Thursday, December 08, 2005

Faking Tongues: Tests, Testimonies ... and the Point

In my curiosity about how widespread "faking" may be, I looked around the 'net and saw a few things. The most interesting to me were 1. people who had quietly arranged to test a "tongue translator" (unknown to the translator, of course) and 2. personal testimonies of confessed fakers, some now ardent atheists but others just in more mainstream branches of Christianity.

Lost In Translation
A fellow fluent in Hebrew visited a charismatic service and recited a portion of the Old Testament in Hebrew from memory. The translation given by the "Spirit-Filled"? Not even close. (Search for 'Gerry Matatics' on the page)

A recording is made of a service where tongues are spoken and a translation given. Later, the same recording is played back for "Spirit-Filled" translation again. Same results? Nope. (Search for 'test of the interpretations' on the page)

Confessions of Fakers
There were too many of these to cite them all, but here is a sampling:

"But I know that I used to fake it. I gave in to pressure from a minister and my mother-in-law and I convinced myself that I wasn't just saying gibberish words, but I know I was." -- posted by 'The Dork Night' (Have to love that pen name, but who am I to talk.)

"I have faked speaking in tongues (the glossalalia sort) for that reason...I felt I had to." -- posted by 'Beautiful Dreamer'

"Yes, I have unfortunately faked a manisfestation out of being put under tremendous pressure from the pastor to see evidence of his prayers working." -- posted by 'Ontheroad'

"I decided if God wasn't going to give me a prayer tongue, I'd give it to myself.
I started to move my lips maniacally and emitted a noise that made my voice sound like an LP spun backwards. I made it sound like an average prayer tongue -- nothing too flashy. My prayer partners bought it and started thanking Jesus for sending the Holy Spirit through me to speak His words. People started crying and hugging me. I cried too and kept making the babbling noises as I hugged my peers.
That's right, I faked it." (See p. 20)

The Point?
The last guy I quoted turned away from Christ. He didn't pinpoint the change at the day he started faking his religion -- but I would; that was when a radical shift became inevitable, necessary, and merely honest. And a large part of his faking was being pressured to fake. His own fault? Of course; nobody put a gun to his head. His leaders' fault? Of course; it is not even Scriptural to expect everybody to speak in tongues and, given that it's listed among the lesser gifts of the Spirit, is not a reasonable measure of being "spiritual"; given the prevalence of faking and conscious self-deceit, it's not a reliable measure of having the Holy Spirit.

You can only rest your assurance of salvation on one thing: having Christ. Assurance by "speaking in tongues" is false assurance, and this false assurance will eventually fail you. If you really have the Spirit, you know the Spirit's message: Christ (see the record of the first outpouring of the Spirit at the first Pentecost after Jesus' resurrection). The real assurance is this: "God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; He who does not have the Son of God does not have life." -- 1 John 5:11-12

When people are turning away from God because they are cynical over fakery in Christian circles, it is more necessary than ever that we clean house. Other peoples' well-being is at stake.

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