Talking to God…And God Talks Back

In this CNN piece, If You Hear God Speak Audibly, You (Usually) Aren’t Crazy, author Tanya Luhrmann writes that talking to God, and hearing answers, is common in people who pray. She doesn’t affirm whether or not God actually speaks to people (thank god), only that the people who claim to hear God arent’ crazy.

I have to ask this: If you believe that God DOES talk to you, then don’t you feel a little bad that he didn’t answer the prayers of all those parents of kids who had cancer? What kind of God talks to you about your life, but allows an entire race of people to be killed, an entire country to be victimized, or a school to be terrorized? Who was praying when they were murdered? Why didn’t God talk to them and warn them? “It wasnt’ their time,” “it’s not for us to know” or “they went to a better place” are not good answers.

So, yes, if you believe God talks to you, you are nuts.

About these ads

45 responses to “Talking to God…And God Talks Back

  1. I just read a few your blogs including one on CNN. I never respond to any of these, but my heart was crushed as I read your words. Thank you for what you do. There are so many people wandering through this life not even thinking about a God or Jesus. You have searched and searched and yet you do not believe in a loving God, redemption through Jesus and that all of us are sinners. I don’t agree with you, but that’s not my point. You have inspired me to live a life devoted to God that everyone sees. You have inspired me to love all people regardless of what they believe, as Jesus told us to do. I don’t have all the answers and you have some very tough questions. Thank you for your writings, because they have inspired me to tell people about Jesus, to love people like Jesus did and to show the world that God does exist, He loves us and He loves you.

    • Anonymous–Thanks for sharing your point of view. I respect what you believe, too, and I’m sure your beliefs bring you a lot of comfort.

  2. I can’t say that it is entirely true that God “talks” to me every day. He does communicate with me. No, I generally don’t hear a voice. Sometimes its a feeling, a song on the radio, an actual person talking, something I’ll read, an epiphany, etc. God communicates with us all the time because God wants to be in a relationship with us. Do I hear God all the time, no. That is my own fault because I get too wrapped up in this world and my worries, anxieties, fears, and general busy-ness.

    To answer your other questions, do I feel bad that God didn’t answer the prayers of people who have lost loved ones to disease, terrorism, violence, etc. I don’t feel bad that God didn’t answer because God always answers prayers. Sometimes that answer is no. Sometimes, God isn’t going to give us what we want, actually most of the time God isn’t going to give us what we want because we, as humans, don’t know what is best for us. What is best for us is to follow God and that means acting and living like responsible, moral people. God made humans with equal dignity, we all have the same value and worth, no matter who we are or what we have done and nothing can change that simply because we are human. God gave us the freedom to act as we will because God wants humans to choose him. God wants our love, freely given (not based on a reward system). God also gave us responsibility. Humans have the responsibility to love one another and loving another person is willing the best for him or her always.

    I could probably try to come up with some great logical reasons as to why the tragedies you mentioned happened with some theological or philosophical slant. The most basic reason these tragedies happened and every other incidence of violence, etc. is because some person made a choice. We cannot blame God for the mass killings at Columbine, in Aurora, or in Newtown. We can blame the Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, James Holmes and Adam Lanza because each person as an individual made the choice to murder innocent people.

    As for disease and natural disaster that ends in human suffering or any human suffering, the theological response stems from original sin. When the first humans willingly defied God, the universe that God created could no longer operate as a perfect system. Humans got stuck with original sin and the universe got stuck with running a little haywire until the end of time. God, through Jesus, allows humans redemption from an the inside-out because we have souls. The universe, nature and everything that is not human does not have a soul; therefore, it cannot be redeemed through interior discernment and faith. So the long and short answer on that one is we are not perfect and we do not live in a perfect world so we suffer the ill effects of that world.

    • @M. I don’t agree with you, but I appreciate you taking the time to reach out and the respect comments you’ve made. I do understand what you’re saying. Where we disagree is here,

      I don’t feel bad that God didn’t answer because God always answers prayers. Sometimes that answer is no. Sometimes, God isn’t going to give us what we want, actually most of the time God isn’t going to give us what we want because we, as humans, don’t know what is best for us. What is best for us is to follow God and that means acting and living like responsible, moral people.

