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

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

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

By T.M. Luhrmann, Special to CNN

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

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

Except that usually it’s not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • God

soundoff (7,767 Responses)
  1. Vic

    I'm not really proud of this, but the blog is anonymous so here goes...

    I had an auditory hallucination once. Two men talking..behind my right shoulder. They were saying some pretty awful things. It only happened once in my life. Scared me pretty bad. I went to the hospital, got a cat scan and all that, there was nothing wrong with me. I was into some pretty bizarre spiritual things at that time..purely as an experiment.

    I still have no proof of anything but it sure did make me doubt my doubt. Again it was a miserable experience and I wouldn't wish it on anybody. I will spend forever wondering what happened to me and why.

    December 30, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • WIll

      Right, but you properly identified it as a hallucinatory experience. Jesus/God freaks would improperly identify it as real. That's the difference between you and them: sanity

      December 30, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • JJ

      Actually, you should be proud since you realized hearing voices is not normal and you sought medical help instead of assuming some sky god was talking to you. Glad you got it checked out and you didn't hvae a brain tumor.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • SJ

      You probably stopped the bizarre spiritual things after that though? They probably opened you up to some demonic activity or occultic realm which were probably closed after you wisely stopped when you heard those crazy voices.

      December 31, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  2. Wisdom4U2

    Don't try to argue with these poor misled unbelievers. Of course they can't hear God's voice... you can’t hear God’s voice if you don’t have a personal conversation with Him. Sheesh...

    December 30, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • phil john

      Before invading Irak in 2003, Bush heard God voice. I don't know which God he was talking about.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Wisdom4U2

      Irak? Right....and so we are to think you know what you're talking about...NOT! And it's 'Iraq', okay?

      December 30, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • chopped liver

      This "God" is supposed to be the all-knowing one, right? He knows where I am. I don't get a peep from him... not a letter, not a phone call, not an email, not a twitter message - nada. I guess he just doesn't like me...

      (I suppose I could pretend he's real, though, huh?)

      December 30, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Wisdom4U2

      Hey ChoppedLibber, how are you just going to think someone you don't believe in is going to show himself to you? That doesn't even make sense. You need to grow a brain first. Next, you pretty much have to believe He is who He says He is. Duh.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • chopped liver

      So, I can get mail from Nigerian Princes who I don't believe in, and from lonely widows in Asia who I don't believe in, but not an allegedly all-powerful "God"?

      December 30, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Wisdom4U2

      choppedbrain, you need to pull up your pants, you're showing your ignorance.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  3. John P. Tarver

    The author in fact makes a valid point, no matter if God exists, it is statistically normal to hear God speaking to you. At least 7 times as normal as being gay.

    December 30, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • WIll

      How do you figure? If 10% of people hear God, and 7% of people are gay, hearing God is only 1.4 times more normal than being gay. Get your facts and your math straight...

      December 30, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      yep. sad that being in a cult is more normal than being g.ay in this country. sad.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  4. WIll

    I would like every Christian who can "audibly hear the voice of God" to let me know up front so that I can make all reasonable attempts to avoid interacting with them. Those are the kinds of people you DEFINITELY want to keep away from....

    December 30, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Wisdom4U2

      Noooo....actually, that would be you, Wlll.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • WIll

      Then we're agreed. You keep way from me, and I'll keep away from you. FAR away.....

      December 30, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  5. Marc Perkel

    Yes – hearing God is crazy because God doesn't exist. The reason Moses, Noah, and Abraham heard God is because they don't exist either. Like Jesus and Santa – they are fictional characters. If I said I hear Spock taking to me – I'm crazy. Hearing God is no different.

    Reality change my life – it can change your life too!

    December 30, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      well said. most of the biblical myths are stolen from other cultures/religions anyway. want to read the story of jesus? look up horus, dionysus, mitra and others. want to read about the garden of eden before it was a christian story? read the epic of gilgamesh. the bible is a book of airy tales.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • WIll

      Come now, Jesus the man was real. And likely most of these other biblical figures were real men as well. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      There is a nice article on CNN about santa being real Marc, you might want to educate yourself.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • JPX

      Word.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      what proof is there that jesus, moses, noah and abraham were real? seriously, take a critical look at it. there is as much proof that hercules was real. and you say nothing about mitra or any of the others the jesus myth is based on. did you even look it up to see if what i was saying was accurate? or do you just believe those figures were real because you've been told that you're entire life?

