Speaking in Tongues: a Learned behavior
The material explanation arrived at by a number of studies is that glossolalia is “learned behavior”. What is taught is the ability to produce language-like speech. This is only a partial explanation, but it is a part that has withstood much testing. It is possible to train novices to produce glossolalic speech. One experiment with 60 undergraduates found that 20% succeeded after merely listening to a 60-second sample, and 70% succeeded after training:
Our findings that glossolalia can be easily learned through direct instruction, along with demonstrations that tongue speakers can initiate and terminate glossolalia upon request and can exhibit glossolalia in the absence of any indexes of trance support the hypothesis that glossolalia utterances are goal-directed actions rather than involuntary happenings.
The admittedly fraudulent preacher Marjoe Gortner described in a 1977 interview how people learn glossolalia in a highly emotional religious setting.
“Tongues is something you learn,” he emphasized. “It is a releasing that you teach yourself. You are told by your peers, the church, and the Bible – if you accept it literally – that the Holy Ghost speaks in another tongue; you become convinced that it is the ultimate expression of the spirit flowing through you. The first time maybe you’ll just go dut-dut-dut-dut, and that’s about all that will get out. Then you’ll hear other people and next night you may go dut-dut-dut-UM-dut-DEET-dut-dut, and it gets a little better. The next thing you know, it’s ela-hando-satelay-eek-condele-mosandrey-aseya … and it’s a new language you’ve got down.”
That glossolalia can be learned is also seen in the traces left behind by teachers. An investigation by the Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn showed that the influence of a particular leader can shape a group’s glossolalia: where certain prominent glossolalists had visited, whole groups of glossolalists would speak in his style of speech.
Kavan found that most New Zealand Pentecostals and Charismatics did not experience trance except during the baptism of the spirit. However, meditators in a yoga-based purification group experienced frequent intense trances, of which glossolalia was an occasional manifestation. Kavan suggested that there are two types of glossolalia – spontaneous and context-dependent – and the former is more likely to occur in groups that are radical, experiential and charismatically led.
Pentecostals, members of the Assemblies of God churches, and some other charismatics usually place great emphasis on spiritual “gifts and manifestations, claiming that there is a special post-salvation gift/experience called the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” or “Second Blessing”, in which the Holy Spirit, in all His fullness, is poured out on the believer and that the initial evidence of this “Second Blessing” is speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.
When someone is “overcome by the Spirit” they often begin speaking gibberish, wave their arms, or even fall writhing on the floor. Apparently the speaker is said to be possessed by the Holy Spirit with the person himself having no control over his own tongue, which is is usually taken as absolute proof that one has been baptized in the Spirit, a highly prized spiritual goal.
But if, as shown, tongues were a known language in the New Testament and there is absolutely no evidence to show that it was some form of ecstatic speech, and Paul instructed that everything was to be done decently and in order, where does the the unintelligible gibberish, jerking, twitching, falling on the floor etc. all come from? Is it even possible that the devil has substituted the true gift of tongues with a knock-off version? Has the allure of receiving some form of deeper spiritual experience deceived countless millions into accepting this counterfeit? –
When you realize what you’ve been taught the Bible says is not what the Bible says.
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Paul is not talking about “scripture” being the Book of Catholicism aka The New Testament, IT HAD NOT BEEN WRITTEN YET. He’s talking about the Tanakh (Tanach) the Hebrew Bible what the church calls “the Old Testament”, written in Herbrew, not one word of it has changed since given from Sinai 3300+ years ago. [lookup: Accuracy of Torah Text @ aish]
Acts 17:11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Examined the Scriptures? Bear in mind – The New Testament HAD NOT BEEN WRITTEN YET. The Scriptures being examined was the Hebrew Bible, The Tanakh (Tanach)
The word “Torah” is derived from two Hebrew words:
Torah is the Hebrew word that means “instruction”.
The Lord your God is testing you
If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him. Deuteronomy 13
A word from a former Pastor
“As a former church pastor and former messianic teacher, I offer to Christians a few observations and advice. First, you’ve been taught to view the world through the lens of your religion and to reject out-of-hand anything that conflicts or calls into question the Christian faith. You must find a way to undo this indoctrinated approach and seek truth for truth’s sake.
Learn the original language of the Hebrew Scriptures, at least well enough to look up words and cross-reference. Start with Genesis and work your way through giving no thought to the things you’ve been taught in the church, and without trying to “find Jesus” in the words. Before you dismiss that thought, consider this: Before the days of your book, this is how the Scriptures were studied.
Also, there are plenty of Jewish websites dedicated to answering Christianity’s teachings, and rabbis who will answer your questions (when asked respectfully, with a sincere desire for knowledge, not the desire to argue). There are videos on YouTube as well. Rabbi Tovia Singer has many videos that are presented to Christians in a spirit of love in a respectful and humble manner. There is also Rabbi Michael Skobac and Jews for Judaism. His teachings are more for Jews, so the presentation is a little different from that of Rabbi Singer’s but every bit as thorough. Both will provide you with a great starting point of learning the Hebrew Scriptures from a Jewish perspective.
I know that all seems a bit counter-intuitive given your ideology of a “great commission,” but it beats trying to tell Jews how they should interpret their Scriptures which they had for thousands of years before yours were ever conceived. If you have no interest in knowing how “the other side” thinks, then I recommend you stick to friends and groups who share your views.
I wish you well. Enjoy your learning! ~Kalev Ben Noach”
Gutman Locks answers fundamental questions about Judaism for Pastor Joel Kramer.