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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

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  1. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iKqr230U9M&w=640&h=390]

    261 Ministers Proclamation

    As Christian clergy we proclaim: the Good News concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons and publicly apologize where we have been silent. As disciples of Jesus, who assures us that the truth sets us free, we recognize that the debate is over. The verdict is in. Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation. Silence by many has allowed political and religious rhetoric to monopolize public perception, creating the impression that there is only one Christian perspective on this issue. Yet we recognize and celebrate that we are far from alone, as Christians, in affirming that LGBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God.

    In repentance and obedience to the Holy Spirit, we stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches and in our world. We lament that LGBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, who claim to be speaking the truth of Christian teaching. This leads directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. The Holy Spirit compels us:

    -to affirm that the essence of Christian life is not focused on sexual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compassion toward humanity;

    –to embrace the full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in all areas of church life, including leadership;

    –to declare that the violence must stop. Christ’s love moves us to work for the healing of wounded souls who are victims of abuse often propagated in the name of Christ;

    –to celebrate the prophetic witness of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for Christianity, especially LGBT persons, who have met hatred with love;

    Therefore we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. All laws must include and protect the freedoms, rights, and equal legal standing of all persons, in and outside the church.

    January 17, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Betty

      Who exactly are these 261 Ministers and where do they come from?

      February 4, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
  2. Ann

    I'm sure not everyone who has unusual perceptual experiences is crazy. Assuming that an unusual perceptual experience proves the existence of a deity, however, is kinda crazy. All it does is prove the existence of unusual perceptual experiences.

    January 17, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  3. I could never be an atheist

    I don't mind atheism or anything. I don't hear voices. I just have way to much fun having an invisible Mr. Miyagi in my head.

    January 16, 2013 at 8:56 pm |
  4. Joel

    I am a Messianic Believer in Yeshua. Before I received Yeshua/Jesus as My Savior I was anxious and fearful and had no peace inside. Since I asked Him into My life I have peace that really is beyond description. Incredible! Does He speak to us today? The amazing contrast in my life speaks volumes to me. Baruch Ata Adonai Elohenu Melech HaOlam.

    January 16, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
    • Gir

      Millenia of brainwashing have totally robbed these religionists of any ability to make sound arguments. Get this straight: NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

      January 16, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • Bob

      I Do thanks for sharing, that is pretty awesome they are just jealous

      January 16, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
    • Bob

      Other Bob, no, we are not jealous of your delusions. We simply see them for the potentially harmful mind viruses that they are.

      January 16, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • sam stone

      i am happy that you have peace inside. not everyone needs a savior to have this peace

      January 17, 2013 at 6:49 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Joel, Although I'm not a Christian I don't think your personal experience is irrelevant. Ignoring people's personal experiences is just willful ignorance, and if universal would not only bring down psychology as a field but render society unable to function.

      January 17, 2013 at 7:08 am |
  5. Confused again

    Why would there be a correct or an incorrect way of following a religion? That is like having correct or incorrect personal thoughts.

    January 16, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
    • jknbt2

      @confused again.....there is a correct way to come home to the Heavenly Father. Jesus called this the straight and narrow way. There are many incorrect ways to come home to God. Jesus called this the wide path that leads to destruction.

      We all have a fatal disease called original sin. This is the instinct and potential to do wrong. Acting on this produces sin. Sin separates people from a holy God who can not tolerate sin.

      One metaphor to understand this is that of a fatal disease, and the choice of a proper medicine. If a person has a fatal disease that only can be cured by the antibiotic myoxycillan, then the patient should take myoxycillan. If the patient is stubborn and says, "no, I am not going to take that. It does not suit me. I do not like the doctor prescribing it. I am going to take the herbal remedy rutin instead. I am sure that I will be fine in the end", then the patient has no one to blame but himself that he eventually dies. He was warned. He was directed to the correct cure. Catch the drift?

