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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. .

    Jesus went into a temple where they were buying and selling and overturned the tables made a mess and proclaimed you have made my house a den of thieves. Then His disciples remembered that it was written,ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME. Well this country was founded on Christian principles and we should have this same zeal not take it for granted and not go quietly into that cold dark night that the atheists want us to.

    January 5, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      You are nuttier than squirrel droppings

      January 5, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • Lisa

      So, today Jesus would go into the Christian bookstores and overturn the tables where the books by Billy Graham, Joel Osteen, C.S. Lewis and everyone else who's ever made their fortunes off of selling God's word in words, music, art and politics. There is an entire industry built around selling Christianity for profit headed by rich Christian entrepreneurs selling products and/or experiences as in the case of televangelists and mega-church pastors. Would Jesus approve of people getting rich off of his name?

      January 5, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      That fable of the temple-cleansing is borrowed from an earlier account about a man named Nehemiah who lived 500 years earlier. Just another example of Christianity being a potpourri of old legends.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Bet

      Stop lying about the USA being founded on christian principles. That is not true. The USA was founded on secular principles.

      January 5, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      . probably shops at Walmart.

      January 5, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
  2. .

    Do you want to see how vain, hateful, subversive and liars the atheists really are? Look below at Washington's our fore Fathers farewell address. It directly contradicts everything these atheists have been saying here. They in their arrogance and name calling in themselves think they know better than this great American who gave his life service and love for this country. READ THIS let it sink in .Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republic. ARE WE AWAKE TO THIS ATTACK ON US FREEDOM?

    January 5, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • .

      This troll goes by many handles and is not a real Christian.
      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "The Truth" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Thinker23" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian..

      January 5, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • **

      @. #2

      Not all of those posters are the same person.

      BTW, today's @.#1 is our old pal, HeavenSent

      January 5, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
  3. delusion

    Is the voice of my conscience mere delusion? The voice of my inner child or my loved ones? Feint or thunderous, a voice is a voice no?

    January 5, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • Dennis

      Calling that a "voice" when in reality there is a much more direct interface at work, is clearly a metaphor that causes a few issues.

      January 5, 2013 at 10:12 am |
  4. .

    What will religion look like in the year 2060?" Wildmon begins, according to Think Progress. Conservative Christians will be treated as second class citizens, much like African Americans were prior to civil rights legislation in the 1960s. Continuing, Marriage will include two, three, four or any number of participants. Marriage will not be important, with individuals moving in and out of a 'family' group at will. Wildmon also makes reference to the conspiracy theory We will have, or have had, a Muslim president.The AFA was founded in 1977 by Wildmon, who was a pastor in Mississippi at the time. The conservative, group's mission is "to inform, equip, and activate individuals to strengthen the moral foundations of American culture, and give aid to the church here and abroad," according to its website.

    January 5, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • End Religion

      don't worry, we *probably* won't go back to feeding you to the lions...

      January 5, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Religious people get an "F" for their ability to redict the future.

      January 5, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      **predict**

      January 5, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Lisa

      .
      How many new mommies and daddies fade in and out of many "traditional families" nowadays? The Bible Belt has the highest divorce and remarriage rate in the country.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Bet

      Conservative Christians will be treated as second class citizens, much like African Americans were prior to civil rights legislation in the 1960s.

      Conservative christians were the ones fighting to keep African Americans as second class citizens and to block civil rights legislation in the 1960s. They are doing the same thing today with regard to marriage equality.

      Conservative christians only want civil rights for the people they think deserve them.

      January 5, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
  5. delusion

    I agree that audible voice of God is a delusion in this day and age. But what about hearing the author's voice while reading? What is that? No other animal appears to suffer from that one either. Could literacy be the great mother delusion of them all?

    January 5, 2013 at 7:56 am |
    • Lisa

      Wouldn't that be called "imagination"? I've heard Stephen King's voice reading his own stories on audiotape enough times to use his voice while reading his stories in print and, if I read them out loud, I could do a passible New England accent to act out him reading, but I'm not actually tapping into the guy's brain. When I read fiction, and use a male voice in my mind for male characters, that doesn't mean that those characters are real and speaking to me through the literature. As far as we know for sure, Jesus is just a character in a book called the Bible. Reading the lines put in his mouth by authors with a religious agenda does not make him any more "real" than Hamlet.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  6. .

    Think that these atheists here are just a few isolated people who are nuts the atheists have declared war on this countries values and religion. This open statement by Silverman is the one of the opening shots across the bow of US values besides the gay issue that there is. If you don't want a new US that is free of Christ and anything goes then you as Christians had better start being involved. Support groups that are like minded and make atheists know that there derogatory comments are not appreciated. Push for legislation declaring atheism what it is a religion. This partial article below is on this CNN Faith blog. Silverman put a huge banner in Times Square attacking religion that should have been a court challenge saying the separation of church and state. We need to start to takes real steps in this battle for the US and values this is no joke and is not going to go away. Siloverman like these atheists here are telling you what you can say or using verbal intimidation to stop you expressing your beliefs. You think this is just a few nuts think again and the silent majority does not have the luxury of being silent anymore.
    .
    On the religion-bashing side, there’s David Silverman, president of the group American Atheists, which raised one of its provocative trademark billboards in New York’s Times Square last week. “Keep the MERRY!” it says. “Dump the MYTH!”
    The sign features a picture of a jolly Santa Clause and another of Jesus dying on the cross – a not-so-subtle attack on Christianity.
    “Christianity stole Christmas in the first place and they don’t own the season, they don’t own the Christmas season,” Silverman said, pointing to pagan winter solstice celebrations that predated Jesus Christ. “When they say keep Christ in Christmas, they are actually saying put Christ back in Christmas.”
    The New York billboard, which will be up until early January and is costing the group at least $25,000, is the latest in a long line of provocative American Atheists signs, which attacked then-Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s religion during this year’s campaign.
    It’s not the only way Silverman is using Christmas to attack Christianity. In a recent TV interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, he said the American Atheist office be open on Christmas Day and called for an end to Christmas as a federal holiday.

    January 5, 2013 at 7:48 am |
    • End Religion

      "Think that these atheists here are just a few isolated people who are nuts"

      It's very evident the atheists here are mostly the only rational ones.

      ***
      "the atheists have declared war on this countries values and religion."

      What we've declared war on is ignorance, such as not knowing the difference between "country's" and "countries." Values are wonderful: it's nice to be nice. Religion is horrible, and likely responsible for causing more suffering than anything else in this world.

      ***
      "If you don't want a new US that is free of Christ and anything goes then you as Christians had better start being involved."

      Religion is dying. The unaffiliated, agnostic and atheist are growing. While I prefer the country to be free of religion I wouldn't fight with a goal of stripping it from you since I think you should be free to pray to imaginary creatures if you desire, but I will fight to keep your disgusting religion out of the public square, out of government and out of my life.

      And being free from your religion does not mean "anything goes," moron, this is just your argument from fear. Humans are born with a morality shaped by their environment and those around them. Raise your kids as nice people and they will likely be nice people, regardless of whether religion was involved.

      ***
      "Support groups that are like minded and make atheists know that there derogatory comments are not appreciated."

      Fortunately it doesn't matter one whit if you appreciate our comments. You rail on about U.S. values yet seem to want to curtail our free speech? Bravo, hypocrite. Do you see why your religion is dying? Well, that plus Talibangelicals don't know the difference between "their" and "there" and "they're."

      ***
      "Push for legislation declaring atheism what it is a religion."

      Religion is an answer to one question: do you believe in any gods. Repeating that it is a religion does not make it so, however it does go to show a number of things about the religious:
      1) they will lie constantly even though it is apparently a sin
      2) they continually redefine words so they can "lie without lying" such as calling their belief "truth" when it is simply a belief

      January 5, 2013 at 8:26 am |
    • .

      Atheism was upheld as a religion by Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals declared atheism a religion in a recent decision and atheism is not just the belief that there is no God but the active and confirmed belief that there is no God. Along with the recruitment of members the solicitation of followers the requesting donations and the active promotions to promote their beliefs, This along with science as being the atheist bible. So fool lets start over and call a spade a spade.

      January 5, 2013 at 8:38 am |
    • .

      End Religion
      You and your ilk are hateful bigoted morons destroying the very fabric of society for your own personal gain not for the good of all and even contrary to what this country was founded on. I would go as far to say you are UN American and should be arrested for treason. A proven liar malicious and just plain stupid not even understanding what has happened to the very thing he believes, you and your kind are what is wrong with society. So blinded by hate you want to strip the US of any form of religion bringing down established laws to destroy the fabric of society. You suck the hope that is now and make society like a dark gothom city form batman all the time parading around not like the disease you are but a goody two shoes and the hope of humanity what a low life.

      January 5, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • End Religion

      HeWhoIsTooCowardlyToBeNamed: "Atheism was upheld as a religion by Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals declared atheism a religion in a recent decision."

      Despite the "shock" headlines to the contrary, they didn't declare that atheism was a religion, they declared that atheism was afforded equal protection with religions under the Establishment Clause.

      http://www.atheist-community.org/library/articles/read.php?id=742

      ***
      "and atheism is not just the belief that there is no God but the active and confirmed belief that there is no God."

      Wrong. I do not believe in any gods but I allow there is a tiny chance of a creator. The abrahamic god you worship, however, absolutely does not exist.

      ***
      "Along with the recruitment of members the solicitation of followers the requesting donations and the active promotions to promote their beliefs,"

      I guess this makes the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund Facebook account a religion, since they do all the above.

      ***
      "This along with science as being the atheist bible. So fool lets start over and call a spade a spade."

      The bible is a known fraud full of falsehoods. Science is method to describe our reality, and is the absolute essence of truth as we know it. Science does not need to speak in allegory to hide some falsity.

      January 5, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • .

      End Religion
      Again anther lie by the hateful atheists bigot the court approved protection under this clause effectively protecting it from religious persecution so how could they do that if indeed it wasn't a religion moron low life. This ruling was effective just like your tactics a unstated way to fly under the radar to get things accomplished without stating them like your agenda to destroy the US.

      January 5, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • little timmy

      Daddy told me to stay away from old h0m0phobes named Bob (the dot) because they are most likely the type to molest someone.

      January 5, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • End Religion

      TheThingSoCowardlyItShantBeNamed: "You and your ilk are hateful bigoted morons destroying the very fabric of society for your own personal gain not for the good of all and even contrary to what this country was founded on."

      There is so much wrong with your first sentence I'm not sure where to start...
      1) "hateful, yadda..." Friend, your posts are filled with vitriol. Irony much?
      2) the fabric of society is me. I am a part of what creates this society. I would think crime would instead be something we might identify as a threat to society, such as priests constantly buggering children only to have the church move those priests to another parish and forget the initial abuse.
      3) what am I seeking to gain through atheism? Freedom from the servitude of religion?
      4) this country's founding documents were written mainly by Deists. The U.S. *specifically* calls for religion to stay out of our government.

      ***
      "I would go as far to say you are UN American and should be arrested for treason."

      Of course you would, Senator McCarthy, of course you would. Fortunately our government hasn't yet devolved to your level of intellect.

      ***
      "A proven liar malicious and just plain stupid not even understanding what has happened to the very thing he believes, you and your kind are what is wrong with society."

      Please point out the lie. Me and my kind is what is saving this society from Republitard Talibangelicals like you. Can't you see your own GOP falling apart? It's in the news every day.

      ***
      "So blinded by hate you want to strip the US of any form of religion bringing down established laws to destroy the fabric of society. You suck the hope that is now and make society like a dark gothom city form batman all the time parading around not like the disease you are but a goody two shoes and the hope of humanity what a low life."

      Give me a few moments to try and reconstruct your thoughts into coherence...

      OK, so because I rail against religion, which is likely the largest cause of suffering in the world, I'm hateful? Is that your stance?

      What laws have I expressed an interest in "bringing down?" How have I "sucked the hope that is now," whatever that means? What have I got to do with Batman? Goodness... you should take your meds before posting. I think you just went off the rails there at the end. I'm not really sure what you meant, but I understand it can upset you to learn that your sky fairy is a fraud so I won't hold your malicious lies against you. Unfortunately your god is not so forgiving, sinner. Get those flame retardant swimming trunks out!

      January 5, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • End Religion

      TheCretinSoCowardlyItShantBeNamed: "Again anther lie by the hateful atheists bigot"

      That's not a very christian way to start off a post. I thought we were friends? No? Gorsh.... *sniff* *sniff*

      ***
      "the court approved protection under this clause effectively protecting it from religious persecution so how could they do that if indeed it wasn't a religion moron low life."

      First, you may want to see someone about your Tourette's. It's getting bad again...
      Second, if you bothered to read the link it explains why the courts view atheism as a special case. "The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals hasn't declared atheism to be a religion as the layperson might usually define it, they simply acknowledged that atheism hold equal standing with religions with regard to the First Amendment."

      Now, *this* is where it would be appropriate for you to make jokes about atheists "riding the special short bus to school," etc. That would be funny, as opposed to random "low life" comments.

      ***
      "...like your agenda to destroy the US."

      What agenda is this I am not aware of? I own a house, dude. What would I profit from destroying the U.S.? I'd lose my shirt in resale value! This country has its issues but I don't have any desire to be anywhere else. I'd rather be here, comfy and cozy, having our little chat as your religion falls apart all around you.

      January 5, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • .

      End Religion
      You are a hater, malicious, vile, not respecting peoples rights but inflicting your own a atheist views in a site that has nothing to do with you like the bully in the school yard a internal weasel and low life extraordinaire with deluded visions of grandeur. A intimidatory and predatory person of no account, A hater of the US and more than likely a recipient of some welfare package if even a US citizen because I cannot believe a US citizen could be that disrespectful of all those that came before or want to post here but are run off by yours and other atheists vile lies and insults. Like a lame horse you should be dealt with the same way. You that has a false image of himself as the savior of mankind deluded not grasping even the precedents of court rulings, spouting off garbage that's so stupid you'd think you were Saddam reincarnated.

      January 5, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • .

      A federal court of appeals ruled yesterday prison officials violated an inmate’s rights because they did not treat atheism as a religion.Atheism is the inmate's religion, and the group that he wanted to start was religious in nature even though it expressly rejects a belief in a supreme being, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said.The court decided the inmate’s First Amendment rights were violated because the prison refused to allow him to create a study group for atheists. As always we see the lying manipulative ways that atheists try to slither along so that the same restrictions that is put on religion would not be put on them. So end is not only a liar but either stupid or the school yard bully intimidating those with less knowledge exhibiting predatory tactics not being open and honest with people. What kind of person is this in society? I thought that these kinds were in Jail yet we see here they are called atheists and will do anything to anyone to prove a point. The new term is secular Humanist the same ones who talk about rights are the same ones who deny those very rights. Put them back in their place with their father the father of all lies.

      January 5, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • OpposingView

      To "-"… I can understand your points of view and on many points you made I agree with you. However, you have to understand that what you see happening in the world today is merely bible prophecy coming true and it has been predicted and prophesied for thousands of years. So this is nothing new for those of us who believe and know the truth. Even Jesus himself stated, the end cannot come until he has been fully rejected of by this generation. Therefore, these things must happen before the end can come. And it's only going to get worse. The faster these things happen, the faster the world turns to evil and to the devil, then the faster the end shall come. And it indeed shall come to an end sooner than men may think…

      If you read the book of Revelation in the bible, it precisely describes how bad the world will get before the end shall come. For example, there will come a time in the future when God will have a genuine angel flying amid the heavens and preaching the everlasting gospel and begging men to repent and to turn to God. The whole world will be able to look up and to see that angel too and to hear him preaching, yet men still will not believe or turn to God. A few will but most won't. A time will come when Moses and Elijah, the two great prophets from the Old Testament, will appear again on earth and will be preaching in the streets. The bible says they will be killed and stoned to death by people, that their bodies will lie in the street for three days and nights for the whole world to see while men laugh at and make fun of their bodies. But on the third day, the bible says life shall come back into them, that they shall get up, step on a cloud and ascend up into heaven. Then later, when Lucifer shall come on earth as 666, he shall gather all the world's armies together into a single great army in preparation for the battle of the Armageddon (the last battle before Judgment Day). However, prior to that battle, Lucifer shall send armies to surround Israel and attempt to destroy them, but God shall rain down fire and brimstone out of heaven and destroy those armies. And the whole world will see it, but even then, men will still not repent. So there are still plenty of horrible things left to occur before the end shall come, and this is only the beginning. Next up is the rapture, when Christ shall come back for his church. That event can occur at any time. The church and the saints won't be here when the period of great tribulation starts. Also note, there is at least a 1000 year period between the moment of the rapture and Judgment Day. So we still have a ways to go yet. And things will only get worse, far worse. Gay marriage, gay laws, and the rise in atheism is all just the beginning. But be of good cheer. Just know that these things must happen before the end can come. And the faster these things happen, the faster the end shall come. So telling Christians to fight back against atheists and to fight back against the evil you see happening may sound like a good idea, but you can't defeat bible prophecy. It has been long prophesied to happen. And these things must happen before the end can come. So the most you can do is to just save yourself…

      January 5, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Jesus failed at his own prediction.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Lisa

      OpposingView
      Every generation since Revelation became popular has seen itself as the one living in the end times. Are you seriously arguing that the Christians who lived through the Black Death that killed about a third of Europe didn't have better reason to believe that Jesus was coming in like Superman to save them?

