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Old 12-28-2019, 09:25 PM
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What is the point of speaking in tongues?


Inspired by this:

Trump picks Miami megachurch with pastor who speaks in tongues for evangelicals event

Let's accept for a moment that Evangelicals speak in real languages when they speak in tongues.

These languages are never existing earthly languages. We never hear Amharic or any other Semitic language. Or Greek. The words are without meaning to us mortals. (Coincidentally, they always sound like the kind of words an English speaker would make up.) It seems to me that the gift of speaking in tongues should always be accompanied by the gift of interpretation, just so everyone can be clued into the breaking news from the Holy Ghost Network. But this never happens.

So why does the Holy Ghost move people in this way? And why is this gift so common relative to the other ones?
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Old 12-28-2019, 09:46 PM
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So why does the Holy Ghost move people in this way? And why is this gift so common relative to the other ones?
It's easy to fake?
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Old 12-28-2019, 09:58 PM
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That is called glossolalia. It is not, nor is it supposed to be, a real language. The point is to sound impressive, or in some types of religious practice it is a kind of prayer.
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Old 12-28-2019, 10:04 PM
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Not really answering the question but, I just thought I would note that glossolalia is also a component of voodoo practice and among various traditional South American religions. It was part of ancient Greek/Roman spirituality (e.g. oracles). And it can be found in Buddhist practice, Shinto, and probably any religion with a large enough number of followers.

Stage hypnotists can ask people to make nonsense statements (e.g. invent a language for aliens) and people will do so.

At to the question: No idea. The Oracles had an interpreter. One might take from that, that the ancients had access to the real gods - who could not only cause someone to speak in a tongue but also provide a means of turning that into something useful - whereas modern deities, who are lesser, can only approximate the results and so offer a broken and useless version.

Zeus > Yahweh

That is, of course, presuming that there is a genuine spiritual meaning behind the thing.

Last edited by Sage Rat; 12-28-2019 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 12-28-2019, 10:34 PM
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Mostly because they have no idea what "speaking in tongues" actually meant in the biblical reference. It wasn't someone suddenly speaking aloud in a language no one knew, or he never knew. It meant he spoke in his own language, and everyone within earshot heard it in their own language. This is significantly harder to fake, of course. So, Razzledazzleism approximates the miracle by staging an entirely phony, and totally useless stage show. Reformed Razzledazzlists have added an English closing statement including where to join up, pay dues to the church.
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Old 12-28-2019, 11:25 PM
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Just a data point... When I was in Catholic high school, my freshman religion teacher claimed that he had spoken in tongues in some group setting that included an “interpreter”. The gimmick was that a bunch of seminarians were in a group and were asked to pray in tongues. The seminarians themselves would not understand their own prayers, but the interpreter would translate for them. “You just asked God for... whatever”. This seemed rather inefficient to me, but I guess the idea was that everyone can speak in tongues if they open themselves to the Holy Spirit or some shit, but maybe you need an expert to help out. Anyway, my teacher vaguely described what the interpreter told him his prayer was about. I would think if the Holy Spirit was speaking through you, you’d recall that shit pretty clearly, but my teacher didn’t.

He later went on to become a cop. I guess the Holy Spirit wanted him to write tickets instead of bringing the Word of God to the world.
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Old 12-28-2019, 11:38 PM
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These languages are never existing earthly languages. We never hear Amharic or any other Semitic language. Or Greek.
I heard an account that a Chinese(?) man once went to a church where he heard someone in the congregation (who did not know Cantonese as a learned language) speaking in tongues, which was......Cantonese - and these were words directed at this Chinese man himself.
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Old 12-28-2019, 11:39 PM
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It's easy to fake?
If you can't Blind them with Brilliance, Baffle them with Bullshit.
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Old 12-28-2019, 11:48 PM
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The point is to con the poor rubes into tithing what little they have.
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It may be because I'm a drooling simpleton with the attention span of a demented gnat, but would you mind explaining everything in words of one syllable. 140 chars max.
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Old 12-28-2019, 11:51 PM
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In high school I fell in with some Pentecostal Catholics who almost had me speaking in tongues. It started as some vocalizations coming from the back of my throat. I stopped it because I could tell I was bullied into it.

