The Implications of Children’s Dreams for Interfaith Dialogue

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Room 513, Rose Bowl, Leeds Metropolitan University, , LEEDS, LS1 3HB

Kate Adams

Reader in Education at Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln

In many cultures throughout the world, some dreams are seen as religiously meaningful experiences. Whilst western Christianity has seen a decline in the interest in dreams over the centuries, people nevertheless continue to report spiritual dreams to which they attach a divine connection. This paper explores the experiences of 9-12 year old children (n=94) from Muslim, Christian and no faith backgrounds who all reported a ‘divine dream’. The findings reveal that whilst some dream imagery was specific to the children’s faith, overall there were similarities in the themes of the dreams. These themes include reassurance, guidance and predictions of the future which are also found in dreams in The Qur’an, the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and in psychological studies of dream content. There were further similarities in the ways in which the children understood the dreams to have a divine connection. It is proposed that the shared experience of spiritual dreams in both childhood and adulthood across different religious communities can act as a way forward for interfaith dialogue.