      January 17, 2013 at 7:38 am |
  6. Bob

    Luke was a brilliant, meticulous historian who was concerned with accuracy. The Holy Spirit used these qualities to produce this masterpiece of literature. Luke speaks of the previous events in John's life which prepared him to receive and proclaim God's Word. He refers to John not as 'the Baptist' but as Zechariah's son. This is to remind his readers of Zechariah's Holy Spirit- inspired prophecy which describes both Jesus' and John's ministries (1:67-79). In this prophecy as well as in the one given by the angel (1:13-17), John is described as the Holy Spirit-empowered prophet of the Most High who would lead the people to repentance for the forgiveness of sins and prepare them for the coming Savior. Like Matthew and Mark, Luke tells us that John began his ministry in the wilderness. Not only is this a historical note, it also has prophetic importance because of the quote from Isaiah in Luke 3:4-6. John now takes on the role of the courier of the King. In ancient days when the king would travel, a courier would go days before the king to make sure the roads were in good repair and the people ready to receive the king. The application for us is that the preparation He insists on is of the heart and life. There is laid on every one of us the duty to make a life fit for the King to see. Coming out of the wilderness, John preached his message in the area around the Jordan River. Like Mark, Luke states that John was "preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins." To "preach a baptism" emphasizes the content of the message rather than the rite itself. Luke shows that God authorized John's baptism as a means of asking for and receiving forgiveness. Jesus Himself confirms John's baptism.

    January 16, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
    • mama k

      Well you wouldn't expect a story to have a character that is made out to be a poor storyteller, would you?

      January 16, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Why no attribution with this, Bob ? We both know you didn't write it.

      January 16, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
  7. What the?

    To quote the author, if I may, when stating comparing what schizophrenics hear to the prophets in the christian bible, "That was not what Abraham, Moses and Job experienced, even when God was at his most fierce" would be a HUGE fail. Yes, these supposed prophets did indeed hear god throughout the day, randomly, in sentences, in paragraphs...just like schizophrenics did. Has the author not read the KJV?
    Further, if my neighbor came to me and told me that god had told him or her that god had told them to do something...well yes, I would think they were crazy. The difference between god telling Abraham to sacrifice his son and my crazy neighbor would be a VERY slim line wouldn't it?

    January 16, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
  8. Karl

    I mean really... There are some really ignorant people out there. The KKK is "supposedly" Christian as well; are we expected to believe Jesus would have taught the principles on what they are founded on. It's funny how they are against any non-white race, when Jesus would have been not white at all. Christians just do really dumb things: In Leviticus 19:28 "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD." Right then we see a bunch of Christians tattoo crosses, angles, praying hands, verse, etc. on their bodies.

    These are the same group of people who although in Jeremiah 10 it specifically states not to follow the Pagan ways, for they are worthless, but then we see most Christians still celebrating Christmas, decorating trees, and celebrating other Pagan holidays. Bottom line is that most christians don't even know their own religion, let alone anyone elses.

    Then they claim we are going to go to hell! Are you referring to the same Hell that Christianity plagiarized from Pagan culture; just as they did everything else? The same Hell that comes from the mythological Norse tale of Hel; daughter of the shape-shifting fire-God Loki and who was banished into the underwold? The same Hell that goes by many different names of which existed long before the invention of Christianity How amusing it is when Christians claim where someone will go, considering it not even being a Christian concept.Get original.

    January 16, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • meifumado

      I always find it funny that atheists seem to know the OT and the NT better then most Christians
      Anyone who has studied Judea / Christianity would know that the Jews do not have a hell so that right there means Christianity is a lie made up by some Romans who did have a hell
      Also Jesus did not eat pork if he existed ,why do Christians? Again Romans liked pork
      Religion is a big fat lie and todays Christians do not even follow it correctly

      January 16, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • Bob

      Gen_37:35 Then all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. And he said, "Surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son." So his father wept for him.
      Gen_42:38 But Jacob said, "My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he alone is left. If harm should befall him on the journey you are taking, then you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow."
      Gen_44:29 'If you take this one also from me, and harm befalls him, you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.'
      Gen_44:31 when he sees that the lad is not with us, he will die. Thus your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant our father down to Sheol in sorrow.
      Num_16:30 "But if the LORD brings about an entirely new thing and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that is theirs, and they descend alive into Sheol, then you will understand that these men have spurned the LORD."
      Num_16:33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.
      Deu_32:22 For a fire is kindled in My anger, And burns to the lowest part of Sheol, And consumes the earth with its yield, And sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.
      1Sa_2:6 "The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up.
      Gen_37:35 Then all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. And he said, "Surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son." So his father wept for him.
      Gen_42:38 But Jacob said, "My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he alone is left. If harm should befall him on the journey you are taking, then you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow."
      Gen_44:29 'If you take this one also from me, and harm befalls him, you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow.'
      Gen_44:31 when he sees that the lad is not with us, he will die. Thus your servants will bring the gray hair of your servant our father down to Sheol in sorrow.
      Num_16:30 "But if the LORD brings about an entirely new thing and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that is theirs, and they descend alive into Sheol, then you will understand that these men have spurned the LORD."
      Num_16:33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.
      Deu_32:22 For a fire is kindled in My anger, And burns to the lowest part of Sheol, And consumes the earth with its yield, And sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.
      1Sa_2:6 "The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up.

