Christians! Yogis! Can’t we all just get along?
A Southern Baptist leader told Christians the spirituality behind yoga practice doesn’t fit with the Gospel message of salvation through Christ.
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,” Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler wrote in an essay entitled The Subtle Body: Should Christians Practice Yoga?.
This story hit the religion blogs (like USA Today’s Faith and Reason and the Washington Post’s On Faith) three weeks ago, but today, AP picked up the story and Yahoo posted it on their homepage. That’s when Mohler’s statement went mainstream.
He’s now swamped with emails, responses from yoga practitioners that he says prove exactly what he’d been afraid of: people don’t see a contradiction between the two beliefs, and this practice is diluting their Christianity.
Mohler wrote on his blog:
I have heard endless claims that there is no incompatibility between yoga and Christianity because it makes people feel better, it helps spirituality, it is a better way to know God, etc. There is no embarrassment on the part of these hundreds of email writers that they are replacing biblical Christianity with a religion of their own invention.
We are in worse shape than we thought. I have heard from a myriad of souls who have called me insane, incompetent, stupid, vile, fundamentalist, and perverted. Some others are best left unrepeated. These souls claim to be Christian, but offer no biblical argument nor do they even acknowledge the basic fact that yoga, as a spiritual practice, runs directly counter to the spiritual counsel of the Bible.
No word on what he thinks about Christoga and other attempts to Christianize the practice, which began as a physical and mental ritual in Hinduism and later in Buddhism and Jainism.