Fainting in Christianity & martial arts

In charismatic Christianity they someones talk about people being bowled over (fainting), alledgedly from God’s power. I have a semi-Christian friend who said that happened to him and also he said a martial arts guy could do it.
I was wondering what it is called in Christianity and martial arts and if it is in other religions. (I think maybe it is in voodoo)

Christians call it being “slain in the Spirit”.

It usually happens during faith healing, although the veracity of the phenomenon has been frequently questioned.

I read about one church where they had regular healing services, and people were constantly being “slain in the Spirit”. The church provided “catchers”, i.e. men who would stand behind the person being healed and catch them when they fell over so that the wouldn’t crack their skulls.

On a whim, the pastor one day said, “Let’s not have any catchers at tonight’s service.” Strangely enough, nobody fell over that night. The pastor said, “Hmm …”

I went to a church like that when I was a kid.

People often fell over just to get the pastor to leave them alone. People often “secretly,” winkingly all acknowledged that they all did this, referring to it as a “curtesy drop.”

It was upon learning this little bit of terminology that I decided the quality of my parents’ religious leadership of my family was lacking at best.


(But they were good parents. They just had some bad ideas about religion.)

I was watching a special that talked about the martial arts guys doing this. They called it a “chi knockout” or something similar. A skeptic offered to let the guy do it. Of course the skeptic didn’t fall down. The ‘martial artist’ pretty much said that if you don’t want to go down, you won’t.

I also grew up in a ‘charismatic’ church. Being slain in the spirit as they call it works pretty much the same way. If you believe enough, it’ll happen. :rolleyes:

Thanks for the replies.
I was just thinking… maybe it is a bit similar to the fainting people do when they are near celebrities. i.e. they might be at the centre of attention in the congregation and also supposedly have a close presence to the creator of the universe and so that would be overwhelming.

Painting Christians with a pretty broad brush here, grew up in a fundie Southern Baptist church, visited a bunch more, never saw anyone keel over during a service by being “slain in the spirit.” Have never even heard that phrase. Have seen such as you describe on TV, but I think the vast majority of Catholic and protestant churchs here in the US don’t ascribe to such practices.

No. The OP was pretty specific:

“Charismatic” Christianity (a term more frequently seen among Catholics and a few Anglicans) shares a number of features with Pentecostal Christianity and those two groups are exactly the groups where one would expect to find the phenomenon of being “slain in the Spirit” described in the OP.

The OP seemed to be quite specific regarding the groups mentioned and the question asked. If you have never even heard the phrase “slain in the Spirit” then it is unlikely that you have been exposed to Pentecostal/charismatic Christian groups. This is not that surprising: while Pentecostals and Fundamentalists (among whom the Baptists would be numbered) share many perspectives regarding Scripture and other theological issues, they are not the same people. (In fact, a few Pentecostals even reject the word “Protestant” when identifying their traditions.)

I’m sorry mod, was equating “charismatic” with “fundie” in my post more or less, plus he mentioned “semi-Christian” and subsequent posters referenced “Christians,” so I’d say he wasn’t “quite specific,” but I defer to your expertise.

Well, I acknowledge the lack of absolute precision in the OP, but I attributed the lack of clarity to the OP’s lack of knowledge regarding the topic.
Here is an article on Charismatic Christianity and here is an article from a Fundamentalist perspective condemning Charismatics.

“Lack of knowledge?” Come on. They speak English in Australia, plus they are fairly familiar I would think with the permutations of Christianity. How could a fellow lacking the former virtues make his way to SDMB missing all the educational speedbumps along the way? But again, I defer to your expertise, I’m certain his allusion to martial arts wasn’t a slam.

In martial arts, the one inch punch

I asked a fifth level black belt to demonstrate this technique to me. It didn’t knock me over or send me flying, but it did make me stagger backwards a few steps. It might have knocked me over if I hadn’t been in a martial arts stance. It didn’t hurt or damage me in any way, But from personal experience, I can say that a seemingly light tap certainly can knock someone off balance.

I think the OP may have been referring to the ‘touchless knockout’

Why would you equate “charismatic” with “fundie?” These are two completely different categories. (Though not mutually exclusive–but not particularly overlapping, either.)

“Slain in the spirit” is a widespread charismatic phenomenon, though there are plenty of fundamentalists (most of them in fact) who would have no truck with such things.


People who are not (“serious”) christians generally do not understand how all the different categories of Christian are interrelated doctrinally. This is certainly true in middle class DFW, Houston, and Irvine (the places I’ve lived in my life) and, given the breadth of my experience chatting with people about religion, I’d be really suprised if my experience didn’t reflect what is more generally true throughout the USA, and even Australia.

To me, growing up, this kind of stuff felt like “common knowledge” and I was suprised in my early adulthood to discover that, to the contrary, this knowledge is far from common.