The subconscious seems to be a taboo subject in many western Christian circles. In some instances this aversion seems to be a relic from the Age of the Enlightenment, when rationality was regarded as the measure of all good. In some instances this aversion seems to have more superstitious roots, as if, as in ancient nautical maps, off the edges of explored territory there be only dragons and demons. But are these discounting and demonizing approaches to the subconscious the only approaches open to Christians?
I would suggest we consider a few things first:
That if everything we are is God-given, that necessarily includes our subconscious mind, or as some would put it, our peripheral consciousness
That the scriptures testify to God using dreams (as with Joseph and the Magi) and visionary trances (as with Peter and Paul), so the subconscious can't be irredeemable
That the call to "be transformed by the renewing of your mind" in Romans 12:2 should be interpreted holistically and not be artificially limited to the rational intellect
That the "self-control" spoken of in Galations 5:23 will not be our experience if our subconscious is running wild
In essence, not only would I say there is a biblical basis for working with the subconscious towards a renewed mind and improved self-control, I would say the subconscious can also be a powerful way through which God works in us and through us.
However, this does not mean I automatically endorse secular approaches to personal transformation, for the Christian understanding of healing differs to secular understandings. I would instead suggest a more Christ-centred approach, a more gospel-soaked approach. Only as the gospel permeates to our depths can our most habitual sins and darkest personal demons be brought into the light and uprooted.
Reading through the Quran as I was finding the author sounded a lot more like the Old Testament prophets than Jesus or the apostles. So I asked some Muslims if they had shared a similar experience, after reading both the Bible and the Quran.
It prompted a very interesting discussion. My experience was echoed by some Muslims. One affirmed Paul contradicted the Quran and another said the Quran "is very similar in tone to the Old Testament prophetic books because instead of being narrations of events like the New Testament and Old Testament books like the Book of Kings, they are more like 'direct transmitted' revelations...like the book of Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah and so forth."
Many others, however, downplayed the differences between the New Testament, the Old Testament and the Quran, suggesting they reflected differences in context only, not actual content, because "all are revelation from same and only God." This did, however, leave me curious as to how they square the story of the woman caught in adultery and the story of the crucifixion of Jesus with the Quran, so I have much more to explore.
Overall though, it did affirm my impression that Islam is often closer to Judaism than it is to Christianity.
How is the Christian church different from the Jewish synagogue, or the Muslim ummah, or the Buddhist Sangha, or the Wiccan coven? They are all words which refer to community after all. Is there any difference in your experience? Should there be any difference?