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Author Topic: Mixing Religions  (Read 10491 times)
TisiphoneSeraph
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« Topic Start: April 26, 2009, 08:18:02 pm »

How do you feel about mixing religions? Do you feel that something is lost when they are mixed or are they more powerful? How do major (or minor) world religions affect your path?

As I begin learning more and more about world religions, I find a lot of similarities and truths in them, but I can't except any of them wholesale. Thoughts?

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« Reply #1: April 26, 2009, 08:44:04 pm »

How do you feel about mixing religions? Do you feel that something is lost when they are mixed or are they more powerful? How do major (or minor) world religions affect your path?

As I begin learning more and more about world religions, I find a lot of similarities and truths in them, but I can't except any of them wholesale. Thoughts?



I think that there needs to be care taken in finding bits and pieces from religions that work together.  You can't just take the sparkly bits from each religion you like.

That said, finding truth in multiple places and trying to create a synergy is a long-standing tradition. Smiley  But I think it honestly needs to be viewed as its own thing, not multiple religions mushed together.
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« Reply #2: April 26, 2009, 08:55:25 pm »

How do you feel about mixing religions? Do you feel that something is lost when they are mixed or are they more powerful? How do major (or minor) world religions affect your path?

As I begin learning more and more about world religions, I find a lot of similarities and truths in them, but I can't except any of them wholesale. Thoughts?



Let me start out by saying that I am a Unitarian Universalist (we draw from many faiths and earth based spiritual practices).

I accept that all religions have a piece of the truth but not all of it.  Various parts and practices of religions call to me (some parts ring true for me some don't).   

I find that I constantly question what I believe and practice (over the years I have found that as my understanding changes, I change and my beliefs changes which changes my understanding). 

The different religions give me different means and tools to deal with life and to intact with that which creation is the manifestation of. 
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« Reply #3: April 27, 2009, 01:40:20 pm »

How do you feel about mixing religions? Do you feel that something is lost when they are mixed or are they more powerful? How do major (or minor) world religions affect your path?

As I begin learning more and more about world religions, I find a lot of similarities and truths in them, but I can't except any of them wholesale. Thoughts?




There is one you might want to look into that is really controversal and that is Christopaganism
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« Reply #4: April 27, 2009, 04:57:16 pm »

How do you feel about mixing religions? Do you feel that something is lost when they are mixed or are they more powerful? How do major (or minor) world religions affect your path?

As I begin learning more and more about world religions, I find a lot of similarities and truths in them, but I can't except any of them wholesale. Thoughts?



I think it can go either way.  Something is definitely changed, but whether that works out to a net gain or a net loss depends largely on how you go about it. 

My blended path is heavily influenced by both Buddhism and Hellenic Polytheism.  And others, but those are the two biggest influences.  It's very definitely a work in progress and probably always will be.  This does make group worship more difficult for me, as I end up attending both Hellenic rituals and Buddhist "sits" and the like.  I've tried being part of worship groups, such as the Unitarian Universalists, who draw on multiple traditions, but ultimately that didn't really quite work for me.
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« Reply #5: April 27, 2009, 07:00:42 pm »

How do you feel about mixing religions? Do you feel that something is lost when they are mixed or are they more powerful? How do major (or minor) world religions affect your path?

As I begin learning more and more about world religions, I find a lot of similarities and truths in them, but I can't except any of them wholesale. Thoughts?


As a person that does mix religion, I find it can be very rewarding, but sometimes it can be confussing and contradicting.

I mix Celtic Paganism and Mahayana Buddism, but my path is ever changing and fluid. When mixing religions it all depends on how much work you want to put into it, but that goes with any religion.

I agree, that many religions have lots of similarities, but there are always a few areas that don't mix well. When that happens, when I need to make a decission, especially if it is in a real world situation, I go with my gut. But, I try to fully understand why both religion's view points... it needs to be an educated gut choice.

Mixing religions can have great benefit. You get the chance to see the world through two or more different sets of eyes. As you move on in the path you may find that one of the religions you have mixed my not work for you anymore or that one of the religions has more pull for you. Just be conscience of your religions paths and everything usually works out fine. 
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« Reply #6: April 28, 2009, 01:45:38 pm »

How do you feel about mixing religions? Do you feel that something is lost when they are mixed or are they more powerful? How do major (or minor) world religions affect your path?

As I begin learning more and more about world religions, I find a lot of similarities and truths in them, but I can't except any of them wholesale. Thoughts?



I think no matter what it is impossible to not mix aspect of other religions into your own.  I suppose it is kind of like Marxism's concept of false consciousness. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_consciousness  In Marxism, of course, we are talking about how the capitalist society misleads the proletariat into an ideology that is not what they truly want or need.  However, because the capitalist society is so ubiquitous the proletariat cannot escape these ideas and the ideology.  (This is a VERY crude translation and explanation of the concept; I am not a Marxist, but I think I put down the gist of it.)  In a sense, the dominant religion in our society plays a similar role.

