We militant atheist types often wonder, with exasperation, how people manage to persuade themselves of God’s existence. Former conservative MSNBC pundit Tucker Carlson gives us his answer:

Yet for Carlson, who was baptized as an Episcopalian but didn’t attend church growing up, the question of God’s existence was settled with two words.

As a high school junior, Carlson was reading, “Wishful Thinking,” a book by author and minister Frederick Buechner, when he said he heard a voice.

“I was reading this book and all of a sudden, God just spoke out loud to me, in my room, totally randomly, out of the blue and said, ‘I exist.’ So I took him at his word. And that was it,” Carlson said.

I guess that’s one way to solve the problem of divine hiddenness.

Comments

  1. #1 The Science Pundit
    January 13, 2009

    For some reason my HTML tags keep getting rejected.

    The problem here is that Carlson is mistaken about which two words settled the issue for him. The two words are the title of the book he was reading “Wishful Thinking.”

  2. #2 Anon
    January 13, 2009

    Pretty much the same reason Charles Manson believed, innit? I don’t see a problem…

  3. #3 Len
    January 13, 2009

    …Maybe you’re just not as prone to temporal lobe seizures. ;-)

  4. #4 Dan Gilbert
    January 13, 2009

    That’s just hilarious (in an absurd, misguided kind of way). ;-)

  5. #5 Joshua Zelinsky
    January 13, 2009

    Well, I’ve seen with my own eyes ghosts and demons and aliens and even the borg. Often at night, where I can’t move. I suppose Carlson would rather I believe in all of them then conclude that I have occasional sleep paralysis?

  6. #6 The Ridger
    January 13, 2009

    And if only God would announce himself to everyone, there’d be no problem, right?

  7. #7 J-Dog
    January 13, 2009

    Did god tell him to wear those stupid bow-ties too? Hey, that God, what a kidder – he’ll fuck with anybody for a laugh. Lots of laughing in Gaza right now too, right God, you crazy loon…

  8. #8 Paul Murray
    January 13, 2009

    Lots of laughing in Gaza right now too, right God, you crazy loon

    God can’t attend to Gaza right now because he’s too busy rigging the outcomes at the country music awards.

  9. #9 Raymond Minton
    January 13, 2009

    Tucker, you bow-tied buttwipe, you’re the one who’s engaging in wishful thinking (along with, apparently, some kick-ass hallucinogenics.)

  10. #10 Tony
    January 13, 2009

    Not much different from Paul the Apostle and the road to Damascus or John of Patmos and his Revelation. This seems to be the modus.

  11. #11 yogi-one
    January 14, 2009

    How come these voices never say stuff like “you are a total freakin’ idiot!”

    Or “hi I’m God, and I’m the reason you have all these problems.”

  12. #12 AL
    January 14, 2009

    Well, if a voice in your head says “I exist,” it has to be right. It’s your head, and it does exist.

    Curious though, when God speaks to people, what does he sound like? Does he speak English and with what accent?

  13. #13 Cannonball Jones
    January 14, 2009

    I had a similar experience once, I was standing in my room and about to leave for a party when I suddenly heard a voice saying “Your shoelace is untied”. I looked down to check and suddenly an invisible hand struck me on the chin, knocking my head back, accompanied by deep booming laughter. That’s when I realised god was a dick…

  14. #14 Dunc
    January 14, 2009

    Everyone knows God sounds like James Mason.

  15. #15 chris y
    January 14, 2009

    Curious though, when God speaks to people, what does he sound like?

    He speaks in your native language, in an upper class accent from your native region. What else?

    Seriously, when people start out hearing god telling them he exists, there’s a real danger they’ll go on to hear him telling them to murder dozens of people because they’re possessed by the devil. I know two sound reasons for hearing voices: one is schizophrenia and the other is excessive use of lysergic acid diethylamide. Neither of them seem to have much to do with the existence of god.

  16. #16 mk
    January 14, 2009

    @ Paul Murray…

    Also the NFL Playoffs. BTW, God hates Washington DC fans!

  17. #17 Blake Stacey
    January 14, 2009

    chris y:

    I know a girl who took a “heroic dose” of psychedelic mushrooms and heard a voice — or rather, more than a voice, coming from within her and throughout the world — which said, “Nothing exists save atoms and the void.”

  18. #18 Jason
    January 14, 2009

    Thin stuff – it happens once a month or so when I am reading before bed that I will have an auditory hallucination of “someone” saying my name or (more commonly) a word I had just read. I was startled the first time it happened, but when I realized I couldn’t have a conversation with said voice, I remembered that I had something called an imagination that was often quite vivid.

  19. #19 JimV
    January 14, 2009

    I too have had several hypnagogic hallucinations (over my lifetime). One that occurred several times was to hear a single, sharp rap on the door of my apartment, just as I was falling asleep. It “sounded” just like real knocks which I had heard at that door, except somehow I knew it was inside my head, rather than having come through my ears.

    It would be useful I think for neurologists to find a way to trigger this (as they have for some other experiences which some claim to be paranormal) to demonstrate to people like TC that the brain and nervous system are physical organs, which like other organs can misfunction. Since their main function is to interpret and record sensory impressions, this provides an alternate explanation to the paranormal which to me is more intuitively satisfactory.

  20. #20 AL
    January 15, 2009

    “Everyone knows God sounds like James Mason.”

    Having never heard the voice of God, I would’ve imagined Morgan Freeman. According to the ontological proof, God can’t not sound like Morgan Freeman, as a greater voice (Freeman’s) can be conceived if he didn’t!

  21. #21 Jason Rosenhouse
    January 15, 2009

    AL -

    I love it! Well said.

  22. #22 Koray
    January 15, 2009

    What’s so special about Carlson that god speaks to him to settle the question, but not to us?

