Psychologist Says that God Speaking to You Doesn’t Mean You’re Crazy

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Some think that hearing God means that you’ve experienced a miracle.  Others think that it means you need to see a doctor immediately.  An Psychological Anthropologist, writing for CNN, says that it could be one or the other, neither or both.  The intriguing piece discusses the history of such revelations among those who speak regularly to God.  It’s an interesting article, one that we thought might be worth a read. 

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 thedisorder.

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 s**t.” “You should’ve gone under the bus, not into it.”

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66 Responses to Psychologist Says that God Speaking to You Doesn’t Mean You’re Crazy

  1. When you pray to a “god”, you a more than likely brainwashed. When you hear the voice of a “god”, you probably have done the exact thing that Dr. Sacks did.

    • When is ‘god’ gonna start ‘talking’ to caucasoids, and tell them to stop their racism, foolishness, killng of Black men, women and children here in racist amerikkka?

      When is ‘god’ gonna start ‘talking’ to caucasoids, and tell them to stop starting wars, killing innocent non-white children in Afghan, Iraq, and Libya, blowing up kids and buildings under the guise of xtianity and demon-cracy?

      When is this ‘god’ gonna start ‘talking’ to caucasoids to tell them to get the fvck outta Afrika, and stop usurping, killing, maiming, spreading aids, and other dis-eases for this continent’s raw materials, oil, gold and silver?

      AIN’T NO DA*MN ‘god’ AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT’S GONNA TAKE TO WAKE YOU NEGROID’S MINDS UP TO THIS FABLE!!!

  2. People who hear God scare me. Suppose God tells them to blow up an abortion clinic?

    • Then that’s not God,murder is a sin and he will not use his daughter or son to carry out an act that he despise. That is bias and blasphemy in it self. To say something as such shows you do not know god or of his ways.

      • Y’all better realize that ‘god’ is the devil!!!

        When you negroids ‘hear his/her voice’, no wonder ALL of this wickedness and evil is going on around the world, today, because that “voice” is the “voice” of the devil!!!

        KEEP BElieVING IN THAT XTIANITY MESS because that ‘devil-god’ has messed up your minds!!!

        Ukuthula!

        • U need to have a life instead of always posting here with your garbage.

          • I have a beautiful healthy life, and I stay healthy and clean because I throw away ‘garbage’ like you!

            I’M CLEANING OUT THE “GARBAGE” TODAY 1/1/13!

            HAPPY ‘GARBAGE’ DAY!!!

      • You say that murder is a sin and that He (God) will not use his son or daughter to carry out such an act. How was Moses able to kill the canaanites after receiving the 10 commandments? I believe one of the commandments said “Thou shalt not kill”. Just asking , this has always puzzled me.

  3. God does not speak to anyone other than thru his word the bible these things are associated wih Demons nothing else

  4. Feed a people paintchips and hip hop.you may hear GOD.

  5. Clearly, there are a lot of sleeping folk…. Looking in the outside for joy, truth, love, and harmony will definitely keep you in opposition of yourSelf. The Word IS God God IS the creator. Have you created anything lately? Any thoughts, ideas, beings, words, bonds, life…OR how those posts?
    Be aware of your thoughts, your intentions—your creations.

  6. God speaks to those who have an ear to hear… Personally it baffles me how someone can look into the night sky, see all the stars, galaxies and planets and not see and hear God. However the Bible does say many will deny God…

  7. GOD BLESS YOUR WONDERING SOULS,

  8. E. Jacqueline Irons

    God spoke to me twice in my lifetime, and I know I am not crazy.

  9. dumbicthsmokedope

    wuts intresting bout all this iz there wuz a studee that back in those dayz the people were illiterate . if you hear then you may visualize in your sleep wuts in their mind. god bless 4 you.

  10. GOD is everywhere? i would like 2 know what kind of strange people have been trying to ruin my relationship with a quiet and peaceful life. Did any scriptures mention to cook clean and try to stay sane rearing your children while unleashing footnotes,quotes,
    and in season loonies in and around the toilet paper and your
    behind.

