When God/Jesus Talks To Someone
September 12, 2017 at 2:45 pm #4989
I had moved to Galveston, Texas for a brief while in the late 90s. After moving there, one of the first local news stories that I read was about a woman who was arrested because, “God told her to put the baby in the oven.”
As I tried to look for a link to that story right now, I found another story in Galveston, where a man who claims that “he was sent by God to be a preacher in Galveston“ had burned his 2-month-old daughter using a microwave. He would later plead insanity, but they found that he had a history of doing horrible things and then pleading insanity. It is important to remember that this man says he is a preacher!
There is no shortage of people who claim that god talks to them.
Growing up in the Midwest, people would often times claim that god talked to them. One scary instance for me was this one person who told me that god told them that I was a “nasty rodent who needed to be exterminated from the house of the lord.” All I could say was, “If YOU do it, then it’s not your god doing it. You should pray to your god, and if your god wants this, then he can do it himself.”
I told the police about it. They said they talked to the person, and that this person denied saying it. It was an attempt to make me look bad. It was not surprising that a Christian who claims to hear voices would lie, but I digress.
My goal is not to say that people who “talk to god” are necessarily crazy. Coming here and asserting that would be a lazy way to lay down an easy insult. For me, it raises some serious questions and concerns.
What is the difference between “god talked to me” and “god told me?”
I know at least one person on here who would be quick to assert, without backup, that this is the same thing, probably because so many words are similar, yet in slight different order. But it is not.
This question should not inspire a battle between what THIS word means and what THAT word means. Those arguments are childish, tired, and non-productive. The definition of a word should not be getting in the way of discussion among grown adults. If the word is too confusing, then it should be replaced immediately. And if someone is having a difficult with definitions, regardless of the word, then they really should not be here.
There was a kid in high school who claimed that “god talked to” him once. It was a weird story, but to the best of my knowledge he never did anything to harm anyone. But when you hear of things like a baby in the oven, then it’s “god told me” to do it.
I’ve not heard anyone touch upon this nuance before, so it would be interesting to explore.
If god talks to you, a Christian, then why won’t this god talk to me?
If this god is capable of actually talking to people, then why would it pass over me simply because I do not believe? Right now, there is a great opportunity for this god to set everything straight, and it would be as easy as talking to me. Well, sort of, because there is one big problem with that.
How do you know that it’s your god talking to you, and not satan, not another god, or not yourself?
Even the declaration of “I am god” is not enough. If I heard a being talking to me, and it did not identify itself as Yahweh, the Christian god, then why would I make the assumption that this is who is talking to me? What if it was that pesky talking serpent? How could you tell the difference? Is it because you get a good feeling, like a rush in your heart? Would a talking serpent not be capable of giving you that feeling? Certainly, the master of trickery has to be good at it, right?
People who hold a belief in a god have a strong bias toward that god. So when there’s a “beautiful baby” who is born, the Christian will attribute it to Yahweh/god, the Muslim will attribute it to Allah, and on down the line. If they hold a belief in a god, and subscribe to the idea that this is the only god who exists, then that’s where it goes.
Never mind that one of the ten commandments suggests that there are “other gods.” Thou shalt not have any other gods before me. Oh, there are other gods, you say?
Within the context of hearing the voice of god, what is the difference between strong religious belief and mental illness?
If someone were in a hospital muttering nonsense and saying that they heard voices, they might end up in a room of their own, and maybe end up being diagnosed with, and treated for, schizophrenia. But what if that same person said they were Pentecostal, speaking in tongues, and that god was speaking TO them and THROUGH them? Then what? They can say that they’re just practicing their faith, and that “the spirit moved them” at that particular time.
How can one tell?
What if there is no difference?
Richard Dawkins suggests that there is no difference. I will admit that I lean toward that camp, if for no other reason than to err on the side of caution, in order to get that person the help that they seem to need.
This might be a good place to reiterate that the purpose of this post is not to insult believers. It is an attempt to understand. No gods have ever talked to me. Why the snobbery? Seems rather elitist. But this is a god who, according to the mythology, created a whole bunch of different people with different beliefs, made his son, who is also himself, a Jew, but then suddenly favors Christians over his own self as a Jew. It’s truly confusing nonsense.
Beyond those observations, I do understand that it’s not my place to put forth judgment. I’m not a mental health professional. One does not need to be a mental health professional to see something concerning and wonder that it might be a form of insanity. I’m no mechanic, and yet I drive a car very well.
I’m not one to side with Dawkins, or anyone else, simply because they were the ones who said it. While I see no reason why I should believe in any of the gods, regardless of whether or not they are commercially-available for purchase, I must confess that it is really difficult to be open to the idea that a god is actually talking to someone. It’s a stretch that goes beyond my ability to stay open.
