Archive for the August 2013 Category

TALKING IN TONGUES

Browsing through The New York Times yesterday, August 17th, Miss Chicka read to me a story that was datelined Accra, Ghana.  Furthermore, it had to do with talking in tongues, which is a hallmark of the Pentecostal faith which is one of the Christian Protestant churches.  This story had two attractions for me.

In the first place, when I was a child, my parents insisted that I accompany them to church and for a while they attended a Pentecostal church.  I formed the opinion that the Pentecostal church was one of the most backward leaning churches among the Christian faiths.  Secondly, I was attracted to this article because it came from Accra, Ghana.  Nearly half of the time that I spent overseas, which was 28 months, was spent in Ghana.  So I was attracted not only to the story about talking in tongues but it came from Accra, Ghana, where a good part of my overseas military service took place.

As I said, the Pentecostal church is one of the most backward-leaning of the Christian Protestant faith.  It still believes the devil physically exists and taunts men into doing evil things.  The Pentecostals say that they talk in tongues because the devil does not understand such language and is confused by it.

Talking in tongues is nothing more than gibberish.  I formed this opinion when I was seven or eight years of age when I listened on many occasions to talking in tongues during Pentecostal church services.  Talking in tongues has no speech pattern; it has no grammar.  It is just foolish gibberish.  The author of the article in The New York Times, T. M. Luhrmann, said that a preacher told her that if you repeat “I should have bought a Hyundai” ten times fast, it resembles talking in tongues.  And I can tell you from my own experience that talking in tongues, even to a seven or eight year-old child, was plain gibberish and made no sense whatsoever.  More than anything, it was kind of childish and it was repulsive.

You may recall, for example, an essay I wrote several years ago about my experience as a youngster when I attended the Pentecostal church.  On that occasion the sponsor of that excursion was my own Aunt Nora.  She had dragooned my mother and me into attending an afternoon service.  In that essay I described how the congregants worked themselves into a frenzied lather.  Toward the end of the lathering process, there was a woman who fainted.  On this occasion, the preacher said, “Leave her where Jesus flang her.”  Now what I left out of that essay was the fact that the congregants, working themselves into a lather, were mostly speaking in tongues.  My young mind thought this was totally ridiculous.  Who is to say to somebody who believes in talking in tongues that the devil or Satan is not a real person?  My young mind said to me, “Oh Jesus, how dumb can these people get?”

My mind at that time had a question.  I wanted to know if the devil, whom everybody was supposed to hate, was born in the time of Jesus Christ.  Furthermore, I wanted to know how he could have lived so long, this being about 1933.  It seemed to me that inhaling the fumes of the fire that he had built to roast sinners would by this time have finished him off.  Nonetheless, the congregants in this mystical ceremony believed that the devil still existed and that the way to avoid him knowing of the contents of their speech was to speak in tongues.  I will guarantee you this.  In the 80 years since this event happened, the Pentecostal church has not advanced one iota.  They still believe in the devil and they still believe that by talking in tongues they will communicate their love of God and avoid tipping off the devil.

The story in The New York Times said that the Pentecostal church was going to make a concerted effort to convert members in both Ghana and Nigeria.  My guess is an educated one.  There are very few people in Ghana or Nigeria who are so dumb as to believe in the devil or the gibberish that accompanies speaking in tongues.  But the Pentecostal church is still working at the old stand.  They are handing out this garbage, which is what it is, quite freely.  They expect the Africans to gobble it up, no questions asked.

I have a good deal of respect for the people of Ghana and for the Nigerians.  I have made two or three trips to Nigeria and I lived among the people of Ghana for about 15 months.  I doubt that they are so naïve as to accept the Pentecostal church.  Nonetheless, the Pentecostal church would have you believe that speaking in tongues is the way to avoid tipping off the devil.  Incidentally, speaking in tongues never requires a response.  A statement is made in gibberish and no one ever replies to such a statement.  It is just hung out there to dry and no response is ever offered.  If they speak in tongues, I presume that Jesus or God must know what they are talking about.  But the fact of the matter is that they are speaking in gibberish.  Does Jesus also speak in tongues?  Nobody knows.

Well that is my story for this essay.  When Miss Chicka read me the dateline on this story which was in Accra, Ghana, I knew that I had to write this essay.  That is what I believe I have done.  And I will assure you that if there is a more backward-looking church than the Pentecostals, I am unaware of it.

One of the main reasons for my lack of enthusiasm for religious exercises traces back to such influences as the Pentecostal church.  As for my Aunt Nora, it is my belief that she found the Pentecostals of comedic entertainment value.  As for me, I concluded that if this was what religion had to offer, it had to do a lot better to even pass the smell test.

Well, be that as it may, I enjoyed the story from Accra, Ghana and in a strange way I enjoyed the fact that there are some dupes out there who really believe in speaking in tongues.  At this point, I would say that wonders never cease.

 

E. E. CARR

August 17, 2013

Essay 764

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Kevin’s commentary: I saw a video once of someone speaking tongues, and all the comments pointed out that it was in fact just mumbled Russian. Out of all the fakey bullshit that is inherent to religion, speaking in tongues is perhaps the silliest.

I’d like to read the article this came from. Hopefully Judy can help me out.