      December 30, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Nancy

      I agree with you 100%. Sure hope this author doesn't get paid to come up with this nonsensical stuff.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • WIll

      There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the human being, Jesus of Nazareth, was real. To ignore that evidence is to ignore rational scholarship, science, and history. To ignore that evidence is to put yourself in the same category of those who accept the inerrancy of the bible despite scientific proofs to the contrary. Some serious scholars devote their entire lives to the study of biblical figures. To dismiss serious scholarship as utter fantasy is a serious mistake.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      plenty of evidence? such as? where is your evidence? there's more evidence that jesus is based on other myths - how do you refute that evidence?

      December 30, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Sane Person

      There is evidence Bob the Builder was real too. But he didnt rise from the dead after being crucified to pay for human sins...to himself, then disappear for a few thousand years hoping someone would remember him and pray once a week either.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • WIll

      Am I not allowed to comment more than twice?

      December 30, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • WIll

      I am not a biblical scholar.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • WIll

      I simply know that such scholarship exists and that you (apparently) are choosing to ignore it.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • WIll

      I do not know or even care if Jesus the man was real.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • WIll

      It was just an innocuous comment.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      as you keep saying without showing any proof or evidence. it is not innocuous. there are whole books written on the subject... by scholars. so say it is innocuous is keeping yourself blind.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  6. dissidentfairy

    I believe in God but I think when people want something bad enough their minds can play tricks on them. I believe God spoke to Abraham and Moses, I just don't believe he's doing that today. It's been my experience that the best people I know who follow God and live by the Bible to the letter, do not directly hear God's voice, but others, who don't, who have delusions of grandeur, who are schizophrenic and or bipolar do. Which gives them an air of superiority that they are somehow 'special' with God.

    As far as that church research goes what did you expect to hear from them? Of course a high number of them will say they have heard God speaking to them. It's only human nature to want to glorify themselves and have their fellow churchgoers think that They are one of the elite. That way those who don't hear his voice will have to feel inferior and wonder what they are doing wrong.

    December 30, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • God

      I don't hear the Tooth Fairy speaking to me...

      December 30, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      " I believe God spoke to Abraham and Moses, I just don't believe he's doing that today"
      then you must think god is a monster since he told abraham to murder his own child.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • WIll

      It's very interesting. The "best" people I know are committed atheists whereas the worst claim to follow the bible. I guess we know different people, huh?

      December 30, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • dissidentfairy

      Booty: He was only testing Abraham. He didn't make him actually follow through with it.

      Will: I know some good Atheists too. I was referring to those who believe. Obviously an Atheist isn't going to say they have spoken to God. If they did I doubt they would be an Atheist:)

      December 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  7. sasha55midlands

    If God is the creator of the Universe and not some aberration then he can do anything. Most people are gracious in these comments, I guess some good still exists in the world. However, I have had my days where I get the distinct impression that those who don't choose God think themselves superior for being self reliant. No one else can tell you when you are in love. Similarly, no one else can explain to you why you experience what you experience. If you loose a loved one or are dying of cancer should be prevented from hope? What if you do live a tragic life? I truly wonder about some people.

    December 30, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • JPX

      Sorry, Sasha, I don't waste my time on nonsense. There is no magical man in the sky. Finish your GED.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      we don't think we're superior, we're just not in a cult, so we think for ourselves. in my opinion, thinking for yourself is a 'superior' way to live.

      and you say god can do anything - why didn't he make children bullet proof to protect them from maniacs like in newtown? if god is all good, why did he drown babies in his great flood? babies - how can anyone fill the lungs of a child with water and call it divine justice? if there is a god - he's a murderous maniac that needs to be put down.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  8. Yakobi

    Uh, yeah, you ARE crazy if some invisible being is speaking to you. Remember, there are no gods or goddesses, demons or devils, ghosts or goblins. Religion was invented by man to control the masses.

    December 30, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Chad

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

      December 30, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • God

      Chad, what investigation have you done to prove that the Tooth Fairy is not real?

