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April 28th, 2012
09:52 PM ET

My Faith: What does God sound like?

Editor's note: Listen to the CNN podcast of this piece: Karen Spears Zacharias is author of A Silence of Mockingbirds: The Memoir of a Murder (MacAdam/Cage, 2012) and is on Twitter at @karenzach.

By Karen Spears Zacharias, Special to CNN

I hear the audible voice of God. No, not in the same way that the Bible’s Eve did when God asked her outright and out loud: “Woman, what in my name have you done now?”

Scriptures don’t tell us specifically, but I suspect at that particular moment in eternity God must have sounded a lot like Perry Mason: “C’mon, tell the truth. You know I’m a specialist on getting people out of trouble.”

Bestselling author Patti Callahan Henry is a pastor’s daughter in Alabama. You’d think if God spoke to anybody, it would be a pastor’s child, but Patti swears she has never heard the voice of God. The only time God speaks to her is through the written word.

I find that odd since God talks to me all the time.


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Certainly God knows I’m an auditory learner, so if he wants my attention he has to talk to me. When God speaks to me, he sounds a lot like Garrison Keillor, host of the radio show “A Prairie Home Companion." In other words, he’s engaging, often very funny, and almost always an absolute joy to be around. Even when God’s mad with me (more often that I care to admit), he’s fairly good-natured about it.

Theologians who study this sort of thing say that our image of God is formed by our relationships with our fathers. That image is formed in part by how our fathers speak to us. If they bark orders at us all the time, we might hear God as a crank. But if our fathers speak to us in instructive, encouraging tones, we may hear God as our best coach. My father died when I was young, so I don’t remember his voice, but I’ve listened to Garrison Keillor pretty regularly for 25 years.

When my husband and I were raising our children, we banned television from our household. "A Prairie Home Companion" was our primary form of entertainment on Sunday afternoons. With Sundays as our Sabbath, I suppose it is natural for me to associate God with Garrison.

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Many people don’t even speak to God, much less listen to what he has to say. I imagine for some the thought of a God as Garrison Keillor would be pure hell, what with all that Guy Noir Private Eye nonsense and those saccharin sweet ketchup commercials. Perhaps like a good mother, though, God resorts to a variety of different voices to reach all of her children. Do you identify any of the following?

- Spock, from “Star Trek,” is the defining voice of God. Spock is half-mother (human) and half-father (Vulcan). Who could be more egalitarian, more Godlike than that? Anyone who thinks of God as arbitrary and capricious needs to have a chat with Mr. Spock, who once so rightly noted, “Nowhere am I so desperately needed as among a shipload of illogical humans.” Amen. Amen.

- James Earl Jones. If I heard that baritone voice calling to me from a burning bush, it would stop me in my tracks. Who cares that Jones couldn’t cut the muster at Fort Benning’s legendary Ranger school? That’s nothing more than boot camp for a bunch of hellions anyway. There is something about the thundering power of Jones’ voice that naturally evokes trust from us. And if we can’t have a God in whom we can trust, what’s the point?

- Surely, Jeff Bridges is the voice of God for all the remnant of Jesus Freaks now seeking refuge as Episcopalians. “I am not Mr. Lebowski,” Bridge’s says in Coen Brothers’ “Big Lewoski,” in one of the oft-quoted lines in that cult classic. “You’re Mr. Lebowski. I am The Dude, so that’s what you call me. That or His Dudeness or uh, Duder, or, El Duderino, if you're not into the whole brevity thing.” Of course, aging Jesus Freaks and Episcopalians alike are all about that brevity thing, so they happily go along with “the Dude abides,” another classic line from the film.

- Yoda, of “Star Wars,” is the voice of God for Zen-seeking, yoga-loving Emergent Christians. Emergents are the melting pot of Christianity, the place where hipsters who want to be spiritual but not religious go for community - typically a local brewery or Starbucks. “Luminous beings are we,” says Yoda. “Not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you. Here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere!”

