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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. Mlink56

    Yew, if you hear voices and believe it is god speaking to you, you ARE crazy!

    December 30, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  2. MagicBishop

    Someone who hears voices and thinks God is speaking to them might not be crazy. However, it's highly unprobable that they're educated beyond high school and even more unprobable that they have achieved any measurable success in life.

    December 30, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • pockets

      Churches and 'temples' and synagogues are full of the ignorant people. I think its 'embarassing' to openly admit you believe in some sort of 'diety' of any kind. Its just total stupidity and ignorance that is difficult to describe.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • gdaym8

      I hate to break this to you Einstein but 'unprobable' is NOT a word. I think the word you are trying to use is 'improbable'...so, I guess your education is in question too. Have YOU gone beyond high school?...It doesn't appear so.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Oh please, gdaym8, I have several degrees and I've placed an improper prefix on a word nonintentionally before. 🙂

      December 30, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Steve Wilson, Canada

      Hey gdaym8,

      I was wondering how long it was going to take for someone to make that comment...

      Not very nice... but funny, nonetheless.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  3. Steve Wilson, Canada

    This artical must be for real. Just twenty minutes ago, God told me that my wife wanted to give me a b-l-o-w job... and she did.

    Praise the lord!

    December 30, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Extra Medium

      Glad to hear that religion got a rise of you 😉

      December 30, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Wait............I'm getting something too, Steve................

      .......... ...... ........ "Moby..............Moooooooooooby.........Steve Wilson's wife wants to give you a............{crackle, whir............sizzle.........crack}....................

      December 30, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Steve Wilson, Canada

      Guys, hilarious!!

      By the way, God told her to swallow...

      Hey, we should write a movie script!! We'll call it, "God told her to do it."

      December 30, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • pockets

      Now your address is .......

      December 30, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Steve, you convinced me I BELIEVE!

      December 30, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Steve Wilson, Canada

      Okay guys, I'm sorry... I have to come clean. I'm not really Steve Wilson, from Canada. I'm Joel Osteen from the USA.

      And, for only $89.99 you can buy my great new book called, "How God Can Make Your Wife Do It Better Than Ever."

      Visa and Mastercard accepted... Limited Supply. Offer ends at midnight, EST. No refunds. No personal checks accepted.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  4. Extra Medium

    If you listen and believe in one and only one source (like Fox News for example), you will start to hear voices of angel Phalin

    December 30, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  5. Moby Schtick

    Christian: I believe in a big invisible sky wizard who did everything we can't explain by using his big ole cool magic spellz!!! And if you don't stroke his ego in just the right way he's going to FRY YOU FOR ALL ETERNITY IN A PIT OF HELLFIRE!!!!

    Nonbeliver: Oh, keep your silly delusions to yourself you deluded crackpot.

    Christian: Oh....oh.....(whimper, whimper) you are such..........such.........such meanies!! Such hateful, hateful meanies!!!! oh........oh.......whimper.......

    December 30, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  6. lmatiukas

    Lol, is this a sarcastic article or for real? If you are hearing or seeing things this should be cause for worry. You either unlocked some part of the brain that deals in telepathy, or you are actually crazy. Then again, anyone who considers religion is not 100% mentally

    December 30, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
  7. Newsmom10

    I am a mom of 3 adult children and husband who all think that organized religion is a crock. I've been a practicing Catholic all my life and have shared with my family that on rare occasions I have heard heard God speak to me. They found that quite amusing. My answer to them is why wouldn't God talk to me? Prayer is nothing more than a conversation with God. Most of the times He listens, but in my darkest hours there is a response. His voice is very clear, very calming, not the least bit alarming or confusing. I am not a mentally ill person; in real life a practicing registered nurse. Often times patients will experience the "voice" of God or Angels, usually a clear signal to me that death is imminent. Interestingly enough, when my kids and hubby have gone through their own life crisis, they asked me to pray for them. I don't quite understand that but then again as it is written in Isiah..."My ways are not your ways....my thoughts are not your thoughts."

    December 30, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • peterhawkins1

      what if this voice told you to do something you would consider immoral?

      December 30, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  8. Jay Belford

    If you can "hear" the voice of Tweety Bird, Donald Duck, Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, or Goofy, you're probably not 100.00% sane, right? But if you can hear the voice of "god"? You think that's ... okay? C'mon, Ms. Luhrman, what about the voices of Allah, Quetzalcoatl, Jimmy Hendrix, and Ra? Where can you draw any lines in the sand? Or ... can you? Methinks if you'd been raised by the Jains, Hindus, and/or Sikh's, you'd be singing a very different tune ... just saying.

