Climate Change: What Do Scientists Say?

By Richard Lindzen April 2017

I am an atmospheric physicist. I have published more than 200 scientific papers. For 30 years I taught at MIT, during which time the climate has changed remarkably little. But the cry of “global warming” has grown ever more shrill. In fact, it seems that the less the climate changes, the louder the voices of the climate alarmists get. So, let us clear the air and create a more accurate picture of where we really stand on the issue of global warming or, as it is now called—“climate change.”

There are basically three groups of people dealing with this issue. Groups one and two are scientists. Group three consists mostly, at its core, of politicians, environmentalists and the media.

Group one is associated with the scientific part of the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change or IPCC (Working Group 1). These are scientists who mostly believe that recent climate change is primarily due to man’s burning of fossil fuels—oil, coal and natural gas. This releases C02, carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere and, they believe, this might eventually dangerously heat the planet.

Group two is made up of scientists who don’t see this as an especially serious problem. This is the group I belong to. We’re usually referred to as skeptics.

We note that there are many reasons why the climate changes—the sun, clouds, oceans, the orbital variations of the earth, as well as a myriad of other inputs. None of these is fully understood, and there is no evidence that CO2 emissions are the dominant factor.

But actually there is much agreement between both groups of scientists. The following are such points of agreement:

1) The climate is always changing.

2) CO2 is a greenhouse gas without which life on earth is not possible, but adding it to the atmosphere should lead to some warming.

3) Atmospheric levels of CO2 have been increasing since the end of the Little Ice Age in the 19th century.

4) Over this period (the past two centuries), the global mean temperature has increased slightly and erratically by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit or one degree Celsius; but only since the 1960’s have man’s greenhouse emissions been sufficient to play a role

5) Given the complexity of climate, no confident prediction about future global mean temperature or its impact can be made. The IPCC acknowledged in its own 2007 report that “The long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

Most importantly, the scenario that the burning of fossil fuel leads to catastrophe is not part of what either group asserts. So why are so many people worried, indeed, panic stricken about this issue. Here is where Group Three comes in—the politicians, environmentalists, and media.

Global warming alarmism provides them, more than any other issue, with the things they most want: For politicians it’s money and power. For environmentalists it’s money for their organizations and confirmation of their near religious devotion to the idea that man is a destructive force acting upon nature. And for the media it’s ideology, money, and headlines. Doomsday scenarios sell.

Meanwhile, over the last decade, scientists outside of climate physics have jumped on the bandwagon, publishing papers blaming global warming for everything from acne to the Syrian civil war. And crony capitalists have eagerly grabbed for the subsidies that governments have so lavishly provided.

Unfortunately, group three is winning the argument because they have drowned out the serious debate that should be going on. But while politicians, environmentalists and media types can waste a lot of money and scare a lot of people, they won’t be able to bury the truth. The climate will have the final word on that.

I’m Richard Lindzen, emeritus professor of atmospheric sciences at MIT, for Prager University

Questions for Christians who support “Same Sex” marriage

Rainbow Flag

Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

July 1, 2015

For evangelicals who lament last Friday’s US Supreme Court decision, it’s been a hard few days. We aren’t asking for emotional pity, nor do I suspect many people are eager to give us any. Our pain is not sacred. Making legal and theological decisions based on what makes people feel better is part of what got us into this mess in the first place. Nevertheless, it still hurts.

There are many reasons for our lamentation, from fear that religious liberties will be taken away to worries about social ostracism and cultural marginalization. But of all the things that grieve us, perhaps what’s been most difficult is seeing some of our friends, some of our family members, and some of the folks we’ve sat next to in church giving their hearty “Amen” to a practice we still think is a sin and a decision we think is bad for our country. It’s one thing for the whole nation to throw a party we can’t in good conscience attend. It’s quite another to look around for friendly faces to remind us we’re not alone and then find that they are out there jamming on the dance floor. We thought the rainbow was God’s sign (Gen. 9:8-17).

If you consider yourself a Bible-believing Christian, a follower of Jesus whose chief aim is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, there are important questions I hope you will consider before picking up your flag and cheering on the sexual revolution. These questions aren’t meant to be snarky or merely rhetorical. They are sincere, if pointed, questions that I hope will cause my brothers and sisters with the new rainbow themed avatars to slow down and think about the flag you’re flying.

  1. How long have you believed that gay marriage is something to be celebrated?
  2. What Bible verses led you to change your mind?
  3. How would you make a positive case from Scripture that sexual activity between two persons of the same sex is a blessing to be celebrated?
  4. What verses would you use to show that a marriage between two persons of the same sex can adequately depict Christ and the church?
  5. Do you think Jesus would have been okay with homosexual behaviour between consenting adults in a committed relationship?
  6. If so, why did he reassert the Genesis definition of marriage as being one man and one woman?
  7. When Jesus spoke against porneia what sins do you think he was forbidding?
  8. If some homosexual behaviour is acceptable, how do you understand the sinful “exchange” Paul highlights in Romans 1?
  9. Do you believe that passages like 1 Corinthians 6:9 and Revelation 21:8 teach that sexual immorality can keep you out of heaven?
  10. What sexual sins do you think they were referring to?
  11. As you think about the long history of the church and the near universal disapproval of same-sex sexual activity, what do you think you understand about the Bible that Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, and Luther failed to grasp?
  12. What arguments would you use to explain to Christians in Africa, Asia, and South America that their understanding of homosexuality is biblically incorrect and your new understanding of homosexuality is not culturally conditioned?
  13. Do you think Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were motivated by personal animus and bigotry when they, for almost all of their lives, defined marriage as a covenant relationship between one man and one woman?
  14. Do you think children do best with a mother and a father?
  15. If not, what research would you point to in support of that conclusion?
  16. If yes, does the church or the state have any role to play in promoting or privileging the arrangement that puts children with a mom and a dad?
  17. Does the end and purpose of marriage point to something more than an adult’s emotional and sexual fulfilment?
  18. How would you define marriage?
  19. Do you think close family members should be allowed to get married?
  20. Should marriage be limited to only two people?
  21. On what basis, if any, would you prevent consenting adults of any relation and of any number from getting married?
  22. Should there be an age requirement in this country for obtaining a marriage license?
  23. Does equality entail that anyone wanting to be married should be able to have any meaningful relationship defined as marriage?
  24. If not, why not?
  25. Should your brothers and sisters in Christ who disagree with homosexual practice be allowed to exercise their religious beliefs without fear of punishment, retribution, or coercion?
  26. Will you speak up for your fellow Christians when their jobs, their accreditation, their reputation, and their freedoms are threatened because of this issue?
  27. Will you speak out against shaming and bullying of all kinds, whether against gays and lesbians or against Evangelicals and Catholics?
  28. Since the evangelical church has often failed to take unbiblical divorces and other sexual sins seriously, what steps will you take to ensure that gay marriages are healthy and accord with Scriptural principles?
  29. Should gay couples in open relationships be subject to church discipline?
  30. Is it a sin for LGBT persons to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage?
  31. What will open and affirming churches do to speak prophetically against divorce, fornication, pornography, and adultery wherever they are found?
  32. If “love wins,” how would you define love?
  33. What verses would you use to establish that definition?
  34. How should obedience to God’s commands shape our understanding of love?
  35. Do you believe it is possible to love someone and disagree with important decisions they make?
  36. If supporting gay marriage is a change for you, has anything else changed in your understanding of faith?
  37. As an evangelical, how has your support for gay marriage helped you become more passionate about traditional evangelical distinctness like a focus on being born again, the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on the cross, the total trustworthiness of the Bible, and the urgent need to evangelize the lost?
  38. What open and affirming churches would you point to where people are being converted to orthodox Christianity, sinners are being warned of judgment and called to repentance, and missionaries are being sent out to plant churches among unreached peoples?
  39. Do you hope to be more committed to the church, more committed to Christ, and more committed to the Scriptures in the years ahead?
  40. When Paul at the end of Romans 1 rebukes “those who practice such things” and those who “give approval to those who practice them,” what sins do you think he has in mind?

Food for thought, I hope. At the very least, something to chew on before swallowing everything the world and Facebook put on our plate.

Yoga – Relaxation or Occult?

yoga2

Yoga is the “PRAYER” (Communication/Supplication) with a Pagan Deity.  –  Yoga is from the Sankrit word Yug, meaning “union” (with the Divine, your higher “SELF”). Yoga is a path for transcending the ordinary mind (who you think you are) in order to merge with your “higher SELF” or “God SELF.” Yoga means “to yoke” — to yoke with Brahman (i.e., the “Infinite,” the “Universal Spirit,” the impersonal force that the Hindus call “God”) via the realization of an altered state of consciousness, thereby theoretically releasing oneself from the bondage of endless reincarnation. Yoga comes out of the Hindu Vedas. It can be traced back to Patanjali, who was a religious leader. Shiva, one of Hinduism’s three most powerful gods, was known as “The Destroyer” — he’s called Yogi Swara or the “Lord of Yoga.”

Consider the following portion of an article from a secular newspaper:

“It is estimated that there are 10,000 yoga teachers in the United States, who teach between 4 and 5 million students a week. Yoga is a program that involves conscious stretching, deliberate movements, controlled breathing and relaxation exercises. Its purpose is to develop strength, flexibility, balance, body alignment, body awareness, muscular balance, calmness and controlled breathing. Yoga originated from a school of thought in the Hindu religion, which suggests that postures can isolate the soul from the body and the mind.

“In the Western world, yoga is used mainly as a form of exercise. Yoga comes from the original Sanskrit word, ‘joga,’ which means ‘to join.’ Yoga means to join body, mind and breath; to get them to work together in harmony [This is a lie!]. It’s very gentle, slow and meditative; but it requires concentration. Yoga instructors say they have received a handful of complaints from people who believe yoga is intertwined with mysticism and the occult. [We] acknowledge that yoga does indeed come from a portion of India’s Hindu religion, but [our] classes deal mainly with the physical aspects of yoga, and do not in any way coerce people to become involved in Eastern religion” [another lie]. (Source: The Bloomington Herald-Times, 1991.) (Emphasis added.)

Sadly, even professing Christians have bought into this lie. Every Yoga teacher is, in effect, a Hindu or Buddhist missionary, even though “he or she may wear a cross, insist that Jesus was a great Yogi, and protest that Yoga is not a religion, but science. This is the most blatant of lies. Yet it has been so widely proclaimed and believed that in America’s public schools, beginning in kindergarten and in almost every other area of society today, Yoga and other forms of Hindu-Buddhist occultism are taught and accepted as science. In contrast, Christianity has been thrown out of the schools and is being crowded out of every other area of life in the ‘broad-minded’ move to replace religion with the New Age ‘science’!” (Source: Peace, Prosperity, and the Coming Holocaust, p. 147.)

Yoga is clearly a New Age concept” that is deeply religious and pantheistic in its origin. It is widely practiced and supported by New Age proponents. The New Age movement denies the reality of sin, and believes that man is generally good and is divine. They teach that there is a god within us, and we are to harness that and develop it through meditation and other metaphysical techniques. They teach that the only thing people need is enlightenment regarding their divinity. They believe that through reincarnation man is reunited with God. They believe in karma, which is a debt one owes because of his previous life. They also believe and teach the evolution of man as opposed to the Creation that is taught in the Bible. Yoga is also associated with imagery, visualization, hypnosis, mind magic, chanting of mantra, positive thinking, and Silva mind techniques, which are not only unbiblical, but are potentially dangerous. When practised by professing believers, it allows a certain external spiritual influence in our lives, which is inconsistent with, and disallowed (2 Cor 6:14-18), in the teachings of the Holy Scriptures (2 Cor 4:4).

The practice of Yoga is pagan at best, and occultic at worse. Its teachings emanate from the Eastern religions, all of which teach that self is God, only we just don’t realize it:

“The goal of Yoga is ‘self-realization ‘ — to look deeply within what ought to be the temple of the one true God and there to discover the alleged ‘true Self’ or ‘higher Self’ and declare self to be God. Nothing could be more religious than that, yet with straight faces all of the Yogis insist that practicing Yoga will not change anyone’s religious beliefs. This is the religion of Antichrist; and for the first time in history it is being widely practiced throughout the Western world as Transcendental Meditation and other forms of Yoga.” (Source: The Seduction of Christianity, p. 54.)

Yoga calls itself science. “By calling itself science, Yoga (which is the very heart of Hinduism) has within the last [30] years become an integral part of Western society, where it is taught in nearly every YMCA or YWCA, in clubs, in public schools, in industry, and in many churches. Dressed in Western clothes, Yoga has gained acceptance in medicine, psychology, education, and religion under such euphemisms as ‘centering,’ ‘relaxation therapy,’ ‘self-hypnosis,’ and ‘creative visualization.’ Yoga is designed to lead to the ‘realization’ of one’s true ‘godhood’ through an inward meditative journey that finally locates the ultimate source of everything within the human psyche.” (Source: The Seduction of Christianity, p. 110.)

Hatha-Yoga is a popular form of Yoga practiced today by those looking for a form of relaxation and non-strenuous exercise. Johanna Michaelsen, however, correctly discerns:

“There is a common misconception in the West that hatha-yoga, one of about ten forms of Yoga that supposedly leads to self-realization, is merely a neutral form of exercise, a soothing and effective alternative for those who abhor jogging and calisthenics … [However], Hatha-yoga is ‘one of the six recognized systems of orthodox Hinduism’ and is at its roots religious and mystical. It is also one of the most difficult and potentially [spiritually] dangerous forms of Yoga.

“The term hatha is derived from the verb hath, which means ‘to oppress.’… What the practice of hatha-yoga is designed to do is suppress the flow of psychic energies through these channels [“symbolic, or psychic passages on either side of the spinal column”], thereby forcing the ‘serpent power’ or the kundalini force to rise through the central psychic channel in the spine (the sushumna) and up through the chakras, the supposed psychic centers of human personality and power. Westerners mistakenly believe that one can practice hatha-yoga apart from the philosophical and religious beliefs that undergird it. This is an absolutely false belief. … You cannot separate the exercises from the philosophy. … ‘The movements themselves become a form of meditation.’ The continued practice of the exercises will, whether you … intend it or not, eventually influence you toward an Eastern/mystical perspective. That is what it is meant to do! … There is, by definition, no such thing as ‘neutral’ Yoga” (Like Lambs to the Slaughter, pp. 93-95). (Last emphasis added.)

Other types or brands of Yoga:

(a) Laya Yoga: Path of Universal Body — In Laya Yoga, the Macrocosm (the Universe) is directly networked with the Microcosm (the human body). There are five centres (chakras, or “wheels”) along the spine and one between the eyebrows that directly corresponds with some aspect of creation. These chakras are linked through an etheric channel along the spine. A primordial creative energy (kundalini) lies dormant at the base of the spine in the root chakra. The Laya Yogi (someone who practices Laya Yoga), through meditation and Asanas (posture exercises), will coax this kundalini energy into traveling up the channel through each chakra until it reaches its point of origin at the top of the skull. At that point, the yogi will have merged with the source of creation. If the yogi then chooses to reverse the process, the kundalini energy will travel back down the channel recharging each centre with an increased amount of Prana (life force energy). The result is that the yogi will then have more understanding of, and control over, all aspects of creation each time this process is done.

