I grew up in a charismatic Catholic community. Charismatics (like those in the Pentecostal denomination) believe that the sign that you have been "filled with god's holy spirit" is praying in a so-called "holy language" or "language of angels". This is a language that is not spoken on earth, and so the only people who can understand what is being said are those with the "gift of interpretation of tongues". Kind of a sweet deal, since the "gift of tongues" is just ecstatic gibberish. No one knows what they're saying, and the person who can "interpret" tongues just makes it up. No one is the wiser.
So good old Paul has a lot to say about this.
And since the Bible is divinely written through his homophobic, misogynistic ass, we should all take heed!
1 Corinthians 14:4
Verse 27 is very explicit in stating that speaking in tongues should ONLY ever be done with an anointed translator on hand, and no more than two or three people at a time should ever do it.
So this means that all these crazy, charismatic revivals are work of the devil!
Unless, of course, the Holy Spirit has given you a specific language. Case in point: my mother believes she speaks Hebrew when she's alone with God. Baptists don't normally do the tongue-speaking, but she had a friend who tried to convince her to "try it".
So, one night, she starts praying and tried to just "let the Spirit flow", and then she stopped because she felt silly. The next church service she attended, the pastor was talking about what different Hebrew words mean, or something or other... and the word that confirmed to her she had in fact been speaking in tongues was... !!! YADA! The word in Hebrew, more or less, means "to know". Or, maybe she'd seen too many Seinfeld episodes. Or maybe that's what a combination of random vowels and consonants can end up sounding like. Or maybe that's just something someone says when they feel dumb... ummm yada yada yada, bleh blep braaa!!!
Yeah. Lots of different ridiculous ideas about this speaking in tongues business. I doubt she bothered to check the other things she jabbered.
My mother is (or was, hard to tell these days) a Born Again. She would drag me to her church many times trying to save me. The last time I went with her, people in the audience were praising god and working themselves into a rapture, I guess is the word for it. Then, some of them began speaking gibberish. It was so bizarre that I never went back.
Yeah. Not that funny. Actually quite disturbing. What's even more disturbing is having several people surrounding you, beseeching God to bless YOU with the "gift", all of them crying and wailing and pushing you to just "say whatever comes!!!" I have been quite traumatized by Pentecostals, let me tell you.