Created By: zarpaulus on February 4, 2012 Last Edited By: Generality on July 12, 2014
Nuked

Syncretic Religion

A religion combining aspects of two or more previous faiths.

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Trope
"We do not convert people. We simply help them realize that they are already Wayists."
Reverend Behemial Far Traveler, Andromeda

Anyone else think it's odd that so far combined religions have been covered under Coca-Pepsi, Inc.?

Comic Books
  • Tintin In America, one of the people trying to get Tintin to endorse them supposedly represents a church combining Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

Film
  • Pitch Black has 'Chrislam' pilgrims heading for the planet of New Mecca.

Literature
  • Dune has several examples of religious mergers: the Orange Catholic Bible implies a fusion of Catholicism and Protestantism, and it also has the Buddhislamic Zensunni, Zenshia and Zensufi sects.
    • Appendix II from the original clearly states that the Orange Catholic Bible was an effort of the Council of Ecumenical Translators which was made up of representatives of all faiths with more than a million followers. The result was supposed to be a universal (i.e. catholic) representation of beliefs. It was not well received. At first.
  • Philip K. Dick was particularly fond of this: in several novels (notably The Divine Invasion) there was a merger between the Catholic Church and the Soviet Union in the backstory.
  • The Life of Pi's main character, Piscine Molitor Patel, was born a Hindu but chooses to simultaneously practice both Islam and Christianity as he grows up. His reason: he "just wants to love God."
  • Enigma Babylon One World Faith in the Left Behind books, which consists of Roman Catholicism merged with various Christian sects that would not hold to fundamentalist doctrine (as defined by the books' authors and the Tribulation Force characters) as well as other world religions.
  • Stranger in a Strange Land has Valentine Michael Smith form a union of every single religion called "The Church of All Worlds," which eventually inspired a real religious community of the same name.
  • The Janissaries by Jerry Pournelle has a world that has both Christians and pagans, with the pagan religion being very loosely based on Classical Mythology. When a Christian nation enters into a political alliance with two pagan nations, a bishop has a rather convenient revelation that the two religions in fact worship the same god, resulting in the creation of a politically backed syncretic religion.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire seems to do this with fictional religions in the cult of the Many Faced God. The temple includes shrines to gods from all over, and his adherents believe that all gods (or at least all death gods) are avatars of him. There's also some implication of the religion taking elements from other faiths in the universe in its theology and worship.

Live Action TV
  • Firefly is a subtle example, as the only explicitly religious ceremony it shows is a funeral which combines Christian and Buddhist elements, which may just be Artistic License - Religion.
  • The Church of the Global Standard Deity (GSD for short) in the Thursday Next series.
  • Andromeda has Wayism, founded by a Magog who found God and decided all religions were true.

Webcomics
  • Pangaeism, the most politically correct religion ever, is briefly mentioned in Last Res0rt, apparently they have a minor holy war every time a new species is contacted and the scripture needs to be revised to include their mythology.
  • In Freefall omniquantism is the idea that if God is omnipotent and all things are possible, then it is possible that all religions are correct simultaneously. One in three AIs lock up after hearing the concept, Florence managed to make sense of it though.

Western Animation
  • The Western Branch of American Reform Presbylutheranism from The Simpsons .
  • Father Changstein El-Gamal of the First Amalgamated Church on Futurama.

Real Life

Uncategorized
  • In the Eppy/Orion era of Grendel, Christianity has been reunified under the Pope at Vatican Quest.
  • Christianity commonly absorbed other traditions and tenets from other religions. For example, Christmas was originally the Roman sun festival, and the early Christians celebrated the birth of Christ at the same time to avoid standing out. Also, myths about messiah figures who were born of a virgin, walked on water, turned water to wine, healed the sick, etc., are very common throughout that period, such as Horus from Egyptian mythology. Apparently, things like that were considered to be standard "messiah cred."
Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • February 4, 2012
    Koveras
    Jediism?
  • February 5, 2012
    nitrokitty
    In Real Life, Christianity commonly absorbed other traditions and tenants from other religions. For example, Christmas was originally the Roman sun festival, and the early Christians celebrated the birth of Christ at the same time to avoid standing out. Also, myths about messiah figures who were born of a virgin, walked on water, turned water to wine, healed the sick, etc., are very common throughout that period, such as Horus from Egyptian mythology. Apparently, things like that were considered to be standard "messiah cred."
  • February 8, 2012
    Frank75
  • February 8, 2012
    zarpaulus
    ^ That's when an author makes up a fictional religion by combining aspects of real ones. This is when a fictional religion is explicitly stated to be a combination of different real ones.
  • February 8, 2012
    jate88
    ^ Those sentences say the same thing.
  • February 8, 2012
    zarpaulus
    ^ Let me clarify, a syncretic religion is a canon combination of real religions. An Interfaith Smoothie is just an author trying to avoid offending people by copying a real life faith wholesale, in canon it has no relation to the religions the author drew stuff from, assuming they even exist in that world.
  • February 8, 2012
    moriwen
    Does it count if they're not real religions, but fictional ones from the book? In The Last Battle, the Narnians combine the worship of Tash and Aslan to "Tashlan."