      January 5, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • .

      I have never let that be good reason to stop the light shining in dark places. I doubt if I will allow that now. Only God has knows the time and place of the end and until then we are called to occupy. To occupy to preach the Gospel or the great commission. We have to make the area favorable for us. If this intimidation is allowed then how many will not come to see the light of the Lord? I have seen the distortions and lies of the atheists about the Bible which they know nothing about. What about the young that they indoctrinate into gay ways and acceptance of different lifestyles? All we have to do is sit back and say I’m saved so what if the world goes to hell. If that were the case I would join the pres of Iran and say lets blow the world up looking for the Eman. If you don’t preach and teach the Gospel if you don’t wish everyone a Merry Christmas or listen to the Lord when He tells you to go to talk to someone you are basically saying go to hell. Light overcomes darkness and the Bible says put your light out so all men can see it. But if we sit back then we are lost. Yes there will be change; yes we pray that the Lord comes but yes just as John the Baptist was the voice of one crying in the wilderness so I will not go quietly. I will show the power of the Lord in my life I will pray for people and let them know that the Lord and his anointed cannot be intimidated. I will use the power of prayer to change things and yet I will also use my voice to cast into darkness those that would stiffel the Word of the Lord. We are not powerless but powerful and should not let the wiles of the enemy defeat us. We live in this world our children live in this world and we know the type of world atheists want and I don’t want to see that happen. The Lord will bless and allow what is supposed to be. I doubt very seriously you would have responded to a Christian post without this type of thing going on. So are you happy about letting intimidation make you take a back seat and say the Lord doesn’t have the power for this or are you and others going to shine and say enough is enough. We are loud and proud and will take it to the streets, or are we going to save that for gays and listen to the ones that want to silence us and take every vestige of God out of society?

      January 5, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • End Religion

      @TheCretinSoCowardlyItShantBeNamedEvenThoughItIsBob: "You are a hater, malicious, vile"

      I feel like I've been rather respectful during your tirade. Condescending, yes, guilty. I don't feel hateful; it's hard to hate an imbecile. Malicious, I suppose some will say so though from my viewpoint we're just having a conversation and I don't feel pushing your buttons a little is considered malice. I can definitely be vile but I don't think I have been during our exchange. That could change. I'm trying to show some restraint because you're obviously out of your fucking gourd, so it's almost like fighting a retarded child. If I were going to beat up a retarded child I probably wouldn't be as mean as I possibly could be, if you can follow that logic.

      Speaking of vile and malicious hate, I'm curious how you feel about gay people?

      ***
      "not respecting peoples rights but inflicting your own a atheist views in a site that has nothing to do with you like the bully in the school yard a internal weasel and low life extraordinaire with deluded visions of grandeur."

      I see my earlier comment about *your* delusions of grandeur must have stuck in your craw. Your delusions involve you somehow being special amongst all us humans because only you have the "one true relationship with christ" that you feel is required to be saved. I on the other hand fully admit my life is anything but grand. I'm lucky enough to own a home but I struggle each month to pay for it. Definitely not grand.

      Whose rights have I not respected? How have I "inflicted" views on a this web site, and why isn't it just as much mine as yours? Why is my defense against millennia of religious bullying itself considered bullying? Did you consider the U.S. a bully when it liberated oppressed folks in WW2? I guess "pin the tail on the bully" just depends on which side of the coin one is on.

      While I'm asking these questions, why haven't you answered any of the other questions I've asked in response to your past diatribes?

      ***
      "A hater of the US"

      Hello, McFly, we covered that...

      ***
      "and more than likely a recipient of some welfare package if even a US citizen"

      My goodness you have a lot of preconceived and wrong notions about people. I have never collected a penny of welfare. I am 43 and was born in the U.S., dolt.

