Publication detailsDein, S. & Cook, C.C.H. (2015). God put a thought into my mind: the charismatic Christian experience of receiving communications from God. Mental Health, Religion & Culture 18(2): 97-113.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 1367-4676 (print), 1469-9737 (electronic)
- DOI: 10.1080/13674676.2014.1002761
- Keywords: God, Thought, Mind.
- Further publication details on publisher web site
- Durham Research Online (DRO) - may include full text
Author(s) from Durham
The agentive aspects of communicative religious experiences remain somewhat neglected in the social sciences literature. There is a need for phenomenological descriptions of these experiences and the ways in which they differ from culturally defined psychopathological states. In this semi-structured interview study, eight congregants attending an evangelical church in London were asked to describe their experiences of God communicating with them. Communications from God were related to current events rather than to the prediction of future events. These communications were received as thoughts and do not generally reveal metaphysical insights, but rather they relate to the mundane world. They provided direction, consolation and empowerment in the lives of those receiving them. Individuals recounted that on occasion God sometimes speaks audibly, or accompanied by supernatural phenomena, but in the vast majority of cases, the way God speaks is through thoughts or impressions. In all instances, agency is maintained, individuals can choose to obey the thoughts/voices or not. The findings are discussed in relation to externalisation of agency and the phenomenon of thought insertion in schizophrenia.