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    Q: #304. Are dreamcatchers bad?

By: Steve Shirley

    A: Dreamcatchers got their start in Native American religion, apparently originating with the Ojibwe people. For those who may not know what a dreamcatcher is, it is a circle with a web stretched across it (sometimes with beads added), and feathers hanging from the bottom of this circle. (As I understand it, the web is supposed to connect to the circle in 8 places to represent the 8 legs of a spider.)

     It is called a "dreamcatcher" because it is supposed to be hung over a bed, and while a person is sleeping, the dreamcatcher is said to capture and trap bad dreams in the web, while letting good dreams pass through the web and flow down through the feathers into the one sleeping, thereby giving them good dreams.

     These "dreamcatchers" are often associated with the New Age movement, which is very un-Christian in its beliefs. If one truly holds to the mythology associated with dreamcatchers, I believe it very unwise to have one. In short, it is assigning God-like power to an object. It is putting a created object ahead of the God who created it, which is a sin (Rom 1:25). It is, in essence, making that object an idol. This can apply to all sorts of objects such as: amulets, tarot cards, crystals, horoscopes, ouija boards, a talisman, etc... It could even apply to having a cross. In addition, while many may scoff at this, I believe these things can, at times, open a door to evil spirits. Many Christians have reported this happening over the years. In regards to dreamcatchers specifically, you can read testimonies from some Christians who have hung these things and had terrible nightmares as a result. Those who actually believe in the power of dreamcatchers believe they can "manipulate the spirit world" and stop "negative energy." Don't you think it might be dangerous to associate with things in the "spirit world?"

     However, there are those who believe a dreamcatcher does not hold any power, but they just like they way it looks. They hang it like art on a wall or sometimes from the rear view mirror of their car. Is this ok? Some who defend this practice see it as a part of "Christian liberty," and use Paul's examples in (1 Cor 8 & 10) about eating meat sacrificed to idols to justify this position. While this might be valid, it is also worth noting that Paul says in these same verses that we should not use the "liberty" we have as Christians if it might cause a weak Christian to "stumble" in their walk with the Lord. (I believe it can also set a bad example for non-Christians.) When we do this, Paul says, "But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, YE SIN AGAINST CHRIST" (1 Cor 8:12)(caps emphasis mine). (This can also apply to such things as tattoos, drinking, or smoking. Go here for more on this.)

     In other words, applying this to a dreamcatcher, while YOU may see nothing wrong with having a dreamcatcher, there might be weak Christians (or non-Christians) out there who believe they are evil, but since they see you with one, and look to you as an example of a Christian, they might get one for themselves, even though they think it is wrong. If they do this, YOU are causing them to sin by the example you are setting. (1 Cor 8:13), "Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend."

     Given the possible negative consequences that can occur from owning a dreamcatcher, I believe it wise to avoid them.

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