Religious Syncretism and Omnism

All Faiths Hold Truth

Humanity relies on the Earth, Sun, and Moon to survive as they do God/The Higher Power, faith, and their creeds. The Higher Power could be named anything according to any religion of the world. We rely on the Earth for food, shelter, and our lives in general. Many of us continue prayer to God/The Higher power on our paths to peace as we continue to live on the only planet we have.

However this may be, there continues to be religious and ideological conflicts across the world where the path to peace may be thwarted. Throughout my journal on balance thus far and my journal on faith, I have been studying how we are all on a path to peace and how all faiths and religions of the world have more in common than we think. In my studies, I came across two interesting concepts: Syncretism and Omnism.

Syncretism is described as the combination or attempted combination of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought. Omnism is described as the belief that all religions are true, or partially true. Today, with the New Age Spirituality Movement, we see people picking and choosing what they wish to believe, mix it all in a pot together, and proclaim that as their spiritual beliefs – essentially a personalized mix of syncretism with selective omnism. While it is important to have your own connection with God/The Higher power, The Earth, and You, a sense of nihilism can be seen when one rejects religion for the sake of own spiritual gain.

This is where I see the world stands: we have all faiths and religions of the world that have history of clashing with one another, populations of people either going atheist or choosing their own personal spiritual path in the New Age in response to these age old conflicts, populations holding stronger than ever to the truth of their faiths, and those who are working to see the world come together in a peaceful way no matter the faith or religion you have.

With all faiths, religions, and spiritual paths that are here on this world at the same time, I find all to hold truth that can benefit humanity in our path to true peace – even some aspects of the New Age Spirituality I find to hold truth.

Image by Peter H from Pixabay

A Look at New Age Spirituality

Some may give the eyes of taboo on New Age Spirituality, the collection of various crystals, stones, healing herbs and what have you. New Age Spirituality, in my view, has a special doorway where we can choose the spiritual path that resonates with one’s soul and has a community that would not judge a person’s spiritual endeavors if it involves collecting stones, practicing Yoga, and still go church on Sundays.

Just like many faiths and religions of the world, New Age Spirituality also has negative doorways where some may find smoking a plethora of marijuana is one of the only few ways for them to be close with the spirits above, around, and within them – or use controlled substances that can be life threatening. While the use of substances is seen throughout many faiths and religions from Catholics having blessed red wine at mass and beyond, I personally find that you can connect with God/The Higher Power, the Earth, and all Life without excessive, or any use, of substances.

Another positive doorway of New Age Spirituality is promoting one’s adaptability and spiritual growth – just like all faiths within their respective creeds. Reiki, for example, has been developed and is a path in this way of spiritual growth and many have seen the benefits of Reiki.

Another positive doorway is the concept of a spiritual awakening, which can include the following 10 steps, according to Scott Jeffrey:

In terms of religious syncretism and omnism, I see benefits to how a spiritual awakening may benefit not just those in the individual spiritual paths, but also in current religions. Keeping spiritual awakening in mind, it reminds me of many teachings from Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism, and other religions, but just a different variation.

A Glance at Religion

Just as how all faiths and religions of the world have different names for God/The Higher Power and advocate for prayer, so to is a concept of “spiritual awakening” – although it can be called many different names in many different religions.

In Christianity, some may call it as an awakening and have various different views on it within this faith. For example, Larry Mark describes some stages in a Christian Spiritual Awakening while Christianity Today provides a few different, but similar, steps. The Catholic Education Resource Center also provides different steps in a spiritual awakening within the Catholic community. Reading through these stages, I find similarities in the Christian, Catholic and New Age view on awakening in terms of self, connectivity, and beyond. The Three Catholic steps in spiritual awakening are as followed, according to The Catholic Education Resource Center:

  • The First Stage:  mirror of nature – see the whole of creation through Jesus’ eyes and to come alive to the radiance of God’s presence.
  • The Second Stage: the disciples are still experiencing reflections of God’s presence through mirrors outside them
  • The Third Stage: the mirroring of the divine presence from within

In Sikhism, there is an interesting case of spiritual awakening as Sikhism is itself a religion that is a combination of traits of Hinduism and Islam – a religion that has a base in syncretism itself. In terms of spiritual awakening, another term would be spiritual development. According to AllAboutSikhs.com, there are five steps to spiritual development and they are as followed:

  • Region of Duty – Dharam Khand: act and reaps the consequences
  • Region of Knowledge – Gian Khand: devotee may obtain a knowledge of God and the Universe
  • Region of Effort – Saram Khand: here the mind and understanding are purified
  • Region of Grace – Karam Khand; here the selfless devotee may find divine grace and develop spiritual power
  • Region of Truth – Sach Khand: where one may unite with God

When we take the spiritual awakenings/development from Sikhism, Christianity in a Catholic view, and the New Age view on spiritual awakening, there are many common themes that can be found. They are as followed:

  • Inter-connectivity: Steps 3, 4 9 and 10 share indications of inter-connectivity with past, present, and all things that are inline with the interconnectivity of what is outside and within oneself in Stages 2 and 3 of Catholic Spiritual awakening, which is also inline with the Regions of Effort and Grace in Sikhism with purifying the mind and our understanding of things.
  • Spiritual Peace: Steps 5, 7 and 8 of the New Age Spiritual Awakening are inline for spiritual peace as is the Regions of Truth and Duty in Sikhism and all three stages of Catholic spiritual awakening.
  • Spiritual Growth: Step 4 and 7 of the New Age Spiritual Awakening are in line with the Regions of Knowledge, Effort, and Grace while also in line with the purpose of spiritual growth in the three stages of Catholic Spiritual Awakening.
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Omni-Syncretism

As all faiths and religions of the world have laid paths to peace that I find to have the same destination, one could also argue that the foundation of a modern building is the same across the world: have flat ground and build up walls and a ceiling to keep a roof over your head. The foundation may be sandstone or it may be bedrock. The walls may be made of bricks or they be made of steel or wood – or a combination of both. The roof may be made of asphalt or it may be made of shingles – or a combination of both.

In my view, all faiths and religions have the same, or very similar, firm foundations and have grown accordingly to their respective cultures and views to pave the way of peace. The five stages of personal development in Sikhism may have been made out of steel and wood while the three stages of spiritual awakening for Catholics may have been made out of bricks. The New Age Spiritual Awakening may have been founded as a combination of steel, wood, and bricks altogether – if we keep in line with the analogy.

In this view, I find there is more reason to show the similarities we all have in our paths to peace than differences. While history can show there have been many wars fought over who was right and who was wrong, spiritually speaking, I find we are at such a stage in the world that finding the inter-connectivity between all faiths, whether you are on a singular personal path of spiritual awakening in the New Age sense, born again Christian, a devout Sikh, is more necessary than ever.

With Omnism and Syncretism in mind, perhaps a thought process of Omni-Syncretism can be coined – where the truths of all faiths and religions of the world can be coherently combined together in the path for peace while understanding and respecting that all religions are branched off the same seeds.

All religions of the world have the same roots with a creator God/Higher Power, the importance of prayer, spiritual awakening along with many other topics that have been discussed in my journals – denouncing greed being another example. I am confident that many more similarities will be uncovered.

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