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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. ----------Lori________

    Bet--

    2000 years ago John had Revelations before his eyes-this delusion you speak of is and has been happening–you can laugh, ridicule and deny all the way to the next ten years, but while you laugh I think it might be wise to at least pay attention to John's prophecies because they are happening– the sea did give up the dead December 26, 2004 in Indonesia when the tsunami wiped out 283,000 people

    January 2, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • the AnViL

      a tsunami killing hundreds of thousands doesn't qualify as the "sea giving up its dead". the tsunami was a case of the sea killing people.

      and all of those "prophecies" you and so many people are so fond of from the revelation of st.john – are arguable.

      why not discuss the long list of failed biblical prophecies??

      January 2, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Bet

      Lori

      Still having trouble with the reply button, I see.

      I was raised in a hyper religious home, went to parochial school for twelve years, then was a born again xtian for another couple of decades. I've read the bible cover to cover several times, including ten years of private study with a bible scholar. I've studied it in English, Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic. So I'll be glad to discuss the bible with you anytime and anyplace.

      As far as your example, that is not an example of the sea "giving up its dead". It's an example of the sea being put in motion by underwater tectonic activity, resulting in a tsunami that drowned hundreds of thousands of people, including two friends of mine and their dogs. More like the sea "taking living people and animals and killing them" if you want to be anthropomorphic about it.

      January 2, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • ^^^

      ----Lori________=LYING TROLL WITHOUT AN EDUCATION OR ABILITY TO THINK RATIONALLY...READ BELOW; SHE THINKS CNN ACTUALLY CLOSES THREADS...RATHER BRAIN DEAD BUT THAT TAKE LITTLE TO REALIZE WHEN YOU READ HER LIES AND VARIOUS RANTINGS

      January 2, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Bob

      bet
      No your cat is a familiar spirit, which is actually demonic, so with all your knowledge how come you wouldn't have known that? Someone who jokes about the cat being God I really want to question his walk with the Lord.

      January 2, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Bet

      Bob/Lori

      You "both" seem to have trouble using the reply button.

      I know all about familiar spirits, don't worry, I tested my cat according to 1 John 4:1-6 and he passed with flying colors. For good measure , I made him recite the lord's prayer and he was able to say it from beginning to end, so he's not a witch either.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • frank

      Gordon Lightfoot you are not, Lori.

      January 2, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
  2. JCMan

    Make sure it's God you're hearing. I saw a recent tv show about the government using microwave technology to put voices in people's heads. Maybe there is some truth to the tin foil hats.

    January 2, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • the AnViL

      yes – i agree – maybe head protection is necessary...

      note: aluminum foil won't work – which is why i have designed a wearable faraday cage guaranteed to block 100% of those pesky dangerous mind-controlling wavelengths of electromagnetic energy from permeating the skull and entering the cranial cavity.

      only $399.95... which is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

      ha chaaaaaaa

      January 2, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
  3. ----------Lori________

    Not that I have much time today– hello to those who have been on for a few days–soon I am sure they will close the thread, but the atheists still abound here!

    The mental illness lies in anyone believing they can tell another how and what they think and feel and experience is false. That is delusions of grandeur indeed. It is arrogant and childish and based on fear from those who do not feel it!

    January 2, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      So if I think I am Mark Twain and I feel it and believe....it is wrong for anyone to disagree?

      January 2, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  4. Bet

    My cat told me that there would be a car accident on I405 today. If my cat is right, that proves he is GOD!

    January 2, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Bet

      Accident(s) on I-405 northbound at Wardlow Rd Right hand shoulder blocked due to accident on I-405 San Diego Freeway Northbound at Pacific Avenue.

      End Time:
      Jan 02, 2013 11:53am

      http://www.accidentin.com/accidents_on/california/i-405.htm

      My cat was right! He even had the time and place right!

      My cat is GOD!

      January 2, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Your cat is a prophet, not a God.
      Perhaps miss kitty is in contact with the Archangel Meowroni.

