Archive for Friday, October 8, 2010

Southern Baptist leader says yoga is not Christian

October 8, 2010


— A Southern Baptist leader who is calling for Christians to avoid yoga and its spiritual attachments is getting plenty of pushback from enthusiasts who defend the ancient practice.

Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler says the stretching and meditative discipline derived from Eastern religions is not a Christian pathway to God.

Mohler said he objects to “the idea that the body is a vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine.”

“That’s just not Christianity,” Mohler told The Associated Press.

Mohler said feedback has come through e-mail and comments on blogs and other websites since he wrote an essay to address questions about yoga he has heard for years.

“I’m really surprised by the depth of the commitment to yoga found on the part of many who identify as Christians,” Mohler said.

Yoga fans say their numbers have been growing in the U.S. A 2008 study by the Yoga Journal put the number at 15.8 million, or nearly 7 percent of adults. About 6.7 percent of American adults are Southern Baptists, according to a 2007 survey by the Pew Research Center Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Mohler argued in his online essay last month that Christians who practice yoga “must either deny the reality of what yoga represents or fail to see the contradictions between their Christian commitments and their embrace of yoga.”

He said his view is “not an eccentric Christian position.”

Other Christian leaders have said practicing yoga is incompatible with the teachings of Jesus. Pat Robertson has called the chanting and other spiritual components that go along with yoga “really spooky.” California megachurch pastor John MacArthur called yoga a “false religion.” Muslim clerics have banned Muslims from practicing yoga in Egypt, Malaysia and Indonesia, citing similar concerns.


Maddy Griffin 7 years, 8 months ago

There are as many paths to God as there are people.If you believe in that type of thing.

Scott Drummond 7 years, 8 months ago

Do you have to be stupid to be a Southern Baptist? Maybe that's what the "southern" descriptor is meant to indicate. Incredible that this was determined to be newsworthy though.

jafs 7 years, 8 months ago

The fear of other ideas is not confined to Southern Baptists.

Some years ago, I had the idea that it might be nice for folks in or visiting hospitals to have a quiet meditation available - I contacted LMH and offered my services to "lead" it - my approach would not have included verbal guidance or doctrines of any kind.

The hospital chaplain vetoed the idea, saying he was concerned about what people might think if not guided.


That had never occurred to me, to be afraid of what people might think if they were simply sitting quietly.

tomatogrower 7 years, 8 months ago

That's why they have bible study groups, you know. People have to have the bible "interpreted" for them. You wouldn't want them to read it on their own.

davidsmom 7 years, 8 months ago

I do it to improve strength and flexibility and ignore all the other stuff.

phoggyjay 7 years, 8 months ago

Why is he getting so bent out of shape?

jonas_opines 7 years, 8 months ago

If we're not careful, there could easily be a war between the righteous and a bunch of moms rushing at them on their hands with their legs bent up behind their heads.

Kontum1972 7 years, 8 months ago

didnt we beat the south in the civil war?

Flap Doodle 7 years, 8 months ago

Has the dude issued a fatwa calling for the murder of Christians who don't follow his version of religion?

Stuart Evans 7 years, 8 months ago

I don't think he was looking for press, I think he was just saying whatever stupid thing came to him naturally and it offended some people enough that the news caught up with it. I'd like to see more religious nuts called to task like this.

kernal 7 years, 8 months ago

Why anyone would want their fifteen minutes of fame to be for stupidity, is beyond me.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 8 months ago

Most Churches have left God many years ago in exchange for power, control, ego and money.

That is the very reason they are increasingly making themselves irrelevant as part of the path to God.

mbulicz 7 years, 8 months ago

Sounds to me like he needs a more flexible faith.

BrianR 7 years, 8 months ago

Technically, neither is bacon so, the heck with you Southern Baptist leader.

somedude20 7 years, 8 months ago

well this dude is getting what he wants and that is attention. these people of "god" are going to be coming out of the woodworks with moronic claims just so they can get more people to give em money at their church on Sunday

hail2oldku 7 years, 8 months ago

We'll know he's on to something when the Phelps klan (yes I used the k on purpose) starts picketing yoga studios.

Kontum1972 7 years, 8 months ago

wow...i love Yoga in Star Wars....he wupped up on Count Dookoo

Ricky_Vaughn 7 years, 8 months ago

Why do some Christian groups act so exclusive? Last I checked, as long you believe that Jesus is the son of God and that he came to the earth and died to save you from your "sin", you're a Christian.

What the fudge does that have to do with Yoga?

jafs 7 years, 8 months ago

Originally, yoga was part of a Hindu religious system, with their beliefs embedded in the practice.

Westerners have adopted the stretching and relaxing part of yoga, while often ignoring or being unaware of the other aspects.

I'm not saying I think this guy's right.

jafs 7 years, 8 months ago

And, the very ideas you mention about Jesus are an excellent example of the "exclusivity" of many Christians.

whats_going_on 7 years, 8 months ago

Even if yoga was somehow a taboo thing here (???)...

tolerance for the LOSS.

craigers 7 years, 8 months ago

Jesus was definitely against yoga. On a regular basis He told others to, "Pick up your mat and walk!"

Practicality 7 years, 8 months ago

After attending a "hot yoga" class one time, I concur with the Southern Baptists, it felt like I was in H-E-double hockey sticks. That must have been why I never went back.

fancy80 7 years, 8 months ago

I loved the hot yoga, but it was on the pricey side, so I stopped going. I would love to go again, but the memory of the foot funk has me scared. They say nausea is normal when you particpate in Hot Yoga. One has to wonder if it is really the toxins being released from the body that causes the nausea, or the smell of your neighbors feet and sweat, co-mingled with everyone else's feet and sweat. Namaste.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 8 months ago

In its full and pure form, yoga is a religion. From that perspective, the preacher is correct: if you are devoted to Christianity, you cannot be fully devoted to some other path. The thing is, there are lots and lots of Christians who use yoga for the betterment of their bodies without any of the spiritual elements. So, yeah, the guy is right, but only if he thinks that the faith of the average Christian is so weak that one workout is going to make them abandon their "Lord". If you can't take a yoga class without losing your faith... well, that's like divorcing your wife because a slightly cute girl smiled at you once.

jehovah_bob 7 years, 8 months ago

I heard everybody farts in yoga class, or maybe that was pilates. Either way I'd never be able to make it through a session because I'd be laughing so hard.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 8 months ago

Yes, but true devotees eat so much curried foods that it actually smells prettty good!

Hypochristian 7 years, 7 months ago

I fart in both yoga and pilates. I do not discriminate!

fancy80 7 years, 8 months ago

yeah, it's funny when it is someone elses. But when you do it, you are mortified. But let's be realistic way you can bend over, butt in the air and hold a fart in. No way....especially after the nice salad you had for lunch. No freaking way.

beatrice 7 years, 8 months ago

Why do they have to be so up-tight?

Get it? Tight ... not stretching...

oh, never mind.

purplesage 7 years, 8 months ago

Al Mohler's comments have, as a number of the comments have observed, a proper and well-founded basis. He never insulted yoga - unless simply pointing out that does have Hindu roots and is a conflicting spiritual path constitutes an insult. However, some of your comments are simply rude and intolerant. Why must you resort to caricatures and generalities, whether it be about the South, about Baptists, or about Christians?

Clevercowgirl 7 years, 8 months ago

I'm not sure if yoga is a pathway to god, but here are a few facts about yoga, proven by recent studies. Yoga and meditation improve the survival of cancer patients. Yoga and meditation can be used to lower stress, and blood pressure. Yoga improves flexability and balance. It has been proven to reduce falls by seniors. Yes, there can me some prayer involved, such as drawing the goodness, wisdom and peace of god within.

What is wrong with yoga, Mr. Mohler? Does god only listen to those who pray the Southern Baptist way?

tomatogrower 7 years, 8 months ago

I had a really bad teacher once, who was a Baptist. He tried to tell us that Hindu's were satanists. As I found out later, that was a lie. If you lie, you are a liar, and why would anyone want to listen to this teacher's religion? Does Christianity sanction lying?

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