I had a patient last night at work, very sweet older lady who had broken her hip. She came to the hospital to get it fixed. I was taking care of her during her rehabiltation. At one point while I was in her room, she was watching the Bill O’Reilly show on Fox. Mr. O’Reilly was talking about how Bill Maher was making jokes about Catholicism. The patient made the comment that she didn’t think it was right to make fun of other religions. I agreed with her.
She then launched into an expression of her belief in syncretism. “I think God is like a tree,” she said. “There are many branches, but it’s still the same tree.” Up to this point, I really liked this lady. Imagine you meet someone, are getting to know them, you think the two of you could be friends, and then she says, “I loathe children,” or maybe, “All Republicans are flaming idiots,” (and you happen to be a Republican).
Syncretism. Syncretism is “the combination of different forms of belief or practice.” To syncretize is to “attempt to unite and harmonize especially without critical examination or logical unity.” (Merriam Webster’s Dictionary)
I especially like the part of the definition that says, “without critical examination or logical unity.” People spout their belief that “all roads lead to God,” or “God has many names.” The patient last night used that last one. I told her that I believe the Bible, and the Bible says that there is one God, and that He is not to be identified with other religion’s gods. She said, “Yes, there is only one God, and different religions worship him in different ways.” At this point I wanted to scream because her illogical and “feelings based” belief was making my head hurt.
I told her flat out, “The Bible says that there is one God, and that we are to worship Him alone. The Bible doesn’t state that all gods are summed up in our God. The Bible states that people who do not worship the God of the Bible are worshipping a “false god.” I gave her the example of a co-worker of mine. I said, “My co-worker is a Muslim.” Does she have the right to believe what she wants? Yes. Does that make her belief right? No. According to the Bible, if she dies, and she doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, she is going to Hell. I know it doesn’t feel good, it doesn’t sound fair, etc, but that’s the way God operates.” You cannot Jeffersonize the Bible. Either accept all of it’s teachings, or move on to some other (false) belief.