As we walk with the Lord, every day we are faced with decisions about which direction to take. Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to join with my friends in a Tai Chi class for seniors. It’s proponents claim it to be beneficial for good balance and the prevention of falls. This all sounds innocuous enough. Right? But is it?
At first I wanted to join my peers and be a part of this group, but something nagged at my mind. I believe the Holy Spirit made me uncomfortable with the idea, so I decided to look into what Tai Chi really is. I needed to make a decision based on more than just what the pretty flier told me and the enthusiasm of my friends. So, I did some research which I will share with you.
What is Tai Chi?
“Tai Chi is an eastern religious practice that comes out of Taoism. Taoism is an ancient tradition of philosophy and religious belief that is deeply rooted in Chinese customs and worldview. Taoist ideas have become popular throughout the world through Tai Chi Chuan, Qigong, and various martial arts.” (source) http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/taoism/
Question: “What is the Christian view of Tai Chi (TaiChi)?”
Answer: Tai Chi is more specifically called Tai Chi Chuan, which can be translated as “supreme ultimate force.” Tai Chi is a martial art, though it’s often called a “moving meditation” since the movements are done slowly and deliberately, and it is taught more as a meditative and health-enhancing practice than as a martial art. Though its origins are unclear, the foundation of Tai Chi is the Taoist belief in a universal energy called chi (also spelled qi or ki depending on the language of origin). Chi is believed to be the binding life force in the universe, existing both externally and internally, moving through invisible channels in the body called meridians.
Taoism teaches that strengthening and reinforcing one’s inner chi will bring good health and long life as well as spiritual benefits. Certain breathing techniques, meditations, and bodily movements are taught to cultivate and enhance the chi. This belief is the basis of Tai Chi. There is no supreme God or Creator in Taoism; all originated from the Tao, which is an impersonal principle or source of creation.
From the Tao came yin and yang, two forces that manifested in creation. These forces appear opposite but actually are in a state of constant flux, merging with each other. The chi flows more harmoniously when yin and yang are balanced; this balance is brought about through special diets, herbs, exercises, breathing techniques, and bodily movements. Tai Chi, therefore, has a worldview at odds with the Christian worldview. Tai Chi is based on a Taoist spiritual view of the body and the chi, and how to enhance the chi, a view incompatible with how the Bible tells us we were made—in God’s image (Genesis 1:27).
Jesus Christ created and holds the world together, not the Tao or an invisible force called chi: “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17). Doing Tai Chi, even for physical purposes, is paying homage to a spiritual belief system at odds with God’s Word. (source) http://www.gotquestions.org/Tai-Chi-Christian.html
Can we Divorce the Spiritual Aspect of Tai Chi and use it just as an Exercise?
That question comes up right away when considering Tai Chi. Here is a quote from Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man, in an article published on his web site:(emphasis added) http://www.equip.org/perspectives/christian-martial-arts-should-christians-practice-the-martial-arts/
“It is clear that some martial art forms cannot be divorced from their Eastern origins. For example, Aikido, Ninjitsu, and Tai Chi depend heavily upon a force called “ki” (or “chi”) which supposedly pervades the whole universe. Since Christians worship one God who created the universe, and do not believe in this universal “chi” force, it becomes difficult — if not impossible — to reconcile these martial art forms with Christianity.”
Since Tai Chi involves Taoism which is Eastern Mysticism it cannot be reconciled with Christianity. When we do Tai Chi we are to align our energy with the universal energy force or “chi.” It is like trying to mix oil and water.
What Direction Can I Find From the Bible?
First of all God, in the Bible, tells us not to believe every thing that comes along as being from God. There are many false teachers in the world today and we need to be very careful what we follow. It is easy to follow the crowd, but we are to test the spirits to see if they are from God. Well, I can see from my research that the spirit in Tai Chi is not from God. It is anti-Christian. Therefore, I should not get involved.
1 John 4:1 NASB Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
I remember as a child some of my friends would join a certain group, or take part in something, and I wanted to also. I wanted to be part of the crowd. Sometimes I would ask my mom with the argument that “all my friends are going, why can’t I?” My mom knew more than myself, (of course, I didn’t think so) and she protected me from doing things that would not be good for me. It is like that with Christians. We want to do what everyone else is doing, but God has given us certain guidelines to follow and we need to go to Him and find out if we should do them or not. I’m thankful for the Bible and the instruction He has given us. He is the perfect parent!
Ephesians 5:11 NASB Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;
The devil would like nothing more than to get us sidetracked from our Christian walk. Do you realize in practicing Tai Chi there is a supernatural aspect to it? Here is another article called, Yoga wasn’t bad enough. Now we have tai chi, as the dark supernatural continues to invade our exercise time.
1 Peter 5:8 NASB Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Isn’t it true that today there is much evil that is called good? And, there is good that is called evil! Oh, my, we have to be on alert all the time. How do we measure things? Well, we can either listen to the world or we can listen to God. Keep your Bible handy!
Isaiah 5:20 NASB Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
Another good scripture comes to mind. When you put a little bit of yeast into the flour mixture in just a little while the yeast has permeated the whole lump of dough. That is how we make such good tasting bread. But, in the spiritual realm a little bit of false teaching will quickly spoil everything else that is said. We must be very careful and discern the truth.
1 Corinthians 5:6b NASB Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?
We cannot allow ourselves be destroyed because we don’t know. Today we have many resources available to us and there is really no excuse for ignorance. We need to stay in the Word, and search out answers to anything that comes up that we are not sure about.
Hosea 4:6a NASB My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
God tells us what we must do!
2 Corinthians 6:17 NASB (17) “Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you.
We are not to be conformed to the world, but we are to seek to live in a way that is honoring to the Lord. He calls us to holiness.
1 Peter 1:14-16 NASB As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, (15) but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; (16) because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” (emphasis added)
Here is part of Paul’s prayer for the people in Colosse. And it is my prayer for you.
Colossians 1:9-10 NASB For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (10) so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
After doing this research I came to the conclusion that doing Tai Chi is not honoring the my wonderful Savior and Lord. It is dabbling in the occult and would not be something He would want me involved with. I’m thankful that the Holy Spirit made me feel uncomfortable and got me to really look into this. I hope what I’ve learned will be helpful to you.