      January 2, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

      god is a dog and a dog is a god

      January 2, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Bet

      Doc, you may be right, but he keeps saying he is god. And that I need to buy more tuna.

      January 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  5. Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

    I would like to propose that religious beliefs be placed in the DSM as a category of mental illness for the following reasons:

    (1) Hallucinations – the person has invisible friends who (s)he insists are real, and to whom (s)he speaks daily, even though nobody can actually see or hear
    these friends.

    (2) Delusions – the patient believes that the invisible friends have magical powers to make them rich, cure cancer, bring about world peace, and will do so eventually if asked.

    (3) Denial/Inability to learn – though the requests for world peace remain unanswered, even after hundreds of years, the patients persist with the praying behaviour, each time expecting different results.

    (4) Inability to distinguish fantasy from reality – the beliefs are contingent upon ancient mythology being accepted as historical fact.

    (5) Paranoia – the belief that anyone who does not share their supernatural concept of reality is "evil," "the devil," "an agent of Satan".

    (6) Emotional abuse – ­ religious concepts such as sin, hell, cause feelings of guilt, shame, fear, and other types of emotional "baggage" which can scar the
    psyche for life.

    January 2, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Saraswati

      You might want to learn what all those words actually mean in a psychological context because you're way off on most of them...as several of us pointed out when you posted this weeks ago.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • NClaw441

      Are you prepared to declare a very substantial portion of the population mentally ill? And what would you prescribe as a treatment for faith?

      January 2, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
  6. Sorry conservatives

    1.) Militant liberals will now stereotype that all conservatives must also be christian.

    2. Militant liberals will then reason that all christians must also be hallucniating

    3. Militant liberals will then insist that conservatives be considered inelligible for weaponry under the second amendment by nature of mental illness and therefore.....

    No conservatives will be allowed to own weaponry and their voting right may also be called into question.

    Heck of an article.

    Glad I'm a moderate.

    January 2, 2013 at 11:25 am |
    • Saraswati

      This story said nothing about Conservatives or any political belief. In fact, the only example given of a religious person experiencing this was MLK...hardly considered a Conservative.

      January 2, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • the AnViL

      i am hardly what i'd call a "militant liberal" – and i don't necessarily believe anyone has to be anything other than a person of sound reason to determine that religious belief is akin to mental illness. if you believe in an imaginary man in the sky – you are delusional. people keep trying to candy-coat it.. like delusional thinking or mental illness is some sort of protected divine right – just because that level of ignorance is so common and prevalent.

      allowing people who are known to be delusional to purchase/own firearms, hold public office, vote, or teach public school isn't intelligent or sound.

      tolerance of religious idiocy has to end.

      it's inconsistent with the 21st century.

      if we're to progress.. we have to shed these ignorant ideologies from the childhood of humanity.

      January 2, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • ----------Lori________

      In fact Martin Luther King was a Republican

      January 2, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • ----------Lori________

      so was Abe Lincoln

      January 2, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • ----------Lori________

      Both Abe and Martin Luther King were devout Christians

      January 2, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Lori – care to provide a link to MLK's political affiliation ?

      January 2, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • ----------Lori________

      http://www.humanevents.com/2006/08/16/why-martin-luther-king-was-republican/

      his father was too

      . At this time, King, Sr. had been a lifelong registered Republican, and had endorsed Republican Richard Nixon.

      January 2, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • midwest rail

      MLK himself never made an endorsement – that his father did is irrelevant. In fact, he held both parties at arm's length.

      January 2, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • ----------Lori________

      Frances Rice, chairwoman of the National Black Republican Association, was quoted by the Post in 2006 as saying that the backlash from the radio ads was so great that she stopped answering telephone calls. But she stood by the claim that King was a Republican. "We were all Republicans in those days," she told the Post. "The Democrats were training fire hoses on us, siccing dogs on us."

