Lucid dreaming – what is it? Is having a lucid dream a sin?

Question: “Lucid dreaming – what is it? Is having a lucid dream a sin?”

Answer: A lucid dream is a dream in which the sleeper is aware that she or he is dreaming. When the dreamer is lucid, he/she can actively participate in and often manipulate the imaginary experiences in the dream environment. The term “lucid dreaming” was coined by Frederik van Eeden (1860–1932), a Dutch psychiatrist. Since that time, several books and articles have been written on the subject. Research and analysis of the causes of lucid dreams is ongoing and often strays into the area of parapsychology. Some researchers have identified a similarity between lucid dreaming, near-death experiences, transcendental meditation, out-of-body experiences, and other occult and New Age practices. God’s Word forbids these practices (Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:10-12).

There is certainly nothing wrong with dreaming, and everyone dreams at one time or another. Some people can remember every detail of their dreams, while some remember nothing, causing them to conclude that they don’t dream at all, which is unlikely. Dreams are little more than the continued functioning of the mind during sleep, sometimes rehearsing recent thoughts and events, and sometimes creating scenarios based on fears, hopes or desires. As such, dreams are a perfectly normal function of the brain.

Although dreams are mentioned frequently in the Bible—God can and has used dreams to speak to people—lucid dreaming as such is never addressed. Lucid dreaming simply means being able to control your dreams. There is nothing essentially wrong with this. But if lucid dreaming becomes too much of a focus or an obsession, it should be avoided. For Christians, being fascinated by the concept of lucid dreaming is of little or no spiritual value and might possibly lead to an unhealthy interest in other extra-sensory phenomena. While many things are permissible for Christians, not all things are beneficial (1 Corinthians 6:12). A Christian should prayerfully examine why he/she wants to experience lucid dreaming. If the motives are pure and include an understanding of the unreliable nature of dreams, it is probably nothing more than a harmless curiosity. It if becomes more than that or involves even the smallest hint of New Age or occult practices, it should be avoided.

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