While I’ve tried to stress and make clear that deep down I truly was a Christian, there were certainly things that I had doubts about even early on. One of the earliest doubts had to do with this supposed gift of tongues.
One of the first things I remember ever questioning as a child was the baptism of the Holy Spirit and particularly speaking in tongues. At first, I thought it was just odd and made no sense. But I was a very logical kid. I performed 2nd grade math with ease at the age of 4 and tended to analyse situations and notice inconsistencies naturally.
The first thing I noticed is that some people who spoke in tongues did indeed have a unique style (lending to the personal language between you and God idea). However, most of these languages only consisted of a few words (some of which I can repeat, word for word, to this day). Younger generations of tongue speakers would often emulate (word for word) the phrases used by their older teachers and leaders.
If this was a spiritual language God created, why did he only create it with a few words to be repeated over and over? And why, when “interpreted” did these few words often come to mean whole paragraphs? Why was this “personal” language often identical from one person to another? Why would God speak in tongues publicly, only to have to go through the trouble of interpreting?
Like most things growing up though, I failed to publicly questions this. While I sought answers on my own, I was so ingrained to just have faith that it was not worth publicly asking the answers to these legitimate doubts. Later in high school and college I found that most Christians do not believe tongues or a mystical filling of the spirit to be part of Christianity, a belief I eventually adapted in my early 20’s.
I wouldn’t say these odd beliefs shook my faith. It was easy to see how they didn’t quite make sense and go on. In fact, while still a solid evangelical Christian, I came to the point where I believed that, while sincere in their belief, people who spoke in tongues were simply making things up. Why God allowed them to practice this was another story, but I’m sure there were more important issues for Him to deal with.