People often defend practices like yoga and visualization, saying that such things are actually neutral . . . and are problems only if we put religious aspects into them. Is a practice neutral if its origin is pagan, if its original purpose is pagan? Let’s think a bit further.
About yoga: It’s interesting that when yoga first came to the West, it was correctly recognized as Hindu. As it was repackaged/sanitized, remarketed and promoted as secular or neutral (in order to soothe people that it wasn’t religious?), it gained popularity through the years. But now some of the ads (even in public medical facilities) go on and tout the “spiritual” aspects of yoga. (There’s not much danger of push-back, since we’ve already accepted it in general.) And some studios go further still and now openly promote the kundalini level of yoga, which was only whispered in dark corners before. So the long-time observer can see a “Step into my parlor, said the spider to the fly” aspect. Hence my ongoing warnings for Christians to be more savvy as they evaluate certain practices. You know, think like the “spider.” What’s he up to?
About visualization: When I criticize this practice, I don’t mean normal imagination, in which, say, the basketball point guard mentally rehearses (visualizes) his moves before the big game. I’m referring to occult visualization. The person calls up/conjures Jesus (or an apostle or dead relative) to participate in a troubling situation the person is in (or experienced in the past). The one visualized is invited to speak advice or comfort. Then the person “comes back” and acts on those words, as if those words were the real thing, a true message from the one visualized. This practice is a subjective putting words into Jesus’ mouth at best and, more likely, an opening of occult doors. Though taken right from the world of sorcery, visualization is being done in Christian “healing of memories” sessions, at church leader retreats, and more. It’s being taught in Bible college psych/counseling classes. Because of that—and because I feel a responsibility to not mislead people—I’m very careful not to toss around the term “visualization” when referring to normal imagination. The spider might spin something out of it.