(b) Karma Yoga: Path of Selfless Action — Action performed for the purpose of satisfying a desire has the effect of generating new desires that require additional actions. Addiction to pleasure (in any form) is a good example of this. Once the desire is satisfied, it generates more desire, which then needs to be satisfied ad infinitum. In Karma Yoga, one seeks to end this cycle by not being attached to the outcome of anything he does. Actions are thus performed based on what seems appropriate in a given situation. The person performing the action has no concern about whether the end result is “good” or “bad.” Since the actions are not performed for self-gratification, the person is free of them. As a result of not being attached to the outcome, a person can become completely involved in whatever he is doing. In this way, yogis seek to end the eternal cycle of death and rebirth.

(c) Jnana Yoga: Path of Transcendental Knowledge — This type of yoga is geared toward those who have an intellectual curiosity, who like to reason and analyze. The ordinary mind can never know Ultimately and Absolutely. Therefore, the goal is for the ordinary mind to realize that and, thereby, get out of the way. In effect, one uses the ordinary mind to transcend the ordinary mind. Gradually the ordinary mind reveals its true nature to itself. In the “Who am I?” inquiry, as taught by the great Indian guru Ramana Maharshi, the mind’s false identities are discounted one by one until it is exhausted. Once the mind has exhausted all its answers, then the higher Self may emerge.

(d) Bhakti Yoga: Path of Devotion — Bhakti Yoga is considered the simplest of the Yogas. Bhakti is a practice of self-surrender for the purpose of eventually identifying with the source of love, or the higher Self. It is not unlike devotion and service associated with religion in the West. The yogi selects a Saint, Guru, or another figure to direct his devotional love. Every act in daily life is done to serve the beloved one. Visualizations and mantras are also part of Bhatki Yoga practice. The goal is to visualize the beloved one all the time. At first one may have a picture or representation to look at as the visualization skill is developed. A sound is repeated at the same time as the visualization. Although there are many words that can be selected, the sound of “GM” (A-U-M) is one anyone can use. This practice is especially suitable for people with intense emotional natures. Key words are: worship, devotion, self-surrender, visualization, and mantra.

(e) Raja Yoga: Path of Stillness — In Raja Yoga, the goal is to quiet the mind through meditation where the attention is fixed on an object, mantra, or concept. Whenever the mind wanders, it is brought back to whatever is the object of concentration. In time, the mind will cease wandering and become completely still. A state of focused, uninterrupted concentration will occur. From this state, the yogi will eventually merge with the higher SELF.

(f) Kriya Yoga — Babaji’s Kriya Yoga is a scientific art of perfect God Truth union and Self-Realization. The great Master of India, Babaji Nagarag, revived it as a synthesis of ancient teachings of the 18 Siddha tradition. Kriya Yoga claims to bring about an integrated transformation of the individual in all five planes of existence: physical, vital, mental, intellectual, and spiritual. It includes a series of 144 techniques or, “Kriyas,” grouped into five phases, or branches.

1. Kriya Hatha Yoga: including “Asanas,” physical postures of relaxation, “bandahs,” muscular locks, and “mudras,” gestures, all of which bring about greater health, peace, and the awakening of the principal energy centres, the “chakras.” Babaji has selected a particularly effective series of 18 postures, which are taught in stages and in pairs. One cares for the physical body, not for its own sake, but as a vehicle or temple of the Divine (religious, not just an exercise).

2. Kriya Kundalini Pranayama: the “potential” technique, is a powerful breathing exercise to awaken powerful latent energy and circulate it through the seven principal chakras between the base of the spine and crown of the head. It awakens their corresponding psychological states and makes one a dynamo on all five planes of existence.

3. Kriya Dhyana Yoga: meditation, the scientific art of mastering the mind: to cleanse the subconscious; develop concentration, mental clarity, and vision; to awaken the intuitive and creative faculties; and bring about the breathless state of communion with God, “samadhi” (not the God of the Bible).

4. Kriya Mantra Yoga: the mental repetition of subtle sounds to awaken the intuition, the intellect, and the chakras; the mantra becomes a substitute for the “I” centred chatter and facilitates the accumulation of great amounts of energy. The mantra is supposed to cleanse habitual subconscious ten­dencies (it is a religious repetitive chant).

5. Kriya Bhakti Yoga: devotional activities and service to awaken pure Divine universal love and spiritual bliss; it includes chanting and singing, ceremonies, pilgrimages, and worship.

So if someone’s interested in physical exercises that are designed to help one’s body, he should not take Yoga, which is designed for death, and teaches how to reach this state of consciousness (see note) where one gets a better reincarnation. Even the physical positions in Yoga come right out of the Hindu scriptures, and are designed to put one into this state of consciousness where you imagine that you’re God. Therefore, Christians who think they think they’re getting relaxation and/or exercise, are really getting Hinduism! They think they’re getting science, but they’re getting religion. It’s mislabeled and it’s dangerous! (Source: a 1988 John Ankerberg Show program, “The New Age in Society.”)

John Weldon and Clifford Wilson wrote in Occult Shock and Psychic Forces that Yoga is really pure occultism. Hans-Ulrich Rieker, in his book The Yoga of Light, also warns that misunderstanding the true nature of Yoga can mean “death or insanity.” Another little known fact is that virtually every major guru in India has issued warnings similar to these; i.e., deep-breathing techniques such as the ones taught in Yoga are a time-honored method for entering altered states of consciousness and for developing so-called psychic power.

[Note: Yoga is one of the basic means of reaching this altered state of consciousness. And the altered state is the doorway to the occult. Sir John Eccles, Nobel Prize Winner for his research on the brain, said the brain is “a machine that a ghost can operate.” In a normal state of consciousness, one’s own spirit ticks off the neurons in his brain and operates his body. We are spirits connected with a body. But in an altered state, reached under drugs, Yoga, hypnosis, etc., this passive but alert state, the connection between the spirit and the brain, is loosened. That allows another spirit to interpose itself, to begin to tick off the neurons in the brain, and create an entire universe of illusion. You’ve then opened yourself up. It’s called sorcery. People are literally teaching themselves how to be demonized, all in the name of developing one’s full potential.]

* Unless otherwise cited, parts of this report have been excerpted and/or adapted from, Examining & Exposing Cultic & Occultic Movements, Jack Sin, “Should a Christian Practise Yoga?,” April 2000, pp. 79-84.

Biblical Discernment Ministries – Revised 1/2002

Yoga and its inherent dangers are further defined and described as follows:

Once again, just to briefly reiterate Yoga is the “PRAYER” (Communication/Supplication) with a Pagan Deity.  Yoga is from the Sankrit word Yug, meaning ‘Union’ with the ‘Divine’, or higher ‘SELF’.  Yoga is a path for transcending the ordinary mind as to whom you think you are in order to merge with your ‘higher Self’ or ‘God Self.’  Yoga means ‘to yoke’ or more accurately to yoke with Brahman (i.e., the ‘Infinite,’ the ‘Universal Spirit,’ the impersonal force that the Hindus call ‘God’) through the realization of an altered state of consciousness, thereby theoretically releasing oneself from the bondage of endless reincarnation.  Yoga comes from the Hindu Vedas and Patanjali, a Hindu religious leader.  Patanjali, ancient exponent and codifier of classical Yoga formulated one-hundred and ninety-six Yoga aphorisms (a statement of principles).  Legend says that Patanjali was an incarnation of Shesha, the ‘Kunda’ snake of eternity, and at the end of his life was seen being swallowed by a Python.  Shiva, known as ‘The Destroyer’, who is also called Yogi Swara, or the ‘Lord of Yoga, is one of Hinduism’s three most powerful gods.’

There are an estimated 10,000 plus yoga teachers (approx. 15,000,000 practitioners) currently residing within the United States, who teach somewhere between four to five million students per week.  Yoga is a program that involves conscious stretching, deliberate movements, and controlled breathing, in conjunction with relaxation exercises.  As such, Yoga originated from a school of thought in the Hindu religion, which suggests that postures can isolate the soul from the body and the mind.