      January 2, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • ----------Lori________

      Alveda King, founder of the faith-based group King for America. In the Sept. 14, 2008, video, she says: "I just want to share with you a little bit about my family and my history. My uncle Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during his lifetime was a Republican, as was my father, his brother, Rev. A. D. King, and my grandfather, Dr. Martin Luther King Sr."

      She adds: "The Republican Party historically has supported the rights of the oppressed. During the times of slavery, many of the abolitionists were Republicans."

      January 2, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Although King never publicly supported a political party or candidate for president, in a letter to a civil rights supporter in October 1956 he said that he was undecided as to whether he would vote for Adlai Stevenson or Dwight Eisenhower, but that "In the past I always voted the Democratic ticket."[34]
      In his autobiography, King says that in 1960 he privately voted for Democratic candidate John F. Kennedy: "I felt that Kennedy would make the best president. I never came out with an endorsement. My father did, but I never made one." King adds that he likely would have made an exception to his non-endorsement policy in 1964, saying "Had President Kennedy lived, I would probably have endorsed him in 1964."[35]

      January 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Lori, midwest is correct...MLK was not a Republican. However, this is irrelevant as you are the one conflating Republican with Conservative.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  7. The Mockingjay

    http://youtu.be/D3gZri4yg7A

    January 2, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • Butthead

      Huh huh huh , huh hu h . . more God babbling idiots in suits . .huh huh huh.. ..

      January 2, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • The Mockingjay

      A mi me encanta cuando alguin se burla del mockingjay. Demuestra que se da cuenta.

      January 2, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Seyedibar

      Ah, Joseph Smith.
      Sadist. Thief. Abortionist. Racist. Pimp. Fraud.

      January 2, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      We can check with the official source by....praying? I don't think so.

      The official source can be verified by ANYONE and the SAME information checked against. If 10 people pray we get 10 different answers.

      And Joseph Smith was a proven fraud,

      January 2, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

      Now that video is freaking funny. Joseph Smith ..you can check the original court records on his criminal background. DNA and historical findings show his story is complete bs lol. Magical stones and plates oh my. lol

      January 2, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

      And the Asian girl in the video probably "heard" vocies lol

      January 2, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

      And Christians and Mormons wonder why they look foolish and crazy

      January 2, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

      Joseph Smith, the glass looker
      .
      "It was charged that Joseph Smith was accused and found guilt of parting a local farmer from his money in a less than honest scheme, commonly known as 'money-digging' or 'glass-looking.' It was reported to have been an activity that brought him rebuke from his soon-to-be father-in-law, Isaac Hale. It is also historically recorded that he was removed from membership in a local Methodist church because of the activity and trial results.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

      There is abundant evidence that during the same time period that Smith claimed to be entertaining annual visits by an angel, he was also making a living as a con man... he was found guilty of perpetrating a money-digging scheme... Smith was no run-of-the mill con man. He was actually a talented magician, with an act that included seer stones, fortune telling, palm reading, divining rods, amulets, incantations, and participation in rituals to summon spirits and showed a remarkable ability to induce and retain belief.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

      It is amazing at the "lack of" Mormtards since their great white prophecy failed like their prophet at findign silver looking through seer stones.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
  8. Grumpster

    It's more believable to have your dog talk to you than God. At least your dog exists.

    January 2, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • brad

      HAHAHAHA

      January 2, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Saraswati

      I bet a lot of people attribute the voices to their dog as well. It's really a matter of what you already believe before hearing the voices. We all (or almost all) hear voices and see visions while we sleep. It's our pre-existing beliefs that determine how we interpret them.

      January 2, 2013 at 9:51 am |
  9. Bloody Mary

    I spent a huge amount of time as a kid playing ouijah, "stiff as a board light as a feather", lurking about allegedly haunted houses and trying to gaze into mirrors in hopes of seeing a spectre behind me. I guess when bloody mary didn't show up behind me in the bathroom mirror I admit I was disapointed. I didn't even want to begin to tackle debunking religions. I am still disapointed that my ouijah board wasn't what I hoped it was going to be.

