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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. Brian

    And how does Luhrmann know this? Did Mr. God tell her? A neurologist told me that hyperreligiousity is a symptom of epilepsy in the lymbic region of the brain. Such patients hear and see all kinds of things that aren't there. Most of them tend to be narcissistic women.

    December 31, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  2. michael

    If one actually hears a real voice, then they should either get professional help or if it is a real voice in their home or car, etc... when no one else is able to be seen, then they should file an investigative report for stalking or harassment.... Those are my takes...However, GOD speaks to our souls thru our talking to Him (both silently and aloud)...Its not crazy to speak with our Heavenly Father aloud when alone or with others, but hearing voices is a problem that is caused by a chemical imbalance or the act of a cult or stalkers or harassers... File a complaint! Amen! God Bless everyone

    December 31, 2012 at 12:24 am |
  3. drishism

    Reblogged this on Ish Ism.

    December 31, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  4. actually....

    Chad

    @If you truely hear voices.... "What makes Yahweh any more real than Thor or Ra?"
    @Chad "your answer is "There are a lot of gods, who knows if any of them are real?
    not much of an answer.. you havent done any investigation at all into the Christian claims?
    Your logic is:
    – there are no gods
    – Christianity believes in a God
    – therefor Christianity is false

    is that about it?

    That second line is a problem....intention misrepresentation? as it isnt what was said..... twisting common tactic by someone with a weak position.

    December 31, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • actually....

      supposed to be a reply deeper in thread...didnt work

      December 31, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Chad is a complete fvckwad liar. He will intentionally lie and use improper definitions of words that were clearly not intended and any other sort of vile tactic. He's an atheist posing as the average christian apologist with their lies and sh!tty tactics.

      Recently, he asked me for the reasons I disbelieved. I gave them to him, and he turned around and said that they weren't reasons but conclusions. I have yet to hear back from him on an example of a reason for belief/disbelief that isn't also some form of conclusion.

      December 31, 2012 at 1:42 am |
  5. TalkingApe

    I do not find a talking serpent to be that implausible.

    December 31, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Akira

      This made me laugh...thanks.

      December 31, 2012 at 12:28 am |
  6. PROUDLIBERAL3

    Both praying to god or believing that god is talking to you makes you seriously disturbed. God is is a fiction.

    December 31, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  7. Surthurfurd

    In a debate on religion, the realist has the disadvantage of not being able to make up "facts" to justify their opinion.

    December 31, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • dale

      which facts are made up?

      December 31, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Surthurfurd

      When one relies on myth they are declaring something as a fact that is not valid.

      December 31, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • dale

      you didn't answer my question. you are using avoidance tactics to dance around the question. you said we make up 'facts,' all i'm asking you to answer me, is what facts are Christians making up? by simply saying it's a myth doesn't answer my question.

      December 31, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Surthurfurd

      Is the story of the Creation of the Universe in genesis valid to you?

      December 31, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Which facts are made up? The ones that are asserted that can'e be demonstrated. The chiristian god, Jesus and everything you claim about them that you can't demonstrated as being "facts".

      December 31, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • dale

      what's valid to me is the accuracy of the Bible.of course i have experienced God in many ways as well. i have seen nothing by any of you proving the Bible wrong. Aside from some feeble effort to take verses at face value and not look deeper into the meaning/context it was said is very misleading and conniving. taking a look at the Bible in what we know, the prophesies, and Jesus' accomplishments on earth, what's in question? how can i demonstrate Jesus to you without quoting the Bible. Jesus is the key to Christianity. The Bible is God. It's the Word of God. It's impossible to discredit.

      December 31, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • Surthurfurd

      So we get to choose our own facts based on what feels best? I sort of rely on what is independently verifiable.

      December 31, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      How do you know god is real? The bible says so.

      How do you know the bible is true? God says so.

      Circular reasoning.

      Dale, it is not up to us to prove the bible is false, it is on you and those who agree with you to prove it true. The burden of proof is on you and no matter how many times you try to switch the burden in the end you are the one making the claim.