      If God always answers prayers, and his answer is no to human suffering or child abuse or torture or hate crimes, then he is not very compassionate from where I’m standing. What is freedom for one person is not freedom for the victims….As to your other point….people are not perfect, but the universe is amazingly close.

  3. Many years ago, shortly after my father died, I awoke from an incredibly realistic dream while visiting my mother. I was sobbing – in my dream, my father felt so real: even when awake, I felt I had really heard his voice, really felt his body in my hug. In my grief, I was so desperate to have my father back that my mind had conjured up a convincing replica in my dreams. Awake, I knew the image was not real; if I had believed my late father had come back to life, I think that would have been a sign of insanity.

    I feel this is relevant to some people who hear God talking back to them. They are so desperate for God to be real, to believe that he hears them and cares for them, that their brains can conjure up something convincing. I think that:
    – really believing God is talking back = crazy
    – accepting that God isn’t really talking back but taking comfort nonetheless = human but not crazy

    I really hope that there are many more of the latter than the former.

    • @Fai. I think you’re very right. People want so much to hear from the people they love, that they “conjure up something convincing.” Can’t really blame them. As you said, it’s only human that people look for comfort. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

  4. What people (who don’t believe in God) seem to forget is what the Old Testament, so very long ago, said about the whole situation… read about what Adam and Eve did that really made God unhappy.

    THAT is why we have evils happen in our world. THAT is when it all started. And, sad to say, we are ALL the offspring of Adam, thus we carry that curse with us, and will to the day we (true Christians) die or are raptured out of this life.

    Free will and the sin curse in this world is why God doesn’t do things the way we think He should. The only way He could stop ALL evils in this world, as we see them occur, is if He took away ALL free will. Would you be willing to be a grinning robot all the rest of your days, knowing everyone else was one too? What is the purpose of life, in that existence? He created us to be a free-will pleasure to Him, not a pre-programmed biological machine. God already has plenty of those. You know what they are called? ANIMALS! They CAN’T sin, because they are not self-aware. They simply exist. In the moment. Every moment. But they can’t acknowledge nor worship God, as we can.

    You want to say there is no God, because the things He does (or doesn’t), don’t fit YOUR model of what God should be like? Well, guess what… it’s not how things work. He created you, not the other way around. He has everything figured out to the Nth degree. Do you?

    You say there is no God… and that makes you a fool. The bible says so. Look it up.

    Just remember, before you go blaming God for doing things wrong or not doing them how you think He should, look to the guy and gal who started it all… blame THEM! Thanks to them and one lousy “tree of knowledge of good and evil”, EVERYTHING is all messed up! God didn’t mess everything up… THEY did! Jesus is the fix. End of story.

    • @Luposian. Thanks for commenting. I don’t agree with you, but I do understand what you’ve written here. I’ve read the Old Testament. What I’m saying is really more fundamental: I don’t believe the Bible was divinely inspired, so it does not carry the same weight with me as it does you. I hope you understand and respect my POV, too.

  5. Hello,

    Like these other folks who have commented I want to thank you for your honesty. It’s refreshing to say the least. I have not read everything that you have written, as a matter of fact I only read the CNN IReport piece and then about half a dozen of your blog posts here, so I apologize if what I’m about to say is something that you have already considered.

    It seems to me that your biggest gripe with the idea of God is that a loving and all powerful God who does not intervene in the miserable lives of the humans he supposedly created in his image then he is either not real (which is your main contention) or not worth caring about. I admittedly haven’t read much of what you’ve written but a lot of what I have read has been along these lines:

    “What kind of God talks to you about your life, but allows an entire race of people to be killed, an entire country to be victimized, or a school to be terrorized?”

    First, it’s a very fair question. Second, while many Christians will say that they don’t have an answer I actually think there is a very good answer. If you are interested I think that a great book for you to read is Phillip Yancey’s ‘Where is God When it Hurts’. I was a senior at Virginia Tech when the shootings happened in April 2007. I lost 5 friends. It took a while for it to set in but in about July of 2007 the questions hit me like a mack-truck so I read the Yancey book and I’ll do my best to summarize what I learned here.