I have recently come to Asatru.  I attempt to practice it from a reconstructionist point of view.  I basically want to emulate the way in which my ancestors practiced their faith as closely as I can in the modern world.  Yet, there are so many concepts from Christianity that find its way into the way I view faith.  I think this is because Christianity is the dominant religion in my culture.  There are concepts from Christianity that are so strong that they fly around in the market place of ideas without me even knowing it.  One such idea is having a patron deity (which, from what I have been told is a throwback to monotheism, and not something that my ancestors did). 

So, in a nutshell, I think it is very hard to no combine aspects of other faiths with your own, even if you are trying to avoid it.  But then that begs the question: does it really matter?  Some strict reconstructionists in Asatru would say yes it does.  I am, as of yet, not that hardcore about it.  If you want to mix things into your religion from here or there I think that is completely fine.
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TisiphoneSeraph
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« Reply #7: April 28, 2009, 05:22:42 pm »

I mix Celtic Paganism and Mahayana Buddism, but my path is ever changing and fluid. When mixing religions it all depends on how much work you want to put into it, but that goes with any religion.

I find that a very interesting combination. It's kind of what I find myself at now.

For those of you that mix Buddhism in your practices and beliefs, what parts to hold the most to? Which ones do you kind of shy away from?
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« Reply #8: April 28, 2009, 08:27:38 pm »

How do you feel about mixing religions? Do you feel that something is lost when they are mixed or are they more powerful? How do major (or minor) world religions affect your path?

As I begin learning more and more about world religions, I find a lot of similarities and truths in them, but I can't except any of them wholesale. Thoughts?


It depends on which religions you are talking about.  I believe you can be a Christian Witch.  Mixing Christianity and Wicca might be a bit more difficult.  I'm a polytheist Pagan with leanings towards Shamanism.  As much as I try not to mix religions [and Pantheons] I find myself being drawn to both the Egyptian and Norse deities.  Originally I was raised Jewish but the only holiday I really celebrate is Hannukkah and Passover]. 
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« Reply #9: April 28, 2009, 08:44:17 pm »

I find that a very interesting combination. It's kind of what I find myself at now.

For those of you that mix Buddhism in your practices and beliefs, what parts to hold the most to? Which ones do you kind of shy away from?
For me, I am working on the practices more than anything right now. Meditations, detachment, compassion, controling one's thoughts, words, and emotions (because I can be a butthead). I am also learning about Zen Buddhism and using koans to wake the mind to enlightenment.

I normally study Mahayana and Tibetan Buddhism, but something I am just not ready to study yet is Tantra. It seems like every time I try to study it, my mind just quits working, so I tend to shy away from that. Eventually I think I will be able to study it, but right now though, I am not comfortable with the subject and I don't really know why.
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« Reply #10: April 29, 2009, 05:54:34 am »

How do you feel about mixing religions? Do you feel that something is lost when they are mixed or are they more powerful? How do major (or minor) world religions affect your path?

As I begin learning more and more about world religions, I find a lot of similarities and truths in them, but I can't except any of them wholesale. Thoughts?



The ancient Romans loved to adopt Gods and Goddesses from other nations and it seemed to work for them so why not?  I believe as long as you take pieces from different beliefs that work together and don't contradict each other than you should be fine.

Although mixing and matching brings up a few questions, I've read of a good number of people who call upon the Catholic saints in a very unofficial Catholic way.  These people ask the Saint himself for help, not merely for his intercession.  When a desired outcome is achieved they thank the Saint not the Christian God. 

If the Saints can hear us, I wonder if they would respond to such intercessions?  There are people that believe they most certainly do. 

That was the most controversial example of mixing and matching that I could come up with.

I think in the end, for myself, I'm going to have to mix and match.  I'm just trying to get over the psychological barrier that it won't work if you're not a purist. 
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« Reply #11: April 29, 2009, 08:17:06 am »

That was the most controversial example of mixing and matching that I could come up with.

I've seen stuff much stranger than that. Oh, like the Wiccan Lord (aka the JCI God) and the Wiccan Lady (Mary) and their son Jesus in some forms of "Christian" "Wicca."
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« Reply #12: April 29, 2009, 12:38:58 pm »

The ancient Romans loved to adopt Gods and Goddesses from other nations and it seemed to work for them so why not?  I believe as long as you take pieces from different beliefs that work together and don't contradict each other than you should be fine.


I think that is one of the main reasons why I prefer the Celtic Paganism of Gaul. Almost all the deities I work with are Gaulish and have Roman attibutes. Unfortunately I don't feel a thing for the Roman deities, but I really like the Greek Gods. So I haven't come to terms with that yet or how I am going to work it out for myself....

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« Reply #13: April 29, 2009, 02:50:12 pm »

How do you feel about mixing religions?

Well, for the basics there's my eclecticism essay: http://ecauldron.net/eclecticism.php

For any given religion, there's a blurry zone of what it takes to be a part of that religion.  There's a tight cluster in the center of things that one must have, and then a blurrier exterior zone of things that one may have, optional practices, beliefs, traditions, ideas; outside of that one eventually drifts so far that one can no longer reach the core 'musts'.

Two religions can be mixed by a particular person if and only if:
- the core requirements of one are not in contradiction with the core requirements of the other (an obvious one of these being something like "There is only one deity" and "There are many deities", but there are many other possible points of contradiction, whether in required belief, required behaviour, or basic mindset).
- that person's chosen/favored penumbral practices and beliefs fall into what is acceptable to both religions.  This is obviously a lot more flexible.

Mixing two religions is easier if:
- the basic goals and ideals are similar.  (Consider the case of religions that each have these underlying goals: #1, "come to know the universe the better to appreciate the creation of the divine"; #2, "transcend the intrinsically flawed material world and ascend to the world of spirit"; #3, "fully embody the divine spirit of oneself in this world"; #4, "achieve personal enlightenment and power".  #1 and #3 go together like things that go together well, but #1 and #2 do not play well with each other, as one thinks here is good and the other thinks here is broken.  #2 and #4 are entirely compatible; #3 and #4 are also perfectly compatible.  #1 and #4 may go together, or may not, depending on how each is interpreted by the individual.)
- the practices of each are easily compatible or adaptable to the other, or at the very least not in contradiction.  (Two of my religions have practices involving cups of water; in one, the water is offered to the gods and then must be used for something useful, in the other, the water is aligned with the gods and used as a powerful cleansing force for one's own spirit.  Similarly, the gods of one religion like a particular set of incenses; of the other, a different set.  However, neither dictates that all rituals must be conducted according to their preferences, so there is space to give Everyone what They prefer.)
- the strictures of each are compatible without too much fiddliness.  It is easier to reconcile a religion that disapproves of gossip with one that has oathbound restrictions than it is to reconcile it with one that might require full disclosure of all knowledge to one's priest or community.

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Do you feel that something is lost when they are mixed or are they more powerful?

No.

A syncretic religion is often a different thing than either/any of its parents, at least once it works its bugs out.  Its center of required practice and belief shifts.

Purists will object; purists have been objecting for millenia.  But the pure, unmodified whatever still exists; it is not lost.

As to 'more powerful', I think the concept of a 'more powerful' religion is bullshit.  Whether symbols, practices, beliefs, and so on work for people is an individual question.

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How do major (or minor) world religions affect your path?

Variously.

There are, of course, the religions I practice, and the space within their overlap.

For my reconstructionist studies, there are other practices I look to to see how living religions with similar traits function, so that I can better breathe life into long-dead systems.  Those are, mostly, African traditional religions, Hinduism, and Shinto, with a leavening of rabbinic Judaism.

For my religious witchcraft, I look to the roots of the tradition (primarily folk magic, especially American folk magic and rootwork, African diaspora religions, Native American practices, especially from Hawai'i).

For both of these, I look at the practices of my ancestors, which include Christianity, Irish paganism, and Polish paganism.

In most of these cases, I am looking for inspiration, not necessarily religious components per se: for example, I find the Shinto concept of kami illuminating to the Kemetic concept of netjer, as my understanding of them is similar; thus I can come up with a way that netjer can be expressed by developing an understanding of how kami are addressed and treated.  In other cases, I am finding odds and ends of things that will help me figure out how things that I have received from my ancestors can be dealt with in a manner respectful of both those things and my own grounding (care and feeding of domovoi).
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« Reply #14: April 29, 2009, 05:25:34 pm »

For those of you that mix Buddhism in your practices and beliefs, what parts to hold the most to? Which ones do you kind of shy away from?
What I get from Buddhism is the practice. While Buddhism started in a Hindi framework, by the time it got to Japan, it had become almost non-theist. That is, Zen Buddhists are not so much trying to reach God, as become God. In other words, "You are God, you just don't know it, yet." So, if we are all God (or, as they tend to prefer, 'the Godhead'), or a part of God, then all gods are part of God, just different names for different aspects of Him. Thus, I find (being looser than a real Buddhist) Buddhism supports just about every other faith, especially those with a pantheon to choose from.

Mindfulness and breathing, getting up early, eating only enough, these sorts of things from Buddhism (and Yoga) I find fill in the unknown practices of the ancient Celts. In fact, we're probably lucky that some old guy on a mountain in China didn't decide things should only be oral. Then again, maybe he did....

I'm more about mysticism than religion, and it's truly fascinating how much it's all the same. Once you get past the pomp and circumstance to the guy sitting alone in meditation, they all report similar experiences.


I'm still working my way through First Coffee, so feel free to ask anything if my writing is as confused as I am.  Wink
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If it was meant for everyone to follow a teacher, would there be a single person who'd be without a teacher for a moment? Does the quest for knowledge mean replacing one's true feelings with the teachings of someone else?  -- Zhuangzi (translated by Nina Correa)

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