      December 31, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • dale

      surthurfurd,

      that statement you just made, made absolutely no sense in response to mine. the Bible is a factual book. it is an accurate history book. a book that old, with no errors speaks for itself. my belief is the Bible, if you can't discredit it, you have nothing. i'm not meaning to taunt or anything, i'm just being blunt.

      December 31, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • Surthurfurd

      Dale: Genesis itself has 2 different orders for the sequence of the formation of the universe. Claiming something is valid because it is old, means we can look to the ancient Babylonians for truth.

      December 31, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • dale

      cheese,

      sure is convenient to use the 'burden lies with me card.' surthurfurd actually made the claim that christians make stuff up. i just asked what was made up. so surthurfurd, care to back up your claim?

      December 31, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      The bible is an extremely easy book to discredit. The universe was not created in the order the bible states, nor in the amount of "days" regardless of how you interpret the word "day." There was no world-wide flood and the ark as described would have collapsed under its own weight and not been seaworthy. Jesus talks about the flood as if it occurred, so Jesus was either lying or not the son of god. A child could discredit the bible twenty times before bed without even trying.

      December 31, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Dale,

      The christian religion is no more verifiable than any other religion humans have believed in. And the burden is on you, it is not a "card". That is the way claims are verified, claims are not accepted as being true UNTIL proven otherwise.

      December 31, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      @dale

      Do you understand why when you make a large purchase there's lawyer's agreements and a "closing?" Do you think maybe it has something to do with the buyer not wanting to find out later that he purchased a piece of worthless paper? Do you think that maybe it has to do with the person who is selling the property needing to provide proof of his claim that the property is his to sell?

      If you don't believe that the burden of proof rests on the claimant, will you buy this bridge I happen to own? It's a steal. It's worth about 50 billion dollars, but I'll sell it to you at .001% of that price. Don't think it's mine to sell? Of course it is. Prove it isn't. If you can't disprove it, then I must own the bridge. When can I expect your check?

      December 31, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • dale

      moby

      universe creation explained – http://www.neocrisis.com/faith-a-politics/264-smashing-bible-contradictions/3713-genesis-1-contradiction-debunked
      is this the contradiction you are talking about?

      and just saying that the ark would've collapsed doesn't mean anything. that discredits nothing because you said so

      December 31, 2012 at 1:28 am |
    • dale

      moby,

      that was a cute story about the bridge. in no why shape or form does that represent christianity. that stuff doens't work on me. on a serious note, surthurfurd said christians make stuff up. he finally answered my question when he talked about Genesis.

      December 31, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      dale, the creation account in Genesis is all fvcked up. The bible even has two accounts within the same page that contradict each other. I don't say that the ark would have collapsed, the laws of physics say that.

      Of course you can find some weirdo with an internet site somewhere to say that it all makes sense somehow someway. The Koran experts do the same trick, or didn't you know that? The bible fails miserably over and over and over again. It's a ridiculous book that makes perfect sense as a bunch of ancient, recycled myths becasue that's what it is.

      December 31, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      dale, my story wasn't supposed to represent christianity, it was supposed to represent proper logical argumentation. YOU are putting forth the claim; therefore, YOU must prove your claim. If I claim to have an alien living with me, do you have the obligation to prove me wrong before disbelieving, or are you going to disbelieve my claim until I prove it to you?

      Don't play stupid like all the other christians do, dale.

      December 31, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • dale

      moby

      here is a link for you about the bible. it has a lot of proof of its accuracy on there. i use links because they explain things much more clear than i can. if you really care about the proofs, you can read it over and see for yourself. something tells me you won't even bother, but i hope you do.

      http://www.clarifyingchristianity.com/b_proof.shtml

      December 31, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • dale

      moby,

      this explains the contradiction about the 2 creation stories.

      http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=1131

      December 31, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      No, dale, it doesn't. You think it does because you want the bible to be true and you're willing to accept inferior reasoning according to your confirmation bias. I also looked at the other websites you provided. The reasoning that they give is laughable. No student of logic would accept any of that tripe. It's just emotional, anecdotal support for people who have already decided to believe. It's not even rational argumentation, much less qualifying argumentation.

      If you'd like to pick one of those arguments out of the bunch, I'll be glad to show you what I mean, but I'm not doing any more than that. You choose the argument, I'll show you how it fails and why it svcks donkey azz. Fair?

      December 31, 2012 at 2:08 am |
    • dale

      moby

      pick the best thing you got

      December 31, 2012 at 2:11 am |
    • dale

      moby,

      would you have called yourself a christian at any point in life?? you said that you studied the Bible. like just studied, or you believed it at some point in your life?

      December 31, 2012 at 2:25 am |
  8. Pantheist

    Nope, I'm pretty sure you'd be as crazy as a fruit bat. Should be reason enough to exclude from firearm ownership; unless of course god speaks to you in a feminine voice.

    December 31, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • Crooooooks

      God spoken is Jesus Cry !

      December 31, 2012 at 12:12 am |
  9. organically

    Religion is the biggest scam in the history of humanity

    December 31, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • sybaris

      the ultimate ponzi scheme

      December 31, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  10. Robert

    God is real. In times of weakness is when God manifest Himself in people. When tragedies/shootings happen people seek His comfort. Your void in your life, the hole of emptiness you feel, that money, cars, house or family can not satisfy you, God can.

    December 30, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Robert, that's the surety and certainty of faith, as many believers of other gods have told me the same thing.

      December 31, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • Colin

      God is a crutch for the simple, weak members of society. To believe in God requires a significant ignorance of science and logic and a deep emotional weakness that prevents you from facing the World with courage and realism.

      December 31, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • tallulah13

      I don't have a void in my life. I don't have an empty feeling. I don't need a comforting myth to help me through my day. I get that some people need to believe that there is someone watching over them when they are in times of crisis, but believing in something does not make that thing real.

      December 31, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • dale

      these are words of the proud. like you don't need help. the thing is, apart from God, you can do nothing. when you die, you are nothing. (if you keep following what you preach) going to hell is real, displaying an ignorant and prideful character makes you have a false sense of strength, when we find strength in Jesus. you guys seem to have the answers, enlighten us will you? what happens when we die? and why? do you know? if i am wrong, please show me the right way, and i want proof of your findings?

      December 31, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • sybaris

      Sorry Robert I just don't loathe myself enough to be a Christian

      December 31, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Dale, just becasue we atheists are honest enough to say "we don't know" does not mean that your answer of "big invisible sky wizard did it with magic spellz" is a better answer.

      We don't know what happens when we die. Deal with it. My guess is that it's fairly similar to what it's like before you were born, and I have seen no evidence to make me think your opinion is correct or the opinion of any other god believer.

      December 31, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • dale

      when you discredit the Bible, what's the biggest issue you have with it? do you believe the Bible is made up, or real? do you believe in the prophesies of the Bible? do you believe the miracles that were seen by many that Jesus did? do you believe that there was a Jesus? i'm just trying to understand how you can live with not knowing how we are here. have you put in a valiant effort to find out, or you just don't care?

      December 31, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • mama k

      Sorry Robert, but if you want to make it in country music you got to put something about some dead flowers along the road or something with a little more umpff in it, dear.

      December 31, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • tallulah13

      Dale, there are no contemporary non-biblical accounts of the life of Jesus. The Romans were meticulous record keepers, and the events described in the bible would have been noticed. The events described in the bible surrounding Christ's birth do not correspond with the real historical events of that time. In fact, many of the alterations seem to be made in an effort to make Christ appear to fulfill jewish prophecy.

      The bible itself if full of contradictions. There is simply no logical reason to believe that the bible is anything more than a compilation of middle eastern mythology.

      December 31, 2012 at 12:56 am |
    • dale

      tallulah13,

      your roman argument explained – http://bede.org.uk/jesusmyth.htm

      please read it all if you think your roman argument has merit, because it doesn't.

      December 31, 2012 at 1:41 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      dale, the bible is wrong in so many places on so many levels that you can't even separate them apart from each other. Basically, it's a bunch of myths that have been reimagined from other cultures and religions, edited, revised, changed, and then all that over again. (Mostly before it was ever in any sort of "testament" or part of any historical do c ument for the Jews or anything like that).