    And nitrokitty-I'd beware of that one, as a lot of people don't agree with that statement. In general, I'd say this trope should avoid real life examples.
  • February 9, 2012
    Chabal2
    • Tintin in America: one of the guys trying to get Tintin to endorse something represents a religion that's apparently made of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism.
    • Warhammer 40 K: The forces of Chaos either worship one of the four Ruinous Powers or Chaos Undivided, the latter paying respect to each deity in equal measure depending on what they need help with.
  • February 9, 2012
    HumanaUox
    Pretty sure Jediism would be an Interfaith Smoothie. Christmas was celebrated on the last day of the weeklong Roman harvest festival dedicated to Saturn (Saturnalia), not a "sun festival."

    Stranger In A Strange Land has Valentine Michael Smith form a union of every single religion called "The Church of All Worlds," which eventually inspired a real religious community of the same name.
  • February 9, 2012
    moriwen
    In the Divine Invasion, the one world religion in the future is a blend of Christianity and Islam.
  • February 9, 2012
    baruta07
    Arguably this could also fit under Omniquantism, which seems to be this Taken Up to Eleven
  • February 9, 2012
    zarpaulus
    ^ If I hadn't read Freefall I wouldn't recognize that one.
  • February 9, 2012
    TBeholder
    notatrope
  • February 9, 2012
    ScanVisor
    Islam.
  • March 4, 2012
    CrystalBlue
    Bump. Also present in Hyperion by the way, since Martin Silenus mentions creating some of these religions.
  • March 4, 2012
    zarpaulus
  • March 4, 2012
    Catbert
    Under Literature

    • The Janissaries by Jerry Pournelle has a world that has both Christians and pagans, with the pagan religion being very loosely based on Classical Mythology. When a Christian nation enters into a political alliance with two pagan nations, a bishop has a rather convenient revelation that the two religions in fact worship the same god, resulting in the creation of a politically backed syncretic religion.
  • March 4, 2012
    pawsplay
    "one of the guys trying to get Tintin to endorse something represents a religion that's apparently made of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddhism." - Maybe B'hai, a real-life religion?
  • March 4, 2012
    Goldfritha
    Actually, the evidence is that sun festival is more recent of the two. Certainly Christians cited December 25 as a date to celebrate Christmas prior to the first record of the sun fesitval.

    As for the "messiah cred" -- there is no way to put it but blunt: these were grotesquely exaggered by anti-Christian bigots and are no longer accepted as serious in comparative religion.
  • March 4, 2012
    Jordan
    A Song Of Ice And Fire seems to do this with fictional religions in the cult of the Many Faced God. The temple includes shrines to gods from all over, and his adherents believe that all gods (or at least all death gods) are avatars of him. There's also some implication of the religion taking elements from other faiths in the universe in its theology and worship.
  • March 4, 2012
    Bario
    Futurama has a particularily strange religion that can only be described as Eclecteism. A mash up of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and just about every other religion. "We are gathered here today, under one or more gods, or fewer, to lay to rest..."
  • March 5, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    moving mine to Interfaith Smoothie
  • March 9, 2012
    Canzaparca
    I wonder why this isn't called Syncreteism yet. :D
  • July 12, 2014
    zarpaulus
    Let's try this again
  • July 12, 2014
    Generality
    Tenets, not tenants.
  • July 12, 2014
    DAN004
    So can you please tell me, what is this trope and what is Interfaith Smoothie?
  • July 12, 2014
    CrimsonZephyr
    In The Elder Scrolls, the Imperial pantheon is a meld of Altmeri and Nordic gods. The Nordic and Altmeri pantheons are technically the same divinities, just different aspects. This was done deliberately by the first Empress, Alessia, to create a faith that would be acceptable to all her subjects. The exception is Talos, who was a human before ascending to godhood.
  • July 12, 2014
    zarpaulus
    ^^ Interfaith Smoothie covers both future religions stated to be syncresis of two of more modern faiths, and fictional religions that the author cribbed stuff from real religions but doesn't have any in-universe relationship to those faiths.

    In biology terms, Interfaith Smoothie includes both hybridization and convergent evolution, this trope would be just hybridization.

    However, it seems that the majority of examples on Interfaith Smoothie are the former case.
  • July 12, 2014
    DAN004
    So what, either fix Interfaith Smoothie or just add examples in this page there?
  • July 12, 2014
    Earnest
    • In Parable Of The Sower, Lauren Olamina creates her own religion from a mixture of her own philosophy, protestant faith, and eastern religions. She pretty much explicitly admits she borrowed from other faiths to make hers, while maintaining its more original than copy. The end result is a faith that worships a sort of cosmic principle /god(dess) of change that doesn't actually care about anyone or anything at all. The whole thing revolves around Brutal Honesty, adapting to change, and being as in tune with nature, yourself, and others as possible.
  • July 12, 2014
    bulmabriefs144
  • July 12, 2014
    zarpaulus
    Yeah, I'll just add the examples here to Interfaith Smoothie.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=lww1op9nlo76xzgyijmr20cv&trope=DiscardedYKTTW