      December 30, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      @chad
      probably using everyday reasoning and logic skills. there is ZERO proof that god exists, so there is ZERO reason to believe in god. just a guess.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Yakobi

      The only god of Israel is the United States of America.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • want2believe

      Chad, what investigation have you done to prove every other god is not real or that your God of Isreal is?

      December 30, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • WIll

      The Tooth Fairy's not real????

      December 30, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Chad

      @God "What investigation have you done to prove that the Tooth Fairy is not real?"
      @Chad "
      A. I dont assert that the tooth fairy does not exist, proving the negative is impossible
      B. I do not believe the tooth fairy exists, this is based on 100% of the activities that have been ascribed to the tooth fairy by those that believe in him, have been unequivocally and completely explained thru natural causes (the parent removed the tooth and put some $$ in it's place).

      December 30, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Chad

      @want2believe "what investigation have you done to prove every other god is not real"
      @Chad The God of Israel is real, and that belief is mutually exclusive with a belief in other gods.

      @want2believe "or that your God of Israel is?"
      @Chad "Origin of the unverse, fine tuning of the universe, origin of life on earth, fossil record, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      can't prove a negative? exactly - so don't ask us to prove god. it's up to the one making the claim to provide the proof - where is your proof of god? since you have none, we can logically say he doesn't exist, right? kind of like the tooth fairy...

      "I do not believe the tooth fairy exists, this is based on 100% of the activities that have been ascribed to the tooth fairy by those that believe in him, have been unequivocally and completely explained thru natural causes (the parent removed the tooth and put some $$ in it's place)."
      - yep, exactly like the christian god - all explained through natural cause without the help of a sky-fairy.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Chad

      so @Yakobi, @God, @Bootyfunk, @want2believe

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

      December 30, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Chad

      @Bootyfunk "can't prove a negative? exactly – so don't ask us to prove god. it's up to the one making the claim to provide the proof"
      @Chad "well, you're the one claiming God doesnt exist, so where is your proof?"

      ======
      @Bootyfunk "exactly like the christian god – all explained through natural cause without the help of a sky-fairy."
      @Chad "what?
      all of the following has no naturalistic explanation whatsoever, in fact, it's an extremely common anti-theist refrain that "we dont know" is a good answer, right?

      Origin of the unverse, fine tuning of the universe, origin of life on earth, fossil record, empty tomb

      December 30, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • WIll

      I still can't believe that tooth fairy is not real. This was a hell of a way to find out....

      December 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Opoku Asenso

      Pathetic and Blind is he who thinks and believes (or even tempted to think and believe) that there is no God. Look around you... Does anything come to mind when you see the world and everything in it? Are these accidents?... Really accidents??? Check the meaning of "Accident"... Eh... my dear... Check the patterns and the consistencies... Jesus loves you... Repent...

      December 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Yakobi", but "God" and "Jesus" are elements of mythology, therefore all of your assertions are unfounded.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  9. Bootyfunk

    hearing god doesn't necessarily mean you're crazy - just means you're in a religious cult and you're brainwashed.

    December 30, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • JPX

      Word.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Opoku Asenso

      Brainwashed??? Really??? By...??? The fact that one does not believe in something does not mean it is not real... in the same vein, one's refusal to believe in Jehovah does not take Him into non-existence...

      December 30, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Opoku Asenso

      Brainwashed??? Really??? By...??? The fact that one does not believe in something does not mean it is not real... in the same vein, one's refusal to believe in Jehovah does not take Him into non-existence... I am speaking for what I have experienced and seen only... He speaks to us... to me...

      December 30, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • R Burns

      Huge difference between belonging to a cult and having your spirituality fine tuned so that you are able to hear God's direct message! Not everyone who has a close relationship with the "other side" is attached to a dangerous organization! We can open channels in the mind just as we can tune a radio, and sometimes there is a lot more than snowy noise coming in! The "bad" messages this article refers to were once called "demons". In today's society we are geared to think of things in scientific terms. Interpreting the messages some people receive as a real process should be easier to understand, but as this message board proves, many people are not only skeptical but in stubborn denial. Yes, anything we get through spiritual channels needs to be taken with some caution (as in the woman who was always trying to follow her "angels" – maybe they were demons, since the messages were wrong). But definitely worth acknowledging!

