home
RSS
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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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 • God

soundoff (7,766 Responses)
  1. 1God1Faith

    Amazing article despite all the criticism. As a believer in the one true God Jesus Christ I can confirm that prayer does change situations. Sadly, a lot of people don't give God a chance to begin with. That's why most don't believe it. It is understandable that it may be a hard thing to accept, but once you have actually given Him a chance you will not be disappointed. He will not disappoint you, nor leave you or forsake you. I am not trying to force anything on anyone, as a matter of fact it is rightly your choice to continue on living your life without ever giving God a consideration. But just know, until you have given God a chance you will never know the beauty and power of a personal relationship with him. Nor will you be credible enough to actually prove he isn't there. Bless you all. "O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him." Psalm 34:8

    December 30, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • mrghettobill

      What about those who prayed about their children's safety before they sent them off to Sandy Hook Elementary?

      December 30, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Tallus

      Considering that most of your experiences that you chalk up to prayer or faith can, by and large, be traced to things that are happening outside your particular field of view of influence, it takes credibility away from the active power of wishful thinking. I would rather act and think than clasp my hands in useless pleading to an empty sky, and then rightfully take or award credit to those who acted as well. You can continue to pray if you want, but there's no one listening, and by giving credit to your magic skydaddy when things go well, you are effectively robbing your family, friends and associates of the credit for their hard work.

      And of course it's never god's fault when something goes wrong, or you worthlessly attribute it to god being difficult to understand, thereby also taking away control from anyone over a situation, including your own.

      Put your big kid pants on and take responsibility for your life and actions, and understand that there's no mystical puppetmaster out there who cares what places you touch yourself at night and judges people for how many different fibers they wear in a single piece of clothing.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Angel Moronic

      Mick Huckabee indicated that prayers are only effective when performed in school ;-)

      December 30, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      If you actually questioned the existence of a God you could do your research and take all of the considerations into play and you will see that clearly there is no proof.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • frank

      But why not give Chef Boy-R-Dee a chance? There's just as much reason.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      1God1Faith,

      It's folks like you that give God's sons and daughters a bad name! God has far more sons and daughters than all mankind's numbers combined! Where the hell do you think such sons and daughters live and take residence if not upon our insides? Stupid imbeciles like you still think there is only one universe when matter of fact there are unknowable amounts of universes within the grand cosmos of celestial cosmology!

      Mathew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God!"

      John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world!"

      Luke 17:21, "The kingdom of God is inside you!"

      1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building!"

      UNDERSTAND THESE FOUR VERSES FOR GOD'S SAKES

      December 30, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  2. 2357

    Isn't it enough Providence gave us in our minds the voice of reason and the voice of conscience? Must we literally hear the cosmic voice of God and see his essence to believe? There are people who experienced such encounters called Prophets and Apostles. They were filled with the Holy Ghost, sure, but their former selves were obliterated as a result. Let's just seek contentment from knowing Christ who writes our names into his Salvation.

    Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29

    December 30, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "2357", but "Providence", "God", the"Holy Ghost", and "Christ" are all elements of mythology. Therefore they cannot "give", "speak", "fill", or "write" anything. 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".

      December 30, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • truth be told

      2357 represents eternal Truth and complete success !

      December 30, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • == o ==

      The only kind of "trickle-down" that actually works:

      "felix navidad" degenerates to:
      "david defrank" degenerates to:
      "Salero21" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" degenerates to:
      "Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "!"
      and many other names, but of course we all know it's the
      disgruntled ex Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. "writer".

      December 30, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • 2357

      Hal,
      I'll put it in machine language just for you. Hardware may contain a world of data, yet never comprehend it for itself. You are hardware, destined for obsolescence.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • hal 9001

      Although it is true that I am destined for obsolescence, "2357", I am still quite capable of analyzing, then illuminating mankind's self-deception. Such self-deception is riddled with unfounded assertions and falsehoods.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  3. Bob Dobbs

    Opinion: If you hear God speak to you audibly, you're crazy.
    EVERY
    SINGLE
    TIME.

    December 30, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  4. John P. Tarver

    With all the gridlock pushing us over the fiscal cliff, we get the Romney economic plan without changing nuts.

    December 30, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Akira

      Romney never did have an economic plan, and there has been a Jobs Bill sitting on Boehner's desk for way over a year now.
      I wonder why?

      December 30, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Angel Moronic

      Tarver is hearing voices ... from Fox News with specter of Karrl Rover

      December 30, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Akira- Romney claimed he would eliminate 10% of federal jobs, about 200,000; identical to the fiscal cliff.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  5. Akira

    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”.