- Writer C. Terry Cline Jr. says when God speaks to him, it is in the scolding voice of Pee-Wee Herman - “What did I tell you?” In Cline’s latest book, "The Return of Edgar Caycee," Cline claims he was channeled by the previously deceased reincarnation guru, whose fan club has rivaled that of God’s. Is it any wonder God is miffed with Cline for conjuring up Caycee again?

- Your momma. Sonny Brewer, a Navy veteran and my editor at San Francisco’s publishing house MacAdam/Cage, says that the only voice he’s ever associated with God was his mother’s. Sonny’s mom has been nearly mute for nearly 20 years, the result of a stroke. “She can sing hymns but she can’t talk,” Sonny says. “When I think of God speaking to me, I think of my momma. Like God, she always loves me, even when I’m a bad boy.”

Whatever the cause, nobody enjoys getting the silent treatment. It is a particularly troubling matter when God goes silent on us, when we can’t hear his voice at all, whether it’s a tender whisper of encouragement, raucous laughter, or a thundering rebuke, it is then that we are most keenly aware of God.

Silence stills us. We pause and listen, ear pressed, waiting, anticipating, hoping for just a word of assurance that we have not been abandoned.

We all have had days when we feel like we’ve failed God. If in such moments we would listen to the wind in the trees, the waves curling on the beach, feet crunching in sand, and the song of the mockingbird as the evening sun sets, we would surely hear creator God singing hymns over us, his creation.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Karen Spears Zacharias.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Movies

soundoff (3,288 Responses)
  1. ElmerGantry

    Tide comes in, tide goes out. Tide comes in, tide goes. We can't explain it.

    Billo Ohhhh'Realllly on FAUX's The No Spin Zone.

    CNN, is that what want to emulate?

    May 4, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  2. ElmerGantry

    This article is another example of CNN lowering their journalistic standards to compete with the lowest common denominator in the news world, aka FAUX NEWS.

    That's right CNN, you too can try to separate $$$ from the Joe SixPacks out there, but trying to outfox FAUX is a losing game

    May 4, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      for elmer
      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      May 4, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, so this is somehow personalized for Elmer? How so, since you span the same sh!t everywhere all the time?

      May 4, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • ElmerGantry

      @Tom Tom,

      The troll doesn't bother me. In fact it is becoming interesting to see how many times I can make this troll respond.

      May 4, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  3. lillian

    Dan Sutton, you must believe in freedom of "religion", but I happen to have "faith", I have heard the voice of the Holy Spirit, and I have had a vision of Jesus, and I am not an idiot, how dare you call me an idiot because of my faith, as I said yesterday, everyone has the right to remain ignorant, now I'm not calling you ignorant, just unlearned, Who are you to tell me I didn't have these experiences? I don't think bad of you, why don't you go study something constructive and leave us Christians alone? We certainly will leave you alone. I will just pray for you.

    May 4, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Sortakinda

      God bless you. Ignore the name calling from the angry empty bitter folks who so enjoy their glib false sense of superiority. That's all they have.

      May 4, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  4. Sortakinda

    Do the people who Who don't believe in the God of Abraham worshipped by Jews, Christians and Muslims really deny the existence of a prime mover, efficient cause, and the philosophical proofs of such a being? Can they deny in this world of comparisons that something or someone is greater than all other things? Is their non-belief based on an intellectual refusal to acknowledge the self-evident? Are we and all we see and know an accident resulting from nothingness when everything we see was caused by something? Now I am amazed at that.

    May 4, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Sortakinda

      You said, "Do the people who Who don't believe in the God of Abraham worshipped by Jews, Christians and Muslims really deny the existence of a prime mover, efficient cause, and the philosophical proofs of such a being?"
      Considering that there isn't any "proof", accepting the existence of such a creature not very reasonable. You'll find that most don't deny, but merely reject the notion as unsupported.

      You said, "Can they deny in this world of comparisons that something or someone is greater than all other things?"
      Again, no denial, simply rejection, based on the complete and utter lack of supporting evidence.

