At Least You’ll Be Really Relaxed…in Hell

October 13, 2010

Today, we’re talking yoga, math, Walt Disney, and demons.  Sweet.

Recently, Al Mohler Jr., President of Southern Baptist Seminary said that Christians shouldn’t practice yoga.  Mark Driscoll, the beefy, slightly Shrek-like Seattle pastor of Mars Hill Church, not to be outdone by a mere seminary leader in Kentucky, raised the bar and said yoga is outright “demonic.”

A weekday afternoon yoga class for the flexible and demonically possessed.

Why is it “demonic?”  Because, apparently, you can’t practice yoga without meditating on Hindu gods and whatnot.  It just can’t be done.  Now, I’ve been telling my church that they shouldn’t practice yoga because Chuck Norris feeds people who do yoga to his pet bears.  But Mark Driscoll has definately raised the stakes.  Not only will you be eaten by Chuck Norris’ bears, but you will subsequently go to hell.

Ordinarily, I’d give Mark the benefit of the doubt on this one.  He’s written a lot of good stuff.  But I’m starting to see a pattern.  This isn’t the first time he’s come up with this sort of black and white thinking.  He’s really starting to sound like an old fashioned fundie, just in different clothing.

And yet…I agree with him…but then again, I don’t.  Well, just read on…

Just Because You Look Ridiculous Doesn’t Mean You Have to Be One with Ridiculousness

I get it.  Yoga is a Hindu thing.  They meditate on their gods while they exercise.  Hinduism does not jive with Christianity.  All that “becoming one with creation” nonsense and whatever.

I think Mark Driscoll is absolutely right to tell his church full of hippies that they shouldn’t be meditating like Hindus.  Mark is in Seattle, and he’s trying to minister to a bunch of people who’ve had their heads filled for years with mushy-minded philosophies that have pushed the Bible totally out.  So I get why he might need to say what makes him sound like a raving lunatic to some of us.  It might be best for those in his church to avoid even the appearance of dabbling in Hinduism.  But…

Just because you’re stretching, it doesn’t mean you have to become one with the Hindus.  If you’re a Christian, and you do yoga, just stretch with your cute little rug and your colorful leotard, and I will chuckle at you, but God will probably be cool with that.  I think most yoga-ers…yog-ers…yogurts…do it without any kind of religious feeling anyway.  I can’t even believe I’m defending yoga.  There are few things I’d rather do than rip on yoga from the comfort of my sofa.  Yet here I am, defending it.

Fact is, there’s a lot of stuff that’s way more moronic / demonic than yoga.  Astrology, horoscopes, self-healing, and whatever other crap people throw away their money on.  Fact: the only people who can self-heal are Rambo and the Terminator.  If you are not a muscley jungle assassin or a sentient cyborg from the future, than you probably cannot heal yourself.

But, if you say that yoga can’t be seperated from its Hindu roots, and therefore, it’s demonic, think about all the other “demonic” stuff Christians should do without…

Algebra

I always knew algebra was of the devil in high school.  It was the bane of my existence, and I am still sure it is dark arts.  There’s just no way that two binomials are able to be multiplied through FOIL without the involvement of the Prince of Darkness.  You can literally use a Ouija board to not only communicate with the dead, but finish your algebra homework.  Guess what?  A bunch of Muslims came up with algebra.  When did they do that?  While the Christians were busy having their dark ages and dying of the plague, proof positive of its origin from the seventh circle of hell.  I’ll stick with my abacus and avoid all that demon “math” altogether, thank you very much.  Don’t even get me started on calculus…

Sandra Oh

Sure, she’s Canadian, but she can’t be seperated from her Korean roots.  Even if she’s of South Korean descent, that’s a little too close to North (Bad) Korea for my comfort.  Avoid at all costs, lest ye be pulled into the bowels of hell and tormented through forceful and constant airings of Grey’s Anatomy Season Four.

Mario

Most people don’t know this, but Super Mario Bros. is actually a thinly veiled fable about a Japanese demon swallowing the nations of the West, coupled with an allegory of the violent Japanese occupation of China, with references to the Opium Wars.  It’s all about Japan’s aspirations of ruthless, atheistic world domination.  The fact that Mario is a greasy, unshaven plumber who climbs into sewage pipes was only tossed in to trick American children into allowing Satan into their televisions.  Oh, and “Captain N” was not a fantasy TV show about a Nintendo fanboy being sucked into his television.  It was a documentary.

My church is throwing a Wii Fit burning party this weekend.  Who’s in?