    As Christians we believe God created the world and everything in it perfectly. Then because he desired a relationship he created humans. In order to have a relationship humanity had to be created with free will (something that as I understand it angels don’t have, which has always made me question how Satan fell but that is another issue). Free will gave us the ability to truly love God or to reject him. Adam and Eve chose to reject him (I personally don’t believe the apple story is literal, but it doesn’t much effect the purpose of the story, which is the important part). As a result of humanities rejection of God he had to physically remove himself from our presence, or more accurately from the presence of our sin. As a result sin has dominion over the Earth.

    The pain that we experience, the cancer, the school shootings, the car accidents, the birth defects, the divorce… are all a here because we were built for a relationship with God a relationship that we can not have (without repentance) because of our sin. From this perspective pain is a blessing. Without pain we wouldn’t know something was wrong. An analogy for this is that when you cut yourself it hurts. The pain is an indication of the fact that something is horribly wrong. My belief is that God allows pain to exist because if he didn’t we would not have the ability to know him.

    My understanding is that leprosy causes nerve damage such that people who suffer from it can not feel pain. These people might sprain an ankle and never feel the pain causing them to walk with a limp the rest of their life. They might burn their hand in scalding water and get horrible infections because they never felt any pain and had the wound healed. Without pain in the world we would all be relegated to a life of spiritual leprosy.

    What strikes me about this is that I can’t think of a better reason for pain to exist. I think the “problem of pain” is actually quite a helpful tool in understanding and reasoning for the existence of God. What kind of God would create a people with free will and then hide them from the consequences of their choices? What kind of parent would do that? The loving, caring and all powerful aspect of God is that we believe he has such love and feels such pity for his broken creation that he sacrificed himself to free us from the eternal pain of separation from him.

    I certainly understand the questions and confusion. A quick glance at the world tells you that it’s not a place that a loving and all powerful being would have created but a deeper look (I believe) shows that pain points to a God.

    Thanks again for your honesty and openness. I have a great deal of respect for you for that and I think your children are lucky to have such a mother.

    • @Justin from Virginia Tech. Wow. I’m touched by your open-mindedness and the logic of your argument. I do understand your reasoning. There is a lot to talk about, and you and I and the others only scratch the surface here. The piece I wrote on CNN was only a very general statement of why I believe what I do. It is, of course, too complex to address in one article–and would not be appealing to read. I’d ramble and move from topic to topic. There’s also so much gray, and my own ideas about my beliefs and the world are still evolving–and may still be until I die. I think, though, that the way you speak and your world view really helps promote peace among all of us. It’s truly amazing that you saw such a dark side of humanity and still feel as you do. I don’t begrude anyone God or their beliefs. Thank you so much for your kindness.

  6. I find it so entertaining, when sometimes the “logic” is, we cannot understand or know God or know why he does things, but then people will very clearly explain everything that God does and why he did it.

    Here is the ultimate question: so if one believes that God is just sitting around one day, lonely, bored, and thinks, “I’ll make something,” so he makes a man. Man is bored, he makes woman, then animals, then trees, and on and on. Now, his supposed original plan is that they would live an ultimately perfect life? No sin, no nothing? OK, so then he really just made all those things for his own amusement. I mean, he never planned to BE in their world, just hover above, speak in ethereal voices from the sky. He basically made a play thing.

    But, then, ‘original sin defied him,’ so now the world he made goes all ‘haywire’? Why? God is subject to ‘rules’ now? “Oops, sorry, well, I said not to eat that apple, and you did, so I have to invoke this penalty!” WHY?? For us to ‘learn our lesson’?

    Either God is in control, executing the ‘plan’ he has for all of us, in which case, we are simply pawns in that game, tokens to be moved around for his amusement. OR, we are in total control, flawed, sinful, deserving of all the suffering that abounds, but for what end? Again, I say, simply for God to watch over and giggle, and go “boy…I never thought they’d do THAT!!” and let us continue to shoot each other, etc….

    In conclusion: God can either show up at my doorstep tomorrow – for REAL, not “wow, this Jehovah’s Witness showed up, it’s a sign from God,” or I’m going to go ahead and move on with my life….my ephemeral, corporeal life.

