I faked to my right, then quickly pivoted around toward the basket. Immediately, I was in the air launching my shot over the fingers of the surprisingly quick Michael Scott (formerly of Scranton). I watched as the chocolate brownie, moving in what felt like slow motion, slipped through the bottom of the net as time expired. I won. Before I could even turn my hands up in celebration I felt someone jump on my back and take me to the floor. I looked back and saw Michael grinning ear to ear. Between spasm of giggles he simply said, “You did it, buddy!”
That’s a dream that I actually had last week. It makes absolutely no sense. I haven’t played basketball in years and even when I did, my jump-shot was terrible. Michael Scott isn’t real and I don’t personally know Steve Carell. And what was that about using a chocolate brownie for a ball? I’m highly skeptical that anything meaningful can be gleaned from this dream.
Most of my dreams are either of similar ridiculousness or are simply mundane and unremarkable. Surprisingly, I often find myself fighting to stay asleep to “finish” some of these dreams, banal as they might be. When I finally do wake, if I’m able to reconstruct the story I’ll share it, usually with my wife. However, in an age where mysticism and fortune telling are out of style, neither of us expect to find anything truly meaningful in my retelling. She’ll listen politely, but most of the time it’s obvious to me that she is not that interested or concerned. I don’t blame her though. I can’t help but feel the same way when she’s the one sharing.
I’m even less interested in the dreams of people I’m not terribly familiar with. When strangers feel compelled to share their dreams with me (I use public transportation, it happens) I can’t help but assume they’re not quite all there. Today, people that publicly share their dreams as premonitions or as messages from God are, rightfully, considered mad.
Why then, should I find accounts of dreams and their interpretations from thousands of years ago any more compelling?
The credibility of the story of Joseph, already damaged by its literary quality and lack of a convincing correlated history in Egypt, is not helped by all the dreaming. Could a man make so many correct predictions based off of other people’s dreams? Sure, I suppose it could happen, just as it’s possible that a coin might land on its edge. What’s easier to believe, that several dreams of significance were interpreted by a man and later fulfilled, or that the same story was simply fabricated?
We shouldn’t suspend reason just because of tradition. Sometimes when a story makes too much sense, it shows not the hand of God, but the hand of a human author.