I?ve seen somewhere that things such as yoga are instruments of deception
becausethey deal with mystic andspiritual aspects. Iquite agree with this
position. Can you please elaborate? What about martial arts?


I believe it is possible to over react to yoga and the martial arts.
Obviously, no Christian will (or should) take part in idolatrous Hindu or
Buddhist worship practices. It is true that yoga has its origins in Hindu
worship and practice. We could say the same about the martial arts. Many
if not most of them have some sort of religious overtones, be they
Buddhist, Shinto or whatever religion. Having said that, for many people
yoga is simply an exercise program which helps them to be in tune with
their bodies and to treat their bodies better. It is hard to fault such a
program. The same can be said for most martial arts practices. I see no
harm in yoga or the martial arts.

Having said that, there clearly are grey areas and even areas which are
black and white. Christians should not be seeking mystical experiences
through Hindu chants to pagan gods. Some martial arts practices will put
a Christian in a compromising position as well. I understand that there
are potential pitfalls. Nevertheless, I believe that the correct course
is not blanket condemnations, but it is wise counsel and common sense
application of biblical teaching to individual situations. To condemn
yoga as an exercise regimen outright seems to me to be legalism.
Colossians 2:16-23 comes to mind. In this passage Paul states, in
essence, that creating rules to define spirituality outside those set by
the Bible does not lead to righteousness, but to pride. To declare that
no Christian would ever take part in martial arts is also legalism. Let
us apply good Christian teaching and common sense and keep from legalism.

John Oakes, PhD

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