Re: Skepticism - its uses and abuses

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Sun Dec 11 2005 - 22:33:58 EST

While the disciples gathered on the day of Pentecost spoke in languages
that the people assembled in Jerusalem could understand, there are
grounds to doubt that glossolalia as practiced in some churches are true
utterances. I do not have a reference, but I recall running across a
study of glossolalia that concluded that the utterances did not have the
structure necessary to language. I also learned that the early Mormons
spoke in tongues. Some years back, a leader in the tongues movement in
the Los Angeles area was an Episcopalian who was at the extreme liberal
end of that denomination.

I have encountered the report that the Hebrew professor at BIOLA once
went to Aimee Semple McPherson's Temple and, during a service, recited
the 23rd Psalm in Hebrew. Two persons who claimed to have the gift of
interpretation got into an argument over whose interpretation was
correct. Neither came close to the original.

I have heard a report that a charismatic Christian was impelled to speak
in tongues to a stranger who reported being given the gospel in Mandarin.
I cannot confirm the claim, which is what was told me. I did observe a
parishioner speak in tongues and the pastor translate. However, the
speaker used the word "gloria" repeatedly. I am certain that the
utterance was not Italian, Portuguese or Spanish, where I know the word
occurs. However, the meaning is constrained by its etymology.
Unfortunately, the interpretation did not include any reference to glory,
heaven or any related term.

Many years ago when my parents were missionaries in Ambato, Ecuador, a
chap came through declaring that the Lord had given him a language which
he was sure was Jivaro. He claimed it was between Hebrew and something
else that I don't recall. It definitely was not Jivaro. Dad interceded
for him with a conductor he knew to get the guy to the coast where he
might be able to work his way back to the States.

While I cannot dismiss all tongues, my direct encounters with claims of
glossolalia are negative. The historic evidence indicates that it is not
divinely inspired. Additionally, the gift leads to claims of spiritual
superiority which seem more like pride than anything else. I do not find
pride listed in the fruit of the Spirit.

On Sun, 11 Dec 2005 17:29:30 +0000 Iain Strachan <>
I'm writing on a new topic that I hope will provoke some useful

I'm sure we're all aware as scientists that we always need to evaluate
data and theories critically, and to beware of falling into the trap of
believing what we want to believe.


  But at the same time, it seems to me that skeptics want to blow
everything away. Another very useful site is, a Skeptic's
dictionary, which has lots of useful stuff about the placebo effect etc.
But it also dismisses things like glossalalia (speaking in tongues) as a
load of rubbish as well, and I don't know how I feel about that.
Received on Sun Dec 11 22:41:18 2005

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