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Onward Christian Ninjas
September 6, 2004 12:52 PM   Subscribe

Karate for Christ An inspired blend of Eastern Philosophy and Western Religion or just fundamentalism reaching too far? Also check out Kicks for Christ and the Christian Martial Arts Association . This begs the question: if the diciples were ninjas, would Jesus have died on the cross?
posted by graventy (29 comments total)

 
Sweep the leg, Pontius....
(pause)
Do you have a problem with that?

No, Sensai.
posted by condour75 at 1:09 PM on September 6, 2004


Any concept or product that enters the mainstream will almost always have a Christian analog. It's just another example of how some Christians can't abide anything secular.
posted by RylandDotNet at 1:10 PM on September 6, 2004


Holy shit, you're right!
posted by condour75 at 1:13 PM on September 6, 2004




>always have a Christian analog.

Perhaps these are the symptoms of a dying religion or the death of religion as we know it? At least in the west where "none of the above" and atheism/agnosticism are only going up amongst gen-x and younger. Thus this "rebranding" of Xtianity to apply to secular things. It isn't some conspiracy to take over secular activities as much as to try to co-opt them to keep the pew seats from staying empty too long.

The none of the aboves hover around 15%.
14.1% do not follow any organized religion. This is an unusually rapid increase -- almost a doubling -- from only 8% in 1990. There are more Americans who say they are not affiliated with any organized religion than there are Episcopalians, Methodists, and Lutherans taken together. 6
posted by skallas at 1:34 PM on September 6, 2004


Any concept or product that enters the mainstream will almost always have a Christian analog.

You could say that about a lot of groups: the Gay Games? Miss Black America?

The reasons for this a manifold and a mixed bag in terms of moral motivations.

The Gay Games and Miss Black America etc. came about to provide something to groups that were excluded from the mainstream manifestation of these things*. Evangelical Christians are often encouraged to percieve themselves as persecuted, so they form affinity groups as well. Plus, of course, niche marketing and hairsplitting demographics are a factor, too. There's also the sad tendency of humans to divide the world into simple binary us-&-them groups as well.

*although as maginalized groups become more accepted in society at large, smaller affinity groups can start to seem cliquish and exclusionary which can breed resentment, but that's a whole other issue.
posted by jonmc at 1:37 PM on September 6, 2004


This doesn't look like an integration of Christianity and Eastern practices so much as bait & switch... I don't really see how they fit together, and it doesn't sound like they do, either.
posted by mote at 2:09 PM on September 6, 2004


There's nothing inherently religious about Karate. You can be Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, agnostic, you name it (my dojo has a Sikh student). Most people take it as a sport anyway. This just strikes me as a forced combination.
posted by tommasz at 3:01 PM on September 6, 2004


Just wanted to point out that, while Jesus' disciples may not have been ninjas, they did have a sword and Peter used it, only to be rebuked by the Lord:

Matthew 26:51-54 (text from bible.org):
But one of those with Jesus grabbed his sword, drew it out, and struck the high priest's slave, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back in its place! For all who take hold of the sword will die by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot call on my Father, and that he would send me more than twelve legions of angels right now? How then would the scriptures that say it must happen this way be fulfilled?"

Err, so I guess martial arts for Christ might not be in accord with the principle of "live by the sword, die by the sword". Anyway...
posted by elvolio at 3:05 PM on September 6, 2004


I don't know, when I was a young'un, my church ran a Tae Kaun Do training that, of course, was somewhat religious. It still taught good martial arts, it was just tailored to a certain segment, that church, though anyone was welcome. It's like having a club called atheist racquetballers, if only to get some atheists into racquetball with a group they already feel comfortable with.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 3:10 PM on September 6, 2004


If the diciples were ninjas, would Jesus have died on the cross?

Well, if Christ was the son of God &c, then, yes, he would have died on the cross no matter what. His destiny was pre-ordained.

Of course, if he could have delayed that death by a few years, he might have been able to straighten-out a few of his desciples' wrong ideas.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:14 PM on September 6, 2004


>he would have died on the cross no matter what

Well, in Christian mythology the savior must die, but it would have been a kick-ass kung-fu battle or perhaps a better modern expression of the savior archetype would be Ben Ken obi letting Darth Vader kill him for the greater good.
posted by skallas at 3:30 PM on September 6, 2004


Lord Chancellor has it... having been a member of one of the aforementioned groups, I can attest to this. Although there is prayer, the equivalent in traditional martial arts is meditation, so the difference, barring that, is pretty minimal. Most certainly not as freaky as it looks at first glance, although I'm sure you get a few kids in every class that go around kicking people and saying it was "for Christ". Those people grow up to pre-emptively and unjustly invade defenseless sovereign nations.... Kicks for Christ indeed. "Those that live by the sword, die by the sword" Good advice for America's foreign policy makers, I'd say.
posted by banished at 3:47 PM on September 6, 2004


I kick arse for the lord!
posted by chrid at 3:53 PM on September 6, 2004


I personally am not comfortable mixing Christianity with martial arts. Having said that, my teenage daughter was a part of a small group at church that taught martial arts from a Christian perspective...I visited it a couple of times and thought it was kinda dumb, but that's just me.

