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What's your take on "Holy Laughter?"

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posted on Sep, 16 2009 @ 11:32 AM
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Greetings all,

I searched ATS and didn't find any threads about this, and wanted to get the opinion of people on ATS regarding this phenomena. first, a little background, I grew up in a Pentecostal environment, and it was a regular thing to witness people "speaking in tongues" when I went to church. There are varying opinions regarding the validity of this "glossolalia," but I've recently noticed another set of trends which have become popular in the Pentecostal/charismatic/evangelical movements, and they are "Holy Laughter" and being "Drunk in the Holy Spirit." Both of these types of "anointing" have been made popular by what is known as the "Toronto Blessing" which focused on a particular church, the Toronto Airport Vinyard starting back in the mid 90s, lead by pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, who is featured in the following video:

www.youtube.com...

Mind you, it's not difficult to tell what the poster of the video thinks about these phenomena based on the text he uses to preface this video. Having watched this video a couple of possibilities become evident:

1.) It's legit, God is causing this effect, through the "Holy Spirit"
2.) It's a form of mass hypnosis being affected by the "highly suggestible" nature of the other members of the audience.
3.) It's a scam/confidence racket to make money, and utilizes "plants" in the audience to lead by example and pressure other audience members to get caught up in a bandwagon effect.
4.) It's real, however it actually comes from malevolent/demonic forces

Of course, there may be other possibilities as well, but those are the primary thoughts that occurred to me. I've read a lot of pro and con arguments on both sides. So what do you think? I'd like to hear from people of all persuasions on this issue.

Peace,
hexagram23

(edit to fix numbering and video link)

[edit on 16-9-2009 by hexagram23]




posted on Sep, 16 2009 @ 11:34 AM
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Hmm, somehow the video link didn't work.

www.youtube.com...

-H23



posted on Sep, 16 2009 @ 11:36 AM
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In my opinion:

2.) It's a form of mass hypnosis being affected by the "highly suggestible" nature of the other members of the audience.
3.) It's a scam/confidence racket to make money, and utilizes "plants" in the audience to lead by example and pressure other audience members to get caught up in a bandwagon effect.

(Your numbers were off)

A church is a business. As a business, they need to make money. Since there is a lot of competition, they each have to have their own gimic.

That's my take on it at least.



posted on Sep, 16 2009 @ 11:41 AM
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I've heard about it but have never seen it in person. I do believe in speaking in tongues but the jury is out for me on 'Holy Laughter.'

I don't believe it's demonic because I do not believe Christians can be 'filled with demonic spirits' because we are already filled with the Holy Spirit. But I'm also not sure if 'Holy Laughter' comes from God. I just really don't know.

My grandparents are evangelical Christians and my grandfather is a retired pastor but thinks it's ridiculous. My mother is an evangelical Christian and thinks it's ridiculous. I'm an evangelical Christian but just don't know enough about it to say either way.

Can't think of anything mentioned in the Bible about it. I do know we are given joy from the Father but I do not remember reading anything about laughter being a spiritual gift made manifest by the Holy Spirit. So I'm undecided and don't want to say it's godly, ungodly, or make fun of them for it.



posted on Sep, 16 2009 @ 11:43 AM
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The loss of self control, drunkenness and mass-hysteria is not something I link to the Holy Spirit.

Edit: but I'd defer to AshleyD's opinion because she had forgotten more about the Bible than I will ever know.


[edit on 9/16/2009 by kinglizard]



posted on Sep, 16 2009 @ 11:54 AM
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reply to post by kinglizard
 


That's what I kind of lean towards too but since the original incident documented in Acts had onlookers accuse them of drunkenness and hysteria, I just really don't know.

Some, however, made fun of them and said, 'They have had too much wine.' Acts 2:13.

On the other hand, the difference would seem to me is that 'Holy Laughter' is unintelligible, unlike speaking in tongues described in Acts as being understood by many onlookers. Then we have the gift of interpretation of tongues. Nothing about laughter or unintelligible sounds and ramblings.

