My Dojo Is Becoming Infected

ETinCYQX

Master Black Belt
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
1,313
Reaction score
19
Location
Gander
Tez, there were several posts (most notably the one directly before mine) that said Christian themes had no place in a dojo. That is what I was responding to.

As to the school changing over time? Right or wrong, that happens too. And it's not just with the religious stuff. I've already seen a number of threads on here along the lines of "my school used to be hard core self defense, now it's all light contact point sparring geared towards sports". What are you gonna do right? You can stay and change with the school, or you can move on.

Fair enough but I'm still going to maintain that a church group and a private dojo are two different things.

Not something I have a problem with personally but I expect there'd be a markedly different response if the dojo preached Atheism, for example.
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
270
Location
Olney, Maryland
What I really meant was that the Christian themes shouldn't be in the dojo at all, not that they should be hidden from visitors. They just don't belong there.
I disagree. There is enough of a demand for Christian themed MA that there are several organizations devoted to the concept. Christian themed schools meet a need. It may not be my personal need; though I am Christian, I do not feel that every institution that I associate needs to be Christian, but such schools do meet someone's need. I see them as more of a niche martket, but a service marketed effectively to a particular niche can be quite successful on a small scale. Also, those who worry about such things can go to those schools an the rest of us don't have to spend our time explaining to them why what we do isn't unbiblical in some way.

I have said this previously; if the instructor is reputable and I like what I see, I don't particularly care if they have a yin/yang, a cross, a star of David, or a crescent moon. I am with Carol, however; if the school has a religious theme, it should be front and center.

Daniel
 

Carol

Crazy like a...
MT Mentor
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Jan 16, 2006
Messages
20,311
Reaction score
541
Location
NH
Fair enough but I'm still going to maintain that a church group and a private dojo are two different things.

Not something I have a problem with personally but I expect there'd be a markedly different response if the dojo preached Atheism, for example.

Here's where I differ. I just don't see martial arts as anything so pristine that it absolutely must be divorced from all worldviews and expressions thereof. For one, that's not how MA is practiced in many locales. For another I just don't have an issue with that sort of thing. Religion/atheism is part of many people's life, and blending martial arts with philosophy is something that seems to have been around since as long as there were MA systems.

I dunno, I'm Catholic and I likely wouldn't have an issue with going to a school run by atheists especially if their intention is to strip all the mystical woo-woo stuff out of training and get down to brass tacks about sound mechanics. Likewise, I don't think I'd have an issue with training with folks that have Christian (or Jewish, or any other faith's) themes.

I would have an issue if the school denigrated people who don't think as they do, if they evangelize their philosophy in some way, or if they spent mat time talking about their worldview rather than talking about training. I wouldn't tolerate that from anyone -- whether I share the same worldview or not is irrelevant.

But just because I don't like a particular practice doesn't mean I don't think it should be banned. I just think it should be front and center so I can make my own decision as to whether I want to train there or not.
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
270
Location
Olney, Maryland
Fair enough but I'm still going to maintain that a church group and a private dojo are two different things.

Not something I have a problem with personally but I expect there'd be a markedly different response if the dojo preached Atheism, for example.
I would see a difference between being not-religious and preaching atheism. If there is a market for an atheist themed school, then it would serve a need. I suspect, however, that there is no such market, as atheists will simply seek out a school that doesn't preach religion rather than seeking out a proactively atheist school.

Daniel
 

ETinCYQX

Master Black Belt
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
1,313
Reaction score
19
Location
Gander
I would see a difference between being not-religious and preaching atheism. If there is a market for an atheist themed school, then it would serve a need. I suspect, however, that there is no such market, as atheists will simply seek out a school that doesn't preach religion rather than seeking out a proactively atheist school.

Daniel

100% true but I used atheism to make a point. Substitute it with Satanism, even. (Not nearly as good of a parallel.)

Also, many of the atheists I know are ten times more obnoxious in preaching their views than most of the Christians I know so I would expect a niche for it to exist.

Here's where I differ. I just don't see martial arts as anything so pristine that it absolutely must be divorced from all worldviews and expressions thereof. For one, that's not how MA is practiced in many locales. For another I just don't have an issue with that sort of thing. Religion/atheism is part of many people's life, and blending martial arts with philosophy is something that seems to have been around since as long as there were MA systems.