  7. So you might be right that believing God talks to you might be “nuts”, but it’s also possible he does. I think that as a free thinker you have to accept that no matter how convincing, reasoned, or logical an argument for atheism is there is a possibility however remote that God does exist and talks to people.

    I also think that to readily dismiss what millions experience and have experienced as completely “nuts” and unfounded as just a bit nutty. Discrepancies and inconstancies in ancient text, imperfect and sometimes hypocritical Christians (or other religious) human beings, and unreconciled questions as to why things are the way they are inside religious beliefs equally do not count as good answers to God’s existence or wether or not he answers prayers. Those are however completely legitimate reason for you to make your own judgements and form your own beliefs which I completely respect. I think it’s a mistake however, to completely disregard the experiences of other based on these things and I think doing so is unhelpful to the conversation.

    I don’t think societies problems are found in religion or atheism (I know good people that are one or the other and have both raised their kids to be responsible adults), but more a problem of tolerance and understanding.

    • @ Nate. Thanks for sharing. You’re right. And I do admit there is a remote possibility that God does exist and talks to people. I don’t think it’s likely, but, of course, I can’t say with 100% certainty…That argument, though, can be made for many things…I do agree with you that our problems are not found in religion or atheism, but on lack of tolerance and understanding.

  8. I have believed in God my whole life. I was raised in churches that turned me off to regluar attendance, but I never lost my faith in Him. Looking at my life, people may think me insane for believing in Him. Just calamity after heartache, and I’m sick of life. As far as I’m aware, God has never verbalized to me. My life is hell because (light/dark…black/white) God is good, Satan is evil. I see that this world is temporary, all I need to do is survive and show the love I know from Him. Mainstream Christians aggravate me as they judge more than love. It seems to me, maybe people who “hear” God are just finding their survival method. And as a Bible-based Christian, may I just say that just because someone doesn’t believe in my Father doesn’t make them bad. I’ve known plenty of jerks in and out of my faith, and many good people in and out of my faith as well. My God loves even the nonbelievers, is saddened by believers who push people away, and as for Satan and his not-as-much-as-God-but-still-enough-to-ruin-lives-everywhere power…..I know his future hehe, and he won’t break me. God never promised to make life perfect. Only Heaven is and this ain’t it. I suffer thru agonizing pain daily and am lucky to be walking still, but God didn’t cause it. Satan’s evil, and some of my mistakes led to some of my misery. Could be better, could be worse. But no matter what screwups I make God still loves me, and no matter what Godly love I reflect Satan still hates me. Let him. God stays quiet when I cry out for answers, but I feel Him when I look into the eyes of my 2 angel girls. And i can help them know “life sucks, always has- always will……You’re only as happy as you choose to be.” I can suffer and dwell, or I can suffer and focus on the positives. Believers or not…I love those who do not help further Satan’s evil, and hate those who do. Not Godly to hate, but He knows I am only human. Hence the grace He gives us. Humankind has helped Satan ruin this existence, but it shall all pass. I strive to survive until I’m at my true home above. Many of my friends are non-believers….and still damn good people :) Even if I disagree with and am saddened by their eternal destination, they are still a blessing in my life and I am glad to have them.

  9. In some cultures it is normal to hear spirits talk to you… maybe they are not that crazy… it’s just their interpretation that god actually talks to them that’s amiss…

    Maybe its part of the human mind to be complex enough to makes us believe nonsense…

    And that we lack a correct understnding of the intricacies of the mind. We overvalue “normal” when we should put the value on facts, research and logic.

    It is easier to go with something easy as: they are crazy… when they may actually be normal humans but our concept of normality needs to be redefined (as apes with language that tend to get lost in the symbolic world…)

    So… well yes, if you hear god, you definitely could use a software upgrade (logics and epistemology class could be a starter)

    • @Roberto…I agree with you here:

      And that we lack a correct understnding of the intricacies of the mind. We overvalue “normal” when we should put the value on facts, research and logic. It is easier to go with something easy as: they are crazy… when they may actually be normal humans but our concept of normality needs to be redefined (as apes with language that tend to get lost in the symbolic world…)

      I know I’m guilty of writing people off as crazy, when perhaps they do fall in the realm of normal….