Some years later I drove past an Episcopal church advertising a weekly Pentecostal service. I concluded that a Pentecostal Episcopalian would speak with a Mid-Atlantic accent, like Katherine Hepburn.
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Old 12-29-2019, 12:43 AM
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Ah, in my teens a friend and I went on a quest for religion, I guess you could say. We went around to various churches and sampled their spiritual whatevers. My friend, very oddly, ended up with those Holy Rollers. The glossolalia thing is known as the baptism of the Holy Spirit and it's considered a sign that you have been touched by the Holy Spirit. So to that end you want it to happen, and you somehow try for it.

Kind of like what you do on a Ouija board IMO.

Anyway that's where my friend ended up. I ended up in a coven, myself. But not for long. All religions ask something that I cannot do, and that is, believe.

Last edited by Hilarity N. Suze; 12-29-2019 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 12-29-2019, 12:44 AM
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These languages are never existing earthly languages. We never hear Amharic or any other Semitic language. Or Greek. ...
Actually, they can be.

I once went with some friends to their church service. Turned out to be a tiny pentecostal, holy-roller church. Some breakoff branch of Wisconsin Evangelical Lutherans. But part of the 'service' involved people speaking in tongues. Chaotic, since they just did it 'as the spirit moved them', and often several were speaking out at once. But during this, I heard one young man behind me reciting "sum es est eram eras erat...". And I vaguely recognized that from long-ago Latin classes -- it's the conjugation of a basic Latin verb "to be". Something you had to recite & memorize very early in learning Latin.

So not quite the heavenly, not-from-Earth language of 'speaking in tongues'.

Last edited by Tim@T-Bonham.net; 12-29-2019 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 12-29-2019, 02:24 AM
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Religious faith is closely akin to hypnosis or self-hypnosis. Speaking in tongues may be evidence that the speaker is properly hypnotized (or hynotizable).
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Old 12-29-2019, 03:05 AM
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I heard an account that a Chinese(?) man once went to a church where he heard someone in the congregation (who did not know Cantonese as a learned language) speaking in tongues, which was......Cantonese - and these were words directed at this Chinese man himself.
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But during this, I heard one young man behind me reciting "sum es est eram eras erat...". And I vaguely recognized that from long-ago Latin classes -- it's the conjugation of a basic Latin verb "to be". Something you had to recite & memorize very early in learning Latin.

So not quite the heavenly, not-from-Earth language of 'speaking in tongues'.
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Religious faith is closely akin to hypnosis or self-hypnosis. Speaking in tongues may be evidence that the speaker is properly hypnotized (or hynotizable).
For the record, when people are hypnotized and asked to speak nonsense, if they ever studied a foreign language, they will usually incorporate some of it.

If they have no foreign language history, their glossolalia will use the most common syllables from their native language.

Last edited by Sage Rat; 12-29-2019 at 03:07 AM.
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Old 12-29-2019, 03:22 AM
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Glossolalia was very big when I was at Oral Roberts University.
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Old 12-29-2019, 03:35 AM
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Religious faith is closely akin to hypnosis or self-hypnosis. Speaking in tongues may be evidence that the speaker is properly hypnotized (or hynotizable).
This is kind of a related question. I have seen videos of people going up to the front of one of these churches, getting a touch by the minister, and kind of swooning. It's expected, there are people there to catch them and lay them down on the floor. Sometimes they twitch. Examples in the movie Marjoe this happened a lot.

What is going on here? Do these people actually pass out? Is this like handshake hypnosis? (And frankly, I have questions about that handshake hypnosis thing, too.)
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Old 12-29-2019, 05:04 AM
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My spouse and I once went to a church service attended by his best friend from school. I pretty sure it was the friend's wife who was heavily into the church and the friend went along to keep the wife happy. Mind you, the friend was also definitely a church-going Christian from way back, it's just that I tlhink the wife chose the actual church they went to.

Anyhow, at a certain point some in the congregation started speaking in tongues. My spouse, very concerned about his non-Christian wife, reassured me it was OK, saying something along the lines of I must not have seen anything like that before. Clearly, he thought it would be out of my experience and possibly frightening.

In a low voice, I said it reminded me of the voodoo ceremonies I'd been to, except a lot more low-key and less chicken blood.

As so often often occurs with me and religion, apparently that was Not The Correct Answer.

Well, by that time at least I was learning discretion - I kept my voice low enough that only my spouse heard me that time.

Last edited by Broomstick; 12-29-2019 at 05:04 AM.
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Old 12-29-2019, 09:17 AM
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Inspired by this:

Trump picks Miami megachurch with pastor who speaks in tongues for evangelicals event

Let's accept for a moment that Evangelicals speak in real languages when they speak in tongues.

