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Why be a syncretist?

Discussion in 'Syncretic Religions DIR' started by Gaura Priya, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. Iti oj

    Iti oj Global warming is real and we need to act
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    Because I am a chaot and thats how i do. Belief is a tool
     
  2. Maija

    Maija Active Member

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    Because some manifestations of God have chosen me and not I them. Krishna choose to show me His love, thus I love Hinduism. However, I have strong Christian upbringing that I can't drop that completely and thus I will honor Jesus in my heart...I also was Muslim for many years and this shaped how I view and act as a woman in the world.

    Lastly, the Sikh religion is starting to appeal to me and hopefully it can teach me how to be better at EVErYTHING that I would like to associate myself with.

    I love God and religion too much to limit myself to knowledge of just one.
     
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  3. Caladan

    Caladan Agnostic Pantheist

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    When one is interested in religion in itself as a liberating experience or as an expression of world cultures and less in restrictive dogmas, one is more likely to go into various religious and philosophical systems. To me being a syncretist means to harness religion for self expression and liberation, and not to accept any standard religious authority.
    For example, I look at early Christianity as offering many creeds, sects, and gospels. Sometimes even philosophies and dogmas which are opposing each other. I am less interested in later Church based dogmas which to me are much more single dimensional. Hell, I was not even brought up with Christianity nor do I identify as a Christian. This is just how syncretism works for me. In this case the protagonists of early Christian texts can be harnessed against any canonized and formalized Christianity. The Pharisees become no different from the priests and the Church. Syncretism means not being afraid to look into every corner and niche in order to understand more about one's psychology and about world culture.
    I relate to the poetry of Ibn Arabi and Rumi but I am less likely to relate to standard Islamic dogma. Likewise, I am interested in religious systems which break all standard social and religious taboos of their time, for example Thelema and it's shameless attitude to the Christianity of Victorian era England.
    As a syncretist I study and experience philosophies which transcend or rebel against orthodox dogmas, or which alltogether go into places which standard religion doesn't go into.
    If I have to summerize it, I'd have to say that as a syncretist I identify with the tricksters who are at odds with dogma, and in the process I explore my own personal subconscious and learn a thing or two about the psychology of other people.
    To explore world religion, esoteric studies, or counter culture is the enjoyment of self exploration and liberation. I don't have to answer to higher religious authority as I can freely identify with what resonates with me and understand the underlying tension behind narratives.
    It's the freedom to identify with the devil in the Book of Job, the freedom to kill the Buddha on the road, to imagine oneself standing at the Gate of Ishtar, watching how prostitution can be practiced as a sacred rite.
     
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  4. ShadowFire

    ShadowFire Member

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    A good friend of mine once put syncretism in a wonderful joke form: "imagine for a moment that all the religions of the world were combined to represent the oceans of our Earth, now imagine your individual religion only has the capacity to scoop up a liter of water from the ocean you see. How are you going to fit a whale in your 1 liter containment of knowledge to understand they exist from the ocean sample you collected? Haha, it is OK to have faith in the water you collect but try not to forget that your individual spirit of truth is but a small sample of the complete Spiritual truth that is out there for us to undetrstamnd and learn from for our own Spiritual Enlightenment.
     
  5. rocala

    rocala Active Member

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    Are none of these syncretic?
     
  6. EverChanging

    EverChanging Well-Known Member

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    There are different definitions of syncretism. Generally I think syncretism best describes the practices of religions or cultures that have over time interacted with other religions and cultures and thus to some degree blended practices and or beliefs from more than one spiritual system. To some degree all major world religions are syncretic. Some religions are more syncretic than others. Sometimes it is a particular culture or group within a religion that is syncretic and possibly at odds with the presumably orthodox, official version of the religion.

    In the case of this thread syncretism seems to be referring to what I call eclecticism, and individual who blends elements of more than one religion into a personal system.

    Whether a particular practice qualifies as syncretic is simply going to depend on definitions. I do not overtly mix elements of different religions systems: often this runs into issues of cultural misappropriation, not to mention poorly thought out thinking and ritual, although there are exceptions. Eclecticism/personal syncretism can certainly be done in a well thought out and ethical manner.