Peter Pan

I swear to you, I am reading a non-fiction book where the author became convinced that Satan was able to give his little boy cancer, because he read Peter Pan.  See, Peter Pan has the same last name as Pan, a fictional goat-man character who shows up in a lot of old literature (including Narnia), and used to be a popular image of what Satan might look like.  See?  Peter Pan has a direct line to the Prince of Darkness.  And C.S. Lewis was in on it too.  Read Peter Pan, and Satan will strike your child with cancer.

Wow, kind of makes you wonder just what God’s people have contributed to the world…If we were just going to use Christian inventions, maybe Jewish inventions too, if we wanted to get liberal, we might be living like Amish people…

Anyway, do you think yoga is demonic?  Where should Christians draw the line on doing things from other cultures?  Can Satan really attack you through something like Peter Pan?

81 responses to At Least You’ll Be Really Relaxed…in Hell

  1. Don’t play with fire. If you are practicing yoga, then you play with fire. More so if your class does meditation etc etc. If you want that type of exercise, then do pilates. I agree with Driscoll, Mohler et al.

    Yes Satan can work through many different portals. But we can be wise enough to not dabble in such practices that have roots in the other spiritualities.

    • I agree. I think it’s possible to practice yoga-like poses and not walk on dangerous ground, but when I used to take yoga–even fitness-centric ones at the YMCA or a gym–almost every pose, every meditation, all of the instructor’s guidance focused on various yogic spiritual principles. I’d often pray while taking the class instead of meditate or say the mantras, but I got a really unsettling feeling about the whole thing. The final straw was when I learned that “namaste” (the exchange you make with your instructor at the end of a session) means “I bow to the god within you.”
      The fact that people are turning to this practice to find peace rather than church is indicative of problem much greater than a few “oms” and downward facing dogs.

      Side note: I’m a regular Pilates practitioner but it’s nothing at all like yoga, save for the mat that’s used!

    • There was a time I would jump on this wagon…but now I have to ask…

      So, God can’t speak to people through Yoga? Really? Satan has more power through Yoga then God?

      I really dislike when people give satan authority to work through non-christian things, but totally miss the fact God can as well.

      Do you celebrate Christmas? Easter? Cause if you’re gonna live by – “But we can be wise enough to not dabble in such practices that have roots in the other spiritualities.” – then you better throw those two out as well, and that’s just the two big ones rooted in pagan spirituality that we Christians do and call “Christian”

      No, I don’t do yoga (unless of all the times I wrestled with my brothers when I was young we somehow contorted ourselves into a yoga pose and didn’t know it), I just know how big and good God is.

  2. Anyway, do you think yoga is demonic? Where should Christians draw the line on doing things from other cultures? Can Satan really attack you through something like Peter Pan?

    I agree. You can totally practice Yoga without getting in the Eastern Mysticism aspect. My wife and I are doing P90X and there’s a yoga regimen and we enjoy it.

    I would say we would draw the line if the activity or thinking/philosophy gets us to deny who Jesus says he is. I think it’s okay if the philosophy gets us to raise questions. For example, I used to work with a Muslim at a bagel shop and they wash their hands before they read the Qur’an. I can be friends with him and be engaging but I would draw the line if he wanted me to wash my hands before reading the bible.

    I think Satan can use anything and everything. He can even pit Christians against each other. But we have to be like Dorothy and her friends to see past the big scary Oz to see it’s just a little man pulling the levers when it comes to the media.

    I think I’m the only person who thinks this joke is funny but I’m going to start a Christian Yoga Club and call it, “Stretching the Truth.”

    nicodemusatnite.blogspot.com

  3. Do you think if Mark Driscoll was someone’s wife, they’d tell him to keep quiet in church?

    The whole problem with religion and denominations etc; fundies, liberals or otherwise, is the very fact that few churches actually teach folks to hear from God. They throw a book at them; use their cemetery credentials to convince folks they know more, or have a special line to GOd. Some see abuse, and run the other way. But it’s the same problem. Not Hearing God = Huge Potential for Error = Easy Chance for Satan to Decieve.

    One of my first sermons was entitled, Not Sin, Not God. (Yes, it’s on http://www.FireAndGrace.com) There are things that are specifically sin like witchcraft, fornication drunkenness etc, and those things that are NOT mentioned in the Bible as sin, IE: TV, golf, Harry Potter, Disney, Pilates and yoga. Paul said as long as it doesn’t cause your brother to sin, have a Merry Little Christmas (1 Corinthians 8:13) – except that Jesus drew the trump card. I do what I see the Father doing (John 5:19).

    I remember the struggle my now 19-year-old had over evolution. Her Christian school said it was a theory, and of course promoted Creationism. In public school they wanted her to opt-out of biology because she felt it was offensive. I wouldn’t let her. She needs to hear God, and if her beliefs are never challenged, she’d have grown up a religious clanging gong. The best part was that she got to present her views! And she passed the evolution test too.