  11. I’ve never been a church going adult mainly because I never got anything out of it. I had often wondered why but then decided that it was enough that I lived GOD and would try to live my life like I thought he/she would want me to. I had never heard voices but did have way in te back of my mind a sense that GOD was close by. On day in my brother’s church all of that changed for me. I was visiting and went to his church that Sunday. It was a small church in a working class community. I had gone before when visiting. It was packed as usual and we were sitting in the middle. The minister came out to conduct the sermon and he seemed very ill. He seemed unsteady and ill. I started praying because to me he looked like he was so weak he could collapse. I remember basking GOD not to let him die because the people intact community needed him. People were standing up all around. I don’t know if they singing or praying when a voice said, “just put your hands on his chest he’ll be alright”. I heard it so clearly that I looked around to see who was speaking to me. There was no one. I turned back around and the voice said the same thing again and again I looked around. No one was talking to me. I said oh GOG, I can’t go down there and put my hands on his chest. I stood there and said, ok GOD, I,m going to put my hands out and force the energy through them. I stood there with my hands stretched out in the direction of the minister and tried to force the energy through them. The minister was being held by his wife and eventually helped by the deacons back into then pulpit. He isn’t seem any better to me and church continued on. Afterward I didn’t tell my brother about my experience but learned tat the minister had a heart condition and had insisted on delivering the message even though parishioners had tried to stop him. He told them tat the spirit was in him that day and he had to go on. I left it like that and as I was preparing to leave. The next day my brother told me that the minister wanted to speak to me on the phone. He told me that my brother told him that I was worried about him and he wanted me to know he was ok. He said that sometimes he just has the sense that’ the spirit wants him to go on. I thanked him and was prepared to say good bye when he said tat wasn’t he reason he called. He said that he saw me. I asked what he meant. He said he saw me when I stood up and put my hands out. He said a smile came on my face and the spirit told him to tell me that whatever I was worried about, everything would be alright. I was so shocked that I cried. I’m telling whoever reads this that I was the most unlikely person, or so I thought to hear my GOD, but I did. In the mist f so many people, he/she chose me to speak to. I will never be the same person. If I am lessee to hear the voice again, I won’t hesitate to do exactly what im told to do, be blessed and know that GOD is REAL! By the way, my brother told me, half joking that I might not want to tell people about what happened because they may not understand my hearing voices. I’ve told anyone who would listen and especially those I meet who seem in a crisis of faith or having troubles. I love the voice I heard and know how real it was and how blessed I was. I want everyone to know how real GOD is. Again, be blessed!,,

    • If you go to God (maybe church) and didn’t get anything out of it, then you should work on your “Pride”. No one goes to God and remains the same. Consider:
      Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:10.
      Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time. 1 Peter 5:6.

      You need to humble yourself.

      • Thank you for your comment. Obviously my story wasn’t for you. It can only have meaning to those open to hear. Peace & blessings

      • FRANKIE DON’T BE SO CRITICAL. I have gone to churches and did not get anythhing out of the sermon, except a lot of hollering and jumping around. I heard nothing the pastor said, but I did hear the loud music,drums guitar. After the service, not one person came up to me and spoke or even smiles. Yes, I spoke and smiled to all I met, but it was a quick acknowledgement in return. No one invited me to come again. It was all about worhsipping the pastor. all churches are not true churches or the church that Jesus built.

    • I know that God is real!! Although I haven’t heard His voice…and He knows that I’m listening for it…:-) What a wonderful experience for you!! Bless you!! What a testimony!! Did you hear His voice as you hear ‘another’ person talking to you. Is it different? I’ve talked to my pastor about this, yet, I still don’t understand. Maybe you can help me. Thanks & blessings to you!!

  12. I am a born again believer with a relationship with the Lord God. I’ve long since learned that debating with someone whose spirit is dead about the existence of God is like debating about rainbows with a person born blind, or arguing about the existence of radio waves with someone who has a broken antennae — they lack the equipment to experience what you are experiencing. The Bible says that God is a spirit, which means we must have a functioning spirit in order to communicate with Him and hear his voice. Without a born again spirit, all you have to go on is your bring, and that is not designed to interact with the spiritual realm, where God dwells. Amazing to read how people argue so strongly about there being no God, when they don’t even acknowledge the spiritual realm around them, where He dwells. They don’t know what the “heaven” they are talking about! They are blind to the one thing they were designed for. This is what Jesus’ death was all about — reconnecting man and God by providing us with a means to restore the functions of our spirit. Do you really want to know if God is real? Then whey don’t you sincerely ask Him to show Himself to you personally — He loves that question…

  13. Interesting article. I don’t talk about it to everyone but over 30 years ago, I was driving home as usual getting off work at 3:30am in the morning. Back then there were fewer cars at that time of night, so the freeway was pretty empty. I was listening to my music just driving along, when I heard something say change lanes, I ignored it at first, thinking it was like random thoughts we often have. But it said it again, over the sound of my music. So I did, not really thinking much of it. A few minutes later a wrong way driver past by me in the lane I was just in, with no lights on. I never saw it coming. I or maybe both of us would have been killed. So to me there is God, or at lest something unseen. I have never heard that voice again.
    If we can create ways with technology that we do not see like wireless technologies, why is it so hard to believe God did it a long time ago.

  14. God is not a man that you can control how He wishes to talk to children. God can talk to you however He deems fit.
    You need to be connected to Him before you can hear from Him.
    Hearing God depends on who reigns in your life. If you belong to God, I don’t mean if you claim to, God can talk to you. But if you belong to the devil, devil can talk to you as well.
    “My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow me”. John 10:27.
    Whose sheep you are determines whom you hear and follow. You can’t be in the middle.
    God still speaks to His children till tomorrow. Whether you believe it not doesn’t really matter. Because you can never make any change to it.
    No matter the weight of your hatred to Christianity, it won’t stop God from talking to His sheep nor His sheep from hearing His voice.

