Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hearing Voices

Hearing Voices

I was witness to a conversation recently. A number of people were sitting around a table talking about a deeply religious person who apparently heard the voice of god, as god was speaking to her. Maybe this is not that unusual in religious circles, but the "crazy" label was mentioned quite a number of times.

As an atheist, if I announced that god had spoken to me, I would be similarly labelled. Skeptics would immediately have doubt and rightly expect proof. Theists would easily dismiss my claims, after all, I am not part of their specific cult. Potentially I could ask them to have faith? Everyone else would think I was crazy. "Line him up for the loony bin", they say. Maybe I am not credible enough, and easily dismissed?

Imagine the impact if god spoke to devout atheists like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens (sadly passed). A true hurdle of skepticism would have to be overcome before they accepted this. At every moment they would be analyzing and asking why this is happening, much like the doctor experiencing a stroke. Maybe they would even ask the right questions of god in return. On second thoughts, most people think that people who speak to god, are crazy. There would be no benefit, only the loss of credibility for the atheist, who would refrain from mentioning it. It wouldn't make sense for god to talk to an atheist.

It also wouldn't make sense for god to talk to a theist. The marketing has already been done. The theist is already on board, drinking religious coca-cola, merrily participating, hearing the tales of the word of god through the congregation or by reading the biblical mystery box. The mission to spread the word of god to this individual wouldn't require direct spoken contact. Oh, and I repeat, most people think that people who speak to god, are crazy.

This idea of craziness is diluted somewhat if you are higher up in a religious hierarchy or order of importance. It is almost as if the collective delusion makes the issue go away and the support becomes stronger. The pope could explain the he had heard from god and this would be generally accepted by the collective. The president of the US could explain that he heard from god and then use god as the validation to invade IRAQ with support from the people.

Back to reality, we know that god talks more to people in power, loves talking to crazy people and almost exclusively talks to theists.

A recent presidential candidate in the US explained that god told them to run for president. The exact same desire they have paced over, prayed over and discussed with friends and family, is affirmed by god. Also recall my previous comment regarding the use of god to validate the invasion of IRAQ. This is now heading to the upper levels of self delusion.

Unfortunately, in the aftermath, god had a plan and the presidential candidate was smashed in recent voting counts and subsequently pulled out of the presidential race. god got it very wrong, works in mysterious ways and probably hasn't offered an explanation for why such a crappy recommendation was made. The IRAQ war fared even worse.

I agree with the sentiments of the people around the table. People who say that god speaks to them, are crazy. Irrespective of religious affiliation or non-affiliation. god only speaks to people in works of fiction. The idea that god speaks to people in reality, is just absurd.