Thursday, October 07, 2010

Yoga and Christians

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Back in the late 1980s and 1990s, there was much concern in the conservative, evangelical wing of Christianity about yoga and other Eastern mystical practices getting a foothold in the church. I think those concerns were justified at the time, and I think they're still justified.

Southern Baptist theologian Dr. Albert Mohler is concerned, and wrote an article on the subject, an article referenced in this news clip. Predictably, a hue and cry has sallied forth blasting Mohler for attacking what is clearly an unbiblical practice with demonic roots. If you look at the angry responses from some of the women in the AP story, they're huffing and puffing about how yoga makes them "feel." They could care less about biblical truth. Feelings are all that matters.

At one time, I leaned toward allowing that yoga exercises per se were harmless if they were done as physical exercises alone without the spiritual chants and mind-emptying practices. I have changed my views since then. As they say down South, "you might as well eat the Devil's meat as to drink his broth."

We have come to a point in our culture where Christians must stand separate and distinct from the unbelieving world. We must not confuse spiritual truth by leaning into anything that smacks of syncretism. Participating in Eastern mystical practices only fudges and confuses. We'd better wake up to that fact and quit being so gullible and undiscerning.


Palm boy said...

Does this differ from eastern based martial arts?

Solameanie said...

I think the thing that makes me uncomfortable is that so much of that stuff has direct ties to Eastern mysticism and religions. Some try to sanitize it as much as possible, but spiritual lines are getting so muddled in this age of deception that I think we're safer in keeping our distance. A read through the Old Testament and Acts 17 sort of reveals God's attitude toward false theology.

crownring said...

Hi Sola,

I hope you will forgive me, but sometimes I think you swallow Dr. Mohler's utterances as if they were in themselves Scripture. Not scriptural, my friend, but Holy Scripture. Sorry, Sola, but I do not believe Dr. Mohler is any more infallible than Pope Benedict.

Yoga exercise is practiced by many people who live with constant pain, such as those with rhumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. It is a way of combating physical pain that can be otherwise torturous even with the use of heavy duty pain medications. I believe telling sufferers their pain-relieving religion-shorn exercise is demonic is itself demonic. If Yoga is inherently demonic, then so is Karate, Pilates, and Tai Chi, and for that matter, even aromatherapy. I have often felt that Satan excels in taking something inherently good and wrapping it in layers of religious garbage until it is nearly unrecognizable as the good thing God created. Exercise is not in itself evil, exercise that includes worship of that which is NOT God is. The difference is subtle, Sola, but it is quite real.


Solameanie said...

CR, I have no problem with people having a different view than me. You know that. ;)

I don't swallow anything from anyone wholesale. I respect Al Mohler highly, and think he is largely spot on in theology. Personally, I have studied the occult and New Age for years. Yoga does have its roots and origins in Eastern pantheistic religions. That's not me making it up. It's fact. And there is always a danger for Christians when we get involved too closely in practices that have their origins in spiritual deception.

Your point about mere exercise is well taken, and if that's all it was, I don't think there would be as much of a problem. However, more and more are getting involved (and I mean in the church) in Eastern spiritual practices and disciplines with this stuff as an entry way. In the worst case scenario, it becomes syncretism, which is idolatry in the end. We'd best be very, very careful.