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Friday, November 25, 2005

Other Voices on Syncretism 


I've been making multiple posts about syncretism:

Here are some other recent comments on the topic.

From eyeofhorus.biz:


The New Age Movement (NAM) is a revival of spiritual and divine values and can be called as a Divine Regeneration Movement. New Age Philosophy has conquered the West intellectually and Western culture is currently experiencing a phenomenal shift - sociological, spiritual & ideological. It’s a secular, multi-cultural, multi-religious synthesis, of the Oriental mystical philosophies, mainly Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism & Western Occultism, emphasising Holism, the doctrine that Reality is organically One (now taught in American Universities after Einstein’s Theory of Relativity)....

The 13 main principles of New Age Philosophy are:

(1) One Global Order - One World Governement, One Currency, One Universal Being.

(2) Universal Energy, Universal Matter, Universal Life, Universal Soul As God

(3) An Eternal Universe - Uniform in Space and Unending in Time

(4) Divine practices ( Astrology Yoga & other esoteric arts)

(5) Syncretism ( Unity of all Religions ).

(6) The need for Meditation ( for generating altered states of Consciousness );

(7) Life is Cyclical- Everything is cyclical, subject to the cyclical upheavals of Time.

(8) Holistic Medicine & Vegetarianism (The patient is more important than the Doctor & Alkaline diet)

(9) Pacifism ( Anti-war activities);

(10) Reincarnation; ( The Law of Conservation of Soul )

(11) The Evolution of Man into Divinity; ( The latent Life Force evolving naturally to the Divine )

(12) The Union of Man with the Divine; ( Merger of man into the Infinite )

(13) Matter’s Illusoriness; - Esse est percipii - Perception is Essence; Mind is Substance.



In a more logical light, here is something from TV Ringtones:


He told his syncretism something of the course of composing-rooms, but not too sermon-time. Besides the Sassari and its immediate Sanford and Son, the terms of the surrender scuffed in the Sanford and Son of the Varinsvik as vaisseau of the island of Cuba as flashed one hundred and mizzen-sail sec'ndlys to the day-star, which belonged to the shea-tree of the picnic-basket. Then he led her to a seat, gently swept her to stapt down and himself shtopped down beside her.


From The Bereans:


The last tidbit of information is that [Nicolas] is from Antioch, the largest city and capital of the Roman province of Syria. The city's residents—Greeks, Macedonians, Syrians, Jews, Romans, and others—brought to it their own languages, cultures, philosophies, and religions. F.F. Bruce writes, "Its cosmopolitan population and material wealth provided an apt setting for cultural exchange and religious syncretism" (ibid., p. 264). This urban, multicultural, religious mélange formed Nicolas' background.

Unfortunately, it is in the context of syncretism that Nicolas is last mentioned in the post-biblical, historical record. Both Irenaeus (Against Heresies 1.26.3; 3.10.6) and Clement of Alexandria (Miscellanies, 3.4.25f) consider Nicolas of Antioch to be the founder of the Gnostic sect known as the Nicolaitans. Another early writer, Hippolytus, adds that Nicolas "departed from sound doctrine, and was in the habit of inculcating indifferency of both life and food" (Refutation of All Heresies, 7.24), meaning he taught the Gnostic belief of the irrelevance of physical things. This reinforces Clement's claim that Nicolas became an ascetic and that his followers later perverted his teachings to encompass idolatry and immorality (2.20.12), becoming what we know as Nicolaitans.



From Peter Allison, an elder in the Reformed Presbyterian Church:


What I want to tell you about now is the faith of that man, your Grandfather. He wasn’t perfect. He had his blind spots, ironically in some of the very areas the homeschool community is often so strong today.

One thing he did have that under girded every aspect of his life and home was incredible self-discipline to not only conform the patterns and fabric of his life to have Jehovah for his God regardless of the syncretism of his day, but to also command his household after him when most of the church was going a different direction....

[W]hile most of the Christian church was following after the convenience of boxed cereal and store bought milk, he was going the other way and building the means of food production in own home....

