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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. Thoth

    Ok, first of all there is a big difference between Schizo and Delusional. Most people who believe they hear some god, or have some hallucinatory experience are delusional at the time. Even the example of Oliver Sacks – his hallucination was a result of methanphetimines, not divine inspiration. And let's consider the author's decade of "research". By her own admission limited to believers. Go figure. People who believe in a certain god can hear him even though no one else can. Yep, that's good sound scientifically based research.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  2. BenF

    TM, thank you for this article.

    To all you haters out there: please stop hating – you are only hurting yourself. Live and let live.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  3. Billy Rite

    Most of the ethiest are very resonable people who want to know the Truth, and Jesus says "the Truth shall set you free".
    Untill you are willing to humble yourself and learn from the other side, with humility put your self in the other persons view and pray that the Holly Spirit will open you into this great mistrery that the wise and the learned find it hard to undestand. Likewise for Evengalical to help and Loves an ethiest he/she need to be open and learn with humility their undestanding of God. then Loves them like no one else. The bible says of all things" Loves Never fail"

    December 31, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      The truth *shall* set you free! Hallelujah!

      The truth is, there is no Superman, Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, Bogeyman, Batman or god(s).

      December 31, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • JWT

      Again with the "atheists are wrong:. They are not wrong at all.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Reasnable

      Now Billy
      You will find most atheist were brought up being heavily exposed to your christian/jesus delusion, hard not to be influenced by all that god crap allowed in this nation. The reason we became atheists is by using reason and logic, we understand that none of the many gods are real, they are all man made myths. A little education has got to help with your thought process, try as best you can.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Thoth

      Prove Jesus says anything......

      December 31, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Knowledge is a subset of belief. You could call knowledge "justified true belief". So while it's reasonable to say you believe in things you know it isn't valid to say you know everything you believe. This is where religion makes its biggest fallacy. Theists make claims of knowledge when the only justification is an appeal to faith. In other words accepting something as "true" without any verification. The problem here is that you can use faith as an excuse to believe in anything. Christians, Mormons, Muslims , Scientologists, whatever... all use the same method to support their claims. It doesn't matter if it's true or not the methodology is still invalid.
      Time and again we hear stuff like what you said. "Jesus' truth" What is that supposed to mean? Jesus never wrote down a thing. His apostles with the exception of Paul were tradesmen and likely illiterate as well...so thy didn't write about Jesus. Instead we have conflicting accounts by anonymous authors decades after his death in an example of the biggest game of telephone ever. The credibility of any of it is stretched so thin it's ridiculous. Not to mention that the Bible is a holy book. It is intended as self-promoting propaganda. Tha's its purpose and its bias. There is no other aspect of your life where you hold evidence to such a low standard.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  4. Pray to Godzilla, the one *true* god!

    Or ye shall be swept away in the tide of her coming!

    Hear me, and repent before it is too late!

    December 31, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Amen

      December 31, 2012 at 8:24 am |
  5. capnmike

    Hearing something that doesn't exist is, yes, crazy.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Even if it's Elvis?

      December 31, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Which God?

      @Jimmy Joe Jim Bob. Thank you, Thank you ver' y much.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  6. mark

    No.
    You can be sure that if anyone says they actually heard god speak to them, yes, they are certifiably insane.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • JJ

      Or they are suffering from a brain tumor.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:06 am |
  7. GO_GOP

    Come and embrace Christianity – the only way to go to heaven. He is waiting for you with open arms at the gates of heaven. Do not try his patience. Keep rejecting HIM at your own peril. Hell is only a short way from Heaven if you do not follow him.

    December 31, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • the AnViL

      come and embrace reality. there are no gods, there is no heaven. reject the delusion.... evolve.

      zing!

      December 31, 2012 at 8:21 am |
  8. barry heath

    Religion is a mental illness,period..if you hear voices,then you are suffering from delusion and need therapy....

    December 31, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • Rob

      Exactly

      December 31, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • Poltergeist

      An hallucination and a delusion are different mental phenomena. Delusions have stimuli based in reality, hallucinations do not. Hallucinations can be triggered in sane minds, usually through stress, fatigue, drugs, or sensory deprivation. They also occur in a portion of the sane population, whether they believe it's Gods voice or not. If you respect science so much, at the very least you could learn some terminology and facts.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  9. Joe in PA

    First, I have a number of friends who are religious. My own saintly mother is very religious (despite her loss of faith in Catholicism and jumping ship to some other version of Christianity). Everybody wants to believe in something and although I find all of this religion stuff kinda silly, I don't start conversations with the aforementioned friends and family that way.