  15. Yes, it means you’re crazy, GOD only speaks to Mega Pastors that have a church of over 10,000 member, and an annual income for the pastor of 1 million a year or more. GOD does not have time to speak to common folk.

  16. Let me repeat/retype the question: “Does “hearing God” mean you’re crazy?” Actually, it means that the person is delusional…so delusional that their personal faith and belief has overtaken reality. note that I did not type ‘their reality’. A personal reality is completely separate/distinct from REALITY…what can be substantiated. When we ‘personalize’ our reality we shape it to fit into our belief systems. We form and mold it so that we can develop a moral compass. And, as I read this article I am further amazed how so many humans need events/occurrences that do not make and sense at all. But then again…religion does not make sense…it is a mess…it is so messy that thousands have been killed in the name of a man-made mess. ‘Hearing God” really…ask yourself: Why in the h**l would God talk to me? The Believers will say that they are saints or that they are blessed or that the hear because they believe.

    God ain’t talking to no one!

    If God is talking I want to know why won’t this God tell people to remove themselves from the minutiae of religiosity – and be more like the example set-forth in that so called holy book?

    Also, it amazes me when the unbelievable is presented from a Christian disposition (the bible/bible characters is IMMEDIATELY prefaced in the article)how some ridiculousness is held up as truth/believable…as if Christianity is beyond reproach.

    God ain’t talking to no one! And, God has NEVER spoke to a human. Not Abraham…not Job…not Moses.

    And, if I say that I see God every morning folk WILL say that I am crazy…some goes for talking to God.

  17. RawWill,
    I had similar things happen to me. I was driving on the freeway in heavy rain and the lanes started to curve into a bend and something told me to slowdown, I did not listen, once I completed the bend a car was directly ahead of me broken down, I hit the brakes and hydroplaned on the water from the rain and hit the car in front of me, knocked it about twenty feet. thank God no one was injured.

    The next time God spoke to me was about a dream I had about a jacket, every place I would go I would see the jacket, In the dream I thought the jacket was following me, I was a little afraid until the end of the dream where I saw the jacket rising into the air AND INTO THE HEAVENS. God wanted me to know that he does exist.

    about a year later I told the dream to gifted person and God spoke through her and said… I am your father and I am with you and have always been with you. I immediately understood the dream at this point.

    What people do not understand is God wants a personnel relationship with each person.

  18. Anyone who hears voices of something or something that is not visible is a little off upstairs. There is medication for that. Anyone who believes in an invisible god that lives in the sky is totally off their rocker. There is no god. When will people just stop and think about this?? The majority of this population has a need to believe in something. This so called god was conjured up many, many centuries ago to control the less fortunate and to scare them into submission. When you die, that is it!!! You will never see Mom and Dad again. You will never see Uncle John or Aunt Susie again. Never!! You will either end up on one of your children’s mantel over the fireplace or remain buried underground and become food for worms and maggots. That’s it…

  19. Corbin 56

    You are entitled to your opinion , beliefs, religion, and whatever you want to believe. it does not end with that’s it. read your bible and pray to God , thank him for all he’s done for you and your family, your health and well being.

    I don’t believe in a lot of things, like religion for one, but I do believe in God, whom continues to bless me in unimaginable ways. I continue to thank him for all he has done for me and hopefully someday you will come to know him

  20. If we did not talk to God many would be in grave danger. He hears and answers, which allows each of us to vent without being hurtful or harmful.

  21. The bible said;

    ‘Enoch walked with God’
    ‘Abraham met three men in the plains of Mamre and one of them was The Lord’

    I guess when they walked, & met with ‘God’ I’m sure they had a conversation, my question is why could it have happened then and its seen to be so crazy now??

    The bible also says “for I am the LORD, I change not…”, and it also says in Psalms that the law of The Lord is perfect, so the question should be asked; has The Creator’s power somewhat diminished, or is it that the thinking behind accepted religious scholarship was always imbalanced and is now outmoded?

    I’m more inclined to go with the latter!

  22. The great experience in life is to be able to enjoy each day without having to PROVE your faith. Faith, itself, is enough. For many year I did not understand that I was alright regardless of proofs.

  23. Hearing God doesn’t mean you’re crazy, it means you’re full of s**t.
    We usually hear these testimonies from these c**n Con artist Pimp Preachers and Pastors. They all have a story about how they were living on the wrong side of the tracks and miraculously God came and spoke to them. They heard God’s voice. Man when I hear these “N” words talk that s**t I just shake my head. Why would God come a talk to a piece of s**t low life. Just think for a moment why wouldn’t God talk to someone living their lives right, someone who is caring for a aging sick parent or raising their children with love and good values. Why would God talk to a low life hustling Pimp “N” word. Makes no sense does it? Exactly People need to stop all this BS and false swearing.

  24. There is no way to prove that God exist. All of this has to be taken on faith. The question is how much faith do you intend to exercise. There is a natural phenomenon in us to believe in the supernatural. This phenomenon has been exploited by many in societies all over the world.

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