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A question about talking to God

(46 Posts)
lovelychops Thu 30-Jul-15 16:27:39

I hope it's ok to post here ?

Today I attended a local church as they have a great soft play on. I'm not religious, but it is open to all and very welcoming.

I had a conversation with a lady about when she was going through a life threatening illness. She was explaining that her faith got her through and whilst she was anxious she prayed and that God 'spoke to her'.

My question is, if you are religious do you actually hear your God's voice ? Or is it more of a reassurance in your mind?
I hope I'm wording this correctly and I really don't men to offend anyone.
This is an aspect of religion that I struggle with. Do vicars and priests hear an actual voice telling them what to do ?i suppose it's more of a 'how do you know' sort of question.

FWIW all of my family (in laws) are religious and I'm curious. My daughter has a life threatening illness so I've felt angry with 'God' but I've also found comfort in knowing she is in people's prayers and I have spoke to someone in the spiritual care team at hospital.

Thanks in advance

TTWK Thu 30-Jul-15 18:02:12

You speak to God....religious.
God speaks to you....psychotic.

capsium Thu 30-Jul-15 18:14:40

For me, the latter, "reassurance in your mind", is what I experience as part of my Christian Faith as opposed to an audible voice.

Also, after praying, I have found people offering practical help - once immediately, come across vital information which has helped me regarding what I have been praying about and I have had dreams which were full of biblical symbolism which has been meaningful for me.

There are accounts of people experiencing God's audible voice though and I would not like to say this was as a result of psychosis, as TTWK claims - we cannot know for sure. Proper diagnosis, I believe, requires much more rigour.

TTWK Thu 30-Jul-15 19:52:41

When George Bush said god told him to invade Iraq, people mocked. Religious and non religious alike just laughed at him. But why? Surely if god was going to talk to anyone, the US president would be a pretty good starting point. A decent candidate for a visit from god I would have thought.

So why did no one take him seriously? Is it because they can't accept that god might have been pro the Iraq war? God obviously supports some wars. One assumes Christians think he was on our side when we fought the Nazis? Or maybe because Bush wasn't considered to be the sharpest tool in the box. But if you believe in god, then I can't see why Bush wouldn't be taken seriously.

Why do Christians mock him, when perhaps they should be queuing up to pay $19.99 to touch the underpants he was wearing when god spoke to him?

capsium Thu 30-Jul-15 20:16:35

Off the point TTWK, the OP asked whether the religious actually hear the audible voice of God. I said I didn't but pass no judgement on the religious experiences of others.

Within the Christian church there are various ways people's personal religious experiences are sought to be understood. The Catholic Church for example has a lengthy process for declaring whether a miracle has actually occurred, other denominations look to verification within scripture to see if the experience fits with this. Regarding the possibility of psychosis, most mainstream Christians would advise somebody to seek professional medical help, if they were concerned over someone's mental health, as has been advised on these boards numerous times.

Regarding Christian politicians, they are exposed to corruption and the possibility of being corrupted, as anyone else is. Becoming a Christian does not mean somebody behaves perfectly overnight, as I am sure you would agree TTWK.

TTWK Thu 30-Jul-15 20:54:27

Capsium, I agree, but although it's off the point, why did Bush get mocked for his claim? If you were god, and thought the time was right for a word in the ear of humanity, who would you pick. I would have thought the most powerful man on the planet was a good choice?

Seems to me that something that unites the religious and the non religious alike is the way they both laugh at anyone who claims god has spoken to them!

capsium Thu 30-Jul-15 21:06:30

I don't know, don't remember it much at the time - was a student at university then & had other things on my mind!

Was he the most powerful man on the planet???

capsium Thu 30-Jul-15 22:14:35

But then Jesus was a carpenter's son, conceived out of wedlock, not a person placed in a position of power in the typically understood sense....

capsium Thu 30-Jul-15 22:16:59

(a carpenter's adopted son, I mean)

cheapskatemum Thu 30-Jul-15 22:54:20

I can answer the question you ask, lovelychops, though I would say I am a Christian, rather than I'm religious. When God speaks to me, I don't hear a voice. I know this, because when people ask me to describe his voice, I can't. I do know what he says though and it always just amazes me! So, to answer the "how do I/they know?" part of your question, I'd say I know it's God speaking, because there's no way on earth I would be able to come up with such responses.

lovelychops Thu 30-Jul-15 23:13:19

Thank you for your responses - thinking about it, it would be strange to hear the voice of God. But, how do you know it's not just your own voice / mind ?? Is that because you have faith?
I think that's what I want to have, faith. But I don't know where to start!

Potterwolfie Thu 30-Jul-15 23:22:31

Same here lovelychops - love the idea of having 'faith' but really confused about God and how it all works. I have faith in things I can see/feel/touch - like myself, my friends, family, the schools my kids are in, community groups, charities, clubs etc - but I don't think of that as a 'religious' faith, more of a faith in humanity. I believe in fate, in things happening for a reason and that good deeds will be rewarded and are worth carrying out. I think people are able to carry out the most amazing acts and deeds and I loosely believe in the 10 commandments, as a good framework by which to lead a healthy, loving and respectful life.