    I do find it disturbing that there are posters here who state (or implicitly make the statement based on their views) that they are agnostics or atheists who believe, as I do, that personal freedom is vital, but then proceed to bash the personal opinions who have chosen religion as their path. How about showing a bit of understanding. You're giving the rest of us a bad name.

    December 31, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • JJ

      I think you'll find that most atheists and other non-Christians who lash out at Christians have been persecuted and liberties threatened by Christians. We're tired of their delusions and endless fight to turn the US into a theocracy and to force all to kneel to and respect their imaginary friend

      December 31, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Would you say the same of those adults who believe the Superman is real? How about adults who believe in the Tooth Fairy, or Santa Claus?

      No, those people would clearly be considered insane, and rightly so. How is a belief in a mythical and omnipotent sky creature any less delusional?

      December 31, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • capnmike

      Understanding? You want UNDERSTANDING? Churches pay no taxes, own billions in property, go around brainwashing everybody they can get their claws on into believing a bunch of nonsense and lies so they will continue to be fleeced, and throw their "god" in everybody's face like it actually exists instead of being a human invention, and you want "understanding"? How about understanding that religion is nothing but a huge scam, and that YOU HAVE BEEN HAD! What church you go to makes no difference...it doesn't even matter if you go to no church at all...if you believe this "spiritual" claptrap really exists, you have been victimized. What Atheism is simply saying is that IT'S TIME TO WAKE UP!

      December 31, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • Steve Wilson, Canada

      Joe, are you serious? Tell that to all the bible thumprs who knock on my door once a month. Why can't THEY allow ME to believe what I want? One of these days, one of them is going to leave my yard with a black eye and a broken nose.

      We atheists are tired of this three ring circus. It's called standing up for yourself.

      It's VERY disturbing that there are politicians who look to "God" to help them make decisions concerning very real issues.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  10. Happy

    Happy New Year

    Raising a chalice of wine into the air, Pope Leo X toasted: "How well we know what a profitable superst_ition this fable of Christ has been for us ...

    December 31, 2012 at 7:56 am |
  11. christopher ferguson

    Jesus was really a chick! because I know!

    December 31, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • Hmmm!

      The Crying Game, with gender reversal?

      December 31, 2012 at 8:00 am |
  12. NClaw441

    I wonder why there has to be so much anger from both sides (believers and non-believers). I happen to be a believer, but I recognize that what I believe is founded on faith. Those of us who are Christians who claim proof of God's existence have an uphill battle. God did not set things up that way. He certainly, being God, could have provided no doubt of His existence, but this would have resulted in robotic worship of Him. I don't think that is what God wanted. I believe God wants us to want to find Him, believe in Him and live as He wants us to live. I believe that God provides us with the choice, so that choosing to believe is meaningful. At the same time, I know that what I believe is based on faith and not proof. I am OK with that.

    Those of us who are Christians, if we are interested in others experiencing the joy we have in our faith, ought to show that joy by how we live, and not by issuing threats of condemnation by God if others don't believe as we do. Simply put, our message should be a positive one rather than negative. That is how our Example, Christ, lived and taught. He did not condemn, nor did He come to condemn. If I were a non-believer, but was searching for the truth with an open mind, I would be much more willing to examine the Christian faith if it were presented as the joyful way of life it can be, rather than a dour existence some seem to make it to be.

    I cannot understand why those who do not believe feel it necessary to condemn those who do. It is your right of course, but why spend the time? No one can force you to believe if you don't want to believe.

    December 31, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • God is not real

      b/c believers have condemned those who did not believe for the recorded history of mankind

      its a bit odd being on the other end of the table, huh?

      December 31, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • christopher ferguson

      i think some of the anxiety from the atheists (myself) find it harassing with the constant blasting of trying to be converted. Part of the "faith" is to preach the word of god. I think we. the atheists would be less aggressive if that was the case.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      "I cannot understand why those who do not believe feel it necessary to condemn those who do."

