A scientific study of tongue-speaking?

“…test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil. says 1 Thes. 5.

3215358Okay, I want to test if the thing called “speaking in tongues” done in Charismatic churches is really a supernatural gift and not just meaningless sounds. I know the Bible has something called “speaking in tongues” but is this the same thing Charismatics do nowadays?

This is actually potentially easy to study. Many charismatic churches have people speaking in tongues during sermons, or explaining it. Sometimes, nowadays, church sermons are electronically recorded.

For a scientific study of speaking in tongues, I propose this study:

You need:

a) Recordings of people, at least 5 of them from different churches, speaking in tongues at church. (During personal prayer does not count – the Bible teaching about prayer time tongue-speaking is that it is between the praying believer and God, and does not need to be understood by anyone else.)

b) People, at least 5 of them from different churches, who claim to have the gift of interpreting tongues.

The method:

Present the the 5 or more recordings of tongue speaking to each of the 5 or more interpreters. Write down their translations. (The reason for 5 or more is so that a fake interpreter or fake tongue speaker can be identified from between the group.)

Compare their answers.


Dear reader, does this suggestion shock you? I am sure that, as believers, we could want to know the results of a study like this. The difference between believers and unbelievers is that we are willing to act on evidence, and should be willing to persue this if it actually is from God.



2 thoughts on “A scientific study of tongue-speaking?

  1. Morris Katz says:

    Tests of tongues-speaking have been done for decades. They fail, but they can come up with many excuses. Pick one like “The Spirit does not work in a test tube, so it doesn’t count.” or “The same message can have multiple interpretations.”

    In the 1970s a fundamentalist pastor deliberately spoke in tongues and there was an interpretation. He then announced he had just quoted John 3:16 in Greek. The tongues church security promptly sent him away and ignored it. Go figure.

    • Retha says:

      Can you point me to studies? I can find studies that prove an altered state of (a part of) the mind during tongue speaking. This kind of study does not prove or disprove the actual words at all. Can you point to studies that “fail”?

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