      December 30, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  10. lionlylamb

    Visionaries are those people who dare to use their psychic souled impartation wherein spiritualized manifestations are viewed. I can see in my mind's eye the outsides of this universe's boundaries where there are other universes that go on and on without any end in sight! I can also see with my mind's eye the infinitesimally small realms of the atomized cloisters being just like the universes are of our realms. The only differences between the inner and outer cosmological realms is size and time variations. The inner cosmological realms' time is increased and the outer cosmological realm is decreased in timely fashions. A day's worth of time within the outer realm of celestial cosmological orders is as a thousand or so years gone by within the inner realm of atomized cosmologies

    December 30, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • sasha55midlands

      LL you are too smart for the op.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Where should they send the checks lion?

      December 30, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • God

      Let me guess, you stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night?

      December 30, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Sane Person

      May I join your cult? Or at least get your newsletter? I'm intrigued! Do we get to ride on a comet or something soon?

      December 30, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • JPX

      lionlylamb, you sound like a nut-job.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  11. Great Flying Spagetti Monster

    I talk to people all the time – but they never listen.

    December 30, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i listen to you, great FSM!

      Ramen!

      December 30, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  12. WIll

    OK freak. Then 1 in 10 people are crazy. Have it your way...

    December 30, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  13. Canadian Jack

    God's speaks through the grand illusion that has been created for all of humanity. Physicists have published in peer reviewed journals that the universe is in fact a hologram. Our brains contain far more data than the physical size of it should contain. It too is a hologram. In a holographic universe everything is based on perspective. You see and feel locally. You cannot see the Projectionist. And God said "Let there be Light" and the Grand Illusion continues.

    December 30, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i call bullsh.it on that. where and when? link even one study, since you apparently think there are multiple. i challenge you.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • sasha55midlands

      CJ and a whole host of others: so glad you have offered yourself to think and experience for me. What a relief. LOL!

      December 30, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  14. Xzanthius

    Wakefulness can blind us to the fact that we are still dreaming. I've got no problem with visions and voices as long as they are contributing a sense of harmony to their host and not creating chaos or more ego. We have substances in our brains that trigger powerful spiritual/mystical experiences. These things are an integral part of life.

    December 30, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      There is an empty place in mankinds heart that we try to fill.

      December 30, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  15. The_Mick

    There have been times when I've done stupid things and heard my deceased mother shout my name in her unmistakable voice and with those "you're in trouble" tone and inflections I heard mostly in my youth. It's so crystal clear it seems I'm hearing her with my ears. Afterward I thank my memory of mom for instilling my mind with such a barometer of recognizing right from wrong! When people hear "God" or "St. Michael the Archangel" or "The Virgin Mary" I'm convinced it's a similar aberration of the mind.

    December 30, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  16. sokesky

    At one time, I worked in psychiatry. One of my patients heard "angels" fairly often. Now, they only told her positive things; however, she'd periodically sell everything she had and fly or drive to somewhere the "angels" had told her was a "grant" waiting for her...there never was. Yes, she had schizophrenia, and though she was happy most of the time, it made it almost impossible for her loved ones to keep her safe. You can hear only positive things, but that doesn't mean you should act on what you are hearing.

    I had other patients who claimed to hear ghosts of dead loves ones; God; various saints; various famous people; the phone company; the military; the FBI; you name it. It's not "normal" to hear voices, and it's sure not normal if those voices are giving you commands or telling you what to do.

    Now, if all you've ever heard is something minor, like you think you heard your name called, or you're meditating, on the verge of sleep or coming out of sleep (or some other altered state), no big deal...but if the voice you hear is telling you to do things, then you should probably see a professional.

    December 30, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      During the days when hospitals in America still delivered babies with twilight gas (PCP), the induced neuron cascade led to the nic name angels dust, as these women would hear the angels singing. FBI additionally noticed that these women could beat their new lie detector technology.

      December 30, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Opposing View

      Devils and evil spirits are real. They're just as real as you and I are. They don't ordinary reveal themselves or speak out or speak to people, but on rare occasions they do. Therefore, I can assure you that many of those hospital patients you mentioned really were seeings things and hearing things and were not just imagining it or making it up. I know because I've seen such things myself...

