On Orthodoxy

Orthodoxy- conforming to established doctrine especially in religion

In my last piece, I talked about the Democratic/progressive/liberal need to reach out to Christians on the left. Crazy as it might seem, they do exist. In the process, I talked about the problem of shunning religion altogether in messaging and how this alienates Christians who are otherwise progressive or at least leaning that direction.

I shared this with another site and the comments were quite revealing. They were also predictable. One could trace much of the world’s problems back to orthodoxy. When put through a religious prism, orthodoxy usually looks a lot like fundamentalism. The second definition in Webster’s dictionary lists fundamentalism as “a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles.

This has forever been associated with Orthodox religions. You could be talking about Orthodox Jews, Orthodox Muslims, or Orthodox Christianity. The responses demonstrate that this type of belief system has been transferred and coopted by atheism. On first blush, it makes perfect sense. Non-believers feel assaulted by believers. They feel belittled by believers. Those beliefs have been shoved down their throats for years if not decades.

These are how these things get started. You feel cornered and so you look for a group of like-minded individuals. You commensurate with them and complain about everyone else. You poke holes in the orthodoxy and poke fun at the hilarity and hypocrisy of it all. You don’t bother to notice that you have essentially become them in another dimension. Lack of belief has become as rigid and intractable as belief.

Jean Jacques Rousseau spent a great deal of time in his famous book “The Social Contract” talking about the “general will.” The idea was that there is a set of non-specific values that everyone could agree upon. Naturally, the how is always the sticking point. The other sticking point has become the source of those values. If multiple people think the same thing then what does it matter whether those values come from religious doctrine, secular humanism, or anything else? This is what orthodoxy has wrought.

There are people in this world that could care less about the general will. They know what the general will is. They know what is right and what is wrong. They know exactly what they should do. Yet, they don’t do it because it does not benefit them directly. So, the battle lines have been drawn. The final frontier is not a battle between liberals and conservatives, left and right, or Democrat and Republican.

Instead, it is a battle between those that want what is best for a majority of the people and those that want what is best for themselves. Maybe they are just selfish. Maybe they are under the influence of another power. Either way, the time for worrying about orthodoxy is long gone. In a world where there is an enemy around every corner you join with allies anywhere you can find them, orthodoxy be damned.

Author: sbarzilla

I have written three books about baseball including The Hall of Fame Index. I also write for thefantatasyfix.com. You can follow me on twitter @sbarzilla.

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