Thursday, January 17, 2008

Rites and beliefs
It’s not hard for us irreligious types to see the point of something like fundamentalist Islam (or fundamentalist anything, I guess) — a faith that insists it is the only true faith, and regards doubters with hatred, scorn, or pity. It’s much harder to see the point of this mushy it’s-all-the-same-thing-really ecumenism. Why bother to master a lot of complicated rituals, and affirm a lot of complicated doctrines, if some other set of rituals and doctrines is just as good?
— John Derbyshire
I would guess that religions that are focused most heavily on ritual are religions that do not seem to put, at least from the perspective of the everyday experience of the average believer, great emphasis on doctrine.

Of course, these religions may have teaching authorities or scriptures that are held to be authoritative and doctrinal definitions that are binding, but it is through the rites and customary practices that most believers would experience their religion.
This difference, or one you can sometimes see between born members and converts (‘rather fixated on doctrine’ as Daniel Larison says).

But of course
you should understand that the distinction between them [doctrine and orthopraxy] is to essentially theoretical, in the same way that theology properly understood is first and foremost prayer.
Some Vaishnavites have gone to far as to recognise Gautama Buddha and Christ as other incarnations of Vishnu, which at first seems like an ecumenical move and then you see that it is an appropriating and competitive one.
Rather like how some Orthodox view Byzantine Catholicism and a few Roman Catholics Western Rite Orthodoxy.

No comments:

Post a comment

Leave comment