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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 • God

soundoff (7,766 Responses)
  1. Allison

    God is great. So great that He even tolerates the people who don't believe He exists.

    December 30, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Prove it.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Magic Jew

      I thought he as going to burn me forever for not believing in him.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Allison

      I don't think any amount of proof is going to change an atheist's mind, but that's ok. I am fortunate to know and speak to God, daily. I am happy, kind, generous, and compassionate. If you are the same, then you have no need for God. I just happen to.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @Allison said "I don't think any amount of proof is going to change an atheist's mind"

      Really? Offer me some that makes sense and then I'll believe. Try me, I want to believe.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Bishop Hairy Palms

      Allison

      Any proof at all other than voices in your head would be a good start.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Allison

      Just ask God. He'll give you plenty of proof. It will probably scare the hell out of you. Literally.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Allison, you are sad. The only reason you can use a computer is because some capitalist decided it would be good for business to let imbeciles use computers. He was right, as were many others. It was good for business.

      But you're not intelligent. The only reason you are here is because some very educated and creative people made it easy for stupid people to use computers. Don't you ever forget that.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Bishop Hairy Palms

      Allison

      Ok, just did that.

      Nothing..............

      Got any proof at all?

      December 30, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Allison

      Jimmy joe jim bob, or knob, or whatever. You are correct. I am very stupid. God is doing the typing for me. He even had to plug in my computer for me.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @Allison "Just ask God. He'll give you plenty of proof. It will probably scare the hell out of you. Literally."

      But there is no hell, and how do you know your God is a he? You're not doing very well at proving anything.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • raforrester

      TheVocalAtheist, if you want proof, then go talk to the people who say they have scientific evidence. Anything that is posted here, even if it describes a true miracle, is just a story. Start with that link I posted:

      http://www.btci.org/bioethics/2012/videos2012/vid1.html

      Or google "Nonlocal Consciousness: An Explanatory Model for the Near-Death Experience – Pim van Lommel, M.D."

      December 30, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @raforrester

      There is no scientific proof of any God, please stop with the BS.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Allison

      I'm not trying to prove anything. One either believes or they don't. I know God exists. I believe He is a He. That is my belief. It's been working pretty well for me., but I'm not here to push my beliefs on anyone. I suppose you'll find the truth one day. I'll see you in Heaven. I'll be standing at the bar, with a margarita in my hand.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @Allison

      Will we be able to have some great s*ex after a few coc*ktails? Just sayin', I mean why not, right?

      December 30, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • raforrester

      @TheVocalAtheist "There is no scientific proof of any God, please stop with the BS."

      You believe that there is no scientific proof of any God, but believing does not make it so. Ask any atheist.

      Even when someone offers proof of the existence of an afterlife, you don't even go look. By not looking you can continue to claim there is no proof. You can even deny the existence of the website. Like the cleric who refused to look in a telescope to see the moons of Jupiter, and said there was no need, because he knew they did not exist.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Melissa

      First prove he exists without saying "look around you", "look in the mirror", "the body is too perfect", or "the bible says so". Bet you can't.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      "Even when someone offers proof of the existence of an afterlife, you don't even go look."

      Hey Raffy, how do you know that I have never questioned and looked? Please provide me with verifiable scientific proof of an afterlife and I'll say "Uncle".

      December 30, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • raforrester

      @Melissa "First prove he exists without saying "look around you", "look in the mirror", "the body is too perfect", or "the bible says so". Bet you can't."

      Nothing anyone says in a comment section can prove anything. It's just words. You have to go look a the research, like the link I posted.

      @Hey Raffy, how do you know that I have never questioned and looked? Please provide me with verifiable scientific proof of an afterlife and I'll say "Uncle".

      I used to be an agnostic, for 20 years. Not an atheist, because I could never actually prove the absence of a God, but I came to believe because of all that happened to me. But that is proof only to me, not to anyone else. I respect the questioning and looking. Are you still questioning and looking? From your posts it sounds like you're pretty much settled.