      What hypocrisy!

      I'll tell you why: because you are mentally ill.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • NClaw441

      Jimmy, all due respect, but is that how any of us ought to treat those we believe to be ill, whether mentally or otherwise? (I don't conced the mentally ill claim you make, but if you believe it, shouldn't the response to illness be compassion, even among non-believers?)

      December 31, 2012 at 7:57 am |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      NClaw441: Shall we be meek against those who harm us with their ignorance? No. They should be ridiculed for their delusion, just as they take purpose from the ridicule of those who do not suffer their delusion.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • NClaw441

      Christopher, I kind of get what you are saying. On the other hand, if one's faith includes a requirement to spread that faith, what else should a Christian do? I also run into those who, though Christians (or claiming to be) believe some things different than I do. My response is– I believe differently than you about that. It is a matter of faith.

      All of us believe that what we believe is correct, and other beliefs are wrong, otherwise, why believe it? But if we are honest, we have to acknowledge that whatever we believe, or don't believe, is not subject to proof and is a matter of faith. Frankly, I can't blame those who don't believe as I do. I don't think faith is something anyone can will themselves to have. I do think that it is a matter of enough importance that it deserves serious contemplation and searching. I am always happy to discuss matters of faith with others, but I don't claim to be the authority for anyone but myself.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • NClaw441

      Jimmy, you assume that those who don't believe as you do are delusional. That is a matter that cannot be proved, or at least it hasn't been proven yet.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      NClaw441: I don't believe. Your argument fails at that premise.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • capnmike

      Nobody is "Condemning " you. .. Churches pay no taxes, own billions in property, go around brainwashing everybody they can get their claws on into believing a bunch of nonsense and lies so they will continue to be fleeced, and throw their "god" in everybody's face like it actually exists instead of being a human invention, and you want "understanding"? How about understanding that religion is nothing but a huge scam, and that YOU HAVE BEEN HAD! What church you go to makes no difference...it doesn't even matter if you go to no church at all...if you believe this "spiritual" claptrap really exists, you have been victimized. What Atheism is simply saying is that IT'S TIME TO WAKE UP!

      December 31, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Reasonable

      NClaw
      If all the christian believers had your outlook, there would be far less criticism from non-believers and please understand that it is all organized religions and dieties that we do not condone interfering with government. The christian faiths are quite paranoid about this and yet organizations like the bishops of the RCC maintain that their allegiance to their faith trumps following some of the laws enacted by the people. For example sharia law, mormon bigamy, church of cannabis, etc. are verbotten!

      December 31, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • JWT

      NClaw as long as you feel a need to convert those who do not believe they will feela need to tell you to foad.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • John

      Hey KickSeek,
      This will really fry your noodle. If god is omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipotent (all-powerful) that means he could never change his mind, because if he did, then he would have known he was going to change it in the first place so it wouldn't count.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • TG

      Does a genuine Christian really have "an uphill battle" to prove God's existence ? For example, if a person were to go to a home that is well designed, well stocked with food, and very attractive, does the designer have to be there for a person to clearly recognize that it was designed it and brought to a delightful finish ?

      Evidence is everywhere that bespeaks of a designer, as for instance our bodies. On a personal level, the human hand has a particularly refined sense of touch. According to Smithsonian magazine, researchers found that our hand can detect a dot just three microns high. (A human hair has a diameter of 50 to 100 microns.)

      However, by “using a texture rather than a dot, the researchers found the hand can detect roughness just 75 nanometers high”—a nanometer being one thousandth of a micron! Such remarkable sensitivity is attributed to about 2,000 touch receptors in each fingertip.

      In addition, our sense of touch also plays a key role in our health and well-being, whereby "the caress of another person releases hormones that can ease pain and clear the mind". (U. S. News and World Report, Jan 5, 1997) Why is our body is "loaded" with sensors that cause us to enjoy life ? This is evidence of a loving Designer, Jehovah God.(1 John 4:8)

      There are those who have doubts about the existence of God or dismiss it entirely. About 3000 years ago, David said that "the wicked one according to his superciliousness makes no search; All his ideas are: “There is no God.”(Ps 10:4)

      The Hebrew word for "superciliousness" is gobahh 'aph, literally meaning "according to the height of his nose." Many never look past their noses at the evidence that bespeaks of a precisely tuned universe that is the creation of a Master Designer. These make no real search. It's an inconvenience.

