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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.

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 (7,765 Responses)
  1. Lori

    No firewall I believe what I have lived–anyway Goodnight!

    December 31, 2012 at 4:41 am |
  2. firewall

    Lori Lori Lori.

    You believe what you where programmed to believe.

    When will you become self aware?

    December 31, 2012 at 4:19 am |
  3. Lori

    Anyway I must rest now–after all it is my responsibility to take care of my heart, but the conversation has been worth the time and effort.

    If you are a good person than I pray God blesses you - for if you are good - even if you dont believe in God–God believes in you!

    Goodnight all!

    December 31, 2012 at 4:18 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      not crazy, just mistaken.

      December 31, 2012 at 4:56 am |
    • myway

      Just curious, how exactly do you know what God believes in?

      December 31, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  4. Lori

    we can argue all night, but that which is–simply is! You can say the heart shaped cloud is not a heart, I say you need to go to Walgreens and get a Valentine heart and compare the two–you can say its a coincidence-I can say its God

    You can say I was healed by chance I can tell you laying there on my deathbed it was God–

    Faith is personal, plain and simple

    You can say that the Bible Prophecies that are happening now are coincidence, I can say you are crazy–but it is all opinion. I believe, I have lived it, I see the wonder, and it fills my Heart!

    I lived when I should have died, I can walk when I should not be able to, yes I still have a heart condition, but I still believe, and I am a happier person for these miracles for this faith. I believe God is here everyday. I believe that which I known have pictures of, my medical records and Revelations proves much, But I choose to look for things that coincidence cannot possibly explain–you do not!

    Plain and simple! Faith is personal and I believe and I have recieved from that faith and I am grateful!

    December 31, 2012 at 4:13 am |
    • apostate

      I can call my coffee table a god. I can believe it controls everything happening in the world. It doesn't make any of it true just because I can believe in it. I wouldn't......because that is crazy.......you're crazy.

      December 31, 2012 at 4:20 am |
    • EddieBear

      Lori, what about Jesus revealing Himself in toast or on a wall? Is that proof of God's existence? If that's the case, then how do you explain Jesus revealing Himself in a dog's as shole? Jesus truly comes in many forms.

      December 31, 2012 at 4:27 am |
    • AnnieCee

      Jesus warned that the testimony of believers is the only "proof" that is offered. That, and the testimony of Nature itself.

      Jesus told a story of a rich man in hell who begged Abraham (in heaven) to send someone to warn his brothers. But Abraham said that those brothers already had the testimony of the prophets, and if that wasn't enough for them: then nothing else would do any good.

      This is very significant endorsement for personal Christian testimony, from Jesus Himself! And it shows what a serious thing it is to mock a person's spiritual experience. I wish I could warn these scoffers in a way that they would notice. Such mockery makes no impression on Christians, because we KNOW whom we have believed. And atheists never WILL know such blessings, if they continue to show such disrespect for God.

      It's a dangerous line that is being crossed, I'm very sorry to see it in so many of these comments.

      December 31, 2012 at 5:42 am |
    • sam stone

      lori: if faith is personal, what is the point of sharing your faith?

      December 31, 2012 at 5:55 am |
    • sam stone

      annie: you do know that people cannot mock beings in which they don't believe, don't you. those atheist mockers are not mocking "god", they are mocking "god's" followers. as well we should

      December 31, 2012 at 6:00 am |
    • unbounded riches

      I pray for a parking space right by the front door wherever I go shopping. If my invisible friend is pleased, he rearranges the lives of everyone else just so I can have my cherished spot. If one doesn't appear, I know I must have had it coming.
      ... THAT is the kind of gawwwwwwwwd I roll with. Soon I will even fall for the Prosperity Christian dogma and, for a mere ten percent of the take, gawwwwwwd will send me unbounded riches.... oh... and I am a Patriotic Christian too... cuz gawwwwwd has blessed America with right-wing religious zealots who blew two trillion dollars on unfounded wars in the middle east... praise the lord....

      December 31, 2012 at 7:01 am |
  5. myway

    I have no doubt people hear inner voices. I believe it's a normal psychological process part of our sensory experience. In essence, thoughts are a form of inner voices, which fuel our creative process. In other words, perhaps all of us are plugged into the God consciousness, we just don't see it that way, because we take it for granted. What the old testament sages had over us is a different life style. However, as a serious researcher this blog author should have been aware that despite what the scriptures want us to believe, at the time ofMoses and Abraham monotheism hasn't been practiced yet, at least there's plenty of evidence to that effect. Therefore it's doubtful the the biblical prophets were talking to a single god the way most modern Christians assume. Consequently one has to doubt if the biblical accounts of interaction with God are in fact accurate. After all, most surviving Old Testament manuscripts are not much older than when the gospels were first recorded. Abraham and Moses lived well over 1000 years before then. That makes it very likely the stories of the old Israelites were handed down orally over many centuries. We all know stories being passed on for so long change dramatically in many ways. That leaves us alone to figure this one out. I tend to believe if someone really had contact with God, why would they write a book about it or spread it around otherwise? First, you run the risk of being ridiculed, second, it can't be proven, third, who is to say which of our inner voices are God's? The bottom line is, either all of us hear God's voice, whether we're aware of it or not, or none of us do.

    December 31, 2012 at 4:10 am |
  6. Lori

    AnVil you belive faith is a cancer

    I believe a lack of faith is a cancer

    But what matters is this, have you never in your entire life–never not even as a child had a moment when something profound happened that you could not explain by human terms?
    If not you are rare– it is most often the adults who lack faith, children know miracles are real so do many people on their deathbed.

    the AnViL
    ah – – i see... you merely have a friend who is does that job. terribly sorry.

    since you're not seeing a licensed mental health professional.... maybe that's something you should look into.

    faith does not disturb me... people suffering from mental illness, like yourself – do.

    tolerance of religious idiocy is something of a cancer in our society... and anything that validates or reinforces mental illness is bad for society in general.

    please – i urge you – seek help.

    December 31, 2012 at 3:46 am | Report abuse

    December 31, 2012 at 4:07 am |
    • the AnViL

      i was very clear... i stated plainly that tolerance of religious idiocy is a cancer.. i made no statements about "faith".

      mental illness – the sort you clearly demonstrate and embody – is the cause of most human suffering on this planet.
      while you, personally – may be benevolent... there are those among you who have, in the past – and presently – use your delusional ideologies to commit atrocities – in the name of your imaginary man in the sky.

      you're suffering – and i have compassion for you – but under no circvmstances should you and your kind be allowed to run freely in society, unchecked.

      you clearly need help – i only hope someone close to you is aware enough to see the warning signs.

      good luck to you.

      December 31, 2012 at 4:20 am |
  7. Lori

    Eddie–Look at Matthew 13:24-30

    EddieBear
    If there is evidence, then why do you need faith? Faith is believing without proof of evidence, and if you had significant evidence, then you wouldn't need faith.

    What you're professing to be predictions from Revelations coming to pass is nothing more than what has been occurring for thousands of years. Cataclysms, wars, death, genocide, hate, and destruction have occurred throughout our entire civilization, as well as throughout the Bible, so why are you so convinced that now is the time that it should all come crashing down?

    God created sin by creating the tree of knowledge, as well as for creating Hell but not throwing the devil into Hell before allowing the devil to lead so many souls into an eternity of Hell. Why would He do that if He hates sin so adamantly?

    December 31, 2012 at 4:02 am |
    • hairy_fedd

      Lori, your inability to keep all your comments in a single comment thread is telling about what a sad, lonely person you are.

      You want people to notice you so bad, that you have to clutter up this forum with multiple comment threads.

      I would feel pity for you, but I can't feel pity for someone who is so blind to counter arguments that they have to retreat to a book written thousands of years ago.

      If you want to read a good version of the Bible, I suggest you read the Brick Bible online.

      http://www.thebrickbible.com/menu.html

      December 31, 2012 at 4:10 am |
    • EddieBear

      More parables and riddles, only this time the parable is comparing weeds to be burned to humans who will burn in Hell for eternity. It surprises me how you don't understand why people show such an aversion toward the Holy Bible.

      If you want me to read verses regarding my ultimate demise and descent into Hell, then you're truly hurting your chance of convincing me, or anyone else for that matter, that your god is a god of love. If He were a god of love, then He wouldn't have let the devil loose on the world to lead us into Hell. It's all BS, and you're just another sucker sucked into this nutty belief system.

      December 31, 2012 at 4:17 am |
  8. AEvangelista

    It's clear that those who scoff at such things do so simply because they have never had such experiences in their own lives. I'm a computer programmer, yet I've had plenty of what you would call supernatural experiences. It's normal for me because it runs on my mother's side of the family. If your brain isn't wired for it, you wont' get it. And I'm not affiliated with any religion. There are other ways of thinking other than "God." Why would God want to sit there and listen to billions of prayers per day. The concept of "helpers" is viable. Try communicating with your helper.

    December 31, 2012 at 4:01 am |
  9. Lori

    tallulah13
    It's sad and downright ungrateful when people give credit to god for work done by doctors.

    December 31, 2012 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |

    The doctor failed to do his job in my delivery that is why I almost died

    December 31, 2012 at 4:00 am |
    • tallulah13

      So the doctors just sat there and did nothing and you miraculously healed? Somehow I doubt that.

      December 31, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  10. LordofEntropy

    Oh, of course. If it's something you don't agree with, than the person talking to god is crazy, otherwise it's okay. How about anyone talking to invisible magic sky pixies is just considered insane?

    December 31, 2012 at 3:58 am |
  11. Lori

    call it crazy these words in this book called the Bible, but they are happening whether you like it or not!, faith is believing in the fact that there is more-

    It is not crazy it is FAITH-

    December 31, 2012 at 3:52 am |
    • EddieBear

      If there is evidence, then why do you need faith? Faith is believing without proof of evidence, and if you had significant evidence, then you wouldn't need faith.

      What you're professing to be predictions from Revelations coming to pass is nothing more than what has been occurring for thousands of years. Cataclysms, wars, death, genocide, hate, and destruction have occurred throughout our entire civilization, as well as throughout the Bible, so why are you so convinced that now is the time that it should all come crashing down?

      God created sin by creating the tree of knowledge, as well as for creating Hell but not throwing the devil into Hell before allowing the devil to lead so many souls into an eternity of Hell. Why would He do that if He hates sin so adamantly?

      December 31, 2012 at 3:57 am |
    • hairy_fedd

      What version of the Bible are you talking about?

      December 31, 2012 at 4:02 am |
    • firewall

      Lori Lori Lori.

      You believe what you where programmed to believe.

      When will you become self aware?

      December 31, 2012 at 4:16 am |
    • Dennis

      WORD TO THE WISE
      DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME, TRYING TO CONVINCE UNBELIEVERS OF BIBLE TRUTHS
      IT IS A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME.

      IF THEY REFUSE TO BELIEVE, LET THE BE IGNORANT
      WE AS BELIEVERS MUST STOP SPENDING OUR ENERGY TRYING TO WIN OVER UNBELIEVERS
      ITS IMPOSSIBLE
      THEY DON'T WANT TO BELIEVE

      I LIKE TO SAY TO SAY IT LIKE THIS
      WE WILL ALL SEE, IF JESUS IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS
      IF WE AS CHRISTIANS ARE WRONG, AND WE ARE NOT
      WHAT DO WE HAVE TO LOSE
      IF THEY ARE WRONG, THEY WILL SPEND ETERNITY IN TORMENT
      WHILE WE ENJOY ETERNAL LIFE ON A NEW EARTH
      FREE OF UNBELIEVERS

      December 31, 2012 at 4:48 am |
    • EddieBear

      @Dennis: I tell my non-believing, atheist friends the exact same things about believers. Believers are so convinced that a 2,000-year-old book is the path, the truth, and the light that they cannot be convinced otherwise. Believers are so blinded by their faith, which is, in essence, gullibility, that they will disregard actually observable, scientific evidence as having no merit, but then turn around and claim that something is true, or a fact, simply because the Bible says so; it's pathetic!

      You also have quite a lot to lose, by the way. If you are wrong, and you have not chosen the one true god, religion, and bible, then you may die and find yourself standing before a different god than the one which you believe – Allah, for example. What will you do then if the god which you invested so much faith into does not exist at all, but the god which you chose to call a false god is actually the one true god? Allah will call you an unworthy infidel, and then he will cast you into Hell for all of eternity, and you will burn with the "non-believers."

      Feel safe in your religious faith now, bigot?! Christians are the biggest hypocrites and no-it-alls that I've ever met before in my entire life. Christians are mere sheeple who truly believe that they need to be led and judged by a shepherd. God is the adults' version of Santa Claus.

      December 31, 2012 at 5:39 am |
  12. Lori

    http://www.travelyellowstonevacations.com/geysers-hots_springs/mudvolcano-sulphurcaldron/

    Revelations–burning Lake of Suplhur

    19:20

    20:10
    21:8

    December 31, 2012 at 3:51 am |
  13. Lori

    Revelations 9:11

    Abaddon and Apollyon

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abadan_Island

    December 31, 2012 at 3:47 am |
  14. Lori

    http://www.atlastours.net/iraq/babylon.html

    Babylon is Iraq

    December 31, 2012 at 3:45 am |
  15. Lori

    Did the sea give up its dead during the two tsunami's???????????/

    Did anyone ever believe that hundreds of thousands would die from such a thing???

    Revelations 20:13

    December 31, 2012 at 3:43 am |
    • apostate

      I think it's time to call off operation one of us is crazy.

      December 31, 2012 at 3:49 am |
    • EddieBear

      Humans have been dying of cataclysms for thousands of years, and you believe that recent cataclysms prove that we're living in the final days. Furthermore, nations have been at war with each other for thousands of years, and you somehow believe that recent wars, as well as recent rumors or wars, proves that we're living in the end of days.

      Based upon your logic, humankind's been living through the end of days for thousands of years now. Do you actually read the Holy Bible? If so, then why are you not an atheist yet??? Reading the "good book" is the fastest way to realizing that it's not good at all, and that it's actually completely fallacious.

      December 31, 2012 at 3:52 am |
    • sam stone

      lori: you are confusing your tenses. if it is in revelation, it is the future. you speak of the future as if it has already happened.

      also, the plural of "tsunami" does not cal for an apostrophe

      December 31, 2012 at 6:04 am |
    • sam stone

      my bad. did not read it right, so the comment about tenses is incorrect.

      December 31, 2012 at 6:06 am |
  16. Lori

    Have you ever heard of the Bottleneck theory? Its science not hocus ppocus

    December 31, 2012 at 3:41 am |
  17. Lori

    the AnViL

    I am seeing a heart doctor, not a mental health professional.

    Why does faith disturb you so?

    December 31, 2012 at 3:39 am |
    • apostate

      Why can't your god heal you? Why do humans have to do it? Is it that your god doesn't exist? Yep.

      December 31, 2012 at 3:43 am |
    • the AnViL

      ah – - i see... you merely have a friend who is does that job. terribly sorry.

      since you're not seeing a licensed mental health professional.... maybe that's something you should look into.

      faith does not disturb me... people suffering from mental illness, like yourself – do.

      tolerance of religious idiocy is something of a cancer in our society... and anything that validates or reinforces mental illness is bad for society in general.

      please – i urge you – seek help.

      December 31, 2012 at 3:46 am |
    • Dennis

      HELLO AGAIN,
      JUST WANTED TO TELL YOU THAT I WAS COMPLETELY HEALED OF HEART DISEASE
      THE LORD CAN DO THE SAME FOR YOU
      I HAD A HEART ATTACK, AN D WAS TOLD I NEEDED QUADRUPLE BYPASS
      I WAS TOLD ALL OF MY ARTERIES WERE 100%, EXCEPT FOR ONE THAT WAS 90% BLOCKED
      THAT WAS WAS NEARLY THREE YEARS AGO

      THE LORD TOLD ME AFTER I LEFT THE DOCTOR, TO COMMAND HEART DISEASE TO BE CAST INTO THE SEA
      I SAW HEART DISEASE LEAVE ME LITTLE BY LITTLE

      JESUS WAS BRUISED FOR OUR SINS, AND HIS BEATING WAS PAYMENT FOR OUR HEALING
      JESUS IS OUR HEALING, ONLY BELIEVE, AND MAKE YOUR HEALING CONFESSIONS
      YOUR HEALING DOES NOT HAPPEN ALL AT ONCE
      HOWEVER YOU WILL GET BETTER, AND BETTER AS TIME PASSES

      WATCH JOSEPH PRINCE
      HIS MINISTRY WILL HELP YOU SEE THE TRUTH OF YOUR RIGHTS TO COMPLETE HEALING
      VISIT HEAVEN IS COMING.COM AND READ MY TESTIMONY ON JESUS CAN HEAL YOU.
      ALSO WATCH VIDEO ON YOU TUBE

      December 31, 2012 at 5:04 am |
    • midwest rail

      When they type in all caps, you know it's only a matter of time til there's a T.V. preacher involved.

      December 31, 2012 at 5:08 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      "I SAW HEART DISEASE LEAVE ME LITTLE BY LITTLE"

      Sorry that was Dr's; well researched medicine and YOU following Dr's orders. Sad how people fail to give credit where credit is truly due. The fact you suffered a traumatic health issue is enough for any rational thinking person to know that the only reason you might have heard your imaginary friend was because the human brain is good at playing games in times like that. You should do some research on how the brain works in times of trauma before giving credit to your imaginary friend and thank a scientist or four for ensuring the Dr's had the ability to save your life.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:10 am |
  18. Lori

    As for the Noah story, there are accounts in hundreds of cultures across the world of this. There are petroglyphs and many native peoples who speak of this flood.

    If you follow science and not just religion you can actually prove so many Biblical things.

    December 31, 2012 at 3:38 am |
    • the AnViL

      there is no geological evidence of a global deluge.

      why are you seeing a licensed mental health professional?

      December 31, 2012 at 3:39 am |
    • EddieBear

      I love how you never answer anyone's questions. I love how you continue to babble nonsense without providing a shred of evidence to support your premise.

      I understand that there are countless stories of a great deluge within many cultures, but if you compare Christianity with older religions, then you will come to realize that the stories from the Holy Bible are just rehashed from other, older religions. Easter was stolen by the Pagans, for example.

      You're not convincing anyone of your deluded beliefs. Only a fool would believe in something which cannot be proved with even a shred of evidence.

      December 31, 2012 at 3:43 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      There are so many holes in the story...not the least of which is the building of the Arc itself. A global flood would not have easily (if at all) occurred.

      "Wood is not the best material for shipbuilding. It is not enough that a ship be built to hold together; it must also be sturdy enough that the changing stresses don't open gaps in its hull. Wood is simply not strong enough to prevent separation between the joints, especially in the heavy seas that the Ark would have encountered. The longest wooden ships in modern seas are about 300 feet, and these require reinforcing with iron straps and leak so badly they must be constantly pumped. The ark was 450 feet long"

      "A global flood would have produce evidence contrary to the evidence we see.

      How do you explain the relative ages of mountains? For example, why weren't the Sierra Nevadas eroded as much as the Appalachians during the Flood?

      Why is there no evidence of a flood in ice core series? Ice cores from Greenland have been dated back more than 40,000 years by counting annual layers. [Johnsen et al, 1992,; Alley et al, 1993] A worldwide flood would be expected to leave a layer of sediments, noticeable changes in salinity and oxygen isotope ratios, fractures from buoyancy and thermal stresses, a hiatus in trapped air bubbles, and probably other evidence. Why doesn't such evidence show up?

      How are the polar ice caps even possible? Such a mass of water as the Flood would have provided sufficient buoyancy to float the polar caps off their beds and break them up. They wouldn't regrow quickly. In fact, the Greenland ice cap would not regrow under modern (last 10 ky) climatic conditions.

      Why did the Flood not leave traces on the sea floors? A year long flood should be recognizable in sea bottom cores by (1) an uncharacteristic amount of terrestrial detritus, (2) different grain size distributions in the sediment, (3) a shift in oxygen isotope ratios (rain has a different isotopic composition from seawater), (4) a massive extinction, and (n) other characters. Why do none of these show up?

      Why is there no evidence of a flood in tree ring dating? Tree ring records go back more than 10,000 years, with no evidence of a catastrophe during that time. [Becker & Kromer, 1993; Becker et al, 1991; Stuiver et al, 1986]"

      (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html)

      December 31, 2012 at 7:36 am |
  19. Lori

    Faith is not crazy– but a human who thinks that only faith in human things is!

    December 31, 2012 at 3:35 am |
    • the AnViL

      why are you seeing a licensed mental health professional?

      December 31, 2012 at 3:37 am |
  20. EddieBear

    How can people believe that 16,000+ animals, as well as their food and water supplies for an entire year, could have all fit on one boat, survived the extremely cold temperatures and thin air when the sea level rose above that of a mountain? What did the herbivores eat when they departed the boat since the water killed all vegetation, and how did the carnivores eat the other animals for food after they departed the boat without leading species to go extinct? How did two of each species not cause genetic defects and mutations???

    How did light come before the stars, how did water come before the stars which create oxygen, how did plants and vegetation come before land, how did vegetation come before the sun, and how did birds come before land animals? Also, if the earth is no more than 10,000 years old, then why can we see the light from stars which are billions of light years away?

    If God's so powerful that he spoke the entire universe into existence, then why can he only forgive with a human, blood sacrifice, which is Himself? Why can't He use his words to forgive humans of the sins which He is responsible for creating as he used His words to create the universe? Why did the omniscient god create the tree of knowledge, and then allow the devil to tempt humans before throwing the devil into Hell if he truly hates sin so much? Why did God not throw the devil into Hell before giving him the chance to lead millions into Hell for eternity if He's truly a god of love???

    The answer to all of these questions is quite simple, actually: It's all BS! Use logic and reason to pry the faith goggles from your face which is blinding you. Free yourself from this poison called "faith."

    December 31, 2012 at 3:34 am |
    • Trent Chambers

      Eddiebear. You are just sooooo smart. Not all of the animals did survive. That's why we don't have unicorns, or dragons anymore. The Bigfeets either. I rest my case.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:29 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.