These languages are never existing earthly languages. We never hear Amharic or any other Semitic language. Or Greek. The words are without meaning to us mortals. (Coincidentally, they always sound like the kind of words an English speaker would make up.) It seems to me that the gift of speaking in tongues should always be accompanied by the gift of interpretation, just so everyone can be clued into the breaking news from the Holy Ghost Network. But this never happens.

So why does the Holy Ghost move people in this way? And why is this gift so common relative to the other ones?
Glossolalia is more closely associated with charismatic, and not Evangelical, traditions.
In a modern world, it's much too easy to debunk anyone claiming xenoglossia because you could record them as proof that any claimed natural language is not actually being spoken. Most Pentecostal (and other) charismatic traditions claim a "heavenly" language is being spoken.
When used publicly as part of a gathering, there typically is an interpreter. As a practical matter, this kind of keeps the tongue-speaker in line, in my opinion.

But the point of speaking in tongues is to demonstrate that the speaker is in contact with God. It's not so much the content of the message. When public, that message is entirely within the hands of the interpreter and not the tongue-speaker; when private, no content is necessary--just the feeling of being in touch with God.

Last edited by Chief Pedant; 12-29-2019 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 12-29-2019, 12:39 PM
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A related topic is the entranced Greek prophetesses, e.g. at the Temple in Delphi. In some accounts they spoke nonsense "in tongues" and the gibberish was interpreted by priests. In other accounts their words were clever but in a tone alien to the prophetess, who remembered nothing when awoken.
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Old 12-29-2019, 01:43 PM
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Mostly because they have no idea what "speaking in tongues" actually meant in the biblical reference. It wasn't someone suddenly speaking aloud in a language no one knew, or he never knew. It meant he spoke in his own language, and everyone within earshot heard it in their own language. This is significantly harder to fake, of course. So, Razzledazzleism approximates the miracle by staging an entirely phony, and totally useless stage show. Reformed Razzledazzlists have added an English closing statement including where to join up, pay dues to the church.
I've never heard this. When did this interpretation originate?

ETA: not asking to be antagonistic but am sincerely curious

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Old 12-29-2019, 07:18 PM
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Clearly, he thought it would be out of my experience and possibly frightening.

In a low voice, I said it reminded me of the voodoo ceremonies I'd been to, except a lot more low-key and less chicken blood.
You should've replied to him in Hebrew.
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Old 12-29-2019, 07:58 PM
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For the record, when people are hypnotized and asked to speak nonsense, if they ever studied a foreign language, they will usually incorporate some of it.

If they have no foreign language history, their glossolalia will use the most common syllables from their native language.
In that particular example, though, the Chinese man was hearing someone (a white person?) speaking in tongues, Cantonese, directed at that Chinese man himself - and the speaker did not even know about that Chinese man in attendance, if I recall correctly.
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Old 12-29-2019, 08:00 PM
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I've never heard this. When did this interpretation originate?

ETA: not asking to be antagonistic but am sincerely curious
Here's the original source, Acts 2:1-13. The "they" in the first book are the apostles, who were all from Israel (except Peter, the Roman) and so spoke the same language. Those who heard them were from all over the place and heard their own languages.
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Old 12-29-2019, 08:12 PM
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Here's the original source, Acts 2:1-13. The "they" in the first book are the apostles, who were all from Israel (except Peter, the Roman) and so spoke the same language. Those who heard them were from all over the place and heard their own languages.
The original source? More original than 1 Corinthians 14?
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Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue[a] does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. 3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.
I have a strong feeling Triskadecamus might be a little less than neutral on the "right" interpretation.
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Old 12-29-2019, 09:08 PM
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Presumably you want the Pentecostal perspective. (Pentecostals are the subset/offshoot of Evangelicals who believe in speaking in tongues.) While my beliefs differ now, I did grow up in that, so I'll give my understanding of their perspective--including the Scriptures used to back it up.

Essentially, there are two types of speaking in tongues. One is your private prayer language, for use in private, or in the general murmur of everyone praying. This is not for anyone else but you. It is letting your spirit pray without your mind. The scripture usually used for this is Romans 8:26: "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." However, the underlying idea is also mentioned in the big chapter on speaking in tongues, 1 Corinthians 14.

However, that chapter is primarily concerned with the second form of speaking in tongues: the public prophesy. And, with that form, Paul shares you concerns. Verse 6 says "Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction?" Verse 13 follows with "For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say."

In fact, in Paul's instructions about speaking tongues in public are exactly what you thought they should be. Verse 28: "If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God."