  10. When you were teaching your children to tie their shoes….and they didn’t get it right the first time, you didn’t give up and stop teaching them how to do it, right? You kept going and continued to teach them, yes?

    • @ Todd S. Of course, I kept trying but that argument is not relevant here. I am a nonbeliever so why would I keep trying to teach them to believe? I did not “give up” on anything. I only came clean. They can choose that later, if they like.

      • First, I am glad to see that if your children find their own way and that way ends up believing in God, you will at least implicitly be okay with that. Are you okay with that? Second, perhaps I was unclear in my point, although the teaching your kids to tie their shoes is most certainly relevant. The example has nothing to do with what you are or are not teaching them (although I would think that if you are teaching them to be independent and make up their own minds and come to their own conclusions, I would think logically you would simply tell them that God may or may not exist, but that is a different story). It has more to do with your point of people praying for answers that do not come. The example shows that you (and me and most parents and most people everywhere) take actions that, even if those actions don’t bring about the desired outcome, we continue to take time and time again (kind of like praying for answers). My reading of the Bible does not include anything that says, if you do it once and God doesn’t do exactly what you want when you want, then forget it. What is says is, for example, go and try to comfort the sick and pray for their healing. It does NOT say that if you go and comfort the sick and pray for their healing…..and they aren’t healed, that you should simply give up, don’t worry about it, and stop praying. If we did that, our kids would still be in velcro shoes….and we can’t have that :)

  11. I applaud you for your willingness to put yourself out there for all to criticize. I believe that using original sin as a reason for bad things happening is a big cop-out . Why would an all knowing, all powerful god make rules for himself that would tie his hands in helping the very people he claims to love?
    It’s interesting that many of those who claim to be loving to all, leave such nasty comments.

  12. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. I certainly agree that the conversation you’ve started with the CNN piece and continued here only begins to scratch the surface of the topic of pain, which is only a very minor topic when thinking about concepts such as the existence of God. I’m sure we could go back and forth for weeks and weeks on this and related topics but I think that the important part is the open-mindedness and the ability to allow our thoughts and beliefs to evolve as you mentioned. The point of my post wasn’t to convince you or anyone else that God exists, only to explain why the problem of pain isn’t such a problem for my faith. If I’ve accomplished that then I am happy and I appreciate your listening.

  13. Paige Livignston

    To “M”

    What frustrates me is that people are brought up to believe this nonsense. They are told never to question anything about what they are told. The brain is amazing, and is the source of these feelings that you believe come from a god. Will you ever believe this? No. Why? Because you need comfort in your life and believing in a non existent god is where you find that comfort. I don’t care if you find comfort in your belief of god, I do, however, care that you insist that everyone else believe the same thing that you do. I care that you feed lies to your children never allowing them the opportunity to decided for themselves. It’s the believers that are bent on convincing everyone else to believe what they do. It’s intrusive, presumptuous and arrogant to behave in such a way.

    “I don’t feel bad that God didn’t answer because God always answers prayers.” Contradiction.

    “God isn’t going to give us what we want because we, as humans, don’t know what is best for us.” Okay, so while someone is cutting the clitoris off of little girl without any anesthesia and she is begging for god to save her, this is best for her? Really? You really believe this? You ARE out of your mind. You think because you live in your sheltered little world, with your full belly, that you have any right, whatsoever, to make such ignorant and arrogant comments.

    “What is best for us is to follow God and that means acting and living like responsible, moral people.” You honestly think that the comments that you have made are moral? Believers are the most immoral people I have ever known.

    “God made humans with equal dignity, we all have the same value and worth, no matter who we are or what we have done” What bible are you reading?

    However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you.  You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land.  You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.  You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.  (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)

    Or this lovely one…

        They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.  (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)

    So I should be put to death because I am a non-believer. Still think all are equal?

    Or yet another….
    (Deuteronomy 20:10-14)
     
         As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace.  If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor.  But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town.  When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town.  But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder.  You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.

    “God gave us the freedom to act as we will because God wants humans to choose him.” I just love when people say this! So god creates people so that they will worship him. If you don’t, you suffer for all eternity. This is the most arrogant part about this nonsense! ::FACEPALM::

    “God wants our love, freely given (not based on a reward system)” The entire bible is all about the reward and punishment system. Have you read it? Love him “freely” or burn in hell. Where is the “free” part?

