Religious Syncretism - Paper

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Religious syncretism
Submitted by
Jeffrey D Brown

Submitted to Robin E. Rickli MA.
People of the Southwest (ANT 306)
Northern Arizona University

In the first five days after the Jesuit Missionaries came to the Yaqui country, they had converted five thousand Yaqui natives. The Yaqui’s have taken this convergence and now have what is considered to be a complex syncretism of their native and Catholic beliefs. One does not have a superiority over the other, there is no confusing one over the other and yet they are the same. Itom Aye (Our mother) is the Virgin Mary, Itom Achai (Our Father) is Jesus Christ. In Yaqui myths Jesus appears as a culture hero. In this myth the Pascola (Old man of the ceremony), deer and
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Yet, the animistic religion the natives had formerly practiced was never fully replaced—it was adapted into Catholic teachings, and this new belief system was allowed to flourish.
By allowing this we see the formation of two religions, which allow the Yaqui to still practice their now Catholic faith and yet keep the traditional heritage and culture alive. This is best said in the following: Religious syncretism at its best is not old truths in new guise or just old or new truths confused; rather, through a creative dialectic, new religious insights have been born. Herbert Richardson phrases the need for such creative interpenetration very nicely: “Christianity has been a Western religion too long. While there is strength in the West, there is also a great lack. Christianity...must be strengthened and renewed by prophets from the East. (Herbert Richardson 's 1976 lecture at Unification Theological Seminary found in Time for Consideration, eds. M. Darrol Byrant and Herbert W. Richardson (New York: Edwin Mellon Press, 1978)
The challenges of this is trying to maintain your cultural, historical background, and stile maintain your faith in the religion of your upbringing. In following the festival on Lent is was very surprising to see the unique but similarities in in how

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