When someone believes that they ARE god
This is another blurred line that seems to be related to the idea that a god is talking to, or through, someone. Thinking back to the Pentecostal who is speaking in tongues because they’re moved by the holy spirit, is there a difference between this holy spirit speaking TO someone, speaking THROUGH someone, or actually TAKING OVER?
Twenty years ago, I had a friend who called a very important meeting, and that there would be some kind of “investment opportunity.” He rented a meeting room at a local hotel, so I knew that this meeting was serious. I was there with about 40 other people. A few other people, like me, were wary that this might be some kind of pyramid scheme.
This friend said that they desperately needed to raise $20 million dollars, as soon as possible. He said that it was “a matter of god’s will.” Some checkbooks came out right away, while some arms crossed. I remember him being very energetic, positive, wide-eyed, and really pumped up.
And then, he cut to the chase.
“I need to raise this money immediately, so that I can go on The Oprah Winfrey Show. This is where I need to go to announce to the world that I am the Messiah, and that the time is drawing near. They need to know.”
Suddenly, the checkbooks were put away. One person left the room, and we would later find out that it was to alert staff to call the police. Someone said that they wanted to know more about this opportunity, which was a stall for time.
He had a pad of Post-It Notes, and he began writing little things on the notes, tearing them off, and sticking them to a board. He’d keep muttering, “Don’t forget this.”
The police showed up and he was taken to a hospital, where he was kept under suicide watch for a month. He was medicated, first on Lithium, then on Zoloft.
Today, he is still medicated, and is a productive member of society, completely with a solid job and relationship, which have lasted for 18 years.
This incident raised yet another question.
If god materializes via a physical human entity, in the same way as Jesus, how would we be able to tell?
Was my friend the messiah? I do not think so, for I see no reason why I should believe in a god, messiah, or other related things.
This points back to hearing the voice. How do you know it’s your god?
Would there be Christians who would have heard the voice of my friend, and the instantly concluded that, indeed, this is the voice of god?
The hard answer is that they cannot know, because there is no benchmark. There has never been a study of people who say that god speaks to them, where we later determine that this entity used the same language, word patterns, slang, had a similar tone of voice, was an external voice, and clearly identified itself as Yahweh, the Christian god.
Those who claim to know are Gnostic. The Gnostic, at best, seems to be dishonest, for no one can truly know. At worst, the Gnostic is simply bat-shit crazy.
Although I am an Agnostic Atheist, meaning that I am open to proof that a god exists, I must say that this opening gets more and more narrow as the years pass on, and as the same arguments get made over and over again.
While I see no reason to believe in a god, can I really give someone the benefit of the doubt that maybe their god is talking to them, or through them?
In my attempt to extend to the believer the benefit of the doubt, there is a clear line for me regarding this, which can be identified in a statement: “Your right to swing your fist around ends at the tip of my nose.” In other words, I will not challenge your beliefs until they affect me.
So if a Christian tells me that they believe, with all their heart, that their god is watching over them, giving them comfort in life and guiding them, then fine. If they say that they believe this god answers their prayers, then fine. Even if they say that they prayed to their god, and it spoke to them, and it gave them a solution to something that was troubling them, then fine. If it’s a belief of theirs, it’s not imposing, and they seem otherwise fine, then I’m okay with it.
But when a Christian says that god talked to them and told them to do something, and this is something that clearly has a negative or horrible impact on others, then that’s when the line is crossed. This is when emergency services gets called.
In short, when it’s a belief and seems to help the person, it could be a good thing. But when it’s considered to be a real thing, and it may harm others, then it is clearly a bad thing.
In closing, there is one problem that I have with my own position, which allows for this belief on a certain level. That is the fact that it will not keep babies out of ovens. It will not prevent people from flying jets into high-rise buildings. It won’t stop the marketplace suicide bomber, or anyone who kills in the name of their god, because they were told to do so. It won’t stop churches and cults from controlling people and destroying families in the name of profits. It won’t stop any of the madness that we see in the world that is a direct result of religious belief, mostly from the three Abrahamic faiths.
This creates a major difficulty for me, when trying to give religious people the benefit of the doubt. I just don’t know when that coin will flip.
This represents my internal struggle. I want to live-and-let-live, even though Christians did not treat me with this attitude during the first 21 years of my life. Even today, this is the general Christian attitude.
Why should I extend this to them, when I know that they will not extend it to me.
The opening continues to close…September 12, 2017 at 8:24 pm #5001
You cannot keep babies out of ovens. You have to start with that precept. After that, I would consider that the perpetrator would probably put the baby in the oven under a different perceived reason if they had no religion. When you scratch under the surface, most religious atrocities are actually atrocities using the cover of religion. Without religion, another cover would be found and the atrocities would continue in the name of Revolution or some other philosophy.September 12, 2017 at 8:55 pm #5006
You cannot keep babies out of ovens. You have to start with that precept. After that, I would consider that the perpetrator would probably put the baby in the oven under a different perceived reason if they had no religion.
