeble minded believe there was.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Tohrm

      Vacuum flux is an energy flux. It is not "nothing" so your post is FAIL. Time to quit bluffing about science, kiddo.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Christian7

      Tohrm, So you are saying they are famous for what their rational thought accomplished in science?

      December 30, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Christian7

      "God existed before there were human beings on Earth... He holds the entire world, believers and non-believers, in His omnipotent hand for eternity" - Max Planck (founder of quantum mechanics).

      Max Planck was a non-feeble minded guy who believe God designed the universe. There was no church of England to be afraid of, Evolution was already fully known to the world. Einstein did not prove his theory incorrect; in fact, Einstein was wrong about quantum mechanics.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Tohrm

      Is that the best you can do? You don't know squat about real physics or how it proves your god does not exist.
      You talk about vacuum fluxuations as if they were magical. You, sir, are an idiot.

      I don't give a crap what Planck thought about women's ankles or religion. Intelligence is no guarantee of sanity.
      If you understood how brains work, you wouldn't even bother trying to pretend Planck's religious opinion meant anything at all to anyone else. He was delusional yet talented. He contributed to Physics, not religion. His religious beliefs truly do not mean anything and give no credence to his beliefs.
      He was good at physics. Maybe he wet the bed, too. I really don't care.

      December 30, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Look, if Planck had something to say about women's ankles, I'd like to know about it.

      December 30, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  6. mklsgl

    To be Captain Obvious: The truth is no one knows. This opinion piece, I believe, has more to do with selling a book (her's) than anything else.

    December 30, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  7. Bill Richardson

    I am a bit surprised that this person, who admittedly has spent a lot of time with professing Christians, has not mentioned the possibility of angelic visitation. The Word of God is clear on this subject when we see, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" (Hebrews 13:2). Now, this is obviously speaking of an actual being that you may touch, but it also means that they may touch you (as in "on the shoulder"). It is also important to remember that Satan has the ability to transform himself into an "angel of light" and therefore, by inference, so has his demons (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). I agree with the author that an active imagination may be the source of many of these experiences. In age of grace, in which we currently live, those , that have accepted Jesus Christ as their savior are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. It is the indwelling Holy Spirit that speaks to us, although not necessarily through spoken voice, when we are quiet to listen. Abraham and Moses did not have the indwelling Holy Spirit.

    December 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Jacob's ladder is another example of the messengers God sends and receives.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • VladBudapest

      If you believe in angelic visitation ...and have been visited by angels (or demons) then you suffer from psychosis. Possibly induced by drugs or alcohol.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • frank

      Oh my, Bill. You should know that most of the 47% cannot afford angels.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  8. Christian7

    "Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged." Ronald Reagan

    December 30, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • JJ

      Sounds like a theocracy. I don't think most people would refer to that as freedom.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • mama k

      I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history. "

      (John Adams, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 09/03/1816)

      December 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Reagan would approve of going over the fiscal cliff.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • dreamer96

      Ronald Reagan sold the WMD's to Saddam and the supplying of shoulder launched missiles to the rebels in Afghanistan and sold weapons and parts to Iran and Libya...and planted the seeds for three wars in our future....two with Iraq and one against Bin Laden..Who Reagan helped to make a Hero and leader of a terrorist group...

      December 30, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Christian7

      I agree with Thomas Jefferson in that comment.

      Written in the front of his personal Bible, he wrote:

      "I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus. I have little doubt that our whole country will soon be rallied to the unity of our creator." - Thomas Jefferson

      December 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Bill Clinton made a hero of Bin Laden when he put the CIA out of the drug distribution business. Bin Laden was a Billionaire living in a cave in Afghanistan, but if he had not been with CIA the Taliban would have killed him as a foreigner and for being Shia. Reagan ended the cold war, which yielded the peace dividend.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Christian7

      JJ, I have no idea what you are talking about.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • dreamer96

      John P. Tarver

      Nixon put a stop to the Paris Peace talks in 1968..Told the South Vietnam Presidnet to pull out of the talks and Nixon would use the CIA to transport and sell illegal drugs and make the South Vietnam President Rich..So Nixon dragged out the Vietnam War for years...
      Reagan used the CIA to transport and sell illegal drugs for the CONTRAS...some sold in Arkansas the drug dealers protected from the FBI and local law by the CIA..

