IAAJAH - IGWEBUIKE: An African Journal of Arts and Humanities
Vol. 9 No. 3, 2023
SYNCRETISM: A CASE OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE GBAGYI TRADITIONAL RELIGION
Virgilius Kawama

ABSTRACT

It has become common that people no longer find themselves as complete strangers in religions other than what is theirs. This is, to a larger extent, because of some familiar elements that exists within the two religions. These common elements find themselves into two or more religions because the people practicing those religions have knowingly or unknowingly borrowed and integrated those concepts, symbols and practices of one religious tradition and reconciled them into their faith expressions. This is called syncretism. Gbagyi Catholicism is characterized by syncretism whereby Gbagyi traditional religion and Christianity mixes to the point that both systems seem to lose some basic structures and identities. This article looks at syncretism among the Gbagyi people of Tafa Local Government Area of Niger State in Nigeria. It discovers that neither Catholicism nor Gbagyi Traditional Religion is totally pure and free from elements of syncretism or traces of an encounter between them. It elaborates the consequences and implications of syncretism to the Gbagyi Catholic members, whether it promotes religious tolerance or the decline of the pure faith. Using narrative research technique as evidenced in the literature and the authorís experience with the Gbagyi people, this paper exposes, examines and identifies the major implications of syncretism on the Gbagyi Catholics and gives solutions that would hopefully improve the existing situation.

Keywords: Syncretism, Roman Catholic Church, Christian, Gbagyi, Tradition, Religion
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