Reminds me of a friend I had in college. He was a weirdo, like me. End of school year, 1985, he invites me to his parents’ mansion for a New Year’s Eve party. I say that I’ll be there. We’ve got at least six months before this, and things happen.
My mother bought me a ticket to move in early December. I was pumped up, so I took it. The flight left on New Year’s Eve. I was at 38,000 feet when I remembered. Figured my friend would understand, and I’ll call him when I land.
I call, and no answer. Leave messages, and no call back. Two weeks later, his mother calls me. I wasn’t expecting it, as his parents were “always on safari,” as he said. He was raised by the help, and mostly lived in the mansion alone.
His mother told me that he had this HUGE party set up. Probably spent $80,000 on the party.
Nobody showed up. Nobody.
A vendor called 911 when he was acting up with a sawed-off shotgun. They tried to talk him down. He shot himself in the chest.
You can imagine how I felt about that.
To your point, I felt guilt for years on end about how if only I had been there, he would not have killed himself. It took therapy and some thinking to realize that, even had I been there, it would have merely been a delay.
If it wasn’t nobody showing up on NYE, then it would have been something else.
I do understand that I can’t save the oven babies, just as I could never save my college friend. It’s sad, but I have to accept it.September 12, 2017 at 9:26 pm #5012
My daughter was married with 3 children at the time they took in her brother-in-law because his life was a shambles. The brainwashed xian thing to do, of course. He had been accused of raping a 13 year old girl, among many things.
My son-in-law was working nights, & she woke up from a sound sleep to find the brother-in-law on her bed start naked, wielding scissors. He was saying gawd was telling him to rape & stab my daughter. She managed to grab her phone, & call for help which got there in time to arrest & handcuff him.
They got rid of everything in their bedroom, repainted, & replaced before she’d go in there again. They even changed their house doors to solid non glass types. Did this make her realize anything about the gawd thing?….no…….he was charged & sent to a psychiatric hospital for 10 years. They prayed for him.
He has been out for some time now, they are back in touch, & are on each other’s facebook pages. All is forgiven.
My daughter now has 5 kids, 4 are girls! Idiotic, but not my business.September 13, 2017 at 4:35 am #5019
So this hurricane Irma just trashed my town pretty good. Facebook is full of people talking to god. Most were praying that the storm go fuck someone else up. That didn’t really work. Now if someone gets power restored to their house (It is 97 degrees and humid in my house tonite) they thank god. Not the poor bastard in a bucket truck out in the rain working 14 hr shifts with high tension wires. Now I doubt most of these people actually feel they had a conversation, but they know he is listening. Just sitting up there deciding which way the wind blows, all the time minding the bell curves. Because god really is statistical genius. All the time making sure the insurance companies will make a profit based on their actuary tables. As a baby dies in India, god is making sure Mr Smith has his power restored according to the estimates given to us by the power company. So many self preoccupied cretins walking around. Most are nice people, just blinded by indoctrinated faith.
PS If you have never been through a hurricane, I was sitting on my living room couch but it felt like flying on a 737 in turbulence. It sounds like a freight train with weird whistling and moaning sounds. Big things are pounding your roof and side of the house and if you do look outside you will see a 12″ thick pine bending like a piece of licorice as the water starts coming in the doors and the lights flicker and then your transformer explodes and live wires are dancing and arcing on the street. Its actually pretty fascinating 😉
September 13, 2017 at 4:46 am #5021
- This reply was modified 1 week, 5 days ago by _Robert_.
So many disasters, on top of disasters.September 13, 2017 at 4:59 am #5022
I’m glad you’re safe Robert.September 13, 2017 at 1:39 pm #5043
So many disasters, on top of disasters.
I remember when we had the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, which was the last big one we’ve had, so we are overdue.
There was preacher after preacher, coming out to say that it was because “go-wad” [Southern accent, two syllables] was trying to destroy the pornography industry. Northridge was THE hub at the time.
It sounds so childish and ridiculous.
I understand that all of this religion and god stuff was an effort to get answers for things we had yet to answer. The world was an even more scary place back then. But when someone tries to interject god into a situation where we KNOW what happens, because we have an understanding of tectonic plates, then it’s just silly.September 13, 2017 at 1:47 pm #5045September 13, 2017 at 7:22 pm #5053
Wow Robert that was a brilliant description of how it feels to be in a hurricane! I almost feel I can cross it off my bucket list now!
Seriously mate, that sounds horrendous. I hope you and your family can get repaired and up and running as quickly as possible. And yeah, this is where god comes in – it’s the fear factor that amplifies the believers belief .
- This reply was modified 1 week, 4 days ago by Strega.
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