    January 2, 2013 at 8:47 am |
  10. religious independent

    ((starts singing))

    When I was young
    I never needed anyone
    And makin' love was just for fun
    Those days are gone

    Livin' alone
    I think of all the friends I've known
    But when I dial the telephone
    Nobody's home

    All by myself...all by myseeelf

    January 2, 2013 at 7:49 am |
    • tallulah13

      Please don't sing.

      January 2, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I got elastic bands keepin my shoes on.
      Got those swollen hand blues.
      Got thirteen channels of sh!t on the T.V. to choose from.
      I've got electric light.
      And I've got second sight.
      And amazing powers of observation.
      And that is how I know
      When I try to get through
      On the telephone to you
      There'll be nobody home.

      January 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  11. Bob

    Act 3:1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the ninth hour, the hour of prayer.
    Act 3:2 And a man who had been lame from his mother's womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple.
    Act 3:3 When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he began asking to receive alms.
    Act 3:4 But Peter, along with John, fixed his gaze on him and said, "Look at us!"
    Act 3:5 And he began to give them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.
    Act 3:6 But Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene–walk!"
    Act 3:7 And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened.
    Act 3:8 With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.
    Act 3:9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God;

    January 2, 2013 at 7:27 am |
    • Bob

      Joh 10:3 "To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
      Joh 10:4 "When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
      Joh 10:5 "A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers."

      January 2, 2013 at 7:31 am |
    • Bible Verses

      Well that proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that you can not think for yourself. Resorting to the babble book, how silly, a smiley face next?

      January 2, 2013 at 7:45 am |
    • Bob

      Interesting Bible verses, I have seen where thinking for yourself gets you, by your actions, and I have decided that its not worth the embarrassment and frustration that you show. So Like always I decided to follow Jesus and stay true to what He says in the Bible and hearing Him and keep following Him. Salvation is offered to you Bible verses so maybe some day you can actually be thought of as intelligent and saved. I will pray for you.

      January 2, 2013 at 7:50 am |
    • Bible Verses

      Bob
      No thanks, pray for the rest of the sheep in particular flock, on the off chance you are right about your mythical god, I would still not want to spend eternity with you and your lot, I'll pass on that.

      January 2, 2013 at 7:57 am |
    • Grumpster

      Act 3....the men in white coats came and take you away because you're a looney.

      January 2, 2013 at 9:18 am |
    • brad

      I can cut and paste some words from Harry Potter and they would be just as true as what you posted.

      January 2, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • tallulah13

      So Bob admits that he doesn't think for himself. How very irresponsible of him.

      January 2, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  12. Bob

    From the beginning God wanted to talk to us He wants to walk us through our daily walk and help us. We have so much more than they had in the Old Testament. God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden, can you imagine what that must have been like? Humans ruined it for themselves by sin or separation from God. In Jesus God gave us the ability to hear from Him again but the Bible says we have to search with all our might. Sometimes I wonder if its more about us going beyond the flesh and that's why it takes so much because I know that in my life and others God was always there, saved or not. We may not have recognized who it was until we got saved but once saved it became clear that what the Bible says that we couldn't even know God unless He first called us becomes apparent. My only regret in coming to the Lord was that I didn't do it sooner, I didn't know He was that good and loving and had already accepted me and made the way for me to be His. He was calling me from childhood and fear kept me away. To all who are on the wall thinking they are not good enough to start this great journey and want to wait to clean up first, I say come just as you are. He already knows all there is to know and is calling you, don't let the lies that you have to clean up first or you have to do it by yourself first allow you to stop experiencing one of the greatest life changing experiences there is. We are the sheep He is the Shepard He helps us in every way, He cleans us up, He makes the daily provision for what ever it is we need. He is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. He will also remove any addiction and bondage or situation that you need help with. WE are not alone we don't have to do it by ourselves and He loves us with a everlasting love, HE WILL NOT DISAPPOINT.It is this that Jesus died on the cross for so we could have a personal relationship with Him and and with the Father some don't seek it but then are they really Christians?

