In my last post I gave testimony of my Christian conversion to deconversion. In these next few posts, I want to write in a little more detail about the spiritual experiences I started questioning that help start my journey into deconversion.
Dreams played a huge role in my life as a miracle believing Christian that had access to the spiritual realm. For a few years I believed the creator of the Universe sent me prophetic dreams on the regular. My dreams were usually filled with angelic encounters, spiritual gifts and healing, prayers and apocalyptic images (storms, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc). Some mornings I’d wake up wondering what my dreams meant, what God was telling me and how I should use this divine information to better advance the Kingdom of God or help myself and others.
The first time I had a dream I considered spiritual was in my early-20’s. At the time I wasn’t very active as a Christian. I dreamed I was outside of the church my dad pastors and someone came up to me and asked me to pray for their friend. I followed them and saw that it was one of my really good friends at the time, who wasn’t and still isn’t a Christian, that needed prayer. I started praying for him in my dream and was startled awake by an unseen force holding me down on my bed strangling me. I couldn’t breath or cry out for help so I started to pray until the unseen force lifted off of me. This made me realize there was something outside of myself; something good and something evil. And I was somehow important enough for these two supernatural forces to fight over me at night.
After that night I didn’t have another dream or experience like that again until my mid-20’s a few years later.
The church I grew up in went through a renewal in 2007 that lasted about a year. Churches all over California and throughout the country were visiting our church to take part in this renewal. People were claiming to see angels, feathers and gold dust that seemed to appear out of nowhere during worship, visions and visitations of biblical characters and even Jesus mounted on a horse riding through the aisles and on stage. It was a very exciting time to be in church. I really took to the miracles and testimonies of all the things the congregants claimed to see and experience. Almost every night for a few months my dreams became pretty intense and vivid.
In a church that was going through a renewal where people were seeing angels and miracles, I started dreaming a lot about miracles and angels. My dreams seemed highly spiritual. I’d wake up sometimes with a euphoric sense that something angelic was in the room. And every once in awhile I’d wake up feeling like something was holding me down and strangling me after a God-given dream and I’d pray thinking demons were attacking me. I’d tell people about these dreams and experiences and I became known as the guy with a prophetic gift in dreams at the church. Sometimes I’d dream about people I knew or seen in church and believe it was God giving me something prophetic about the person. I’d tell these people and some would either feel blessed or creeped out by it. But I felt I was jumping out of the boat and learning how to hear God’s voice through me.
It wasn’t until I started looking into dream theories that I started questioning if God really was giving me these dreams. I remember reading a Christian dream interpretation book I borrowed from a friend that mentioned if you see a “black or dark-skinned person” in a dream it was symbolic of a demonic force, which I became immediately disgusted by because of it’s racist interpretation. I couldn’t finish reading the book after that. I tried reading a couple other Christian books about dreams, but could tell none of the writers had any idea what they were talking about. There was no critical thought behind their ideas on dreams and was usually based on their cultural upbringing and their personal theological ideas of God. It seemed way too unstable trying to understand dreams reading books by people who had no understanding of the psychology and science behind dreaming. So I decided I should look into dream theories by secular dream theorists like Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud to help my understanding.
Carl Jung’s ideas on archetype dream symbols and how it plays into the conscious emotional life, the subconscious and collective unconscious really sparked my interest. I thought maybe this was the way God may talk to us. I started using his theories trying to interpret my own dreams and found it to be a lot more concrete than the Christian interpretation, but the foundation still seemed a little unstable as a way God directly communicated with me.
I downloaded Sigmund Freud’s book “The Interpretation of Dreams” onto my Kindle and this really made an impact on me. He mentions how people will usually see in their dreams recent things or subjects from the days before the night; for example, if you happened to see a basketball during the day sometimes it’ll appear randomly in your dream at night. I started noticing I’d see images in my dreams of things I barely noticed during the day. This got me questioning a lot about what I’m actually seeing in my dreams and if it even means anything. I started questioning if the angels and miracles in my dreams were just a subconscious product of the supernatural stories and beliefs coming from the Charismatic culture I was surrounded by at the time. The more I questioned the more I found it to be true.
The last nail driven into the coffin of God-given dreams was when I learned more about sleep paralysis. The demons attacking me at night were nothing more than my mind waking up before my body, which is actually kind of scary in itself.
My dream life is still very important to me even though God isn’t the one talking to me. It took awhile for me to understand the importance of listening to my dreams without a God and now I see dreams as a mystery of what it is to be a conscious being. And that’s exciting.
Toward the end of my deconversion I had a dream. I dreamed I was alone in a dark church and could see light shining outside behind some curtains. I opened the curtains and the light shined inside the church, so I walked to the back of the church and opened the back door and walked out and into the light outside.