      January 16, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • jknbt2

      @meifimundo........You must have been raised Jewish. These are common Jewish objections. The problem is, your rabbis usually only preach or teach certain limited selected scriptures. They never teach on the topic of he.ll even though it can be found in the Tanach or old testament. Go to biblegateway.com and do a keyword search for He.ll. You will find it in the old testament books mentioned 19 times using the NKJV New King James Version as your text. Another word for he.ll in the O.T. is pit. Do a similar word search, and the word pit, meaning hell, can be found 48 times. Another word for he.ll in the O.T. is sheol, which is to be found 18 times. That is a lot of hellfire preachin' in the tanach. To bad your rabbis didn't have the conviction to preach on the topic, since it can be widely found in the O.T. The first mention is in Numbers. The second is in Deuteronomy. Even Rabbi Moses preached on He.ll.
      Your other objection is that Christians are phonies for eating pork. The first apostolic council, the Jerusalem council, is briefly mentioned in Acts 15. The apostles ruled that the gentiles were not bound by the Mosaic law, much less its Jewish interpretations and traditions. This includes the extensive dietary laws in the Pentateuch. There were certain exceptions, but they have nothing to do with main course food choices. Perhaps Christians know their religion better than you give them credit for.

      January 16, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • Bob

      Act 10:10 But he became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance;
      Act 10:11 and he *saw the sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground,
      Act 10:12 and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air.
      Act 10:13 A voice came to him, "Get up, Peter, kill and eat!"
      Act 10:14 But Peter said, "By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean."
      Act 10:15 Again a voice came to him a second time, "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy."

      January 16, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • Bob

      Hey did you read the quote from Acts 10:13 he heard a voice ok so that is normal for a Christian what a concept.

      January 16, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
  9. jknbt2

    @261 Ministers group....you people be sure and get together for a big ol' g.ay fest the sunday after the rapture. You can do that after you conduct your sunday services as usual. Your congregants will no doubt be well represented that sunday morning too.

    go and read Rev. 3:20 and try to figure out what it means. It was written for Laodiceans like you.

    January 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  10. PRISM 1234

    Some of those mentioned have had a long time to reconsider, but some like you will join them and find out that they and those they followed were not wise after all, but have been made fools by the enemy of their souls.
    For what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his own soul? Think and consider!

    January 16, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      RE: to Nietodarwin's post (on bottom of page)

      January 16, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • Jill

      PRISM 1234, don't obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

      So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

      Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.

      Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.

      Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

      And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

      January 16, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • meifumado

      @ Jill

      =)

      January 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  11. I'm always wondering

    A Hindu marriage is also not biblical. A wiccan hand fasting is also not biblical. So what if gay marriage is not biblical? I guess I don't understand why it wouldn't be legal.

    January 15, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
  12. Paul

    Yes atheists are just lost now spammers

    January 15, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • Science

      Doc-umentary states it has the smnoking gun!
      No go-ds required. Brand New Show Jan 9 2013
      DNA can't be disputed. But they are still trying
      PBS Nova Decoding Neanderthals doc-umentary
      In public schools in the US already .
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nH1fqd0Ryo&w=640&h=390]

      January 16, 2013 at 8:51 am |
  13. Tom

    God’s promises were never meant to be thrown aside as waste paper; he intended that they should be used. God’s gold is not miser’s money, but is minted to be traded with. Nothing pleases our Lord better than to see his promises put in circulation; he loves to see his children bring them up to him, and say, “Lord, do as thou hast said.” We glorify God when we plead his promises. Do you think that God will be any the poorer for giving you the riches he has promised? Do you dream that he will be any the less holy for giving holiness to you? Do you imagine he will be any the less pure for washing you from your sins? He has said “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Faith lays hold upon the promise of pardon, and it does not delay, saying, “This is a precious promise, I wonder if it be true?” but it goes straight to the throne with it, and pleads, “Lord, here is the promise, ‘Do as thou hast said.’” Our Lord replies, “Be it unto thee even as thou wilt.” When a Christian grasps a promise, if he does not take it to God, he dishonours him; but when he hastens to the throne of grace, and cries, “Lord, I have nothing to recommend me but this, ‘Thou hast said it;’“ then his desire shall be granted. Our heavenly Banker delights to cash his own notes. Never let the promise rust. Draw the word of promise out of its scabbard, and use it with holy violence. Think not that God will be troubled by your importunately reminding him of his promises. He loves to hear the loud outcries of needy souls. It is his delight to bestow favours. He is more ready to hear than you are to ask. The sun is not weary of shining, nor the fountain of flowing. It is God’s nature to keep his promises; therefore go at once to the throne with “Do as thou hast said.”

    January 15, 2013 at 6:44 am |
    • Tom

      Gay marriage well the congress are ineffective the president has visions of dictatorship and we are becoming Sodom and Gomorrah we cant even keep moronic atheists from this shameful behavior.

      January 15, 2013 at 6:46 am |
    • Tom Tom the pipers son

      Leviticus 18:22 (KJ21) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination.
      Leviticus 18:22 (ASV) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
      Leviticus 18:22 (AMP) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination.
      Leviticus 18:22 (CEB) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 You must not have s intercourse with a man as you would with a woman; it is a detestable practice.
      Leviticus 18:22 (CJB) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      (RY: iv, LY: vii) 22 “‘You are not to go to bed with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination.
      Leviticus 18:22 (CEV) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 It is disgusting for a man to have s- .ex with another man.
      Leviticus 18:22 (DARBY) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 And thou shalt not lie with mankind as one lieth with a woman: it is an abomination.
      Leviticus 18:22 (DRA) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind, because it is an abomination.
      Leviticus 18:22 (ERV) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 “Men, you must not have s relations with another man as with a woman. That is a terrible sin!
      Leviticus 18:22 (ESV) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.
      Leviticus 18:22 (ESVUK) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.
      Leviticus 18:22 (GW) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 Never have inter-.course with a man as with a woman. It is disgusting.
      Leviticus 18:22 (GNT) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 You are not to sleep with a man as with a woman; it is detestable.
      Leviticus 18:22 (KJV) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
      Leviticus 18:22 (LEB) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 And you shall not lie with a male as lying with a woman; that is a detestable thing.
      Leviticus 18:22 (MSG) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 "Don't have s- ex with a man as one does with a woman. That is abhorrent.
      Leviticus 18:22 (NASB) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.
      Leviticus 18:22 (NCV) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 " 'You must not have s relations with a man as you would a woman. That is a hateful sin.
      Leviticus 18:22 (NIRV) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 " 'Do not have s- ex with a man as you would have x with a woman. I hate that.
      Leviticus 18:22 (NIV) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 “‘Do not have s relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.
      Leviticus 18:22 (NIV1984) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 “‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.
      Leviticus 18:22 (NIVUK) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 ‘“Do not have s relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.
      Leviticus 18:22 (NKJV) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.
      Leviticus 18:22 (NLV) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman. It is a sinful thing.
      Leviticus 18:22 (NLT) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 “Do not practice h0m0, having s- ex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin.
      Leviticus 18:22 (TNIV) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 “‘Do not have se relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.
      Leviticus 18:22 (WYC) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 Thou shalt not be meddled, [(or) mingled,] with a man, by lechery of a woman, for it is abomination. (Thou shalt not be mixed together with a man, like in fleshly coupling with a woman, for it is an abomination.)
      Leviticus 18:22 (YLT) | In Context | Whole Chapter

      22 `And with a male thou dost not lie as one lieth with a woman; abomination it [is].
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      ..
      .
      .
      .
      .
      .
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQoJGuf4cQ4&w=640&h=390]

      January 15, 2013 at 6:52 am |
    • sam stone

      tom: you are delusional. go meet jesus.

      January 15, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • LOL

      Bob or Douglas posting as Tom. so obvi. lol.

      January 15, 2013 at 8:17 am |
    • LOL

      (stealing TTPS I should say)

      January 15, 2013 at 8:18 am |
    • midwest rail

      It's Bob. You can easily tell from his phrasing.

      January 15, 2013 at 8:19 am |
    • meifumado

      Horse feathers

      January 16, 2013 at 3:21 pm |

  14. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iKqr230U9M&w=640&h=390]

    261 Ministers Proclamation

    As Christian clergy we proclaim: the Good News concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons and publicly apologize where we have been silent. As disciples of Jesus, who assures us that the truth sets us free, we recognize that the debate is over. The verdict is in. Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation. Silence by many has allowed political and religious rhetoric to monopolize public perception, creating the impression that there is only one Christian perspective on this issue. Yet we recognize and celebrate that we are far from alone, as Christians, in affirming that LGBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God.