    “We cannot blame God for the mass killings at Columbine, in Aurora, or in Newtown.” No we cannot, because there is no such thing as god(s). But going along with your belief system…God is omnipotent and omniscient, he knows everything and can do anything. But the kicker is that he doesn’t. You say it’s for the good of those children that each received 7+ bullets in their tiny bodies as they scream for their moms and dads? If there is nothing that god cannot do, then he chose to let them die a horrible death. He chooses to let people suffer all over this planet, every single moment. What does that say about god? So another person makes the choice to murder, so god let’s that person follow through on that choice and allows innocent people to die? There is no “evil” that exists that god cannot stop, if he chose. But again, there is no god, you simply refuse to admit this.

    You need religion to comfort your fears. You fear death, so religion exists to ease the fear. In your mind, you won’t die when you body does, your “soul” continues on into some afterlife.

    “When the first humans willingly defied God, the universe that God created could no longer operate as a perfect system.” So the “perfect system” is without knowledge? And how is it that god, who can supposedly do anything, cannot maintain a “perfect system” at any point…he IS god after all, right? He could simply repair this “perfect system”, but “chose” not to. Everything that was, is or will be is exactly how god intends it to be, yes?

    “and the universe got stuck with running a little haywire until the end of time.” This simply makes no sense.

    “So the long and short answer on that one is we are not perfect and we do not live in a perfect world so we suffer the ill effects of that world.” How nice it must be for people like you to blow off responsibility. What exactly, are the “ill effects of that world?” If everything is as god wants it, then those “ill effects” are by gods’ choice. Hmmm, that’s some loving god you have there.

    The utter ignorance, and reveling in that ignorance, of theists is astounding to me. The brainwashing of innocent children into this nonsense offends me. I used to be a “live and let live” person. No longer. Charity is only ever given by theists when it includes the opportunity to convert someone. I haven’t met a theist yet, that wasn’t bigoted, spiteful and self righteous. The pathetic part is that so many generations of this fairy tale have people actually believing it. We all stop believing in Santa and the Tooth Fairy at some point, why does the myth of god continue on?

  14. God speaks not to our human ears, but to our spiritual ears. Which is far more efficient when it comes to understanding. Human language is a flawed syntax- it has shortcomings.
    As far as praying with no responses to these other atrocities? That’s not entirely true. For the tragedies that do not happen, how can one know? For the things that are answered, we mostly just explain away (I’ve seen this occur numerous times). If it were possible for me to restore a life at will, was it lost? Why does God allow suffering? The wrong in this world will ultimately be dealt with. It will be judged. These are consequences of our own stupidity- not of God’s doing. If you jump off of a cliff, you will die. Jump off a cliff holding a child- you both will die. To destroy the devil and evil the moment it entered the creation would be an even greater evil. Besides, none of us would be around if that would have been the case (we are all evil for all have sinned).

  15. I think there’s a little confusion about the idea of what prayer does and whether God is “loving.” I hear from atheists all the time that if God really loved people, he wouldn’t let children die and wouldn’t allow people to suffer. He’d take all prayer requests and just do whatever you say. I don’t think that the idea of God was ever supposed to be that way.

    I don’t necessarily believe in God, but as a concept of a loving supreme being, the point of being on Earth was to learn lessons and improve yourself, and some of that improvement is done through suffering. It would not be a loving God who pulled you out of your suffering just because you asked to be taken out of it in a moment of desperation. The point is to throw up more obstacles but to listen patiently and be there in a comforting way. That’s what a loving God is, and that’s what the Christian God does.

    I consider myself to be *mostly* an atheist with some occasional agnostic moments thrown in there, and it always weirds me out to hear someone who isn’t religious say something as silly as “If there is a loving God, why would he let people suffer?” My best friend says that all the time, and I really consider it to be ignorant. Someone who has really considered religion should have a decent, basic understanding of it before they reject it.

    • @LPA From your comment, it’s hard to believe you’ve actually spoken with atheists. I’m highly suspect they would say this:

      I hear from atheists all the time that if God really loved people, he wouldn’t let children die and wouldn’t allow people to suffer. He’d take all prayer requests and just do whatever you say. I don’t think that the idea of God was ever supposed to be that way.

