why do some people speak in tongues

There are, broadly speaking, two kinds of Christian prayer practice, beyond rote recitation. БApophaticБ prayer, which looks a lot like meditation and mindfulness, asks one to still the mind and disengage from thought. The classic example is the 14th century БCloud of Unknowing,Б a monastic text whose anonymous author advised: БThought cannot comprehend God. And so, I prefer to abandon all I can know, choosing rather to love him who I cannot know. Б
In БkataphaticБ prayer, one fills oneБs imagination with thoughts from Scripture. The classic example is the 16th-century spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who called worshipers to see Бwith the eye of the imagination the road from Nazareth to Bethlehem, considering how long it is and how wide, and whether it is level or goes through valleys and over hills. Б American evangelicals seeking daydreamlike encounters with God are praying in this tradition. The apophatic method is probably more effective in shifting attention from the everyday, but harder to achieve.


That seems to be what the fifth-century monk Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite meant when he described kataphatic prayer as a steppingstone for those who could not pray in other ways. Many of us know people who have tried to meditate and failed, defeated by thoughts that refused to stay put Б what skilled practitioners call Бmonkey mind. Б In an experiment, I assigned participants for one month to meditation, to imagination-rich prayer or to lectures on the gospels. Many who meditated didnБt like it; those who did reported deep spiritual experiences, like the expert meditators studied by the neurologist (БZen and the BrainБ) and other scientists. As a technique, tongues capture the attention but focus it on something meaningless (but understood by the speaker to be divine). So it is like meditation Б but without the monkey mind. And the practice changes people. They report that as their prayer continues, they feel increasingly more involved. They feel lighter, freer and better. The scientific data suggest that tongue speakers enter a different mental state.


The neuroscientist and his colleagues singing worship songs, and then speaking in tongues. When they did the latter, they experienced less blood flow to the frontal cerebral cortex. That is, their brain behaved as if they were less in a normal decision-making state Б consistent with the claim that praying in tongues is not under conscious control. Speaking in tongues still carries a stigmatizing whiff. In his book БThinking in Tongues,Б the philosopher describes the Бstrange brew of academic alarm and snobberyБ that flickered across a colleagueБs face when he admitted to being a Pentecostal (and, therefore, praying in tongues). It seems time to move on from such prejudice. A person who has what is known as the gift of tongues is usually in the midst of religious, trance, or. б The speakerб Б and often witnesses too Б believe that they are being possessed by a supernatural spirit or channeling the language of a deity or divine being, although the words are incomprehensible otherwise.


Experts call this phenomenon, aб Greek compound of the words glossa, meaning БtongueБ or Бlanguage,Б and lalein, meaning Бto talk. Б Speaking intongues occurred in ancient Greek religion. It is also mentioned in the The Act of the Apostles in the New Testament of the Christian Bible, which says that it first occurred among followers of Jesus at. б Today, it is commonly associated with Pentecostalism. is often mistakenly used to refer to tongue-speakers. However, xenoglossy is a occurance in which a person is able to speak a language that he or she has never heard, read, or been exposed to in any way. б It is a phenomenon that is not generally accepted by linguists and psychologists. For example, a person who is said to show signs of xenoglossy might fluently speak Japanese despite having never studied the language, visited Japan, or been exposed to Japanese songs, television shows, web sites, etc. What do you think of the concepts of glossolalia and xenoglossy?

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