Why do people speak in tongues? Short answer: it’s what happens when you're overcome by the Holy Spirit (one of the “Big Three” incarnations of the Christian God). Being able to speak in tongues means letting loose and using orations that have no meaning in any human language. The practice of speaking in tongues has been around for as long as people have been praying. In the good ol’ Bible itself there are several references to Jesus affirming that when his followers yelled out in tongues unknown to them that it meant the Holy Spirit had fallen upon them. The vast majority of scary clips of people speaking in tongues are straight from Christian Evangelical church services, though they are also often linked to exorcisms or demonic possessions.
Speaking in tongues remains a source of controversy within the Evangelical church. For some it is proof of the Holy Spirit’s physical presence, and for others it is an antiquated and stigmatized practice. Check these videos out and decide for yourself. Some of the people seem to be having a really great time letting loose, while others are convulsing on the floor. How does the blessing of the Holy Spirit get you groovin'?
This clip was taken from the 2006 documentary Jesus Camp. During the making of this film, the documentary crew spent a few weeks with an American Evangelical Christian summer camp where speaking in tongues replaced arts and crafts. The public’s discomfort with the intense emotions felt by the children led to the camp’s closure.
This youth group is a prime example of the range of emotions that children exhibit when speaking in tongues. Some children stand and sing, while one girl decides to let out a loud scream with a smile on her face. Some children even lay writhing on the floor like they are having a seizure. The adults filming the group then lay blankets over the children like an ambulance driver will do when a person has gone through extreme trauma.
This emotional scene was filmed by a church-goer observing children who were so overcome with emotion that they fully threw themselves into the practice. The girl on the left’s heart doesn’t seem to be all that into it until she falls over onto the floor, overcome with her zest for the Holy Spirit incarnate. It’s hard not to be chilled when children have tears in their eyes.
At this youth group, there seems to be a lot more laughter than in the other videos - and just as you’re starting to feel like the kids might be having fun, you see a little boy writhing on the floor crying with a blanket and then you start questioning everything again.