    In repentance and obedience to the Holy Spirit, we stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches and in our world. We lament that LGBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, who claim to be speaking the truth of Christian teaching. This leads directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. The Holy Spirit compels us:

    -to affirm that the essence of Christian life is not focused on sexual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compassion toward humanity;

    –to embrace the full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in all areas of church life, including leadership;

    –to declare that the violence must stop. Christ’s love moves us to work for the healing of wounded souls who are victims of abuse often propagated in the name of Christ;

    –to celebrate the prophetic witness of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for Christianity, especially LGBT persons, who have met hatred with love;

    Therefore we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. All laws must include and protect the freedoms, rights, and equal legal standing of all persons, in and outside the church.

    January 15, 2013 at 12:36 am |
    • Tom

      250 Ministers will burn in hell for the acceptance of the gay lifestyle and hopefully the ones that posted this ultimate lie.

      January 15, 2013 at 6:40 am |

  15. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TBd-UCwVAY&w=640&h=390]

    261 Ministers Proclamation

    As Christian clergy we proclaim: the Good News concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons and publicly apologize where we have been silent. As disciples of Jesus, who assures us that the truth sets us free, we recognize that the debate is over. The verdict is in. Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation. Silence by many has allowed political and religious rhetoric to monopolize public perception, creating the impression that there is only one Christian perspective on this issue. Yet we recognize and celebrate that we are far from alone, as Christians, in affirming that LGBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God.

    In repentance and obedience to the Holy Spirit, we stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches and in our world. We lament that LGBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, who claim to be speaking the truth of Christian teaching. This leads directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. The Holy Spirit compels us:

    -to affirm that the essence of Christian life is not focused on sexual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compassion toward humanity;

    –to embrace the full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in all areas of church life, including leadership;

    –to declare that the violence must stop. Christ’s love moves us to work for the healing of wounded souls who are victims of abuse often propagated in the name of Christ;

    –to celebrate the prophetic witness of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for Christianity, especially LGBT persons, who have met hatred with love;

    Therefore we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. All laws must include and protect the freedoms, rights, and equal legal standing of all persons, in and outside the church.

    January 15, 2013 at 12:35 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      You're some psychotic dude. Do you think that posting crap and filling the whole page with it out of spite will gain you anything? You can rave all you want, but you can't change the truth. Ho.mo.se.xuality is abomination in the eyes of God and no unrepentant person who lives this lifestyle can be saved. And everyone who justifies it and defends those who live unrepentant this way will be judged the same. Your problem is you don't like God's laws, and want to warp it to suit yourself. There are consequences for such rebellion. It is written , 'The fear of the Lord is beginning of wisdom' But you don't have fear of God in your heart.

      January 15, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
  16. Bob

    Atheism is a deluded religon with no peace no joy and bondage to science
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaR-skui5HQ&w=640&h=390]

    January 14, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • sam stone

      no peace? still begging your pr1ck god for salvation, boy?

      January 14, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • Bob

      I am already saved and the only dick here is you

      January 14, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      If pride's a sin Bob you would be condemned for eternity. Luckily for you the concept of sin is BS.

      January 15, 2013 at 12:40 am |
    • sam stone

      wonderful, bob, you get to spend eternity with the biggest pr1ck in the history of mankind. take kneepads and breathmints.

      January 15, 2013 at 8:02 am |
    • rabidatheist

      Lee Strobel's wife became a very strict Catholic, and vowed to leave him, and take his children away if he didn't find Jesus. Not only did he find Jesus but he has made quite a bit of money in "finding Jesus". I would call that a powerful motivator.

      January 16, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • meifumado

      LOL What idiots

      Is this the best you can do?

      If these guys tried to debate Dawkins they would be ripped to shreds

      January 16, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
  17. Nietodarwin

    “Shake off all fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God, because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.”
    _ Thomas Jefferson
    “I believe the simplest explanation is, there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization that there probably is no heaven and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that, I am extremely grateful.”
    _ Stephen Hawking

    January 14, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  18. Nietodarwin

    I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.
    Bertrand Russell

    Religion. It`s given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.
    Charlie Chaplin

    It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.
    Mark Twain

    January 14, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
  19. Nietodarwin

    A man`s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
    Albert Einstein

    Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish.
    Unknown

    January 14, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  20. Nietodarwin

    Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.
    Isaac Asimov

    There once was a time when all people believed in God and the church ruled. This time was called the Dark Ages.
    Richard Lederer

    Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.
    Seneca the Younger 4 b.c.- 65 a.d.

    January 14, 2013 at 1:22 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.