“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.” 2 Timothy 4:3 ESV
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines syncretism as “the combination of different forms of belief or practice”.
We see instances of syncretism in the Bible when the Israelites would try to combine the worship of other foreign gods with their own of Yahweh. This attempt at “blending” the religions of the cultures surrounding their own into their lives remained a constant source of aggravation between them and God. Yet, it is a problem which persisted.
“…do not fall into the trap of following their customs and worshiping their gods. Do not inquire about their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations worship their gods? I want to follow their example.” Deuteronomy 12:30 NLT
The application of syncretism (conscious or otherwise) is nothing new within the Church era as well. It’s seen in religions such as Santaria and Vodoun (the mixing of Catholicism with animistic folk magick and West African folk magick respectively) Syncretism is what allowed me (and many others) to combine witchcraft and Christianity. This is also how Eastern Meditation, Buddhism, and other religions can be incorporated into the lives of people who claim Christ as Savior.
Syncretism is very popular among people who consider themselves to be “spiritual but not religious”. Allowing individuals to pick and choose practices they enjoy or feel a deeper affinity with from a variety of religious sources while discarding the rest, enabling a spiritual path of one’s own choosing.
Religion ala carte.
The truth of the matter is that blending any belief system to Christian faith is not possible—not if you believe the Bible.
The Bible tells us that JESUS is the only way to salvation, the only way to the FATHER, and that there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved. For many, the Gospel is anethema in terms of our relativistic society.
Which is why, I suppose, that syncretism seems to be a way around the uncomfortable truth of sin and salvation, faith and belief in Jesus as the Son of God, etc. Pulling mysticism or Eastern meditation practice, or witchcraft into a “spiritual path” can seem so much more satisfying than dry religion. The problem is it just doesn’t fly:
“Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:
“I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.”
2 Corinithians 6:14-17 (NLT)
We don’t need to combine the esoteric practices of some foreign god’s religion with the Christian faith.
What we need is to re-acquaint ourselves with what the Bible says. Know JESUS. Be HIS disciples, Apply what we learn from the Holy Spirit into our daily lives. Pray, worship, and serve God with our whole heart.
What we need is to be in relationship with HIM.
And then share it with everyone.