      Why have some many GOP President used money from the sale of illegal drugs to fund their secret wars....Reagan sold illegal drugs in the USA while he ran his Just say not anti drug campaigns...

      December 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • mama k

      Uh, Christy7, that quote was to Jefferson, not from Jefferson.

      Of course, in Jefferson's Bible he was able to compile only forty-some pages of useful data from the regular Bible.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Christian7

      mama k, That conjecture about the condensed Jefferson Bible is such a lie. Jefferson wanted to evangelize the Indians so he made a smaller Bible to reduce printing cost. It does not mean Jefferson did not see the whole Bible as the world of God. There has been many lies surrounding that bible

      December 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Rynomite

      " It does not mean Jefferson did not see the whole Bible as the world of God." You need to read more of Jefferson's writings. It is VERY clear he rejected the Bible as any sort of literal word of god.

      January 3, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
  9. End Religion

    God does not exist. If you hear him talking, you are either mistaken or delusional. "God's voice in your head guiding you," is not god - that voice is called "thoughts." We all have them. "Feeling god in your heart" is not god - that is called "emotion." We all have them.

    December 30, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Relativity and quantum mechanics require a sentient being outside the universe to make the universe real, but thanks for playing.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Christian7

      It is illogical to say that God does not exist. You do not have the ability to determine that.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Bostontola

      I agree completely, but it is difficult to ignore emotions for most people.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Andy_Anderson

      "Relativity and quantum mechanics require a sentient being outside the universe to make the universe real, "

      I don't believe you. Show me the math.

      If you're discussing quantum physics and making an assertion regarding it but don't have the math to back it up, it's safe to conclude that you're making stuff up and hoping people use the mental shortcut of "oooh quantum! that means I can't understand it and should just go with it!".

      That's dishonest.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Nope, Tarver.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Christian7, I don't think a god exists, at least I'd bet against a Christian god, but I'm with you on this one. No one can claim to know one way or the other. It sure would be fun if a whole array of interesting gods showed up.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • End Religion

      The bible is fabricated. The god described in it does not exist.If you're feeling generous, leave the door open and say, "there exists the possibility of a creator." That's fair enough. But the god any human thinks they know does not exist, just as all the holy books that proclaim them existent are lies. Well meaning, perhaps, but lies all the same.

      December 30, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  10. Arias

    "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."

    So how many days had he been up on this meth binge before he heard this voice?

    December 30, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  11. Bostontola

    Cheese maker, why do you find it misleading?

    December 30, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Because it gives the impression that people are not crazy if they hear the voice of god and therefore it is or could actually BE god. Granted the article does not come out and say it, but it certainly implies that maybe it is the case.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  12. Carl Sandburg

    I think it's funny how this stuff weirds out the atheists. I have experienced a number of things which I attribute to miracles or signs of God. I have had a long, successful career, raised a family, stayed out of jail, developed and maintained productive relationships, and never been inclined to hurt anybody. I own a gun, though I have never fired it. (I did shoot guns when I was younger.) If you asked the people who know me best, they would be aware that I attend Church, but I doubt that any of them would describe me as particularly religious.

    I know that there are loony religious people, the same way there are loony atheists.

    My point is that I, and many people i know, are just regular folks. We adhere as best we can to a set of religius values and beliefs, and we don't bother a soul.

    I find it funny that the usual response of the non-believer is to adamantly decide that anyone who has reached a religious conclusion is either crazy, stupid, or mindless.

