This might come as a bit of a let down. (warnign: spoiler}
When I was younger and in a little bit of trouble, I was taken in by a family of super devout, evangelical, rabid Christians. (and I use these terms with the utmost of fondness) I worked for and lived with this family for almost a year. Aside from church on Sunday, we had ‘bible study’ at least three times a week.
We did not ‘study’ the bible in any way that I recognize the word ‘study’. Mostly, we all got together and preached at each other and praised the lord (over and over). Often these meetings would include ‘slaying in the spirit’ and speaking in tongues. So I’ve experienced both, and here is my take on it - the straight dope, firsthand.
Now don’t take any of this as insulting or derogatory to these well meaning folk (who can be credited with saving my life) but in my experience, this speaking in tongues thing is not God speaking.
Slaying in the spirit was kinda neat, but hardly spiritual. As the dude’s hand hit my forehead, I went down like a sack of potatoes. I was aware in a sense, and kind of ‘observing myself’. I started ‘speaking in tongues’; babbling away a mile a minute while those surrounding me egged me on and praised the Lord. (they did a lot of that) I didn’t understand a single syllable of what I said. It was complete gibberish. I didn’t even get the feeling of
I took a hypnosis course in college that gave me a good understanding of my experience. In fact, during that course, when I was hypnotized, the experience was remarkably similar. The same exact feeling of ‘watching’ your own body do things. Anyone who has been hypnotized would know what I’m talking about.
Hell, even the methodology is the same. Here’s a typical example of the hypnotic procedure.
The hypnotist is coming to town. Word spreads and people start building expectations. The anticipation grows until the day of the show is finally nigh. By now, people are either sceptical or breathlessly waiting to witness the miracles that have been promised.
The hypnotist comes on stage and feeds the audience a bunch of hokey designed to get people ‘in the mood’ and prepare them to accept suggestion. He runs a few tests to determine the most succeptible subjects and calls them up and does his thing.
The subjects are run through a ritual hypnotizing and are ready to do what ever is suggested. Cluck like a chicken, believe you are naked, the list is long.
The ‘bible study’ followed the same basic format. Expectations are well set, the fuel being religious faith (far more effective than your average hypnotists advertising). An altered state of mind is acheived by the fervent praying and praising the lord and by the time someone smacks you on the forehead, you’re ripe for the suggestion. Boom, you fall down and start babbling.
BTW, it’s a lot easier to be slain in the spirit than to believe you are a chicken, but it feels exactly the same.
The caffeine has not taken a hold of my system yet this morn, so please exuse this jumble of a post.(heheheh- posting in toungues) I just couldn’t let this one go by.