    While I do not overtly mix elements of different religions my own rituals draw from ideas that are influenced by other religions such as Buddhism. Some elements are influenced by mysticism (of the I-am-God variety) which in turn may have influences traced back to sources we usually identify as Gnostic. Pantheistic, monotheistic, and polytheistic elements are present and depending on how one wants to focus on different elements of the liturgies one could take different interpretations or approaches. Some elements are based in personal experience. One prayer in particular is obviously influenced by the Law of Thelema. Mostly my rituals consist of prayers from the traditional Book of Common Prayer and Anglo-Catholic sources, re-structured and patterned around core prayers of my own devising, thus conveying a very different theological picture. Yet it would be very familiar to Anglicans accustomed to the traditional liturgies. The whole framework is strongly suggestive of postmodernism. The whole thing could be considered syncretic on a personal scale or in other words eclectic.

    Why do this? Because there are so many problems with traditional Christian doctrine. It is based on incredible myths mixed with elements of history. That is fine by me except that I am expected to swallow it as fact-based according to most traditional doctrine, and I find that unfathomable. Of course my particular branch of Christianity is lenient in terms of my personal beliefs. But that does not solve the whole problem. Christianity has a deeply anti-Semitic history. I have had to re-structure the Divine Office and am continuing to find a way to integrate it into my personal eclectic practices because of the way its lectionary and other elements portray our parent religion so often.

    Liberal elements of the Church of course are more sensitive to these issues, but they lose on matters that traditionalist members of the church are still generally pretty solid on. Some liberal parishes for instance have devolved into self-help or social justice groups with very little of spirituality. It becomes bland, at worst a way to feel good about one's self. Which is fine! But I am looking for something deeper than that. And have you seen some of these liberal liturgies? Often they are ugly and awful. To enter into a meditative mindset via ritual I need a certain amount of order and beauty. I am not looking for the priest dressed up as a clown, or Barnie on All Soul's Day (yes, these things happen.) Secular music is great in its own context, but the Church has a long history of beautiful music. No to a jazz vespers. A 12 step addiction themed mass? Just...no.

    When liberal elements of the church do not coincide with absolutely ridiculous theatrics that I could never participate in there is often an emphasis on rationality which is something very important to my own spirituality, actually, and something I value in the liberal camp, but on its own that is not complete for me.
    (Edit: I should add here that while liberal Christianity had a focus on rationality this is much less true of some factions identifying as liberal in the Church today: there is a strong anti-intellectual streak and often a delving into psuedo-spiritual non-sense New Age beliefs and practices, and a tendency to want to throw away all traditional elements of prayer and liturgy uncritically. Often those elements have been misunderstood and mischaracterized. Often anything from the past is viewed as worthless. While I am critical of much of what has been handed down to us from Christianity's past including some elements of the liturgy and the impact it has had on the Jewish people among others this side of things often gets little attention among such people and such elements are still present in most modern liturgies without most laity taking notice at all including the liberal camp. I believe many important and beautiful elements of liturgy, art, and architecture are being destroyed often without addressing real problems.)

    Basically my practices are a protest against certain elements in the Church both traditional and liberal. It is also a commentary on the doctrine and an alternative vision, a different theological take, and an approach influenced by postmodernism among other sources.

    Why not join another religion? There are a few reasons. I am not sure that I would be any less critical of another religion than I am of my own Christianity, actually. And there would be a major downside: since I am not culturally familiar with those religions I would be in less of a position to critique them. It is also true that I simply do not resonate with other religions the way I do with the one I am culturally familiar with. The psalms, the Rosary -- these sink me into a calm state in a way that I suspect Buddhist mantras never can and will. And when those familiar prayers are incorporated into my own rituals they are all the more powerful in the new meanings they can take on in that different context.

    My practices grew out of personal struggles and trauma and other personal experiences that were difficult for me to process and give any language or order to. When they first emerged in their embryonic form they were a desperate attempt to give order and meaning to what was happening inside me, and to offer up my suffering. Over the years those basic rites while retaining their core have evolved because I am still not done healing. And as they evolve they take on new insights, and I move from working on my personal struggles to relating them to a grander scale, how the microcosm relates to the macrocosm. And this part is still working itself out.

    Somehow I am growing through these practices and giving order to my thoughts, my emotions, and my world, the cosmos. It all started with instinctive acts of reaching out to God within myself. I value my Anglican background. It is still a part of my life. I do not think I could do what I am doing without the impact Anglicanism has had on my intellectual life, my emotions, or the liturgical formation it has nurtured me with. But what I am doing and creating on the personal level is something that no organized religion can do for me. It is something that I need to do, and there is nothing wrong with it.

    If I was in a situation in which I could not attend any parish for some reason I could make it with the rites that I have created and even stay in sync with the liturgical year and Christian mysteries. This could conceivably happen for a number of reasons. But as long as that does not happen I still participate in my local parish, practicing the Anglican customs side by side with my own -- the two are very much related, the latter drawing from and re-interpreting the former. There is still something grounding and good for my psyche about having a community and to share in common rituals.
     
    #26 EverChanging, Jul 25, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  7. EverChanging

    EverChanging Well-Known Member

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    Depends how you do it. My practice is by no means shallow. I rely on unconscious impulses to create or revise them.

    I have found though I could not do this without the practices flowing out of and intertwining with the sacramental Christianity I am still engaged with.
     
  8. Desert Snake

    Desert Snake Veteran Member

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    Wrong, and, this is a DIR.
     
  9. Sirius Star

    Sirius Star Member

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    Really, it just happens. Nothing just happened. It as also occurred. Major taxes and the highest of fines have already been pureed. Just because it did what it did so many other places it is almost inside of all who have ever believed the stalkers' very same of Paradise Hide.

    Yes that it can as appear as if it even believes...Never did you are still all stinking liars. So exactly who first gets to set this same man's most worthless papers all on fired? Just because it nodded. All of those calls are being taped. They know who did.

    Such resolute B.S. the whole timed. Sorry, they were caught on the other side: "just to turn the tide." B.S. you have as never once complied. It said it was all being heard as by real it is always being directed. What a much deeper seance of all who lied.

    So signed, in February of 2013 I was F.B.I. assigned.

    P.S. Ptah's said go ---- out of here how many timed?
     
  10. Sirius Star

    Sirius Star Member

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    That this very exact same thing can still run around all of the dungeons halls prostitutes hookers ******** hoardes muslims: stars basketball-players, all dirt-bag blacks imported from the Congo or someplace else, worse than anything that was ever seti's!

    That dirt-bag Alex Jones had better not keep that mouth shut anymore as they can all back-step Julian Assange included too drug just everyone you can ever get your most evil of all hands on just way worse than anything Kevin Booth ever said ever it was.
     
  11. EmperorSwordMan

    EmperorSwordMan A Fantasy turned Real

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    How I see it is that you can't really stick to one religion, from one person, with a set of rules guidelines and beliefs from that one person. Us humans are different, all with many different ideas and spiritual paths, and should not be limited to just one set path. Also religions have been mixed through out history. For example Christianity is a blend of Judaism and Hellenic Paganism with other ideas, Islam is a blend of Christianity Judaism and the religion in Mecca at the time and other ideas, and Buddhism is a blend of Hinduism with Eastern Asian ideas and other ideas. So, it's only common if humans mix ideas from different religions with their own to form their own spiritual path.
     
  12. Marcion

    Marcion gopa of humanity's controversial Taraka Brahma

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    None! Panentheism; Neo-Humanism; Tantra-Yoga; Manava (human) Dharma
    Syncretism or Universalism is the answer because the boundaries between spiritual paths cause the illusion of different competing religions.

    Humanity and its spirituality are indivisable. We knowingly or unknowingly all have the same goal in life and the laws that determine spiritual progress or decline are universal for all sentient living beings throughout the universe, just like the laws of physics are universal.
     
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