On that end, I equate Holy Laughter as a form of snake handling.

I guess I just plead ignorance on it. Never really thought about the whole thing that much since the church's I've attended never engaged in that but have engaged in speaking in tongues. lol



posted on Sep, 16 2009 @ 12:02 PM
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It clearly states in the bible that the Spirit God has given us is one of "Love, Power and sound mind" so whenever i see anything like this at church I get a little agittated with it and it doesnt sit right with me. However, i have had a few experiences myself that made me question my rhetoric. Point of example was once when i went out to the front of the church for prayer. I was being prayed with and then all of a sudden i felt a feeling of what can only be described as pure joy come over. From the tips of my toes and every hair follicle, i felt bathed in "joy", and i couldnt contain it so it came out in tears and laughter. Gotta say, never felt like that in my life ever and would dearly love a repeat perfomance lol.
I have had other strange expiences too, like being "woke up" in the middle of the night, my entire body feeling like it was on fire, and i was uncontrolingly praying for my pastors family-that was weird-weirder still came two days later when my pastors brother, Pete, went smack into a brickwall at 90 MPH on a motorbike. I visited him in the hospital, prayed with him, and two days later he was back home!!! He should be dead!
So, even though im dubious about these things and test them like what the bible says to do, i dont dismiss them out of hand.



posted on Sep, 16 2009 @ 12:07 PM
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My husband and I look for a church where the Holy Spirit is welcome, but where order is maintained. We are pretty skeptical of holy laughter. I would not definitively say it is wrong, however. I have seen a very quiet elderly lady who went forward for prayer 'fall out' under the Spirit, and because I also had gone forward for prayer, I attempted to help her back up when she was getting back up. I had been in that church for years, and had never seen her behave in any way that would be considered unladylike. That day, as I helped her up, she was visibly drunk in the Spirit, and told me she wished we all could have some of what she had just received. She was not laughing hysterically, as in 'holy laughter', but was VERY happy. I will tell the skeptics right now that this was late in a two-hour service and there was no sign of drunkenness until she was prayed for, and fell on the floor. So say what you like; I know this was from God.



posted on Sep, 16 2009 @ 12:17 PM
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reply to post by AshleyD
 



I don't believe it's demonic because I do not believe Christians can be 'filled with demonic spirits' because we are already filled with the Holy Spirit. But I'm also not sure if 'Holy Laughter' comes from God. I just really don't know.

While Christians can't be possessed by demons, they can be influenced.

 

As for "Holy Laughter" it's completely unscriptural. There is nothing in the Bible about it.

A thing we must remember about God, he is a God of order. More times than not, the services where "Holy Laugher", "Vomiting in the Spirit", "Baptism by Oxidite", and the like take place quickly devolve into a chaotic sea of chaos. Due to this, the purpose of meeting, glorifying God and learning about him, is quickly lost in exchange for something that is completely human oriented, and glorifying.

I remember watching a video, when I was in college, of a service where Holy Laughter took place. The "preacher" was preaching through Luke 1. After each verse he laughed for five minutes. After about six verses, he stopped reading, looked at the congregation and said, "readin' the Word is too hard and borin'. Whadaya say we stop this and just laugh and get in touch with the Spirit!!!" This suggestion was met by claps and cheers. It was very sad to me.

I've read accounts of people that have come out the the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement who have likened the "miraculous" things they do to drugs. First, they speak in tongues. This soon isn't enough so they move into Holy Laughter. Then something else, and so on. Soon, the people start craving any "miraculous" thing from the Spirit to reaffirm their belief. Due to this, I personally believe that a lot of what we see in these extreme Charismatic circles are hucksters taking advantage of highly impressionable people, that are truly desiring God. That's not the case for all though. I also feel that some of what we see in the Charismatic movement is inspired by demons, trying to rob God of glory by getting men to focus on the wrong things and thereby leading them astray.