    Some folks think they know what’s OK for them and everyone else, but in things that seem small, trivial, or incidental (not clear in the Bible) – few ever ask God. They choose some view of Jesus that agrees with their politics, religious training (or damage), or their own thoughts.

    So, is exercising or stretching demonic (sin)? No. Is Yoga demonic? In its pure practice, it is a form of idol/self worship, so yes. Is Disney demonic? Not in a raw sense of the entertainment; no. If it, however; leads us to think that magic for purpose of personal gain, power, prestige, just cool to be cool, or power over another, then yes. It’s worse if it cheapens the miracles of God – but few American churches see miracles. I’m just sayin’

    And yes, calculus is from the pit of Hell.

  4. I am so printing this out and bringing it to my yoga class on Sunday. LOL

    I definitely feel that the exercise itself is NOT demonic. If you’re reciting mantras and all that other crap, then yeah, you’re venturing into dangerous territory. But purely as a physical exercise (which, let’s face it, I need all the help I can get in that aspect), there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

    My friend who teaches our yoga class at our church is extremely aware of the thin line that exists there. She’s excellent at shifting the focus to God during the workout, and she leads prayers regularly during the routines.

    All that being said, Matt, I do agree with what you said about where Driscoll is preaching this. That is certainly a place where they need to stay as far away from the line as possible.

  5. Mohler’s point was that if you’re practicing yoga without the Hindu spirituality, then it’s not yoga. He’s right. “Yoga” without the spirituality isn’t yoga. It’s exercising.

  6. Huh. Looks like I’m screwed. And I though Jesus and I were doing pretty well.

  7. I always practice yoga while watching Avatar. Is that bad???

    On a serious note, I may not know what the worlds definition of self-healing is, but our bodies were created to heal themselves. A cut scabs over, a fever breaks, even a broken bone left alone will grow back together, it just needs an expert to make sure it grows together in the right place. Currently I have two kids self-healing from a stomach bug. Ewww!

    • Oh that made me laugh, in a place where laughing out loud isn’t the most appropriate thing to do. Yes, I think people underestimate the power of their own bodies to heal themselves (thus our germ-phobic culture), so we turn to anything and everything to heal us.

  8. I don’t know if I’m so far to the left or three steps away from atheism (pretty much the same thing in some Christian circles), but sometimes I just want to bang my head against the wall when I hear Christians get all heebie jeebie over this stuff. Playing with fire because you’re stretching? Because you say “om”? Really? Yoga, like so much in Western culture, has become a largely secular practice. Even Wii Fit has a yoga section. Oh, I’m waiting for someone to pop up and tell me that Wii Fit is evil. I’m not saying I don’t believe in evil, but I’m looking for it in the way we treat other people, not in how we choose to limber our muscles and improve our posture. All this concern over witches and warlocks and paganism and yoga is such a distraction.

  9. Dude, dont take my Mario. You can have my yogurt, but not Mario.

  10. First, let’s understand that Driscoll loves the press and will do anything to get his name in print. Is this the same guy who encourages the men of his church to brew their own beer? So yoga and the spirit associated with it is bad but alcohol and the spirit associated with it is…good?

    After he abolishes yoga next is Halloween, then Christmas, then whatever else draws attention. Every time we turn around he has made another ex cathedra statement. He is our new pope!

    • Dude, getting kinda judgemental, which is exactly what we’re complaining that the ‘other guys’ are doing…
      I’m just saying.

  11. I am totally agreeing that algebra is of the Devil. And calculus. And trig and… PHYSICS! EVIL!

    This is proof positive of the link between video games and Eastern Religions… and EVIL: http://streetfighter.wikia.com/wiki/Dhalsim

    Okay, seriously, I’ll stop. I actually have a yoga DVD that I’ve used all of twice because I’m lazy. I contemplated getting it though because of all the “Yoga is evil” mantras… uh er, warnings, but ultimately purchased it on a buying binge at Barnes & Noble.

    I’ve attended churches which had me tossing out everything from jewelery from bad ex-bfs to CDs to DVDs, and now I feel it’s much ado about very little. I have had bigger struggles in my walk with Christ than a thousand downward facing dogs could ever induce (not that I can do more than say, three w/o being exhausted). The funny thing is, the more I’ve looked at other religions, read their holy books, even visited their places of worship, the more I’ve come to the conclusion that Jesus is Lord. I know that’s not a walk everyone can make, so I wouldn’t advise new Christians to plop down on the couch with the Book of Mormon and study up on it. I am happy to know of other cultures and have an understanding without fearing possession anytime I meet someone who believes in them.

    Also, can I point out that either a person has the Holy Spirit or not. I don’t understand why some people have such a strong fear of demons when they are filled with God’s Spirit which gives “power, love and a sound mind.”