      The apostle Paul wrote that God's "invisible [qualities] are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable."(Rom 1:20)

      December 31, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • TG

      Often the reason why many discount the Bible, is because the churches provide nothing that merits examination. They continue to say just to "believe on the Lord Jesus" without so much as one grain of real substance that gives evidence of a Creator, of an Almighty God.

      It is as Jesus said in his day, that the "rich man, which was clothed in purple and linen" or the Jewish religious leaders (modern day counterpart, the religious leaders of Christendom), provided only "crumbs" to the Lazarus class or common people.(Hebrew, ‛am-ha·’a´rets or "people of the land", Luke 16:19-21) It has not changed down till today, for the churches gives nothing of any substance truthwise that a person can "sink their teeth into".

      December 31, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  13. christopher ferguson

    Give me a break! religion was created for power and control period. Self induced schizophrenia!

    December 31, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • JWT

      Psychosis – not schizophrenia. Being psychotic is only one part of sz.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:44 am |
  14. GO_GOP

    Atheists claim to know all but cannot answer why we are here or how we were created and if there was a Big Bang (their favorite topic) how can an explosion happen without a fuse? You atheist make me laugh with your ignorance. The Bible has all the answers.

    December 31, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Arrogance at its best....too funny!

      December 31, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • midwest rail

      Delusional idiocy.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • GO_GOP

      Midwest: You have a logical answer to my point? Or are you going to hurl abuses like all ignorant atheists who don't have any answers.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • midwest rail

      You make unfounded assertions that have no basis in reality. My answer was the only logical response to your post.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • God is not real

      If god created everything, who/what created God?

      December 31, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      "If god created everything, who/what created God?"

      Chuck Norris

      December 31, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • NClaw441

      GO GOP– You and I believe in God and believe the Bible, but that does not settle it for everyone else. Each of us has to come to faith on his/her own. And actually it is NOT on our own, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). I do not want to be the one who causes anyone to turn away from God, or not engage in soul-searching about faith.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      "I do not want to be the one who causes anyone to turn away from God"

      You cannot turn away from that which does not exist.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • John

      Wow GO_GOP. That statement is so wrong in so many ways that I can only recommend the Hayden planetarium if you are ever up in NYC. Outside of that youtube Neil Degrasse Tyson.

      December 31, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • John

      @GO_GOP Also, Please stop referring to people as "you Atheists" as if we formed some kind of club or religion. Atheist is simply a statement referring to non-belief in God/s. We are also AEasterBunnyests, AFairyests, AGoblinests ETC... I also do not believe in Elves, or Angels for that matter. To turn Atheism into a club or a religion is kind of like saying NOT playing baseball is a sport. or NOT collecting stamps is a hobby.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  15. floda

    I am seriously praying that God whispers in Putin's ear to release my 2 grandaughters from a Russian orphanage
    They were due to come to the US this week.

    December 31, 2012 at 7:36 am |
  16. Gerald

    I see the closet people are out today again, they always travel single file to hide thier numbers. A little religion always brings them out LOL

    December 31, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      The closet people?

      You've been reading too much fiction, aka "The bible".

      December 31, 2012 at 7:43 am |
  17. kickseek

    "They were more common among those who felt comfortable getting caught up in their imaginations."

    There you have it. They imagine they hear a god. They really "hear" a thought that reinforces the stance they already want to believe. Like when Bushie said he heard god tell him to invade Iraq. (Maybe Dick Cheney is god?) Charlie Manson heard voices too, but do you think they were those of your god?

    Religious belief is bunk, and organized religion results in dangerous power structures.

    December 31, 2012 at 7:35 am |
  18. Big Man

    Moses was on hallucinogenic mushrooms when he heard the voice of god. Imagine that, one of the pillars of the abrahamic religion was a druggie.

    December 31, 2012 at 7:30 am |
  19. GO_GOP

    To Colin and other sinners: Be afraid, very afraid. Judgement days is upon us and our Lord will payback with a vengeance. Repent for your sins atheists. Seek Jesus and be saved before it is too late.

