Apparently God told Republican candidate Herman Cain to run for president. The fact that this is likely to have zero impact on his chances, illustrates well the idea that believers don’t really believe as sincerely as they claim to, as I discussed in this post some time ago.
If Christians really believed that God encouraged Herman Cain to run, they’d hand him the nomination tomorrow, and cancel all the Republican primaries. Why get in the way of God’s will, right? The fact that no one is driven to such action is evidence enough that they don’t believe Cain’s claim.
So what, exactly, would it take to convince people that God had really spoken to you? As far as I can tell, the only time this works is in cults. A charismatic leader, using every manipulative trick in the con artist’s book, convinces a band of gullible followers that God is guiding his every decision.
Even the Catholic Church, whose Pope claims to have a special line to God, is not particularly effective at convincing its followers that this line is real. Take for instance a recent survey that shows how unimportant Papal opinions are in the lives of most Catholics.
Even believers, then, are skeptical that God can really talk inside people’s heads, even if they’re not willing to admit it. And how can you blame them? Cain is not the only Republican nominee who claims to have God’s backing (see Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry), so either God is having trouble deciding, or the candidates are speaking rubbish.
The real truth seems to be that believers only take seriously the voices in their own heads, not in the heads of anyone else.
In other words, like most people, they tend to value their own opinions above everyone else’s.