      And, most atheists and agnostics actually DO have a really, really good understanding of religion, history and philosphy.

      Thanks for taking the time to write.

  16. People who think they are in communication with god are as sane as people who think they are in communication with Zeus. Here is a little tip on practicing critical thinking. Compare your practices to those who believe in a god you think believing in is crazy and ask yourself if your belief in your god or your disbelieve in their god makes any consistent sense. You can’t call one practice crazy when your practice is just as crazy. If you are thinking consistent then you will either embrace or reject all religions.

    Frankly, we no longer live in a world where appeal to the supernatural is the best way to explain or understand the universe. The only role it plays is as a psychic teddy bear. If you need such a thing to face the world then so be it, but like thumb sucking, don’t do it in public unless you are a small child.

  17. I am not nuts… It’s not like he talks to me all the time. Also, I’ve never heard an audible voice say “hang a left at the next light”. :D
    I stumbled across your now famous CNN post and really can relate to a lot of your issues with the version of God promoted by today’s Evangelicals. It takes a lot of courage to go against our conditioning, and be willing to apply a little critical thinking to the American Sacred Cow. I think we have much in common, it seems I developed a taste for a different flavor of Barbecue. I cannot escape the notion of intelligent design, but I have had to take a leap of faith (grin) and step away from some of the obviously irrational doctrines and principles that simply don’t test out adequately. Since I’ve been baptized, I am technically a heretic. Also, I gotta run, I just couldn’t resist putting two cents in before I took off. I’m sure you’ve thought about that inner radar/voice that you’ve mentioned. I’d love for you to blog a little on that… be interested to know what your thoughts were. You are brave, and I really like reading your words. The world desperately needs more people with your kind of courage.
    Way to go.

    • @ christopherrauch who put his two cents in before he took off. Thanks for writing! I’ve got several of those little (though some are big) voices. Don’t you? The world needs people like me AND you. Thanks for being part of this.

  18. Thank you so much for creating this wonderful blog!!! This subject is indeed a tough one to tackle especially when you live in the deep religious south.

    Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man-living in the sky-who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time…..But HE loves you!!!

    -George Carlin

  19. I’m late to this discussion – but thank you for your blog and iReport. I also am raising my kids “without religion”. I feel that bringing them to church would solely be to “cover the bases”, just in case :-). I’m not going to do that. As far as the voices, giving direction, I still get that but it’s my own voice from deep within guiding my actions, not God.

  20. No one, dies. When you child leaves this place he goes on to a better one. Yes, an all knowing, Loving God is happy when his children join him.

  21. God does not talk back to us. Our minds respond to our thoughts. I have prayed, God did not respond. I have talked to God and it did not respond. I have yelled to God….Nothing! I’m not being sarcastic, just honest from my experience. So I sat down and contemplated, “God talks back!”

    – My son was christened (sp?) in to the Church of JCLDS. These services were performed to appease our families, not our beliefs. This is okay to do, though many do not think so.

    During the JCLDS ceremony my son was lifted to God and God spoke to us through one individual. It was God’s words delivered through an interpreter. i was amazed at how many of the fellowship told me that God had truly spoken directly to us. He didn’t, I was there.

    (please know that the church of jesus christ and latter day saints is a very gracious and loving church of people. I am not disrespecting them, i am just discussing my experience based on a topic of ‘talking with god.”)

  22. Hello. I left the comment on JCLDS. Still figuring out how to do some of this so it came across as anonymous.

    I’ve tended to always observe and see culturally how people react to things. I found the christening of my son as being rather humorous. All it did was shut-up both sides of the family. My mother was appalled that my son would be christened in two churches. Her thought was that the Armenian church was done second, so he was really christened into the Armenian church. (MOM, really…..that’s a bunch of B.S.). I’m getting off topic, so back to JCLDS.

    My sons granny was JCLDS and we went along with her wishes for the christening. She was not like my mother and i do have respect for my son’s granny (she has passed on). i divorced his mother when he was one (he is now 16) and granny just passed away last year. I went to the funeral and service.

