What is it about?

‘We may find “anti-syncretism” in every type of human society. However, only in Christianity do we find officially worked-out manifestos against syncretism’. This unsupportive understanding of syncretism has been accepted into Christianity. It has disturbed, delayed and even distorted spiritual growth of some Christians mostly from non-Western parts of the world. Elements of their indigenous religions which could have been suitable for their spiritualities have been uncritically considered taboos.

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Why is it important?

It is important because it reconsiders under what situations syncretism is adverse or positive. Is it bad when it inculturates people towards accepting Christ and believing in his message, but in their own categories? This work shows that syncretism does not, in all its amifications, distort Christianity but rather revitalises its relevance to the people through forms of worships and applications. It uses the Igbo people of West Africa as Case point, indicating how syncretism has been helpful in ingraining Christianity deeper into the religious life of this people.


Christianity is not without syncretism. It has been there from its inception, in symbols, structures and sacraments. The religious context of Christianity is ‘immanentism’. God becomes man to inebriate humanity, not discard it. Christianity maintains the equilibrium between God and humans. Therefore, a syn-culturation should be promoted in Christianity.

kizito Nweke

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Is syncretism really harmful to Christianity?, Theology, June 2017, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/0040571x17698411.
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