I didn't intend anything about diluting martial arts. My feelings on this would be the same if it was a bowling league, I'd choose not to associate with a group that incorporated Christian themes and if it started after the fact I'd leave. I don't have a problem with it but I also won't pay to be a part of it. Photography is part of my life too, has nothing to do with my martial arts. So is my physics/science education which one could argue are just as important to certain beliefs as religion.

But just because I don't like a particular practice doesn't mean I don't think it should be banned. I just think it should be front and center so I can make my own decision as to whether I want to train there or not.

Exactly what I've been saying. I don't even dislike the idea, but I won't support it by paying to train there or staying there should things swing this way.
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
270
Location
Olney, Maryland
100% true but I used atheism to make a point. Substitute it with Satanism, even. (Not nearly as good of a parallel.)

Also, many of the atheists I know are ten times more obnoxious in preaching their views than most of the Christians I know so I would expect a niche for it to exist.
I suspect that those particular atheists are far fewer in number than that of evangelical Christians. Unless they're all in one place, video training aside, they'd be a difficult group to market to. As I said, most atheists don't look for 'atheists themed' businesses, and there doesn't appear to be a visible subculture of them that does.

Same would go for satanists. Generally, satanism is looked down upon by most everyone, not just those within Christianity, and I would bet that there are many more atheists than satanists. So unless you have a large concentration of satanists in one place, video training aside, it would be very difficult to market to them. Satanists don't look for satan themed businesses because I suspect that they know that the search will be mostly fruitless, as satanists compose a much smaller group than do atheists.

On the other hand, there is a very large subculture of Christianity that seeks out Christian themed businesses either exclusively or as often as possible, in addition to 'Christian themed' giving warm fuzzies to many Christians that are otherwise unconcerned about such things.

Most "Christian" themed businesses are themed in order to attract Christians, not in order to spread the gospel to non-Christians. And most Christians who go to a Christian MA school are doing so in order to practice in what they consider a safe haven.

As for the school changing after the fact, I just accept that all businesses change after the fact. Either you accept the change or go elsewhere. Sears Roebuck was a watch repair shop. They changed into a department store and eventually dropped watch repair and Roebuck's name. People went elsewhere for watch repair and either continued to patronize the store for the goods that it continued to offer or ceased to patronize it.

Most electronic goods were made in the US many years ago. American electronics companies changed the nation of origin of their goods after the fact and without sending out a huge announcment to forwarn their customers.

Businesses change. Nobody thinks anything of it unless the change involves religion, which is silly. LIke the change or don't care about the change? Keep patronizing them. Don't like the change? Stop patronizing them. Its as simple as that.

The whole 'religion belongs/does not belong in martial arts' is a matter of opinion. Martial arts are physical skills. If you think of them as more than that, then that is fine and should train in a school that reflects that. But there is no rule that requires nor prevents religion from being attached to the practice of those physical skills. Nor is there a rule that allows for only Asian philosophy and religion to be attached to them.

Physical skills. Teach them in the way that you see fit. Just understand that you may limit both your clientelle and the places that will want you to teach for them if you theme your classes according to a specific religion.

If my classes are themed toward simply teaching hapkido, I can teach it at Church, in the public schools, at the community college, at the Christian school, at the Jewish Community Center, at the Islamic Center, at the YMCA, out of my backyard, at Bally's, or in retail space.

If I make it a point to teach Christian hapkido, I have limited myself to Church, the Christian school, possibly the YMCA, my backyard, and retail space.

Daniel
 

Blade96

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 17, 2010
Messages
2,042
Reaction score
38
Location
Newfoundland, Canada
I personally dont think religion preaching religion and suchshould be brought into a ma's class. The only time God was mentioned in mine was when sensei wanted us to use our hips more when blocking. He's like, Thats what god gave em to ya for. And he said, if you dont believe in god - he gave em to ya anyway. :p
 

Yondanchris

Master Black Belt
MT Mentor
Joined
Jul 13, 2010
Messages
1,171
Reaction score
44
Location
Philip, SD
Okay, playing with fire here a bit, but I really don't see this as anything other than specious reasoning. Your argument comes down to a biblical passage from one of the Gospels (Matthew), and you are using that to demonstrate the idea of demonic possesion as a concrete thing, using this story as a factual piece of evidence. I would say that it fails on a number of levels for that.