      You said, "Is their non-belief based on an intellectual refusal to acknowledge the self-evident?"
      If it were self-evident there would be no refusal. The disbelief is based on a rational evaluation of what is presented as evidence.

      You said, "Are we and all we see and know an accident resulting from nothingness when everything we see was caused by something? Now I am amazed at that."
      Failure to understand or accept alternate explanations doesn't lend your fable any credence. While scientific explanations may not be complete, or even completely accurate, they are supported by evidence, which is something all religious stories lack.

      May 4, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Sortakinda

      LinCA thank you for a mostly civil response. If you get a chance, read Thomas Aquinas' considerations relative to the existence of a first cause, the sine qua non of all that followed. He is at the outset NOT making an argument for the God worshipped by any particular religion. His apologia at its simplest is that everything in being came from a predecessor of some sort. If you were able to trace back sequentially you would ultimately arrive at the second item in the chain of existence. Looking back one more step you would reach that first cause. To reject that notion would be to say there was no first cause. Then how could there be a second? In all respects if you have nothing you will still have nothing unless an action is taken. Nothing doesn't spontaneously become something. Just look at your bank account....

      May 4, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Sortakinda

      Thomas Aquinas' and your argument boils down to when you said, "Nothing doesn't spontaneously become something."
      Even if that were true, which it isn't, that still doesn't automatically mean your god did it. Just because you don't understand how something works, means you get to claim your particular kind of magic happened. Your entire argument is one from ignorance.

      May 5, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Sortakinda

      LinCA The point was NOT my God did it, but that SOME first cause preceded every other cause. Don't call it God. Call it Alpha. If you can point to anything else that had no predecessor, I'd really like to hear about it. Acceptance of the existence of MY God requires more than logic or observation of nature. It is not for everyone either because they reject it or they would reject it if they were introduced to it. Alpha bless you.

      May 5, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Sortakinda

      LinCA If calling me ignorant is essential to your argument, I have to wonder why. Must be the intrinsic weakness if you have to resort to name calling. Apparently only very very intelligent people agree with you. I will never be that smart. Thank God.

      May 5, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Sortakinda

      You said, "The point was NOT my God did it, but that SOME first cause preceded every other cause."
      My points are that your reasoning is faulty, and that believers always believe their god(s) did it.

      Whenever believers reach the end of their understanding, instead of saying "I don't know", they invoke magic. Gods have been said to cause the rain, cause the sun and the moon to shine (not just reflect sun light), anything man had no explanation for.

      Gods are the filler paste for human knowledge. They get inserted anywhere there is a gap and smooth it out, covering up whatever is really going on.

      You brought up Thomas Aquinas and even though you claimed he didn't, he set out to prove two things. His aim was to prove there was a god, and that it was his god. Virtually every believer does, because the belief in their god typically precedes their ability for reasoning. Believers tend to accept only their own god.

      You said, "Don't call it God. Call it Alpha. If you can point to anything else that had no predecessor, I'd really like to hear about it."
      Why call it anything? If you don't know, just say so.

      You said, "Acceptance of the existence of MY God requires more than logic or observation of nature."
      Acceptance of gods typically requires ignoring logic and observation. The traits assigned to gods typically flow from holy books. Gods were invented and defined when science was in it's infancy. Anytime science refutes part of the holy books, the associated god(s) lose ground. To maintain a belief in that god, either it's image must be adjusted, or the science ignored.

      You said, "If calling me ignorant is essential to your argument, I have to wonder why."
      I didn't call you ignorant. I'm saying that your argument relies on ignorance. It says, in short, that because you don't know what preceded what you do know, some magical being must have done it. That is a leap of faith, not a logical argument.

      You said, "Must be the intrinsic weakness if you have to resort to name calling."
      I didn't call you names.

      You said, "Apparently only very very intelligent people agree with you."
      While atheism is more prevalent among those with high intelligence, there are some very smart believers. Indoctrination is a very powerful tool.