    Hearing God? Why not? It would just be one more of the million things in the world that I don't quite understand. I am not afraid or intimidated by my limitations.

    December 30, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Bostontola

      As an atheist, this doesn't weird me out at all. In fact, just the opposite. If the authors findings are confirmed, it helps explain why people have internal experiences confirming a god which is not there.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • dreamer96

      I think it is funny that people think only Christians of people that have some religious view are the only ones that have this happen to them...What about the Native American Indians...They are not Christians, but do have a religious belief...and they have visions....but Christians call them crazy....

      December 30, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Andy_Anderson

      Also not 'weirded out' by this, whatever that means.

      It's quite fascinating how the human mind works, and this article was an interesting read.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • SuzetteC

      I'm an atheist. Years ago I heard a voice that helped me survive a traffic accident. I don't know what it was, but at least I don't assume it was "god." People who automatically assume that it's a higher power addressing them personally need to rethink things.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • LouAZ

      I think it's funny how this stuff weirds out the christians. I have experienced a number of things which I don't attribute to miracles or signs of God. I have had a long, successful career, raised a family, stayed out of jail, developed and maintained productive relationships, and never been inclined to hurt anybody. I own a gun, though I have never fired it. (I did shoot guns when I was in the USAF.) If you asked the people who know me best, they would be aware that I don't attend Church, but I doubt that any of them would describe me as particularly religious or athiest.

      I know that there are loony religious people, the same way there are loony atheists.

      My point is that I, and many people i know, are just regular folks. We adhere as best we can to a set of common values and beliefs, and we don't bother a soul.

      I find it funny that the usual response of the believer is to adamantly decide that anyone who has reached an athiest conclusion is either crazy, stupid, or mindless.

      Hearing God? Why? It would just be one more of the million things in the world that I don't quite understand. I am not afraid or intimidated by my limitations.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Atheist and proud

      You own a gun and you have never fired it? Do you know how dangerous it is to possess a firearm that you are unfamiliar with? Why do you think that police officers have to shoot their firearms on a regular basis? To be familiar with the weapon.

      Every firearm shoots a little differently, even copies of the same make and model.

      I am a proud gun owner and would never presume to count on my ability with a firearm that I was not familiar with.

      Please go find a range and get some practice with it.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I have to agree with Atheist and proud, here. You don't want the thing blowing up in your hand one day.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • LouAZ

      Policemen and gun owners need to be retrained at least yearly to know which end the bullets come out.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  13. Stephen Miller

    This article doesn't defend those who say they hear God's voice. It defends those who say they hear voices. Those who assume it must be God's voice ARE crazy.

    December 30, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  14. Bootyfunk

    if you hear god, choose A or B below:

    A) i'm crazy. probably schizophrenic. i need help.

    B) i'm in a cult. they've brainwashed me into believing there is an invisible sky-fairy that i can talk to. i'm not crazy, but i do need to be deprogrammed because cults aren't healthy.

    choose.

    December 30, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • dreamer96

      There is a real X-files in the FBI....a list of people that have given warnings before events, overheard talking about something before it happened...and after been investigated....

      December 30, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • MoronAtheist

      or C: Call an Atheist near you and get help from them. They'll show you how to spend your entire lifetime living of someone else support and you'll be spending the next 25 years behind your computer chasing those who believe in God.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Actually

      If you don't hear God, you're in denial, you are rebellious, and you are an atheist.... therefor I'll pray for you and for any lives that you may influence with your beliefs

      December 30, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      don't worry, Skully is on it.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      yes, if you are an atheist, you think for yourself - quite a crime in the chrstian community.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • JWT

      Booty – hearing non-existant voices may make one psychotic but schizophrenia involves more than just being psychotic.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      dreamer,

      they sure fail a lot.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Andy_Anderson

      You didn't even bother to read the article, did you?

      December 30, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • mama k

      @Moron: "They'll show you how to spend your entire lifetime living of someone else support and you'll be spending the next 25 years behind your computer chasing those who believe in God."

      Is this, by any chance, supposed to be a sentence?

      December 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • JJ

      C. I'm a Christian and God only talks to us (only to us True Christians® that is). If you are a filthy Muslim or Jesus hating Jew and you hear your god speak to you then you are delusional.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  15. reneb

    From my personal experience, I often hear God's voice speaking to my heart to tell me things that I didn't know, and could not known at that point unless God had informed me, and then I eventually come to find out it's true. I have met and heard of many people with similar experiences some hearing God, and others demons. I believe my friends that have experienced these voices would agree with me that just as this may sound ridiculous to those that never experienced it, it is undeniably true for them that have experienced just as it is to me. It's more true than hearing your mother speaking to you right in from of you. Because when God speaks, all the brain receptive senses are activated to receive his message, so that we have no doubt that it was Him, who spoke. Some of the people I mentioned are super smart people, Some with PH.D, Normal people, happy, and confident people. The idea of someone denying it, without experiencing it, that to me is ridiculous.

    when there are so many people claiming these experiences, it's a very stupid thing to assume that all these people have some sort of mental disorder.

    I would also like to share another experience where I heard God's voice audibly. In 2005 I came to God in prayer next to a bed about something that was deeply bothering me. I asked God's direction on what I should do, and I heard his voice clear as day, it was loud, and timeless, it was so real that I pushed myself away from the bed scared that someone had walk in the house. At that time I was alone in the house. And the message the lord gave me was also very clear, to where he even showed me a a time frame of when I would have what I wanted. about a year later I forgot about that experience, years when by and I remembered it again, and when I looked back in time, what God had told me, was true, and I received what I wanted just on the time God gave me.

    December 30, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      hint: that's not god - it's you talking to yourself.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Andy_Anderson

      Your heart pumps blood. That's what it does.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Atheist and proud

      Remember that when you pray for something for yourself, you likely deprive someone else. Consider something such as praying for a new job. What of the other applicants who got denied that job if you got it? What makes you so special as to win out over your fellow creatures just because you prayed to your sky-buddy? Because you're closer to your imaginary friend? Bah!

      December 30, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • LouAZ

      I think you left the radio on.

      December 30, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  16. Rational person

    Grown adults should not believe in fairytailes.

    December 30, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Christian7

      I agree that you should not believe in anything without good cause. I believe in God.

      It is no longer enough that we pray that God may be with us on our side. We must learn again that we may be on God's side.
      — Wernher von Braun (chief architect of the Apollo Saturn V rocket that successfully made it to the moon and back)

      December 30, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Tohrm

      Quoting a Nazi who was willing to say and do anything to save his skin is as stupid an effort at arguing as I've ever seen.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  17. lol??

    The CNN belief blogs definitely show the A&A's are mob dependent and swim in schools. Sodomocracy is another way of lookin' at em, like coyote packs howlin' at da moon.

    December 30, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • tstxt

      U mad tho
      hater

      December 30, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • psych ward staff

      Uh oh, someone threw up their word salad again. Clean up on page 31.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  18. Bostontola

    I couldn't find anything in the article where the author says the voice is really god. This article seems more in tune with atheism than any belief in god.

    December 30, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • JWT

      No disagreement here. My son's doctor would say such a person who spoke with a "god:" was psychotic.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • dreamer96

      Correct..and they are not always a voice....There are records of people that make warnings..stick their necks out and if they are right they get investigated....some lose their jobs...nothing like the FBI talking to your boss to get you fired....There are plenty of records of warnings given and people investigated after the event....

      December 30, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Bostontola

      JWT, actually the author's point is much more interesting than classifying people who hear voices as psychotic. She is saying that mild hallucinations are somewhat common and normal. If confirmed, it would start to explain why many can self confirm a god who is not there. It could be an important scientific finding.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Exactly, this article is misleading to the point it is just a fluff piece.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • JWT

      I've heard non-existant voices boston and never had any urge to consider them something from some god.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Anything remotely scientific on CNN or any mainstream media is going to be a fluff piece. I've read about this stuff for a few years and the topic is pretty interesting, with regard to the relationship between hallucination, schizophrenia, religion, non-religious "stories" we tell ourselves, and creativity. I find when I talk to most people they aren't familiar with it, so if this kind of fluff gets them looking, I'm all for it. I think it's also good for people who hear the occassional voice, know it's self generated, but fear oncoming crazies. If you're in your late teens or early 20s and this just starts and is getting worse, I'd worry. But there are a lot of people out there who've heard the occassional voice for years and are worried, and worried to tell anyone. And for them I think it must be reassuring to know that hearing the occassional voice doesn't mean you need to be insti'tutionalized.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • JWT

      It's nothign new that the mind will rationalize the psychotic sessions as something that makes sense to the mind. Religious delusions were more common but now we see more about aliens and such as the populace becomes less religious.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Andy_Anderson

      Or...you know, might have a better understanding than a lay person of how the human mind works.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Saraswati,

      I agree the subject matter is fascinating, I don't like how it is dealt with in this case.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Cheese, I agree it's not how I'd do it, but it may have got more readers this way.

      December 30, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  19. The Truth

    MOBY DICK,
    No thanks, I content with my situation.. My reply seems to have twisted you up a bit. " boring" Mission accomplished you shallow minded miserably atheist.

    December 30, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      As I said, boring. I'll bet you're content with your usage of grammar, too.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • MoronAtheist

      @TheTruth

      They're using word perfect program just to make them look like intelligent people. In fact, even a monkey have an higher IQ than those Atheists.lol.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • tstxt

      Ah, the "I'm content with my life" guy. LOL
      Your contentment don't mean SHlT, and if you weren't a dumb kid, you'd know that by now.
      This is adult swim, kid. Nobody cares how you feel about your life. It doesn't mean squat and doesn't prove anything.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "n fact, even a monkey have an higher IQ than those Atheists.lol."

      when you're trying to type a sentence insulting someone's intelligence, you should probably write a grammatically correct sentence with which to do it.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • MoronAtheist

      Sorry BootyFunkMonkey, i don't use Word Perfect like you are.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "The Truth" but your assertions are unfounded. Atheists are rarely shallow and rarely miserable. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent true statements is: "TOTAL FAIL AND BORING".

      December 30, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry "MoronAtheist", but your assertions regarding application usage by posters are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL AND MORONIC".

      December 30, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • MoronAtheist

      @ Hal

      Hal, your atheist computer freaked out.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Andy_Anderson

      If you sincerely believed in God, you wouldn't be behaving like this.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Tohrm

      I don't use soft-ware to write. I have an excellent vocabulary in my head. I'm guessing you're just a kid who can't conceive of anyone being able to actually remember how to spell and use proper grammar.
      And if you have to attack people for being smarter than you, it's time to get off the internet, fool.

      December 30, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • don in albuquerque

      Are you and MoronWhoever sisters or what. Been reading you both off and on all morning, one has a thng for body hair and the other hates Blacks. Hate, hate, hate. Do you think you are good christian little girls, and do you both use the same cleaners for your hooded sheets?

      December 30, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  20. Happy

    Metal Universe
    Dr Willbold continued: "Our work shows that most of the precious metals on which our economies and many key industrial processes are based have been added to our planet by lucky coincidence when the Earth was hit by about 20 billion tonnes of asteroidal material."
    This research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).
    http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2011/09/110907132044.htm

    December 30, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Carl Sandburg

      God was making a deposit. (See what I did there...)

      December 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • LouAZ

      Researchers have discovered that most people will believe anything that researchers say they have discovered.

      December 30, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
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About this blog

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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.