So, given all of this, you have a private prayer language that is just the Spirit interceding for you when you don't know what to pray for. This is valuable because it gets our earthly minds out of the way when praying. However, when using it in public, it is 100% true that speaking in tongues is useless without interpretation.

And this is exactly how my church practiced it. During worship, people might be relatively quietly praying in tongues in their seat, while music was playing. However, sometimes, the music would quiet down, and someone would shout in tongues, with a message purportedly from God. Everything in the service would stop as everyone prayed to receive the interpretation--often the Pastor would wind up doing it.

You didn't see what you do now, with people up front praying in tongues as some sort of sign of holiness. if pastor started speaking in tongues while praying, he would pull the mic away unless he thought it was for us. Those who use it as a badge of holiness are, in my understanding, misusing it.

I don't know this particular megachurch pastor. But I would suspect they are part of that situation, where they use their speaking in tongues to indicate they are holy and good. I remember a preacher talking about how we should not be misled by those who do this but preach a doctrine contrary to the Bible. We were exhorted from 1 John 1:1: "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."

All Scripture excepts from the New International Version. That is the one I am most familiar with, though I grew up with the pre-2011 edition.

Last edited by BigT; 12-29-2019 at 09:13 PM.
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Old 12-29-2019, 09:33 PM
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Here's the original source, Acts 2:1-13. The "they" in the first book are the apostles, who were all from Israel (except Peter, the Roman) and so spoke the same language. Those who heard them were from all over the place and heard their own languages.
That is indeed the original experience. However, it is not the version discussed in 1 Corinthians 14 nor in Romans 8:26.

I actually forgot about this form of speaking in tongues, as I've only ever heard about it in modern times in easily doubted stories like the one Velocity gave. (You know, the ones that could easily be urban legends due to the lack of details.) But, yes, supposedly someone will be able to spontaneously speak in another language, or the Holy Spirit stepped in and translated for them Babelfish/Universal translator style.

I've heard non-Pentecostal denominations interpreting this as a one time miracle (or at least a rare one only used when God deems it absolutely necessary), and that the "gift of tongues" is just a natural talent for learning other languages. Or even just "the gift of speaking." However, I would argue that 1 Corinthians 14 suggests that the gift was explicitly about glossalia, which needed an interpretation in an Earthly language.

And I believe that was the actual split between Pentecostals and the Evangelicals of the day back in first decade of the 20th century. However, given that these tongue-talking churches call themselves "Evangelical," it seems that this divide has been healed.
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Old 12-29-2019, 09:33 PM
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In that particular example, though, the Chinese man was hearing someone (a white person?) speaking in tongues, Cantonese, directed at that Chinese man himself - and the speaker did not even know about that Chinese man in attendance, if I recall correctly.
I'm sorry, are you claiming some sort of actual miracle happened?
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Old 12-29-2019, 09:35 PM
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We were exhorted from 1 John 1:1: "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."
In point of fact, that’s actually 1 John 4:1.
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Old 12-29-2019, 09:39 PM
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In point of fact, that’s actually 1 John 4:1.
Yes. Sorry. I got the 1s stuck in my brain.

I presume either 1:1 or 4:1 is a verse you know well?

Last edited by BigT; 12-29-2019 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 12-29-2019, 09:41 PM
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Yes. Sorry. I got the 1s stuck in my brain.

I presume either 1:1 or 4:1 is a verse you know well?
Yeah, I’m a big fan of 4:1; often pair it with Deuteronomy 13.
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Old 12-29-2019, 09:45 PM
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Just a data point... When I was in Catholic high school, my freshman religion teacher claimed that he had spoken in tongues in some group setting that included an “interpreter”. The gimmick was that a bunch of seminarians were in a group and were asked to pray in tongues. The seminarians themselves would not understand their own prayers, but the interpreter would translate for them. “You just asked God for... whatever”...
An identical technique has been used by some pet psychics. "Fido just told you he wants a big bone and a softer bed." Unless you understand dogese, how can you argue with that?

Gullibility know no bounds.
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Old 12-29-2019, 10:03 PM
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Glossolalia was very big when I was at Oral Roberts University.
They don't call it Oral for nothing.
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Old 12-29-2019, 10:52 PM
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I'm sorry, are you claiming some sort of actual miracle happened?
If he's talking about the story I think he is, I think it has (like an urban legend) grown in the telling. What I remember is that the person saying they heard words that sounded like spiritual words in their own language.

