To many people, daydreaming is an inconsequential act – virtually everyone daydreams, and there appears to be no direct harm from doing it. However, if you study various theological principles, you will find that daydreaming may have consequences in some denominations.
Is daydreaming a sin? Daydreaming or woolgathering can be a way for a person to evaluate and plan for the future. It may also be a means of divine revelation.
But when one sins secretly in the guise of daydreaming, such instance may be considered sinful. Conceivably, daydreaming reveals the sinning nature of the daydreamer.
As we said before, the verdict on daydreaming varies across various theological principles. So, in this article, we shall examine the Bible and the holy books of some other religions for their decrees.
Thoughts on Daydreaming
Daydreaming is a series of pleasant thoughts that draws one away from the present. However, God can speak to a person through a daydream.
For instance, a person unhappy with his current job may daydream about changing careers. The lack of fulfillment at your current job can lead you to daydream. It could also be God speaking to you to let you know you do not belong there.
But if daydreaming goes too far, it can become a sin because you are using it to escape reality. At this point, it will not be a way for God to speak to you but a way to stop being diligent. Thus, it may lead to sin through laziness.
What Does the Bible Say About Daydreaming?
Daydreaming is helpful when we use our imaginations to make wise decisions in complex situations. In Ephesians 5:15-17, it says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
Although imagining the if-only and what-if scenarios might seem fun, we should not let these fantasies take over our reality, or we risk running into trouble.
When you couple daydreaming with pointless activities, laziness, or neglect, then you have successfully made your fantasy into an idol (Colossians 3:1-5).
If daydreaming indulges you in the lust of secret sin, you will end up harming yourself (James 1:14; Mark 7:21).
Isaiah 56:10 frowns against the valueless activities of the leaders of Israel during Isaiah’s time. The verse says, “Israel’s watchmen are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs. They cannot bark, they lie around and dream, they love to sleep.”
God indicated that those who ought to have remained sensitive and alert to any danger were wasting time daydreaming.
Daydreaming might be a way to escape your current circumstances rather than change or address them. Unfortunately, it is a reckless and harmful remedy because using daydreams to escape reality will not solve your actual problems.
You will eventually have to face your real-life problems, struggles, and challenges, and daydreaming is ineffective against them.
A boy who dreams of becoming an NBA star and is not studying for tangible success is wasting his potential and time. A cab driver who spends his time dreaming of success instead of working hard is sacrificing his future on the fantasy.
All in all, when you daydream to help plan your next step, you are being productive and not sinning. But when you indulge in daydreaming but do not take any action, daydreaming can become destructive.
What About Different Religions?
In Islam, if daydreaming does not hinder one from religious obligations and the dreams do not contain anything sinful, then it is not a sin.
However, when daydreaming serves no purpose, it is likened to engaging in matters that are of no benefit to the world. Consequently, it becomes a complete and utter waste of time.
Instead of daydreaming, Muslims are encouraged to divert their energy towards reflecting on Allah’s greatness, wisdom, and benevolent nature.
In our search on Hinduism, we did not find something specific about daydreaming. However, we came across the following details on dream:
In Hinduism, the concepts of dreams and dreaming are linked to Hindu mythology, philosophy, and ancient writings like the Upanishads, Vedas, and Puranas, etc.
The Upanishads approach dream realities in a systematic manner proving two main viewpoints on dreams. The primary view is that dreams are an expression of one’s inner desires.
The secondary view is a bit similar to a Chinese belief. It states that the soul leaves the body and is taught until when the dreamer wakes up.
In Hindu philosophy, the word for dream is Swapna. This word may also mean ignorance or a decrease in touch.
Based on Buddhist teachings, most of our time in this world is spent in some form of daydream. While we daydream, we relate to the happenings in our world. However, our sense of reality becomes filtered by projections of the future, habitual patterns of the mind, memories, etc.
When we sleep at night, our storylines continue and take the form of night dreams. When dreaming at night, we take our reality to be genuine. The same happens when daydreaming. We also take our projections to be authentic.
We hardly examine the quality of our mental activity to know how much of it is distorted and fabricated or how much of it is clear and accurate.
In essence, if one daydreams frequently, one may get caught in a loop of distorted thoughts. Especially in the absence of routine mental activity assessment. This is where meditation comes in.
While meditating, you can look at your mind’s activity directly and realize that you are carried away by your thoughts.
While meditating and during your daily life, you can wake up from your daydream. Although it might be brief, you will wake up with a clear mind with no filter of pre-conceptions and thoughts.
Judaism teachings advise against daydreaming and illusions. It is said that one should not validate or interact with illusions or mental phantoms.
Giving credence to daydreams or living an illusive life is likened to living in falsehood. Especially since shadim (demons) can come in the form of illusions or reverie.
Many parts of the Torah advise against living an illusive life. Then there is the part of the Torah that says, midver skeker tirchak – from all that is false, keep your distance.
It appears that all 5 religions consulted in this post consider daydreaming harmful in some way. Especially when one is immersed in the non-existent visions of a daydream.
So, all in all, you could say what one does with the dreams and how one handles them determines if daydreaming is a sin or not.