Speaking in Tongues
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A question is who or what is behind speaking in tongues. Could it be Osiris or someone else of ancient religions?
The Roman Virgil (70-19 BC) describes the ecstatic tongues of the Sybilline priestess on the Island of Delos as the result of her being unified with the god Apollo. Mystery religions of the Greco-Roman world record the same phenomenon in the Mithra cult of the Persians; the Osiris cult originating in ancient Egypt, and the lesser known Dionysian, Eulusinian, and Orphic cults cradled in Macedonia, Thrace and Greece. Lucian of Samosata (AD 120-98) in De Dea Syria describes an example of glossolalia shown by a roaming believer of the Syrian goddess June.
Ancient Israelites did it also. Glossolalia has also been observed in shamanism and the Voodoo religion of Haiti. Cannibals in Borneo have been known to speak in tongues too. And when spoken by schizophrenics, glossolalia is considered gibberish.
Glossolalia is featured both in Christian scriptures and in the practice of contemporary Christians. Such a modern Christian practice was revived in the early 1900s in Pentecostal churches in the United States. Speaking in tongues is practiced by up to 20 percent (100 - 400 millions) of all Christians today.
Many of the Churches practice tongue speaking today as it appeared in paganism and non-Christian cults. Historical records show that tongue speaking goes back before Pentecost in Acts 2, so is speaking in tongues from God, or from demonic sources, or is there more to see in the matter? It is said that even the elect may be deceived [Matthew 24:24] - and the first elect ones spoke in tongues. So there is a good reason to test the spirits when you meet them. The apostle Peter was reluctant to baptise non-Jews until they began speaking in tongues [1 John 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Acts 10:44-48].
Paul says somewhere: "first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues . . . covet earnestly the best gifts." [1 Corinthians 12:28-31] He also says, " In the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue." [1 Corinthians 14:19]. Also, "O Timothy, avoid . . . vain babblings." [1 Timothy 6:20]
Glossolalics behave in various ways. A featured claim is that when you speak gibberish it is a sign that God loves you - for the profit of all (let it include yourself, then) [cf. 1 Corinthians 12:7, 30;; 13:1; 14.
While speaking in tongues, people experience a sharp decrease in frontal lobe function, the area of the brain that enables reason and self-control. Glossolalia responses were the opposite of those of people in a meditative state. When people meditate their frontal lobe activity increases, while their parietal activity decreases, says psychiatrist Andrew Newberg at the University of Pennsylvania on top of investigations.
But there is more to it: "Contrary to what may be a common perception, studies suggest that people who speak in tongues rarely suffer from mental problems", and "Researchers have identified at least two forms of the practice, one ecstatic and frenzied, the other subdued and nearly silent." [Skeptic's Dictionary, sv. "glossolalia"; NY Times, "A Neuroscientific Look at Speaking in Tongues"
Apparently meaningless utterances are supposedly interpreted by someone with "the gift of interpretation". Such a belief gives the interpreter a carte blanche in "translating". Further, "Typically, the interpretation supports the central tenets of the religious community", someone observes. Without an interpreter, you may have no idea what was said and you could even be saying "so be it" to a curse from the devil as far as you know. The perspective is there. [C.]
One individual's ecstatic speech was tape recorded and played back separately to many individuals who believed that they had the gift of interpreting tongues. Their interpretations were quite inconsistent. Those particular interpreters were unable to extract significant meaning out of the glossolalia. [Excerpts from: Jeff Wehr, "Speaking in Tongues," Our Firm Foundation, Vol. 11, #11, 1996-NOV-11, referred to in "Speaking in Tongues: Religious Studies". Religious Tolerance.
Actually, being frantic and speaking unintelligibly for some time, is close to Christian tongue-talking.
SOURCE: Andrew Newberg, Nancy Wintering, Donna Morgan, and Mark Waldman, "The Measurement of Regional Cerebral Blood Flow During Glossolalia: a Preliminary SPECT Study." Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging for 2006-NOV. The International Society for Neuroimaging in Psychiatry.
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