I imagine the Apostle Paul hearing about this study…
Tanya: “Let’s label and quantify anthropologically and psychologically effects that people experience and call “real” when they pray.”
The Apostle Paul: stares blankly…. “Ok, well I’m going to go tell those people over there about the real Jesus. Bye now.”
Tanya Luhrmann writes in When God Talks Back about the evangelical “phenomenon” of Christians who claim to experience God. It’s painful to hear her (As she talks in this TED talks, it makes evangelicals sound crazy), and read her descriptions about what experiencing God might be like.
Her work shows many things, one being that people respond to training. (I feel like she lightly infers brainwash here). The more they focus on it, the more they will actually begin to experience it. When she studied effects on prayer, students who had focused on prayer reported more spiritual experiences. GO FIGURE! She says you experience and learn these things slowly, and you slowly begin to notice God in more things. Also, Tanya says, “if you’re using your imagination, you must be doing it wrong.” But she says that the medieval monks would actually use more of their senses and believed that to be part of how God was talking as well. Luhrmann explains the science of how God chooses to work, and in a way explains it like you could still do it without God. But where she gets really off, and show her secularism, is where she begins to attribute prayer as being real, but only real the biochemically way, explaining how the physical effects actually change us.
This is that part of the basis of Dan Brown’s fictional book The Lost Symbol in which prayer is real but only because of a subversive psychic and telekinetic power that all humans have as part of their own will-power. Therefore in Dan Brown’s book, if enough people think (aka pray) about the same thing and outcome, it can actually be willed into existence by this “force”. Luhrmann doesn’t go into the psychic, but explain that all of the changes that happen are simply biochemically internal changes from our own practices. Huge problems here! Blasphemy aside… Who’s to say that’s not how God just chooses to work, and we are simply witnessing God doing it, and seeing it physically happen. Does that make sense?
Let me bring up a point I saw on Jay’s post, pointing out the author’s other work about Wiccan etc. There were some disturbing videos about her worldview… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ubyjVrzdUc
I wanted to dive into this more, but I’d rather do literally anything else. So bye bye Tanya.
Let me just finish this blog by actually bringing something of value to our group this week… Here are some of my thoughts about discerning God’s voice, and maybe you will be able to use it as you teach others. Enjoy.
When it comes to “when God talks back”, it is a crucial “skill” that all Christians must grow in in their Christian walk. As a youth pastor the question I was asked more than any other, is how do I know when God is talking to me? Today, working with college students, grads, and new pastors the question is just as frequent. Below is a resource I’ve developed that has helped me in my own processing of trying to figure what is God speaking to me. Even though I have taught this many time now, I still find myself running into a rut not knowing what I am “supposed” to do. In these moments I will feel the frustration that comes with ambiguity, and I remember to sit down and go through some of the questions represented below. That’s because, the problem is discernment. The problem is always discernment. I think that this issue of being able to discern what God’s voice is and what is your own thoughts.
For those reading this blog, you will probably be able to surmise the whole message of this grid, just by the visual. But to explain it briefly. I think there are four different filters that one should process their major life decisions through. God, Wisdom, Kingdom and Self. There is much to be said about each of these, but below are simply 13 questions that can you help process through what God is speaking to you. Each of these questions are intended to be deep soul-searching questions, not just quick yes or no answers.
Simply write down three decisions you have to make soon, and take those 3 dilemmas you have, through this grid…
Why are we talking about doing this? Let’s just do it. I’m ending my blog and going to prayer now.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”