  12. If anyone ever sees me in a yoga leotard, they will instantly convert to Mark Driscoll’s opinion. Other than that, I know too little of yoga to make an informed comment. I’m forced to stick with my typical nonsense.

  13. When I first started practicing yoga earlier this year, I had the thought of whether or not the practice in of itself was “wrong” and I struggled a bit initially.

    I really loved the practice in all its various forms (I’m a former dancer and loved getting all that flexibility back), but I hated the meaning of the chanting and it did make me uncomfortable. I ended up finding a couple of classes that didn’t engage in the chanting aspects of the practice so intentionally (I guess Driscoll would call these “non-yoga” classes) and I also found solace during savasana (the ending pose), where I use that time to pray and personally, I love it.
    I love how the stretching and exercise make my body feel, the detoxification, the leaning of my muscles, and the overall health boost I get.

    Maybe my mind is too simplistic to see how “dangerous” this can all be for me, but I don’t buy it. If I had to stay away from all possible avenues that could lead to compromising my faith, I might as well permanently lock the doors. I should also throw out my tv, and of course this computer I’m using, order my groceries from Peapod (and make them drop them off at the door so I don’t have to connect with the possibly pagan delivery person), and wait it all out until this world passes away. While of course this example is extreme, where do we draw the line between living and hiding from living?

    • Kim, AGREED! Lol! I actually did some yoga pre-DVD purchase while I was in physical therapy last year. I suffer from a neurological disorder that makes many forms of exercise a no-go for me, so Yoga (when I actually do it) gets me to stretch and exercise without strain. Pilates is also good, too.

  14. I used to agree with the mindset of Mohler & Driscoll on things like this. But I don’t anymore.

    I believe that God is more concerned about our heart and our motives for performing actions…than just the actions themselves.

    I’m pretty sure it’s possible to do yoga without praying to hindu gods. Since you have to believe something exists (or at least hope it does) to pray to it.

    On the flip side…in my mind, it makes me ask the question if it’s possible to do the ritual of communion without believing in Jesus. Or for that matter, say you’re a part of another religion, can you go through a communion ritual all the while focused on whatever other god you worship?

    And did the spiritual part of Christian communion “happen” for you, or did you just get the physical benefit of eating some bread & drinking some juice?

  15. I have mixed feelings about yoga. I have a sister who has been attending yoga classes for many years, twice a week – she is not born-again. She goes to all the conferences and weekend community events that happen in the city – I think it started out as a stress-reliever but it has definitely evolved into something much more. I do feel that it is very subtle and sometimes these things sneak up on you…it doesn’t happen overnight. Just saying.

  16. “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely and of a good report. If there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8 I think it all boils down to how are we spending our time-is it on worldly things or the things of God? I think believers pooh pooh things such as yoga, entertainment, etc and say it doesn’t really matter. I say it does, coming from the viewpoint that I did open a door to the occult in my teens with seances, horoscopes, meditation, ouija boards, etc. not to mention what I was watching, reading, and listening to. It all came to a head with a demonic visitation in the middle of the night when I was in my 30’s-I don’t think it’s worth it to dabble in this junk. God has much better for His kids than what the world (and we know who is in control of the world-Satan) has to offer.

  17. “There’s just no way that two binomials are able to be multiplied through FOIL without the involvement of the Prince of Darkness.” I seriously almost snorted coffee out of my nose when I read this.

    I mean – yeah, I have some opinions on Driscoll (…meh…) and Yoga (which, shockingly, I have practiced for about a decade – and WHILE I was serving in a church [dramatic music cue] *BUM-BUM-BUM*), but I’ll simply just say this for now: Matt – dude, I love the way you write. And the heart that these words come from.

    Way to make me feel intimidated when *I* write. :)

  18. Is yoga evil? Hmmm….. I don’t think a Christian should practice proper yoga. If we understand what Hindus are doing during yoga, why would we as children of the living God want to emulate that? However, I do some stretches to strengthen my back muscles (PT recommended). Does it resemble a yoga pose? Possibly. I don’t worry about it. My heart is only concerned with strengthening my back so I can put it to good use. I guess I am saying that it is possible to do the stretches for physical benefit, but any meditations or reflections I think we should back away from.

    As for the enemy attacking a man’s child because he read Peter Pan, I don’t think so. I think it is wrong to dabble in the occult, and that that opens us up to all sorts of trouble, but it is not like he was invoking or worshipping the enemy. You typed the enemy’s name in your post. Did he attack you afterwards because he was somehow summoned? (Okay. I keep referring to him as “the enemy” instead of by name. I do that to try to keep him from noticing me. How has that been working for me so far? Not as well as I’ve hoped.)

