According to Wikipedia, “The word orthodoxy is mainly associated with the Greek Orthodox Church…. Since this theological aspect was established the church moved on to resolve the right way to worship God or Orthodoxy.”
As I read on about the “right way to worship God” I cannot help but see the parallels in how so many devote capitalists attach themselves to “the perfect way” to create wealth, to engage in commerce, to generate profits and dominate markets. And it isn’t just religion and economics. This adherence to the “one right way” pops up in all human systems.
The fundamentalist approach to anything - be it religion, business, law, medicine, politics, education or any other discipline – is a function of the mind seeking a structure it can comprehend. This provides security for those who identify with their beliefs. The mind likes certainty and predictability. The mind has difficulty with things experiential – things that can be “messy” and unpredictable. So, the right way is sought and, once found, strictly adhered to with great fervor.
In religion it is the right way to worship, the right “sacred text” to believe literally, the right clergy to obediently follow. In medicine, it could be loyalty to tradition which prevents new learning. In education it could be the conventional factory-style method of training our young in the Three Rs. In business it shows up as the dominance of the financial bottom line.
When this orthodoxy is prevalent, those who challenge this perfect way are seen as heretics, such as advocates of the Triple Bottom Line in business, holistic healthcare, alternative schooling and restorative justice. While religion gave rise to the term, we see orthodoxy has found its way into all human endeavors, helping to make our institutions stodgy and arthritic, resistant and slow to change. Heterodoxy or “other teaching” which opposes orthodoxy met with plenty of resistance over the centuries in the world of religion. With the modern pandemic of this black and white way of thinking into all areas of our lives, we are seeing mass polarization, schisms and divides between neighbors, brothers and sisters, and friends similar to what was seen in the Inquisition, Crusades and Jihad.
For the sake of future generations, let us call a halt to this capitulation so our sense of spirituality, justice, education and health is allowed to remain experiential and not be concretized for the convenience of the egoic mind. Let us resist the temptation to reduce everything to what can be contained within the limited capacity of the mind and allow for these powerful experiences to have full rein within our hearts and souls.