Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Albert Mohler says that Christians shouldn’t do yoga. Mohler told the Associated Press that it’s not good to think that ‘the body is a vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine.’ Of course, yoga practitioners, including Christian ones, vocally disagree.
The controversy started with an essay titled ‘The Subtle Body — Should Christians Practice Yoga?’ that Mohler posted on his blog late last month. Yesterday, Mohler responded to his critics with another post, titled ‘Yahoo, Yoga, and Yours Truly.’
Now, it’s worth noting that Mohler’s organization isn’t a fringe group. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is the country’s oldest seminary affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, and is apparently one of the largest theological seminaries of any kind in the world. From the Associated Press:
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.’
He said his view is ‘not an eccentric Christian position.’
Other Christian leaders have said practicing yoga is incompatible with the teachings of Jesus. Pat Robertson has called the chanting and other spiritual components that go along with yoga ‘really spooky.’ California megachurch pastor John MacArthur called yoga a ‘false religion.’ Muslim clerics have banned Muslims from practicing yoga in Egypt, Malaysia and Indonesia, citing similar concerns.