  19. I don’t think I’d go as far as to say yoga is ‘demonic’. And I have more than once disagreed with Mark Driscoll’s preachings. However, I too believe that yoga is something that should not be practiced by Christians.

    I heard a Pastor on twitter say (or saw him say) that to say yoga is demonic is like saying rock n’roll is demonic, which I made me a tad saddened and concerned that a pastor would be so ignorant to know where this concern had come from. I had no idea that God said we shouldn’t listen to music! However, the bible does tell us about the concern of becoming involved worshipping other Gods, idols, and to stay away from other spiritual practices that are not of Him.

    One of the most common yoga exercises is ‘the salute to the sun’ and many others include salutes and imitations of other Gods and idols connected with its religious and spiritual basis.

    I also have had firsthand experience of the issues I had after dabbling with other spiritual practices – tarot card reading, meditation, yoga and palmistry. It’s just not to be messed with. Yes. God is bigger than ALL OF IT (see Exodus for a good example – though the magicians could perform some of the ‘miracles’ like turning the river to blood, they were not as powerful as God’s through Moses and Aaron). But that does not mean we should act like it has no effect.

    So if you want to get an exercise like yoga without the spiritual crap….do Pilates. :)

  20. I am pretty sure that the people who do the most criticism of yoga have never done it. If you can think of anything other than where in the sam hill your leg is in some of those poses, you’re not doing it right. Both yoga and Pilates helped me get through a horrible time precisely because they require single focused concentration to get the poses completely right. If you can pray during that, great. I was never ever in a class that suggested I should have anything to do with Hinduism, and granted that would probably change my perspective except that they can’t make me give homage to anyone I choose not to.

    Saying that Christians shouldn’t do yoga because it’s not consistent with Christianity is like saying fat people shouldn’t go to church because it’s not good exercise. Look around on Sunday and see where we’d be if we instituted *that* policy. And for what it’s worth, I find Baptist teachings to be far less consistent with my relationship with Christ than a sun salutation or warrior pose. But that’s just me.

  21. normally i read this on my google reader, but i thought it was important enough to go to this site.

    i don’t necessarily practice yoga. but i practice stretching. i have mild scoliosis, which makes my muscles extremely tight on one side of my body.

    i guess technically I should wait for God to heal me instead of stretching, but i’ll have lots of time to stretch in hell.

    (sarcasm intended)

  22. Matt,

    All I have to say to you is…

    “Fact: the only people who can self-heal are Rambo and the Terminator.”

    I can’t believe you left Wolverine out of that statement, he should have been, like, first even!

  23. Thanks for putting your inimitable spin on this, Matt.

    While I understand the genuine concerns at the heart of discussions about yoga, I frankly get so tired of them, or at least the “sound the alarm” direction they take. Perhaps that’s partly due to their bad penny nature – they just keep turning up as faithfully as I can count on the slew of articles on Christian Web sites that appear each October. I’m sure you know which ones I mean. As far as I can tell, they’re all basically a recycle of the ones that were printed the year before. It would also be nice of such subjects could be addressed without getting Christians laughed at…but I guess we should be used to that.

  24. Really? THIS many responses over if Yoga is evil or not?

    At the risk of over-simplification: can we genuinely and honestly classify the ACTIONS of Yoga as “evil?” Last time I checked, they – the poses – did not have the capacity to exhibit morals, have souls, or even have the ability to take action. It’s the same basis as calling a particular genre of music “evil” – music is a medium, and it’s not the notes on the scale themselves that are evil: it’s how they’re used. (See also: “money, the love of” versus “money” in relation to “the root of all evil.”)

    Having said that, I have discovered that “Jonas Brothers” is actually an anagram for “Nor Abhor Jests” – meaning, they are clearly trying to establish a cult based on laughter therapy.

    I’m not so ignorant as to believe that Yoga CAN’T be used for evil, just like MUSIC can be used for evil. But to make a blanket statement like “yoga is teh suX0r” and because it has the potential to be used as a venue for non-Christians to connect with a “higher plane of consciousness” (or whatever) is akin in some ways to saying we should never get behind the wheel of a car or turn on our television.

    Maybe if Peter had just had a dream about stretching exercises and not coven-hoofed animals this conversation might be moot.

  25. We actually covered this topic today over at our place- check it out. Come for the Mark Driscoll photoshopped pic, stay for the redemptive theology!

    http://theamericanjesus.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/yoga-is-demonic/

  26. Not so much a fan of the Yoga, think it is wrong to practice…send you to hell…not really sure to be honest. Burning Wii’s may send you to hell though…

  27. I’ve heard Yoga shouldn’t be practiced by Christians from a variety of well respected sources, but I think, in my opinion, that borders on being a tad legalistic. I won’t do Yoga where the teacher talks about being “one with nature.” However, Wii Fit Plus yoga I will do because it doesn’t make it religous. I think if a person wants to do Yoga, they should find a class or dvd or game that isn’t going to make it a hindu experience or even an enviromental experience. My friend over at Kristine Remixed reccomends a Christian DVD of yoga where they focus on scripture.

