Thursday, October 07, 2010

should "christians" practice yoga?

Video - Polyglot heathen new-age cultural practices.

AlbertMohler | Reading The Subtle Body is an eye-opening and truly interesting experience. To a remarkable degree, the growing acceptance of yoga points to the retreat of biblical Christianity in the culture. Yoga begins and ends with an understanding of the body that is, to say the very least, at odds with the Christian understanding. Christians are not called to empty the mind or to see the human body as a means of connecting to and coming to know the divine. Believers are called to meditate upon the Word of God — an external Word that comes to us by divine revelation — not to meditate by means of incomprehensible syllables.

Nevertheless, a significant number of American Christians either experiment with yoga or become adherents of some yoga discipline. Most seem unaware that yoga cannot be neatly separated into physical and spiritual dimensions. The physical is the spiritual in yoga, and the exercises and disciplines of yoga are meant to connect with the divine.

Douglas R. Groothuis, Professor of Philosophy at Denver Seminary and a respected specialist on the New Age Movement, warns Christians that yoga is not merely about physical exercise or health. “All forms of yoga involve occult assumptions,” he warns, “even hatha yoga, which is often presented as a merely physical discipline.” While most adherents of yoga avoid the more exotic forms of ritualized sex that are associated with tantric yoga, virtually all forms of yoga involve an emphasis on channeling sexual energy throughout the body as a means of spiritual enlightenment.

Stefanie Syman documents how yoga was transformed in American culture from an exotic and heathen practice into a central component of our national cult of health. Of course, her story would end differently if Americans still had cultural access to the notion of “heathen.”

The nation of India is almost manically syncretistic, blending worldviews over and over again. But, in more recent times, America has developed its own obsession with syncretism, mixing elements of worldviews with little or no attention to what each mix means. Americans have turned yoga into an exercise ritual, a means of focusing attention, and an avenue to longer life and greater health. Many Americans attempt to deny or minimize the spiritual aspects of yoga — to the great consternation of many in India.

When Christians practice yoga, they must either deny the reality of what yoga represents or fail to see the contradictions between their Christian commitments and their embrace of yoga. The contradictions are not few, nor are they peripheral. The bare fact is that yoga is a spiritual discipline by which the adherent is trained to use the body as a vehicle for achieving consciousness of the divine. Christians are called to look to Christ for all that we need and to obey Christ through obeying his Word. We are not called to escape the consciousness of this world by achieving an elevated state of consciousness, but to follow Christ in the way of faithfulness.

There is nothing wrong with physical exercise, and yoga positions in themselves are not the main issue. But these positions are teaching postures with a spiritual purpose. Consider this — if you have to meditate intensely in order to achieve or to maintain a physical posture, it is no longer merely a physical posture.

The embrace of yoga is a symptom of our postmodern spiritual confusion, and, to our shame, this confusion reaches into the church. Stefanie Syman is telling us something important when she writes that yoga “has augured a truly post-Christian, spiritually polyglot country.” Christians who practice yoga are embracing, or at minimum flirting with, a spiritual practice that threatens to transform their own spiritual lives into a “post-Christian, spiritually polyglot” reality. Should any Christian willingly risk that?


Vic78 said...

I wish I were on this site when this came out. Wow, this guy has a limited understanding of philosophy, theology, and American culture. You can pick this column apart in a thousand different ways.

Like when he says" see the human body as a means of connecting to and coming to know the divine. Believers are called to meditate upon the Word of God — an external Word that comes to us by divine revelation..." His own scripture contradicts him. Don't have sex before marriage, no gay shit, you have to mortify the flesh, ect. Sounds like the body's pretty damn important as far as getting close to the divine. Lol@ "the word of God" being external. If God is omnipresent then the word would be inside of the person as well. That means Hindus would have the word inside of them as well. I know they'll say that the Hindu word is corrupted while the Christians have the perfect revelation. Yet when you read your Bibles God is addressed as a male. I could go on all day shooting holes through his theology.

And what the hell was he saying about Transcendentalism? That was a pretty hardcore school. Simplistic bible reading isn't going to cut it with Emerson and his people. That was the start of American philosophy. They started getting away from Europe to start their own shit.

There is little hope for that guy. He's convinced he's right and anyone outside of his narrow interpretation is wrong. Imagine if he hit the weed. I'd recommend he do that then meditate. That shit works.

I'm sorry for posting on a thread from 2010. Reading that guy irked me a little.

CNu said...

Imagine if he hit the weed.
Imagine if he hit the weed.
Imagine if he hit the weed.

lol, lifechanging truth for so many of these cognitively constipated "chosen"....,