      Both of you, I already provided evidence. I think this is one of the best. There are others. Look at the link I posted. Here it is again.

      http://www.btci.org/bioethics/2012/videos2012/vid1.html

      There are also historical records of people who reappeared after they were dead. One famous one was a leader of a fighter squadron during WWI, who was shot down and then reappeared to lead his squadron to victory.

      I have personal experiences that proved to me that dreams can predict the future, but there's no sense telling the story because now it is just a story, not evidence. I have professors who have taught me that you can use the dream state to look at the real world, and confirm it using independent observers who are awake.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Allison

      In response to your question, vocalathiest, something tells me you ain't so hot looking, so the answer is "no."

      December 31, 2012 at 6:14 am |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Allison mindlessly posted: "I know God exists"

      No, you don't. If you did, you could prove it, which you cannot.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:34 am |
  2. southernsugar

    I believe in God. He is and always was, but the author of this article was the strange one. If a person hears God in the back seat of one's car, they need to see a doctor. Hearing voices is not a healthy sign.

    December 30, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Believing in comic book super heroes is not healthy, but you go on thinking you're okay.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  3. Emilio Dumphuque

    "They were more common among those who felt comfortable getting caught up in their imaginations." So that would be people that believe and act out their belief in Astrology, past lives, hollow Earth, angels and demons, evil spirits, conspiracies, door-to-door conversions, trickle down economics and Mary's image on a tortilla? Sure, they aren't any more nuts than you!

    December 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
  4. PSmith

    Don't you know - God is dead! Hasn't anyone around here read Neitzsche?

    December 30, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  5. Bishop Hairy Palms

    Believing in an imaginary sky daddy is nutty.

    Hearing him talk to you is serious mental illness.

    December 30, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • Chad

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

      December 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • say what

      Chad – What research have you done to prove that Zeus isn't real?

      December 30, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Chad

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

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

      December 30, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • jrvinnh

      Atheists don't have to prove anything. We're not the ones making all the extraordinary claims, which require extraordinary evidence from the people making the claims, but not from us.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Chad

      @jrvinnh "Atheists don't have to prove anything"

      =>you do if you are making the claim that the God of Israel does not exist.
      You dont if you are merely stating you dont believe the God of Israel is real

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

      "you do if you are making the claim that the God of Israel does not exist."

      No, you do not. Nutter.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • apostate

      The god of Israel doesn't exist. One has never been proven. A basic study of the Bible and the Canaan/Israel region proves this is nothing more than an ancient tribal bunch of nonsense.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Chad

      from http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismquestions/a/strong_weak.htm

      note the bold section below
      enjoy!!

      Atheism is commonly divided into two types: strong atheism and weak atheism. Although only two categories, this distinction manages to reflect the broad diversity which exists among atheists when it comes to their positions on the existence of gods.

      Weak atheism, also sometimes referred to as implicit atheism, is simply another name for the broadest and most general conception of atheism: the absence of belief in any gods. A weak atheist is someone who lacks theism and who does not happen to believe in the existence of any gods — no more, no less. This is also sometimes called agnostic atheism because most people who self-consciously lack belief in gods tend to do so for agnostic reasons.

      Strong atheism, also sometimes referred to as explicit atheism, goes one step further and involves denying the existence of at least one god, usually multiple gods, and sometimes the possible existence of any gods at all. Strong atheism is sometimes called “gnostic atheism” because people who take this position often incorporate knowledge claims into it — that is to say, they claim to know in some fashion that certain gods or indeed all gods do not or cannot exist

      Because knowledge claims are involved, strong atheism carries an initial burden of proof which does not exist for weak atheism. Any time a person asserts that some god or any gods do not or cannot exist, they obligate themselves to support their claims. This narrower conception of atheism is often thought by many (erroneously) to represent the entirety of atheism itself.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • Chad

      @apostate "A basic study of the Bible and the Canaan/Israel region proves this is nothing more than an ancient tribal bunch of nonsense."

      =>such as.. what?
      what basic bible study does this? Or are you just guessing?

