Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

maintenance of orthodoxy



Orthodoxy is normally used in the context of religious thought; but, in a more general sense, it denotes the thoughts, beliefs, assumptions, and associated behaviors defined by any prevailing doctrine, philosophy, or ideology. Orthodox thinking is highly embedded in a cultural setting, deeply rooted in long standing traditions, oft repeated rituals, and familiar truisms. Individual elements of orthodoxy are very resistant to change for the very reason that their familiarity and seeming ubiquity make any suggested alteration seem especially radical and unnerving.


In whatever context, orthodoxy is deemed to be true. The evidence to that truth may be no more than that most everyone believes it to be true. Once orthodox thought has existed in a society for a sufficient time, it becomes a cultural norm, a measure of proper conformity and assimilation.


Hitler famously noted in his book, