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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. Bob

    Some day science may catch up to what God has already made the only problem is the rapture may take place before then. This is one story in the news today so you had better revise your post, Humankind’s common ancestor with other mammals may have been a roughly rat-size animal that weighed no more than a half a pound, had a long furry tail and lived on insects. I have no problem with science. But it is in no way absolute about so many things. Sad fact that most try to use something that is incomplete, science, to describe the complete, God. Science does not have this ability now, it may some day. But for now proving God by science is as elusive to science as ghosts. It is a shame that the monkey trial was so far off yet we have made laws based on a lie and reinforced by liars. People who consider science God and yet cannot tell where we came from. It could be money, science, or anything else we are not to have them held higher than God in our lives. They do hold a position in our lives but put them in their proper place. So much knowledge has come and gone in life why was none of it kept if it was so great?

    February 10, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • End Religion

      There is no empirical evidence whatsoever for your god or your miracle jesus. If you buy into any religious cult, you're suffering from a delusion.

      Morganucodon "Morgie" is an early mammalian genus that lived during the Late Triassic. It is our ancestor, a survivor of the meteor strike which decimated the dinosaurs and allowed us to take over the planet. Thanks, Morgie!
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morganucodon

      February 10, 2013 at 12:19 am |
    • Bob

      There is no evidence of where man came from, Ghosts, how male and female were formed, how the universe was formed yet they all do exists. We are incomplete in our understanding some a bit more incomplete than others like yourself End. We are and God is and enough have taken the time to say you are wrong. We don't need your mistaken observations to know God is real, thanks anyway.

      February 10, 2013 at 12:36 am |
    • End Religion

      Bob there is plenty of empirical evidence for evolution. There is zero for god. Here, this may be more your speed:
      http://learnthingsweb.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Teach-Evolution-to-Children

      February 10, 2013 at 12:48 am |
    • Bob

      The theory of natural selection holds that there is a struggle for survival in nature, and every living thing cares only for itself.Research, has, revealed that there was no struggle for life in nature as Darwin thought. Living things balance their population in an interesting way Population was regulated not by removing of the weak through factors like sickness or starvation, but by instinctive control ability. In other words, animals controlled their numbers by limiting births. Even plants exhibited examples of population control, which invalidated Darwin's suggestion of selection by means of survival of the fittest. This is a well known fact since deer don't have babies if there is no food and in fact reabsorbing a fetus that has already started to form. Plants also behaved according to the "density" of the planting, and limited their numbers if the area was highly populated with plants. On the other hand, examples of sacrifice observed in animals such as ants and bees display a model completely opposed to the Darwinist struggle for survival. In recent years, research has revealed findings regarding self-sacrifice even in bacteria. These living things without brains or nervous systems, totally devoid of any capacity for thought, kill themselves to save other bacteria when they are invaded by viruses. These examples surely invalidate the basic idea of natural selection the absolute struggle for survival. There are clear models of self-sacrifice and solidarity. So there is really not much evidence for evolution, I would say that there is more evidence of God than evolution since evolution is based on theory and wrong ideas, while God has some results we can see. Like when people accept the Lord their lives change, and not in accordance with their own thoughts or actions. We see people behave differently and life for them as they have known it starts to change for the better. We see people healed through prayer and touched. There are words of Prophecy that are given which are right on and lives are changed. We see more evidence of God through people not to mention in the life around us that science has not a clue for than supporting evidence for evolution. This is not even getting into the testimonies about people raised from the dead by prayer, all the healing s, miracles and other things that happen when we accept Jesus as Lord and get close to Him.

      February 10, 2013 at 8:09 am |
  2. Science

    To Bob

    Published on Jan 13, 2013

    Program Description
    Over 60,000 years ago, the first modern humans—people physically identical to us today—left their African homeland and entered Europe, then a bleak and inhospitable continent in the grip of the Ice Age. But when they arrived, they were not alone: the stocky, powerfully built Neanderthals had already been living there for hundred of thousands of years. So what happened when the first modern humans encountered the Neanderthals? Did we make love or war? That question has tantalized generations of scholars and seized the popular imagination. Then, in 2010, a team led by geneticist Svante Paabo announced stunning news. Not only had they reconstructed much of the Neanderthal genome—an extraordinary technical feat that would have seemed impossible only a decade ago—but their analysis showed that "we" modern humans had interbred with Neanderthals, leaving a small but consistent signature of Neanderthal genes behind in everyone outside Africa today. In "Decoding Neanderthals," NOVA explores the implications of this exciting discovery. In the traditional view, Neanderthals differed from "us" in behavior and capabilities as well as anatomy. But were they really mentally inferior, as inexpressive and clumsy as the cartoon caveman they inspired? NOVA explores a range of intriguing new evidence for Neanderthal self-expression and language, all pointing to the fact that we may have seriously underestimated our mysterious, long-vanished human cousins.

    Science & Technology

    Peace

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nH1fqd0Ryo

    February 9, 2013 at 6:21 am |
    • Bob

      The real issue is not that science has not done good or helped but science is not God. It is a shame that you worship mans understanding of what God has already created yet don't know the creator and give God the credit. In that alone knowing what I know, I would say you are incomplete in what you know therefore are of little help or interest to me. There are so many things that science does not have the answer for its really shocking that anyone who upholds such a high consistent standard of knowledge could accept something so incomplete and not admit that there may be things science does not know and cannot know. So we come to where you gloss over the facts to accept that which is complete to call it complete. To me this is stupidity it does not have any of the higher reasoning and intelligence that some of the great minds had. You don't even know how much you don't know other wise you would not be here.

      February 10, 2013 at 12:28 am |
    • End Religion

      Bob, you and religion are a celebration of ignorance.

      February 10, 2013 at 12:33 am |
  3. Psuedonym

    I can't proove it, define it or explain it but you guys are wrong. There definately is what we would call a "spiritual" dimension to existance. How do you explain it when you dream about stuff before it happens. Or when two people have the same dream at the same time? Or when two people see the same thing that "shouldn't be there". Stuff happens.

    February 9, 2013 at 3:38 am |
    • GHOTI

      Proper spelling happens too - but apparently not with you.

      (hint: it does take a bit of effort; but it's worth it if you want to look like you have a brain)

      February 9, 2013 at 3:47 am |
    • The Truth

      It's called Q u a n t u m entanglement, aka s p o o k y action.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:48 am |
    • Observer

      Dyslexia and IQ are not interrelated as a result of cognition developing independently.[18]

      Also thoughts do not have particles, your theory is about particles.

      February 9, 2013 at 5:53 am |
    • CrossCountry

      Science and 'spiritual' both exist in my humble opinion. Science is easier proved thus easier to believe (for me).

      Does it really matter? I don't lose sleep over it.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • CrossCountry

      let me re do that sentence.....what I meant is: there is room for both. Of course, science exits (its factual, proven and solid). Unlike 'spiritual' things...which is often times hard to prove and not very solid. But, there is room for both IMO.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
  4. CrossCountry

    Religion is one of the soul reasons for all the hatred and bigotry in the world. 'Hearing God' is part of that.

    Everyone just throws around their scriptures and doctrines at each other ....which only serves to justify what they believe to be absolute truth.

    Wake up.

    February 8, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
    • Psuedonym

      I'm sure some people define their experience by using someone elses words...but not everyone.

      February 9, 2013 at 3:45 am |
  5. David

    You keep believing, I'll keep evolving.

    February 8, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
    • Psuedonym

      People should really use the word "experience" rather than "belief" when talking about their experiences. Besides, what do you expect people to do...ignore their own experiences to keep up with your personal opinion?