    When in doubt, schizophrenia is more likely than a supreme being.

  23. #23 Christophe Thill
    January 16, 2009

    “Wishful Thinking”! That says it all, doesn’t it?

  24. #24 Takis Konstantopoulos
    January 16, 2009

    Apparently, Tony Blair became religious in a similar manner. He now teaches a course at Yale on religion and politics, jointly at the Yale Divinity School and the Management School.

    But, hang on a minute. Don’t you know that there are certain types of Christians who actively seek to hear voices in their church ? And when they do (allegedly these voices come from the holy ghost), here’s what happens.

  25. #25 emporda
    January 17, 2009

    Why have people always to take such a long detour in their argumentation. It would be enough to say

    I am an idot.

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    January 17, 2009

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  27. #27 Modusoperandi
    January 18, 2009

    It goes to show just how powerful the Argument from Personal Experience is.
    Of course, if he was in India, this same experience would’ve made him Hindu (which is why other peoples’ AfPE generally sound silly…if their experience lead them to the “wrong” answer).

  28. #28 chat
    January 18, 2009

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    January 18, 2009

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  30. #30 Rick T
    January 18, 2009

    Hearing things, huh? Sounds like he needs to read

    Julian Jaynes.

  31. #31 RFJE
    January 24, 2009

    Evolution would be the foundation of your atheistic faith sir, I do believe. Of course the fact that you have never seen God is another. My thing is that I would logically assume that idea of God making us would imply accountability to Him, and that is a great motivator for searching out alternatives to origins.

    This what we all would like I guess.

    1. God be our little circus clown and show yourself to us. We don’t care if you spoke the universe into existence or if you are Spirit, because we are arrogant enough to believe we can stand close to you without dying.

    2. God, let us do what we want. Let us have lots of sex and be able to break our partners’ hearts. And beat people up and cuss them out when we get mad, and look down on others, and hate and be jealous of each other. And swindle and cheat each other when we need some extra money. And not treat each other with respect. We’ll be civilized about it and be educated and have nice things so it’ll all look good.

    3. If your like that then we won’t need anything else, well besides when we get in a jam–then we might cry out to you for insurance. But we know your a loving God. If you do that we’ll just forget the whole evolution thing

    4 What God you wont be like that because your holy. You wont show yourself because you can not abide sin and sent your Son to be a blood sacrifice for us. You say that youve chosen certain people throughout time to speak to us and you moved them to speak.

    5. In that case, this is really sounding inconvenient to us and so I think this whole idea is really farfetched. SO guess what I don’t and won’t believe it.

    6. Oh yeah and anything reminds me of you Im going to mock and attack it until it goes away. Im going to repress guilt until i dont feel it any more.

    7. Why doesn’t it go away?

  32. #32 tresmal
    January 24, 2009

    Big FAIL from RFJE.
    First a nitpick: Evolution does not equal atheism.
    1. If God wants us to believe in Him it’s reasonable for us to expect Him to make his existence known.
    2. This is the old atheists are atheists so they can sin lie.
    There is absolutely no evidence that atheists are more beastly to other people than believers. Is your belief the only thing that keeps you from murdering, robbing and raping?
    I wish I knew the source of this quote, it sums it up nicely:

    God is not the source of our morality, our morality is the source of God.

    3. First sentence: Do you have any evidence for this? If you do, what do the irrational thoughts of people in great distress prove? Second sentence: Why would discovering God cause anyone to abandon Evolution (see nitpick above)?
    4. What?
    5. You’re just repeating #1.
    6. First there would have to be something to remind us of Him before we could mock it. If there was good evidence of God’s existence, not even Richard Dawkins would mock it. Second, what we do mock are people who present the tribal myths of bronze age goat herders as literal Truth. Third, What guilt do we have to repress?
    7. Why won’t it appear?

  33. #33 Robert Morane
    January 28, 2009

    RF JE,

    And of course, that god that you’re talking about is the god of your culture, right? What a coincidence! Just to think you could have been born and raised into a false faith like Islam or Greek polytheism!

    You lucky bastard!

  34. #34 RFJE
    February 3, 2009

    SO you have thought this through as I have. You have thrown alot at me which can not all be addressed in one post.

    I realize my first post was a bit sarcastic. Forgive me. I would ask this simple question. If God or a god does exist, what would you accept as evidence for his existence.

    If I offer you the creation you will simply defer to evolution.

    If I offer you scripture, you do not accept its authority, or it’s testimony as valid. Just stories.

    If I offer you personal testimony, you might say it is subjective, or that you don’t know me, or that i’m a moron.

    That leaves God actually coming down and telling you himself. But now think. Say He did. And he told you to go tell your friends. Do you think they would believe you?

    Okay so a group of people let’s say–God shows himself to say 5,000,000 people. Well these people go tell people and some of them would probably believe and some wouldn’t.

    Then all those people would die, but before they die they tell their kids and write about it. Some of their kids tell their kids and so on. But down the line the story dies out. So God has to come down every so often to remind the new generation that what is written.

    Well this is exactly what He did. But if you don’t at least hypothetically give the scriptures a chance and personal testimony about what God has done in people’s lives then you will never be able to understand why I believe.

    For example if I tell you that God did appear in the wilderness to over 5,000,000 Jews in the wilderness of Sinai because it has the book of the Exodus you might tune it out and reject it. By the way it only scared them. There was alot of fire and lightning and voices
    and they just asked if God could speak to Moses and he could tell them what God said.

    I could give you personal testimony but you don’t know if I’ve just escaped from an assylum (smile), or if I was lying.

    Anyway, I was going to let you know that I was a missionary to Ivory Coast, West Africa. The dark continent is still very dark. I saw things happen–supernatural things. I will tell you if you are interested.

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