    December 30, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  9. sybaris

    Hearing a voice and claiming it comes from your god.............more evidence that religion and the belief in god(s) is a filthy perverted disease of the mind

    December 30, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  10. Margaret

    Amazing how many atheists take time to read about religion!

    December 30, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • jfkman

      It's how we fight the crazy.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Bet

      It's a belief blog, not a religion blog, and it's open to the public. Why do you care who comes here?

      December 30, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Not really, Margret. Imagine if you lived in a country where 90% of the population sincerely believed in the Easter Bunny and based their lives and moral decisions on their belief in the Easter Bunny and thought that their ideas about social structure and law were supposed to be assumed but not the ideas about social structure and law of those who did not believe in the Easter Bunny. Would you, a non-Easter Bunny-believer perhaps take an interest in what the Easter Bunny retards were discussing?

      December 30, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Extra Medium

      It is amazing how religious people don't bother to learn anything !

      December 30, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • If you truely hear voices....

      It was drilled into me as a child...complete with corporal punishments for not conforming...asking the wrong questions...

      and today its a case of 'know thy ememy'. I do hate theives, con artists and scams of any sort with a seething passion.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Simran

      You said it right . Atheists read about religion, all religions and then draw their conclusions. Theists just keep babbling their own holy book and never learn to look beyond or THINK FOR THEMSELVES!

      December 30, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Margaret

      You said, "Amazing how many atheists take time to read about religion!"
      Do you ever read articles about cancer, or diabetes, or AIDS,or any other disease, even though you may not suffer from them? Same thing.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • 2357

      So you insult the victims out of their condition. Smells like bull.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • sybaris

      Yes Margie, it's better to be an educated atheist than an ignorant religionist

      December 31, 2012 at 12:05 am |
  11. 2357

    With or without guns, prayers or policies, God has ordained senseless suffering for all people living, rich, poor, smart and dumb. His curse is ordained and will not lift until the end of human history. Not even Christ and his apostles were spared the horrible violence and shame. What makes us Americans assume we can dodge it all using new frowny-browed laws and trinket religiosity?

    December 30, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • tony

      How about modifying the NRA idea a bit and putting powerful statues around all places of Worship to prevent such evil spirits from entering and thus protect the unarmed innocents within.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • pockets

      ALL Religion is utter nonsense, a thousand years from now they will look back and shake their heads at what went on in this era.....they will view us as monkeys, not long out of the cave. Absolute imbeciles. "Worshipping some sky-god" and slaughtering others for having a 'different' sky-god to worship....

      December 30, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • 2357

      Charms and rules are useless against the corrupted human mind. We have a slight chance at redemption, but only at the threshold of total annihilation, and even then from outside of our selves.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Mrs. Pepperpot

      LWith or without guns, prayers or policies, God has ordained senseless suffering for all people living, rich, poor, smart and dumb. His curse is ordained and will not lift until the end of human history."
      And we're supposed to worship him and be comforted by this? Really?

      December 30, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • peterhawkins1

      @2357 congrats! your comments are most disgusting example of religious thinking i have ever heard...

      December 30, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • 2357

      The mechanics of theology begins with divine power, and ends with divine love. The power is fearful yes, but why should that warrant disgust, necessarily? Envy perhaps?

      December 30, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      LOL, the "mechanics" of theology, eh? I'm guessing that they're not quite as hard and fast as the "mechanics" of a legit science? How do you guys tell if you have one of the steps wrong?

      December 30, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • 2357

      When Christians do wrong, unbelief in Christ increases inside and outside the church.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  12. tony

    At least one in ten? In most of Europe only a tiny fraction of that amount believe in a god, let alone attend a church regularly.

    I'm not sure if even the Taliban claim that god, or even a prophet, audibly talks to any of them.

    December 30, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  13. Dyslexic doG

    Hearing voices and believing in imaginary figures is textbook mental illness.

    December 30, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • don't do crazy things

      Making major life choices based on imaginary voices is crazy even if hearing them is not.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • ericgoestoholland

      Eh, maybe. Read the article. I think the author describes things accurately. Hearing voices is not necessarily an abnormal part of the human experience. Note that the author is not suggesting that such voices are from god (or imaginary figures). The author is merely reporting the findings. Such articles require not only an open mind to spirituality but also to psychology and the various phenomena that populate our mental experiences.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Agred, eric, it's when the hearer claims to know who the voice belongs to and why they are hearing it instead of using the rationality you imply.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Nathan

      Did you read the article and the specific discussion of differences in hearing negative and positive voices?

      December 30, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Mrs. Pepperpot

      Yes, I did, Nathan. Hearing one type suggests schizophrenia. Hearing the other suggests...schizophrenia.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  14. Suzanne

    If you don't believe in God why read about him and make hateful comments to those that do. Make no sense.