      February 9, 2013 at 3:43 am |
    • CrossCountry

      experiences help to create your belief system. In the end, we all have them. I could care less if people believe differently than i do. Just as long as its not shoved in my face as the only truth and the absolute truth. I find that a lot of times Christians are notorious for have absolutely no tolerance towards people who have different experiences.

      My beliefs are being continually shaped by my experiences.

      February 9, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
  6. Bob

    A couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside. That Laundry is not very clean, she doesn’t know how to wash correctly exclaimed the young woman. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap. Her husband looks on, but remains silent. Every time the neighbor hangs her wash to dry, the young woman makes the same comments. A month later the young woman is surprised to see a nice clean wash out on the line and says to her husband, Look she has finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this. The Husbands’ reply was short and to the point, I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows. And so it is with life, what we see when watching others depends on the clarity of the window through which we look.

    February 8, 2013 at 9:21 am |
    • Jeff E.

      Thank you for that gem! Every one of us has a lens through which we view life... to see the lens for what it is to get closer to God and truth.

      February 8, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • stoodrv.

      Exactly. I washed my window and realized that there was no evidence for god. It was a smudge on my window that someone else had put there.

      February 9, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  7. Mark

    Yes you are crazy.

    February 8, 2013 at 8:04 am |
  8. Ralph

    News not reporting it, finally O's birth certificate authenticity to be considered by the Supreme C
    http://www.examiner.com/article/retired-wash-supreme-court-justice-joins-obama-birther-fight

    February 7, 2013 at 7:43 am |
  9. The breakfast club

    Here are some questions..

    To what extent is your internal reality required to fit your external reality? Is there a mandate? Where is the line? And who enforces it?

    February 7, 2013 at 6:40 am |
    • Bob

      Interesting questions and would be different for different religions but it would be hard for you to understand the reality of what the answers to your questions really mean or the significance of them. I can say this I would trust God in His decisions and follow what He says over any person. Now this does not include any violent acts because even in Jesus time He could have been a king if He wanted. But His words were clear the kingdom of God is not this world but the people in it. He dwells in us and we are a home for Him. Jesus was not a pacifist which is the mistake that most make, He had a goal and that goal was achieved but it was done in obedience to the Father. But when He comes again it will not be peaceful.

      February 7, 2013 at 8:52 am |
    • Science

      @Bob

      Please provide map of where god(s) entry point will be please.

      Thanks
      Peace

      February 7, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • sam stone

      "I can say this I would trust God in His decisions and follow what He says over any person"

      Yet you use what people wrote (the bible), and attribute it to god

      February 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Bob

      Yes because He confirms His word to me its not mans words it is men inspired or guided by the Holy Spirit or Gods Spirit. When you read the Bible its really not a interesting book till the Spirit of God starts to walk you through what you are reading then it becomes the most interesting book you have ever read, unlike any you have read before. His word is alive and active and sharper than any 2 edged sword.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
    • ¿¿lol

      Bob, your god is a nincompoop and out of date. Even Gillette is up to at least five unsurpassably-sharp blades. Ditch the myth and get with the show!

      February 7, 2013 at 6:40 pm |
    • The breakfast club

      Bob. I've seen your posts. You must get tired of the abuse by the posters on CNN. Not everybody shares your faith but I like that you stand strong for what you want in the face of criticism.

      February 7, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
    • Science

      @Bob talking about a two edge sword are you,

      This is what the wedge strategy is trying to discredit, evolution.

      News Release Jan 30 2013

      3-D structure of the evolved enzyme (an RNA ligase), using 10 overlaid snapshots. In the top region, the overlays show the range of bending and folding flexibility in the amino acid chain that forms the molecule. The two gray balls are zinc ions. (University of Minnesota)

      University of Minnesota researchers unveil first artificial enzyme created by evolution in a test tube

      Going forward, Seelig plans to create enzymes with useful applications while he continues to explore the underlying basic science of enzyme structure and function, aiming to learn more about the origin of enzymes and how proteins evolve.

      "Enzymes have always fascinated me," he says. "It’s rewarding to do work that has practical applications yet provides the opportunity to better understand how life on earth evolved."

      http://www1.umn.edu/news/news-releases/2013/UR_CONTENT_429344.html

      February 8, 2013 at 6:45 am |
    • Science

      Does not need or want a wedgie ok

      February 8, 2013 at 6:57 am |
  10. religious independent

    Most people like their religions and spiritualities. When you find what you like, it need not be subject to popular opinion. If it is unreasonable it then becomes your own measure to think on what "might be" instead of only "what is."

    February 6, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
  11. Bob

    Evil Bob so what is the problem with what you quoted? Also your wrong about the laws better read up that way you would sound intelligent rather than hysterical. The other point I would like to make is you said why couldn't God come up with a better way to communicate than a book, well did you look at what this post is about or did you just get so upset that you had to write something and vomited out the crap you did without looking at what this post should really be talking about. Something which you don't know by the way, but that actually answers this question.

    February 6, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "sound intelligent rather than hysterical."

      Says the guy arguing for the truthfulness of myths.

      February 6, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • Bob

      Frankly, other Bob, it's very clear that you are better described as the "evil" one, when you follow a religion and a massively evil jerk of a sky fairy that makes horrid demands of you like these, according to its horrid user manual AKA the bible:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Leviticus 25
      44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
      45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
      46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      February 6, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • Nii

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superst.itions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      And become attached to your website which will teach me to love my neighbor as myself and be patient, kind and loving to my enemies, right? Get a life!

      February 7, 2013 at 3:04 am |
    • Science

      Sorry CREATION LOST. Bob

      EVOLUTION IN A TEST TUBE Jan. 30 2013

      News Release

      3-D structure of the evolved enzyme (an RNA ligase), using 10 overlaid snapshots. In the top region, the overlays show the range of bending and folding flexibility in the amino acid chain that forms the molecule. The two gray balls are zinc ions. (University of Minnesota)

      University of Minnesota researchers unveil first artificial enzyme created by evolution in a test tube

      Thanks Doc.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:17 am |
  12. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    You do have a grasp of one thing, hippypoet. Facts exist. Why do you suppose this is so?

    February 6, 2013 at 10:30 am |
  13. Bob

    Sam this is the true feelings of a believer not the demanding terrible God you so want to portray on your sick ideas of love. How can you be trusted to reveal something to people that you have no idea of? Yet claim to be a authority of and berate it so badly. What is the true basis of your phobia? Sam were your parents abusive to you? Is that where you learned of love and how it should be or from to many video games but you sure have some problems and maybe should get some counseling about this.
    Psa 63:1 A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
    Psa 63:2 Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.
    Psa 63:3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You.
    Psa 63:4 So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.
    Psa 63:5 My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.
    Psa 63:6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,
    Psa 63:7 For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
    Psa 63:8 My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.
    Psa 63:9 But those who seek my life to destroy it, Will go into the depths of the earth.
    Psa 63:10 They will be delivered over to the power of the sword; They will be a prey for foxes.
    Psa 63:11 But the king will rejoice in God; Everyone who swears by Him will glory, For the mouths of those who speak lies will be stopped.

    February 6, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Science

      Soul can be replaced or repaired on bottom of shoe

      February 6, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Bob

      Science I hope you apply that to yourself when your hurt or upset just replace it LOL

      February 6, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • sam stone

      Where have I claimed to be an authority?

      How about YOUR parents? Did they teach you that you were born a sinner? Did they tell you that you needed salvation?

      February 6, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • sam stone

      Also, D-Bag, I do not play video games....

      You do know that your quotes are ONLY relevant to those who accept the source of those quotes, don't you?

      February 6, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • Bob

      Sam your a destroyer a dead man walking so nothing you say counts

      February 6, 2013 at 11:46 am |
    • sam stone

      And you are nothing but a blowhard. Keep on blathering, halfwit. You do more to advance a distrust of religion than I ever could. If you have the guts, put your sidearm in your mouth and go meet your savior

      February 6, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
    • Bob

      Other Bob, while you are dumping bible quotes on us, let's have a look at some of the other choice bits from your Christian book of nasty AKA the bible:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Leviticus 25
      44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
      45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
      46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      February 6, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Crazy bible bigot Bob

      Did you get tired of being on the "Christian Case for Gay Marriage" article finally? Deciding to spend 7-8 months trolling this article now and continue to show your uselessness to everyone that cares to look?

      February 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Bob

      Hawaii Good to hear from you again, I post but I guess you decided to spam the board it is so bad that its not worth it. So I post and could fill the page like you but its just pointless.

      February 6, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bob

      I spam the board? I would ask for evidence of this, but then again it's you, so I won't expect anything but irrelevant bullshit.

      February 6, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • Bob

      Sorry if it wasn't you its yeah that spams everything.

      February 6, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
  14. Bob

    Pro_8:36 "But he who sins against me injures himself; All those who hate me love death."

    February 6, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • Damocles

      Cat 7:62 Meow!

      February 6, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • sam stone

      Wow, Blob....congrats on that whole cut and paste thing

      February 6, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • mama k

      ooo – going back to Gullible's Travels, part 1.

      February 6, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Bob

      Other Bob, while you are dumping yet more bible bile on us, let's have a look at some of the other choice bits from your Christian book of nasty AKA the bible:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Leviticus 25
      44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
      45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
      46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      February 6, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Bob

      Evil Bob so what is the problem with what you quoted? Also your wrong about the laws better read up that way you would sound intelligent rather than hysterical. The other point I would like to make is you said why couldn't God come up with a better way to communicate than a book, well did you look at what this post is about or did you just get so upset that you had to write something and vomited out the crap you did without looking at what this post should really be talking about. Something which you don't know by the way, but that actually answers this question.Sorry I posted it above but wanted to try my cut and pasted skills so I put the response in the proper spot. I didn't know if you would find it and be able to understand that it was a response to you otherwise.

      February 6, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
  15. Bob

    Yup science may have uncovered all that but just like the monkey trial that said we were descendents of apes science changes God does not. So now we cannot even teach creationism in schools and science lied verified by its own findings. So scientists went to court thats how sure they were and we suffered because of it and now they want to believe they have all the answers, I don't think so. If they did why is humanity in such a mess the more we progress away from faith? Those who really think and know their God are not in a closet shutting the door to possibilities that life is more than we understand now.

    February 6, 2013 at 8:41 am |
    • Damocles

      @Bob

      I sure would like to meet the scientist who says 'yes, we now have all the answers to everything'. I'd be even more interested in meeting the scientist that could prove it.

      February 6, 2013 at 8:50 am |
    • SImran

      "So now we cannot even teach creationism in schools and science lied verified by its own findings. So scientists went to court thats how sure they were and we suffered because of it "

      You do realize how stupid and incoherent that sounds.

      So, you think you are suffering bcoz of science? I bet you would run to the doctor to treat your herpes and not kneel down in prayer. I wonder how you would comunicate here on the belief blog without the internet? Yeah, you would use psychic powers.

      However you may wish, god is not the answer to all your problems / questiobs, never was, never will be.

      February 6, 2013 at 8:51 am |
    • Saraswati

      "If they did why is humanity in such a mess the more we progress away from faith?"

      I don't think you're looking at history objectively. Life expectancy and quality of life are much better now than at even the beginning of the last century. We no longer have slavery or segregation and women are in a position to support themselves if their husbands turn out to be abusers or addicts. Best yet, they aren't marrying and having children in their teens with no hope of ever changing life later. We have a more educated populace, and if you look at the numbers even IQ scores are rising.

      Perhaps you are comparing to some very narrow range of time in the US when this country had an illusion off superiority that made people feel special. At that time we profited, not unreasonably, by an economic structure in which we took earned wealth from developing countries that had not yet produced their own capabilities to interact in the international markets. That time has passed, and looking back to 20 or so "golden years" when we could live off the work of others has nothing at all to do with religious beliefs.

      I'm not promoting universal atheism. Different things work for different people. But imagining some fantasy world in which ignorance brought a superior quality of life isn't going to help anyone. Open your eyes. Study up on demographics and the psychology of what makes people happy and healthy. The world isn't the hell hole you sadly imagine it to be.

      February 6, 2013 at 8:55 am |
    • Bob

      Ok so say we have all those things why are we not better off? We are worse off with less help more teen pregnancies more drug addiction, suicides, less hope our leaders have no concern for good and we have more laws than any time in history. Yup science that you guys speak of is great knowledge without morals or Conscience. What do you offer except knowledge? while we do need to know and science has improved our lives in areas it has not improved the human condition.

      February 6, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • Science

      @Bob

      Lot better than the talking snake .

      February 6, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • Damocles

      @Bob

      When you hear that someone killed themselves do you say to yourself 'science made that person kill themselves'?

      February 6, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • Science

      @Bob

      Pig valves plus stem cells = heart valves for transplant in to humans.

      Also making ears for transplant from stem cells.

      Peace

      Do you still have your wisdom teeth.

      February 6, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • SImran

      Bob,
      The aspect of human condition you talk of is a subject of the discipline of SOCIAL SCIENCES and HUMANITIES.
      It is not the realm of Natural Sciences, which are not meant to teach morality or right from wrong.
      And the last time I checked, social sciences were very much a part of our academic curriculum. When I was in school, we even had classes on moral science, where we argued and discussed issues of morality. Religion was never a topic of discussion, rightly so.

      You fail to acknowledge what Saraswati pointed above. Our society is changing, as it always does. And there are always good and bad things which accompany any change. As a female, looking back at the last 30 yrs, I feel the change has been in a much more positive direction. Women and minorities stand up for themselves, people speak up for each other, political leaders get challenged, the religious authorities and others get busted for their scams, the common man stands up in protest of a goverment's decision to wage a war, and so on...

      February 6, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Bob,

      "Ok so say we have all those things why are we not better off?"

      That's your judgment because of what you choose to see.

      "We are worse off with less help more teen pregnancies more drug addiction"

      Actually we have far fewer teen pregnancies; it's just that people are less likely to get married young. Drug addiction swings up and down, but smoking is much lower and alcohol related crashes are way down from their peaks. The largest rise in drug use is among prescription drugs, which is a side effect of the great explosion in health care advances. Yes, there are some spin off problems, but I'd rather take the quality health care even with the risks.

      February 6, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • Saraswati

      @Bob, (cont.)
      "suicides"

      The suicide rate in the US has been dropping steadily since 1990 – the same period over which secularism has risen. I doubt there's a correlation, but you can't use this for any sort of argument.

      "less hope"

      I'm not aware of any long term measures of "hope" but would be happy to look at them.

      "our leaders have no concern for good"

      Again, not sure where you would measure this. The leaders seem to have about as much concern for good as they ever did – maybe just not what you consider "good". It's also far more difficult to get away with corruption today due to increased oversight.

      February 6, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • SImran

      And talking of teen pregnancies Bob, teen pregnancies were the norm in the good old days! It was perfectly okay to get married in early teens (in fact it would be a cause of great worry if the father did not marry off his daughter by 18). What has changed is our perception of when an individual is mature enough to handle se.xuality, marriage and family responsibilities.

      February 6, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Bob

      What a moron yes in the middle ages that was the truth but today teen pregnancies are paid entirely by the gov. Because of moral decay this is a accepted way of life now not in the days when you did get married which two people had the will to try to make a life by the work of their hands and the conviction of their hearts. Instead of taking a gov handout based on not having the intelligence conviction and moral chaste to take responsibility for that which you made the decision to have.