      May 6, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • LinCA

      @Sortakinda

      The video below describes the kind of argument you employed and why it isn't valid.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KayBys8gaJY

      May 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Sortakinda

      LinCA Calling someone with whom you don't agree "ignorant" is calling a name. Stick to what you wrote and what I wrote. I specifically removed my God from the discussion. I presented an observation from experience and observation and said that something more was required to believe in my God. That requires faith. Even without faith one can recognize that nothing in our lives happens without a cause. I called that first cause Alpha and that apparently was too much for you. Too bad. Maybe someday minds slammed shut will be open to ideas not their own.

      May 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Sortakinda

      You said, "LinCA Calling someone with whom you don't agree "ignorant" is calling a name."
      I didn't call you ignorant. I'm saying that your argument relies on ignorance of what happens prior to what we know to be true and then asserts that only magic fills the gap.

      It's the same as the "irreducibly complex" argument from creationists. They claim the fact that their audience can't imagine something to be reduced to smaller components to be evidence of a creator. It relies on the target audience of the theory to be ignorant, not necessarily the proponent.

      You said, "Stick to what you wrote and what I wrote. I specifically removed my God from the discussion."
      Giving it a different name doesn't change the requirement of magic for your argument to have any chance of being true. You rely on a force for which you have no a single shred of evidence.

      You said, "I presented an observation from experience and observation and said that something more was required to believe in my God. That requires faith."
      Yes. Belief in gods requires accepting propositions for which there is no evidence.

      While there is a possibility that there is/was a god/force/alpha/whatever that kick-started everything, there is no evidence that this is what happened. Making a positive claim that it did relies on faith alone.

      But faith hold no persuasive power in any argument.

      You said, "Even without faith one can recognize that nothing in our lives happens without a cause."
      On the scale with which we typically deal and operate in, that appears to be the case. But extrapolating that experience to the origin of the universe is where your argument breaks down. In the realm of quantum mechanics, matter constantly spontaneously appears and disappears, without prior cause needed.

      You said, "I called that first cause Alpha and that apparently was too much for you."
      Without any evidence, claiming alpha did it is equally valid as saying the Tooth Fairy did it.

      You said, "Too bad. Maybe someday minds slammed shut will be open to ideas not their own."
      True. By assigning an event to the doing of a god you close your mind to further exploration and understanding.

      Not all ideas are created equal. For any idea to have any merit and to rise above the level of strictly hypothetical, it will have to be rational, and preferably supported by some evidence. That's where all god stories fail miserably.

      May 6, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • sortakinda

      Lin CA Saying that "Your entire argument is one from ignorance," may refer to the source of the argument, but it undoubtedly refers to the one who presents it as on of its advocates. So if Aquinas is/was ignorant, and I am also ignorant, what objective credentials do you have that might be recognized as legitimately superior? I suspect that you are either a law student, or a recent graduate, by your blue book format responses. You may have difficulty appreciating this, but many believers experience a joy and elation every day that tempers their reactions to the evils in the world. Ultimately, we are optimists, and ultimately atheists are pessimists. Where we have fullness of joy to look forward to, and the joy of having that to look forward to, atheists have the sad, empty, even angry knowledge that the future ultimately holds pointless grief and nothingness. If that's you, have fun and God bless you.

      May 7, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • LinCA

      @sortakinda

      You said, "Lin CA Saying that "Your entire argument is one from ignorance," may refer to the source of the argument, but it undoubtedly refers to the one who presents it as on of its advocates. So if Aquinas is/was ignorant, and I am also ignorant, what objective credentials do you have that might be recognized as legitimately superior?"
      OK, let's see if we can get past this as it really detracts from the argument. I didn't intend to imply, or make you feel like, I was calling you ignorant. If I did, sorry.

      That said, the argument that you put forth still doesn't hold water. It is a fallacy know as argumentum ad ignorantiam or "appeal to ignorance". Both you and Aquinas are/were arguing that, because everything that we see has a cause, therefor the universe must have a cause. You both assign your god/force/alpha to be that cause, without providing any other support than that you can't imagine anything else.