One more thing to add, in many cases, when a non-believer attends a service such as described above, they get freaked out. Considering that God wants all to come to him, would he truly act in a way that is going to repel people from him? I think not.



posted on Sep, 16 2009 @ 12:30 PM
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reply to post by octotom
 



While Christians can't be possessed by demons, they can be influenced.


I totally agree with that. But do you think 'influence' includes taking control of the believer physically where they loose control of their faculties and their ability to control their speech and utterances?

Honest question. I know so little about the phenomenon because I've never witnessed it, known anyone who experienced it, and have never experienced it myself.

But someone being 'taken over' and not simply influenced leads me to wonder.



posted on Sep, 16 2009 @ 12:46 PM
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reply to post by AshleyD
 



But do you think 'influence' includes taking control of the believer physically where they loose control of their faculties and their ability to control their speech and utterances?


I think that it would depend on how open a person would be to being influenced (even if they don't realize they are willing to it).

I agree that it's weird to think of a believer, one who is filled with the Holy Spirit, being controlled by a demon. I guess when I think of it, I imagine it as a puppet. The demon would just be influencing the person from without as opposed to within. That would explain why the person returns to normal, and why they person would only laugh uncontrollably instead of saying something like, "We are Legion for we are many!"



posted on Sep, 16 2009 @ 01:01 PM
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Greetings all,

Good responses all, please keep them coming. Something occurred to me which is kind of interesting. As I had mentioned earlier I grew up in a Pentecostal church (Assemblies of God specifically), and tent-revivals and being "slain in the spirit" and speaking in tongues were common-place. Something I remember specifically that was used to defend these practices was the famous verse from Matthew 12:31-32 that states that anyone who blasphemes the "Holy Spirit" will not be forgiven. It is considered the un-pardonable sin. Those who defend the practices such as "Holy Laughter" and the like point to this verse religiously (pardon the pun) to squash any opposition to their practices. It's interesting how there is a built-in intimidation factor surrounding this, because anyone who would like to consider themselves a christian wouldn't want to inadvertently end up "blaspheming the Holy Spirit." So, Octotom, what would you consider to be "blaspheming the Holy Spirit?" Just curious here, as usual you have well-spoken and intelligent things to offer with regards to christianity discussions. And although I'm not a christian I appreciate your input.

Peace,
Hex23

(edit for sloppy spelling)

[edit on 16-9-2009 by hexagram23]



posted on Sep, 16 2009 @ 01:26 PM
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I witnessed this "Holy laughter" first hand for a number of years.

It is definately mass-hysteria in my opinion and sometimes I even had a good laugh myself but this was because some folk had really comical laughs more than anything.

Its like when your friend finds something hysterical, sometimes you cant help but laugh along with them, it kind of sets you off too.

You could say that its a way of releasing pent up emotions in the same way that crying is often a release.

Holy laughter - I do not think so!


Laughable!

[edit on 16-9-2009 by Beauty_HairyBeast]

[edit on 16-9-2009 by Beauty_HairyBeast]



posted on Sep, 16 2009 @ 01:35 PM
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reply to post by hexagram23
 



So, Octotom, what would you consider to be "blaspheming the Holy Spirit?"

I believe that the sin of "blaspheming the Holy Spirit" is when we reject the work that the Holy Spirit is doing in us in regards to salvation. In other words, when someone, who has never accepted Christ before, rejects the Gospel and the Spirit's testimony about Jesus. That's blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Think about it, in the Christian mindset, rejecting the Gospel is really the only sin that can't be forgiven because, you're judged after you die. There is no time for one to repent. How then, could it be something else?


It's interesting how there is a built-in intimidation factor surrounding this

Yes, the built-in intimidation factor is interesting, yet sad at the same time. Though, the best defense against this is knowing what the Bible says about topics like this—and what the Bible says in general. This enables one to better decipher what truly is of the Spirit and what is truly a doctrine of man. Sadly though, knowing the Bible isn't a top priority in many Christian circles today, which opens many Christians up to deception from many different directions. [Mormons take pride in the number of Baptists that they convert, saying that the reason is that Baptists usually don't know what they believe and what the Bible says. This enables the Mormon missionary to railroad the baptist's believe system.]



posted on Sep, 17 2009 @ 12:59 AM
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Originally posted by Beauty_HairyBeast
I witnessed this "Holy laughter" first hand for a number of years.

