Fr. Pierre Haab, Switzerland: His long journey from Roman Catholicism, Buddhism and Hinduism to Orthodoxy

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Fr. Pierre Haab, Switzerland: His long journey from Roman Catholicism, Buddhism and Hinduism to Orthodoxy

Aviv Saliu-Diallo, Pierre Haab

Fr. Pierre Haab, a Swiss former Roman Catholic who was disappointed with his religion and was carried away by Buddhism, Hinduism and other screamingly “fashionable” Eastern teachings and who is now a subdeacon of the Orthodox Cathedral of the Exaltation of the Cross in Geneva, speaks about his conversion to Orthodoxy.

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—Can you tell us a few words about your family, education and the story of your conversion to the Orthodox faith?

I was born in an under-developed, impoverished, hungry country where the sky is permanently overcast with dark clouds—of course, in the spiritual sense. I am speaking of Switzerland, and especially of the city of Geneva—the center of world freemasonry and finances, the stronghold of obscurantist heresy, and a materialistic megalopolis that is enjoying the lulling, stable comfort that easily protects it from the numerous everyday tragedies of humanity.

My parents raised me in the Roman Catholic faith that they had inherited from their ancestors, for which I am extremely grateful to them; they implanted the fundamentals of Christian Revelation in me from childhood—namely faith in God, the doctrine and the necessity of prayer.

We were a practicing Catholic family. We attended Mass on Sundays and major Church feasts, and prayer was a part of our daily life (at least it was so for the first ten years of my childhood). My father, a journalist, devoted his professional life to the protection of the oppressed and justice. As far as my parents are concerned, they did their best to provide the continuity of religious education in our family.

As for the Church, though in my case the more precise name was “Papism”, the situation was different. As a child (in the 1950s) I felt comfortable in that religious environment; for example, I had no problem with prayers in Latin. Although for me faith was “the faith in obedience,” I used to ask many questions, and the adults—my parents and priests—were unable to answer them. And if they did answer me, they did it with a smile and condescendingly, thinking that I was trying to get to the core of the matter too seriously. They gave me to understand that performing the morally required duties was enough for me. And I decided that I would get the answers to my questions later through my independent, in-depth research and analysis of the primary sources, where the morals come from. Judging by my childhood memories, I always had a thirst for truth.

So I was waiting for some changes, when, at the very dawn of my youth, a crucial event happened in the West—a real revolution in Papism (which is still going on today). I mean the Second Vatican Council of 1962. Over a short span of several months (or, in some cases, two to three years) a whole set of rules which had been shaped in the living daily reality of Western Christianity formany centuries, were abolished, declared invalid and obsolete and even partly prohibited; in the twinkling of an eye this heritage was declared the lifeless and dusty relics of archeology. For example, thenceforth during the Mass the officiating priest and the altar were “turned around” and must face toward the congregation; the use of Latin—the centuries-old language of Western liturgies—was banned; the Sunday Mass was moved to Saturday evening—in order to give believers the opportunity to go skiing or sleep more on Sunday morning; the cassock (or soutane)—a non-liturgical garment traditionally worn by Catholic clergy—was declared “unnecessary”; all fasts (the Eucharistic fast, Lent and fasting on Fridays) were abolished; the Continue reading “Fr. Pierre Haab, Switzerland: His long journey from Roman Catholicism, Buddhism and Hinduism to Orthodoxy”

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What is Yoga? – Jeremy Butler

What is Yoga?

by Jeremy Butler

Yoga is a practice that has become very popular in the United States. According to a 2008 study, there are 15.8 million Americans who practice Yoga. Before we can answer whether Christian’s should practice yoga or not, we need to define what Yoga is.

Yoga is a practice found in all sects of Hinduism. There are different types of yoga, but all are touted as a means to achieve unity with the divine and thus to earn salvation. There are several practices within Yoga. These include, but are not limited to meditation, repetition of sacred sounds or syllables (typically “Ohm”), breathing techniques, acrobatic exercises, and positioning one’s body in difficult postures.

Meditation is central to all forms of Yoga. Meditation helps its practitioners to be able to find release from the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. “Yoga is a method of spiritual training whose purpose is to integrate or unite the self. A physical exercise, its goal is nonphysical-uniting with God. Yoga teaches that people should attempt to yoke the individual spirit to God, to atman – the individual soul or essence of a person – and to Brahman”. So we see that Yoga is essentially physical exercises in which one tries to attain unity with the universal divine essence of Hindu theology.

Can a Christian practice yoga without getting caught up in the religious aspects of it? – Jeremy Butler

Can a Christian practice yoga

without getting caught up in the religious aspects of it?

by Jeremy Butler

By defintion, Christians should not practice yoga. They can, however, stretch. Stretching is good. The philosophical occult aspects of yoga are not. Yoga is religious in nature and an eastern philosophical one. Remember, the point of the practice of yoga is to unite oneself with “God.” Take this quote from the Yoga Journal…

“Connecting the mind, body, and breath helps us to direct our attention inward. Through this process of inward attention, we learn to recognize our habitual thought patterns without labeling them, judging them, or trying to change them. We become more aware of our experiences from moment to moment. The awareness that we cultivate is what makes yoga a practice, rather than a task or a goal to be completed. Your body will most likely become much more flexible by doing yoga, and so will your mind.”

As one can see, Yoga is more than just a physical exercise. We do not want to leave our minds open to false teaching.

Should Christians Practice Yoga? – Jeremy Butler

Should Christians Practice Yoga?

by Jeremy Butler

No, Christians should not practice yoga since the intention of yoga is a path to attain salvation through union with a false deity. Some Christians practice yoga and say that all Christians can practice yoga. But, that is incorrect. Christians should not be involved in any meditative methodology that deals with energy balancing, focused energy movement, chakras, etc., of which yoga advocates.

If there are medical benefits from practicing yoga, then why should Christians not be able to practice yoga? – Jeremy Butler

If there are medical benefits from practicing yoga, then why should Christians not be able to practice yoga?

by Jeremy Butler

With any physical fitness, there are going to be some positive medical benefits. There are many other great physical fitness programs that are out there with great benefits. So why take the chance in meddling with something that comes from, and is associated with, a false view of salvation? Why do we feel like we have to use an exercise that has religious values from a false religious system? Yoga is different than other exercise systems because it is more than just exercise. The point of yoga is to combine body, mind, and soul together.

Is there anything wrong with doing stretching exercises? – Jeremy Butler

Is there anything wrong with doing stretching exercises?

by Jeremy Butler

This is a fair question since stretching is a major part of yoga. There is nothing wrong with stretching. In fact, stretching is a very useful exercise to help people stay healthy. The problem comes when one incorporates Eastern “meditation” techniques or other inherently religious practices that distinguish yoga from mere recreational stretching. One needs to make a distinction between purely stretching and yoga. So if people are just exercising by stretching and not practicing yoga, then feel free to participate.