      Just because we can't know what started it all, we get to insert our preferred deity and claim that as the most likely cause. While it isn't entirely impossible that there was such a creature, without some additional evidence, it isn't likely. Without evidence, there is no reason to believe it to be true.

      Furthermore, evaluating the attributes generally assigned to these gods, it is extremely unlikely (some would claim even impossible) that the gods as described even can exist. Mutually exclusive attributes means that these gods can't have both.

      You said, "I suspect that you are either a law student, or a recent graduate, by your blue book format responses."
      I'm not.

      You said, "You may have difficulty appreciating this, but many believers experience a joy and elation every day that tempers their reactions to the evils in the world."
      I never claimed there aren't any positive aspects to blind faith. I understand that believers get a lot of joy and other positive things from their faith, religion and church. On a societal level, faith, religion and church hierarchy help to provide structure. But just because it has some positive effects, doesn't mean it is true.

      Unfortunately, there is also a lot of harm that is done because of it. Discrimination and violence against minority groups, pseudo science in classrooms and restrictions on health care, just to name a few.

      I don't dispute your right to believe as you see fit. I won't stand in your way when you wish to worship as you like. I won't prevent you from joining or forming a group, church or organization.

      I won't try to prevent you from expressing your beliefs. But if you choose to express your beliefs in public, I reserve the right to point out how silly they are.

      You said, "Ultimately, we are optimists, and ultimately atheists are pessimists."
      Incorrect on both counts. There are optimists and pessimists among both groups.

      You said, "Where we have fullness of joy to look forward to, and the joy of having that to look forward to, atheists have the sad, empty, even angry knowledge that the future ultimately holds pointless grief and nothingness. If that's you, have fun and God bless you."
      Atheists tend to not worry about what happens after death. While there isn't anything to look forward to, there also isn't any reason to fear it. I accept, without emotion, that I'll die one day. At the odd times that I think of it, I remind my self to live my life to the fullest, as it's the only one I'll get.

      I won't waste a minute of it trying to appease some mythical being for which there is no evidence.

      May 7, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  5. kindness

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Trancend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ will result in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Currently.... your constructing your own path that suits your sin lifestyle.

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find a truth you can take with you in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life. You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf, the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed, your good deeds are forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated, your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over .
    Trancend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Relise your a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent....

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth.

    Sell your cleverness and purchase bewilderment. You don't get what you want you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Down is up. Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.

    Your all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box

    May 4, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  6. sortakinda

    From the illustration on this piece, I have concluded that God may not be white, but the James Earl Jones may be. Or he should see that leatherette lady in Nutley, New Jersey ASAP.

    May 4, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  7. Michael Robinson Gainesville FL

    @@ † The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20) @@
    This is one of the dumbest statements ever written. The bible, all fake, can not be used to define your arguement. Nice try though. Don't call us atheists, call us non-believers of BS.

    May 4, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Sortakinda

      You are actually a believer in your own BS.

      May 4, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
  8. sortakinda

    Some people who don't believe in God are atheists because they don't believe in anything that they can't see, or so they say.They believe in the existence of radios, because they can see them. They don't believe in radio waves because they can'see them. That poses a problem when they want to hear the news. They can't see the wind, so they shouldn't believe in it, but most do. Just because you can't see or hear someone doesn't mean He doesn't exist. Like your Aunt Ethel in Cleveland-if you don't see or hear her, can she still exist?

    May 4, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Michael Robinson Gainesville FL

      Not exactly correct. Believing in something you can't see, like the wind, is a lot different than believing in made up stories.
      Your point is invalid. Your imaginary friend jesus and his sky-papa do not exist, no matter how badly you want them to. Besides, you only believe because your parents, and their parents, will not let you believe any other way. Do you own research.

      May 4, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The existence of wind, radio waves, and my fat aunt martha are all provable becuase they each have measurable, reproducible, quantifiable effects.
      Since God hasn't been as demonstrative with parting seas and inflicting genocide in the last few thousand years at least, there's nothing but fables to "prove" His existence.
      These days when someone hears God's voice it seems they're being directed to commit some kind of atrocity, like tossing their children off a bridge. We call those people INSANE and ship them off to do the thorazine shuffle.

      May 4, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • sortakinda

      There is no doubt that there are people who hear voices who ARE crazy. A lot of people, crazy or not, hear their own voices in their heads when they read "silently." There are people who conclude that there is no God because their mother died. There are people who just can't get over the illogical nature of belief. And there are those who do get over it, but still have doubts–including saints who throw their lives into good works. I'm sorry you are so sure of your non-belief. I'm still working on the three keys to spiritual development: reading, thinking and prayer. I have not concluded nor do I expect to conclude that it is a waste of time.

      May 4, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Eric

      @ Mr Robinson: On and on the arguments go. You can't bear to admit that there is something which exists beyond the reach of science's ability to detect. I get it. You can't see the wind, only its effects upon objects in its path. Detecting it by instruments still does not "see" it. Yet you are willing to believe in the wind's existence, even depend upon that fact.

      Casting aspersions upon a belief in something which by defintion exists outside of our universe is pointless on your part. You should simply ignore our belief in God. But you wish to convince us of our ignorance by calling us names? Bet you did not win very many debates in highschool did you? The evidence in my life that I have witnessed tells me that the Holy Spirit may be invisible to the naked eye and science's instruments, yet He touches lives and changes them unexplainedly forever. My parents were not Christians when I was growing up. I went to church until I was 12 and then stated that I was done going. I hadn't accepted anything spiritually at that point in my life, but by the time I was 30 my mind was firmly made up that God was real, Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, Jesus came and died in my place, and that Jesus touched my life and made me whole again. I am now a sojourner, a pilgrim, traveling through this world on my way to the kingdom of heaven which is my true home. Believe it, or not.

      May 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  9. Narttabb

    When God talks to me, the Psychiatrist usually gives me Haldol and Throrazine.

    May 4, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • sortakinda

      Just a gues, but you may need those medicines even when He doesn't.

      May 4, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  10. Dan Sutton

    Ummm... what in the nether hell does the Big Lebowski have to do with jesus freaks or episcopalians? This woman is absolutely out of her mind. Why does CNN publish such introverted, deluded drivel?

    May 3, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Dan Sutton

      Oh, yes – forgot one thing: people who believe in god are idiots.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • sortakinda

      We put up with people who call us idiots. Does that make us idiots?

      May 4, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Michael Robinson Gainesville FL

      @sortakinda... yes, you are an idiot.

      May 4, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Sortakinda

      Golly Michael Robinson, does calling other people names make you feel like a grown-up? You must be the smartest fellow you know. And such a big man, how ever do you get your head into a hat with all those brains?

      May 4, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  11. Jon

    God never speaks to me. It's not that I don't want to believe. It's not that I cannot hear. If he talks, I'll listen. Until then, he's a fairy tale. And to those who say "If I only wanted to hear him, he'd speak to me", I could also say that if I wanted to hear a dark barking, I could imagine that as well. Fortunately, I'm able to distinguish what I actually hear from what I imagine. However, those who believe God speaks to them seem to be perfectly comfortable "hearing" God in what they acknowledge themselves is their internal thoughts, aka imagination. If believing that God speaks to you makes you happy, all the more power to you, but don't judge my beliefs (or lack thereof) based on what God tells you in your own imagination.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  12. David Hill, Jr,

    God has spoken in many ways, many times, down through the ages. If God exists (and the fact that I exists supports the fact that He exists)...He is a God who speaks! But in the time Since Christ came, He has spoken to us and is speaking to us...through His Son. His cross speaks, listen, 'I love you.' The empty tomb speaks, 'Sin had no power of Me, I can set you free too.' Even the apostles and Christians around the world speak, 'Come, follow Jesus, He is so much more than a carpenter's son!'

    May 3, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • David Hill, Jr,

      and hopefully my theology makes more sense than my gramir : )

      May 3, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • fred

      I don't know my grandma is really out of touch with reality these days

      May 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  13. jasoncdanforth

    When I was a believer, god sounded like me, strangely. OR was it the way I would sound if it were feigning authority and omniscience? Funny how often god tells people they are the chosen one and agrees with hating the same people that person already hates.

