Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Still Small Voice

An insect got into my cup of milk and I took it as a sign that I shouldn't drink so much milk. After all, milk is high in cholesterol and I could do with less of it.  I threw the content away and didn't pour myself more milk.  

What do I mean when I say I took it as a sign?  Taking things that happen as a "sign" or as "the still small voice of God" is common among religious people.   You may not be aware of this but "still small voice" can only be used for God's voice.  When I was a lad, I wrote in an essay about how I heard my mum's still small voice from the kitchen and my teacher circled "still small voice" in red and wrote in the margin of the page, "I hope you are not claiming divinity for your mother."

Why, you may legitimately ask, should God's voice be still and small?  Do people really hear the voice of God?  I have asked many of the parishioners in my church and in other churches and nobody really hears the voice of God.  It's always an impression that we have and that impression is of course strongest if we are in a religious mood.  "Still small voice" is by far a more respectable description of a voice that is absolutely inaudible to those of us who are sane.  

I knew someone a long time ago who told me he had schizophrenia.  He told me it was difficult for him to decide what was God's voice and what were hallucinations which he had regularly. I told him it was very simple.  Anything he heard or saw which was out of the ordinary had to be a hallucination.  If he heard a voice and it wasn't the voice of another person within earshot, it's got to be a hallucination.  He asked, "What about the voice of God?"  I told him the voice of God was inaudible.  He said something that was quite wise for someone who was grappling with hallucinations all through his waking hours.  He said, "Wouldn't that make God rather pathetic that he can't even have an audible voice?"

Who needs an audible voice when he's got that still small voice that others can't have and if you so much as attribute it to your mum in an essay, you will see it circled in red.

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