New Religions

New Religions (Dream Revelations)


New religions and sects are constantly coming into being. How, one might ask, does the founder of a new religious movement legitimate his or her new vision? The claim, quite often, is that the founder has received a direct revelation from divinity. The earliest models for this kind of authoritative claim are the various manifestations of Yahweh in the Hebrew Scriptures in which he sets forth the terms of the covenant, most dramatically and elaborately in the revelation to Moses at Mt. Sinai. Some new revelations begin in dreams or in dreamlike trances.

The prophet Muhammad, for instance, received the first revelation of the Qur’an during the holy month of Ramadan while he was sleeping in a mountaintop cave. Also significant was the Prophet’s “Night Journey,” a dream in which he received a revelation of his mission. Many of the new religions to arise among American Indians in response to Euro-American incursions began with revelations in dreamlike trances. For example, Wovoka, the prophet of the Ghost Dance of 1890 (a group dance of a messianic cult believed to promote the return of the dead and the restoration of traditional ways of life), experienced his initial revelation when he fell into a trance and received a revelation in a dream vision.

Because many cultures make little or no distinction between visions and divine message dreams, it is often difficult to determine whether a particular new revelation began in a dream or in a vision during wakefulness. This indicates that there is some intangible quality that waking visions share with dreams.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
"Oh, a new religion," said Flambeau, laughing; "one of those new religions that forgive your sins by saying you never had any.
He was a lucid Southerner, incapable of conceiving himself as anything but a Catholic or an atheist; and new religions of a bright and pallid sort were not much in his line.
"Well, that's all I can tell you about the new religion," went on Flambeau carelessly.
But as he went upstairs to his floor he drew a deep breath and whistled, saying to himself: "So she has got into the hands of that conjurer upstairs with his golden eye." For, little as he knew or cared about the new religion of Kalon, he had heard of his special notion about sun-gazing.
Cutters all over the world; sometimes founding new religions, sometimes being forcibly fed--easily recognizable, even when superficially tamed.
As the Aryans moved slowly on, to and through the Caucasus passes, and spread over Europe, new conditions of life must have resulted in the formulation of new religions. The old belief in the malevolence of the dead body was lost from the creeds and even perished from tradition, but it left its heritage of terror, which is transmitted from generation to generation--is as much a part of us as are our blood and bones."
Then, emphasising his words with his loud voice and frequent gestures, he related the history of the Mormons from Biblical times: how that, in Israel, a Mormon prophet of the tribe of Joseph published the annals of the new religion, and bequeathed them to his son Mormon; how, many centuries later, a translation of this precious book, which was written in Egyptian, was made by Joseph Smith, junior, a Vermont farmer, who revealed himself as a mystical prophet in 1825; and how, in short, the celestial messenger appeared to him in an illuminated forest, and gave him the annals of the Lord.
His new religion made little difference to his life.
After addressing, in the midsummer of the following year, an appeal to the commiseration of the National Assembly of France, which the English minister refused to sanction, he composed himself to undergo his full term of punishment; and suffering his beard to grow nearly to his waist, and conforming in all respects to the ceremonies of his new religion, he applied himself to the study of history, and occasionally to the art of painting, in which, in his younger days, he had shown some skill.
Even those who still clung to us from personal love and loyalty I think did so in the face of the fact that at heart they questioned our veracity--it is very hard to accept a new religion for an old, no matter how alluring the promises of the new may be; but to reject the old as a tissue of falsehoods without being offered anything in its stead is indeed a most difficult thing to ask of any people.
Time and nature yield us many gifts, but not yet the timely man, the new religion, the reconciler, whom all things await.
Pasulka examines the rising culture around UFOs as if it were a viable new religion. Like other new religions, she says, Ufology includes scribes and prophets; a contact event and subsequent interpretations; a canon of scriptures; and holy objects.

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