      December 30, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • the AnViL

      chadtard:

      the statement “gods exist” is a positive claim.

      the statement “gods do not exist” is a negative claim that only responds to the positive one.

      it wouldn't make any sense to anyone except the enemies of reason to go around denouncing the existence of unknown or flatly fictional beings, if there isn't anyone making the positive claim that those things do exist.

      to state that the as sertion “gods do not exist” is a positive claim really misses the mark entirely.

      positing a concept-being (God) is adding, not subtracting. to state that “gods exist” is a negative claim in response to “gods do not exist” entirely ignores the fact that ‘gods’ is still an added or positive consti tuent to the conversation.

      it never ceases to amaze me how many people fail to grasp this very simple concept in logic... and it never ever ceases to amuse me to watch those of you with grade-school simplistic logic attempt to fumble through this on-the-fly....

      it wasn't even a nice try.

      but don't feel bad – even really intelligent, knowledgeable people seem to mess this one up regularly.

      zip!

      December 31, 2012 at 12:32 am |
  6. Zell Sargeant

    Hearing Voices is probably something that Every Human Being has experienced at one time or another. As the author states, most people hearing voices probably do not have a mental illness. And even people who Do have mental illnesses that (presumably) generate Their voices, that doesn't negate the possibility that Some of the voices heard will be coming from a healthier part of the person w/mental illness. Maybe not All of their voices of hostile & relentless. Also, if one is religious & believes the good or helpful voices one hears to be of God, then what is to prevent that person from logically believing that negative voices come from Satan? Personally, I find Both views (Satan vs Schizophrenia) of interest. This is one of those topics where people often take hard lines on either side of the debate: either it's ALL from mental illness (or some brain quirk, in lesser degree of how often you hear voices) OR it's All God/Satan. I like that the author brings complexity to this topic. Artists, also, can hear voices. I'd also rather hear a really interesting inner voice than listen to the silly natterings of actual people, so what does that mean?

    December 30, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  7. raforrester

    Here is a link to a very interesting study of near death experiences by a cardiologist whose patients reported their experience while comatose or with no brain activity:

    http://www.btci.org/bioethics/2012/videos2012/vid1.html

    This study includes people who may have had similar experiences while awake. I have known people who thought that God had spoken to them, and people who thought their deceased mother had spoken to them, and these were not schizophrenics. In fact they were really solid and productive people.

    December 30, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      And your point is?

      December 30, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • say what

      Experiences of this type are just like alien abduction claims – completely worthless. Do you believe all those people with similar stories about being taken aboard alien spaceships?

      December 30, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • raforrester

      TheVocalAtheist, the bit about having experiences while awake is my point. Somehow the people who were dead spoke with relatives who were still alive.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • If you truely hear voices....

      I have a disease that forms lesions in my brain (MS) . Before i was diagnosed with it i started seeing flashes of light..eventually even shadows in my peripheral vision. I knew they werent real..but they are what i saw ..plain as day.
      simply put, it is a malfunction in my brain..not real at all....is not god.

      in a post earlier i said to get an MRI .... it wasnt a joke...If you hear voices, shadows, lights ... there is a malfuntion going on in your brain.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • raforrester

      say what, listen to the video before you dismiss it. The lecturer did not claim to have a near death experience, he claimed that his patients did, and knew things that they could not have known after they woke up. Atheists say there is no evidence for God or an afterlife, but that is because when the evidence appears they don't bother to look at it. Go look at it.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      "Somehow the people who were dead spoke with relatives who were still alive."

      But there isn't any proof is there?

      December 30, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • say what

      "Atheists say there is no evidence for God or an afterlife"

      No, not only atheists would say this. Anyone who knows anything about the scientific method would say that.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • raforrester

      @If you truely hear voices....

      Agreed. What you describe should make anyone see a doctor.

      But if you are technically dead, no brain activity, and you have a detailed and vivid experience that is neurologically impossible, reviewed your entire life in moments, visited deceased friends and relatives, and then wake up and tell people what you saw them doing to rescue you while you were hovering above them, maybe your view of the world needs to be updated.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • raforrester

      @TheVocalAtheist "But there isn't any proof is there?"

      I think the proof is that the relatives also heard what the (temporarily) dead person said.

      But don't take my word for it. I can't prove it here. Go listen to the video.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • If you truely hear voices....

      If you are clinicly dead, blood is not flowing and your brain is starving for oxegen and nutrients...chemistry is changing and all sorts of extraoridary things start happening...if they can get your blood flowing again ( within 4 min) you can come back with quite a story....all the product of your brain going haywire ....

      December 30, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • jrvinnh

      Near death experiences don't count. The brain, which is actually a complex computer, never completely shuts down and it doesn't decay to the point where it can't possibly function anymore. All the volatile memory isn't wiped clean ether. When you can produce someone who has been dead for at least a week and then comes back to life, give me a call.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • raforrester

      @say what
      "No, not only atheists would say this. Anyone who knows anything about the scientific method would say that."

      The video is the result of a doctor seeing things he could not explain and applying the scientific method to it. But you can just assert anything you want, which of course ignores the scientific method.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @raforrester
      @TheVocalAtheist "But there isn't any proof is there?"

      "I think the proof is that the relatives also heard what the (temporarily) dead person said."

      If you believe proof is something that someone else heard then you are the perfect sucker for just about anything.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • raforrester

      @jrvinnh "When you can produce someone who has been dead for at least a week and then comes back to life, give me a call."

      No, that won't help. The idea of zombies was originally from the practices of voodoo shamans who had a drug that made a person look truly dead, no heartbeat or breathing. If the shaman dug up the victim within a few days, he could administer an antidote.

      No, this is different. The people who report the near death experience are not just reporting memories or hallucination, they are reporting things that the dead person could not have witnessed. If you don't want to change your mind, then please don't see that video.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • raforrester

      @TheVocalAtheist "If you believe proof is something that someone else heard then you are the perfect sucker for just about anything."

      If the deceased person says that he spoke to a relative while dead, and the relative independently says that he heard the voice of the deceased saying those words, then maybe it needs to be looked into.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Why don't you look into it and get back to us?

      December 30, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • raforrester

      @TheVocalAtheist "Why don't you look into it and get back to us?"

      Wow, LOL doesn't do it justice, but I'm not quite at ROFLMAO. Why do you think I keep mentioning it? I've checked it out and I've been telling you about it. I know you aren't interested, but someone reading this might be.

      In brief, the cardiologist had encounters with his patients in which they mentioned things about him that they could not have known, because they were clinically dead when he entered the room. He decided to do research to see if there were others who had similar experiences. He interviewed everyone at his hospital who had been clinically dead, and found that about 18% of them reported having vivid experiences. The experiences included things they they could not have known about, including telling what the doctors were doing to try to save the patient. The people reported other things, such as having a review of their lives in an instant, both past and future, and meeting deceased relatives.

      The most interesting part was that the people typically changed dramatically afterward, losing their fear of death and emphasizing treating other people well. During the review of their lives, they said that the most important thing was that they realized how what they said and did affected everyone else, because they were aware of the thoughts and feelings of everyone else who they ever interacted with. Everyone.

      The research said that there was no correlation of these experiences with religious beliefs or other factors.

      If you remember nothing else about this, remember this. How you treat others is extremely important. If being an atheist helps you treat others well, fine. If being religious does it, fine. But how you treat others is something that will always be remembered, both by you and the people you interact with.

      Including the people here.

      December 31, 2012 at 12:02 am |
  8. Melissa

    Yes, "hearing god" means you're nuts. Deal with it. God is imaginary.

    December 30, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • 13Monkees

      That's not entirely fair. There have been incidents of brain tumors causing people to hear voices. So they aren't necessarily nuts, they could have a serious medical condition. Or, they could have heard James Earl Jones speaking and gotten confused. If any of the gods had a voice, it would have to be that one.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • southernsugar

      God is real, but if I were to see or hear him, I'd check into a hospital. He does not speak aloud to anyone!

      December 30, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Chad

      Melissa, what investigation have you done that lead you to the conclusion that the God of Israel is not real?

      December 30, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Magic Jew

      Chad,

      She likely read the Bible. That did it for me.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Chad

      @Magic Jew "She likely read the Bible. That did it for me."

      =>what about the bible led you to that conclusion?
      anything specific? Must have been something fairly big.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Melissa

      No, it is fair. I'm tired of people making excuses for hearing things. If you're hearing voices in your head, there's a serious problem with you. Period. We all have an inner voice, but that's ourselves, it's not some imaginary deity.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Melissa

      No southernsugar, he's imaginary. You not liking that is your problem, not mine.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Chad

      Melissa, what investigation have you done that lead you to the conclusion that the God of Israel is an "imaginary deity"?

      December 30, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Melissa

      Chad, read your bible. You'll get it.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • apostate

      Actually reading the Bible, unlike most Christians, and studying how it was assembled and manipulated makes a believer an atheist pretty quickly.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Chad

      @Melissa, @apostate, what specifically are you talking about in the bible that will lead to a rejection of Christianity?

      are you just guessing that there must be something in there that does so?

      December 30, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  9. Darrell

    So if I hear the voice of some non-person who tells me to do things, I am nuts, but if I get promoted up the ladder to hearing God tell me to do things I am no longer crazy???

    Puh-leze!!!

    December 30, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  10. Miss Demeanor

    Dear writer and self-appointed religious spokesman... what gives you the right to tell people who are hearing voices that nothing is wrong with them? They could well need psychological help... especially if they are 'hearing from a diety'.

    December 30, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      May be writer need some help herself for hinduism, mental sickness.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  11. Lou

    We gotta wait another 2000 years before the righteous figures out that he's not coming.

    December 30, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • raforrester

      Nah, he came already. Most people missed it because they weren't looking in the right place.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  12. there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

    Article is based on hinduism, fabrication of hindu Jew's lair secular's, by hindu corrupted Torah, called old testament, reject of son of blessed Mary, foundation of hindu Mithra ism, savior ism labeled Christianity to hind, fool humanity, Trtuh absolute GOD, HIMSELF, never spoke to any one, nor HE speaks to any one else but MOSES, he bothered to visit, to guide him to Theeen Allah, way of truth absolute, none other's, rest of messengers, not Prophets, fortune tellers were guided through Angel Gabrial, also known as Holy spirit. Hearing voice of God, truth absolute is nothing but hinduism, imagination of people in deep trance, nothing more nothing less.

    December 30, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • say what

      Do you really think that made any sense to anyone but yourself?

      December 30, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      hinduism, absurdity, pot head hindu sanatan's, crook man god's of hindu's ignorant s talk to their hindu gentile, ignorant slaves all the time, so does hindu pagan pope and his boy loving assistants, padres all the time.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • there is no other truth but truth absolute, and truth absolute is LORD AND GOD OF THE WORLD.

      Ya, the one blessed with a brain, unlike you, a hindu, brainless.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Angel Moronic

      Great ! another delusional jack hearing voices !

      December 30, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • dnorko

      You stole my screen name from yahoo. You suck you religious idiot

      December 30, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • say what

      "hinduism, absurdity, pot head hindu sanatan's, crook man god's of hindu's ignorant s talk to their hindu gentile, ignorant slaves all the time, so does hindu pagan pope and his boy loving assistants, padres all the time."

      You don't talk to people in real life this way, do you?

      December 30, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Melissa

      Wow, you're a special level of nut.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      the lv is called Muslim,,its one of the highest lv one can reach in the Nutcase class

      December 30, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  13. McDuck Quackerton

    What a load... If you hear "god" you're crazy. A voice in your head giving you direction? That's not god, that's you. If you accept it as you, you're good. When you chalk it up to the sky fairy, you're certifiable and should not be allowed to lead or breed.

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

      If they already believe in God, however, then it would be fairly reasonable to ascribe the voice to hime or her. Or are you just saying anyone who believes in a god that can talk to people is crazy?

      December 30, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  14. TheAntiChrist

    Look. There is a creator. But he isn't what all of you are making him into. He doesn't hear your prayers and he wont heal you. You have to live with what you got. Only you can make your life better. He's not gonna some how just make you better all of a sudden. If any one tells you that they are making noting into something. The sooner you can live without thinking that God is gonna save you the better off you will be. WAKE UP!

