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Featured Is Christianity a syncretic religion?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by adrian009, Sep 30, 2020.

?
  1. Yes

    10 vote(s)
    43.5%
  2. No

    5 vote(s)
    21.7%
  3. Syncretic to a minor degree

    5 vote(s)
    21.7%
  4. Syncretic to a major degree

    1 vote(s)
    4.3%
  5. I don't know

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. This poll does not reflect my thinking

    2 vote(s)
    8.7%
  1. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    The RCC allows me to marry a Protestant. I have already asked my priest and he said : no problem..
    So...
    :p
     
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  2. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson Well-Known Member

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    What of it? One priest would not and several priests would have consented to my wife's marriage to me when I was not RCC. But I wasn't marrying a priest, was I?
    Apparently, I failed to make it clear that the woman I wanted to marry was a member of a family of Mexican RCCs who believed, at the time, that "Catholics" are "Us" and that "They" are "Not-Us".
    A couple of years after our wedding, my wife's youngest brother married a closet-agnostic who decided, for her parents' sake, to have a Presbyterian minister officiate. Because the wedding wasn't an RCC wedding, two brothers and their families would not attend.

    Priests may define or explain the rules, but not all Catholics notice or bother to find out if the rules have changed.
     
  3. Samantha Rinne

    Samantha Rinne Resident Genderfluid Writer/Artist

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    It depends on whether you mean my version of Christianity, or your typical fundamentalist. My Christianity is a result of background with world religion, and I'm more like a Druze tbh. The typical fundamentalist however refuses to be syncretic at all., feeling that it would be corrupted by others religions. It doesn't matter though, Christian faith is already syncretic. Jesus spent time in Egypt, and it is fairly clear that many of his ideas about death and resurrection came from Egyptian lore. In other words, in addition to fulfilling Messianic prophetic writings, he also as a human manages to mirror one of the Egyptian deities' actions. And many Christians who see God vs devil war are mirroring Zoroastrians teachings, as most Christians who mistakenly believed following laws for their own sake are overlapping with Judaism. Most of the opponents of Christianity conflate it with Islam. So you see, while Christianity insists that it is not syncretic, most of its adherents have trouble following anything near a pure version.
     
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  4. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    I voted "no"... since it was the Jewish nation that started Christianity and they based it totally on the TaNaKh (since there was no gospels written at that time)

    What is known at the NT is simply their recorded positions in as much as syncretism was being attempted to be inserted (gnosticism et al) as well as efforts to simply return to the Law of Moses. It wasn't a syncretic effort in their writing but simply the recording of what they understood from the sacred scriptures.

    Buy, yes, there were those of covenant of the Law of Moses who didn't accept it and that history goes on today.
     
    #24 KenS, Oct 1, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
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  5. viole

    viole Metaphysical Naturalist
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    I think they tried, but without success.

    For instance, there is still a lot of confusion in what immortality means, even among modern Christians. Is the soul immortal, independently of a body, by its very nature (Greek Thought), or we do die, and resurrected in a new body by an external God (Jewish though)?

    The two concepts cannot possibly mix. Only one can be true, at most.

    ciao

    - viole
     
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  6. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    Well that's a good question to ponder over.

    My take is that Christianity per say is not syncretism, its rather supersessionism. Especially most of Pauline theology which supersedes the law.
     
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  7. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

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    I think the answer depends on what is meant with Christian. If it would be just what the Bible teaches, then it is n line with OT and I don’t think it is religious syncretism.
     
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  8. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    Actually, Paul is poles apart in reality. So one cannot make a general judgement that the Bible is in line with the OT. Paul preaches a completely different theology to the Tanakh.
     
  9. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    One writer exhorts us thusly "Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, 'He catches the wise in their own craftiness' and again, 'The LORD knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.'" (I Corinthians 3:18-20)

    I think syncretism in Christianity is based in understanding that the world is a garden, not a desert. You can't go around saying "That is evil, because I am not familiar with it." "We didn't have that in our town! That's evil!"

    Also Christian syncretism is about plugging in, investing one's own self into the population as if your life was money invested. The idea is that if you don't involve yourself in the world then you won't be stolen or lost; but you won't improve like a return on an investment improves.

    Concerning Jesus parable seeds from God have been scattered everywhere, not only in churches. They start growing, and sometimes there is fruit. Just because one passage says there is a need for preachers doesn't mean that everything in the whole world is evil. Good things and people appear.

    I think about the error of the first missionaries to Hawaii. They presumed that God must speak through them to the Hawaiians and not through the Hawaiians to them. They were trying to do the right thing, but in the process they hurt a lot of people. They didn't look for God's works. They were dogmatic and unyielding and refused to learn. They would have been much better off to dress like the natives, to be as a native and risk making a mistake. They would have been better off to risk losing themselves instead of hiding themselves away afraid to interact. They could have accomplished more by becoming Hawaiians.

