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

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

Editor's Note: Tanya Marie (“T.M.”) Luhrmann is a psychological anthropologist and the Watkins University professor in the department of anthropology at Stanford University in Stanford, California. She is the author of "When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God."

By T.M. Luhrmann, Special to CNN

(CNN)—In the Bible, God spoke directly to Abraham. He spoke directly to Moses. He spoke directly to Job. But to your neighbor down the street?

Most people reading the ancient scriptures understand these accounts of hearing God’s voice as miracles that really did happen but no longer take place today, or maybe as folkloric flourishes to ancient stories. Even Christians who believe that miracles can be an everyday affair can hesitate when someone tells them they heard God speak audibly. There’s an old joke: When you talk to God, we call it prayer, but when God talks to you, we call it schizophrenia.

Except that usually it’s not.

Hearing a voice when alone, or seeing something no one else can see, is pretty common. At least one in 10 people will say they’ve had such an experience if you ask them bluntly. About four in 10 say they have unusual perceptual experiences between sleep and awareness if you interview them about their sleeping habits.

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And if you ask them in a way that allows them to admit they made a mistake, the rate climbs even higher. By contrast, schizophrenia, the most debilitating of all mental disorders, is pretty rare. Only about one in 100 people can be diagnosed with the disorder.

Moreover, the patterns are quite distinct. People with schizophrenia who hear voices hear them frequently. They often hear them throughout the day, sometimes like a rain of sound, or a relentless hammer. They hear not only sentences, but paragraphs: words upon words upon words. What the voices say is horrid—insults, sneers and contemptuous jibes. “Dirty. You’re dirty.” “Stupid slut.” “You should’ve gone under the bus, not into it.”

That was not what Abraham, Moses and Job experienced, even when God was at his most fierce.

For the last 10 years, I have been doing anthropological and psychological research among experientially oriented evangelicals, the sort of people who seek a personal relationship with God and who expect that God will talk back. For most of them, most of the time, God talks back in a quiet voice they hear inside their minds, or through images that come to mind during prayer. But many of them also reported sensory experiences of God. They say God touched their shoulder, or that he spoke up from the back seat and said, in a way they heard with their ears, that he loved them. Indeed, in 1999, Gallup reported that 23% of all Americans had heard a voice or seen a vision in response to prayer.

These experiences were brief: at the most, a few words or short sentences. They were rare. Those who reported them reported no more than a few of them, if that. These experiences were not distressing, although they were often disconcerting and always startling. On the contrary, these experiences often made people feel more intimate with God, and more deeply loved.

In fact, my research has found that these unusual sensory experiences are more common among those who pray in a way that uses the imagination—for example, when prayer involves talking to God in your mind. The unusual sensory experiences were not, in general, associated with mental illness (we checked).

They were more common among those who felt comfortable getting caught up in their imaginations. They were also more common among those who prayed for longer periods. Prayer involves paying attention to words and images in the mind, and giving them significance. There is something about the skilled practice of paying attention to the mind in this way that shifts—just a little bit—the way we judge what is real.

Yet even many of these Christians, who wanted so badly to have a back-and-forth relationship with God, were a little hesitant to talk about hearing God speak with their ears. For all the biblical examples of hearing God speak audibly, they doubt. Augustine reports that when he was in extremis, sobbing at the foot of that fig tree, he heard a voice say, “Take it and read.” He picked up the scripture and converted. When the Christians I know heard God speak audibly, it often flitted across their minds that they were crazy.

In his new book, "Hallucinations," the noted neurologist Oliver Sacks tells his own story about a hallucinatory experience that changed his life. He took a hearty dose of methamphetamines as a young doctor, and settled down with a 19th century book on migraines. He loved the book, with its detailed observation and its humanity. He wanted more. As he was casting around in his mind for someone who could write more that he could read, a loud internal voice told him “You silly bugger” that it was he. So he began to write. He never took drugs again.

Now, Sacks does not recommend that anyone take drugs like that. He thinks that what he did was dangerous and he thinks he was lucky to have survived.

What interests me, however, is that he allowed himself to trust the voice because the voice was good. There’s a distinction between voices associated with psychiatric illness (often bad) and those (often good) that are found in the so-called normal population. There’s another distinction between those who choose to listen to a voice, if the advice it gives is good, and those who do not. When people like Sacks hear a voice that gives them good advice, the experience can transform them.

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This is important, because often, when voices are discussed in the media or around the kitchen table, the voices are treated unequivocally as symptoms of madness. And of course, voice-hearing is associated with psychiatric illness.

But not all the time. In fact, not most of the time.

About a third of the people I interviewed carefully at the church where I did research reported an unusual sensory experience they associated with God. While they found these experiences startling, they also found them deeply reassuring.

Science cannot tell us whether God generated the voice that Abraham or Augustine heard. But it can tell us that many of these events are normal, part of the fabric of human perception. History tells us that those experiences enable people to choose paths they should choose, but for various reasons they hesitate to choose.

When the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. sat at his kitchen table, in the winter of 1956, terrified by the fear of what might happen to him and his family during the Montgomery bus boycott, he said he heard the voice of Jesus promising, “I will be with you.” He went forward.

Voices may form part of human suffering. They also may inspire human greatness.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of TM Luhrmann.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Evangelical • God • My Take

soundoff (7,761 Responses)
  1. John Cram

    FACT:

    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GOD THAT HAS BEEN PROVEN IN ANY WAY. So stop acting like you have some manual for "life" with a book of fairy tails that you yourself cannot even interprete correctly 9 times out of 10!

    Just because you decide to make something up doesn't make it a reality (no matter how MANY fools think the same thing!).

    January 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • *

      * fairy tales (not tails)

      January 13, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • mary jane

      First you have to BELIEVE then you will find Him. ALL those who seek Him will find Him. Jesus loves you and wants a relationship with you. It is your life and your choice.

      January 13, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
  2. Bob

    When Jesus hung on the cross and breathed His last and said it is finished the guard that was there became a believer that in that second. He had witnessed many deaths and realized that Jesus didn't die in the conventional sense but gave up His life His work here being finished. How awesome is it that even in death He spoke life to people that Jesus in how he lived and died to this guard was a witness to a man that had seen many die on the horrible Roman crosses. We need to be so surrendered that our life reflects the glory, love and calling of the Father. So in all our actions we can say we know the truth and it set us free and this is available to you. We are the light in the darkness

    January 13, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • rabidatheist

      That depends on which gospel you read. I Mark Jesus says exactly three sentences from the time he is arrested, until the time he dies, and "It is finished" is not one of them. In Mark he is ridiculed by everyone, and dies in confusion, and despair only saying, "Father, why have you forsaken me?". It's only when you get to John's gospel do you get the Jesus that goes willingly to his death, and knowing why is going. They tell conflicting stories that cannot be reconciled by saying they are just minor details of the same event.

      January 13, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • ClaraJean

      In Tenabris Lux....Light in the darkness..yes

      January 13, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
  3. Angela

    Apparently she hasn't spoken to her colleague Robert Dr Sapolsky. Robert Maurice Sapolsky is an American neuroscientist, professor of biology, neuroscience, and neurosurgery at Stanford University, researcher and author. He is currently Professor of Biological Sciences, and Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences and, by courtesy, Neurosurgery, at Stanford University. In addition, he is a Research Associate at the National Museums of Kenya.

    He did a lecture on Religion and Schizotypal/Meta-Magical thinking. http://blip.tv/enneagon/sapolsky-on-religion-2215838

    January 13, 2013 at 7:24 am |
    • Saraswati

      That's why she said "usually". Most of these folks don't qualify as mentally ill, but some do.

      January 13, 2013 at 7:26 am |
  4. Nitrogen

    If you hear voices, especially if you think it was some deity, please stay far, far away from me and my family. Please just go, and go even further than I send convicted child molesters. You have the potential to do much more damage.

    January 13, 2013 at 3:36 am |
    • JOHN

      Extreme, over the top emotional responses may keep you from investigating the reality of God, of Christ. It is so easy to dismiss what is not understood. Because we are ignorant of reality, does not mean it does not exist. I had to investigate. I considered the accurately of the New Testament..., prophecy. I would suggest looking for all the historical errors in the New Testament. When you only find a few "apparent contradictions" perhaps this book can be a foundation upon which to reconsider your view of God. Many voices... be careful.. yet many have heard the voice of God. You know it when you hear it.

      January 13, 2013 at 7:09 am |
    • ignatzz

      You probably think you're objective and empirical, instead of a biased person who refuses to consider anything that doesn't conform to your preconceptions, right?

      January 13, 2013 at 7:26 am |
  5. Roberto

    The story of Christianity: God kills himself to save us from his own wrath. Sounds pretty delusional to me.

    January 12, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • Hobbly Sloppy

      Delusional thoughts are their own clearest voices

      January 13, 2013 at 1:52 am |
    • JOHN

      Greatest love story ever told and you call it a delusion... Mankind rebels against the loving God. He mocks, laughs in his face, denies his existence, yet the Father continues his plan of redemption and eventually dies in our place so we can live with Him forever. Have you ever read, "What on Earth is God Doing". I didn't think so... Another uneducated person with strong opinions about something they haven't really studied. And they call Christians intolerant.

      January 13, 2013 at 6:55 am |
    • Once again

      Everyobody has their own mind and their own interpretation of religion(s). You know what they say about opinions.

      January 13, 2013 at 7:29 am |
  6. BeenThere

    I can fully appreciate what is defined as real prayer. I've only been there once, and it saved my life. It was life that I prayed for. Color me a believer.

    January 12, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
  7. Ken

    People don't hear God audibly because they're not as dedicated as Moses and Abraham. But I know of individuals who have heard His audible voice. It's my goal to hear God audibly before getting to heaven where it will be a daily priviledge.

    January 12, 2013 at 7:40 pm |
    • ??

      ,,and that is a normal train of thought for you,is it Ken?

      January 12, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Roberto

      Perfectly logical...If you're out of your mind...

      January 12, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • bryanbeus

      Great goal, Ken.

      January 13, 2013 at 2:35 am |
    • JOHN

      People please.... most are on the outside of the room, with the door opened a crack trying to discern what is happening on the inside. Like understanding economics after reading the first chapter or two of the book. It does not happen. Jesus has spoken to me twice over a period of forty years. Where I heard His distinct voice in my mind. Once, while in Canada for a few days I was returning home and praying in the car. I asked the lord what I could do for him etc. He spoke to my mind and said, "Help my servant T.... C..... In my heard I was moving away from this man that I had been ministering with. He was a pastor etc. I thought this request was really strange, since he and I were moving apart from one another. When I returned home his man had moved into the same house that I lived in with my family. Yes, he was in need of my help. I knew zero concerning this decision until I came home. My Father knew he needed my helping hand and not my back. Crazy? If you could meet me... if you could meet my wife and four children (grown... married now). Well.. it helps to know the heart, and mind of another before we make our "judgments". Miracles... the supernatural... God is a reality. Humanists... are busy brainwashing a culture of the reality of God. They condition the minds of our children in the government schools to deny his existence. Guard your mind...

      January 13, 2013 at 7:38 am |
    • whatever

      I also hear voices and see things. But only when i've taken LSD.

      You're just plain nuts, Ken.

      January 13, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • HUH!

      Anyone who takes LSD is gone, his brain fried. Now combine this with being spiritually dead, you've got a zombie!

      January 13, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
  8. Lesley

    Please reconsider describing the incidence rate of schizophrenia (~1/100) as rare. In a country of 310 million people, that's 3.1 million with the disease. This number should not be minimized.

    January 12, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  9. Unbelievable

    The die-hard atheists and religious individuals (fine line) on here seem to be completely missing the point of this article. You all should be ashamed that you've allowed your dogmas to render you so illiterate. This isn't about whether god does or doesn't exist. It's about differentiating positive inner dialogue (or whatever name you might assign it) from mental illness. My goodness! D:

    January 12, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Blake Sturges

      Well, that may technically be the purpose of the article, but let's face it-It's implying that people who hear voices are normal and therefore what passes in the Bible is accurate. We can all argue until we're blue in the face, but unless God descends from on high and directly converses with us, it will all be a mental exercise....

      January 13, 2013 at 5:28 am |
  10. No name given

    Here's a head scratcher I'd really like the atheists to have a crack at, as it's been bugging me for a while....

    When I was a kid my friend had a book of "demonology" and a list of different demons in it. I went home, lit some candles, got nothing. However, for years after that I had recurring dreams about this guy. I can see his face clear as day. Must have been twenty or thirty years later I saw a description on some "satanic" website describing the exact same "demon" as looking just like that guy I dreamed about over and over again. I still dream about him sometimes..but it's not a "scary" dream its just vivid.

    Maybe it's worth something..maybe not.

    ?

    January 12, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • No name given

      I wanted to add to that, I usually don't give much credit to metaphysical ideas but because it was so wierd I figured another skeptic should have a go at it.

      January 12, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
    • Katie K

      Sounds like you saw a picture in a book about "demons", had a bunch of dreams about it over the years, saw another picture of the same or similar "demon" and now you think it's all eerily connected. Der...

      January 13, 2013 at 3:07 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      When people get curious and mess around with spiritual world, they are in danger of being su.cked into the world of spirits of darkness, and that's how they give them in.vita.tion into their lives.
      There are instances of where young people have been "ghost-hunting" with their friends, and afterwards they have never been the same ...People playing with Ouija boards, and having immediately strange oc.cu.rrences..... People watching dem.onic movies like "Ca.rrie", or "Ex.orc.ist", and afterwards they have things happening in their homes that no one could explain.....
      Some of the actors in those type of movies end up in mental hospitals....Some my.ste.riously die before their time....
      Then take our Ro.ck "stars", those who crossed the line into satanism, ending up dead prematurely....Those things are not co.inc.idences!
      Satan is a powerful being, he and his demons are like flies, drawn to an open window where ro.tten garbage is inside. He loves att.ention and he sees people's curiosity as admiration of his power.
      He will not let go of foothold he gains in some one's mind without resistance. That's why immages that he presents of himself, or of anything that comes from him (po.rn images which degrade human beings who are created in God's image, any all.uring thing that en.ti.ces the ca.rnal man, images of satanic angelic beings) and when a person takes it in, liking it...those images become so "photogra.phically" imprinted on their mind, that he/she can see them in their mind, even years later, and they come to him non-voluntarily, practically forcing themselves on him, even after long time passes. Those too are not coincidences, because there is an evil, powerful being behind them, who desires to make himself known, and to intimidate and oc.cupy.
      So what you described is perfectly in line what I've described to you.
      We are human beings, created in the image of our Creator,. We are physical beings AND spiritual beings. We have souls. We are in this life in a "war-zone" so to speak, betw.ixt two powers. One, of our Creator who loves us, and one of satan, His arch enemy, who hates us and desires to destroy us, because his envy toward us and God. We have no power over and against him our own selves. It is God and the Name of Jesus Christ that he fears. But without Jesus Christ every person is subjected to satan's power, and the proof of this is manifested all around us in our world, in so many ways.
      But there are two things that satan has as his goal:
      *To discredit God , by convincing people that He does not exist, therewith covering his own tracks,
      *Throwing mud on the character of God, because if he can do that and succeed, he has separated man from the only hope he has: Jesus Christ, who came to save man(kind) from damnation .There is a lot to take in things written here, but if you are really serious and feel co.mpelled to get some answers, you will- if you are diligent and seek them. But you will only find the answers in the Word of God and in the Person of Jesus Christ, at whose Name all the powers of Hell itself tremble.

      January 13, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Amen Prism, there is only one Holy Spirit.

      January 13, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
  11. Joe

    "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest". ....Jesus Mathew 11:28 Do you hear Him? Have you come to Him? He is speaking. Some will hear and receive, while others will hear and turn away. "I have come into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." ....Jesus John 18:37 Believe He died for your sins. Ask God to forgive your sins because Jesus died for you. Receive Him as your Lord and your Savior. Follow Him as He leads you. God bless

    January 11, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • Athy

      Oh, shit, Joe. Give us a break, will you?

      January 11, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • Peter

      Athy why don't you go to hell it will be of much more comfort for you since you are atheist and shouldn't even be here. Most all here really like what he had to say and identify with it. You are not like minded and of course it wont be your cup of tea so leave why don't you.

      January 12, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • End Religion

      peter you didn't just judge someone when your god commanded you not to, did you? Denying the holy spirit, as you just did, is the one sin he won't forgive. Pack your swim retardant swim trunks, I hear Hell's warm this time of year!

      January 12, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • End Religion

      oops... flame retardant

      January 12, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Kingdom Come

      Oh the irony....Yes, let's "end religion"... because the only TRUE religion is taking care of widows and orphans...
      Beautiful words, Joe! ;)

      January 13, 2013 at 9:15 am |
  12. Business minding

    One thing I've noticed about both religions and the lack there of is that nobody seems to mind their own business about them.

    January 11, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • Peter

      Business Yes, why don't you set a example and do what you talk about?

      January 12, 2013 at 9:02 am |
    • Observer

      Dares go first, Peter

      January 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  13. Nietodarwin

    Religious faith not only lacks evidence, its independence from evidence is its pride and joy, shouted from the rooftops.
    Richard Dawkins

    January 11, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • Thomas Jefferson quote

      "I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others." Thomas Jefferson

      January 11, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
    • ignatzz

      Dawkins has no evidence for that statement. It's just characterization and invective based on his own subjective interpretation of his own experiences. Perhaps he should stop shouting it from the rooftops.

      January 13, 2013 at 7:30 am |
  14. Bob

    These have no root.
    Luk_8:13
    My soul, examine thyself this morning by the light of this text. Thou hast received the word with joy; thy feelings have been stirred and a lively impression has been made; but, remember, that to receive the word in the ear is one thing, and to receive Jesus into thy very soul is quite another; superficial feeling is often joined to inward hardness of heart, and a lively impression of the word is not always a lasting one. In the parable, the seed in one case fell upon ground having a rocky bottom, covered over with a thin layer of earth; when the seed began to take root, its downward growth was hindered by the hard stone and therefore it spent its strength in pushing its green shoot aloft as high as it could, but having no inward moisture derived from root nourishment, it withered away. Is this my case? Have I been making a fair show in the flesh without having a corresponding inner life? Good growth takes place upwards and downwards at the same time. Am I rooted in sincere fidelity and love to Jesus? If my heart remains unsoftened and unfertilized by grace, the good seed may germinate for a season, but it must ultimately wither, for it cannot flourish on a rocky, unbroken, unsanctified heart. Let me dread a godliness as rapid in growth and as wanting in endurance as Jonah’s gourd; let me count the cost of being a follower of Jesus, above all let me feel the energy of his Holy Spirit, and then I shall possess an abiding and enduring seed in my soul. If my mind remains as obdurate as it was by nature, the sun of trial will scorch, and my hard heart will help to cast the heat the more terribly upon the ill-covered seed, and my religion will soon die, and my despair will be terrible; therefore, O heavenly Sower, plough me first, and then cast the truth into me, and let me yield thee a bounteous harvest.

    January 11, 2013 at 7:22 am |
    • meifumado

      Bob you seem to be delusional you should really seek some help

      January 11, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      O heavenly Sower, plough me first, and then cast the truth into me, and let me yield thee a bounteous harvest.

      AMEN! AMEN .....Oh, may the hearts of all who seek Him cry out from it's deepest parts : AMEN!

      January 11, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
    • whatever

      Bob, you're badly in need of some serious help. Of course, it's entirely likely you've escaped from loony pin.

      January 13, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  15. Kevin Quail

    Gullibility and credulity are considered undesirable qualities in every department of human life - except religion.... Why are we praised by godly men for surrendering our "godly gift" of reason when we cross their mental thresholds? ... Atheism strikes me as morally superior, as well as intellectually superior, to religion. Since it is obviously inconceivable that all religions can be right, the most reasonable conclusion is that they are all wrong. Does this leave us shorn of hope? Not a bit of it. Atheism. and the related conviction that we have just one life to live, is the only sure way to regard all our fellow creatures as brothers and sisters.... Even the compromise of agnosticism is better than faith. It minimizes the totalitarian temptation, the witless worship of the absolute and the surrender of reason.
    – Christopher Hitchens, "The Lord and the Intellectuals," Harper's July 1982, p. 60, from James A Haught, ed., 2000 Years of Disbelief

    January 10, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • Athy

      Hitchens was indeed perceptive. Thanks for reminding us ofbhis incredible insight. Of course this will be a mile over the heads of the religies. Pity.

      January 11, 2013 at 12:17 am |
    • Gerry

      which God? No thanks. I'll take my chances with faith in my clear thinking. Religion is the most interesting mass desception known to man.

      January 11, 2013 at 2:35 am |
    • Bob

      I think Jesus put the response better than I ever could.
      Joh 8:40 "But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do.
      Joh 8:41 "You are doing the deeds of your father." They said to Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God."
      Joh 8:42 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.
      Joh 8:43 "Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.
      Joh 8:44 "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
      Joh 8:45 "But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.
      Joh 8:46 "Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?
      Joh 8:47 "He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God."

      January 11, 2013 at 7:46 am |
    • Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere

      Bob, How does that answer anything? btw Hitchens knew the bible better than most believers.

      January 11, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
    • meifumado

      We miss you Hitch!

      January 11, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  16. PRISM 1234

    Does anyone else notice how fools always brag about their superior intelligence and how they're always trashing, belittling and insulting others?!

    I guess you must brag about something, when you know deep down inside that you have a chronic deficiency!

    Christians don't brag About themselves. They exalt the Lord whom they love, giving testimony about His work in their lives, and are thankful for His love for them.

    But you, poor, wretched people have nothing, so you have to pretend that you've got "more" then we do, hoping that we are not right about the things we claim we know.
    So, to make yourself feel secure in your uncertainty, you love to gather together and belittle people of faith.
    It gives you false security that you "must be right", if there are more who agree with you then with us.
    But because your condition is of spiritual nature, and your blindness and confusion is caused by "another source", it never occurs to you that The Truth does not change, and the number of votes will not affect it.
    So, say , who is really being deluded, believing a lie? Those who bit the bait, swallowed it hook, line and sinker because they found it appealing... And the reason for them going for it is because the love of truth was not found in them.

    BTW, this article is one more beggarly attempt to discredit the Living God with whom we all have to do. On That Day no one will brag about their intelligence.... And no human being will escape this Appointment!

    January 10, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      No, I've not noticed that.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
    • Athy

      Wow, I'm scared shitless.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
    • Bob

      Prism
      You are right on I am always amazed by Pilate asking Jesus what is truth? He knew something was wrong and grappled with the idea of truth knowing that the worlds truths pass away. To him being the one charged with finding guilt or innocence and passing judgement this must have been very troubling indeed. I love it when he talks to his wife and the real truth hits him and he does not know how to handle it and has to make a decision either to do what the crowd wants and appease them or do what he knows is the truth and let Jesus go.Which the ultimate result would have been loss of his position and loss of life but in reality he would have found life and more abundantly wouldn't he have? I would not want to be in his shoes. Thanks.
      Joh 18:37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."
      Joh 18:38 Pilate *said to Him, "What is truth?" And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and *said to them, "I find no guilt in Him.

      January 11, 2013 at 7:40 am |
    • sam stone

      funny how you decry insults by being insulting, priss pot

      January 11, 2013 at 7:47 am |
    • j s

      uh, there is no god, none of the people who wrote the gospels, first off, first even alive when christ walked this earth, second off, u really beleive a virgin gave birth, for real, when was the last time u saw that happen or a man walk on water or a man put 2 of every animal into one boat for real? and i bet u dont beleive in ufos or alieans, thats way to far fetched

      January 11, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • meifumado

      You seem to forget that the religious of the world have been attacking the non-believers of the world since religion was invented.
      For thousands of years we have had to hide how we feel or else feel the wrath of these crazed fanatics.
      Well the time has come for Humans to stand up against the most oppressive disease to ever plague Humans, That disease is called religion.

      January 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Hi, Bob
      So many times I've seen people asking the same "what is truth?" and "how do you know that is truth?" But one thing for sure is this, and the Word of God clearly states it, with the Holy Spirit bearing witness to it:
      That those who seek the truth , and seek it with their whole heart, will find it.
      Jesus said I AM the Way, the Truth, the Life. No man comes to (nor recognizes) the Father but through Me".
      He came into this world to declare Him and explain Him, rending the veil between Heaven and Earth. When He stretched out His arms on the cross, He became bridge between man and God who created him. . He is the image of the invisible God, and everyone who looks for truth will be leAd to HIM, but who looks for truth anywhere else, bypassing Jesus, only opens him/herself to the father of lies.
      You mentioned flies, how atheists and scoffers gather like flies on Faith forums..They gather here because they have restless souls, and no peace is in them. God has put in every human being witness of Himself, but is up to man what he's going to do with it. Many through pride and love of Self silence their consciences, but their soul KNOWS that there is a vacuum there .That's why their goal is that by uniting in number and by belittling and mocking us, they soothe their restless souls, attempting to convince themselves they are right.
      But we know their state of being and we also know that God's word will not return to Him void, but accomplish what HE intendeds: in some, repentance unto salvation, and and in some hearts evenmore hardened, unto condemnation by rejecting the only hope of human kind- Jesus Christ , our LORD . To Him be glory , honor and praise FOREVER!
      God bless you, friend and brother!

      January 11, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
    • JPX

      PRISM, You sound like a crazy person.

      January 12, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Nah! ...Don't say!!!!
      Who put you up to it?
      LOL!

      January 12, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
    • whatever

      "But you, poor, wretched people..."

      Prism, it just warms the heart to see how kind, loving and tolerant you christian loonies are. Didn't Jesus mentioned something about judging others and, i dunno, loving your enemies? Seems to me that you're just a hypocrite.

      If i were God, i'd rather take Atheists, Agnostics, Satanists and Luciferians in Heaven than a single Christian or Muslim. You guys are just way too insane.

      January 13, 2013 at 11:43 am |
  17. dleleux1

    Talking to someone other than yourself in your own mind is delusional. The only conversation going on in your mind is your own conscientiousness. It is wishful thinking (or foolishness) to think that someone other that yourself hears your thoughts. If you have evidence to the contrary, I'd love to see it or hear it as I'm sure would MANY people.

    January 10, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
  18. crz myz

    this subject requires some balanced and considerate mentality and treatment of people. i see a lot of religious fundamentalists including the worshipers of science who think they know and some are athiests, and christians insisting on their hard edge stiff diatribes helps no one either!

    January 10, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
  19. Sammy

    Julian the Apostate, Roman emperor from 361 to 363, the most gifted and most bitter of all the ancient assailants of Christianity, endeavored, with the whole combined influence of his station, talent, and example, to restore idolatry throughout the Roman Empire, but in vain. His reign passed away like the “baseless fabric of a vision, leaving no wreck behind save the important lesson that ancient paganism was hopelessly extinct, and that no human power can arrest the triumphant march of Christianity. In his work against the Christian religion, where he combined all former attacks, and infused into them his own sarcastic spirit, he says of Christ, Jesus, having persuaded a few among you Galileans, as he contemptously called the Christians and those of the worst of men, has now been celebrated about three hundred 279years having done nothing in his lifetime worthy of fame, unless any one thinks it a very great work to heal lame and blind people and exorcise demoniacs in the villages of Bethsaida and Bethany.”
    Josephus was a Jewish historian who was born around AD 38. He served Roman commander Vespasian in Jerusalem until the city’s destruction in AD 70. Josephus personally believed Vespasian to be Israel’s promised Messiah. When Vespasian later became emperor of Rome, Josephus served under him as court historian. 2 In AD 93, Josephus finished his work Antiquities of the Jews in which at least three passages specifically confirm portions of Scripture
    “At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good, and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive;

    January 10, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
  20. Jon

    God spoke to me once.

    He told me that everyone else who claims they've spoken to Him is a liar.

    I AM THE ONLY ONE THAT SPEAKS TO HIM! I AM THE ONLY ONE WHO KNOWS THE TRUTH! EVERYONE ELSE IS WRONG OR CORRUPTED, AND THE ONLY WAY TO SALVATION IS TO DO WHAT I SAY IS RIGHT!

    (Does that sound like any religion(s) that you've heard of before?)

    January 10, 2013 at 6:16 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.