When Christians claim to “hear” Jesus speaking to them, I’ve learned to interpret this as an admission of confirmation bias. In the vast majority of cases, Jesus is not actually making sounds inside the Christian’s head. Instead, the Christian is merely attributing certain meaningful events and thoughts to Jesus. What the Christian believes is a special talent at discerning the Voice of God is, after all, nothing particularly special.
And then I’m reminded of how easy it is for all of us to succumb to such biases. There are some very humbling studies out there.
Pleasantly, some have to do with wine critics, and others with violinists.
The wine critics, as this superb blog post from The Frontal Cortex explains, can be fooled into thinking that cheap wines are magnificent, and that white wines modified with an odorless, tasteless red dye are worthy of adjectives usually reserved for red wines, even though they taste just like whites.
The violinists, on the other hand, cannot distinguish the sound of a Stradivarius from a high quality modern-day violin (which fetches a far smaller price).
How easily we fool ourselves!