    Let me refer to 1 Corinthians 3 and put a bit of spin onto it in order to bring out something. Verse 13 says "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ..." which many take to mean that only preachers can plant seeds or that people must speak the dogmatic words or say the right prayer or they aren't Jesus disciples. That overlooks the mystery of Christ! They read I think the opposite of what this verse is trying to express! In Jesus parable of foundation and sand a builder mistakes what is permanent and what is impermanent. It seems the 'Foundation' is not dogmatic words or prayers or understandings but is accepting that God gives wisdom. That is what is permanent. This requires humility of a kind which most people reject, a narrow gate through which we can barely fit our heads. I know it sounds a little ironic, but that is the usage of the word 'Foundation' in Christian terms, and the word 'Christ' is a mystery.

    There is such a thing as the gift of understanding mysteries which all Christians ought to desire. The name 'Jesus Christ' is one of those mysteries. 'Jesus Christ' reads like two words but is actually three. The name 'Jesus' is translated twice, first in Hebrew and later in Koine. It means "L-ORD is Salvation," while 'Christ' means "Annointed." Together this seems roughly like Paul's "Christ in you the hope of glory," (another phrase also in need of translation). You could also read it as "the anointing placed upon you the hope of destiny" or something like that, but the anointing resting upon all gentiles is what it refers to. This is tied to the idea that God gives wisdom to all. *That is the foundation* to which 1 Corinthians refers and the syncretic nature of Christ. Rephrased the name "Jesus Christ" can be written very roughly as "The church is the ground and pillar of truth" hidden in plain sight.

    So... 1 Corinthians says "...foundation...which is Jesus Christ..." and that anyone who builds on this their work will be passed through a fire. That fire destroys anything impermanent, so there is no need to worry. There is no need to put on airs or to be concerned that borrowing some habit from another land is dangerous. Nothing is more dangerous than that fire which will remove that which is imperfect.
     
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  10. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    Not really -- there are three issues in the NT - that which is directed to the Jewish people, that which is directed to The Church, and that which is directed to the non-believer.

    The confusion comes when one thinks he is talking about the Jewish TaNaKh when in reality he is talking about The Church or when Jesus is talking to the Jewish nation and one thinks he is talking about The Church. Different messages

    Remember, that Paul and the Apostles preached from the TaNaKh. The NT was compiled together after the death of the Apostles.
     
    #30 KenS, Oct 2, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2020
  11. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    I didnt say he was talking about the Tanakh. What I said was that his theology is contrary to the Tanakh.
     
  12. KenS

    KenS Face to face with my Father
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    I understand. What I am saying is that he preached from the TaNaKh and when talking about the Church, it is a different covenant
     
  13. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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    Oh okay okay. I get what you are saying.
     
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  14. Tambourine

    Tambourine Well-Known Member

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    If I recall correctly, after Constantine came to power and people who had renounced their faith in the face of persecution came back into the fold, there were some rather heated debates over whether these people ought to still count as Christian, with one side argueing that they should have rather died for their faith than take the easy way out and survive.

    After the Empire came down in favor of the opposite side, this would eventually spiral into a full blown uprising/heresy, the Donatists.
     
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  15. Tambourine

    Tambourine Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe that's entirely true - the people who took part in the councils and debates were frequently Bishops or similar leaders of a Christian congregation or community, and since a proper clerical hierarchy had yet to be established, these leaders would often be raised up by the community there were a part of. Sure, they were bigwigs, but I'd say they would often be local bigwigs, speaking for the community they were leading or representing to outsiders.

    So in a very real way, these newly minted Christian theologicans represented distinct Christian communities with their own collective views and practices, and the question of heresy was very often a conflict between these different communities and their particular practices or interpretations. (e.g. the Monophysite conflict was very clearly a conflict with the Christian communities of Alexandria)
     
    #35 Tambourine, Oct 2, 2020
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  16. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    The English word "traitor" comes from Latin traditor which in the IV century described those who had abjured Christianity and had consigned, turned in (in Latin trado) the Holy Books.

    But originally traditores were just those who had abjured to save their own lives.
     
  17. DagonVarunaMitraApolloZan

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    Cool! Yeah, that is true, but really my picture was such a broad one that it was meant to represent a variety of centuries and even the general expectations one would have for how religions tend to operate, where the majority of ordinary folk have usually been illiterate and dealing with very loose magical folk concepts more than they are deeply familiar with theology. In some of the earliest stages, Paul seems to have been slightly disturbed or annoyed by how easily major issues and differences could occur in communities that were just at a little distance than others, due to a lack of constant monitoring or control, where a diversity of ideas and behaviors which were not expected or sanctioned would creep in or were feared to have creeped in. There seems to be evidence at least that the regular population throughout the centuries were a much larger quantity of people than the particular theologians attending councils, and that the dispersal of news from such councils may not have always been easy to make everyone aware of.

