Syncretism is “the attempted reconciliation or union of different or opposing principles, practices, or parties, as in philosophy or religion.”
We tend to think of syncretism as something that happens in Africa, where ignorant natives may combine Christian beliefs with local religions. Or perhaps a religion that accepts Jesus as another of many gods in a pantheon.
But the Religious Right in America has created a syncretism that is just as dangerous. It has combined Christianity with politics, social ideology and pseudo-science.
The resulting religion holds to precepts like these:
- Fox News broadcasts only the truth.
- Democrats are servants of Satan.
- The world is 6000 years old and scientists are covering up the truth.
- People choose to be gay.
- If you don’t believe in Jesus, God will send you to hell.
Instead of having a clear message of God’s love, this sincretism puts a number of barriers for people to stumble over. Before I can have faith in God, I have to become a Republican? I have to believe that the entire scientific community is nothing but a huge conspiracy to suppress the truth about the age of the earth and evolution?
By preaching this syncretism, we have played right into Satan’s hands. Long before they are confronted with the Cross, most people have already decided that this is a crackpot religion.
And they are right.