    Personally, yoga has helped in my weight loss. I don’t do just yoga though.

  28. Just wondering…does it help me out that I do yoga with the DVD muted? Just wondering.

  29. Evil doesn’t need a reason to happen.
    Satan doesn’t need an excuse to attack us.
    If you look for the devil behind all the bushes, you might forget to look beside you, where he is standing in plain sight.

  30. “By fighting the wrong enemy and pursuing the wrong villain, Christians have squandered their energies which would be much better spent fighting the real culprit. . . ”

    A quote taken out of context from: http://www.jamesrobison.net/?q=node/47

    However, i think that many Christians these days set up straw men of what is “evil” & seek to knock them over or burn them out. Jesus said, “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.” Matthew 15:11. This may be out of context, too, but i think it is clear that Jesus felt the heart of man (women/people) is where “defilement” or evil originates.

    I’ve taken yoga classes. The chanting was not the focus, but the stretching & poses. I prayed thru the time. I said my own quiet blessing when dismissed in place of the teacher’s. Surely this is a fertile ground to live out our faith.

    I really dislike the black/white legalism of the statements made claiming yoga “demonic.” Let’s not fight the wrong enemy.

  31. its so stunning to me that this is even an issue Christians are debating right now, its absurd. Maybe I’m just that liberal, but geez…

    • Don’t judge them, Charlie, they’re just not getting enough exercise in light of all the covered dish suppers. 😀

  32. Hi Matt,

    If Chuck Norris ever tries to feed me to his bears, I’ll sic my defending spirit, Tinkerbell, on him!

  33. I’m surprised no one has brought up the Harry Potter example yet. Are they just kids books or a gateway into witchcraft? One the one hand, I can’t ignore that Christians formerly involved in the occult say JK Rowling has replicated spells and rituals exactly. On the other hand, the overall theme of the books is not “go talk to demons, kids,” but rather that love and courage can triumph over evil – even a villain who possess people like a demon. I read the books mostly so I could make an informed decision about them, and felt no temptation to play with Ouija boards, etc. But maybe it would be different for an impressionable young kid. Maybe these things should be considered on a case-by-case basis, with a cautionary label.

    The same way, I wonder about yoga’s connection to Hinduism, but I’ve never taken a yoga class on which to base my judgement. The yoga poses I learned in pilates class help my back though. And once on a church retreat I learned some meditative techniques where focused on either counting to 10 or repeating “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.” So I guess I’m ok with yoga as long as I’m not invoking Hindu gods?

    • I mentioned Harry Potter. 😉

    • I feel the same way about Harry Potter. To me, it is just a corking good story. I think, if you balk at Harry Potter, then you are going to have a problem with Star Wars or any other sci fi, or even fiction.

      For a long time some religious groups had real problems with fiction, novels as “lies” or that entertainment was evil, or even any written word outside the Bible. Where do you draw the line?

      I agree that this discussion is along those lines.

    • Why does the Church have to follow traditions from other religions, i.e. yoga which takes its roots from Hinduism, Christmas which has pagan roots, thanks to Constantine, Easter (Ishtar) which has roots in paganism-fertility-eggs, bunnies…when God has ordained perfectly good holidays which Jesus actually observed in the 7 feasts of the year. We get to party over 80 days a year observing those feasts as well as the Sabbaths and New Moons-yup, it’s in the Bible. As to entertainment-think graven images. I may sound legalistic, but as a Karaite believer, I follow the Word and not man-and I don’t feel as if I am missing out on anything.

      • So….Yoga isn’t a holiday. The fact that Hindus stretched their bodies (created by God, in His image, just like yours) this way and the pharisees didn’t is not a reason to dismiss it. After all, you drive cars like the pagans, cook in ovens created by heathen unbelievers, wear britches styled after non-middle-eastern peoples, and probably wear your hair in a decidedly non-biblical way. Just because something like an exercise or a technology (yeah, I went there, you’re using a computer which is just as graven an image as traditional entertainment) doesn’t make it an evil practice. I’m glad you don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything, and I feel things too. Most of the feelings I have felt after exercising are biblical – I’m as tired as Moses when he needed to have his arms held up, able to climb trees with strength and dexterity like Zacheus, and usually felt like I’ve buffeted my body in a 1 Corinthians 9:27 kinda way.

