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Yoga isn’t the same as Christianity?

by Brad A. Greenberg

October 9, 2010 | 10:44 pm

 

I can’t explain why this is getting attention, but the Rev. Al Mohler, the head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has made a point of saying that yoga isn’t the viable pathway to God. Christians beware.

Via the AP:

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.”

True as that may be, I think it’s easy to answer that question—and it doesn’t require Christians seeking an alternative path to God. It’s the former part of Mohler’s statement.

Let’s be honest, most if not all Christians who do yoga aren’t “practicing” it. They’re not training to be yogis. They are exercising. It’s not a lot different than when I go to the gym and lift weights or play basketball. Just because people exercise religiously doesn’t mean they’ve turned it into their religion.

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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