Such could easily be explained by audio pareidolia--your brain wants to make sense of things. I've personally thought I heard Hebrew words, particularly Shalom and Shaddai.
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Old 12-29-2019, 10:55 PM
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Yeah, I’m a big fan of 4:1; often pair it with Deuteronomy 13.
Ah, yes. I knew there were Old Testament Scriptures that were relevant, but I couldn't remember them and my Google search was not working.

I also seem to remember a scripture saying you could test a prophecy in a very pragmatic way--did what they say actually come to pass? And did the prophet actually have a record of accurate predictions. I couldn't find that one, either.
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Old 12-29-2019, 11:03 PM
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As a teenager, I went to church. The church I usually went to once had someone speaking in tongues. I went to a youth church and got weirded out by the speaking in tongues there. Funny how the two "languages" sounded completely different.
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Old 12-29-2019, 11:09 PM
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He later went on to become a cop. I guess the Holy Spirit wanted him to write tickets instead of bringing the Word of God to the world.
Surely, in its own humble way, the traffic ticket is akin to the Word of God.
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Old 12-29-2019, 11:10 PM
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In high school I fell in with some Pentecostal Catholics who almost had me speaking in tongues. It started as some vocalizations coming from the back of my throat. I stopped it because I could tell I was bullied into it.

Some years later I drove past an Episcopal church advertising a weekly Pentecostal service. I concluded that a Pentecostal Episcopalian would speak with a Mid-Atlantic accent, like Katherine Hepburn.
The Episcopal church probably held their own services on Sunday morning, and rented the facility to the Pentecostal church in the late afternoon or evening. That's not unusual nowadays, especially with small or beginning congregations. The Seventh-Day Adventist Church in my town even hosted a Presbyterian congregation on Sundays for a while.

Anyway, I personally think it's something people do to show off. I've never attended a Pentecostal service, but I've heard that some of them can get pretty off-the-wall (at least by my own personal mainstream Protestant experience).
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Old 12-30-2019, 12:06 AM
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In that particular example, though, the Chinese man was hearing someone (a white person?) speaking in tongues, Cantonese, directed at that Chinese man himself - and the speaker did not even know about that Chinese man in attendance, if I recall correctly.
While I'll grant that there is something to be said for being "race blind", I wouldn't call it a miracle that someone would look at a Chinese man and subconsciously decide to put their Cantonese to use.

Or, in the case that it was happenstance, I'll note that if the white guy had been speaking Japanese, the Chinese guy would never have thought anything about it and there wouldn't be an internet anecdote about that one time that crazy thing happened.

https://youtu.be/3nRZhGP5apQ

It was all single takes, I swears.

Last edited by Sage Rat; 12-30-2019 at 12:09 AM.
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Old 12-30-2019, 01:36 AM
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The point is to con the poor rubes into tithing what little they have.
You use your tongue (or in this case, keyboard) purtier than a $20 Whore!
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Old 12-30-2019, 08:05 AM
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So why does the Holy Ghost move people in this way? And why is this gift so common relative to the other ones?
LOL. It doesn't appear anyone tried to seriously address your actual q's, Monstro.

I assume the first is rhetorical? (Unless the SDMB has solved some thorny theological issues while I was away...)

As to why tongues (private or public) is such a common gift:

Of the seven traditional gifts of the HS, tongues is not even represented. And speaking in tongues is only referenced in a couple of places in the New Testament. So it's not "common" from a scriptural perspective, in my opinion.

WRT to practice in religious sects, it's common in charismatic-oriented ones because they select out for it. Much of charismatic tradition is built around tongues as a sign of contact with the HS, and people experiencing tongues are attracted to charismatic-oriented groups. Public tongues is not common in non-charismatic circles, and private tongues is, well...private, so therefore not "common" as a public-facing expression.

Whatever the neurologic/psychologic basis is, those wired that way are going to feel comfortable in an environment where their experience is not only accepted, but encouraged and reinforced as a positive and appropriate behavior.

It's my personal opinion that xenoglossia never happens and uninterpretable gibberish is an ordinary neurologic event. Because it's gibberish, it's also easy to fake for those who happen also to be charlatans. But the grey zone between earnest leaders who are expressing what they believe to be proof of supernatural connections and scammers willing to fake heavenly signs in service of fleecing is a different discussion for GD, I suppose.

