Thursday, August 25, 2011

15 Thoughts on Syncretism or the Mixing of ContradictoryReligions

15 thoughts in response to my trip to Haiti and the mixing of religions...I am not sure that any of these thoughts are accurate or TRUE but they are fun to think about and challenge my beliefs.

1. According to the pastor we worked with…Almost everyone in Haiti will call themselves Christians. Christian in Haiti has a similar meaning to human. Instead of saying “yes, I am a human being,” like we would in America, many Haitians would say “yes, I am a Christian being.” It has the same meaning. This is why the term Evangelical is important.

2. From what pastor Mark said, most Haitians also believe in Jesus and the Bible, but do not understand the importance of excepting Jesus or believing that he is their one true savior.

3. This seems to be true in America too.  Many people believe that Jesus was a great prophet, but not much more.  My husband and I were talking about the act of accepting Jesus and what "excepting Jesus" actually means just a few days ago.  We seem to agree that it should be a conscious decision, but there are certainly exceptions (especially individuals with developmental disabilities and those in other countries who may not have heard).  It is a tough subject.

4. It was fascinating to see how a Voodoo temple would be right across the street from a Evangelical Christian church.

5. The Voodoo priest would come hang out at the Church Under The Tree (Evangelical Christian). My pastor and I were there sharing the gospel once when he came by.  The kids giggled because they knew the irony of the situation.

6. Another time when the pastor was sharing the gospel (using the EvangeCube) nearly every child rose their hands saying they believe. I am now wondering if that means they believe the story of Jesus or if they have accepted Jesus or believe that he is their savior or if they simply believe he was a good man.

7. The Europeans forced their religion on the African slaves in America, Brazil, Haiti, and Cuba. In response the Africans often times kept their beliefs and added aspects of Catholicism (or Christianity) to their original beliefs. A common example was the use of the imagery of the saints to represent African gods. According to Haitian pastor Mark, in Haiti Catholicism still has deep voodoo ties.  Voodoo is the mix of Catholicism and African Animism specific to Haiti.

8. The effects of Colonialism on world religion may be another example of the mixing of religion or at the very least a corruption of Christianity.  The gospel of colonialism was not Christ-like at all.
9. Condomble is similar to Vodoo

10. Americans are starting to mix religions more and more especially in the Unitarian Universalist and similar churches.  There are both similarities and differences.

11. It is interesting to see how the same religion varies in different countries.

12. It is interesting to see how the same religion varies from one member to another.

13. Peoples understanding of the same religion varies from denomination to another.  Mormon, Lutheran/Protestant, Catholic, Jehovah's Witness and Evangelical are all very different to some (and more similar to others).  The Nation of Islam (as practiced in America) is certainly different from Islam practiced in the Middle East, which is different from various extremist branches.  Americans tend to stereotype them all into one inaccurate group.

14. A somewhat random religion video

15. Learn to Speak Patwa
Patwa is similar to Creole (Patwa is broken English and Creole if broken French)  I guess I am now talking about the mixing of cultures.  But how does culture and language affect religion?  I sometimes wonder if Mormonism is a good example of how language affects our understanding of our collective faith (as well as how others perceive our faith).

What are some of your random (or well thought out) thoughts on the mixing of religion? What do you think about cultural impacts and the ways outside groups understand religion?

1 comment:

  1. Maybe create another post about mixing of religion and culture and where one stops and another begins.