A few quick observations:

- The Gospels were written up to a Century after Jesus' time, and are not definitive eye-witness accounts by any means whatsoever.
- The idea that a story, written many years, decades in fact, after Jesus had died is showing anything literally true is questionable, especially when you are looking to aspects of that story as factual without any other evidence to support (stating as fact the "Demons knew of their future judgment", "knew who Jesus was, and obeyed" are not to be considered credible accounts).
- Stories, such as this, do not have a purpose other than to be self-determining evidence for Christianity. Saying many years after the event (if it happened at all) that "Oh, they recognised him as the Son of God!" as evidence that he was is really the same as Ashida Kim saying that his teacher was recognised as a "true Ninjer" by the people he fought, and Ashida knows it because Ashida himself wrote it down last week!

This is not to disparage the story, Christianity, the Bible, or anything else, just pointing out that for this story to mean what you want it to requires faith to already be in place that such things are true, they really don't stand on their own merit. Especially the observations you made from it.

My whole idea was to share my belief that regarded demonic possession as "bad" needless to say this was just the first "story" that popped into my head, and we could go into a lengthy debate about the voracity and authenticity of scripture (for another thread)
 

Chris Parker

Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
6,228
Reaction score
1,061
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Oh, I got that, my point was more that the definition of "demonic possesion" may be rather out in this case, and that the story you used was of a Christian viewpoint, which is rather different from the actual context of the art itself, and as such isn't really a good example to use (or any Christian take on it, really), as we aren't dealing with that understanding.
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
270
Location
Olney, Maryland
I personally dont think religion preaching religion and suchshould be brought into a ma's class. The only time God was mentioned in mine was when sensei wanted us to use our hips more when blocking. He's like, Thats what god gave em to ya for. And he said, if you dont believe in god - he gave em to ya anyway. :p
Generally, most school are areligious. Schools themed as 'Christian' are very few and far between, and I suspect that aside from a few symbols that are simply associated with martial arts in the west, there isn't a whole lot of eastern religion in most martial arts schools, regardless of the art.

As for whether preaching religion and such should be brought into an MA class, that is opinion. Now, you may prefer that it not be, and your preference will be catered to by the vast majority of MA schools. But I don't see this as a matter of should vs. should not.

Personally, I do not seek out MA schools with a Christian theme, even though I am Christian. I don't feel the need to have a safe haven to train in, and if the sensei/sabeom starts introducing freaky things, I can take my own advice and decide if I either like or don't care about the changes or cannot tollerate them, and then either stay or go.

Now, there are people who specifically want a bit of Jesus in their Jujutsu, a bit of Christ in their karate, or a bit of Holy Spirit in their Hapkido. Those are the people that Christian themed schools are aimed at. In some cases, it is simply the school owner's desire to operate his or her school that way, but the end result is that the school will end up aimed at that group.

You know, whole industries exist to cater to people with alternative gender preferences. Great lengths have been taken on the part of the entertainment industry to insure that folks who prefer same gender relationships are represented. The world hasn't imploded and my girlfriend, inspite of watching far more television than I do, hasn't turned into a lesbian. And inspite of the fact that there is a predominance of straight relationships portrayed on television, a good friend of mine who is a lesbian seems to still be going strong with her girlfriend, and both watch far more television than I do.

If religion is what the students want and what the instructor wants to infuse into the class, then by all means, they should go for it. But the instructor should be prepared for the consequence that his student body will likely be smaller.

Diferent strokes for different folks.:)

Daniel
 

Sensei Payne

Black Belt
Joined
Jun 18, 2007
Messages
594
Reaction score
6
Location
Louisville, Kentucky
You know, someone else once made people of a certain faith wear a patch on there sleeve to indicate there faith...

Talk to your instructor.

The voice unspoken is the one that goes unheard
 

Chris Parker

Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
6,228
Reaction score
1,061
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Hmm, interesting way to Godwin the thread.... For the record, though, that's really not a good comparison in the least. On the one hand, you have a group (the dojo being discussed) which has changed it's focus, and altered it's patch accordingly, while introducing a more Christian ethic and flavour to the school. Then, your example, is a case of someone (heading a rather extreme group) singling out members of another ethnic group for prejudiced treatment (again, extreme).

In short, this situation is nothing like Nazi Germany. I'm concerned for anyone who would see it that way, honestly.
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
270
Location
Olney, Maryland
To those who are of a Christian persuasion, since Bible verses have been brought into the mix, I'd like to offer the following verses:

1 Corinthians 10:23-31:

27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience.
28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience.
29I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience?
30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?
31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—
33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

This passage addresses the idea that Christians can eat with non believers and eat the food that is offered, even if it has been offered in sacrifice; its just food. But some Christians who are not as strong in their faith will judge this as sinful. Paul advises to, in their presence, refrain from doing such so as not to be a stumbling block to them.