    No, god doesn't talk, at least no more than a triple-chocolate king-sized extra-added-fat deep-fried candy bar talks to a soccer mom on Atkins. Anything, even the non-corporeal, can "talk" if someone is fanatic enough to meditate on something and desire it to communicate. For some reason, the non-corporeal is EASIER to "hear". Gee, I wonder why?

    May 3, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  14. curiousdwk

    When god talks to me, I should expect to be called crazy and put away with the others who are ranting and raving about their "inner voices" from god.

    May 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Mohamed

      Interesting article, but I'm left swamohet bemused by it. If you're saying that the atheists of today (in comparison to atheists of the past) are incapable of having a meaningful discussion on religious topics because they don't approach the concept of God with enough seriousness, then I think a number of issues need to be addressed by you for me really understand the point you're trying to back. Foremost, your continuous reference to a singular, capital G , deity would lead one to the obvious conclusion that you do not take polytheism all that seriously (perhaps you disagree, but I'm merely making a judgment based on the content of the above prose, which solely speaks of the big idea of God/god, but never gods). You also seem to want to criticize modern atheists for their unwillingness to mourn over the nonexistence of gods (unlike you, I have no choice but to use the plural since I cannot ignore that fact that the concept is not all convergent across religious lines), like their intellectual predecessors did centuries back. This itself betrays a level of myopia on your part. As someone who is surrounded by a monotheistic conception of God, your subconscious dismissal of polytheism as a viable option in the discussion (one could say you have made gods a little idea, when it was once a very big idea) was probably not meant to be intentional even though, as a nonbeliever, you are probably well aware that no argument has ever been presented that would make monotheism a more serious consideration than polytheism. Yet, you deride atheists who happen not to have any sentimental attachment to religious ideals, who saw no need of going through any sort of failure, disillusionment, and despair prior to fully affirming their unbelief, as being intellectually stunted because of their undramatic approach to the subject matter; and as not being serious enough to add anything of value to the discussion. But this to me sounds like the equivalent of someone telling a modern day physicist that he or she needs to take Aristotle's misguided (and largely false) musings on physics seriously, lest he or she be guilty of turning what was once a big idea, into a little idea. Just as the modern day physicist can still do physics without feeling any vestigial sentiment towards Aristotle's Physics, you haven't brought forth any convincing reason as to why modern day atheists are to first sorrowfully bemoan their unbelief, in order to gain a worthwhile voice in the subject. All I've read is a sort of, Well, I just kinda feel like this is the case to which you can't be too shocked when the due response is, So what?

      July 29, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  15. PM

    I listen to my heart and listen for him in there, as well as my conscious. Morgan Freeman's light-hearted God character definitely fits how I feel God is. Understanding, funny, caring, and patient. I know I upset him all of the time, but I feel he is patient with me and forgives me when I come clean in my heart. <3

    May 3, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  16. the voice of reason

    Time for the funny farm!

    May 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  17. Butch

    THIS........IS...................................................................CNN!

    May 3, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  18. BRan

    this woman is an idiot.

    May 3, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  19. ET

    Coo-coo

    May 3, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  20. Amanda

    God is always speaking, I think the real question is are we listening.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Mister Jones

      Really? He is just constantly droning on and on, hoping that someone will pay attention? You believe this? And he is speaning at an audible level, that everyone can hear comfortably? What about the deaf, or the hearing-impaired? Does he turn up the volume for them? ... How do you know ANY of this? Or is it just what you WANT to believe? In other words, do you have anything at all to support this, or is it just your personal fantasy?

      May 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Which God?

      @Amanda. "God is always speaking." God talks to himself as well? This explains the idiocy! 'God' would then be a lunatic. Chritianity stands revealed. Idiots talk to each other via their hearts, faith and telepathy. Wow. Next up levitation. Wait... that's your rapture, right?

      May 4, 2012 at 10:53 am |
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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.