The blending doesn't always result in a formalized new religion. Syncretistic can also describe a society whose members identify themselves as all, some, and/or none of the various religions around (or a person who does same). Historically, many Chinese have been Buddhist and Taoist both--and in recent years there's been a bit of Christianity mixed in, even if it's just the form of a white wedding. The same is true in Japan, with Shinto in the place of Taoism.

The process by which two or more disparate religious traditions are blended into a new religious movement. Sometimes syncretistic movements become religious traditions in their own right. Examples: Sufism, Jews for Jesus, Unification Church, Bahai.

Syn"cre*tism (?), n. [Gr. &?;, fr. &?; to make two parties join against a third: cf. F. syncrétisme.]

Attempted union of principles or parties irreconcilably at variance with each other.

He is plotting a carnal syncretism, and attempting the reconcilement of Christ and Belial.
Baxter.

Syncretism is opposed to eclecticism in philosophy.
Krauth-Fleming.

 

© Webster 1913


Syn"cre*tism (?), n. (Philol.)

The union or fusion into one of two or more originally different inflectional forms, as of two cases.

 

© Webster 1913

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