Last edited by Chief Pedant; 12-30-2019 at 08:07 AM.
  #41  
Old 12-30-2019, 09:11 AM
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That is called glossolalia. It is not, nor is it supposed to be, a real language. The point is to sound impressive...
I was brought up in a pentecostal church (in the U.K.), and I remember being mesmerized by this as a young child. I was given the impression that it was a real language in some sense, it was only when I was older that I realized it was gibberish. It made such an impression that I think can still reproduce the principal sequence of syllables that were repeated over and over again by one particularly "gifted" man, sometimes with slight variation and sometimes interspersed with other "words":

Quote:
Ha-la-ba-ka-la-ba-shun-da
He tended to dominate proceedings, and it was notable that other people used variations on his sound patterns, as though they were all speaking the same language.
  #42  
Old 12-30-2019, 09:54 AM
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I think Michael Jackson was speaking in tongues at the tail end of "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'."
  #43  
Old 12-30-2019, 10:30 AM
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I think Michael Jackson was speaking in tongues at the tail end of "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'."
And this sounds like classic Holy Ghost:

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A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-lop-bam-boom
  #44  
Old 12-30-2019, 10:41 AM
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I'm sorry, are you claiming some sort of actual miracle happened?
I'm simply stating what happened. A Chinese man, who knew Cantonese, went to a church and heard someone (who did not know Cantonese) speaking in tongues - in Cantonese. And those words, in tongues, were directed at this Chinese man.
  #45  
Old 12-30-2019, 10:53 AM
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I'm simply stating what happened. A Chinese man, who knew Cantonese, went to a church and heard someone (who did not know Cantonese) speaking in tongues - in Cantonese. And those words, in tongues, were directed at this Chinese man.
This is practically the definition of an urban legend. You hear from someone (who?) that someone (who?) somewhere (where?) did something miraculous (when?). I think that if there were really examples of people actually speaking in tongues (I guess God's language is Cantonese?), then, to answer the OP, the reason is to actually speak with God. Is that the point of your story?

Color me skeptical.
  #46  
Old 12-30-2019, 11:01 AM
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I'm simply stating what happened...
Um...

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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
I heard an account that...
I need a little more information. If the account came from your sister's coworker's hairdresser I don't think I'd be inclined to revise my skepticism about supernatural claims. If the account came from your uncle's accountant, who's also a war hero, then I might have to think again.

Last edited by Riemann; 12-30-2019 at 11:01 AM.
  #47  
Old 12-30-2019, 11:09 AM
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Um...



I need a little more information. If the account came from your sister's coworker's hairdresser I don't think I'd be inclined to revise my skepticism about supernatural claims. If the account came from your uncle's accountant, who's also a war hero, then I might have to think again.
Can I ask why you put more stock in the war hero account's tale than the hairdresser's? Why is one more credible than the other?

Cuz I wouldn't believe such a crazy story no matter who it came from.
  #48  
Old 12-30-2019, 11:22 AM
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This is practically the definition of an urban legend. You hear from someone (who?) that someone (who?) somewhere (where?) did something miraculous (when?). I think that if there were really examples of people actually speaking in tongues (I guess God's language is Cantonese?), then, to answer the OP, the reason is to actually speak with God. Is that the point of your story?

Color me skeptical.
To be certain, the story could be false. But even if it was true, figure that 5% of the country goes to church every Sunday, where that church speaks in tongues. They do this year in and year out, but let's say that we're only concerned with the last 20 years.

In a 20 year period, is It possible for one Chinese man to end up going to church with one person among 5% of the American population? Yeah, it probably happens occasionally.

Is it possible for 5% of the population who have lived in the last 20 years to have ever traveled to China, taken Chinese lessons, or memorized some lines from a Jackie Chan flick? Yeah, probably a fair number of them.

Is it possible in a 20 year period for those two paths to cross? Sure. But welcome to statistics. Magic not needed.

Last edited by Sage Rat; 12-30-2019 at 11:23 AM.
  #49  
Old 12-30-2019, 11:23 AM
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I took Riemann's post as an illustration of how we are more inclined to believe some unreliable sources more than others, when in fact, neither is necessarily more credible than the other. <shrug>
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  #50  
Old 12-30-2019, 01:40 PM
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I'm simply stating what happened. A Chinese man, who knew Cantonese, went to a church and heard someone (who did not know Cantonese) speaking in tongues - in Cantonese. And those words, in tongues, were directed at this Chinese man.
"Pulu si bagumba!"

Last edited by nearwildheaven; 12-30-2019 at 01:41 PM. Reason: That's from "Gilligan's Island".
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