    One time granny pulled me aside and said, “Eryk, I can’t believe that you don’t believe in Jesus?”
    “Really!” i said. “Who told you that.”
    “God told me.” This was her response

    Now, granny was diehard JCLDS. So, I did take a deep breath. I thought about the many answers I could have instantly said, but refrained. I decided to tell her the truth.

    “Granny, I believe in Jesus. He is a real historic figure as are many other biblical or religious persons. I do not believe in God. It seems that God misinformed you.”

    She respected my answer and i always respected her and her beliefs. But, it did remind me that our own minds talk to us, not God.

  23. I think what you’re doing is great. There are boundaries within which religion is a wonderful thing for certain people. Outside of those boundaries are wacko beliefs that should be called out as such. Yes, if you truly believe that God speaks to you, you’re wacko. If you’ve lost the ability to differentiate between your moral inner core responding to your own questions and some omnipotent super being in the sky speaking to you, you’re wacko. And, no, answering your own questions from a moral core is not the same as “God.”

  24. It seems to me that churches would do society a great service by offering their members a class in the historical context of their religion. Christianity wasn’t first and the bible stories aren’t original. All religions, including those that have been obsolete long enough to be considered mythologies, are simply humans’ attempt at making sense of the world.

    I have a sister-in-law who is very Catholic and began taking theology courses a few years ago. At first, this made conversations with her even more difficult. Then she reached her comparative religion class and suddenly talking to her became much more interesting (and less painful). She understood the larger context and how the various religions relate to each other, and she even seemed a little less judgmental.

    I think that such a class would help the commenters who ask how an atheist addresses Easter (for instance). Many cultures have celebrated, or worshiped, the solstices. I live far enough north that there is good reason to celebrate the change in the angle of the sun…temps in the single digits this week, so I’m really looking forward to the warmth and light of Spring. It’s a celebration of life; give it whatever name you choose. But don’t think that your particular religious observance is the one and only true interpretation and belongs only to those who share your religion.

    But the primary benefit of a historical religion class would be the exposure to different ways of establishing a moral code. I get so tired of the people who are certain that morality equals Christianity, when it is simply one version of morality. I am an atheist and I have a very strong moral code. We can and do teach our children to make moral choices. So do Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, etc.

    A religion does society an extreme disservice by insisting that only their moral code matters and everyone else is evil. This propagates wars and hatred, not love and understanding. I don’t want a Christian to pray for me that I will decide to believe what he or she believes; I want him/her to understand that I have examined the question and am living the best kind of life that I can. Judge the results of the moral code, not the source.

    • @Diana I totally agree with you….There was an earlier essay I wrote for the Dallas Morning News about being an agnostic but wanting to teach religion–all religions–in the school. Same principle, except for children…The hope is to raise awareness at an earlier age. I guess for adults who don’t want to sit through a course, they could was Religulous. And I really agree with you here, too:

      I get so tired of the people who are certain that morality equals Christianity, when it is simply one version of morality. I am an atheist and I have a very strong moral code. We can and do teach our children to make moral choices. So do Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, etc.

      THanks so much for writing and share some great insights…

    • DIana, I also agree with you. Unfortunately, theists bring up their children believing that their religion is the one and only to be followed. So such a class to educate theists would never fly. It’s exactly what they do NOT want. Religion relies on ignorance. Attempting to educate a theist is futile.

      • @Paige Good point…gotta get them into class when they are young, before brains are hardened by religion.

        • I could not agree with you more. That is why I feel so strongly about expressing our lack of beliefs openly around children. Even so much as wearing a ball cap that says you are an atheist, lets children know that what they are being taught is not how it is for everyone. And when they are adolescences exploring their belief system, it’s even more important. They need to know that they are not alone in questioning their beliefs. They can find support.

  25. @LPA “I don’t think that the idea of God was ever supposed to be that way.” EXACTLY! The idea of god….that’s all it ever was….an idea, a creation made by ignorant humans looking for answers they could not find.

    “That’s what a loving God is, and that’s what the Christian God does.” This is a very clear statement that you are, indeed, a believer. You really should look up the definition of an atheist before you go around saying that you are “mostly” an atheist. You seem to be very confused.

  26. adolescents**

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s