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

      You need to lose the creator and the he thingy.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • say what

      "Look. There is a creator."

      Man, after all these years of debate, soul searching, and wars, you've finally proven it once and for all. Humanity really owes you one.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
  15. Andy Hickman

    there is no god.

    December 30, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  16. bunny ears

    Hearing voices can indicate other mental illnesses besides schizophrenia. People who grow up learning dogma which claims that people can hear god can indeed experience a psychological trick of beginning to believe what you hear (or preach to others) over and over. I knew a preacher's son whose father got so good at preaching his dogma that he began to believe it. That does not prove, in any way, that god exists. It only proves that people who want to believe something badly enough will fall for the same psychological trick that allows children to believe in pretend characters with red suits or bunny ears.

    December 30, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
  17. Earl

    I will share with you what i learned from Teacher Erano Evangelista of http://www.thename.ph

    Exodus 20:18-19 (KJV)
    18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

    As we can read -The people of Israel during the exodus were afraid to hear the voice of God. They prefer to hear the word of God through Moses. Since then Moses became the spokesperson of God. God said the decision of the people was good as written in Deut.18:15-17
    15 The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
    16 According to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
    17 And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.

    We can read here that since the people asked not to hear the word of God again and God agreed. However Moses cannot live forever so does this mean that God will speak again to people directly as what he had done during the exodus? Or did He made firm His decree that a prophet will speak in His behalf just like what Moses did?

    In Deut.18:18-19
    18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
    19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

    We can read that God had spoken about a coming prophet who will be sent forth "like Moses" – this time God will not speak audibly to His coming prophet, for Moses was the only prophet to have heard the voice of God (deut.34:9-10 and Numbers12:8) The sign for us to identify this prophet is that God placed His words in his mouth which means that God will not speak to him audibly nor will the coming prophet study the word of God in a university but will be taught by God about the meaning of His written word.

    Finally, as written, the coming prophet will be sent by God to speak in His Name which means He will reveal the true Name of God as written in the scriptures. This clearly shows that God has destined not many but one man only to explain His written word in the scriptures. So for a man to say that God spoke with him audibly is not true for the last man to have heard His voice directly was Moses.

    This truth in what God decreed in deut.18:15-19 will also cast doubt on what the apostles had written in Matt. 3:17 they claim that God spoke about Jesus, but God already made his word that only a prophet can speak in His behalf. Now, to know that God indeed sent a prophet like Moses to whom we should listen to in our time Because God placed His words in the prophet like Moses' mouth – therefore can clearly explain the written word of God in the Bible and sent to speak in God's Name-which means he will introduce the real name of God as written in the scriptures. Kindly read http://www.thename.ph

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

      Reads like a scam to me

      December 30, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • If you truely hear voices....

      Ahhh no worries man, we are all safe – Frodo made it to Mount Doom, says so in the Return of the King... written by the Profit...err prophet JRR Tolken.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  18. Angel Moronic

    I hear angles voices: "You can make a lot of $$$ sucking into people to believing they are hearing angels"

    December 30, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Lou

      It's pretty easy to make up your own church....people do it all the time. There's churches everywhere.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      And on top of it, tax free money. Can you say scam?

      December 30, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  19. Andy Hickman

    yes you are.

    December 30, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • truth be told

      so what am I?

      December 30, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  20. Philip McCrackin

    So my mental patient this morning who was laughing to himself in bed was not crazy? He said g-d was telling him funny jokes so he laughs. He can't hold down a job and sometime he tries to kill himself or other people. Good think I read this article...written by a complete moron.

    December 30, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I'm curious as to what you do, because anyone in the field of psychology would know the distinction?

      December 30, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • raforrester

      I don't think you actually read the article. It doesn't say that everyone who hears voices is not crazy. It says that MOST of the time, hearing a word or a phrase does not mean you have schizophrenia. Your client has very clear mental problems so she is not talking about him.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
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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.