By Rev. Clete Hux –

The area of doctrine concerning Christian liberty is known as adiaphora, meaning “things indifferent”– things in personal choices that should not affect an individual’s salvation one way or the other if a person chooses to exercise those choices. These should be things the Bible neither condemns nor approves because they are considered to be non-essentials of salvation. For most believers, these choices have centered around issues like eating and drinking.

Quite often the scriptures, “All things are lawful for me, …” (I Cor. 6:12; 10:23) and, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31), are used to justify a personal choice. As a matter of opinion, the “all things are lawful” statement is often used as a mantra and taken too far by being wrongly applied to things condemned by scripture. When this happens, Christian liberty becomes libertinism that ignores biblical limitations. And, let’s face it, only the naive would believe that professing Christians limit their liberty to the physical appetite alone. That being said, the “all things are lawful” attitude has gone awry, drifted off base, and is leading people into worldviews that are contrary to the Christian faith. This should be a concern for all Christians and a warning that paganism could not only be knocking at the door, but could be camping out in the living room.

It has been said that the road to hell is often paved with good intentions. It can also be said that the road to paganism is often paved with pragmatism, which interprets not just eating and drinking, but all things as being neutrally indifferent and their use to be determined by individual choice. Yes, I know – this borders on the attitude of relativism, “you’ve got your truth and I’ve got mine” and “who are you to interfere with my truth?” We’ve become a society of experience-oriented truth seekers, but only defining and confirming as true that which will correspond to our individual experience. This aligns closely to narcissism with its out of control fixation on self.

The out of control personal experience oriented mindset is manifest in areas too numerous to count. My original intention was to cover four or five areas in this article, but I soon realized that it would be too long. So, the article will be in two parts. For the sake of space, Part One will cover the first two areas that I believe Christians have wrongly deemed “indifferent” and are now fully endorsing.


There is a fad floating around on social media right now encouraging people to choose their avatar. All in fun, some are choosing an electronic image of what newly incarnated body they would like to have rather than the one they are presently stuck with. It is doubtful that people using the term this way ever heard of its Hindu roots. Avatar is a Sanskrit word referring to an incarnation of a Hindu deity. When this is pointed out, the response is, “Well I don’t mean it that way”. In other words, “Let me tell you what I think it means.” The implication is that a person can take something out of its original context and redefine it to suit that individual’s likes or dislikes.

Due to applying Christian liberty beyond its Biblically intended boundaries, questionable areas have become like a smorgasbord for the choosing. Sadly, to many it does not seem to matter if such things “ripe for the pickin” represent a worldview that is diametrically opposed to the Christian worldview. This is certainly the case with Yoga. There is no getting around the fact that Yoga is religious by nature and a form of Hindu worship. Yet for years, there have been attempts to distance the practice of Yoga from its religious essence. The Hindu American Foundation knows this well and is upset with pragmatists who try to redefine Yoga as merely physical exercise. The result is not only a redefining of Yoga, but also a covering up of its religious heritage and meaning. (1)

From the Sanskrit word meaning “yoke” or “union,” Yoga defines and promotes a monistic (all is one/one is all) worldview that teaches there are no separations as those recognized in a Biblical worldview such as a personal God who exists apart from His creation. My good friend, Peter Jones, illustrates this difference in what he calls a One-ism versus Two-ism worldview. Two-ism represents the Biblical Creator/creature distinction, while One-ism represents paganism which does away with separations.(2)

Because there is no Yoga without Hinduism, Yoga is consistent with a Hindu pagan worldview that divinizes creation (Rom.1:23-25). As such, it promotes both pantheistic (all is God/God is all) and polytheistic (many gods) worldviews. All the millions of gods in Hinduism are part of the one supreme being called Brahman. All is Brahman and Brahman is all. This is paganism, pure and simple. Yet, this does not seem to bother pragmatists, including Christians, who intentionally or not, are baptizing paganism by redefining Yoga, all the while assuming they have the liberty to do so.

It has become a fad in America to reduce Yoga to what “pop” culture wants it to be. This is exactly what is happening today with Hatha Yoga, based on bodily postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), and meditation (dyana). In response to the distortion of Yoga by the commercialization and simplistic use of the asanas, Swami Param, President of the Classical Yoga Hindu Academy, explains that asanas represent a specifically Hindu worldview and the word Hatha refers not only to nature worship (moon; sun:tha) but also to the Hindu deities Siva, Vishnu (Hara:Hari).(3)

These contextual historical understandings of Yoga’s religious history are completely ignored and cast aside. This “pop” culture treatment of Yoga has found its way into many contours of society including public education. Many states are already teaching yoga in their schools. Others may follow. Alabama’s legislature is considering a bill that would lift a ban on practicing Yoga in its K-12 schools. The Alabama Administrative Code (AAC), Rule 290-040-040-.2 that bans the practice of yoga and meditation in its public school system has been in place for twenty-seven years.(4)

Perhaps if school administrators and politicians better understood the religious teachings of Hinduism concerning the practice of Yoga they would uphold the application issue concerning the establishment clause of religion in the First Amendment. Better yet, if they understood that they may be subjecting students to possible spiritual danger they may think it best not to allow Yoga to be taught in schools. This certainly would be the wiser choice.

Dr. Candy Gunther Brown, in an article for Psychology Today, talks about a Christian and former Yoga instructor who makes the argument that simply relabeling Yoga as Christian fails to make it so because “authorship implies ownership”, and “ownership implies right of possession and control.” Yoga is “not just a human invention” but “coauthored” with the “spirit realm.”(5)

Further pointed out was that no matter what Christians call Yoga postures, they are a “moving liturgy, an embodied form of worship, a physical offering to the Hindu gods” who are “attracted to the offering.” By analogy, the owners of a “stolen Lexus” won’t be fooled” if a “thief removes the license plate.” Likewise, the “Hindu spirits” who own Yoga retain the “title deed, so to speak. They’ll get back in the vehicle while you’re driving it.”(6)

Hinduism teaches that there exists in all forms of Yoga something known as Kundalini energy and is, as Hans Rieker puts it, “…the mainstay of all yoga practices.”(7) Taken from kundal (coiled up), kundalini refers to the Hindu belief that a “serpent power” lies coiled up at the base of the spine. It is revered as a goddess who begins to evolve in a person’s first incarnation (in the reincarnation cycle), being fed by the other six chakras on the spine and by the cosmic energy entering through the feet from the earth. Starting at the lowest chakra, she is aroused through yoga practice and travels up through the other chakras, finally reaching the crown. In Tantric Yoga, which is more sexual than other forms of yoga, Kundalini is a part of Shakti, the divine female energy and consort of Shiva (male deity).(8)


There are a number of websites alerting people to dangerous exposure to the demonic spiritual realm that exists in yoga. One website actually quotes the non-Christian renowned psychoanalyst Carl Jung in his warning about yoga:


 “One often hears and reads about the dangers of Yoga, particularly of the ill-reputed Kundalini Yoga. The deliberately induced psychotic state, with certain unstable individuals might easily lead to a real psychosis, is a danger that needs to be taken very seriously indeed. These things really are dangerous and ought not be meddled with in our typical Western way. It is a meddling with Fate, which strikes at the very roots of human existence and can let loose a flood of sufferings of which no sane person ever dreamed. These sufferings correspond to the hellish torments of the chönyid state…” (see


I cannot believe that any politician, administrator, or any school authority, if they really understood the implications of allowing Yoga, would want to open such a “pandora’s box.” Why choose Yoga when there are hundreds if not thousands of other exercise programs that are available? It is not wise to promote a practice that is an inherently religious and spiritual by relabeling it. We must remember that intent does not change meaning. Regardless of intention, there is no Yoga without Hinduism and there is no Hinduism without Yoga. I agree with Swami Param when he says, “If one wants to learn Hinduism/Yoga (and perhaps become a Hindu), do that. If one wants to stretch and relax, be thoughtful and considerate, but don’t call it Yoga!”(9)

Neo-Paganism/Harry Potter/WICCA

Another area in which Christians have taken license is with the Harry Potter phenomenon. Through the vehicle of creative imagination and encouraging reading among the young, the Neo-Pagan and Wiccan worldviews have been on display in Potter films and books for a long time. By the way, did you know that in addition to Harry Potter merchandise, you can get Wicca & Witchcraft for Dummies at That’s right, and not only this, you can get many other “how to” books on the same topics from this same retailer known as “America’s store.” (10) This alone should alert us not only to how prevalent occultism has become in our culture, but also to how enamored our culture has become with witchcraft.

