Religious Syncretism

905 Words4 Pages
Topic: Religious syncretism and orthodoxy
Thesis: Ritualistic acts based on syncretistic beliefs may not be aptly interpreted as heresy or a deviance from orthodoxy as the forces of modernization as well as pre-modernization traditions have resulted in the fusion of these two concepts, bringing about variations and diversity within religions.
1) Rituals that are perceived as indigenous by orthodoxy are not necessarily unorthodox but are essentially a supplement to the standard practices of a religion. It is prejudice to deem local traditions or rituals as an unqualified religious identity (Picard & Medinier, 2011)
2) The syncretistic version of a religion becomes an orthodoxy, such as where Islam that is inspired by Sufism has gained more acceptance
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The “Javanese religion” is discerned by many scholars who take on Geertz’s view to be an amalgamation “of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam”. This presents syncretism however may not necessarily be deemed as unorthodox or unacceptable in the realms of the Islamic rule as it still conforms to the Islamic rites though influenced by the Javanese religion. Constituents of this ritual although rooted “from pre-islamic traditions”, are translated and executed in accordance to the Islamic conditions (Woodward M. R., 1988). As observed by Woodward, the hadith has various accounts of ritual meals as well as dissemination of “blessed food”. This is a form of charity in Islamic terms known as sadaqah which involves performing a kind deed to any living creature– be it mankind or animals. The Kejawen Muslims who are practitioners of slametan may not perform their zakat duty often as prescribed by shariah however they still place great value on the Islamic substance of charity. While the debate on when it can be perceived as a form of charity persists, the Hadith states the act of donating food to be laudable. In line with Woodward’s analysis of Geertz’s theory, the slametan presents how diversity exists within Islam as influenced by local circumstances, hence exuding the…show more content…
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