Q: Is the use of hypnotism compatible with the Christian way of life?”
A: The phenomenon known as posthypnotic suggestion deals with the concept of unconscious motives and evokes spirited debates even among today’s psychologists. The intriguing question is how a desire that is unconscious can suddenly be activated to produce relevant behavior. A number of Christians have used hypnosis for ridding themselves of anxieties or bad habits (such as smoking), seeking through the technique stimuli toward relaxation and change in unwanted behavior.
But should this method be encouraged among Christians? Hasn’t God already given us the proper outlet for working on problem areas of our life? He has given us the avenue of prayer, and (even more importantly) his comfort and strength for our living is poured out to us daily in his powerful Word. “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:7). God also wants Christians to be alert prayerfully: “The end of an things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray” (1 Peter 4:7).
Maybe some will contend that undergoing a hypnotic trance. is not that much different from undergoing anesthesia in preparation for surgery. But in the case of a hypnotic trance the person being hypnotized is in reality turning over the control of the mind periodically to the hypnotist. Although many psychologists insist hypnosis can never cause a person to do something against his will or conscience, this cannot be clearly proved.
The advice of this writer is that Christians avoid the entire realm of hypnotism. But it must be acknowledged that some earnest Christians would not categorically condemn all forms of hypnotism, while yet acknowledging it can easily lead to magical use. One thing is clear: Hypnotism dare not be taken lightly as some kind of entertainment. Caution is highly warranted.