The 'them' are the Christians who most often will seek out a Christian themed studio. Like the food in question, martial arts are physical skills. I am capable of learning them without converting to Buddhism, Shintoism, Muism, or any other 'ism' that I do not personally subscribe to. But not all Christians can attend a class with what they consider overt "eastern mysticism" involved.

My own feeling is, and this has Biblical support, that Christians are supposed to be in the world but not of the world. In the world means that we are not shielded from the things in the world, but we do not internalize these things or make them our own. I may participate in an Aikido class, but should the sensei have a moment of meditation as part of the class, even if he is theming it as something to do with a non-Christian religious practice, its just meditation. I can meditate on scripture or take some time for silent prayer. The rest of the class may meditate on whatever they feel like meditating on. And that is fine. If I'm in the class, I'm there to learn the skill that the sensei can impart and I will just accept that he is of a religion that is different from mine. Hopefully, I will conduct myself in a way that is praiseworthy, and should the subject of my faith come up, because I have conducted myself in a praiseworhty way, I will not have prejudiced others against it through bad behavior.

In that way, Christ is represented in a positive way before non-believers. As for any 'eastern mysticism' in the class, I won't channel any demons (or anything else) by accident.

Many of our Christian holy days coinside with what were non-Christian festivals. Aligning Christmas with the yuletide doesn't seem to have caused the celebration of Christmas to turn into a pagan ritual or Christans to turn into pagans. If anything, our own buying into rampant commercialism at Christmas time has done far more damage than any simultaneous non Christian religious practices could ever do.

Now, what I do find humorous is that Christians are expected to go to a dojo and if the beliefs are different from their own to just suck it up. But then some (not all by any means) non Christians will whine like the dickens if they are put in a position where they need to do the same.

Daniel
 

Aiki Lee

Master of Arts
Joined
Jul 18, 2006
Messages
1,561
Reaction score
68
Location
DeKalb, IL
Was Payne really referencing Nazi's? I for one didn't pick up on whatever it was he was talking about.

And Daniel, I'd give you a +1 but apparently it's too soon, which is a darn shame because I feel that it was quite intelligent and should be recognized as such.
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
270
Location
Olney, Maryland
Was Payne really referencing Nazi's? I for one didn't pick up on whatever it was he was talking about.
He was referring the Nazi practice of forcing the Jews to wear a star of David.

Either that, or he is refering to the swastika on the sleeve, though I suspect that he was referring to the above, as Nazis were not really forced against their will to will to wear swastikas.

Daniel
 

Balrog

Master of Arts
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
1,722
Reaction score
411
Location
Houston, TX
To those who are of a Christian persuasion, since Bible verses have been brought into the mix, I'd like to offer the following verses:

1 Corinthians 10:23-31:

27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience.
28 But if someone says to you, This has been offered in sacrifice, then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience.
29I am referring to the other persons conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by anothers conscience?
30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?
31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God
33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

This passage addresses the idea that Christians can eat with non believers and eat the food that is offered, even if it has been offered in sacrifice; its just food. But some Christians who are not as strong in their faith will judge this as sinful. Paul advises to, in their presence, refrain from doing such so as not to be a stumbling block to them.
There's another point of view. Bringing Christianity into a school directly violates the teachings of Jesus. It puts the school owner on a par with the hypocrites as mentioned here:

Matt.6

[1] Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
[2] Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
[3] But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
[4] That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
[5] And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
[6] But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
[7] But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking
.

There it is. In no uncertain terms, no one should know what your religious beliefs are. Period.
 

Sensei Payne

Black Belt
Joined
Jun 18, 2007
Messages
594
Reaction score
6
Location
Louisville, Kentucky
My example was from Nazi Germany...but the atrocities they committed is not the point.

I believe that Martial Arts classes should remain secular...not because I'm not Christian, because I am...but its from a Politically correct, business stand point.

For example...

What if a Jew, Muslim, Hindu, etc. does join your school...and its aginst their beliefs to wear a cross. IMO to avoid singling any one person out Religion should be kept separate from Martial Arts classes.

Now please don't misunderstand me. If you run your class out of a church or have a church funded class, I completely respect that, and if your running a class and making a living doing it, more power to ya. but from a business owners stand point, I wouldn't want to turn away a good student, or potentially lose one due to my religious convictions.
 

Chris Parker

Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
6,228
Reaction score
1,061
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Your example was still diametrically opposed to the point of this thread, though.

