This podcast features Watkins University Professor (Stanford University Anthropology Department) and great friend of Hearing the Voice, Professor Tanya Luhrmann, on ‘The Voice of God’. It was recorded on 16 February 2017 at Durham’s Palace Green Library as part of the linked programme of events associated with Hearing Voices: suffering, inspiration and the everyday.
Abstract: God is in some ways the ultimate uncertainty, since God has no material trace which gives certain evidence of presence. The great achievement of the cognitive science of religion has been to demonstrate that evolved, “natural” qualities of our minds readily generate intuitions about supernatural agency. Yet it is also true that Christians also report that faith is hard: that it takes effort, and that this effort arises from the uncertainty of God’s presence. This talk makes the case that people find evidence of God’s presence in mental events; that different practices of attending to mental events shape mental experience; that different cultures and different theologies emphasize mind and mental process in distinctive ways, and that this has consequences for the way people experience God. I compare the experience of hearing God speak among charismatic Christians in Accra, Chennai and the Bay Area in the United States, and find that God’s voice is recognized differently and experienced differently in these theologically similar but culturally different settings.
Podcast produced by Andrea Rangecroft for Hearing the Voice.