An article that recently caught my attention was a Southern Baptist leader stating that Yoga is not appropriate for Christians.
Strangely I happen to agree with him.
From it’s conception, Christianity is and was an apocalyptic cult awaiting the return of a messianic figure upon which is triggered the end of the world.
Many of the early teachings reject the physical world and of course that of the physical body. From these early times the practices of celibacy, and abstinence became more and more common, often including penance for sins either real or imagined. The physical body came from sin and went on to sin further. Pains in the body are often seen as either punishments from God or supernatural malevolence.
The Vatican has previously warned that focusing on the physical aspects of meditation “can degenerate into a cult of the body” and that equating bodily states with mysticism “could also lead to psychic disturbance and, at times, to moral deviations.” Such concerns can be traced to the early days of Christianity, when the church opposed the Gnostics’ belief that salvation came not through faith but through a mystical inner knowledge.
Yoga is a physical and mental discipline which strengthens the body and mind. It is said the practice of yoga was used to help the ascetic both physically and mentally toughen up to enable them to endure hours of meditation, and like the Gnostics, seek mystical inner knowledge.
Most western people practice purely for the exercise and just for keep fit. The focus is on this and not the pursuit of enlightenment.
In a way it’s easy to see how the Hindu practice of Yoga can be seen as contradictory to the teachings of Christianity, although it does raise the question, why does the church feel so threatened by groups of (mostly) women stretching in a sports centre?
Personally it is part of the long-standing tradition of seeing something in popular culture that the church has no control over (see making money from), and pointing the finger at it and saying “This is bad!” From Rock music in the 20th century to the theatre in the 16th century, it has always been the case. A desperate attempt to maintain some feudal grip over the popular consciousness. And that’s the key phrase, consciousness.
In the Judeo – Christian philosophy the emphasis is on faith and prayer. Spiritual salvation comes from a third- party and is not a path one should follow without a priest or vicar to make sure you are shepherded along the way. Those who dare to walk the path without are doomed to fail.
What they really are scared of is more folk finding out that they do not need a third party to intervene with them and the divine. The high ones are accessible and are not some cruel miser we should all be scared of (who also infinitely loves us/damns us forever).
When more of our folk come to realise this, the less control the fear-mongering shepherds will have.
Hail the New Awakening!
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