The practice of Yoga is both pagan and occultic at its best.  Its teachings originate from the Eastern religions, all of which teach that Self is God, and we only need come to the realization of it.  In a book by Dave Hunt and T. A. McMahon, The Seduction of Christianity, they state the following:

“The goal of Yoga is ‘self-realization’ — to look deeply within what ought to be the temple of the one true God and there to discover the alleged ‘true Self’ or ‘higher Self’ and declare self to be God.  Nothing could be more religious than that, yet with straight faces all of the Yogis insist that practicing Yoga will not change anyone’s religious beliefs.  This is the religion of Antichrist; and for the first time in history it is being widely practiced throughout the Western world as Transcendental Meditation and other forms of Yoga…  Humanity is being conditioned to accept a coming world ruler who will have the psychic powers from Satan to ‘prove’ that he has indeed ‘realized’ his own ‘godhood'”

Yoga calls itself science.  “By calling itself science, Yoga (which is the very heart of Hinduism) has within the last [30] years become an integral part of Western society, where it is taught in nearly every YMCA or YWCA, in clubs, in public schools, in industry, and in many Churches.  Dressed in Western clothes, Yoga has gained acceptance in medicine, psychology, education, and religion under such euphemisms as ‘centering,’ ‘relaxation therapy,’ ‘self-hypnosis,’ and ‘creative visualization.’  Yoga is designed to lead to the ‘realization’ of one’s true ‘godhood’ through an inward meditative journey that finally locates the ultimate source of everything within the human psyche.”

The idea of declaring oneself as a god is not a new concept, but merely a continuation of the lie the serpent in the Garden of Eden sold Eve hook, line, and apple.  “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)  Sad to say the entire human race is still paying for that little mistake.  We can only speculate as to what part of “Don’t Touch It Lest You Die” Adam and Eve could not actually understand.

Hatha-yoga is an extremely popular form of Yoga practiced today, especially in the United States, by those looking for a form of relaxation and non-strenuous exercise.  However, we need to take a closer look at the derivation of the word ‘Hatha’.  The Sanskrit word ‘Ha’ means the Sun while ‘Tha’ means the Moon.  This is a very realistic symbolic correlation between the possibility of the male/female androgynous aspects of the ‘Antichrist and the Beast out of the Abyss,’ that will be discussed in more detail later.

Johanna Michaelsen, in her book, Like Lambs to the Slaughter, correctly reveals:

“There is a common misconception in the West that hatha-yoga, one of about ten forms of Yoga that supposedly leads to self-realization, is merely a neutral form of exercise, a soothing and effective alternative for those who abhor jogging and calisthenics… [However], Hatha-yoga is ‘one of the six recognized systems of orthodox Hinduism’ and is at its roots religious and mystical.  It is also one of the most difficult and potentially [spiritually] dangerous forms of Yoga.

The term hatha is derived from the verb hath, which means ‘to oppress’…  What the practice of hatha-yoga is designed to do is suppress the flow of psychic energies through these channels [“symbolic, or psychic passages on either side of the spinal column”], thereby forcing the ‘serpent power’ or the kundalini force to rise through the central psychic channel in the spine (the sushumna) and up through the chakras, the supposed psychic centers of human personality and power.  Westerners mistakenly believe that one can practice hatha-yoga apart from the philosophical and religious beliefs that undergird it.  This is an absolutely false belief…  You cannot separate the exercises from the philosophy…  ‘The movements themselves become a form of meditation.’  The continued practice of the exercises will, whether you… intend it or not, eventually influence you toward an Eastern/mystical perspective.  That is what it is meant to do!…  There is, by definition, no such thing as ‘neutral’ Yoga” (last emphasis added.)

In Yoga, Sun Salutations, or Surya Namaskar, can be a complete practice in and of itself and is often considered the core of ‘hatha yoga’ practice.  Yoga practitioners such as Hira Ratan Manek (HRM), amongst others, have allegedly proven that a person can live just on solar energy for very long periods without eating any food.  This has come to be known as the HRM phenomenon.  The method is purportedly used for curing all kinds of psychosomatic and mental illnesses as well as increasing memory power and mental strength by using sunlight.

The HRM phenomenon is in fact a rediscovery of a scientific ritual, which was used to heal physical, mental, emotional and spiritual diseases in ancient times.  Ancient Indians called this practice Surya Namaskar, where ancient Egyptians and Americans called it Heliotherapy and Europeans called it Apollo therapy.

John Weldon and Clifford Wilson wrote in, Occult Shock and Psychic Forces, that Yoga is pure occultism.  Hans-Ulrich Rieker, an authority on Yoga, in his book, The Yoga of Light, also warns that misunderstanding the true nature of Yoga can mean ‘death or insanity.’  Another little known fact is that virtually every major guru in India has issued warnings similar to these; i.e., deep-breathing techniques such as the ones taught in Yoga are a time-honored method for entering altered states of consciousness and for developing so-called psychic power.

[Note: Yoga is one of the basic means of reaching this altered state of consciousness.  This altered state is the doorway to the occult.  Sir John Eccles, Nobel Prize Winner for his research on the brain, said the brain is “a machine that a ghost can operate.”  In a normal state of consciousness, one’s own spirit ticks off the neurons in his brain and operates his body.  We are spirits connected with a body.  In an altered state, reached under drugs, Yoga, hypnosis, etc., this passive but alert state, the connection between the spirit and the brain is, loosened.  That allows another spirit to interpose itself, to begin to tick off the neurons in the brain, and create an entire universe of illusion.  You’ve then opened yourself up.  It’s called sorcery.  People are literally teaching themselves how to be demonized, all in the name of developing one’s full potential.]

Controlled breathing can generate intense internal heat (cf. the Yoga practice of Tapas), and awaken the Python (Kundalini Serpent).  As stated, this is accomplished through the Yoga practice known as ‘Tapas’.  Tapas (austerity): Literally, ‘to burn’; in Yoga, Tapas implies the burning of all desires by means of discipline, purification, and penance.  Yogis believe this inner fire to be a source of spiritual energy.  It is believed the sole practice of Tapas can lead to the release of Kundalini and attainment of enlightenment (wisdom).

In Yoga and Mysticism, Swami Prabhavananda warns about the dangers of the Yoga breathing exercises, which so many today think are harmless, when he writes:

“Now we come to breathing exercises.  Let me caution you: they can be very dangerous.   Unless properly done, there is a good chance of injuring the brain. And those who practice such breathing without proper supervision can suffer a disease which no known science or doctor can cure.  It is impossible, even for a medical person, to diagnose such an illness…  [For example,] I had known a young boy of perhaps 16 or 17 years of age who had begun to practice hatha yoga…  He was acting very strangely.  He would prostrate fully on the ground, rise to full height, then repeat the performance—over and over again. The Swami said that he had lost his mind…  Finally, however he became so unmanageable that he had to be confined…  As regards breathing exercises, I know that Sri Ramakrishna, Holy Mother, and all the disciples of Ramakrishna have warned us again not to practice them.9

Yoga scholar and Sanskrit authority Rammurti Mishra interprets Yoga theory as laying the foundation for occultism.

“In conclusion, it may be said that behind every psychic investigation, behind mysticism, occultism, etc., knowingly or unknowingly, the Yoga system is present.” 

In his article ‘Kundalini and the Occult’, occult authority John White observes that the essence of occultism is the attempt to gain ‘higher’ knowledge and power or control of the forces of nature, especially the ‘life energy’ (prana) which underlies the basis of true magic and psychic phenomena.