    December 30, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Bishop Hairy Palms

      What hateful comments?

      December 30, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      I love you Suzanne ... I just worry that you hear voices and believe in imaginary figures and base your life on a bronze age story book written by men with alterior motives. It is that love that sees me want to help you.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • tony

      T o p[rotect nour children from that which you would force upon them, if you could. Ever heard of a Burka, The Spanish Inquisition, Burning at the stake, etc.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      No Suzanne, you're the one that makes no sense.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • don't do crazy things

      Why do believers feel the need to form multinational corporation and impose their will on the masses?

      December 30, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • 2357

      They're proselytizing, spreading through blasphemy and insult, the world-saving gospel of Pure Reason, Logic and Science! The absurdity.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Ohhhh!!!! That evil logic and reason and science!! How horrible! Wait, isn't that how you're able to type on your computer and share it with the world? Hmmmmm....

      December 30, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Geez, Moby, give 23 a napkin. He's frothing at the mouth again.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      suzanne, if people that believed in an invisible sky -fairy didn't have a hand in making our laws, i wouldn't care.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • 2357

      It's absurd to believe that reason has no author. It's the essence of foolishness.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • peterhawkins1

      @2357 what wonderful prose you have, but you hinting at some strange ideas... reason has an author? the devil perhaps? is it evil to make sense?

      December 30, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @23

      Okay, I'll buy that. Now, what can we state about this supposed "author" of reason? Would this author of reason cause a book to be written about himself that most reasonable people do not think describes him accurately?

      December 30, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • 2357

      "I think" is contingent on the "I am" The author of reason is the Holy "I am" who revealed himself to prophet Moses.

      The concept of the Holy is of supernatural origin, as are the Infinite, the Good, and Evil.

      If reason, logic, and order predate your Big Bang, it would be attributable of the eternal I am, their ineffable Author.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  15. don't do crazy things

    is pretty rare. Only about one in 100 people can be diagnosed with the disorder."

    One in a hundred is quite a lot.

    December 30, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • peterhawkins1

      69,737,384 people to be exact

      December 30, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  16. Clausen

    These comments truly disgust me. Is it impossible to just respect other opinions without resorting to insulting their intelligence or constantly trying to argue? That this is what Freedom of Speech is used for me makes me hate my country.

    December 30, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • tony

      Spreading words and saying they come from a god is the ultimate insult to all of humanity. And to those whose struggle and pursuit of knowledge through logic and science have provided a so much longer, healthier and rewarding life to so many, that would eb the case if we all just accepted religious dogma and beliefs.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Well there you have it, the perfect example of freedom of speech and you are the one exercising it by stating you hate this country. Bravo!

      December 30, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • If you truely hear voices....

      What is i used a heap of cash to lobby Congress to Implement Prayer to Hel Norse godess of death) in primary school ( the goal being to indoctrinate as many little kids as i could so i could have my very own death cult in 20 years). Id guess you'd be burning with rage- or at least you should. Well Yahweh (the God of the bible, quaran and torah) is as real to me as Hel is to you.....

      December 30, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Alice Bowie

      Well, of course, it's possible to respect other people's opinions...

      The real problem that most non-religious people have, the one that makes them respond to religious dogma, is that the VAST MAJORITY of the religious do not present their ideas and beliefs as opinions. They call them TRUTH. And they go out of their way to get religious values passed into LAWS which everybody must follow or be punished by the STATE. You see, that's the problem.

      Address any atheist or other non-religious person with an IDEA or BELIEF presented as an OPINION and you will see that they are not hateful. All the ones I know are kind and reasonable people.

      But, on the other hand:
      Address any atheist or other non-religious person with an IDEA or BELIEF presented as a FACT, TRUTH, INFALLIBLE WORD of GOD, or legislated into LAW (which disbelieving, disobeying, or disagreeing with results in ETERNAL DAMNATION and TORTURE in a PLACE called HELL or possible IMPRISONMENT by the STATE) ...

      That's when the non-religious become testy and begin to resist your ideas and beliefs.

      It's not really complicated.

      I will say this: I LOVE YOU until you begin to HURT ME.

      Best Wishes to you all,
      Alice Bowie

      December 30, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
  17. paul46

    Well...yes, it has happened to me too. & I belong to a religion other than Christianity (though I believe in it). It has happened several times–either in deep prayer or in an emotional crisis. I don't think I heard God–maybe an angel? The "Voice" is unmistakably different than my imagination. It's intention (for me) seems to be to warn me or console me. It seems to know me better than I know myself. It feels like an Ocean of pure love & acceptance. I know this sounds weird. If I weren't sort of anonymous here I wouldn't mention it. I never doubted my sanity. The "Voice" made me feel much closer to God & humanity. It made me understand Jesus' statement that "God is love".

