Syncretism

Some cream in that iced coffee

I’m confident that all of you crossword puzzle buffs know the meaning of syncretism. But I didn’t know this word existed until I came across it in a Bible commentary. This condition has saddened me for many years; I just didn’t have a name for it. Oh, syncretism in Christianity means the blending of non-Christian religious ideas or practices with Christian doctrine.

Syncretism in my home

Yesterday I was sitting in my recliner chair while my grandson was lying on our couch watching a Chinese cartoon edited to use English words. The writer created a compelling story based upon a moral idea. However, what seemed “good” was actually a lie.

At the end of the movie, my grandson said, “That’s a really good movie.” He said it in a way that meant he recognized the moral precept taught in the story, and he thought IT WAS TRUE!” Yikes!

Christian syncretism

In our nation’s multicultural, pluralistic society, countless Christians and many local churches have absorbed doctrines of non-Christian religions. We have even become desensitized to many of these.

Are we aware when a Christian says, “Karma will get you for that!” Or “My new MacBook Air is like computer nirvana.” Or “You know, Mike, we need to move the couch to get a better feng shui.

Feng shui, also known as Chinese geomancy, is a pseudoscientific traditional practice originating from ancient China, which claims to use energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment. – Wikipedia

Syncretism vs God

These are just three of a multitude of non-Christian religious beliefs common in Christians’ thoughts and words. In fact, you may be angry at me right now because I’m messing with things that seem right or authentic to you; that is the danger. God is a jealous God, and one of God’s names is “Jealous.”

For you must not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. – Exodus 34:14

Syncretism’s primordial soup

Our culture expects us to assimilate into the primordial soup of pluralistic worldliness founded upon beliefs rife with dichotomies. Sorry, that sentence was in my head; I can do better. Let me try this: Christians, like you and I, are expected not just to tolerate false teachings, but our society compels us to incorporate false teachings into what we believe.

Syncretism must not be found in the words we speak

It is wise for us to remember that words carry enormous importance. Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1). God created everything by speaking words (Genesis 1:3). We cannot be saved unless we speak our faith:

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. – Romans 10:9

What we say is so important that Jesus said:

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, – Matthew 12:36

And, because God is so amazing, God also keeps a book of our faithful statements.

Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. – Malachi 3:16

Removing the syncretism in us

So, it seems that we need be effective curators of our beliefs and the idle words we speak. Let’s always be aware that God is listening to everything we say!

Photo by tabitha turner on Unsplash


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