“In its highest form, occult science merges indistinguishably with true mysticism… [M]ysticism and genuine occultism are closely allied… The heart of genuine occult practices appears to be synonymous with aspects of the [yogic] kundalini concept…”

Yoga authority Sir John Woodroffe (Arthur Avalon), author of a standard text on Kundalini Yoga, The Serpent Power, refers to Yoga practice “causing considerable pain, physical disorder and even disease…”

Until his death, perhaps the leading authority on Shamanism and comparative religion was Mircea Eliade.  Note his observations of the similarities between Yoga and Witchcraft:

“All features associated with European witches are claimed also by Indo-Tibetan yogis and magicians.  Along with a range of occult powers common to both, some yogis:

…boast that they break all the religious taboos and social rules: that they practice human sacrifice, cannibalism, and all manner of orgies, including incestuous intercourse, and that they eat excrement, nauseating animals, and devour human corpses.  In other words, they proudly claim all the crimes and horrible ceremonies cited ad nauseam in the Western European witch trials.”

In The Seven Schools of Yoga, Ernest Wood warns of “the imminent risk of most serious bodily disorder, disease, and even madness.”  He observes that many people have brought upon themselves incurable illnesses or insanity.

Kundalini Serpent Power:

Kundalini is a term from the Yogic tradition for the power of the divine goddess Shakti.  According to Yogic philosophy, Kundalini creates the universe and knows itself as creator.  The Eastern traditions revere Kundalini as the Great Queen Mother goddess who gives birth to all that is.  Condensing to form, she is viewed as the material world.  She is the essential energy, more fundamental than all universal power and forms the basis for individual experience and existence.  Yogics believe that the infusion of one’s spiritual mind with Kundalini power of consciousness is to know truth and their unity with the Divine.  Hindu spiritual tradition and Yogic practitioners declare Kundalini synonymous with the Christian ‘Holy Spirit’.  (See graphic)  In order for seekers to succeed on their spirit journeys shamans, yogis, monks, priests, nuns, etc., must all approach her as obedient suppliants.

Kundalini is referred to as the ‘Power of the Divine’ present in each individual.  She has two fundamental expressions.  She maintains the entire existence of the body, mind and spirit, and while considered dormant, she is the power of consciousness to know the Divine as Self.  According to her worshippers, this potential power, allegedly innate to all, can facilitate its practitioners to unity consciousness, considered the sublime awareness of Divine Self, infinite and all encompassing.  Symbolized by a sleeping, coiled serpent wound exactly three and one-half turns around the human sacral bone at the base of the spine, Kundalini awaits her great awakening.  She is considered the most exhilarating experience in the long life of the soul that extends over countless cycles of physical birth and death, Hindu reincarnation (avatars).

Shaktipat is the Sanskrit term for Kundalini awakening which means ‘descent of grace.’ Kundalini awakening usually occurs in a specifically designed ritual for the transmittal of her power.  Awakening Kundalini occurs through various Yogic practices and disciplines, which have developed over thousands of years, and are specifically structured for preparing the mind and body for the enormous explosion of power emanating from Kundalini arousal.  Prayer, devotional worship, chanting, meditation, mantras, ritual dance, drumming and many other pagan practices can awaken the so-called Divine consciousness – the Kundalini Serpent.  Spontaneous awakening of Kundalini can occur from near death experiences, traumatic experiences, pain, deep sorrow, prolonged periods of one-pointed concentration, or even in dreams through the initiation distributed by an alleged wise being, better known to Christians as a demon.  Kundalini works on all levels of human experience and touches all aspects of human life.  Once awakened, her victims can never be the same again.

The awakened Kundalini can stir up everything from latent diseases of the body to emotional or psychological disturbances.  Some individuals feel like fire has descended upon them, rather than grace, as Kundalini power infuses their body, mind and relationships.  As Kundalini moves through, what Yoga tradition calls the body’s system of channels (nadis) and the associated seven centers of energy (chakras), its practitioners willingly succumb to the overwhelming feeling of power.  Kundalini arousal symptoms include, but are limited to the following: sensations of bodily heat and cold, rushes of energy throughout the body (especially up and down the spine), sweating, trembling, fear, anxiety, dissociation, visions, out-of-body experiences, spontaneous body movements, changes in breathing patterns, mantras, speaking in tongues, distortions of time and space, healings, habits or addictions falling away, inspired creativity, feelings of exalted knowledge and wisdom, and states of boundless ecstasy with love arising for no apparent reason.

Many unsuspecting victims are told during the Kundalini arousal experience, not to be alarmed that they are being ‘Baptized in the Spirit of God’.  Additionally, Kundalini signs are quite often confused with or misdiagnosed as anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, dissociation disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia as well as many other associated diseases.  Shifts in values, attitudes, and behaviors will frequently occur and have a major impact on relationships.  However, when considering the characteristics of Kundalini, one must not overlook the strong changes in sexual arousal and sexual behavior of many Kundalini initiates.  According to one Kundakini worshiper, “She is the Power of your own Divinity come to take you home”.  Within the minds of both Yoga scholars and practitioners alike, Kundalini is unquestionably, the ‘Queen’.

Let me make this point perfectly clear to any unsuspecting reader, “If you want to anger the one and only true God and make your eternal abode in HELL, just willingly participate in the practice of Yoga and the pursuit and arousal of the pagan Kundalini spirit – raising the serpent power.”

In an internet article entitled, The Myth of Manasa — The Serpent Queen, by Anjan K. Nath, Ph.D. reveals additional historical information about the Kundalini Serpent.

“The worship of the snake-energy (often referred to as the kundalini ) was prevalent amongst the Vedic Aryans and the sect practicing this form of worship were known as the Sarpas and the Nagas, and their philosophy of belief known as the Sarpa-Veda.  Several seers of the Sarpa community composed vedic hymns and the esoteric aspect of this cult was practiced by them even in the usual course of their rituals.  The worship of the Naga or the serpent-power in models of physical snakes is still prevalent in different parts of India as in pre-historic times, but more so in Bengal and Assam, where she is worshiped as a goddess named Manasa.

…The universe is believed to be built up in spheres and a sphere is called a lotus (padma) or a wheel (chakra).  Siva, with his Rudra aspect, has been honored as a god even in the Vedas, and when he was identified with the Bindu or nucleus, the universe was construed to have evolved out of the fall-out of the emanation from him.  This has been explained by saying that Siva’s sperm was ejaculated on a lotus which in turn percolated through its stalk and travel[l]ed to the nether world, i.e., to the lowest end of the universe, and lodged itself in [a]nother lotus where it was held by a snake-power.  It then evolved as Manasa, the Serpent Queen.

…The Manasa cult is one of the most ancient of the Vedic cults, having as its basis the fundamentals of nuclear science.  The different branches of Indian philosophy are more or less its off-shoots with the Yoga sect being at the forefront in the practice and promulgation of the esoteric art of harnessing the serpent- power, kundalini, towards realization of the philosophic vision that is necessary for attaining the divine sphere.”

Georg Feuerstein, Ph.D, has written more than thirty books including many popular works on Yoga, notably Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy (1998), Teachings of Yoga (1997), The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga (1996), and The Philosophy of Classical Yoga (1980, 1996).  His most recent book is The Yoga Tradition (1998).  Feuerstein is a patron of the British Wheel of Yoga, coeditor of Yoga World newsletter, and a contributing editor of Yoga Journal.  For the past thirty years, Feuerstein has significantly affected the dialogue between East and West, in particular to the understanding of Yoga.  In a written internet interview between Georg Feuerstein, Ph.D and Richard Miller Ph.D. entitled, New Light on the Yoga Tradition, Feuerstein was asked the following question.

“In your book The Yoga Tradition, you mention learning Hatha-Yoga from an Indian guru while you were still in your teens.  Can you say something more about this?”