As to whether or not Harry Potter stories promote witchcraft, there should be little doubt about it. Those trying to draw Christian parallels with the series seem to be straining to make a bona fide case. The very name Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry ought to be a dead giveaway. What flows from J.K. Rowling’s books and movies, the number of which is unsurpassed in the area of children’s literature, is an occult worldview that has been glamorized and marketed specifically for children.

The proponents have said, “Oh, no! You’ve got it all wrong, Harry Potter is not real witchcraft, it’s fictional fantasy and Christian allegory!” If that is the case why use messages and symbols aligned with paganism and witchcraft rather than with Christianity? Using that which best aligns with paganism and witchcraft yet calling it Christian is nothing more than the baptism of paganism.

A warning sign to parents should be the vast number of pagan and witchcraft websites over the years that have promoted Harry Potter as representing occult practices and beliefs accurately. Consider a few of these endorsements:


“[The Harry Potter series], both as books and in movie form are a wonderful metaphor of how we, as witches/Wiccans/Pagans/Magical people, perceive our own spirituality/works/studies, and our vision of the world. The symbolism is so strong and I have found myself reacting so many times…positively, mostly thinking, “this is SO right!” Even, as I think Quirrell himself has said it so plainly…, ‘There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it…’ This might actually offend some, but it hides one of the great truths of Witchcraft, that there is no White or Black Magick, there is only Magick, and it is the use we make of it that defines its purpose, although we usually see a dark use of Magick as weakness, rather than strength.”(11)

“Sure you are seeing witches in Harry Potter…But it is positive. They are friendly. They are good. The book may change the way people feel about us.” (12)

“Harry Potter happens to be one of the best things for witchcraft, and the understanding of it.”(13)


Claiming to be Christian as Rowling does and claiming that Harry Potter has a Christian allegorical meaning, while at the same time promoting a worldview contrary to Christianity, defeats the purpose of any purported Christian message. Claiming to be Christian yet promoting a worldview hostile to Christianity is contradictory. We do not promote witchcraft in order to lead someone to Christ.  We do not promote something contrary to a Biblical worldview in order to promote a Biblical worldview.

While Rowling’s works can be considered fiction, they do not fit the fantasy genre. Some have likened Harry Potter to C.S. Lewis’ stories which are true fantasy. In Lewis’ stories, the setting is an alternate reality quite different from our own. Have you met any talking beavers or talking lions lately? Do people enter alternate realities through a wardrobe? Of course not, that is fantasy. However, in Harry Potter, the stories take place in our present reality. While Harry Potter may be fictional, actual occult practices are being performed by Harry, who was born a wizard from his witch mother and wizard father who also attended Hogwarts, a school very similar to the modern day boarding schools found in England. It is there that Harry, like his parents before him, is in training to learn sorcery, complete with the casting of spells, learning to use potions, rituals and divination, similar to those who participate in these practices today.

There are plenty more instances of reality-based sorcery illustrations including a real historical character, Nicholas Flamel, in the book and movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The students have conversations with the dead Flamel as he walks the halls of Hogwarts, endorsing necromancy, communication with the dead. Flamel was a French alchemist who supposedly succeeded in making the Philosopher’s Stone in the late 1300’s. Students of alchemy know that the Philosopher’s Stone is a metaphor for turning our base, physical natures into our more metaphysical self’s, attaining self-actualization with the Higher Self. This inner transformation supposedly produces everlasting life. (14)

