Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Curt Jester on "Christian Karate"

Taking themselves way to seriously! The Curt Jester has the story Why do certain affliations of Christians believe that they must explicitly consecrate every phenomena in society? Perhaps they may want to read up on Augustine's City of God, where he delineates two cities, the city of God and the city of man. The Jester finds one interesting quote:
The Christian Karate Association stresses the importance of having a close relationship with God. During class, students will be required to read and memorize Bible verses along with learning different Christian Character Qualities. These will be required for passing each belt test. Some of the Character Qualities include: Endurance, Patience, Loyalty, Self-Control and Boldness.
This Fool went wandering inside and found even more intrigue:
In fact, it is virtually impossible to trace the history of martial arts back to a single origin. Yet, based on a Christian worldview of Earth’s history (creationism), it is possible to theorize a likely development.

The Christian worldview of self-defense is based on the fact that when humankind (Adam & Eve) sinned, the whole of God’s creation was perverted, becoming evil at the heart of its nature. The peace within God’s creation began to decay—animals began preying upon each other, thorns and thistles became part of the flora, and the Earth became a dangerous place. As the human race began to reproduce, differences of opinion, greed, and anger arose which led to fighting and eventually to warfare. Unlike the flora, the fauna, and the animals, humans have virtually no natural protection from the dangers of an evil world. People, therefore, used their intellect, which God had given to them, and began to develop means of self-protection.

On the most basic level, people likely protected themselves by merely swinging a stick at a danger. However, it is fair to assume that some individuals were better at self-preservation than others, and these individuals likely began to teach their families, friends, and community. It is upon this fundamental basis that the Christian martial artist believes martial arts (organized system of self-defense) were first brought into being.
Now, Catholics and Protestants have their differences on the consequences of the Fall. Catholics do not hold the doctrine of utter depravity. Catholics hold that creation, and humanity as the summit of creation, are still inherently good, but marred by original sin and inclined toward evil. These differences aside, this karate association's argument still collapses.

Say that humanity did originate various forms of martial self-defense as a result of the Fall. Which of these styles do the schools of this association use? If they're still using asian karate systems, then their point on the origins of self-defense is mote. It's as though they need to give themselves an Christologically-correct excuse to study pagan Asian karate. It's unfortunate that they feel the need to engage in these pointless mental gymnastics. While the earliest of Chinese martial arts did originate in Shaolin temples as part of Chinese Chan buddhists' moving meditations, this does not, in and of itself, render it anathema for Christian use. Kung Fu and karate today provide exercise, self-discipline and self-defense training to its practioners. Nothin g in any of the forms of karate that I studied compromised my faith in Christ or the practice of my faith in any way.

There's a whole lot of Much Ado about Nothing going on here. But, hey! It's a free country. If they want to Christianize karate, more power to them! They just better make sure those roundhouses are tight! And keep the punch lines straight.