Is yoga really incompatible with Christianity? That's the belief of evangelical leader Albert Mohler, who claims that yoga's spiritual underpinnings violate the tenets of the Christian faith. The Southern Baptist Seminary president last month wrote an essay warning Christians not to practice the meditative discipline because it derives from Eastern traditions. "That is just not Christianity," he wrote. Mohler's warning prompted a flood of protest from people crediting yoga with reviving their spirituality, even their Christian faith. Is it too much of a stretch to call yoga anti-Christian? (Watch an AP report about the controversy)
Christians can practice yoga without blaspheming: Granted, "Christian yoga" is an "oxymoron," says Tiffani Burnett-Velez at Yahoo! News. But there is nothing anti-Christian about doing stretching and breathing exercises if you are not actively "praying to Hindu gods." Simply carrying out an exercise program doesn't make you into an unbeliever.
"Is there such a thing as Christian yoga? A Catholic perspective"
Yoga fanatics are in denial: But yoga is not just about simple stretching and toning of the body, says Steve McConkey at Christian News Wire. For Hindus, it is a discipline focused on achieving spiritual enlightenment. Any Christian promoting yoga as spiritual relief simply doesn't realize that it "promotes Hinduism, spiritually and symbolically."
"Cambridge, MA, Hindu yoga accepted while Christian symbols are taken down"
Why is Mohler so bent out of shape? I don't understand the Christian Right's fear of "stealth Hinduism," says Philip Goldberg at The Huffington Post. Yoga is a form of exercise that many Christians enjoy. Does Mohler really think so little of his flock as to fear they might "convert because they chant some Sanskrit mantras"? Perhaps he ought to "calm down with a few forward bends and some alternate nostril breathing."
"Calm down, Christians. Yoga is not a threat"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Ferguson riots were terrible — but this racist reaction was worse
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Hey, scolds: Stop telling us to enjoy a healthy Thanksgiving
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- Don't argue about politics this Thanksgiving. Just don't.
- Don't blame Chuck Hagel: Obama's foreign policy has been a disaster from end to end
Subscribe to the Week