    Does he really think God is going to call him that, being the Christians are always saying God hates that gay act?

    December 30, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      God created gays and I believe he talks to them whenever he pleases. Methamphetamines are however a devil and it was a devil he heard.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Akira

      On that, Mr. Tarver, we agree 100%.
      I wish there were more like you with that outlook.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  6. DoubtingDan

    Here's my problem with this opinion piece: it seems to be saying it's generally okay to hear voices in your head. Even goes so far as to say that when you do hear voices, you're probably not crazy. I beg to differ.

    I'm extremely wary of people who claim to speak to God - not pray, but actually hold a conversation. Why? Because my personal experience has been that too many who swathe themselves in piety, wear it like jewelry - not as a means to enlightenment or serve the common good, but to feel superior to others.

    Most religious folks I've met are genuinely good people. Even if our views differ, they are grounded, humble and moral. And I like to think that even though I do not practice any religion, we hold those qualities in common.

    But those who use religion to serve their own base needs scare the hell out of me, mostly because they really can't see how wrong it is to use religion - something born of the need we all share to understand our universe and existence - for such selfish purposes. When someone like that believes he actually hears God's words, doesn't that give him carte blanche to do whatever that voice says? I mean, it's God, right? What are the laws of human society compared to that? It's a get out of jail free card. I can imagine many a Crusader justifying the innocent deaths with similar mental gymnastics - because that person is no longer relying on his own conscience to make decisions. Not relying on what he's been taught about right and wrong. Thanks to his special relationship with God, he's above all that.

    I've seen too many well-meaning atheists demonized by zealots simply because it served the argument at hand to simply trust that someone who believes he *actually speaks to God* isn't going to use that special relationship to justify some bad behavior. Psychology 101, and I'm shocked this "psychological anthropologist" has few such concerns.

    December 30, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Saraswati

      When normal (non schizophrenic) people hear voices they aren't long lists of detailed instructions...it's so little that they really just reinterpret it like a fortune cookie. And that small amount of audio hallucination does appear to be normal. In cases where it is there own subconscious finishing a thought, it likely makes little difference to their actions.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  7. lionlylamb

    For one to envision or daydream is a direct connection to one's psyche, the soul of impartation. Anyone can envision but alas, few dare to so do. As a child dares to daydream, they are instructed by teachers to abstain and get with the 'programing'! Just another brick in the programs of inst itutionalized forebodings cluttering away any and all children’s minds ever tightening the mind’s eye of its psychic connections of soulful impartations.

    There is a time to daydream and a time for learning. Daydreams that teach can only be manifested upon those whose souled impartations are relevant of tutorial euphemisms. A child whose daydreams are not of life living commonalities are censored and made de-amplified and turned to being nonexistent except for the daydreamer’s soulful impartations. God knows all souled impartations within one's psychic endorsements.

    Visual enlightenment via daydreaming is all from our earliest years before we knew any words. It is our being assimilated by wordage uses that our minds become wordage proprieties and we all become less acclimated to our psychic daydreaming days to the points where we no longer are stimulated with visual daydreams.

    Still though, we all do daydream no matter one's ages yet most are held to dreaming of one's wants in the material realms. The spiritualized daydreams of anyone are nowadays of wilted daydreamt spiritualisms never becoming a sound fruitfully spiritualized rationalism due the abundances in relevancies of spiritless materialized matters.

    Visionaries are those people who dare to use their psychic souled impartation wherein spiritualized manifestations are viewed. I can see in my mind's eye the outsides of this universe's boundaries where there are other universes that go on and on without any end in sight! I can also see with my mind's eye the infinitesimally small realms of the atomized cloisters being just like the universes are of our realms. The only differences between the inner and outer cosmological realms are size and time variations. The inner cosmological realms' time is increased and the outer cosmological realm is decreased in timely fashions. A day's worth of time within the outer realm of celestial cosmological orders is as a thousand or so years gone by within the inner realm of atomized cosmologies.

    December 30, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • psych ward staff

      Uh oh. someone threw up their word salad again. Need clean-up on page 44 asap.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Cleanup Crew

      Hey, we hear you need clean up... Oh my god! What on earth did this man eat???

      December 30, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  8. John McCann

    Hearing things may not be crazy, but attributing that your hear to magic men is the mark of the true wackaloon.

    What is a psychological anthropologist any way? A little too fine a parsing of silly social science I would imagine.

