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Yoga Is Demonic

October 13, 2010


Or at least that’s what Albert Mohler and Mark Driscoll would have you believe. He’s what Mr. Driscoll had to say in a recent interview with the Seattle Times:


“A recent essay by the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., warned Christians that yoga is contradictory to Christianity. And local megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church went even further, saying earlier this year that yoga is “absolute paganism.”

“Should Christians stay away from yoga because of its demonic roots? Totally. Yoga is demonic,” Driscoll said. “If you just sign up for a little yoga class, you’re signing up for a little demon class.”


Now, I’m not shocked to hear Driscoll bash yoga. Obviously it’s not the most masculine thing in the world. So, therefore in Driscoll’s mind it must also be non-Christian. But when you label everything under the sun “demonic” and “pagan” you lose some credibility. That is if you had any to begin with.

Now, to be fair: does yoga have “pagan” (Hindu) origins? Yes. And so does Christmas and Easter. The church intentionally selected pagan holy days and rituals and reclaimed them for use in the kingdom.

For me this is the heart of the Christian faith and the very point of redemption and salvation. We see this over and over again in the gospels. Jesus, the “cleanest” and holiest of holy reaches out, touches, and restores the unholy. The entire structure of existence is reshaped in this redemptive act. No longer does the holy become corrupted through it’s contact with the holy, instead the unclean is made clean again because it has come in contact with the Savior.

We have, I think, in many ways reverted back to the via negativa (negative way) faith of our recent forefathers. We define ourselves almost exclusively by what we DON’T do and who or what we DON’T come in contact with. This couldn’t be further from the gospel Jesus proclaimed when He sat down with sinners, ate with tax collectors, and defended adulterers.

Yes, we must always be on our guard and flee from temptation. But at the same time we must remember that the unholy, the “pagan” is made holy when it comes in contact with the holy. We are God’s holy people charged with spreading that holiness and grace to a lost and dying world. Instead of spending all of our time calling things and people “pagan” and “demonic” perhaps we should start to imagine ways that those unholy things and people can be reclaimed and restored for use in the kingdom of God.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2010 2:52 pm

    I like the point you make about how often we define ourselves by what we DON’T do than what we do. I catch myself doing that often. I think it helps us all feel better about all the bad stuff we do every single day…we can justify those actions by saying, “well, at least I don’t do THAT.”

    Regardless, I love yoga. I actually hate the chanting part of it and never participate in it if one of the teachers uses it. I focus on the stretching, the detoxifying, and the incredible, oh, so good pain. I guess Driscoll would question my faith, but fortunately, I don’t much care!

  2. Brother K permalink
    October 13, 2010 3:17 pm

    I don’t know which shot I like more: the one above or the “Jazz Hands” Driscoll over at Jesus Needs New PR.

    All snarking aside (and it’s hard to put it aside with this topic) what is with these ‘macho’ theologians and the constant hum of fear in their hearts? It makes me think of 1 Corinthians 8 (regarding food sacrificed to idols); on the one hand, any ‘gods’ invoked during yoga have no power over Christians so we should feel free to exercise as we see fit. But in doing so, are we creating a stumbling block for Mr. Driscoll & Co. who may not be as strong in their faith & knowledge as they proclaim?

    I hope there’s a way (in love) to say “Lighten up, Francis” to Mark and Al and actually build them up past this. After all, Daddy’s 43 and I plan to stay limber using any means necessary, y’know?

  3. October 13, 2010 4:01 pm

    Nice pic, man! But I said Mark was “beefy,” not a “beefcake!” I like your take on this. Unclean is made clean, not the other way around.


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