Saturday, August 22, 2009
It was in a chance meeting at an airport in India with Xavier Gravende-Tirole (Jesus look alike?) that I learnt about Spiritual Creolization - how religions absorb from each other and manage pluralism. Xavier is traveling in India studying the absorption of Hindu rituals in Christianity for his Phd thesis 'Creolization as a new theological category in the anthropology of believing: study inspired by Hindu-Christian cases' at the Trudeau Foundation in Geneva.
"His dissertation explores how creolization can become fertile theological grounds for examining identity, relationships with the other and religious pluralism. Managing pluralism may be one of the greatest challenges for religions today – both within religions themselves and in their relations with other religions – but the many types of creolized religions that arise from pluralism face even greater problems being recognized at their true worth. The sullied, the contaminated, the syncretic and the impure are still widely vilified by religious institutions. And yet while the logic of purity may provide dangerous fodder for different types of fundamentalism, other novel, alternative or liberal ways of being religious are coming to light that merit recognition, whether or not they are emerging from within traditional institutional frameworks."
For more details see http://www.trudeaufoundation.ca/tf/Xavier_Gravend-Tirole
Xavier has been traveling in different parts of India and Sri Lanka for his research work. I felt envious.
We followed our initial meeting with a dinner the next day and it was great fun to understand Xavier's work. I hope once he completes his research, it would also be published in India. Considering the growing fundamentalism in India and elsewhere, studies like this can teach us how all religions absorb from each and can co-exist peacefully.