      ***
      "Like a lame horse you should be dealt with the same way."

      And there we have it, ladies and gentlemen. If it wasn't clear before, there is the face of religion. It claims love and really only delivers hate, violence and intolerance. Bob wants me dead because I hold a different viewpoint and am not as respectful as I could be. So very apropos.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • End Religion

      @TheCretinSoCowardlyItShantBeNamedEvenThoughItMightBeBobEvenThoughIKindaDoubtIt: "A federal court of appeals ruled yesterday prison officials violated an inmate’s rights because they did not treat atheism as a religion."

      We covered this like 5 hours ago. Scroll up and read, or have someone read to you if you're not able. I understand as a Talibangelical you are likely only semi-literate as well, though I imagine you can spell the brand of firearm you covet pretty well.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • End Religion

      @OV: "...bible prophecy coming true"

      Anyone that can predict the future can pick up an easy million here:
      James Randi Challenge
      http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge.html

      ***
      "...it indeed shall come to an end sooner than men may think…"

      "It's just around the corner," she said, for 2000+ years...

      ***
      "God will have a genuine angel flying amid the heavens and preaching the everlasting gospel"

      All you need to do is hire the Goodyear Blimp and paste in some bible fiction

      ***
      "Gay marriage, gay laws, and the rise in atheism is all just the beginning."

      There's more of that religious love and tolerance we hear about. Go team god! You're creating more atheists with every word from you poisoned tongues.

      January 5, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • End Religion

      @Satan'sFavoriteMinion: "I have never let that be good reason to stop the light shining in dark places. I doubt if I will allow that now."

      Now I see why you're so upset. You're an atheist an you hate yourself.

      God has commanded you to be meek and mild, to "turn the other cheek", to "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted," to "put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander," yet here you are choosing to deny the Holy Ghost's commandments. You've committed the one sin Gawd doesn't forgive. I see your pain. Looks like an eternity of lava-boarding for you, friend! Ain't jesus swell?

      ***
      "I have seen the distortions and lies of the atheists about the Bible which they know nothing about."

      I think I just showed you I know your bible better than you, atheist.

      ***
      "What about the young that they indoctrinate into gay ways and acceptance of different lifestyles?"

      Holy cow I can't believe you just said that. What a fucking idiot! I've been nearly as respectful as I can be until now but it's obvious that when you speak of hate you have no idea how to recognize it.

      How can you not see you hold the exact same ideals as those who time and again want to drive out what they view as "impurities" - people the rest of the world agree are evil? You hate gays and anyone who holds a different religious viewpoint and DARE call yourself righteous, hypocrite? A herd of stampeding elephants is capable of more compassion.

      Homosexuality is a naturally occurring event in the animal kingdom. If you want to claim god created everything then he created gays. How dare YOU judge them? Isn't god clear he does the judging and not you, you imbecilic turd of a human?

      I've met smarter people than you at the Special Olympics non-medalist coffee and brunch breakfast. I've met people more worthy of my respect than you at Maximum Security Prison Lifer & Gang Banger heist-planning socials. Pedophile priests are only slightly more sinister than you. If a rock were to fall on you and turn you into paste, I would not even consider scraping any of you up on a Ritz to serve my dog. Your essence is so foul, the embalming fluid you'll receive upon death will be an improvement for you. Sacks full of doorknobs have more appropriate thoughts than you.

      ***
      "I will use the power of prayer to change things"

      No you won't, you grade school dullard. Prayer has been proven completely ineffective except that it may have the same placebo effect of "good thoughts."

      Tell us dimwit, how does it feel to see religion crumbling all around you? Is it safe to go out in your neighborhood with all the "gay ways and acceptance of different lifestyles" going on, simpleton?

      January 5, 2013 at 3:10 pm |
  7. Lisa

    One in ten people think they hear a voice, but most people can "see" the dots in this optical illusion.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZnT21RHu5A

    The human mind is easily fooled and deluded. "Voices" like this are just one example.

    January 5, 2013 at 1:10 am |
  8. End Religion

    OK, I'll ask her about it, thanks!

    January 5, 2013 at 12:27 am |
    • End Religion

      misfire

      January 5, 2013 at 12:29 am |
  9. End Religion

    Looks like Boob went a little crazy.... AGAIN!

    January 5, 2013 at 12:20 am |
  10. .

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=V4ocm31RJ7g

    January 4, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
  11. .

