God wants us to experience a deep companionship with Him. He wants us to be free from thought and heart processes which place us into bondage.“But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 11:3
Syncretism is a blending of two ideas, ideologies, or elements to produce something distinctively different – though it often carries characteristics of both originals. Most syncretic pursuit is initiated for the pleasure or a perceived advantage of the blender. This allows us to shape our beliefs and actions into our own philosophies or religions.
Paul gives us insight into syncretism in his letters. “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” – Galatians 1:6-8
For instance, if I am concerned with social justice I may choose to redefine the nature of justice. When God’s justice is defined in the God Story, it is often associated with several things. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8 So, if I am to pursue clarity in justice, I will be able to observe these three things working in tandem. And justice also belongs to God, because He alone is 100% pure in motive and free from insidious bias. Even on my best day I will be imperfect in my justice.
The syncretist will take the truth about justice (and many other key life teachings) and blend it with any of a variety of desires for social equity. As we are seeing at the moment (and throughout history) there are many standards for what true justice entails. It is only through kindness and humility that we will find just solutions to our challenges.
It is almost impossible to be free from syncretism. My best strategy is to keep my eye on what is pure and to resist the impulse to blend distortions which fit my own narrative for desired outcomes. This is yet another reason we must be men and women of the Word of God.
Just a thought.
Dave and Burnadette