      Also, the logic is ridiculous. The god is too contradictory to even hold together long enough to evaluate as "real" or "imagined," and the reasoning behind the various laws and spiritual principles are too stupid to fool a child. People believe what they are trained and brainwashed into believing. It's why Muslims raise muslims and so on. The beliefs and stories and ideas themselves are STUPID!!

      December 31, 2012 at 1:47 am |
    • dale

      moby,

      point out the wrongs you think the Bible has. I'll be more than happy as long as you actually look at what i provide you.

      December 31, 2012 at 1:53 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Start to finish, bud. But no, I studied the bible for most of my life and became an atheist while in the middle of a four-year research/creation project into two of the bible's most important concepts. I wrestled with it from every angle I care to. It just doesn't make sense as an arbiter of truth. It makes perfect sense as what it is-–a book of mashed-up myths of jewish and other cultures. Heck, even the cultures themselves that created the original stories and doc uments wouldn't recognize them the way they are in the bible.

      December 31, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • dale

      moby

      that's what i thought you would say. you care so much to bash the bible and its credibility. i am willing to explain to you your issues that you have with it. it's rather hard to explain the whole bible to you, but much easier to tackle the biggest issues that you do have with it.

      December 31, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • tallulah13

      Dale? Try this site:

      http://www.minnesotaatheists.org/news-and-media/letters-and-essays/111-historys-troubling-silence-about-jesus-by-lee-salisbury

      December 31, 2012 at 2:44 am |
    • dale

      tallulah13

      http://www.jesuscourse.info/thejesuscourse/extra-pages/historical-jesus.html

      December 31, 2012 at 3:17 am |
  11. VickiGriffin

    My heart truly breaks for most of you people. I can say that I feel so much empathy and compassion for you for the unbelief that you express. How sad that my Savior was born into this world vowed 2000 years ago knowing that these comments and worse would be made, crucifying Him over and over. It DOES take more faith for you to take this stand than it does for me to believe the Words and Promises Jesus has given me. You have nothing....no words, no promises. We have it all in writing. I can promise that my brothers and sisters in Christ and me will be praying that you will be be enlightened to the Truth before it is eternally too late.

    December 30, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Colin

      And you will die and rot like the rest of us. The fact that you have to look back 2,000 years to some silly Bronze Age mythology from the other side of the World to feel comfortable in your life suggests you are a pathetic, frightened little man.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Omar the Flatulent

      Uh, 'scuse me, but, um....isn't "eternally too late"....well, it's not exactly an oxymoron, but it's not proper English, either. Sorry. I have to go eat more beans now. It gives me a sense of ident.ity.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      I have many wonderful truths: The family whom I support and supports me. The neighbors who watch out for my kids when they are down the street. The hundreds of children I have been honored to have taught over the years. The fact that I so often see people holding the door for another, volunteering to help others, etc... all the time is wonderful and does not need a mythology to excuse it all away with.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Bet

      We have it all in writing.

      You mean that old book of fairy tales, horror stories, murder, rape, incest, genocide, talking snakes and talking burning bushes that was compiled by rich, powerful men with ulterior motives?

      I have a bridge to sell you. I'll put it in writing.

      December 31, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • tallulah13

      I'm glad you love your religion, Vicki. That's great. But as there is not a single shred of evidence to support the existence of any god, and only dubious evidence to support the existence of Jesus Christ, I don't think my devotion to reality is doing any harm.

      December 31, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  12. Correctlycenter

    " I AM the Alpha and the Omega- the beginning and the end." Says the Lord God." I AM the One who is, who always was, and who is still to come." Revelation 1:8...

    December 30, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • sybaris

      *facepalm*

      December 31, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • Bet

      Who's the black private dick
      That's a sex machine to all the chicks?
      SHAFT!
      Ya damn right!
      Who is the man that would risk his neck
      For his brother man?
      SHAFT!
      Can you dig it?
      Who's the cat that won't cop out
      When there's danger all about?
      SHAFT!
      Right On!
      They say this cat Shaft is a bad mother...
      SHUT YOUR MOUTH!
      I'm talkin' 'bout Shaft.
      THEN WE CAN DIG IT!

      December 31, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • mama k

      Revelation?? You're going to quote someone who OD'ed on myrrh and crashed his camel on some island??