      February 6, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • SImran

      And now Bob responds by name-calling! How very typical!

      The two people in the old days did not get married by their own free will, they were married bcoz society wanted them to. The teen pregnancies were paid for by the families then. Again you fail to notice that govt today is trying to provide contraception, safe se.x education to the at risk groups, trying to provide solutions for people who do end up with teen pregnancies. Is it the taxes that bother you Bob? What does the church say about helping the poor and needy and sharing your wealth with the ones who need it?

      February 6, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • Saraswati

      Actually Bob, before you go calling other people morons, we aren't talking about the middle ages but the 1950s and 1960s...try checking out the numbers before you open your mouth and make a fool of yourself.

      http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db89.htm

      (the blip in the 40s is due to wartime drops)

      As for those "middle ages" marriages you promote, it had a lot less to do with young teens making a go of it with their great will power than with marriages forced by parents because there were dowries needed and no way to feed any more kids. Some worked out and it was great, but a lot did not or ended in deaths in childbirth for the mothers and there was no escape. It was not all bad by any means, but your image is a fantasy.

      February 6, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • tallulah13

      I think what Bob is trying to say is that the world has changed and he is not comfortable with those changes. People who don't share his beliefs seem to frighten him, as does his lack of ability to condemn or control the lives of others. Poor Bob.

      February 6, 2013 at 10:32 am |
  16. Science

    Check your god(S) at the cave enterance before entering.. No god(s) required for studying humans on this thread

    updated 1 hour 55 minutes ago
    Jan. 29 2013

    Scientists have unearthed and dated some of the oldest stone hand axes on Earth. The ancient tools, unearthed in Ethiopia in the last two decades, date to 1.75 million years ago.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/50620121/ns/technology_and_science-science/

    Ancient DNA reveals humans living 40,000 years ago in Beijing area related to present-day Asians, Native Americans January 21, 2013

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-01-ancient-dna-reveals-humans-years.html#jCp

    February 6, 2013 at 8:35 am |
  17. shaydawkins

    This book is the most ideal book for anyone questioning or leaving the religion of Christianity as this book answers all the controversial questions that the local pastor, sunday school teacher, or church as a whole won't or can't answer. The book uses 200+ Scriptures to directly address Christianity's most controversial issues and problems. http://www.TheGoodNewsBook.com

    February 6, 2013 at 7:50 am |
    • Bob

      Why should anyone look at that book when it cannot answer how did male and female come to be much less who we are with God and what happens in the spirit? That is all mans ideas nothing else.

      February 6, 2013 at 8:35 am |
    • Damocles

      @Bob

      Male and female does not exist in all species.

      February 6, 2013 at 8:53 am |
  18. shaydawkins

    This book is the most ideal book for anyone questioning or leaving the religion of Christianity as my book answers all the controversial questions that the local pastor, sunday school teacher, or church as a whole won't or can't answer. The book uses 200+ Scriptures to directly address Christianity's most controversial issues and problems. http://www.TheGoodNewsBook.com

    February 6, 2013 at 7:49 am |
    • Bet

      Your book answers nothing. You can't prove the bible by using the bible.

      February 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  19. God Loves Your AR-15

    In other words, the Loons hear what they *want* to hear. And you need a 10 year study to tell you this? What a waste!

    February 5, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
  20. Blending religions

    Ok...

    There's one God....who much like Schrodenger's cat exists and doesn't exist at the same time. You can call "God" Jesus, Yahweh, Buddah, Allah, The Great Spirit, The great mother or whatever you'd like to call the idea that the universe(s) are conscious.

    The point is that everything is nothing.

    When you die you can choose to either reincarnate (come back) or go to paradise because God made this possible or you can wind up in hell with all the other people who smoke if you need a cigarette one day or really want to suffer...more so than here.

    Unless I"m wrong in wich case you go to your grave and nothing. zippo. nada. Like turning the TV off.

    I guess that about covers it.

    February 5, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
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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.