      In the case of God, however, God does NOT speak to people in a voice. God operates only through his sent preachers. But sometimes, the devils will speak to people in a voice in order to deceive people. That's because the devils know that most people are ignorant and don't realize that God doesn't work that way. Therefore, most people are easily fooled. And devils love to pretend they are God. When devils speak to people or speak out, people will often assume and think that is God talking to them, when the truth is, it is only the devil...

      December 30, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "Devils and evil spirits are real. They're just as real as you and I are."
      please seek help. not the exorcist kind - the psychological kind.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • JLS639

      A former coworker of mine has a son with positive schizophrenia*. He would clearly hear dogs barking and church bells ringing. He would go off looking for the barking dog, even though he knew that he had schizophrenia and would hear dogs that were not there.

      *Positive does not mean good. "Positive" is having symptoms that do not appear in normal people, such as hearing sounds that are not there. "Negative" schizophrenia is lacking traits found in normal people. For example, most people will clearly hear their name spoken in a noisy room, but his/her name can be just background noise for a schizophrenic.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  17. John P. Tarver

    Your heart is full of sin and any Christian that tells you to follow your heart is screwing you over.

    December 30, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Van S

      What? Explain youself!

      December 30, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • God

      You head is full of nonsense, and you should probably seek professional help.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Van- Man has a sinful spirit that resides in his heart. Christ suggested in his commandment to Love God to do so with all your mind all your heart and all your soul. We are in fact triunal creatures ourselves, with our souls, aka bellys, bowels et al, and a sinful spirit in our hearts. Your mind is the third part of who we are as humans and many claim God speaks to their minds.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Your head is full of fecal matter, and your god is a comic book character.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Jimmy- And you are a zombie, wanting to eat my brain.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Your "brain" is a useless lump of garbage, anyway. I have no desire to consume tripe.

      December 30, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  18. psychmajor

    it's been scientifically proven that religious people are both more mentally and physically healthy than those who are not religious. the mind is a very powerful thing. so powerful in fact that it may be possible while in the proper environment, your brain may produce its own "sounds" if you will. this is not to say people don't ever have religious experiences (because i think they do), but i believe there's far more to "hearing voices" than meets the eye. i also dislike the way the term "crazy" is used in this article, just sayin'.

    December 30, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • God

      Say twelve Hail Marys and call me in the morning, lunatic.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • yo yo

      That scientific study you are claiming-without evidence, mind you-only makes sense to those who believe there's a substantial difference between religious and non-religious people. This difference only exists in the minds of religious people and the religious scientists who drew this conlusion.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  19. Sane Person

    Great, just what we need. Another loon telling people its ok to listen to the voices in your head. If you want to talk to god, be my guest. If he talks back, then first we need to remove your access to weapons and dangerous professions, and 2nd, we need to enroll you into some therapy.

    December 30, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  20. thermalrider

    There's crazy, and then there's crazy. Anyone who hears voices that aren't there (While fully awake and aware) is crazy. But some are more crazy than others. It isn't a hard-and-fast divide between those who are fully rational and those who are crazy. It is a continuum. All of us are non-rational to a greater or lesser degree. And that's true iin some areas of our lives more so than others – And in different life-areas for different people.

    Perhaps the problem is with the baggage that comes with the word 'crazy'.

    That said, if you think god is talking to you, you need to recognize that it is coming from your own mind. Maybe it is teling you something you need to hear. (That darned subconcious!) Maybe it is telling you something you need to ignore. That's what your concious mind is for.

    As Professor Dumbledore said to Harry Potter: "It is our choices, far more than our abilities, that make us who we are."

    (Quote from memory, but the meaning is right.)

    December 30, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Thermalrider,

      God is real. As an unbeliever you will only ever perceive one thing from God, until or unless you come to him, that is his call for you to come to him. You have to make the choice to accept his free gift or not, so Dumbledore has that part right. Peace.

      December 30, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Opoku Asenso

      Pathetic and Blind is he who thinks and believes (or even tempted to think and believe) that there is no God. Look around you... Does anything come to mind when you see the world and everything in it? Are these accidents?... Really accidents??? Check the meaning of "Accident"... Eh... my dear... Check the patterns and the consistencies... Jesus loves you... Repent...

      December 30, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
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About this blog

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.