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Author Topic: Mixing Religions  (Read 15246 times)
Caeia Iulia Regillia
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« Reply #15: April 30, 2009, 08:06:34 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 it's better to have one religion that you involve yourself in deeply.  I just don't think we know enough yet to mix in the same way that a living pagan culture would.  just my 2 cents.
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« Reply #16: April 30, 2009, 11:22:39 pm »


I'm most interested in the mixing of major world religions rather than various pagan sects. Although that is an equally important question. How much is synthesis and how much is a mix-n-match special?
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« Reply #17: May 01, 2009, 03:08:14 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?

I think the reason why so many of us are eclectic is because there is so much information about the world's religions readily available.  This is a recent phenomenon.  My parents are Catholic.  They are only Catholic.  They will always be only Catholic.  My dad went to college, and was taught Catholic theology.  There were no "comparative religion" classes.  My mom did not attend college.  She wanted to be a homemaker, and she was content with that.  She was raised Catholic, and had very little exposure to other religious traditions. 

In my generation, being without a college degree is considered a shortcoming.  Comparative religion classes are required at many schools.  If we want to know about a given religion, we google it or look it up in Wikipedia.  If we decide we want to know more about it, we can easily purchase almost any book available in print (and many that aren't) with a few clicks of a mouse.  My parents' generation could NOT do that.

I think that this availability of information is a very good thing, but it forces us to ask some difficult questions that we didn't have to think about before.  I don't know what religion is going to look like by the time my friends' kids are my age, but I have a feeling that people who strictly adhere to one tradition are eventually going to be in the minority. 

I guess what my very tired brain is trying to say is that I believe eclecticism is here to stay, whether we like it or not.  I hope that most people will be respectful of the traditions they are borrowing from and the cultures that practiced them, by taking the time to study them in-depth instead of taking "the shiny bits" of everything Smiley  I think everyone so far has been pretty good about articulating the problems that come with that, so I won't repeat what's already been said. 
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« Reply #18: May 01, 2009, 07:21:39 am »

I think that this availability of information is a very good thing, but it forces us to ask some difficult questions that we didn't have to think about before.  I don't know what religion is going to look like by the time my friends' kids are my age, but I have a feeling that people who strictly adhere to one tradition are eventually going to be in the minority. 

I guess what my very tired brain is trying to say is that I believe eclecticism is here to stay, whether we like it or not.  I hope that most people will be respectful of the traditions they are borrowing from and the cultures that practiced them, by taking the time to study them in-depth instead of taking "the shiny bits" of everything Smiley  I think everyone so far has been pretty good about articulating the problems that come with that, so I won't repeat what's already been said. 

I suspect, actually, that religions at least in the first world will *change*.  It will start with eclecticism, but I think at some point things will shake out and different religions and ways of religious thought will shake out.

What THAT will look like, I don't know - but I think that's part of why there's SUCH a fervor of religious thought in general.  The models are changing.

I think the gods themselves are curious as to how the models will finally end up.
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« Reply #19: May 01, 2009, 08:03:52 am »

I suspect, actually, that religions at least in the first world will *change*. 

Many have changed quitre a bit in the 50 years I've been alive. Perhaps their core beliefs have not, but the non-core areas have sometimes changed quite a bit.
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« Reply #20: May 03, 2009, 12:21:59 am »

Many have changed quitre a bit in the 50 years I've been alive. Perhaps their core beliefs have not, but the non-core areas have sometimes changed quite a bit.

I have come to suspect the two phemonenon are feeding each other--that is, the plug-n-play eclecticism of the new religious movements and the slow but steady change of approach in the major religions. What I don't have the adequate historical perspective to decide is whether one or the other was the particular instigator. Did the growing openess of the major religions create a cultural shift that favored the development of new and more creative religions, or did the explosion of the new religions force the majors to adapt in order to compete with the new, globalized worldview? Or did the two develop in tandem? I know, it's sort of a chicken or egg question. But I still wonder.

At any rate, eclecticism seems to be an embedded part of the thought process of the younger generations, whatever their culture or religion. It's probably more useful, not to mention more effective, to try to encourage responsible eclecticism than to attempt to forbid it, since the information technology that supports it certainly isn't going away...mind you, that leaves the very open question of what constitutes responsible eclecticism, so it's probably good that we've been discussing just that. ^_^
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« Reply #21: May 03, 2009, 08:07:10 am »

At any rate, eclecticism seems to be an embedded part of the thought process of the younger generations, whatever their culture or religion.

From what I've seen, you've hit the nail on the head here -- and the eclecticism is not limited to religion.

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It's probably more useful, not to mention more effective, to try to encourage responsible eclecticism than to attempt to forbid it, since the information technology that supports it certainly isn't going away...mind you, that leaves the very open question of what constitutes responsible eclecticism, so it's probably good that we've been discussing just that. ^_^

One of the keys of responsible eclecticism IMHO is that it is honest about what it is doing and doesn't try to pretend the result is something ancient or a standard part of one of the systems being borrowed from.
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« Reply #22: May 03, 2009, 06:33:41 pm »

From what I've seen, you've hit the nail on the head here -- and the eclecticism is not limited to religion.

One of the keys of responsible eclecticism IMHO is that it is honest about what it is doing and doesn't try to pretend the result is something ancient or a standard part of one of the systems being borrowed from.

