Christian friends are asking each other’s opinion about various spiritual practices/teachings that originated in Eastern religions and the occult—things like mantra meditation, sacred objects, smudging, chakras, reiki … As mentioned in Part 1, we can’t assume that even a Christian friend believes the Bible is the final word on things.
But if that’s established, then still, before going into the yes/no of a single practice or teaching, first look at the bigger picture. It’s not helpful to talk about a specific practice until we are clear on what the Lord says about any religion other than his own. (Spoiler: he says they’re “detestable” and “worthless.”) For starters, read all of Deuteronomy 12. Notice at verse 30, he warns his people not to be curious about/inquire into pagan religions. In a concordance, search for words like sorcery and witchcraft, and read Scriptures about those. Throughout the Bible the Lord warns to have nothing to do with any practice/teaching associated with such things. And that doesn’t mean those things never “work”; they sometimes do work. But it’s a trap to draw you further in. Practices derived from pagan religions are designed to lure us away from God (and toward thinking that we are god) and/or invite outright demonic influence.
Most people (even Christian ministers) have not deeply studied the world religions and the occult. So we tend to be uneducated and very naive about some extremely dangerous practices.
Now, once your friend understands what God wants, then point out that when a certain practice/teaching comes to us, we need to see what the experts say it is—not what our friends say it is or what we think it is. (Remember, most of us aren’t experts in these things.)
- Does it ORIGINATE in a pagan religion?
- Is its STATED PURPOSE at odds with anything the Lord says?
- Does it CREDIT “the universe” or “spirit guides” or “Buddha” or anything other than the Lord Almighty/Jesus Christ?
If so… then end of story. That thing is not just neutral, nonreligious; it’s part of the dark side.
So let’s say that your friend is interested in the chakra system, for example. Help your friend look up the chakra system at official Hindu/Buddhist websites. You will find that it’s related to what’s called kundalini (translated: “serpent power”). Hmm … You will find that the system is taught in “tantric texts.” And you can learn that tantrism includes black magic/sex magic. Read this article. Note where the chakra system originated, note the Hindu gods named, note mention of the lotus (elsewhere look up how lotus is significant in Eastern religions), note the term “union with God.” That can’t be the true God, since he doesn’t share his rule with pagan gods. And you have to understand that in an Eastern or New Age context, “union with god” really means “coming to the realization that you are god.”
So this is not a neutral, nonreligious thing (as opposed to things like taking a walk, drinking water, feeding the birds). It’s part of pagan religion.
Part 3 will offer some question scenarios. Bottom line: If we’re honest, when we dabble in these other things, we’re wanting power, wanting to make things happen, wanting to “feel spiritual,” wanting to manipulate “the forces.” That’s sometimes why Christians experiment. They feel like God’s way isn’t quite working.