Putting an end to Orthodoxy
Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14948) 5 years ago
I am making a brief apperence to post this thought for your consideration.

I have been thinking the last couple of weeks or so about orthodoxy. Orthodoxy is defined as a belief or a way of thinking that is accepted as true or correct. It is ironic that "orthodoxy" is always established by the victorious authors of history. It is additionally ironic that "orthodoxy" is self-authenticating. It is "right" because it holds the political, military, and economic power to declare itself "true".

For example, the "orthodox" doctrine regarding the hypostatic union of Christ (Jesus as both God and man) is the result of an individual, Apollinaris of Laodicea, putting forth his notion of Jesus being part of the Godhead, in contrast to the Arianism of his time which held that asserted Jesus Christ is the Son of God, created by God the Father, distinct from the Father and therefore subordinate to the Father. Apollinaris was able to gather followers to his way of thinking. In 431 CE, a significantly small group (1st council of Ephesus) coalesced around his thought and then enforced that idea on the point of a Roman sword. This was predominately because it was politically expedient and gave this group control over Nestorians. Any views that are outside of "orthodoxy" are routinely vanquished from the historic record. The views of the Nestorians, Araians, and other docietists are not well known. The purpose of church councils was to develop the "orthodox" view. Constantine had figured out that by hosting such councils and "resolving" differing points of view, he was better able to maintain control over the Roman Empire.

This is unfortunate because alternate views aren't necessarily wrong in and of themselves. Alternate views are "wrong" because the majority view has had the political,military, and economic power to overwhelm alternate views, and mute their influence in a given culture. For example, the Gnostics hold some views of spirituality and how man may relate to the cosmos that are honestly intriguing and beautiful. Unless you are a student of systems of belief you are not likely aware of these ideas. This is due to the fact the "orthodox" view has been largely successful in expunging alternate views and there writings from the historic record.

It is also important to point out that Orthodoxy is an artifact of monotheism. Prior to the rise of monotheism, people worshipped multiply deities, without significant critique from others. Polytheistic societies may have had their problems, but augment over what god to worship or how that worship should be worshiped was uncommon. Folks simply were not that uptight about such issues.

By definition, monotheism DEMANDS worship of only one god, and declares all other gods as "false". All of the theological conflict and bloodshed in development of the "orthodox" view are the direct explicit result of monotheism.

I have said all of this, because orthodoxy daily impacts our lives. We may not think much about this phenomenon, but the impacts are real and significant. Nearly all of the beliefs we hold are the result of orthodoxy in our lives. Orthodoxy impacts daily our political views; "we are "right" [insert your issue here] and "they" are "wrong"".

The so-called "War on Terror" is nothing more than a multi-faceted clash of orthodoxy. It is both the clash between Christian and Muslim versions of monotheism and a continuing clash of internal orthodoxy within each movement.

In American society, religious orthodoxy is deeply intertwined with political orthodoxy. The legacy of Ronald Reagan serves as a instructional model of how "orthodoxy" is instituted. "Trickle-down" economics is a practice of the last 30 years. It is now anathema and heterodoxical to propose tax increases because the "orthodox" view is higher taxes will hurt business. There are a plethora of issues that fit this model. They are "orthodox" because the rulers of society have so decreed.

The rights of the LGBT community in our country are contested because the "orthodox" view of the dominate religion has declared and daily delivers via verbal sword the notion the biological and physiological needs LGBT'ers are "sinfully subhuman" according to "orthodox" definitions. This despite evidence to the contrary that exists in the so-called "orthodox" community's own historic record.

The orthodox "code-of-west" belief is that WASP-settlers have a right to displace Native Americans. Thus, a small group of snack-less renegades are holding a federal duck blind hostage in Oregon to among other things, promote idea the federal government should give lands back to the "WASP-settlers" and quit interfering with their lives. Of course, the TRUTH is that in 1908, Teddy Roosevelt declared the area a wildlife refuge, stole the land, forcing the Paiute Indians off the land, annulling their aboriginal rights. Thus, the Paiute natives are victims of modern-day "orthodoxy".

Perhaps orthodoxy is woven too deeply into the fabric of our society to be removed. But I am idealistic enough to believe that we ought to be conscience of its presence and dial back our rhetoric accordingly.

As we ride the pale blue dot through the solar system and around the sun this year, let's become cognizant of the impact orthodoxy has on our lives. Let's consider that there are alternate views that are worthy of consideration. My hope is that engaging such action will result in the kinder and gentler world in which we all seek to exist.

[Edited by Richard Bonine, Jr. (1/17/2016 1:41:25 PM)]
Posted by Brandy Allen (-2412) 5 years ago
Seems like a long way around saying- an orthodoxy is considered to be the old ways, and its replacement, referred to as the progressive is the new way.
Posted by Bridgier (+9178) 5 years ago
No, that's actually not what he's saying.

He's saying that ORTHODOXY is written by the winners, not merely the OLDEST - Arianism is older than the Chalcedonian christology, but the Chalcedonian view 'won' and became the 'right' way to think about christ once the empire gave it their stamp of approval.

He's also saying that this desire for dichotomous and binary thinking is a hallmark of christianity (or any of the desert religions, tbh) and infects our way of thinking in other realms as well.

[Edited by Bridgier (1/18/2016 3:49:31 PM)]