What are examples of syncretism?

Answer

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, syncretism is the combination of different forms of belief or practice and usually refers to hybrid religions that draw from two or more contradictory beliefs. A few notable examples of syncretism include many Wiccan paths, Vodou, the Triple Religion and the Unification Church.

In neopaganism, practitioners often consciously incorporate different Wiccan paths with Western thoughts on ceremonial magic. The Caribbean combined folk magic teachings with Western African, native Caribbean and Roman Catholic beliefs into a merged practice known as Vodou. Many Chinese follow what is termed the Triple Religion, or Three Teachings. In this religious form, elements of Mahayana Buddhism, Confucian philosophy and Taoism are blended together. In Korea, Sun Myung Moon admits to incorporating elements of Buddhism and Confucianism into his primarily Christianity-based Unification Church.

When disparate cultures come into contact with each other, inevitably at least some exchange of ideas and beliefs will occur. Through this interaction and exposure, syncretism occurs as one or both attempts to reconcile the different, often opposing, beliefs into a combined form of practice. Historically, syncretism often occurred by force as a conquering society mandated the conquered peoples convert and conform to the conquerors' faith. Instead of complete conversion, the different belief systems merged, incorporating elements from each.

Q&A Related to "What are examples of syncretism?"
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Overt syncretism in folk belief may show cultural acceptance of an alien or previous tradition, but the "other" cult may survive or infiltrate without authorized syncresis
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