Religieus geluid voorbij het gehoor: De religieuze beleving van geluid door doven binnen Nederlandse pinkstergemeenten
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Sound is important in the execution of practices within Pentecostal communities. Preaching, prayer, worship trough songs and speaking in tongues are examples of Pentecostal practices in which sound is deployed to communicate with God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. Deaf Pentecostals cannot hear the sound that is used within Pentecostal practices. How do deaf Pentecostals experience the religious sound that is used in Pentecostal practices? What role does sound play for the deaf in Pentecostal movements in the worship of God? The answer to these questions are formed from an anthropological approach, based on observations in two Dutch Pentecostal churches −Pinkstergemeente Morgenstond Gouda and City Life Church Den Haag− and interviews with eight deaf Pentecostals, hearing leaders of both churches and two Dutch sign language interpreters. Deaf people cannot perceive sound in the same way hearing people can, but that doesn’t mean that the deaf can’t experience sound. Deaf people feel, see and produce sound. They experience sound through a physical sensation by using different senses than hearing by the ear. Perceiving sound by feeling, seeing and producing, enables deaf people to give meaning to sound. The materiality of religious sound is therefore to be found in the physical perceiving of sound. The eight deaf Pentecostals I interviewed are all part of a larger predominantly hearing Pentecostal community. Sound is very important for their experience of religious practice, even though they can’t hear it. The worship services these deaf people attend are therefore focused on sound. The Pentecostal communities adjust their church space and offer certain services to make sure that deaf Pentecostals are able to follow the services, be a part of the worship service and can still follow the practices the Pentecostal community approves. Depending on the amount of deaf Pentecostal church members, the wishes of these church members and the possibilities of the church building itself, each Pentecostal community adjust their space in a different way for their deaf members. Pinkstergemeente Morgenstond Gouda and City Life Church Den Haag both create space for their deaf church members, reserve certain seats and make sure there is enough place for an interpreter. The interviewed deaf Pentecostals explain that sound, trough preach, prayer, speaking in tongues and especially worship music is important to communicate with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They experience God trough music, by seeing the production of sound, feeling and producing sound. Worship Music creates a joyous religious experience which is shared by the deaf and hearing Pentecostals. Most of the interviewed deaf Pentecostals felt especially connected with God during the performance worship music and singing along. The preach and communal prayer is translated by an interpreter. The person that preaches or says prayer is viewed as an instrument of God. The interpreter is thereby an extra instrument through whom God speaks to the deaf Pentecostals and vice versa. Speaking in tongues is different for every deaf Pentecostal. Some deaf Pentecostals can speak in tongues, some sign in tongues and others are not able to speak in tongues at all. Some personal experiences of God by deaf Pentecostals are characterized by sound. God lets them hear, and they consider it wonderful. Even though deaf Pentecostals cannot hear the religious sound that is produced within Pentecostal community’s, they perceive it in a different way, communicate with God trough sound and the religious sound makes them feel joyful.