I had an experience a few months ago, however, that showed me how non-intuitive the concepts are to some. A discussion broke out in my workplace which was vaguely concerned with changes in language usage. I happened to bring up how disturbing I find it that the words faith and religion are becoming synonymous. Where does that leave religions that are not primarily concerned with belief?
The guys in my office never heard of orthopraxis (not surprising, I hadn't either until recently) and it was such an alien concept to them that they accused me of making it up. Lying. They said I, a devout ENFJ, was lying.
|Adding to my paranoia, the Blogger spell checker apparently doesn't know the word either. It's underlining it as if it doesn't exist. At least Wikipedia is on my side.|
Their reaction to the idea that a religion based on action rather than faith was explosive. They shouted over each other; insisting that it couldn't be true. Seriously, it was bizarre. Despite carefully trying to explain the terms orthodoxy and orthopraxis as they are used in cultural anthropology, both of them continued to insist that it was impossible that a religion could exist that was not faith-centered.
In all honesty, part of the reaction could have been to my manner. It never occurred to me that the concept of orthopraxis needed careful presentation. I just stated the facts as I was aware of them. In my opinion, though, the more emotional component arose from a kind of memetic immune response. In simple terms, they flipped out because the orthodoxy meme in their heads perceived an incoming threatening idea and was defending itself.
The scarier thing to me is that I don't think either of them would consider himself religious. That's how deep a hold the monotheism meme has on our collective psyche. It's like we're possessed.