If you’re an atheist, you may have never heard of speaking in tongues. It sounds dirty, right?!
However, most people that have any exposure to religion have at least heard of it. Usually it’s in the context of “did you hear about those crazy people in Texas that go to church and bark like dogs and speak in gibberish?”
Well, I have been exposed to “speaking in tongues” first hand. I attended a church where it was considered a right of passage. If you didn’t speak in tongues, it was assumed you weren’t a Christian – or at a minimum, you were a bad Christian because the “Holy Spirit hadn’t anointed you.”
First off, for those of you unfamiliar with this topic, let me give a little background. In the Bible, it describes a scenario where the apostles were sitting around and received the anointing of the holy Spirit. “On the day of Pentecost all the Lord’s followers were together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from heaven like the sound of a mighty wind. It filled the house where they were meeting. Then they saw what looked like fiery tongues moving in all directions, and a tongue came and settled on each person there. The Holy Spirit took control of everyone, and they began speaking whatever languages the Spirit let them speak.” – Acts 2:1-4
It’s never really addressed elsewhere in the Bible. It was a one-time thing that happened 2,000 years ago. The Bible never says “if you’re a good Christian, you’ll speak in tongues.” And what Christians also seem to miss is that the original Pentecost included “mighty wind” and “fiery tongues.” I’ve seen a lot of people mumbling gibberish in churches, but I’ve never seen mighty wind or tongues of fire.
And it’s not even that I don’t believe that the Holy Spirit could manifest itself in that way, or that it NEVER does. However, I can say with reasonable certainty that if the Holy Spirit were going to manifest itself, it wouldn’t probably choose judgmental, snooty twits as its vessel.
See, I don’t doubt the existence or power of the Holy Spirit. I just doubt the whack-jobs I’ve seen speak in tongues would be the Holy Spirit’s choice.
In that particular church, I actually saw people PRESSURING each other to speak in tongues. I myself was pressured to speak in tongues. “Just say whatever comes into your head, let the Spirit lead you.” Then they’d proceed to spout gibberish to show they were already chosen. The people I witnessed speaking in tongues were not good people. They were self-absorbed, arrogant, judgmental, petty, cruel, and cliquish.
I always felt like an outsider at that church. I refused to blab gibberish just like I refused to fall backwards when someone prayed for me. “Slain in the Spirit” they call it.
Give me a break. It’s legalistic peer pressure, nothing more.
If God wants to show his power by speaking through arrogant twits, then that makes me question a whole lot more than why I have never spoken in tongues.