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"Speaking in tongues"/Glossolalia

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Can somebody explain this phenomena to me in psychopathological terms.

Is the 'language' identifiable in this cases or not? Do glossolalics in Africa for

example use the same 'language' as the ones in the USA ?

'Speaking in tongues' is common in Evangelical/Pentecostal churches. Somehow

i don't buy the idea that it is somehow a mysterious way of communicating with god.

I'm course aware that the overwhelming evidence is that there is nothing pathological

about it, but i'm still tempted to think its some kind of trance state.

Please include any credible references to ypur explanation.

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i think that the phenomena was originally supposed to be speaking in a language that the speaker does not understand, but which is understood by the audience and was a way in which the speakers were able to communicate the word of god to others. it has since been broadened to include speaking in a way in which no-one understands and is taken to be some mystical language. i doubt there is any evidence that those that 'speak in tongues' in the mystical language way actually speak the same mystical language.

trance states are a possibility, hoaxing is another.

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I have been in a pentecostal church once or twice and in those particular occasions it appeared to me more as a ''cultural'' activity rather than any particular psychiatric entity;

during prayer as people were waiting in silence one person started to talk in an uninteligible way; when that person finished somebody else ''translated'' the prayer for everybody in the language spoken in my country. I couldn't tell whether the initial prayer was any known language or not. The pattern continued in a similar way; in some churches I was told that people take turns and in others that poeple pray simultaneously and it becomes very loud.

Indeed in the biblical sense the Holy Ghost was supposed to be sent to christians in order to preach the Gospel to other nations in their own language.

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I've just been reading about this, co-incidentally. There are 4 basic manifestations outlined in the bible:

Two are for use in individual personal prayer

1. Tongues for personal edification (1 Corinthians 14:4) - not understood in natural language; for praying for oneself for God's plan, wisdom, power, etc

2. Tongues of intercession (Romans 8:26) - not understood in natural language; for praying or interceding for oneself, family, friends, city, etc.

Two are for use in public assembly

3. Tongues for interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:5) -in a public assembly, accompanied by interpretation by the same or another person.

4. Tongues as a sign to the unbeliever (1 Corinthians 14:22) -in a public assembly, speaking in a language of men, of which the person himself has no knowledge. This is the phenomenom that took place on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 4-11)

This helped answer my questions over why sometimes 'tongues' are described as unintelligible, and sometimes as understood or identified as a different languauge.  

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Just me, I do agree with your explanation.

It is not easy to speak in tongues.

People get to speak in tongues after lots of prayer and receiving the holy spirit.

It come on spontaneously.

However, some people can imitate speaking in tongues.

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Certainly abused in a number of cases.

I attended a certain church in Germany a few years ago. The preacher said you could not get into the Kingdom of Heaven unless you spoke in tongues. He was even willing to teach people how to speak in tongues. I read the Bible, and I felt that speaking in tongues is a gift and nobody could teach you how to do it.

Personally I find that the difference between speaking in tongues and trance state is very small. There is also speaking in tongues for commercial purposes, where preachers will demand money in the same preaching.

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Personally I find that the difference between speaking in tongues and trance state is very small. There is also speaking in tongues for commercial purposes, where preachers will demand money in the same preaching.

which suggests that you think that the difference between speaking in tongues and trance state is very small and very large.

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what exactly is a trance? I thought it is about narrowing of one's consciousness?

How could anybody speak an unknown intelligible language when the information is not stored in their brain?

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A couple of weeks ago, a young african lady was admitted with a diagnosis of Acute psychotic episode. She was found stark naked and speaking in tongues; she was admitted on section 136. I was the ward doctor, and when I clerked her, she was speaking in tongues, quoting relevant biblical passages to justify the fact that she had just fought a spiritual war with a dark force which unfortunately she lost and the result was the dark force taking possesion of her and she took her clothes off without any conscious effort.She justified her speaking in tongues as an attempt to ward off the demonic forces; it is debatable if taking her clothes off is as a result of a lost battle or rationalisation.

Incidentally, I also go to an evangelical church and had spoken in tongues. I was not in a trance nor was I hoaxing. Justme made a lot of sense with his contribution, and I will not deny that commercialism had crept in and the historical origin of 'speaking in tongues' had somehow become irrelevant

I agree that glossolalia can be seen in disociative and neurotic states but glossolalia in most cases can be understood as part of the person's religious and cultural background.

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[highlight]she was admitted on section 136.[/highlight]

I think u meant that she was assessed under sec 136.

Cheers

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A couple of weeks ago, a young african lady was admitted with a diagnosis of Acute psychotic episode. She was found stark naked and speaking in tongues; she was admitted on section 136. I was the ward doctor, and when I clerked her, she was speaking in tongues, quoting relevant biblical passages to justify the fact that she had just fought a spiritual war with a dark force which unfortunately she lost and the result was the dark force taking possesion of her and she took her clothes off without any conscious effort.She justified her speaking in tongues as an attempt to ward off the demonic forces; it is debatable if taking her clothes off is as a result of a lost battle or rationalisation.

Incidentally, I also go to an evangelical church and had spoken in tongues. I was not in a trance nor was I hoaxing. Justme made a lot of sense with his contribution, and I will not deny that commercialism had crept in and the historical origin of 'speaking in tongues' had somehow become irrelevant

I agree that glossolalia can be seen in disociative and neurotic states but glossolalia in most cases can be understood as part of the person's religious and cultural background.

Intresting.

Would like to know what was the outcome.

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Thank you, Wetrain. She was indeed brought in on Section 136 but admitted on Section 2.

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She justified her speaking in tongues as an attempt to ward off the demonic forces; it is debatable if taking her clothes off is as a result of a lost battle or rationalisation.

I agree that glossolalia can be seen in disociative and neurotic states but glossolalia in most cases can be understood as part of the person's religious and cultural background.

Do you actually believe there was a 'lost battle' in this lady's case?!!? Or have I just missed the sarcasm?

Why would something be an abnormal sign in one setting, whilst in another it be 'culturally acceptable?' Do you think that all psychiatric symptoms are up for debate like this? Clearly it's all just hokum.

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Looks like this lady is a believer who became psychotic.

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Looks like this lady is a believer who became psychotic.

I think that may be the case.

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Incidentally, I also go to an evangelical church and had spoken in tongues. I was not in a trance nor was I hoaxing.

OK then. :D

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odafe

as you have first hand experience would you be able to tell us more?

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I disagree with you, Chris. Religion will always be a delicate subject. Justme had earlier on explained four valid reasons why people speak in tongues in the context of their religious beliefs. This country is multicultural and psychiatrists should have a healthy respect for cultural and religious backgrounds. There is such a thing as Transcultural psychiatry; fair enough, this lady in all probability may have suffered from an acute psychotic episode but it is debatable if the 'speaking in tongues aspect' is part of the psychosis or an effort on her part in battling the demonic forces(psychosis). Yes. I can see a couple of smiles on the faces of the unbelievers(maybe I am having a visual hallucinatory experience as I type this) but it is difficult for a non - believer to understand this( See Ephesians 6:12 in the Holy Bible). Let us not forget that the earliest historical origin of madness was the concept of demonic possesion,and that the medical approach to madness cannot fully explained abnormal behaviour. Even within this medical approach, there are different views of psychopathogies.

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Thank you, psbrown for that intelligent question. It is a wonderful experience;it is difficult to descibe my experiences. Imagine asking an astronaut to give a vivid account of what space really looks like. Simply put, it allows you to unburden all your burdens  at the feet of your creator.

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I just cannot believe that you are equating psychosis with 'demonic forces.' Yes, I know that was what was believed in the pre-scientific age, just as it was believed that the position of the stars on the date of your birth affected your personality and temperament. But we know today that this is not the case.

Can you explain to me how antipsychotics would work in that framework? Are demons particularly intolerant of D2 blockade? Also why does intercessionary prayer not work? If it is a spiritual malady, then surely a spiritual therapy should work more effectively than placebo.

I do have a healthy respect for patients' traditions and maintain professional practice at all times, but I do not have to agree with them. But odafe you are not a patient, and therefore I feel it is valid to question you about the reasons you believe these things, particularly when they appear to conflict with the evidence base on which current best psychiatric practice is founded.

Ephesians 6:12 states 'For we are not fighting against human beings but against spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers of this dark age.'

Now Ephesians was written (possibly) by Paul/Saul any time between 62 and 170 AD from a roman prison and probably as a general letter sent out to various churches in the area, not just Ephesus. Paul may have suffered from temporal lobe epliepsy. The letter is a general proclamation to live a good christian life, and really uses the metaphor of a spiritual battle to call on people to resist the more general temptations of 'the Devil' to stray from the christian way of life. I can see no specific mention of mental illness in the letter and am not sure why you have quoted it.

It does however contain the great pun (5:18) &quot:lol:o not get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you, instead; be filled with the Spirit.'

Surely a better passage to quote would be Matthew 8:14, or Matthew 8:28 where Jesus casts out demons from people, into a herd of pigs who then promptly commit suicide like lemmings (well OK lemmings don't really jump off cliffs).

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I think Odafe has lost the plot here. This woman was psychotic! As much as i

do appreciate that certain christian congregations speak in tongues as part of their

religious worship, something which we have to accept as being within the realms of

normality, the case described clearly points to an abnormal mental state. To quote

the initial description of the case:

                  'She was found stark naked and speaking in tongues;.....and when I clerked  

                       her, she was speaking in tongues, quoting relevant biblical passages to  

                       justify the fact that she had just fought a spiritual war with a dark force

                       which unfortunately she lost and the result was the dark force taking

                       possesion of her and she took her clothes off without any conscious effort.  

                       She justified her speaking in tongues as an attempt to ward off the demonic

                       forces;'

Come on guys...this has nothing to due with glossolalia in the context of

normal christian prayer and worshipping. This was a lady found on the street acutely psychotic ie deluded, probably hallucinating and thought disordered. What the doctor in this case describes as 'speaking in tongues' might have been in the context of thought disorder or some near catatonic state with echolalia, excitement etc.

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but it is debatable if the 'speaking in tongues aspect' is part of the psychosis or an effort on her part in battling the demonic forces(psychosis).

Psychosis and demonic forces ??

I don't get that bit.

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