    January 2, 2013 at 7:20 am |
    • Crazy

      Bob
      Crazy is..
      Crazy for beliving in myths..Hope the hustlers have not bankrupted you, or is it the other way around, you are fleecing the sheepies? You kinda sound like a evangafreak.

      January 2, 2013 at 7:41 am |
    • Seyedibar

      Of course God walked through the garden. After travelling from a neighboring land that failed (likely Babylon), he and his workers damned a river and cut down trees and built it. This is according to the Masorotic or Tanakh texts for the oldest version of Genesis which makes it quite transparent that El is an earthly king, not a god from the sky, and the Elohim are his subjects and family.

      January 2, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  13. What in the world?

    I am a Christian. I do not hear voices, if I did, I'd go to a hospital. I do not have proof of God. I believe in God because I want to. That's about all there is too it...atleast from my end.

    January 2, 2013 at 5:42 am |
    • Bob

      Wow I would check to see if in fact you are a Christian maybe even worry about my salvation. You are not what the Bible calls a Christian and not what the Spirit would want from a Christian. A very dry and unrewarding walk maybe you like dogma and religion oh that's it your one of the ones the atheists use as a example of what a Christian is but in reality are a warmed over atheist.

      January 2, 2013 at 7:09 am |
    • midwest rail

      If "what the Spirit would want from a Christian" is arrogance, condescension, and hatred, then you've got it made Bob. You typify all three on a consistent basis.

      January 2, 2013 at 7:27 am |
    • Bob

      Rail I guess you would know seeing that you have no knowledge of what we are talking about yet have to speak. Why don't you go back to the atheists site and see how many will listen there but that may be the problem no one will listen to you there either. Well just sit down take your hands off the keyboard and shut up then and learn because even you can be saved. Even go on to a fullfilling life instead of hanging around a Christian blog in hopes to flog a few.

      January 2, 2013 at 7:35 am |
    • midwest rail

      Bob, I'm not here to debate you – you refuse to engage in rational discourse. I was merely pointing out your three main attributes. And your response only served to reinforce your image.

      January 2, 2013 at 7:38 am |
    • Bob

      To form that opinion you have to think that what I said is wrong so that implies understanding so which is it do you have understanding or are you just here to flog or maybe you are the arrogant one putting emotion ahead of knowing what the Bible says?

      January 2, 2013 at 7:45 am |
    • Bible Verses

      Bob
      And jesus said whosoever puts a few dollars on the plate and mumbles enough prayesr is really dumb...Of course that is just one guys interpretation of the bible, there are so many.

      January 2, 2013 at 8:07 am |
    • brad

      If only there were more like you. I dont even believe in religion but I support your right to. I just wish there were more that feel the same way.

      January 2, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • End Religion

      Boob is getting angry. Hope he doesn't own any guns...
      SERENITY NOW!

      January 2, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • NClaw441

      What...world-

      I have been examining the concept of Christian faith lately. I am not sure anyone can believe anything just because they "want to" as you say. Actual belief goes beyong that, if it is a true faith. If you are a Christian and believe the Bible I recommend Ephesians 2:8– By grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God. The Christian belief is that God gives us, by His grace, the ability to have faith in Him.

      Reading that Ephesians passage set me to thinking about what faith is (not just Christian faith, but faith in anything) and how we come to have it (nor not). It doesn't seem to be something one can just decide to have. There has to be more to it than that. I think it takes deep introspection and study, while being open to what one finds through this study.

      (I know there are many who do not believe and who follow these posts. If you are not a believer, I understand. I hope that you have, or will, take up the matter in your own way and see where honest searching might lead you...)

      January 2, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • the AnViL

      NClaw441:

      religious faith most certainly is a conscious decision.

      to be able to look past the inconsistencies, inaccuracies and blatant contradictions in the bible, koran or any other "scripture" and deal with the fact that your belief system is based on things for which you not only have zero substantial evidence – but also evidence to the contrary requires conscious volition.

      without the conscious effort... how is your free-will and agency manifest????????

