Why Yoga scares ultra-conservative Christians
Yesterday on The 700 Club, Pat Robertson demonstrated once again his strange, warped values system when responding to a caller curious about the possible effects of so-called “New Age” type activities such as yoga and veganism on her teenage daughter.
It became clear almost immediately that Robertson had not the faintest clue what he was attempting to explain. When addressing the desire of this woman’s daughter to participate in yoga classes with a few of her new friends, our apparently confused host made this suggestion.
“Along with yoga they have a mantra and the mantra you say is in Hindu. You don’t know what the Hindu says but actually it’s a prayer to a Hindu deity and so it sounds like gibberish…but you’re praying to a Hindu deity. You don’t want your daughter in that. Stretching exercise is cool, praying to a Hindu deity is not too cool.”
First of all, the language is called “Hindi”, which comes from Sanskrit. Additionally not all Hindus speak Hindi and vice versa. Second any individual who has actually put sincere effort into studying yoga or Hinduism understands that not every mantra consists of an invocation of some deity and that one need not even utilize a mantra if it does not necessarily suit one’s ends.
Third, what harm can possibly come (leaving out the high probability of violent demonic possession and the downfall of all western civilization) from invoking any deity worshipped by millions of Hindus on a daily basis; deities, many of which, it may also be noted, pre-exist the Judaeo-Christian God by centuries?
Furthermore, can one really make all that great of a distinction between saying one’s Christian prayers at night and repeating some type of mantra? They are both enlisted by their respective believers as means towards attaining some semblance of internal discipline, both physically and mentally (think kneeling while praying).
When seen in this light Pat Robertson’s stance on these matters can be recognized as the naked, senseless reasoning of a man who is almost entirely removed from modern, progressive discourse. This removal has been continually fostered by the evangelical information bubble within which Robertson, and countless others like him, have willingly imprisoned themselves.
The very idea that praying to a Hindu deity is inherently “not cool,” or, in other words, “the path to the dark side,” gives one a fairly transparent look into the way many ultra-conservative Christian evangelicals see religious freedom. On the one hand Christianity is (obviously) the end-all be-all of world religions. On the other it exists in constant battle against all ideological competitors.
Because of this, then, any other religion simply represents an exercise in futility as Jesus Christ is soon to return wielding a flaming sword with which to destroy the evil ones. It is also very important to note that Pat Robertson likely believes that all the world’s Hindus will be among this group.
Progressives must seek to understand the significant differences present across global cultures. Practicing Hinduism, Christianity, or even Satanism will yield to only what one seeks. To that end, what harm can there be in introducing Christian teens to other religions? It seems that Pat Robertson fears that the youth will find something far cooler than he.