Should a Christian Have a Dream Catcher in Their Car?


A number of years ago, my parents took a cruise ship to Alaska. On that trip, my mother found an attractive dream catcher, and she gave it to me as a birthday gift. I hung it up in my car, around the rear view window mirror, just as a way to remember her, and her thoughtful gift to me.

So, I was really caught off-guard a few years later, when a Christian friend of mine was offended that I had that dream catcher hanging in my car. Some Native American cultures historically revere dream catchers as religious symbols, intended to protect children from bad dreams and evil spirits. But the larger Pan-Indian movement in the 20th century, in an effort to raise awareness of Native American cultures among the majority population, adopted the dream catcher as a cultural symbol. Not all Native Americans share the exact same spiritual beliefs as the Ojibwe tribe, from where the dream catcher most probably originated years ago. My mother looked at it as a memorabilia keepsake, something she wanted to give to her son.

Christian apologist John Oakes, at the apologetics blog Evidence for Christianity, that I highly respect, has an article explaining why he personally would not have a dream catcher in his car. We both agree that having a dream catcher is a gray area, in the “disputable matter” category, as found in Romans 14.  Oakes does not think a dream catcher is sinful, but he personally would not have a dream catcher, as it might offend someone else, just as eating food sacrificed to idols might personally offend another Christian, in the first century church.

I support most of what Oakes is saying, but I take a different personal position. It is important to remember the context for Romans 14. There were Christians in the first century, who came out of pagan backgrounds, where eating food sacrificed to idols was readily practiced. Such practices would offend the conscience of those believers from those backgrounds, so this is why the Apostle Paul urged other believers, from different backgrounds, to carefully avoid insulting the conscience of the more sensitive believers, by avoiding such practices.

In the case of my Christian friend who objected to my mom’s dream catcher, this friend had no Native American background. Much less did this friend have any association with the Ojibwe tribe. Neither was this true of my mom, nor myself. Therefore, it was not anyone’s conscience that was being “offended,” but rather it was the rumored idea my friend had in their mind, of a dark power, that possibly someone, somewhere might be troubled by the presence of a dream catcher.

Though I appreciate my friend’s concern, that followers of Christ should reject idols, my response is this:

Good grief.

The effort that we could expend in trying to remove all  things in our lives that might possibly offend someone, somewhere in the world, is a fool’s errand. To apply Romans 14 in this manner, takes the text out of its appropriate, New Testament context. It would be a form a perverse legalism to constantly police our lives, searching for those practices or artifacts that might trouble someone, somewhere. The meaning of symbols constantly changes across various cultures today, being appropriated and re-appropriated with different meanings, quite frequently.

For example, the radical Islamic State (ISIS) has destroyed countless precious cultural artifacts of ancient Syrian culture, all in the name of stamping out idolatry. Technically, those Muslims were right in declaring various statues as polytheistic idols, from a past era. But would someone be tempted to worship these idols today? Possibly, but this is highly, highly unlikely. Most moderns view these artifacts as testimonies to history, and we therefore grieve their loss. As such destructive ideological extremism spreads, the preservation of valuable cultural heritages becomes more important than ever.

Just think about the evolution of the swastika, discovered by archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, and more recently, the Confederate flag. At one time, these were symbols with positive meanings, but not anymore.

A popular, American Coca-Cola pendant, before the Nazi’s adopted the swastika as their symbol, and ruined it for everyone.

As Christians, we regularly use terms like “Sunday,” “Monday,” “Tuesday,” “Wednesday,” etc., to describe the days of the week. The Quakers of the 17th and 18th centuries refused to use that terminology for weekdays, as those names correspond to pagan gods, which were worshipped hundreds of years ago, during the pre-Christian era of Europe (the same logic applied to the first eight months of the Roman calendar). So those early Quakers would use terms like “first day,” “second day,” “third day,” etc., all very biblical terminology, to faithfully describe the days of the week. But to my knowledge, there are no people today, nor in the 17th century, who come or came from such pagan backgrounds, who might have or had such sensitive consciences. I do not see Christians today clamoring for altering the names of weekdays, who wish to rid our minds of such supposedly pagan mindsets, who might be tempted to worship the sun (Sunday), or the moon (Monday), or Thor, the god of war (Thursday).

Now, suppose I actually know someone, who would ride in my car, who really came from a background, where a dream catcher did possess some religious or spiritual meaning. They might see my dream catcher as an implicit endorsement, tempting them towards a spiritually harmful practice.

This would be an area where Romans 14, with respect to “disputable matters,” would be applicable. I would hope that in this case, I would discreetly take down my dream catcher, and slip it into my glovebox. I would not want something I have to become a stumbling block in their journey towards Christ.

But until then, I like having that dream catcher visible, as a way of remembering how much my mother cared for me. If there are any other Christians, who continue to object, I would say this: They probably have too much time on their hands, and they would be better off putting their efforts to rid our lives of “idols” to better use.

About Clarke Morledge

Clarke Morledge -- Computer Network Engineer, College of William and Mary... I hiked the Mount of the Holy Cross, one of the famous Colorado Fourteeners, with some friends in July, 2012. My buddy, Mike Scott, snapped this photo of me on the summit. View all posts by Clarke Morledge

6 responses to “Should a Christian Have a Dream Catcher in Their Car?

