From Conservapedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Syncretism is the attempt to reconcile different schools of thought, most notably religions. Syncretism takes place when foreign beliefs are introduced into an indigenous belief system.

Syncretism can be also defined as the union of two opposite forces, beliefs, systems or tenets so that the united form is a new thing, neither one nor other.[1]

In the modern world, religions such as Unitarianism could be considered syncretic in that it is a blending of differing belief systems that are constantly evolving.

Syncretism should not be confused with the adoption of formal elements of other religions into Christianity for missionary reasons.[note 1] It is not just simultaneous practice of two unrelated religions motivated either by external pressure or inner anxiety but it rather equates heterogeneous religious elements and thereby changes their original meaning without admitting such change.

An attempt to penetrate deeply into the heart of the Christian doctrine by applying the process of syncretistic assimilation was performed by gnosticism.[1]

Semantic Origin

The Word ‘syncretism’ does not explicitly occur in the Bible. Still, the reality of it was an ever-present phenomenon throughout the biblical history. According to Plutarch, the semantic origin of the term relates to the island of Crete. The rivalling Greek tribes there were usually involved in minor warfare against each other. However, as soon as the island was attacked by a common enemy from outside, they suddenly were able to agree on formation of military alliance. Since then the word ‘syncretism’ carries a note of an opportunistic fraternization without a deeper conviction. [1]

Forms of Syncretism

Hendrick Kraemer, the late missiologist, distinguished between two forms of syncretism that could be found in biblical times as well:[1]

  • spontaneous primitive syncretism as a popular religious tendency and
  • conscious, philosophical construction of syncretism attempted typically by religious thinkers or by political rulers.[note 2]

Unmasking Syncretism

The objective criteria to recognize the pseudo-Christian syncretism are[1]:

  • the falseness of prophets is identified by their behavior violating Christian ethics
  • lack of genuine Christian love
  • pseudo-spiritual arrogance leading to strife and hatred in the Christian community
  • promoting and defending the open indulgence in sin
  • the person of Christ is the chief target of the heretical attack
  • God is replaced by other object(s) of worship

Christ vs. Syncretism

When talking about certain teachers as "false prophets," Jesus clearly showed that he was not a syncretist, i.e. a combiner of contradictory lines of thought, who would teach that opposing opinions are in fact just complementary views of the same truth. On the contrary, he held that truth and lie are mutually exclusive, and that those who proclaim a lie in God's name are in reality false prophets whom His followers must beware of.[2]


  1. cf. Acts 17:23
  2. cf. Attempts to manipulate (edit) the Scripture by Nazis and proponents of LGBT ideology described in section Gnosticism Today.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Peter Beyerhaus (1975). "6:Possesio and Syncretism in Biblical Perspective", Christopaganism or Indigenous Christianity?. South Pasadena, California: William-Carey Library, 17, 126-127. ISBN 0-87808-423-1. 
  2. John R.W. Stott (1992). Kázání na hoře: Poselství Bible pro dnešní svět (The Message of the Sermon on the Mount, Christian Counter-culture) (in Czech). Praha (Prague): Návrat, Creativpress, 152. ISBN 80-85495-01-5. “Když mluví o některých učitelích jako o „falešných prorocích“, Ježiš jasně ukazuje, že není synkretistou, t.j. slučovatelem protichůdných směrů, který by učil, že protichůdné názory jsou ve skutečnosti doplňujícími pohledy na tutéž pravdu. Nikoli, zastával, že pravda a lež se navzájem vylučují a že ti, kdo rozhlašují lži v Božím jménu, jsou falešní proroci na které si jeho následovníci musí dát pozor.” 

See Also