The Karate Kid

MJP writes: “I have found from there are some references to eastern mysticism in the film ‘Karate Kid’. If there is no danger I would like to take my children to the movie. What is your opinion ? Thank you.”

I’m assuming that MJP is talking about the remake of the original Karate Kid, which was made in 1984 and starred Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita. The 2010 remake stars Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. is correct. The remake of Karate Kid has the same central theme – a young boy tormented by bullies who finds a friend and mentor in a troubled martial arts champion. It’s a great story about overcoming adversity, but the new movie does have some problems.

First, it received a PG rating because of its realistic depiction of martial arts violence.

But some reviewers are even more concerned about the film’s spiritual content – which is definitely not Christian. According to Sheri McMurray of, it is “based around the Chi [universal life force energy] and the belief that we all have a power from within.” The elder character teaches his young protege that “Kung Fu is everything in life, and in how we do everything.”

McMurray concludes: “The values embraced within the film’s theme are not bad ones, they for the most part are in line with the principles we as Christians strive to teach our children, values and morals even Jesus teaches us, like love they neighbor, respect those in authority, honor your parents, truth in friendships, personal integrity, but it must be said that the spiritual aspect of this film is definitely Eastern in nature.”

She goes on to recommend: “If that is a concern to parents taking their families to see The Karate Kid, please be sure to sit down with them before you attend this movie, and make sure they know and can discern the difference between Eastern mysticism and Christianity.”

I would encourage a parent to use common sense when deciding whether or not to take a child to see the Karate Kid. Naturally, a movie that depicts a young boy triumphing over his enemies with Kung Fu fighting rather than with the teachings of Christ is going to make oriental mysticism seem much more appealing to a child. This is especially true in a film that only presents the good aspects of eastern mysticism without mentioning the bad, such as the psychic dangers one is exposed to when practicing oriental meditation techniques and how those practices are often designed to unite one with the “universal life force” – which is a false god.

For obvious reasons, a movie like this could cause confusion and inner conflict in a child who is being raised in a home where Jesus Christ is Lord. 

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