Feuerstein responed, “Oh that’s a long time ago.  I spent about a year studying with a Hatha-Yoga master, who was well known in Europe for his extraordinary yogic abilities, which he was always eager to demonstrate especially to the medical community…  The Hatha-Yoga initiates speak of subtle elements (called tattva), subtle pathways (called nadi), and psychoenergetic centers (called cakra).  They all must be readied for the visit of Queen Kundalini, the Goddess energy.  Otherwise she gets angry and ruins your nervous system and organs like the heart.  All this is well known in the Yoga tradition, but many Western practitioners dabble with it, unaware of the dangers of Kundalini-Yoga.”

Gopi Krishna, renowned India author of, Kundalini: the Evolutionary Energy in Man, presented to the Western world for the first time a clear and concise autobiographical account of the phenomenon of the forceful awakening of the Kundalini Serpent.  In an extract from his book, Krishna reveals Kundalini…

“As the supreme mistress of the body, she and she alone is considered to be competent to bestow on earnest aspirants (who worship her with true devotion, centering their thoughts and actions in her, resigning themselves entirely to her will) the much coveted and hard to attain boon of transcendental knowledge and super-normal psychic powers. All these writings assign to Kundalini the supreme position of being the queen and architect of the living organism, having the power to mould it, transform it, or even to destroy it as she will.  But how she manages to do it, consistent with biological laws governing the organic world, no-one has tried to state in explicit terms.”

With regards to this deceiving power of darkness, Apostle Paul said it best, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

In summary, make no mistake, when you practice Yoga, or experiment with it, you are well on your way to alienating yourself from God and entering into a forbidden world of darkness of which few ever escape.

Yoga and New Trends in Christianty

yoga-christain1-300x225@2x

 

‘Kneel to yourself. Honour and worship your own being. God dwells within you as You.’ Swami Muktananda, Hindu guru

‘I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwells no good thing.’ Paul the Apostle

At a New Age fair, where I was helping with a Christian witness, a young man told me that he rejected all religious systems. He said that he was discovering god as a force within himself and so finding harmony with all created things. When I told him that he was in fact following the ancient religious system of Hinduism, he said angrily, ‘I don’t like Christians telling me what to believe,’ and walked off.

This brief conversation highlighted the conflict between the eastern religious world view now being accepted by many people in the West, and the biblical world view now being rejected. According to Biblical Christianity the basic problem of humanity is our sin nature which causes us to break God’s laws and thus separates us from God who is holy. The solution is to invite God into our lives through repentance and faith in the Gospel message: that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself through the sacrificial death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Before we take this step of faith, God is outside of our lives. After doing this He is inside our lives, dwelling within us by the Holy Spirit.
According to Hinduism the problem of humanity is not a moral one, but one of a lack of knowledge. God already dwells within us, but we do not know this. We have lost contact with our innate divinity through becoming entangled in the material world and being limited by our rational finite minds. The solution is to discover the ‘god within’ through experiencing a higher state of expanded consciousness. It was evident from the huge numbers of young people attending the New Age fair that this idea is far more attractive to many today than the traditional Christian view. New Age devotee Miriam Starhawk has written, ‘The longing for expanded consciousness has taken many of us on a spiritual journey to the East and to Hindu, Taoist and Buddhist concepts. Eastern religions offer a radically different approach to spirituality than Judeo-Christian traditions. Their goal is not to know God but to be God. In many ways these philosophies are close to witchcraft.’ (Yoga journal May 1986).

How does Hinduism claim that one can experience an ‘altered state of consciousness’ leading to discovery of ‘godhood’? Over thousands of years it has developed numerous techniques to manipulate human consciousness in order to bring this about. These techniques are called yoga. According to a Hindu saying, ‘There is no Hinduism without yoga and no yoga without Hinduism.’ Yoga therefore can never be seen solely as a means of gaining physical exercise, reducing stress or as a medical therapy. Some of the methods used by yoga are as follows:

Hatha yoga: Physical and breathing exercises

Body postures (asanas) are intended to immobilise the whole body. Practising them will enable the body to become completely motionless and hardened in fixed positions. Meditation words (mantras) serve to immobilise the consciousness. Mantras are usually the names of gods used for worship. Symbolic body movements in yoga are designed to close ‘all nine doors of the body’, so that no sense perception from the outside penetrates into the mind. When all outer sensation is shut off the body itself will create sense perceptions of an inner kind, an inner light, an inner sound, an inner smell, and an inner pleasure.

I once talked to a yoga teacher who became a Christian. He said that he did not teach his pupils anything about Hinduism to begin with, but simply taught them the techniques of yoga. They then experienced things that they could not explain and he interpreted their experiences in such a way that would lead them deeper into the Hindu philosophy of discovering god within yourself.

Japa Yoga: The mechanical way of salvation

Japa is the repetition or chanting of a mantra which is usually the name of a Hindu god. One example of this is the Hare Krishna movement which chants the names of Krishna and Rama. I once had a conversation with a young man selling Hare Krishna books in London. As soon as I questioned his basic philosophy he began chanting ‘Hare Krishna, Hare Rama’ after which all meaningful discussion became impossible.

Transcendental Meditation (TM), taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, has become one of the most well known forms of yoga in the West. In TM the meditator learns first to forget the rest of the world and to concentrate only on the mantra (usually a short word, a name of a deity such as Ram or OM). Then he forgets the mantra too, transcending all thoughts and feelings. After several years of meditation one is said to attain ‘god consciousness.’ In this state it is said that one can even communicate with birds, animals, plants and rocks. The final state is ‘unity consciousness’, in which the devotee perceives the oneness of himself with the universe. This is ‘liberation.’

Kundalini Yoga: Salvation through the ‘Serpent Power’

Hindu psychology teaches that the ‘kundalini shakti’, or serpent power, lies at the base of the spine. Normally the kundalini lies dormant in most human beings, but when it is awakened it arises and begins to travel upwards. In its journey from the base of the spine to the top of the head it passes through six psychic centres called ‘chakras’. When it passes through a chakra it kindles various psychic experiences and energies. When it reaches the sahasrara, or crown, one attains power to perform miracles and to achieve liberation. The most influential guru who preached kundalini was Swami Muktananda. He labelled it Siddha (perfect) yoga, for it is the only yoga in which the aspirant does not have to do anything. He just surrenders to the guru and the guru’s grace does everything for him.

In an article published previously in this magazine (October 1995), Robert Walker described what takes place in kundalini yoga: ‘Few Christians realise that for thousands of years gurus have operated with gifts of healing, miracles, gifts of knowledge, and intense displays of spiritual consciousness as they stretch out and connect with a cosmic power which, though demonic in origin, is very real. The meetings which mystic Hindu gurus hold are called ‘Dharshan’. At these meetings devotees go forward to receive spiritual experience from a touch by the open palm of the hand, often to the forehead, by the guru in what is known as the Shakti Pat or divine touch. The raising of the spiritual experience is called raising Khundalini. The practice is quite intricate but is brought on by Shakti Pat in conjunction with the repetition of mantras or religious phrases and by holding physical positions for a long time. After a period when the devotee has reached a certain spiritual elevation they begin to shake, jerk, or hop or squirm uncontrollably, sometimes breaking into uncontrolled animal noises or laughter as they reach an ecstatic high. These manifestations are called ‘Kriyas’. Devotees sometimes roar like lions and show all kinds of physical signs during this period. Often devotees move on to higher states of spiritual consciousness and become inert physically and appear to slip into an unconsciousness when they lose sense of what is happening around them. This state is called ‘samadhi’ and it leads to a deeper spiritual experience.’