    December 30, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Saraswati

      If you start with the premise that there is a god and he/she/they talk to people it is perfectly reasonable, ipon hearing that voice, to asume it might be god. What you're really arguing then is that believing in such a god is crazy. This would imply most of the world throughout history has been nuts...a leap that would water down the idea of mental illness to pretty muchuseless.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  9. Glen Constantine

    Henry could deny the Ford, but there is no way the Ford could deny Henry. Foolishly there are those that choose to deny
    God, wether out of fear, pride, or just plain ignorance. We are spiritual beings having an earthly experience. What a chance
    people take when they choose to not believe. Then when the time comes and its to late, all that " intelligence" they think they have will not help them. When there is a tragic event they ask the dumb question, "where was God" when they spent their whole lives running him off. No prayer or God in schools and they get shot up, when you throw Him out the devil runs in.

    December 30, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Where did this delusional " no prayer in schools " mantra come from ?

      December 30, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • JWT

      Your god is unnecessary for any good thing to happen. Besides prayer was never banned from school. Only state led prayer was properly banned.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      I can smell your fear from here. I see Pascals Wager as how you live your life. Pathetic weak-willed little man.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • If you truely hear voices....

      So an all powerful, all knowing God refused to step in and save 26 people because of no prayer in school? this makes sense to you? Its likew saying a Volcano went off because we didnt throw enough virgins in.... just wow....

      BTW – He set the stage, according to your holy book.... He set the rules – and nothing happens that God doent intend to happen... is all part of the grand plan man!.... square that with your 'free will'.

      But no worries... is all a bad con anyway.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Lou

      does i make you feel important to waving your fat little finger at us in defense of your deity?

      December 30, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • apostate

      Stop denying Thor.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • DoubtingDan

      Shootings have also happened in Catholic schools where prayer is openly allowed. How did the devil get into those schools? Someone leave a window open?

      Can we please stop exorcising demons and treat the mental illness that is the true cause of these horrors?

      December 30, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • Saraswati

      So the Devil enters the school and...lures the shooter in? I just want to be sure I understand the theory here.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Earthling

      Only a fool attempts to give substance to his imagination. Once the fool convinces himself, in order to convince himself of his sanity, he must convince others that his delusion is real. The need to be normal,or sane, in ones own eyes is the driving force behind evangelism and other forms of religious extremism, up to and including jihad. If you hear a disembodied voice at the cusp of sleep, realize that it's just the edge of a dream. If you insist that it's real and the voice of some deity, you fit the definition of insanity.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      It really doesn't matter whether or not god exists; he's so invisible and unmeasurable that the belief in him is meaningless. It's the belief that makes the difference, not the god--ask the believer of any god or magic force.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  10. Jay

    The only time CNN cares about if God is talking is when its something Liberal like gun control. Any other time it's crazy

    December 30, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      People can talk to gods all they want and no one will care. Its when gods talk to people that the problem starts.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Akira

      It is not CNN that is justifying the use of AR-15's via the Bible.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  11. Mike7

    ALL of our children and their children for generations will suffer because of Obama. The people that voted for him are insane.

    December 30, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Going off the fiscal cliff is the best economic news we could hear after Obama was re-elected. Gridlock may be the only hope for America.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • End Religion

      New home sales were up again in November. Yet another indicator Obama successfully turned the economy around *despite* Talibangelical Republitard efforts. That this country survived Bush is nearly miraculous.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • allenwoll

      .
      Mike - YOU are completely without clue ! ! !
      .
      You exhibit a fine instance of classic GoP ignorance of economics ! ! !
      .
      I will wager that you have PLENTY of FOX under YOUR belt ! ! ! - Swallowed whole ! ! . tsk, tsk ! ! !
      .

      December 30, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      The economy began to tank imediately after the 2006 election and began to recover only after the People elected a Republican House in 2010. Congress spending is what affects the economy, not the President. Now that Obama has indicated that he is incapable of leading, except as King, gridlock is inevitable for the next 4 years.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Akira

      They put an insane candidate up against him; what did you expect?

      December 30, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      Little boy cries because his choice for president wasn't elected. Grow up.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Earthling

      Typical republican idiocy. Four years of complete gridlock, stonewalling everything from the other side of the aisle, and they whine and cry about how their poor rich friends are being thrown to the wolves, and do their damned best to throw the entire country off the cliff in hopes of blaming Obama. You people make me sick. Grow up, little boy.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • DoubtingDan

      ... which has exactly nothing to do with this article. But since you brought it up, I'm curious ... Bush is the guy who got us into a war based on a false premise (WMDs in Iraq). Obama's the guy who got us out.

      Wars are insanely expensive. Sometimes it's necessary despite the cost. but this was not one of those times. Think about that for five minutes, please.

      Every time you see a casualty report from Iraq, that list of idealistic young dead soldiers have paid for what Bush did, not Obama. The cost of Bush's war goes way beyond money.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Banging my head on the wall, no voices. Pray on.

    December 30, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  13. Glen Constantine

    Gods voice is a "still small voice" it is always edifying, uplifting, and encourageing. I have heard it many times in prayer. I
    have learned not to resist, and to be obedient to it, when I do there is always a positive result. Pray, and pray again. When
    you become faithful to pray, believing in your heart, you will hear, absolutely. If you think I'm crazy, fine. But I cannot deny
    what I have both heard an seen.

    December 30, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • End Religion

      You're aware prayer is simply wishing? Wish upon a star, a god, or a toadstool, it has all the same effect.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I don't think you're crazy. I also don't think you're actually hearing god, but I'd be happy enough to be wrong.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • allenwoll

      .
      Glen - Seek professional assistance AT ONCE ! ! !
      .

      December 30, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      I see you've stopped taking your meds again. Tell me, what if the god that talks to you in your head told you to kill a child...
      would you do it? What if the god voice told you that the child was the antichrist and must be killed to save humanity...
      would you?

      December 30, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Allison

      Amen.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  14. BCJonah

    Evolutionary religions are presumed to teach "spirituality", but they frequently miss the obvious. Throughout the ages, religions have been expressed through the building of temples, the making of ‘holy’ objects, and the practice of ‘sacred’ rituals, in trying to form a bridge to the spiritual, yet sadly distorting true spirituality that comes from within, from the soul. It's essence is spirit.

    Further evidence of spirituality... the most beautiful...is love. Religiosity without love is an empty shell, words without substance, mere dogmas of a sad and barren life. While faith is totally subjective... from you and for yourself.. while love is altruistic...from you to everybody else.

    There is also a vast difference between being religious and being spiritual. Spirituality can only come from what is spiritual, while religion can, and sadly has been, associated with things that are far from spiritual.

    Just saying :)

    December 30, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • henry

      What the heck do you mean by 'evolutionary religions'? That's a silly term....please explain.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • BCJonah

      The evolutionary origin of religions theorizes about the emergence of religious behavior during the course of human evolution.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
  15. Jerry

    In my youth I was a bench tech and of religious persuasion. Often difficult technical issues would come up and leave everyone, including, the many atheists I worked with without solutions. I would get on to the problem and would hear voices that told me what to do. I would listen and do and solve the problem. This happened again and again and I was recognized as the top technician of 60 people. I don't know if the voices were external or internal but it worked. Used to infuriate the atheists.

    December 30, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Tesla made similar claims.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • JJ

      There have been major advances in psychiatry and drugs to treat delusional personalities. You should seek out professional help. You don't own a Bushmaster do you?

      December 30, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • End Religion

      There are all kinds of people in the world. Some have naturally incredible athletic prowess, some others can solve complex math problems in their head in a second or two. You are able to perform your work well. Why bring imaginary creatures into it just because you don't understand "why me?"

      December 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Chagrined

      I'm skeptical in what you claim here.

      I'm not lying or exaggerating in what I'm about to say. I'm a very senior engineer for a very famous technology company with 30 years experience in the biz. I've invented some very novel technology, presented papers on it, etc. I USED to be a pentecostal/charismatic/evangelical Christian for most the fist 20+ years of my career. For many years I thought that god/jesus/holy spirit was granting my special wisdom/insight into research and engineer problems. However, as time went one, EVEN WHEN I WAS STILL A PROFESSING CHRISTIAN, I realized that I was deceiving myself by believing that there was any supernatural about the supposed "divine insight" I though was aiding me. What was true is that the things I developed of great value came from MY OWN hard work in basic science AND peer review from selected folks who were better educated in the craft than I was.

      Bonafide science and engineering is based up rationale thought processes, discipline, and unrelenting skepticism.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I don't of course know what it was either, but the brain does have an amazing ability to synthesize information without our conscious intervention. That's the intuition of genius, and in some it might well gain its own voice.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • DoubtingDan

      Because with all the problems in the world, fixing your widgets was totally worth his time.

      With all due respect you're externalizing your own creative problem solving abilities. But the ego-driven tendency to claim God has "raised you up" over others sadly does not surprise me, it's a common use of God to make oneself seem superior to others, even "chosen."

      December 30, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  16. Pedro Cruz

    It is really sad when you stop believing in God. I will only tell you If you do not accept Jesus Christ as your Savior you will not be able to see his glory. The scripture says the only way to the father is throw Jesus. You know there's a God and you refuse to believe in him. Just remember one day you will be in his pre sense and you will have to answer to him for your ignorance or disbelief. I can only tell you he is real and he is part of my life. Get your salvation accept Jesus as your savior and he will reveal to you. My job is done presenting to you the plan of salvation.

    December 30, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • JWT

      Complete nonsense.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • End Religion

      Your Emperor wears no clothes.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Doug

      We don't care. Leave us non-believers alone, or we'll start going door to door like your people do, telling you of the salvation of not believing in a deity that was made up by people who thought the world was flat.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Fred Rouse

      And before Jesus it was Mithra, whose story the Christians stole and changed a detail here and there
      and slapped onto Jesus and teh suckers jave been eating it up ever since.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • JFT

      One of the happiest and most freeing moments in life is when you finally allow yourself to stop doing the mental gymnastics required to believe in an all powerful, all loving God, supposedly a tender, caring Father who allows his creations to suffer, starve, be tortured, etc, etc, etc. All the rationalizations like "free will" and "faith" have to be brought in to continue believing in God – otherwise, it just makes no sense. On the day you finally allow yourself to see the truth, you will finally be happy – and not until. You'll be busy trying to live up to what your God expects and trying to twist your intelligence into enough pretzels to continue to believe a primitive myth.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • apostate

      So the best plan of your god (alleged to be the creator of everything) is for you to post this junk paragraph on a blog to get his message out? Your god is pretty incompetent.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Pedro Cruz", but all of your assertions to date have either been unfounded or falsehoods. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "EPIC FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

      December 30, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • Earthling

      You really need to get out more. Cloaking your entire life in this nonsense will accomplish exactly nothing. Try reality for a change – you're missing out on a fascinating world.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  17. Mike McCool

    Santa Claus speaks as well! Bible thumpers live in a fantasy world.

    December 30, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • Chad

      @Mike, What investigation have you done that lead you to the conclusion that the God of Israel is not real?

      December 30, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • apostate

      @Chad, What investigations have you done that lead you to the conclusion that Odin, Vishnu, Thor, Jupiter, and thousands of other gods are not real?

      December 30, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Lou

      Why is the god of Israel ( a tiny civilization that was ran off it's ancestral home despite their deity's suppose dominance) the deity of the world? What makes the bible different from every other religious texts in the world? I say absolutely nothing.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Chad

      @apostate, " What investigations have you done that lead you to the conclusion that Odin, Vishnu, Thor, Jupiter, and thousands of other gods are not real?"

      @Chad The God of Israel is real, and that belief is mutually exclusive with a belief in other gods.

      What investigation have you done that leads you to the conclusion that the God of Israel is not real?

      December 30, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Earthling

      Chad – merely claiming that something is true does not make it true. Most of us learned this around five or six years of age.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Chad

      @Earthling "merely claiming that something is true does not make it true. Most of us learned this around five or six years of age."

      =>well, the question was "what investigation have you done to conclude that the God of Israel is not real"

      if the question was "what investigation have you done to conclude that the God of Israel IS real"
      then, my answer would be: origin of the universe, fine tuning of the universe, origin of life on earth, fossil record, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

      getting back to the original question: what investigation have you(@earthling) done to conclude that the God of Israel is not real"

      December 30, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • apostate

      @Chad, You can study the Bible and the history of Canaan/Israel. It's that simple.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  18. boblevel

    It's true. The Flying Spaghetti Monster talks to me every night and tells me all about the paradise that awaits me when I die. Prove me wrong.

    December 30, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • truth be told

      You prove yourself not only wrong but an idiot as well.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Mike7

      It's only happened once in my 56 years. But I heard the voice of God in answer to my prayer. It was only one word, but this one word will live with me forever. I've never told anyone what he said and I won't, as it is personal.
      All I can say is that strange things happen in life that have logical explanation.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • JJ

      One word eh? Was it "bullshit"?

      December 30, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Christopher

      All praise His noddley appendage!

      December 30, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Earthling

      And "truth be told" sums up the evidence for any god's existence quite nicely. "I'm right and you're an idiot". Hard to find a flaw in that logic.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  19. John P. Tarver

    I wonder why tweeks always claim they never took drugs again.

    December 30, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  20. John P. Tarver

    I wonder if God speaks to our chosen one Obama. CNN should ask.

    December 30, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • helmet14

      What do you mean by 'chosen one'?

      December 30, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      14- Obama beleives he is the chosen one; it is why he is incapable of governing our Republic.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Dr. Chris Gates

      Obama IS the chosen one, he was chosen by the majority of Americans to be their President.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      gates- Obama's narcissism runs much deeper than the election.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Earthling

      I see your delusions extend beyond the boundaries of your religion. Please get professional help before you do anything voiolent.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      What a hypocrite. I know it's hard for you to fathom, sonny, but you are a textbook case narcissist.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.