Glossolalia – Speaking in Tongues

Glossolalia is a speech phenomenon regarded by Christians as holy. It is mentioned in the book of acts and 1st Corinthians. Christians believe that when someone speaks in tongues it brings him/her closer to God. Speaking in tongues is said to be a gift from God yet not everyone can speak it unless he/she receives the Holy Spirit.

The term is interpreted in different forms. Others say it is a language not understood, others describe it as a meaningless set of words unfamiliar to the speaker. It was first experienced in Pentecostal church in the book of Acts and has been a common trend even in today’s churches worldwide. However, this phenomenon is not only experienced in Christianity but other religions too. Research has been done concerning this phenomenon around the world. It has revealed that both the psychological and the psychological trends are of two categories; – material and spiritual. Material forms include aspects like hypnosis, mental illness and learned form of behavior.

Scientific discoveries indicate that when one is speaking in tongues, the speech and the language centre in the brain is altered hence, the fabricated meaningless words. When someone is in this condition, the language centre becomes some how passive while the emotional centre of the brain becomes active. At this point glossolalics start behaving in a manner that reflects the state of their environment. Some people lose their consciousness in the process. This stage is serious to some people since a lot of drama may be experienced and some form of amnesia. The Christians believe that a person is fully possessed by the Holy Spirit.

Psychiatric by the name Andrew Newberg shows that this condition happens when one is in a state of meditation. The frontal lobe activity becomes active while the parietal part becomes passive. At this point it is difficult for a person to sustain self control. He continues to say that when someone focuses on something repeatedly, it ends up forming a series of circuits in the brain which turns out to be a reality. He performed brain scans on nuns and Buddhists which showed some abnormality in the hypothalamic activity. Besides the abnormality, too much prayer in a person life may permanently alter the brain.

People who experience Glossolalia are thought of having links with some mental conditions such as schizophrenia and hysteria. Schizophrenia is a condition characterized by delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech etc. this conditions affects one’s way of thinking and behavior in general. People who suffer hysteria exhibit too much fear coupled with emotions. Since there is no much explanation that gives a concrete explanation, it would therefore be right to classify it as a form of a mental disorder.