It is definately mass-hysteria in my opinion and sometimes I even had a good laugh myself but this was because some folk had really comical laughs more than anything.

Its like when your friend finds something hysterical, sometimes you cant help but laugh along with them, it kind of sets you off too.

You could say that its a way of releasing pent up emotions in the same way that crying is often a release.

Holy laughter - I do not think so!


Laughable!

[edit on 16-9-2009 by Beauty_HairyBeast]

[edit on 16-9-2009 by Beauty_HairyBeast]


Agreed, nothing supernatural about this, just the human psyche at work. I've gotten "the giggles" before just from listening to my family laugh; then they'd start laughing because I'm laughing, and so and so forth. It's nearly impossible to not begin laughing yourself when someone you're with is laughing hysterically, the atmosphere just changes and I can't imagine how charged it must have been with hundreds of other people laughing hysterically around you.



posted on Sep, 17 2009 @ 01:39 PM
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reply to post by hexagram23
 

I consider myself an evangelical Christian but this isn't something that seems normal to me. Since I don't know everything I can't say it isn't from God, but I don't see any sign that it's for the benefit of the church or how it brings people closer to God. It's taking the attention off of God and putting it onto the actions of others. I have to admit it's funny to watch. The giggles are contagious like yawning, but I doubt it's a "gift from God."



But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23


I see their joy, but what about the self-control part? That really seems to be missing in this video.



posted on Sep, 17 2009 @ 02:25 PM
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It's insanity. One thing God loves and that's sanity. What that is is a dramatic unsimple and un modest type of act they do because their minds aren't filled with the grace of sanity.

Maybee to make us look crazy.

One thing about possesion. Yes Christians can become possesed. the minute we sin we lose God. through things like lust satan can enter the soul.

What lust can do is take your happiness away and fill you with lust and literally take you over. The saints say that once satan enters he has people on a string and can make them fall to stuff like masturbation any time he wnts.

The soul hardens in evil, joy dissapears and piles sin upon sin.


Satan can live in Christians, because many christians today are still in sin. So they are not Christian but fall aways.



\Now as for OP again, I truly believe they are drones to make us look crazy. This is protestantism for you. They have no foundation on modesty and the like because all of them persoanlly interpret scripture.


Instead of feeling the holy ghost, really through communion, they make up a false idea of what the holy ghost really is.


they need prayers bad. Modesty is along way off for them.


unreal.

peace.



posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 05:12 AM
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Originally posted by TLomon

A church is a business. As a business, they need to make money. Since there is a lot of competition, they each have to have their own gimic.

That's my take on it at least.


Maybe, I'm not sure, haven't been to all kinds of religious churches deep enough inside to know...

But some are guaranteed to be non-profit organizations. Like the one I'm in now. I haven't heard our pastor talk bad about other churches and doesn't force/humiliate you to 'do this'. You can pretty much stand/sit motionless throughout the service and get out unscratched. We got small number of members, but most of our members are scattered around in poor 3rd world regions around Asia. They are so poor, those scattered tiny churches aren't self-supporting and had to get financial support from the main church. It's funny, we got some rich members driving expensive cars but our head Pastor drives to church everyday in a beat up car! Although he used to love cars as a mechanic-his hobby before he became head Pastor, he had his own tool shop, every man's dream but he gave that hobby up and sold all his tools!

Anyway, my take, on 'holy gifts'? Do it among yourselves, it serves no purpose but to yourself - that's what I understand based on the Bible. And the very least, don't do it to appear righteous to other people.

An exception are prophetic gifts and healing - they should be shared and please don't speak it in tongues unless you got an interpreter because only the speaker will take benefit from it.

[edit on 18-9-2009 by ahnggk]



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