        • Yeah, you are right about the cars, ovens, computers, etc. I don’t wear britches, btw. God says to be holy as He is holy and posing ones body in positions imitating Hindu gods is not my idea of holy-and we are not redeeming what is evil-there are other methods of exercising that don’t involve that-that is a lie from the enemy, I believe. He is very subtle in disguising himself as an angel of light, making seemingly innocent activities harmful to us spiritually. In an earlier post, I described these innocent behaviors that lead to demonic oppression for years until I became a believer in Jesus. Moses WALKED for exercise as did most people in Bible days-we were designed to do that-happy exercising to you….

          • PS, Jeanne-good job of ducking the pagan Christian holidays.

          • And again, if you think all yoga is about imitating hindu gods, you’ve not done it. Some false gods sit, some stand, and some lay down. Do you avoid those positions too? Because if you don’t you’re not avoiding the lie from the enemy that these are Christian only positions.

            I also walk – like Moses, not like an Egyptian. I do that at least an hour a day, usually with dogs (the things that Jesus compared gentiles to, so I’m being biblical). I’m sorry you were demon-oppressed, and I can understand the sensitivity. I just don’t share your view that if I do something that an evil person also did at some point that I’m paying homage to Satan. My God is bigger than that, and He likes it when I work out. He told me.

            Just for the record, I didn’t “duck” the tangent about holidays, I stuck to the topic of the post. Not that I’m opposed to ducking, unless it’s Peking Duck because it’s not only fattening, it’s probably Buddhist.

  34. Sarcasm is not becoming to you, Jeanne….I have done yoga-40 years ago-no thanks….

    Jesus said, “Why do you say to me Lord, Lord and don’t do what I say.” We are not going to change each other’s minds. I just feel so sad for the Body of Messiah and how the world has infiltrated if. I don’t think this blog is worth the effort anymore, which will probably make your day, Jeanne. Shalom

  35. Our Women’s ministry has a class called “Holy Yoga”, which “perverts” yoga into something that can be done by Christians without worrying about going to hell. The exact course description is “a premier style of Christian yoga that provides a vehicle for the physical worship of Christ by combining biblical teaching, meditation on God’s Word, breath work, yoga, worship and prayer. Join us as we intentionally retreat from the stress of daily life and find the peace that only God can provide when HE is at the center of our existence!” Yet another example of Christians taking something that can be a mixture of good and bad and converting it to be totally righteous. :-)

    By the way, “Peter Pan” is not really from Disney. Disney poorly adapted the Broadway play written by J.M. Barrie, who also turned it into a book, to which all of proceeds benefitted an orphanage. Helping orphans is, of course, practicing what James calls “a pure and faultless religion” So I would say that maybe the original play/book is a mixed bag because it doesn’t have the greatest protagonist but does help orphans, but the Disney version is pure evil. IMHO, of course

    I am just waiting for Pastor Driscoll to condemn the whole Star Wars series of movies, because they promote buddhist philosophies. And because George Lucas cannot write a coherent storyline.

  36. I think yoga-like poses are easy to do with out being Hindu.
    I don’t think you should kill Mario not many people knew he was a demon. I watched peter pan many times and it is just a kid-friendly Disney movie. As for algebra it is not my favorite subject either, but we all have to do it.

  37. I’m a big fan of yoga, so here’s my take on things.

    Honestly, I think that as with many things in the secular world, it depends on the environment you find yourself in. You can enjoy Harry Potter with your book group, but if your book group is a bunch of Wiccans, you might be treading on thin ice. You can enjoy a martini with the girls, but if the girls regularly get trashed and take home random guys, you’ve got a problem.

    If you practice yoga at a studio where they seem to really involve the Yogic/Hindu religious beliefs in the actual exercises, you might want to try another studio.

    I’m definitely a Christian, but I also definitely get a lot from yoga. I began taking yoga at the beginning of one of the biggest periods of (CHRISTIAN) awakening in my life during my freshman year of college, and God has absolutely revealed things to me through it. I’m the kind of person who needs structure for me to pay attention to what God is saying, and yoga is a very structured practice. There are, however, MANY different kinds of yoga, so do your research and choose a class that emphasizes exercise and health, not Hindu spirituality.

    There are also groups that educate yoga teachers with an emphasis on fitness and stress reduction as opposed to spirituality. I plan on becoming a certified instructor soon with just such a group (YogaFit). Other groups educate teachers with a VERY Hindu spiritual emphasis. But even those teachers are usually, in my experience, well aware of the fact that their class is made up of mixed cultures and beliefs, and good teachers don’t try to make you Hindu..

    This is also just me thinking out loud, but didn’t Christianity place its holidays around the same time as pagan seasonal traditions on purpose? Why can’t Christians adopt yoga and make it their own as well?