The role of the Guru in granting liberation

The role of the guru in the liberation of a devotee is described differently in different sects. Generally speaking the guru’s task is only to teach the technique of achieving liberation; the devotee has to achieve liberation by practicing the technique on his own. Some sects however teach that at initiation the guru takes the karma (action) of a disciple upon himself. According to the law of karma, each man has to take the consequences of his good and bad actions. For this he has to be continually reborn into the world. But if the guru (out of love and grace) takes the karma, the necessity of a rebirth vanishes, and one attains deliverance from the bondage of reincarnation. Therefore it is believed that without the guru’s grace, one cannot be saved. Devotees generally claim blessing, peace and a sense of union with god as a result of the guru’s ministry. Clearly something supernatural happens, often with miracles taking place. There is however no lasting blessing, peace or real union with God.

Connections to contemporary Christianity

Today we see that the ‘guru’ mentality is being accepted by some Christian groups in which it is required to submit to authoritarian leaders who are said to provide the believer’s connection to God and who cannot be questioned. Often these leaders’ authority is reinforced by demonstrations of spiritual power causing people to fall to the ground, laugh uncontrollably and generally behave in a way which resembles an ‘altered state of consciousness.’

An audio tape produced by Hank Hanegraff, author of ‘Christianity in Crisis’, features actual recordings of well known American preachers getting crowds under their spell to repeat, mantra like, the serpent’s lie, ‘I am god.’ Those who resist or object to these new trends are often ridiculed as narrow minded legalists or Pharisees, warned that they will miss out on God’s blessings or even threatened with death and damnation.

Christians alert to the deceptions of the end times should not be intimidated into accepting uncritically all that they are told at highly charged meetings by preachers with apparently powerful ministries. We should question any manifestation which is not to be found in scripture, especially if it connects to yoga and Hinduism. These spiritual forces do not bring liberation and union with God, but bondage, deception and alienation from God. In his book ‘The Dust of Death’ Os Guiness has described the invasion of eastern religious ideas well;

‘The subtlety of eastern religion is that it enters like an odourless poison gas, seeping under the door, through the keyhole, in through the open window, so that the man in the room is overcome without his ever realising that there was any danger at all.’

Looking at this issue from a prophetic point of view we see that yoga is a force which is helping to bring together religious devotees of different backgrounds, since its techniques can be superimposed on any religious system including nominal Christianity and Islam. As such it is helping to unite the religious world in the coming one world religion described in Revelation 17, ‘Mystery Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.’ The defence we have against all this is to be found in a true faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour, the one way to a true relationship with God, who has given us the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth.
Information from ‘What Yoga really is’ by Johannes Aagaard, ‘Five paths to salvation in contemporary guruism’ by Vishal Mangalwadi, ‘Journey to Nirvana’ by Robert Walker. All available on request.

Yoga and Christianity and its Compatibility

Yoga positions

The physical postures and breathing exercises in yoga are inseparably bound up with the philosophical and religious ideas. I realize this may initially sound absurd, but please hear me out. The discipline of yoga is, as a general rule, firmly grounded within a pantheistic worldview. Pantheism teaches that everything which exists is part of a unitary, all-encompassing divine reality. In short, pantheism teaches that all is “God.” But in pantheism, “God” is not a personal being distinct from the world; rather “God” IS the world and the world IS “God.”

But why is this important? According to the pantheistic philosophy of yoga, each one of us is also part of this all-encompassing divine reality known as “God” or Brahman. As Brad Scott, a former practitioner of yoga, has written in a recent article,


.”..all creation to the Yoga-Vedantin is comprised of the substance of Brahman. Hence, yogis are pantheists… Brahman created the universe out of Itself, as a spider spins out a web” (“Exercise or Religious Practice? Yoga: What the Teacher Never Taught You in That Hatha Yoga Class.” The Watchman Expositor: Vol. 18, No. 2, 2001, p. 7).
And since “God,” or Brahman, is ultimately something non-physical, what we imagine to be our physical bodies are (according to yoga philosophy) merely just a crude layer of mind. The physical postures and breathing exercises of yoga are actually intended to help move the mind in the direction of altered states of consciousness. The ultimate goal of yoga is “union” with “God” or occult enlightenment. Please allow me to support these statements with some authoritative quotations.

On the Watchman Expositor website there is a brief overview of yoga at http://www.watchman.org/na/yoga.htm. The author of this piece quotes from Swami Vishnudevananda, well known authority of Yoga, in his book, The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga, as follows:

.”..the aim of all yoga practice is to achieve truth wherein the individual soul identifies itself with the supreme soul of God.”

He also quotes from Swami Sivananda Radha, in a book on Hatha Yoga, as follows:


When most people in the West think of yoga, they think of yoga as a form of exercise. Too often… there are yoga teachers who teach asanas without an understanding of their real nature and purpose. Asanas are a devotional practice which like all spiritual practices, bring us to an understanding of the truth…. Beyond this there also lies a mystical or spiritual meaning. Each asana creates a certain meditative state of mind, (p.xv; emphasis mine).
And again, from the same source:


Hatha Yoga plays an important part in the development of the human being… the body working in harmony with the mind, to bring the seeker into closer contact with the Higher Self, (Ibid, p.xvii).
Indeed, it is for this reason that the Yogi authority Gopi Krishna writes:


“All the systems of yoga…are designed to bring about those psychosomatic changes in the body which are essential for the metamorphosis of consciousness” (Quoted in John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, Harvest House Publishers, 1996, p. 596).
And finally, John Ankerberg and John Weldon quote from Judith Lasater’s article, “Yoga: An Ancient Technique for Restoring Health”:


“One basic assumption of Yoga Sutras [a standard yoga text] is that the body and mind are part of one continuum of [divine] existence, the mind merely being more subtle than the body…It is believed that as the body and mind are brought into balance and health, the individual will be able to perceive his true [divine] nature” (597).
As you are probably already aware, the term “yoga” simply means “union.” And, as previously stated, the ultimate goal of yoga is “union” with “God,” one’s Higher Self, or Brahman. All the different “limbs” or stages of yoga, including the physical postures (asana) and breathing exercises (pranayama), are specially designed to prepare the practitioner for union with “God” and occult enlightenment.

In this regard, Ankerberg and Weldon also cite Feuerstein and Miller, two authorities on yoga, who contend that the postures of yoga (asana), as well as the breathing exercises (pranayama), are more than just physical exercises–they are psychosomatic (mind/body) exercises:


.”..the control of the vital energy (prana) by way of breathing, like also asana, is not merely a physical exercise, but is accompanied by certain psychomental phenomena. In other words, all techniques falling under the heading of asana and pranayama…are psychosomatic exercises. This point, unfortunately, is little understood by Western practitioners…” (600).
Interestingly, Brad Scott, the former yoga practitioner mentioned previously, who (by the way) studied yoga for seven years under Swami Shraddhananda of the Ramakrishna Order, provided me with a web address for The Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco which you may want to take a look at. The address is: http://iyisf.org/. The state-accredited two year certificate program one can earn at this institute requires not only studies in anatomy and physiology, but in yoga philosophy as well. You may be interested in reading the following course descriptions taken from the website:


Philosophy
 
Yoga Sutras
2 units (required)
A study of classical yoga philosophy based upon a reading of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The aims, methods, and powers of yoga, as well as the nature of liberation, will be investigated.

Bhagavad Gita 
2 units (required)
The Gita, as a practical handbook for yoga, will be studied and related to daily life. The different branches of yoga described in the Gita will be discussed and placed in context with other major Indian scriptures.

Physiology of Yoga 
1 unit (Elective Course)
Yoga is a vitalistic science that views all of existence as supported by a force called prana. Yoga physiology describes how this vital force pervades and animates the physical body. This course will lay the groundwork to help one begin to view themselves and the world around them from this vitalistic perspective.

It’s important to keep in mind that this force called “prana,” which supports all of existence, is ultimately the same force as “God.” Thus, one does not escape pantheism even in a class on yoga physiology! As Ankerberg and Weldon write, .”..prana, God, and occult energy are all one and the same. The one who practices yogic breathing (pranayama) is by definition attempting to manipulate occult (‘divine’) energy” (602).