    December 31, 2012 at 7:16 am |
    • sam stone

      Oooooh.....pretty scary, I tell you that

      December 31, 2012 at 7:20 am |
    • Mirosal

      Sounds like the same headline from the news of 2000 years ago. It wasn't true then, and it's not true now. Your "god" is no more real then Zeus. I think I'll take George carlin's advice on this one. I'll worship the sun, but pray to Joe Pesci. At least I know those things are real. Your god does not scare me in the least. It's the fundies like you who want to regulate and legislate MY life who are scary. Would you impose your "holy text" on a Muslim or a Hindu? What would you say to a Muslim or Hindu to convice them YOUR "god" is the right one?

      December 31, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • Mark Yelka

      You want judgement? Okay: you should have said, "Judgement days are upon us," not "Judgement days is upon us." 🙂

      December 31, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • JWT

      Ahh yet another person that believes their personal version of god is the schoolyard bully. There is no reason to be afraid of that which is untrue.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:30 am |
    • GO_GOP

      My typo does not reduce the truth of my words. Mark: You will go straight to hell. Be afraid.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • jeezus saves

      Jeeeezus Saves and so should you
      -Jeezus Savings and Loan Bank of Texass "when the rapture happens, we'll empty yer safety deposit box for yew

      December 31, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • christopher ferguson

      Give me a break! religion was created for power and control period. Self induced schizophrenia!

      December 31, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • Mirosal

      Actually, your threats of "judgement" from a supposed 'loving' god negate the validity, and weight, of your words. The more you scream "god will get you for that", the more you really will be thought of as a delusional fool in dire need of a psych work-up.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • kickseek

      If god is omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipotent (all-powerful) and the creator of all, they he/she/it understands everything I think and feel and why I do the things I do. He/she/it made me this way, knowing everything I would do, and therefore is responsible for all of it, just as a kid is responsible for what his/her Lego creation looks like. If god is going to punish me for all eternity for something he/she/it manipulated into happening, then god is a sadistic monster. I will not worship a sadistic monster.

      I prefer to do good in the world because it is best for humanity collectively and for me personally. If you do good only out of fear of a vengeful god, that's truly frightening and shows sociopathic tendencies.

      It's time for humans to outgrown their religious make-believe and focus on making the world better. Thousands of years of organized religion has only made things worse.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Pray to Godzilla, fool, or be swept away in the tide of his coming!

      December 31, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • Joe in PA

      @jeezus saves: Or even better (spoken like an over-the-top game show host): Jesus saves sinners...then redeems them for valuable prizes!

      @GO_GOP: "Mark: You will go straight to hell." You forgot to add - Go directly to hell. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • John

      @GO_GOP – Im a sinner. Im a sinner. Pick me. Pick me! OOOOH OOOOH OOOH. Pick me. Me First..... ME ME ME!

      December 31, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Mark Yelka

      @GO_GOP – You called it a "typo," but a typo excludes errors of ignorance such as spelling errors and grammar. You are very quick to dismiss judgement and try to find a reason to not accept punishment, but very eager to lay judgement onto others. Your ignorance extends also to matters religious, it seems to me. The existence of gods is not proven and any worship of them is delusional at worst and naive at best.

      December 31, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  20. Colin

    Ahhhh, no religious people with a point to make, just the same nauseating ad hominin attacks I have come to expect. I am going skiing.

    Happy New Year to all.

    December 31, 2012 at 7:15 am |
    • GO_GOP

      Read the Bible and be saved. The truth lies there.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:17 am |
    • sam stone

      free people do not need to be "saved", only slaves

      December 31, 2012 at 7:21 am |
    • Mirosal

      You would be surprised at how many Atheists have read the buy-bull. Most of us did have a religious education at some point in our lives. We read that book, were quizzed and tested on it. Why do you think we are Atheists? Because we actually did read that book, that's why!!! I think it was Mark Twain who said "The Bible is the greatest tool for Atheism."

      December 31, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • fixed it for you

      RE: "GO_GOP ...The truth lies there..."

      The truth, lies there..." FIXED it for you.
      Translation for fundamentalists: The comma implies 'and' so it's like saying: The truth AND lies there.

      December 31, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • John

      @GO_GOP – Freudian slip? Read the Bible and be saved. The TRUTH LIES THERE. Let me get this straight...

      December 31, 2012 at 8:56 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.