    • Sarah, apparently you and I have had a similar experience with yoga. I have never even once felt like I was being influenced spiritually, and since I don’t believe that Hindu gods are even real, I don’t fully understand how they would reach out and influence me anyway.

  38. I am voting for Matt to have 100 comments for one post. So, what about Karate, Jiu-Jitsu etc?

    And what did Paul mean by all this?

    1 Corinthians 8 Food Sacrificed to Idols

    1 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 3 But the man who loves God is known by God.

    4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

    7 But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

    9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.

    • Excellent reply, David. If I won’t be sent to hell for eating meat sacrificed to idols, I seriously doubt it will happen if I happen to be in a class with people who did the sacrificing.

  39. I am a Christian college student living with a Hindu roommate, and I pray constantly that God would reveal Himself to her.
    Right now it seems that her hinduism is more cultural than anything- the festivals and spiritual “acts” like meditation and yoga are the things that define her spirituality, not a personal relationship with a deity.
    As I invite her to my church and my Christian fellowship, she invites me to the traditional Indian celebrations like Garba and Holi. I have attended a few of them with her, and it has been a special way for the two of us to bond over traditions that are special to her. I have yet to attend yoga with her.
    At this point, I have decided that simply attending these Hindu-based (pagan) practices is not bad. While I am there, I pray to Jesus and worship my God in my own way. Holi- the festical of colors. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holi When I went I did celebrate color- and the wonderful Creator of color.
    I also see these things as a way to bond with my roommate, and if I attend the things she invites me to, then I expect her to do the same. She has dropped in on my small group occasionally, and I hope to continue sharing my faith with her at every opportunity.

    • Unless we interact with and show intentional interest in the lives of those we wish to show Christ to, how will we ever reach them? I think it’s wonderful that you are seeking to understand her better this way, and even more wonderful that she’s coming to small group with you!

  40. Well, I’m a few days late and didn’t have a chance to read through all 70+ comments, but my two cents:

    Medidation is not bad, we have a choice who or what we meditate on. So choose to meditate on God if you want.

    And if Yoga/stretching cannot be redeemed, then God isn’t big enough.

    Please take that with a grain of salt – there are some things that I wouldn’t mess with, granted. But I really do think that God is big enough for Yoga… and Mario…

  41. I loved this post! I think it’s hilarious how far some people will go. I obviously think there are some things we should stay away from, but yoga and Peter Pan are not one of them. However, I am in agreement with you on Algebra! LOL

  42. The next thing you know, Christians will be calling for a ban on Halloween in schools!
    Ben@TIC recently posted..Public Schools Are No Place For Halloween

  43. I truly see both sides of this “argument”. Nonetheless, I am thankful for PraiseMoves, the Christian alternative to yoga. Its program teaches stretches, promotoes flexiblity, and many of the same benefits of yoga, but most excitedly, it is a form a of worship and couples scipture with all of the postures. http://www.PraiseMoves.com

    • I wouldn’t like this very much for the same reason I like Pilates and Yoga. I need to concentrate very hard on the poses and the physical aspects of these disciplines to do them correctly and to the best of my ability. To divide my attention between that at God is to short change God. It’s like coming up with a way i can watch football and praise God. I might alternate, but if I’m concentrating on the game then God’s an afterthought and I don’t think that’s a good goal for worship. If I’m focused on God the way I should be the other activities would be an afterthought. I would rather exercise fully, worship fully, and do everything else in my life as fully as possible rather than only paying half attention.

  44. God is more powerful! Fear God not yoga!

  45. Hello Matty,
    Wow. We give the devil way too much power/credit. Meditate on the name of Jesus while you do yoga. The one true God’s truth can be found everywhere.
    I like Spongebob Squarepants. Do I need to make an appointment to see an exorcist? My husband was wearing a Mickey Mouse T-shirt and his conservative uncle asked if he “believed in all that stuff”. “Sure,” he replied. “It’s Mickey Krause, he’s a relative”.
    I’d be interested in seeing you in a colorful leotard.

    Namaste,
    Lazy Silly Girl

  46. “Fact: the only people who can self-heal are Rambo and the Terminator.”

    This is heresy. I don’t need to read anything else on this blog. How could you have forgotten Wolverine and the Hulk?

    Farewell

    M

    a

    t

    t

  47. I am not sure if I could relate to what other people say that yoga as demonic. It is because some people meditate and do yoga exercise without worshiping other entities.

    I don’t like Algebra since I could understand Trigonometry better.

    Sandra Oh isn’t so bad. She looked Asian alright and I didn’t find South Korean descent as bad thing too.

    Mario Brothers and Peter Pan seem alright to me.

    Thanks for the interesting insights.

    Onkyo tx-nr708 Reviewer