Dreams are a funny thing. In the '70s, the late Carl Sagan wrote a landmark popular science book called The Dragons of Eden which explored the brain as a product of our evolutionary history. His son's 'sequel,' Up From Dragons, continues on the elder Sagan's work using more up-to-date research. The Sagan view of dreams is that they may be a way to process thoughts and emotions perceived during the day's experiences, allowing for the organization and storage of information into short and long term memory. So basically, when you dream, the more primal parts of your brain are re-experiencing the thoughts that you are tucking away.
I don't dream much (well, that's not true - I probably dream about as much as everybody else but I don't tend to remember them much). Last night was the first dream I remembered in over a month, and it was stupid: Hyde, Fez, and Kelso from That '70s Show playing a triet(?) together on an electric keyboard (employing some very fancy and completely unrealistic fingering techniques, I might add).
On the other hand, my wife remembers her dreams frequently. Moreover, she has nightmares a lot. While a portion of these present physical terrors, many are supernatural in variety, or, as she terms them, demonic. She had another demonic dream last night.
Now, if the Sagans are correct, it means two things:
1) I watch too much That '70s Show
2) My wife worries about demons way too much.
As a little explanation, my wife does worry about demons a lot. In her theology, demons are very real: they possess people, they harm people, and they tempt people into sin. My wife often worries about the last one in particular; she thinks she has demons hounding her to be slothful, or gluttonous, or vain, and she often prays for help from God to combat these demons (when she's not praying for ninja skills, that is). In her dreams, the demons perform more of the first two options, I guess because they have a more striking visual component; a dream is more obviously demonic when it mirrors a scene from The Exorcist than when it shows you sitting on your couch eating Fritos and doing your nails.
If this isn't an example of how religion is child abuse, I don't know what is. Before you argue that my wife's not a child (or that I'm a pedophile), consider that she was indoctrinated when she was a child and it still traumatizes her to this day. Her religion, which is supposed to help her and give her peace and strength, literally gives her nightmares in a regular basis. That's messed up.