What a lot of this stuff is is Christians (like my daughter) being interested in an activity that is either considered "not Christian" or filled with people who have lifestyles that are considered inappropriate. I think "Christian" this or that turns out to be watered down, and a bit of a time waste. To use an analogy, I could go out and start a "Christian" Metafilter...but what would be the point? I would rather be here at the original one and be myself.
posted by konolia at 3:58 PM on September 6, 2004


these figurines make excellent gifts: martial arts jesus.
posted by steef at 4:06 PM on September 6, 2004


Matthew 17:43 - And lo Jesus did say unto them, "Consider ye, am not I a mammal? Do not I fight ALL the time? Is not my purpose to flip out and kill people?" And the people were fearful, for that's what I call REAL Ultimate Power!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:27 PM on September 6, 2004


If the diciples were ninjas, would Jesus have died on the cross?

If my memory serves me, one of his disciples did slice an ear off one of the Roman soldiers who came to get him. Jesus reproached the disciple, healed the ear, and went willingly with the soldiers.
posted by orange swan at 4:52 PM on September 6, 2004


eek, steef, the store to which that website belongs is less than a mile from my house! Creepy!
posted by notsnot at 5:07 PM on September 6, 2004


What a lot of this stuff is Christians (like my daughter) being interested in an activity that is either considered "not Christian" or filled with people who have lifestyles that are considered inappropriate.

"Inappropriate lifestyle" meaning "asian"? Or is there a dojo in North Carolina staffed by historical ninjas who are assassins for hire and they let the young women signing up for classes know what they're up to?
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:40 PM on September 6, 2004


Evangelical Christians are often encouraged to percieve themselves as persecuted, so they form affinity groups as well.

Not that they're ever mocked or anything.

/twiddles thumbs, looks the other way, knows full well there's a difference between mocking and persecution, but is, as they say, just sayin'
posted by weston at 7:53 PM on September 6, 2004


/twiddles thumbs, looks the other way, knows full well there's a difference between mocking and persecution, but is, as they say, just sayin'

Then why mention it, unless you think the earth is 6,000 years old and God put dinosaur bones in the ground to test you?
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:35 PM on September 6, 2004


/twiddles thumbs, looks the other way, knows full well there's a difference between mocking and persecution, but is, as they say, just sayin'

Yeah, Christians have such a tough time of it in America.

Just sayin'.
posted by RylandDotNet at 9:11 PM on September 6, 2004




Oooh. Kung-fu battle between Christ and Lord Dracula, ruler of the vampires!

Christ throws silver shuriken, but the agile Lord Dracula realizes that he is The One, and dodges them one, two, three times. Alas, the fourth throw nicks his shoulder. Toppled, he looks up to suddenly see Christ standing over him, ready plunge a holy-anointed wakizasha into his heart.

"Carmilla, I could use some help here!" he calls out.

Just before Christ plunges the sword, we see that Carmilla is there, katana held to Christ's throat. "Dodge this," she mutters, and with a wicked pull slices his head off.

But surprise! Christ is divine! He can not be killed by a mere head-chopping!

"It's just a flesh wound," he cries out. "Come back and I'll bite your kneecaps off!"

...tbc.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:18 PM on September 6, 2004


Eh, I see nothing wrong with this. If you don't like religion + karate, DON'T DO IT. Not that complicated as far as I see it. In the Youth Group I help lead, one of the dudes is a Biker For Christ. A bunch of Christian Bikers ride around ministering to different people and biking events compete in events. They don't overtly preach, but people know who they are and come to talk to them a lot about religion and stuff. It works out well and they've never had a problem with people being offended by them.
posted by jmd82 at 10:25 PM on September 6, 2004


Jiu Jitsu for Jesus!
posted by prodigalsun at 6:50 AM on September 7, 2004


Inappropriate lifestyle" meaning "asian"? Or is there a dojo in North Carolina staffed by historical ninjas who are assassins for hire and they let the young women signing up for classes know what they're up to?

I wasn't limiting my point to martial arts. There are a lot of Christians who would actually think it is wrong for me to be on Mefi just because some of you drop the f bomb occasionally, for example.

I personally don't care for martial arts because I don't think you can truly divorce them from the Eastern philosophy and spirituality in them.

Everyone has their own convictions on things. These are just mine.
posted by konolia at 8:08 AM on September 7, 2004


I love P_G
posted by longbaugh at 8:18 AM on September 7, 2004


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