Again, in another section on the website, concerning the Iyengar approach to Hatha Yoga, we read the following:


“Yoga as taught by B.K.S. Iyengar emphasizes the integration of body, mind and spirit. The Iyengar approach to yoga is firmly based on the traditional eight limbs of yoga as expounded by Patanjali in his classic treatise, The Yoga Sutras. Iyengar yoga emphasizes the development of strength, stamina, flexibility and balance, as well as concentration (Dharana) and meditation (Dhyana).”
But what are these eight “limbs” on which the Iyengar approach is firmly based? John Ankerberg and John Weldon point out that the eight limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are “defined within the context of a basic Hindu worldview (reincarnation, karma, and moksha, or liberation) and intended to support and reinforce Hindu beliefs.” (601). They go on to describe these eight limbs as follows:


Yama (self-control, restraint, devotion to the gods [e.g., Krishna] or the final impersonal God [e.g., Brahman]
 
Niyama (religious duties….)
 
Asana (proper postures for yoga practices; these represent the first stage in the isolation of consciousness…)
 
Pranayama (the control and directing of the breath and the alleged divine energy within the human body [prana] to promote health and spiritual [occult] consciousness and evolution)
 
Pratyahara (sensory control or deprivation, i.e., withdrawal of the senses from attachment to external objects)
 
Dharana (deeper concentration, or mind control)
 
Dhyana (deep contemplation from occult meditation)
 
Samadhi (occult enlightenment or “God [Brahman] realization” i.e., “union” of the “individual” with God).
In light of this, when we read on the IYISF website that “students at IYISF [Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco] are encouraged to refine both their knowledge of asanas (poses) and pranayama (breathing)….The same precision of practice brings the serious student to the cutting edge of exploration in the field of mind-body interaction,” we now have a better idea of what’s being referred to.

Let me conclude this discussion with a brief word about “kundalini awakening.” This much-sought-after experience could potentially open the one who has it to occult influences. As you may already know, Kundalini is sometimes thought of as a Hindu goddess believed to lie coiled as a serpent at the base of the spine. Others, however, think of Kundalini simply as “coiled serpent power,” without necessarily identifying this power with a Hindu goddess (Brad Scott, personal e-mail). Either way, however, one of the primary purposes of yoga practice is to arouse Kundalini so that she/it travels up the spine toward her lover, Shiva, who is said to reside in the brain. Supposedly, as she/it travels up the spine she opens up the seven psychic centers (called chakras). Weldon and Ankerberg write:


“When the crown or top chakra is reached, the union of Shiva/Shakti occurs, supposedly leading the practitioner to divine enlightenment and union with Brahman” (606).
This, of course, is identical with Patanjali’s eighth limb, samadhi (although Brad Scott informed me in a personal e-mail that “The Shiva-Shakti mythology…was superimposed on yoga after Patanjali’s time”). Since the yoga authority Hans Rieker claims that “Kundalini [is] the mainstay of ALL yoga practices,” (Ankerberg/Weldon, 606, emphasis added) it is very important to point out that such an experience MAY place the practitioner under occult influences of a spiritual nature. For the Christian, firsthand accounts of this experience sometimes sound as if some sort of demonic influence may be involved. Mind you, I’m not saying that this is ALWAYS the case, but Weldon and Ankerberg write that many Hindu and Buddhist gurus, “when describing their spirit, or ‘energy,’ possession,” often link it directly to “kundalini activity” (606). They go on to cite a leading guru, Swami Muktananda, as confessing that he was violently shaken by a spirit during kundalini arousal:


“A great deity in the form of my guru has spread all through me as chiti [energy] and was shaking me….when I sat for meditation, my whole body shook violently, just as if I were possessed by a god or a bad spirit” (610).
Weldon and Ankerberg conclude with this observation: “Because all yoga has the ability to arouse ‘kundalini,’ all yoga should be avoided” (610).

And for all of the reasons offered above, I cannot in good conscience recommend that a Christian practice yoga–even if they limit themselves only to the physical postures and breathing exercises. Having said this, I certainly hope you understand that I’m not trying to be insensitive to your particular situation. Indeed, I will grant that it’s at least POSSIBLE that you could continue practicing yoga for many years without experiencing any of the destructive spiritual effects which such a practice could potentially have. However, in the case of yoga, where it becomes quite difficult (if not impossible) to separate the non-Christian religious and philosophical ideas from the physical postures and breathing exercises, my own advice would be to very humbly recommend that you look for a different exercise program, one that would help relieve your back pain without potentially compromising your spiritual health as a Christian.

I hope this gives you some solid reasons for making an informed decision concerning ongoing yoga practice. I genuinely wish you all the best. If you would like more information, you may want to consider taking a look at Brad Scott’s book, Embraced by the Darkness: Exposing New Age Theology from the Inside Out (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1996). Although I have not yet personally read this book, I found his article on Yoga in the Watchman Expositor (Vol. 18, No. 2, 2001) to be extremely helpful in understanding the vast doctrinal differences between the philosophy of yoga and biblical Christianity. Another potentially valuable resource is John Weldon and John Ankerberg’s, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1996).

Michael Gleghorn
Probe Ministries

Not a Single Homer— Wrote Iliad and Odyssey

A photo of the bust of Homer

Dating to about 750 B.C., this bust is said to be of the Greek poet Homer, author of The Iliad and The Odyssey—epic poems passed down orally by bards long before they were written down.

PHOTOGRAPH BY HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY

Continue reading “Not a Single Homer— Wrote Iliad and Odyssey”

History of the Calendar

The purpose of the calendar is to reckon past or future time, to show how many days until a certain event takes place—the harvest or a religious festival—or how long since something important happened. The earliest calendars must have been strongly influenced by the geographical location of the people who made them. In colder countries, the concept of the year was determined by the seasons, specifically by the end of winter. However, in warmer countries, where the seasons are less pronounced, the Moon became the basic unit for time reckoning; an old Jewish book says, “The Moon was created for the counting of the days.” Continue reading “History of the Calendar”

Quotations of Isaiah in the New Testament

The bible Book of Isaiah refers more fully to the times of the Messiah than any other of the prophets. It is natural, therefore, to expect to find his writings often quoted or appealed to in the New Testament. The frequency of the reference, and the manner in which it is done, will show the estimate in which he was held by the Saviour and by the apostles. It may also contribute in some degree to the explanation of some of the passages quoted to have them convenient for reference, or for examination. The meaning of Isaiah may be often determined by the inspired statement of the event referred to in the New Testament; and the meaning of a New Testament writer likewise by a reference to the passage which he quotes. Continue reading “Quotations of Isaiah in the New Testament”

Biblical definition of idolatry

1. Dictionary definition

The Merriam Webster online dictionary gives the following double definition of the word “Idolatry”:

1 : the worship of a physical object as a god

2 : immoderate attachment or devotion to something

The fact that the author(s) of this entry had to split it in two underlines the difficulty of using a word whose meaning has shifted in our language and is therefore no longer precise nor easily understood. In the following, I shall endeavour to show that only the first meaning is Biblical while the second is a relatively recent addition which has arisen in our language largely because most of us have lost track of the original Biblical notion. Continue reading “Biblical definition of idolatry”

Idolatry – Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Image-worship or divine honour paid to any created object. Paul describes the origin of idolatry in Romans 1:21-25 : men forsook God, and sank into ignorance and moral corruption (1:28 ).

The forms of idolatry are,

Fetishism, or the worship of trees, rivers, hills, stones, etc.

Nature worship, the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, as the supposed powers of nature.

Hero worship, the worship of deceased ancestors, or of heroes. Continue reading “Idolatry – Easton’s Bible Dictionary”