    December 30, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      time for your meds.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Mrs. Pepperpot

      Does "The Voice" sound like Adam Levine or Christina Aguilera?

      December 30, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  18. J.W

    Atheists are the most hateful people in the world.

    December 30, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Really? They ordain and create fiery pits of torture for the neverending suffering of those who don't agree with them based on arbitrary standards? I don't think so.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • J.W

      They are always the most hateful on this blog.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I disagree, but I don't see how it matters in light of the christians' views on hell as good, holy, and just. Christians have the most hateful and disgusting viewpoint of "righteousness" on this blog.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      not hateful JW. We see the carnage perpetrated by people with mental ilness like the killings of the 20 school children. Hearing voices and believing in imaginary figures is textbook mental illness. We atheists are just trying to talk you down to make the world a safer place for all of us.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • paul46

      Wow, do I ever disagree. My atheist friends don't seem to hate any more than my "believer" friends. Hate is a human emotion. We all feel it. Probably it's easier for a "believer" to dissipate it because he/she believes that a higher power will ultimately heal the situation.. I try (after many years of hating) to forgive others. I don't want to hold anyone in bondage to me. Hate is a nasty glue. Both the hater & the one hated are in a dark place.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • tjs3d

      What a loving comment. Lead the way my friend.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • J.W

      It is hateful to say religious people are mentally ill and to compare them with the Newtown shooter.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • peterhawkins1

      we hate the sin not the sinner, except it's more like we loathe the mind-virus that is religion, rather than the weak-minded suckers who fall for it.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • J.W

      Weak minded suckers? Another hateful one.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      but well said Peter

      December 30, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "J.W", but your assertions regarding atheism are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent true statements is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      Perhaps the following book can help you, "J.W":

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

      December 30, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • J.W

      Now someone implies that I am demented. More hatefulness.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Poor J. W. He must be feeling downtrodden.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • J.W

      I can tell you all are trying not to make hateful comments, but obviously you cannot control yourselves.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How can you "tell," J. W.?

      Is it the same way you can "hear" god?

      December 30, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      JW, I can tell you're not trying to be biased and see every comment that doesn't completely agree with you as "hateful" but you just can't help it. Your god belief has robbed you of your ability to differentiate reasonable statements from spiteful ones.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • J.W

      Yeah Moby you are right I am biased I guess when I am told I am ignorant and suffer from mental illness. But I guess if I was not a Christian I would be able to tell that I am mentally ill.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @JW

      Be thankful that we're pointing it out to you, but relax, most of us have "blind spots" in our psychology and have some form of mild mental issue or another. You could be just as ridiculous with some other god belief, you know. It doesn't have to be Christian.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Oh, and JW, everyone's "ignorant" on some things. Nobody knows everything. Even god is ignorant on how to make a sensible book.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • peterhawkins1

      we love you jay dot dubba-yew!!! please don't be defensive, but can you say something other than this is hate that is hate, yada yada? we aren't persecuting you. so do you hear voices in your head?

      December 30, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • J.W

      I think I am happy with the way I am. I am not prejudice and arrogant like some people on here.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Lou

      I love humans and believe deity worship is inherently evil. You love a deity and think that humans are inherently evil. Which one of us is more human?

      December 30, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • J.W

      You made that assumption Lou. I didn't say that.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Jay Belford

      You may say that it's "hateful" to tell children you lied to them about Santa Claus ... but that has nothing to do at all with hatred, religion, or ulterior motives. It's just called "telling the truth." Ditto for God, Jesus, Mary, and all the other tales your parents told you about ... religious ideas .... pay attention.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • sybaris

      Funny how you would accuse atheists of being hateful but give a pass to child molesting clergy

      December 31, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  19. Kami Lian

    We are driven by hopes, wants, wishes, and desires. If a person wants for God, then God talks to him or her. In another case, it is Allah doing the talking. Or it may be Yahweh speaking. Others will hear the voice of Krishna. It all depends on your desires.

    December 30, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      It all depends on your delusions.

      December 30, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Extra Medium

      Truly you want to hear what what your want to hear

      December 30, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  20. Bishop Hairy Palms

    If you believe in a "God" who takes the time to talk to you but couldn't be bothered to even lift a holly finger to stop the killing of 20 innocent children in their kindergarten classroom in CT, you are suffering from a serious mental illness called religion.

    December 30, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      amen!

      December 30, 2012 at 10:10 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.