While I do not endorse Catholicism, I do however, endorse Catholic writer, Michael O’Brien, for his excellent critique of Potter. He compares Rowling’s’ Potter world to being gnostic in essence and practice saying, “The wizard world is about the pursuit of power and esoteric knowledge, and in this sense it is a modern representation of Gnosticism, the cult that came close to undermining Christianity at its birth. The so-called “Christian Gnostics” of the 2nd century were in no way Christian, for they attempted to neutralize the incarnation and to distort the concept of salvation along traditional Gnostic lines: man saves himself by obtaining secret knowledge and power.”(15)

Using gnostic-like power as ideal magical power seems to be the modus operandi in Potter. O’Brien further states, “This is consistent with the author’s confused notions of authority. In reality, magic is an attempt to bypass the limitations of human nature and the authority of God, in order to obtain power over material creation and the will of others through manipulation of the supernatural. Magic is about taking control. It is the fundamental rejection of the divine order in creation. In the first book of Samuel ({1 Sam. 15:23}) divination is equated with the spirit of rebellion.”(16) I agree with O’Brien about this being a rejection of the fundamental order in divine creation. The occult/pagan/witchcraft worldview is an upside down world. One should get a sense of this from the beginning of Harry Potter. The natural has traded places with the superstitious, the normal for the abnormal. Witchcraft is portrayed as normal while the “real” or normal (the “muggle” world) is portrayed as abnormal.

Again, this is another example where intention does not change meaning. The problem that most Christians have in trying to Christianize Harry Potter may not be that they do not understand that the Bible speaks against witchcraft and sorcery. Their problem is twofold: They really do not understand witchcraft and they really do not understand the Biblical teaching against such pagan practices. It needs to be said that we are not given Biblical liberty to mimic forbidden practices. To be honest, this is where the church has failed. It is not enough to say “stay away from witchcraft” if believers do not understand what they are supposed to stay away from. It appears that believers have not been properly warned enough to “abstain from all forms of evil” or that light does not fellowship with darkness.


In closing, Yoga and Harry Potter are just two of many examples that fit the mold of the “Trojan Horse” that has been camping out in Christian circles for a number of years. In Part Two, we will look at the Enneagram craze and the Contemplative Prayer Movement, both of which are penetrating the church.

Scriptures both warn and encourage us to see things from a Biblical perspective. God, through the prophet Isaiah says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9). Judges 21:25 tells us “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Proverbs 21:2 says, “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts.” Further, Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Against such warnings we are encouraged to “Trust in the LORD with all our hearts, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Prov.3:5-6).

It is easy to get off base when popular human opinion or experience has become the reference point for interpreting life instead of the scriptures being the only rule of faith and practice. Unfortunately, some are using the Bible as merely one rule and not the only rule of faith and practice. It was for freedom that Christ has set us free. But we are set free to do His will, not ours! Since we have been set free, we are to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (II Cor. 10:5).


1Rev. Clete Hux. Attempts to Secularize Yoga in Alabama Schools.

2Dr Peter Jones. Confronting Neo-Paganism Part 1.

3Swami Param, New age yoga: Old age theft and surrender. The Costal News Group March 25, 2013. (internet article accessed at )

4Alabama Administrative Code (AAC), Rule 290-040-040-.02, Certain Teaching Techniques, (1) d, e.


6 Ibid

7 Hans Ulrich Rieker, The Yoga of Light: Hatha Yoga Pradipika, New York: Seabury Press, 1971, p. 101, ( cited in Ankerberg and Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, 606. )

8Rev. Clete Hux, The Evangelical Dictionary of World Religions. Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Kundalini p. 295

9 Swami Param, New age yoga: Old age theft and surrender. The Costal News Group March 25, 2013. (internet article accessed at )

10 Diane Smith, Wicca and Witchcraft for Dummies.

11 Richard Abanes, Fantasy and Your Family (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 2002), 194-195.

12Phyllis Curott, witch, as quoted in Buck Wolfe, “Witches Bless Harry Potter,” ABC Newscom. August 18,1999.

13quote from by “Heather.” Message #1432, November 24, 2001

14 Richard Abanes, Harry Potter and the Bible (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 2001), 26.

15Michael O’Brien’s Harry Potter and the Paganization of Children’s Culture

16 Ibid