    Christianity spread all over the place eventually, and again, the popular Christianity practiced by and known to the ordinary folk was highly unlikely to be very literate, and was much more likely to be more about tradition, ritual, magical types of practices, superstitions, praying to saints eventually and looking to relics, not a deep familiarity with the contents of the Bible which may have remained inaccessible in their local languages or dialects, as literacy was also not prevalent and the poorer classes were always the larger in amount in a pyramid like structure. To become a theologian was in some cases a way to raise status and escape certain class issues, but it was difficult for much benefit to be returned to the communities which sent their best and brightest or most ambitious or capable for theological learning or apprenticeship. Furthermore, the same sexual evils that we hear about today, were likely widespread in the past, and the structures of abuse and predatory cliques were all the more likely, as has been demonstrated even among the Buddhist monasteries lately (but were more than likely always the case, because of how they are designed perfectly for evil people to take advantage of).

    So, of course I have no idea how things were in the remote past, I don't even know what the people in the apartment unit next to me are actually doing (but it sounds like very loud and obnoxious sex), I suspect the story which most accurately represents the broadest scope of time and Christian history is one where:

    The majority of the people are poor, of a lower class than the smaller population of academics and elites and nobles.
    The majority of the people are prone to magical thinking, are more familiar with traditions and superstitions than with theological nuances.
    The majority of the people know very little of the Bible or theological discourses or council decisions or whatever, but are mainly ignorant people.
    They worship a cosmic and magical folk Jesus who has miraculous powers simply called upon by name like a Bodhisattva, but is God or connected to God in some fashion. They also know of various Biblical stories and characters, but only vaguely, and unlikely to know straight scriptures.
    The clerics keep reciting things ritualistically and like mantras to the illiterate masses with a poor grasp on linguistics or meaning even, and this continues even when the languages become increasingly archaic or foreign as Christianity spreads.
    People would send some of their children to positions or educations if they could, to raise their status, it is more than likely these children entered into networks of systematic abuses and controls which only allowed certain secret keeping members to continue and succeed, and these networks of abuse and control were sometimes embedded almost as traditions for very long spans of times with generations of abusers and their abusing heirs, which may have forced many of the children sent into these systems to not have much real influence to save the majority of their communities or remain loyal to such, but some families were able to excel more with the help of such, but needed other members to do certain things to, I'm thinking of families which had this as part of their plan, usually led by a strategic sort of elder male of the family who uses his children like pawns.

    The best Christians throughout history have likely been certain theologians and certain innocent or mainly ignorant devout people, following traditions of shame and decency and morality. I think it is very possible that the vast majority of people were generally humane and decent, with a lot of corrupt and villainous folks from all levels of society interspersed, probably at a rate and level similar to the rates of the criminal and corrupt elements or unethical or cruel people in today's society (most of which remain unknown to us, but are causing problems among their networks of contacts).

    Magical vague Christianity remains the mainstream norm to this day, but now it seems even lighter on the ritual or practices than ever before, even with a much higher literacy rate and availability of scripture than had ever been possible.

    Christians mainly don't syncretize, but if they do, it could be said (not very seriously), that many people who identify in some way as Christian, also generally accept the norms of the governments they live under, society, modernism, science, etc, with only minorities resistant to such, and so Christianity has mainly syncretized with the mainstream culture and mainstream mythology, where we all basically know of the same characters and sayings. Furthermore, other people identifying as other religions are also mostly part of the modern norms and culture, which is largely regulated or has the ideas dispersed through the media, the internet, and vast cross cultural contact, imitation, production, and distribution, as well as easy access and availability. We are, contrary to what people may think, closer to a One World Culture than has ever been the case in the past, and it could be considered in some ways a synthesis of many things, a syncretism, where everyone basically accepts the same ideas, thinks that God means generally the same God whether they accept it or deny it, talk about the same Jesus even if they are from other religions, and know about Spiderman and Superman, even Hitler as a villain and whatever as well as ideas very widespread across the whole globe now.
     
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  18. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

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    I disagree with that, but please explain why do you think so?
     
  19. DagonVarunaMitraApolloZan

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    In the meantime, if it isn't too much trouble, I'd like to know your points about why you disagree with what they wrote and how Paul preaches something completely in line with the Tanakh or Old Testament theology, and you can also include (if you know about it), stuff about how his ideas were not too weird or different from other Jews of the Second Temple period and their ideas.
     
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  20. firedragon

    firedragon Veteran Member

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