Religious Syncretism

thINPSHJ7GIn World history 151 we had just finished reading the Epic of Sundiata. During one of the lectures Prof. Chappell was talking about how one will notice the syncretism of Islam and and traditional eliefs in that particularpart of Africa. It was very peculiar, they would say things like”Allah the almighty” but believed in other spirits and such. I pondered the contradiction of practicing a religion that has faith in one supreme God yet believes in other supernatural beings and it dawned on me, that this same is done right here in Hawaii! Many times I have heard from people, particularly those who are native Hawaiian who are practicing Christians talk about Hawaiian superstitions and I have heard from a good amount of Christian Hawaiians that they have seen or encountered Pele. The story I’ll here goes something like, “I saw an old lady in a white Mu’u mu’u walking her dog on the side of the road and when I went back the grass had burn marks in the shape of feet.” I do not mean to mock these people’s beliefs but I cant understand how someone can be part of a religion that believes in one supreme god but also believes in other gods. I think this syncretism occurs in various places because of where the person was raised and the environment of their upbringing. The people I mentioned earlier grew up on Kauai and Lanai. I infer that these outer islands haven’t let go of their cultural identies as much as those here on Oahu. And perhaps that might be because there was and is much more national and international travelers and settlers here on Oahu that influenced the culture, just like the trade cities in Africa.


One thought on “Religious Syncretism

  1. Good connection between what you are learning in one class and what you know around you.
    Religious and cultural syncretism is a fascinating topic. Proselytinzing religions like Islam and Christianity often absorb and adapt local cultures as well as importing the culture of origin they bring with them (seemingly invisible).

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