If we are to believe that stats, less and less people are listening to their clerics in weekend religious services, as America grows more secular. And yet, these same stats tell us that up to 38% of Americans say they have heard the voice of God. Not simply metaphorically, but they say actually.
Atheists and agnostics are quick to quip, “More medieval mumbo jumbo!” Anthropologists are inclined to say people in deep prayer are, “More likely to be responsive to such auditory experiences. Congregations in the Bible Belt say, “This is what a personal relationship with Jesus is all about!”
At one time we didn’t have as much knowledge about our physiological makeup. We didn’t know about brain circuitry, genetic predispositions, schizophrenia, and assorted other elements at work whenever people claim extra-sensory experiences like the voice of God. Had their been psychiatrists in ancient Egypt, Moses’ burning bush would have been explained away in any one of a dozen possible ways. If he would have accepted the explanations, who knows? Maybe he would have simply gone back to his desert herds and called it a day. No confrontations with Pharaoh, no plagues, no exodus, no Ten Commandants, no Israel. Which in turn might have meant no Jerusalem Temple, no prophets, no Jesus, no Christianity.
Well, it’s clear how everything in history tends to connect with everything else. For good or for bad.
The point is this. People have been hearing the voice of their God(s) for centuries. Some respond like Moses, Joan of Arc, Frances of Assisi and General Patton. Others get jailed for witchcraft. Still others languish in mental institutions while worried relatives hope for “a cure.” Still, if 38% of us claim we too have heard the voice of God, it’s disingenuous of the rest of us to dismiss these ardent claim. What exactly we do with these claims within our our lives now becomes the bigger issue.
In the meantime, researchers at Northwestern University have concluded that the “voices” most of us today hear most of the time — on radio and television — tend to focus on today’s Top Four: The latest crimes from the streets & from the halls of government…the outrageous fall from prominence of the people we just recently made prominent….the innocuous ways of the inocuously rich & famous…. and modern America’s all-time favorite chorus of voices: how to lose weight.
Given these Top Four voices of our times, frankly I’d choose God’s anytime!
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