No, Prayers, You’re Not Crazy
CNN in its religion blog today has an interesting article written by T.M. Luhrmann on prayer and the common experience of hearing God speak to those who are well disciplined in prayer.
While it certainly is true that most of us do not have this experience, some do, and the Scriptures attest to this. Many other people will tell you the same. Some in the mental health field will attribute it to a mental imbalance or some neurobiological event. I disagree with the knee jerk assumption about mental illness (in most cases) and I cannot help but agree with the neurobiological reality with the additional reminder that neurobiological realities do not exclude the spiritual….. the Incarnation is the best example.
Here are a few paragraphs from the CNN article. Log on to this link to read it in its entirety.
(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.
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.