When it comes to religious concepts in martial arts, or at least some aspect of a spiritual aspect, to me, there has to be one. Absolutely. And, so we all know, that's coming from a confirmed agnostic (hmm, does that make sense?).

In martial arts, especially the older ones, you are training to seriously injure or kill an opponent, another human being, and that comes with a realisation of the likelihood of your own possible death or serious injury, which naturally leads to thoughts of what happens after mortality is achieved, both for yourself and for those you cut down in their lives. This thinking on such things leads many martial artists over the centuries to a spiritual awakening in their lives, with many Samurai becoming monks later in life, and such individual accounts as Yagyu Munenori conversing with the Zen priest Takuan Soto, Musashi Miyamoto taking on the Buddhist teachings in later life (to the point where the Gorin no Sho is said to be only understood if you also know the Buddhist sutras), many martial artists who develop their understanding into a new expression of a martial art base them around particular shrines (such as Katori Shinto Ryu, and Kashima Shinryu, and more), and so on. It's natural that if you are concerned with killing, you are concerned with what that means for your enemies, as it will most likely mean the same thing for you.

With all this said, it does not necessarily mean that there should be a particular religious aspect. For instance, in the Gyokko Ryu Kamae aspects I mentioned earlier coming from very definate Shinto origins, you have no need to follow Shinto teachings for the kamae to work/make sense. But knowing where they come from is quite beneficial to understand them. It's what Daniel was talking about when he mentioned being "in the world, but not of the world". But what is needed is a spiritual morality, and religion is just one way of gaining that. Others are just instilling in people when to use or not use it.

Without it, you're just teaching people to be violent thugs.
 

Carol

Crazy like a...
MT Mentor
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
Jan 16, 2006
Messages
20,311
Reaction score
541
Location
NH
Now please don't misunderstand me. If you run your class out of a church or have a church funded class, I completely respect that, and if your running a class and making a living doing it, more power to ya. but from a business owners stand point, I wouldn't want to turn away a good student, or potentially lose one due to my religious convictions.

Most folks don't...whether they have a profitable storefront school, or whether they are small club that meets in the instructor's garage.

MA is a blind item. You don't know what you are getting in to, yet you are expected to make significant investments of time, effort, and often money, to reach a long term goal. Words such as "loyalty", "respect", and "courtesy" are liberally passed around.

What I find to be rather insidious about this situation is that the instructor -- the person of power -- was bringing students along in a particular way, but then changed the rules midstream....knowing that the students were in for the long haul. People change, I understand that...but this person apparently did it with little warning and no transition plan.

Near me is a private law school in Massachusetts that is not accredited by the American Bar Association. This makes it more affordable than accredited law schools. The downside is that its graduates can only sit for the Mass. bar (and firms do not see them as valuable as grads from accredited schools).

So...what would happen if a student making their way through this school...and then midstream the school announces they are changing their curriculum? Its not like the student can simply transfer to another school. The student has some knowledge, but not enough to reach a point of matriculation.

This would spark outrage, and possibly even a state investigation. Yet for a martial arts school to do essentially the same thing, its considered OK? That, meh, students just need to suck it up and deal?

If an instructor wants to change direction, at least have the loyalty to one's students, not to mention the respect and courtesy, to work a succession plan so the students that don't want to go in that direction can continue on with their investment.
 

Daniel Sullivan

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
6,472
Reaction score
270
Location
Olney, Maryland
There's another point of view. Bringing Christianity into a school directly violates the teachings of Jesus. It puts the school owner on a par with the hypocrites as mentioned here:

[1] Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
[2] Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
[3] But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
[4] That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
[5] And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
[6] But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
[7] But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

There it is. In no uncertain terms, no one should know what your religious beliefs are. Period.
Keeping your belief secret is not at all what that passage addresses. That was addressing using religious trappings in a public way to gain esteem for one's self. In other words, do your charitable giving without advertising it. Don't try to let everyone know how pious you are by praying loudly and repetitiously in public. When you fast, don't try to let everyone know how holy you are by walking around dressed in an uncharacteristic way and looking like you're dying of hunger.

Given that Jesus commanded his disciples to spread the good news, It is a definite misinterpretation of the passage to say that he mandated that nobody should know what your beliefs are. I have no idea where you are getting the idea that one should keep their faith secret, as not only does this passage not address that, the rest of the NT is themed around the spreading of the gospel. The only time that secrecy was ever brought up was when the apostles where hiding from the aurthorities.

Daniel
 
Top