Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Sunday, May 29, 2005  

I feel sorry for this child

Akiane (Ah-KEE-ah-nah) is 11 now in Idaho and considered a prodigy in painting and poetry.

She says God spoke to her when she was 3 years of age, and I believe she is sincere.

When asked how she knows that it's God who is speaking to her, she replies, "Because I can hear His voice. His voice is quiet and beautiful." Although she was 3 at the time, she'll always remember God's first message to her. "He said, 'You have to do this, and I'll help you.' He said, 'Now you can help people.' I said, 'Yes, I will.' But I said it in different words in my mind. I speak through my mind to Him."

I have a problem with this. Not with God speaking to children. I find that natural and true. I have a problem with God giving people directions in a clear and distinct manner.

A great many saints like Sister Faustina and others report locutions from God directing them to do something they had not thought of, but the problem is credulity. Locutions are notoriously unreliable, and lead many into more trouble than good.

The sense of an independant voice in our minds speaking clearly to us is not an entirely rare phenomenon. It often arises out of our own subconscious and merely reflects underlying feelings.

My experience says that God doesn't give orders. The Bible, though, reinforces the idea that he does speak disembodied to prophets and saints. That is a venerable delusion.

It would be foolish to insist that God never says "do this" or "don't do that" to anyone, but the kind of credulity that naive and gullible people are capable of demands real testing of such notions.

I feel sorry for Akiane because she is getting a great deal of attention and encouragement at a young age, but what happens when she is 25 or 45? When that genius for realistic painting is no better than it was when she was ten, and when her profound pronouncements and poetry fall on deaf ears?

She is a freak, of sorts, and people love that in children, but not so much when they grow into odd or less amazing adults. It is not good to peak too soon in a career or a life.

Prodigy child saints don't find life easier or God more rewarding to them than to other people. Ask Catherine of Sienna. There are no shortcuts to wisdom. Experience and suffering remain essential in this world.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 10:12 PM |