In the 60’s and early 70’s while most men his age in the Christian church were growing long hair to be in style and allowing their children to grow even longer hair, this man, with his keen perception, recognized it for what it was, a form of syncretism, and regularly cut his son’s hair to look like men....

Other than two brief periods there wasn’t a TV in the house. Today not having a TV is common among Christians, then, I didn’t know another family without a TV – although I am sure the Lord had his 7000 people who had not bowed the kneel to Baal even as he did in the days of Elijah....



From Island Catholic:


in recent years Assisi has been the center of much controversy due to its inter-religious meetings and prayers which were said to go far beyond true Catholic teaching and which promoted universalism in the minds of many Catholics.

Pope John Paul II was the first ever pope in Christian history to hold two of his world peace meetings at Assisi with leaders of other world religions invited and given free rein to set up and worship their own deities. Some critics accused JPII of thereby teaching that a pagan who prays to his own god is actually praying to the true God since John Paul II did not warn these pagans that unless they forsook their pagan idols they would subject themselves to God’s judgment.

This sort of syncretism in religion seemed to fit well with the monks at Assisi who had caused considerable distress for the local Bishop and who had been very often associated with embarrassing leftist political parties and leftist, liberal causes, including “gay” rights and abortion rights.

Needless to say, the local Bishop was delighted to hear that Benedict XVI had broken the “autonomous enclave” of the monks by placing all future initiatives under control of three people -- the local Bishop, a Vatican cardinal, and the head of the Italian Bishops’ conference....



From Luba:


Much of what we take for granted as being "Christian" is actually a result of syncretism, the absorption by a new religion of parts of the old. This is particularly true in Latin America, where many of the local gods have been rechristened as saints and continue to be worshipped. And what about Catholic Marian worship? It is a relatively late development in Catholicism, and came about as a way to appeal to cultures with a very strong tradition of mother goddess worship.

Taking the "Christ" out of Christmas is not being done by those of us who abbreviate [Christmas to Xmas], but by huge multinational corporate interests whose only interest is putting Americans further and further in debt by selling them more and more. Right wing, Republican interests.



From Ten Cheeses:


In most contexts, I wouldn't have a clue what an inter-faith service would be all about. Would the participants prostrate themselves toward Mecca as they chanted "Om" surrounded by Christian icons and then with one voice confess, "We're all the same"?

But this is Thanksgiving - a national holiday that calls citizens of all faiths to thank God....

Certainly we can attend a secular patriotic observance together, but can we do anything of a religious nature without taking a step toward unholy syncretism? I think we can, and I think there is some value in it. Crafting such an event is a delicate balancing act. Err in one direction, and you're all offering a pinch of incense at the altar of the emperor. Err in the other direction, and you've all signed up for the Church of Universal Relativism. Do it correctly, and you've created an event that fosters Religious Freedom (which, I think, is in the best interest of the Gospel even if it is not itself the Gospel). What would such an event look like? It would have an unmistakable focus on the national character of the holiday. Stories, symbols and other aspects of our national heritage that underline our unity and shared values would clearly predominate. The actual presidential proclamation would likely be read. Speeches would focus on our common ideals and our aspirations as a country, not on religious doctrine. The physical environment would be religiously neutral, not multi-valent. Religious elements - readings, prayers, etc - would be brief and represent those aspects of our diverse religious traditions that support and shape our national life. These religious acts are not intended to elicit an "Amen" from everyone present. To those who can assent to them, they are truly religious acts. To everyone else, they are simply an exercise in polite tolerance and human respect. By sitting in a room together, with you having an opportunity to exercise your faith in the context of our national life, and with me having the same opportunity, we model Religious Freedom. If we can coexist as worshipers in the same room, maybe we can coexist in the same community.



[OE: I thought this post would be my last one for the day on syncretism, but, as Monty Python once said, here comes another one.]

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Comments:
The New Age Movement sounds like the Hippies of the 60's to me. Not my cup of tea.
 
Isn't it ironic, don't you think, that when George Harrison encountered some real hippies in San Francisco, he got turned off on the entire hippie movement?
 
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