If you are a believer, who thinks that God might literally talk to people, how would you know that the voice telling you to kill your son isn’t God? There’s a precedent that such a voice could indeed be God, right? So how do you distinguish schizophrenia from divine revelation?
I asked the question in a thread that was only tangentially related to this topic, and predictably got no answers due to it being off topic. I am genuinely curious about how people who believe in a literal voice of God would explain this apparent dilemma, though.
No big mystery here, and it doesn’t take a believer to answer. If one assumes that God exists and is otherwise benevolent, then an instruction to perform an obviously malevolent act would have to come from some other source.
With no external point of reference, it would be impossible to tell if any sensory input was halluncinatory or real. So it comes back to a question of belief–if you want to believe that the voice in your head has an external origin, you will.
Since no human being ever actually has been spoken to by God or any other imaginary deity, yet, literally millions of people have claimed to have had that exact experience, one must conclude that it’s pretty dang easy for someone (particularly one already so inclined) to misinterpret an auditory hallucination as the voice of his/her favorite deity.
I don’t think the particular heinousness of an act that is commanded by the hallucinatory voice (kill your son; appear on American Idol, etc.) makes much difference–after all, if your deity commands you to do something, you gosh-durn better do it, even if doing so contradicts prior instructions. In Christian as well as most other mythology, questioning the will of the God/gods was supposed to be very, very wrong–that’s why Abraham’s compliance in the Exodus (?) myth was supposedly so laudable.
God, being a god, I would think could magic your head into absolute belief you are talking to God.
That or God, being a god, could provide some proof you are talking to God. Being omnipotent surely there is something God could do to make it abundantly clear that you are talking to the real deal. Such proof would be, by definition, trivial for God. Magic you out to Jupiter and have a convo there for instance then send you back when done (god will see to it that you do not die in the process).
Since this is all speculation/make-believe I would submit the following restrictions:
If a supernatural entity (God or Satan or something lesser like angels/demons) could magic our brain into any state to believe anything they wanted there is some reason they don’t/can’t.
God is by definition omnipotent so surely that is within god’s power but for some reason god doesn’t do that.
Satan is powerful but not god so not omnipotent. Is Satan powerful enough to magic your brain into any belief or magic you out to Jupiter for a chit-chat? Frankly I have no idea.
Angles and demons are clearly lesser than the above so whatever keeps God/Satan from doing it would certainly apply to them as well.
If Satan could magic our brains into becoming evil bastards then one would think he would do it. But that doesn’t happen so either he can’t or he can but God instantly undoes his manipulations so it is a non-starter for Satan. God, for whatever reason, does not magic goodness on us although it would be within God’s power.
So, to be clear, I am making shit up. All I can say with certainty is Satan (if he existed which I do not think he or God for that matter do) does not snap his fingers and make everyone evil.
If I were writing some fiction I would posit the restriction is humans have free will and magicking their brains to do what you want them to do is off limits. Satan does not play by the rules but God will enforce this. God could but God made everything and decided this is the rule and one even God will abide by.
So, if you accept all that made-up bullshit then it takes something else to get you to believe you are talking to God.
Could Satan still fool you? Sure. Is their a foolproof method to be sure if it is God or Satan you are talking to? I doubt it. One would presume both are waaaay smarter than you are so you cannot manage to outmaneuver them.
I guess I am left with God doing some omnipotent shit but that would mean knowing what limits Satan/demons have and asking for something beyond their abilities.
No idea what that would be. Ask them to swear on a bible that they are not evil maybe?
Well, J-Dawg is also on the record whipping a bunch of innocent entrepreneurs and destroying property. In a *church *! Now that might not be big league Evil, but it’s not a very Christian thing to do either, is it ?
Thing is, something doesn’t need to be God, omnipotent or even supernatural to do that. It just needs to be powerful enough to fool a human. Anything that can control minds for example can convince anyone of anything; and that’s much less powerful than omnipotence. There’s an awful lot of hypothetical entities that are more plausible than a tri-omni (or even one-omni) god that could fool a human that way.
I know when I hear the voice of God because I want to tell Him to shut the fuck up. He’s good at two things, puppies and kitties and ittle babbies on the one hand, and soul-crushing authoritarianism and wholesale bloodshed on the other, and I strongly suspect the puppykittybabby part is just PR to get people on His side for the real business at hand.
So a voice tells you an agent of the devil is next door and plans to kill people, and you should go cut off his head with nail scissors before he can do that. Is that a benevolent God asking you to save lives or a malevolent voice trying to trick you?
How about if the voice is telling you to oppose gay marriage?