If we look for eclecticism in history, we see that it was very common among Mediterranean civilizations, where writing, maritime mobility, conquest, and relative access to information (compared to many other regions) helped bring about syncretism much like today's eclecticism in the information age. I think when you are deciding to mix, you must find out the views of different cultures in regard to foreign gods. If you research that, you will find some closed cultures, but by no means will you find that all pagan cultures dismissed the deities of their neighbors. I think a good eclectic should know which cultures these are.
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« Reply #23: May 03, 2009, 10:27:48 pm »

I think that it's better to have one religion that you involve yourself in deeply.  I just don't think we know enough yet to mix in the same way that a living pagan culture would.  just my 2 cents.

I'm not really one for mixing religions so much myself- practicing two in parallel, but mixing two, or mixing bits and pieces from anywher and everywhere, I just can't do that.

But I have to say, regarding the culture things- we may not be of an unbroken pagan culture, but I certainly think we are a living one- or ones.
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« Reply #24: May 03, 2009, 11:12:58 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?



While I can see you mixing a theist religion with a non-theistic one, it is much more problematic when you try to mix two theistic religions.  You could end up trying to integrate a god or gods with those that are enemies.  That could lead you to p!55ing off two sets of gods.  Of course if you believe gods are all the same or are archetypes then you woudn't have that issue, but also may not be following the religion but creating your own.
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« Reply #25: May 04, 2009, 12:54:03 pm »

While I can see you mixing a theist religion with a non-theistic one, it is much more problematic when you try to mix two theistic religions.  You could end up trying to integrate a god or gods with those that are enemies.  That could lead you to p!55ing off two sets of gods.  Of course if you believe gods are all the same or are archetypes then you woudn't have that issue, but also may not be following the religion but creating your own.

I don't really see it.

The only hostilities/antagonisms that I'm aware of within my own first pantheon are between gods within that pantheon; foreigners are foreigners.  There's no automatic "we don't deal with foreigners"; several out-of-town gods were adopted, which is completely normal practice for historical polytheisms.

Given that historical polytheisms didn't police their pantheon boundaries but rather adopted, assimilated, or appropriated gods that they thought were cool as a regular, standard practice, I just don't see much grounds for problems.  A pantheon is a family; people marry into families all the time.  Maybe there will be inter-family squabbles because someone thinks the in-laws are doing it funny, maybe there won't be (my blood family and my in-laws don't actually associate much), but it doesn't strike me as a big deal.
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« Reply #26: May 04, 2009, 05:44:22 pm »

I don't really see it.

The only hostilities/antagonisms that I'm aware of within my own first pantheon are between gods within that pantheon; foreigners are foreigners.  There's no automatic "we don't deal with foreigners"; several out-of-town gods were adopted, which is completely normal practice for historical polytheisms.

Given that historical polytheisms didn't police their pantheon boundaries but rather adopted, assimilated, or appropriated gods that they thought were cool as a regular, standard practice, I just don't see much grounds for problems.  A pantheon is a family; people marry into families all the time.  Maybe there will be inter-family squabbles because someone thinks the in-laws are doing it funny, maybe there won't be (my blood family and my in-laws don't actually associate much), but it doesn't strike me as a big deal.

Within my own their is the Aesir, the Vanir, and the Jotun.  The Jotun was a wide ranging group, and I see all other gods as being Jotun (kind of like saying 'other').  While some Jotun were accepted by the gods, most of them were enemies.  It also isn't up to me to decide who my gods should accept, so until they show up and proclaim that some other god or gods have been accepted by them, they shall remain outside.  Till then, for other gods, I'll go with "Thor smash".  :-)  YMMV
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« Reply #27: May 04, 2009, 06:11:09 pm »

The only hostilities/antagonisms that I'm aware of within my own first pantheon are between gods within that pantheon; foreigners are foreigners.  There's no automatic "we don't deal with foreigners"; several out-of-town gods were adopted, which is completely normal practice for historical polytheisms. <snip> A pantheon is a family; people marry into families all the time.  Maybe there will be inter-family squabbles because someone thinks the in-laws are doing it funny, maybe there won't be <snip>

Thank you for this.  I've been trying to find a good way to frame the odd blend that my pantheon is, especially as I find myself more and more working within the framework of Hellenic Polytheism while my primary Goddess is not from that pantheon.  This captures it rather well.
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« Reply #28: May 04, 2009, 06:35:40 pm »

While I can see you mixing a theist religion with a non-theistic one, it is much more problematic when you try to mix two theistic religions.  You could end up trying to integrate a god or gods with those that are enemies.  That could lead you to p!55ing off two sets of gods.  Of course if you believe gods are all the same or are archetypes then you woudn't have that issue, but also may not be following the religion but creating your own.

Well from what little I know of it, Sikhism has seemed to answer this pretty well when they combined Brahman and Allah.

I know very very little on Baha'i but it seems they have figured this out on an even larger scale.
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« Reply #29: May 04, 2009, 07:09:37 pm »

Well from what little I know of it, Sikhism has seemed to answer this pretty well when they combined Brahman and Allah.

I know very very little on Baha'i but it seems they have figured this out on an even larger scale.

People do a lot of things, that doesn't mean it is a good idea.
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