My mind’s been wandering around on the Bible and homosexuality and idolatry and syncretism and really, what’s up with the anti-syncretism thing? (Syncretism = blending aspects of more than one religion together,) I guess it’s probably an offshoot of orthodoxy, the general idea that there are Religious Authorities who know what’s going on and will tell you what to do because you don’t know, the Authorities do. A control thing. Because good grief, if people can just choose for themselves which parts of which religions to follow, then what do they need the Authorities for? And it’s the End Of Civilization As We Know it.
I think that must be it. I have also heard the argument that syncretism is bad, or problematic, because people who syncretize tend to pick the parts they like and leave out the parts that are inconvenient. Which gosh, certainly sounds terrible. Except that those “inconvenient” parts are often inconvenient because they’re kinda bad in some way: isolating one from others, keeping one away from one’s true self, etc. Or something that made sense in one time and place but doesn’t make sense in modern times. Genuine religion isn’t just good for you, like multivitamins. It actually feels good. Really good. Sometimes people who have a taste of religion fail to come back for more out of habit, but it’s not because it’s inconvenient or undesirable. Whereas things that are bad for you spiritually actually make you feel worse. It’s worth watching out for force of habit and for things that feel good in the short term and bad in the long term (and vice versa). But mostly people are smart and can figure that out.
The irony is of course that a lot of strong, reliable, true believers who believe exactly what they’re told to … still avoid the hard parts. How many people out there would insist, if asked, that loving their neighbor (or loving their enemies!) is the core of their religion … and then support war, or denying government services to people in poverty, or are outright racist, or whatever. They might go to church every Sunday, they might give up sugar for Lent, they might be generous with their time and money … and they’re still not doing the hard part, or the most important part.