US evangelical leader’s ‘yoga at odds with Christianity’ comment stirs controversy

Friday, October 8, 2010

NEW YORK - An American evangelical leader, Albert Mohler, who has cautioned Christians against the practice of yoga, saying that its spiritual basis violates the tenets of Christianity, has sparked a storm.

“Yoga begins and ends with an understanding of the body that is, to say the very least, at odds with the Christian understanding,” Mohler wrote in a critical essay titled “Should Christians Practice Yoga?”

“Christians are not called to empty the mind or to see the human body as a means of connecting to and coming to know the divine,” he added.

According to the New York Daily News, stating that yoga “threatens” to push Christians into a “post-Christian, spiritually polyglot” reality, Mohler asks, “Should any Christian willingly risk that?”

Mohler’s theory has unleashed a storm of controversy, but the Southern Baptist Seminary President insisted that Christianity and yoga are fundamentally incompatible.

“When Christians practice yoga, they must either deny the reality of what yoga represents or fail to see the contradictions between their Christian commitments and their embrace of yoga,” Mohler said.

“The contradictions are not few, nor are they peripheral,” he added.

Yoga refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines that originated in India.

Within Hinduism, it also refers to one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy, and to the goal towards which that school directs its practices.

In Jainism, yoga is the sum total of all activities - mental, verbal and physical.

In the West, yoga is typically associated as a form of exercise. (ANI)

Filed under: World, Yoga

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