  • Maritza

    Thank you! I am a Christian and I believe in God but I do not take offense to any practices like a dream catcher or a rosemary as offensive. If something is created with goodness in the heart, to protect and show love how can that be offensive? I believe these are just hidden gems that just like prayer that God has put into this word to protect us in his own way, so we do not stray from him. This post was very helpful and I thank you for helping me understand much more in my journey towards God!


  • Tia

    The early Christians in Greece had actually took down pagan images in temples and other monuments because of the idolatry. Eating food which goes in one end and out the other is different to having what is considered to a lot a spiritual object hanging about for all to see. With your reasoning it would also be okay for a Christian to have Buddha statues and Wicca charms and crystals because of how it ‘looks’. Yet I know of people who had been heavily suppressed simply due to the crystals they kept in their house which was channelling demonic energy which they were unaware of. This new generation of Christians is far too close knit with the worlds traditions and beliefs without for once questioning if it honours God or not. The attitude on this post towards being mindful of how it would make another Christian stumble is sad. Someone could easily see this and think okay that means I can believe and have one up too and it’s fine (and I actually know people like that). Regardless if a Christian considers it a sacred object or not , we are called to be set apart and holy for a reason. There has been a major spike in new age beliefs the world has now adopted which is now been trickling into the church and this is why the church has no power in Christ. Suppressed by the things of the world. And of course obedience to God would be considered legalism to people that love the things of this world. When are Christians going to realise God does not want us to blend in but the stand out. “Don’t love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in them. Everything that is in the world—the craving for whatever the body feels, the craving for whatever the eyes see and the arrogant pride in one’s possessions—is not of the Father but is of the world.”
    ‭‭1 John‬ ‭2:15-16‬ ‭


  • Clarke Morledge

    Hi, Tia. Thank you for commenting at Veracity.

    There is a lot to unpack regarding your response, but please allow me to focus on one point: You state that you “know of people who had been heavily suppressed simply due to the crystals they kept in their house which was channelling demonic energy which they were unaware of.” Let me ask you: Are these people truly believers in the Gospel? Have they not submitted to the Lord Jesus, whose Spirit dwells in the heart of the Christian? Do they not know that Jesus has conquered the evil and demonic spirits of this world? Has Christ not defeated the powers of sin and death?

    1 John 4:4 teaches us: “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

    If the Spirit of God who dwells in the heart of the believer is greater than the demons that run amuck in the world, why should we fear them? Has not Christ crushed them through the power of the Cross?

    Perhaps I am missing something in your argument, so please correct me if I am wrong, but it would appear that Scripture teaches that believers only experience demonic oppression when their hearts are divided, and do not truly understand and know the Gospel, that has set us free from the demonic powers.

    So, why would any true believer in Jesus fear any demonic power that they ascribe to a dream catcher, a Buddha statue, a Wicca charm, etc., unless they believe such demonic influence has power over them, through such objects?

    You further state that “There has been a major spike in new age beliefs the world has now adopted which is now been trickling into the church and this is why the church has no power in Christ.” Perhaps the real issue is that there are many in the church who do not believe the Gospel. For if we really believed that Jesus has defeated those evil powers, then that would set loose the power of the Spirit to set people free.

    Being mindful of how some item we have might make another Christian stumble is “sad,” but not really for the reason you provide. We should preach Christ instead, and give Him the glory, by which the evil powers will know that their doom is sure.


  • Zoe

    The spirit realm is realer than the seen natural world we live in. The deception that something is harmless makes people susceptible to opening doors to demonic spirits easier. This comment is for you, out of love. Whether something is offensive is not as important as if it is glorifying God the Lord Jesus Christ (&/or of The Kingdom of God)- which is not what Native American culture is rooted in. I recognize the sentimental value of the object. However dream catchers are one of many portals for demonic spirits. May the eyes of your understanding be opened and enlightened to God’s truth.


    • Clarke Morledge

      Hi, Zoe. Thank you for your comment, and I read your blog post. I do appreciate your thoughtfulness and desire to communicate out of love. So, thank you. It is a joyful thing to see how Jesus set you free from the demonic deception of the New Age Movement. The demonic powers are indeed real and, yes, we are engaged in a very real spiritual battle with those powers of darkness. So, we do share much in common.

      Where I think you and I disagree is regarding the exact relationship between the demonic powers, the natural world, and the human heart & mind, and what that actually looks like. My position is that a created material object, something actually created by God, only becomes an idol if we make it into being one. A created object has no power of darkness in and of itself. It is the human heart that twists material things into becoming instruments for evil.

      Please correct me if I am wrong on this, but it seems like you believe that certain objects have dark spiritual power in and of themselves, regardless of the spiritual disposition of that person to that object.

      If that is really your view, I would be curious to know what your level of confidence is in holding that belief. On a scale of 1-10, where 1 is not really confident at all, and 10 is having absolute confidence in this belief, where do you stand on this?

      To me, it just seems like a crippling way to live, to always be wondering if some object that I touch or appreciate, like a piece of artwork (or a dream catcher), is having some type of demonic stranglehold on me, that I am not aware of, or that it *might* become a portal for something terrible like that, regardless of my disposition towards that object. That just seems to strike against the very meaning of 1 John 4:4, “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

      I see that when the Gospel is truly understood and proclaimed that this power of God’s Word destroys demonic strongholds, and so that should be our focus. In other words, when it comes to spiritual warfare, our priority should be in fulfilling the Great Commission.

      Anyway, despite what we do have in common, i know that we differ here on this point, but I am still curious as to how strong is your level of confidence, on a 1-10 scale, which you have in your belief.

      Thank you, and have a blessed day!!


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: