The Problem With Syncretism

The Internet is a fascinating and wonderful tool that has put the world at the fingertips of a good chunk of the planet. That’s even how you found this article. The world is now connected more than ever. While the Internet is a powerful and amazing tool, it can also prove damaging to our faith and walk with the Lord because of a little thing called syncretism.

 

I know what you’re thinking. “I don’t know what this guy just called me, but I don’t appreciate it!” I know I felt the same way when I first heard this term, but don’t worry. I’m not calling you some weird name.

 

What Is Syncretism?

Syncretism is “the amalgamation or attempted amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought.”

Think of it this way. It is taking bits and pieces from any one or a number of things like: Hinduism, Buddhism, new age, Animism, Unitarianism, or any of the hundreds of religions and schools of thought.

It seems like this would be a good thing right? Learn from everyone. Be a student of the world. See things from a different perspective.

This mindset is great and can be beneficial except when it starts to dilute and distort the purity of the Gospel. Sometimes it happens intentionally, but most times it happens slowly and quietly like the eroding away of a rock by water.

Too often I hear Christians talking about karma, zen, or promoting “Chistianeze” statements that sound good, but are not Biblicaly based. Typically these and other integrations evolve as philosophies and schools of thought wax and wane in popularity among cultures.

I’ve already written on why Christians shouldn’t believe in karma, but any addition to Christianity from outside religions is a dilution of the Gospel, and it distorts a clear view of God. When we begin to integrate the teachings of other religions into the Gospel we begin to make God share his glory, and try to create new ways to God.

I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images. – Isaiah 42:8

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. – Acts 4:12

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. – John 14:6

The more you water down a concentration, the weaker and weaker it becomes.

The more connected the world has become, it seems the more impotent Christianity has become in our culture.

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. – Matt. 5:13

This is what is happening to Christianity in America. Because of syncretism, our message has become diluted and has lost it saltiness. All roads don’t lead to God. There is only one road and it is a narrow one. A straight line that is one degree off at the beginning becomes miles off the further you get down the line. The more we broaden the road, the further off track we get.

This is why I believe you should question, research, and study for yourself everything that you hear or read, and why every Christian should study theology

The problem with syncretism is that it relies on the whit of man’s intelligence and creation of religion, rather than the standard of true religion found in scripture.

Guard you heart and mind in Christ, so that no dilution of the Gospel may find its way in to your belief in Christ. Be on the look out for syncretism in Christian teaching, and keep pure the mystery of the ages.

 

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2 thoughts on “The Problem With Syncretism

  1. thoughts on Christians taking yoga??? even for fitness??? I’ve struggled w/ this notion because I see the benefits of the stretches… but hate the connection it has to Hinduism… as each yoga position is a posture of worship to a Hindu deity and each mantra is done in the name of such… I find it difficult to justify taking part… I once heard a former yogi say without yoga there is no Hinduism and without Hinduism, there is no yoga… which is a striking thought to say that both co-exist together and they are not to be taken separately from each other… your take?

    • Eugene, thanks for the great thoughts. I contemplated going in to this in the article but did not, but alas here we are. — I have heard this as well. I have also heard it related that a Christian taking yoga would be like a Hindu taking communion. I have not fully studied the topic, but see and have read about the direct link between them. I personally will not do yoga for that very purpose.

      There is even now “Christian yoga” if you can, in the real sense of the term, have such a thing. If you take yoga with the understanding of it’s origins, I believe you are opening yourself up to spiritual attack and give the devil a foothold. It is a deliberate participation in Hinduism, and to make “christian yoga” is then a form of syncretism. In the aspect of fitness, there are ways to efficiently and effectively stretch that do not incorporate yoga poses (postures of worship).

      Too many Christians are willing to compromise the purity of their faith in the name of fitness. Paul give us clear instructions in 1 Thes. 5:21-22, “But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.”

      If you are a professing Christian and a Hindu sees you practicing yoga, with the understanding that each position is a different posture of worship to a Hindu God, what does that do to your witness?