      January 2, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  14. the AnViL

    if you hear a voice in your head, it isn't god.... it's you.

    flat fact

    January 2, 2013 at 2:07 am |
    • Laurie

      Unless you've played my CD 500 times in a row in one sitting.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GAGFngepGA

      January 2, 2013 at 2:14 am |
    • Laurie

      Oh, but then actually you're right, it's still not God. lol.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:15 am |
    • the AnViL

      Laurie... I love you.

      January 2, 2013 at 2:25 am |
  15. ----------Lori________

    Nice chats though here–sometimes. It can be quite intellectual when people actually want a dialogue–I'll sign off for now since the person who wishes to take my persona needs to get a life or something else to do!

    January 2, 2013 at 1:45 am |
    • Sue

      Unfortunately, people looking for intellectual dialogue won't find it with you.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:55 am |
    • End Religion

      @lori: how do you know the "person who wishes to take [your] persona" isn't god trying to tell you something?

      January 2, 2013 at 6:57 am |
  16. ----------Lori________

    Hey Paul the only problem with that is I live in Connecticut–the train crash was in Dhakai

    PaulB
    Lori
    If it comes true that would make you a particularly compelling suspect in the lady's murder.

    January 2, 2013 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |

    January 2, 2013 at 1:39 am |
    • PaulB

      Are there flights to this Dhakai place?

      January 2, 2013 at 1:49 am |
  17. ----------Lori________

    No Sue
    I actually love philosphy and theology–but there is a pretty funny person trying to be me LOL–cause they cant be themselves– I study alot,– travel– yes and go to church. I tend to be a bit social unless I am surrounded by people who are disrespectful, then I'd rather not!

    Sue
    So worried that people aren't paying attention to you Lori. My, what an ego you must have!

    January 2, 2013 at 1:32 am |
    • Sue

      I suggest you study more. A lot (notice, two words) more.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:43 am |
    • ----------Lori________

      Sue
      Alot-alternative way of writing the word a lot.

      January 2, 2013 at 1:47 am |
    • Sue

      In what dictionary? Perhaps you are confused with the word "allot"? There are courses in remedial English, you know?

      January 2, 2013 at 1:52 am |
    • Romnesia

      Wouldn't know it from your posts!

      January 2, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    I am hearing voices again, dunno if it is God or the Devil. No no I am not going crazy. Gotta keep praying.

    January 2, 2013 at 1:20 am |
    • Religion is Not Heathly for children or ANY living things

      The so-called "voice" your think you are hearing is most likely a product of your own conflicted mind...

      January 2, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  19. ----------Lori________

    Archaeologists have discovered a 2,750-year-old temple along with a cache of sacred artifacts, providing rare insight into religious practices at the time, the Israeli Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2012/12/27/2750-year-old-temple-found-near-jerusalem/?intcmp=obnetwork#ixzz2GnOF8Wvg

    "The ritual building at Tel Motza is an unusual and striking find, in light of the fact that there are hardly any remains of ritual buildings of the period in Judaea at the time of the First Temple,” said excavation directors Anna Eirikh, Dr. Hamoudi Khalaily and Shua Kisilevitz in a statement.

    The Biblical settlement "Mozah" is mentioned in the Book of Joshua, described as a town in the tribal lands of Benjamin bordering on Judaea (Joshua 18: 26).

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2012/12/27/2750-year-old-temple-found-near-jerusalem/?intcmp=obnetwork#ixzz2GnNuCT1u

    January 2, 2013 at 1:07 am |
  20. ----------Lori________---___

    I am the REAL Lori who spoke of the train crash!

    Jesus wants me to post as much as possible because I desperately need the attention!

    January 2, 2013 at 1:01 am |
    • ----------Lori________

      nice try dont have the right lines!!!LOL

      January 2, 2013 at 1:08 am |
    • Sue

      So worried that people aren't paying attention to you Lori. My, what an ego you must have!

      January 2, 2013 at 1:26 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.