Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 7 years ago

Is syncretism common in religion?

Can you give examples?


In some countries religions like Voo Doo actually get mixed in with Christianity.

11 Answers

  • Rick G
    Lv 7
    7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Very common.

    I live in the Southwest, and many practices of the Mexican Indians have been adopted into the Catholic churches. Wikipedia article cites many other examples.

  • 7 years ago


    Yes: The Pagan Trinity doctrine being grafted onto Christianity would be a good example.

    Religious syncretism often takes place when foreign beliefs are introduced to an indigenous belief system and the teachings are blended. The new, heterogeneous religion then takes a shape of its own. This has been seen most clearly in Roman Catholic missionary history. Take, for example, the Roman Catholic Church's proselytizing of animistic South America. Threatened with the fear of death, natives were baptized into the church by the tens of thousands without any preaching of the Gospel whatsoever. Former temples were razed, with Catholic shrines and chapels built on the same spot. Natives were allowed to substitute praying to saints instead of gods of water, earth and air, and replaced their former idols with new images of the Roman Catholic Church. Yet, the animistic religion the natives had formerly practiced was never fully replaced—it was adapted into Catholic teachings, and this new belief system was allowed to flourish.

    More recently, religious syncretism can be seen in such religious systems as the New Age, Hinduism, Unitarianism, and Christian Science. These religions are a blending of multiple different belief systems, and are continually evolving as the philosophies of mankind rise and fall in popularity.

    Therein lies the problem, for syncretism relies on the whim of man, not the standard of Scripture. The Bible makes it very clear what true religion is. Think on just a few things stated in Scripture: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind" (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37); "Jesus replied, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'" (John 14:6); "Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name" (John 20:31-32); and “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

    Religious syncretism is simply not compatible with true Christianity. In fact, any modification to biblical law and principle for the sake of a “better” religion is heresy (Revelation 22:18-19).

  • Eric B
    Lv 4
    7 years ago

    Yes, christmas is a good example with pegan and catholic traditions coming together.

    A rarely understood method for this happening is when a new place is conquested, by a country or empire, after the initial attack monks go in to learn the language of the locals, so they can teach them their religion. A good example is christian monks learning chinese religions like Taoism and somewhat Buddhism. So to force upon them the christian faith, they learned chinese language, in doing so one of the cheif ways to do this was to translate the existing local texts, religious or otherwise. In doing so, over time certain words were interpreted with a biased opinion, four instance the earliest translations of the Taoist religion has words like god, and heaven but there is no word for god or heaven in Taoism... over time the two religions showed syncretism in certain ways.

  • Mackey
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Most religions are a combination of different beliefs. Take Christianity for example; it is build on Judaism, Judaism is a combination of earlier middle-eastern religions.

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  • 7 years ago

    Yes. All the major religions are syncretistic. The older a religion is, the more difficult to ascertain and separate the syncretistic elements.

  • Kevin7
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    It is common in in the far east where people often belong more than 1 religion such as Buddhism,Taoism, and Confucianism

  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    OK First God was in charge of it all and then God sent Jesus Christ his only Son too the world the Change the world and tell others about God the Father and how to worship him. and God gave Jesus athority over the things and then Jesus died for us on the cross there by leaving us with 3 in one ... so accept Jesus now.

  • Rick
    Lv 6
    7 years ago

    Sure. Saul of Tarsus quite successfully melded the Hellenistic Pagan sensibility of his day with the venerable and respected ancient (relatively) Hebraic monotheism.

  • 7 years ago

    The opposite is usually true, especially in Protestantism. The most likely case would be the reunion of the Orthodox churches with the Catholic Church, but that is still along way off.

  • Evan
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    I suspect most religions have aspects of other religions within them.

    It makes them more palatable to the people you are trying to convert....

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