However, I have a problem with the whole biblical ideas of Jesus/immaculate conception/miracles/speaking the word of God after being sent to save humanity. I do believe Jesus was a person, a prophet, a great communicator, but of his own volition rather than being 'sent' to be the messiah. I'm a strong believer in evolution. I live in an area of the world where creationism is actively taught in many private schools and in churches, to the exclusion of evolution - and I just really can't believe that it happens in this day and age!

So, where do I belong? I really don't know..!

TTWK Thu 30-Jul-15 23:45:14

Was he the most powerful man on the planet???

US President. Commander in Chief of the best equipped military force on earth. Not sure who else it would be.

AlanPacino Fri 31-Jul-15 06:03:58

It's the same as when a thought pops into your head. If a thought popped into yours to ring your friend Betty you'd just call her but some Christians would believe it was god especially if Betty was worried about something.

headinhands Fri 31-Jul-15 06:13:34

No way on earth I would be able to come up with such responses

Like when God told you the cure for cancer which you then relayed to that team of scientists. I jest but I tend to be able to work out what to say by inferring body language and tone and also drawing on years of experience of talking to people.

headinhands Fri 31-Jul-15 06:15:42

Potter I wouldn't get too excited about the 10 commandments, the first 4 concern gods fragile ego. If you had the opportunity to make a set of rules for the world would you see fit to use up the first 4 about YOU?

capsium Fri 31-Jul-15 07:33:56

lovelychops

But, how do you know it's not just your own voice / mind ??

As you get to know more of Jesus, what He stood for, you can see whether the ideas that 'come to you' fit with what He stood for, How He behaved. As a Christian I believe followers of Christ should be changed to be more like Him - our thinking lines up with His.

I think that's what I want to have, faith. But I don't know where to start!

Romans 10:17 says,

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (KJV)

Faith builds by hearing Jesus being preached, in my understanding of this.

headinhands Fri 31-Jul-15 07:55:25

our thinking

So it is just you talking/thinking to yourself then? The same way if I studied CBT long enough I would start to adopt the thought patterns (although I'm fairly sure your thought patterns/problem solving are very similar to mine) When I was a Christian I thought God mainly spoke through scripture although I would occasionally ask for an interpretation on my tongues which would always sound something Bible-ish like 'Lord bless me' it was never the whereabouts of a missing child or the details of an impending misfortune that such information could help me prevent.

capsium Fri 31-Jul-15 08:25:47

head If a person becomes Christlike, Christ becomes a part of them, then an aspect of their thinking is Christ's, that is, it is the same - same thought as belonging to Christ.

headinhands Fri 31-Jul-15 08:34:54

So Christ isn't actually talking to you, you've just learnt how to think like him?

VulcanWoman Fri 31-Jul-15 08:54:49

Why does a so called loving God let innocent Children suffer?

capsium Fri 31-Jul-15 08:56:36

Effectively the same thing head, according to my way of thinking, spiritually speaking.

gingerdodger Fri 31-Jul-15 08:59:17

It's very difficult to explain how God communicates because it can be in so many ways in my experience. Sometimes it has been in something I have come across and read when struggling (sometimes religious text other times not) which have just perfectly managed to communicate. I have, sometimes during prayer, received information, sometimes totally 'off' from where my thoughts were going which I believe came directly from God.

I've also felt God's presence in group discussions and conversations and also during quiet, reflective moments where God doesn't speak, he is just there.

Of course all these things can be dismissed as the ramblings of someone delusional or just total coincidence but my faith tells me they come from God and I can, of course, only speak for my psrsonal faith and experience.

I think I could count on the thumbs of one hand the number of times I've heard God speak in words but like gingerdoger I've had a sense of God's presence when I pray alone in silence or with other people. Sometimes it is through the words of a song or hymn or scripture or a poem that hit me has very appropriate. Other times it has been through images or dreams. The difficulty is always working out what is of God and what is of self. I have people that I trust to talk to about prayer and I see one, my spiritual director, every 6-8 weeks to talk through these issues.

Part of the difficulty of talking about experiences of God is that language breaks down as the divine is beyond human words. Where I have had full on spiritual experiences I can only say it was 'like' love came down or 'something akin' to being the centre of loving attention. I find poetry and music help make sense of it and silence but then I'm dyslexic and words tend to get in the way. Other people will experience God differently.

TTWK Fri 31-Jul-15 10:00:48

Why does a so called loving God let innocent Children suffer?

Because god works in mysterious ways. The odd thing is, when a creationist asked me "if man evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?", and I replied "because evolution works in mysterious ways", he didn't think it was a sensible answer.

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