      December 31, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • tallulah13

      Thank you, Bet. That made me happier than you will ever know.

      December 31, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • sam stone

      wow, a quote....you don't get any more convincing than a quote.....congrats

      December 31, 2012 at 2:06 am |
  13. Colin

    "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."

    Yes, and he was shot to death for his civil rights efforts.

    If this is the kind of assurance we can expect from the voices in our head/Christian sky-fairy, perhaps we are better off without it.

    December 30, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Christian7

      "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. " Proverbs 14:12

      December 30, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Colin

      Such as.....what MLK did.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Wow, what a prophet. "Eventually you'll die if you keep doing that!!" gee, really?

      December 30, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Truelegend7

      He fought for a cause and the assurance was that do not fear because what you are doing will help generations at that time and to come. It is real because if it was not he would not carry out the task was at hand. No human being will go through something that will bring death on them,that's obvious. Did the president of that time was doing anything about the situation no because it would have showed. He died for equality,change,hope,dreams,human rights,something that majority congress and America did not want because it would have cause them not to re-elected again(reputation and fame). He was built for the task and human beings are made of of feelings and we do fear things. His relationship with Jesus kept him going. I believe Jesus Christ does exist only to those who believe. Find out for yourself and you will see. One Love brother

      December 31, 2012 at 12:12 am |
  14. Jim P.

    So, when the voices in your head tell you to tie your son to a rock and butcher him like a sheep or kill everyone in the next town over when you conquer it, except for the little girls which you can keep for your own use, how do you know it's *not* this god you think talks to people?

    December 30, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
  15. blade1975

    The point is just cause you THINK god told you something, or read a old dusty book on what you THINK god said....

    Is no way to run a life or a country.

    December 30, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Christian7

      Are you sure? Why do Atheist have a higher suicide rate than theists?

      December 30, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Probably because suicide takes an amount of courage that most believers don't have. Also, if you think an action is going to buy you eternal torture, you'll avoid it; thus, christians won't do it. Suicide can be a very honorable and noble act, don't you agree?

      December 30, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Christian7

      Moby Schtick, No. I do not think suicide is an honorable act. It is avoidance, not confrontation. It hurts people that love you. Go watch Junior Seau's mom cry on video and hear the pain he caused her after he committed suicide.

      December 31, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Learn the English language, dipsh!t. I said "can be" not "always is." Is that the sort of sloppy reasoning you have to do to be a christian?

      December 31, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • Christian7

      Moby Schtick, I do not think of you as someone with better reasoning skills than me. Let me rephrase it so you have no way out:

      I do not believe "it can be" an honorable and noble act when the real reason is the cowardly avoidance of life.

      December 31, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  16. Surthurfurd

    It is tough to live in a society where we need to give deference to those who hear voices and believe things with a complete lack of proof.

    December 30, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  17. Omar the Flatulent

    "You may be right, I may be crazy. But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for!"

    Um....some old song or another.....

    December 30, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Akira

      Billy Joel!

      December 31, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  18. Omar the Flatulent

    "What I write in my books is mostly other people's opinions."

    Robert Anton Wilson, in a personal correspondence to me. Uh, before he was dead, that is.

    December 30, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  19. Jeff

    If you told me God were talking to you, I would have you 5150'd asap.

    December 30, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Christian7

      And you are probably one of those that asked people for proof that God exists too right? I suspect people don't give you any.

      December 30, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  20. lifelonghockeyfan

    "My Take: If you hear God speak audibly, you (usually) aren’t crazy" –> But you may be crazy or you just have a vivid and active imagination. There, now you can skip reading the article.

    December 30, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Michael

      If one actually hears a real voice, then they should either get professional help or if it is a real voice in their home or car, etc... when no one else is able to be seen, then they should file an investigative report for stalking or harassment.... Those are my takes...However, GOD speaks to our souls thru our talking to Him (both silently and aloud)...Its not crazy to speak with our Heavenly Father aloud when alone or with others, but hearing voices is a problem that is caused by a chemical imbalance or the act of a cult or stalkers or harassers... File a complaint! Amen! God Bless all

      December 31, 2012 at 12:20 am |
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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.