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=AgoHEFUGEpU

    January 4, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
  12. Bob

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U016JWYUDdQ&w=420&h=315%5D

    January 4, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
  13. Bob

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQ8pbOBZQ2Y

    January 4, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • Bob

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sQ8pbOBZQ2Y

      January 4, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
  14. Gerry from Bayonne

    s there any serious Catholic who did not see this Kulturkamph coming? The San Francisco City Council several years ago passed a resolution denouncing the Church as a “hate organization,” and the council’s right to do so was upheld by the 9th Circuit court. The Left is exploiting the plight of gay persons for the purpose of discrediting the Church precisely because it is the Bride of christ that stands between mankind and the dreams of totalitarians. Cdl Dolan says, “We didn’t ask for this fight,” but they certainly should have seen it coming. We would not be in this fix if more had followed Abp Chaput’s lead and abandoned the idea that the Left’s supposed social welfare programs compensated for its uspport of objective evils.

    January 4, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • Chad

      Are there any serious Catholics? I mean, how can you take that blood of Christ stuff as anything other than a sick joke. And those priests and their worse-than-peccadilloes...

      January 4, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The Catholic church is one of mankinds oldest organized crime syndicates.

      January 4, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • sam stone

      the bride of christ? more like a pedophile protection ring

      January 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • End Religion

      The church has been working hard to discredit itself.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:24 am |
    • Lisa

      Chad
      Catholics have their weird Christian beliefs and protestants have theirs. I mean, the Rapture?!? I say it's pretty even.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:55 am |
  15. Gerry from Bayonne

    Oi Vey! Of all the blogs I could have stumbled upon to possibly discuss/learn/debate about belief – this has to be the MOST moronic. No substance. It's the vapid and biased CNN on parade, and all their mind-numbed readers.

    January 4, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
    • Chad

      As you sigh "home sweet home"...

      January 4, 2013 at 8:05 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      And the depth of the substance that you have added couldn't drown a gnat.

      January 4, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
  16. truth be told

    When involved in conversation on these blogs it is important for morally minded people to remember that is impossible for a self deluded atheist type to ever tell the truth. Atheism has two values, deception or lies and the murder of innocents.

    January 4, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      see my point dale?

      January 4, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "truth be told", but all of your assertions to date have either been unfounded or falsehoods. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "CHRONIC TOTAL FAIL".

      January 4, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • Gerry from Bayonne

      Hal – what you said was really stupid and childish

      January 4, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • End Religion

      @tbt: Thanks for the help in creating more atheists!

      January 4, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
    • Chad

      Gerry: your brother wears yellow boots. Na na na na na.

      January 4, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
  17. Gerry from Bayonne

    If you wanted to know what people's time is worth – take the amount of the average welfare check and divide it by the number of hours that most of you no-life, know-nothings spend on the computer arguing about things you obviously know squat about!

    January 4, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
    • End Religion

      Perhaps we should start with your welfare check?

      January 4, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • Gerry from Bayonne

      I gave it to your mother, like i usually do!

      January 4, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • End Religion

      OK, I'll ask her about it, thanks!

      January 5, 2013 at 12:28 am |
  18. Gerry from Bayonne

    This has to be the biggest collection of wing nuts on the planet gathered here on this site!

    January 4, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Welcome to the club gerry

      January 4, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
  19. Bob

    I love this place this is my reply whats the matter cant you see it?

    January 4, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • Athy

      Bob, please use the reply function. Honest, it really isn't that hard.

      January 4, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • Athy

      You also might try using punctuation other than a period occasionally. You know, like a comma once in a while.

      January 4, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, please. You might as well ask for the moon, Athy. Blob doesn't have a clue how to write a simple sentence.

      January 4, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • Bob

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NecK4MwOfeI

      January 4, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
  20. Bob

    It good to see finally science catching up to the Bible and people like this that do credible research is just what we need.

    January 4, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • Athy

      People like who? Why don't you use the reply function?

      January 4, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      When are you going to catch up to 3rd grade, Blob?

      January 4, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @Athy: Blob is a moron. He doesn't quite get the 'sciency' aspect of reply buttons.

      January 4, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • Athy

      Well, in his defense, maybe he was referring to the author of the article.

      January 4, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • Athy

      Of course, science "catching up" to the bible is no less absurd.

      January 4, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.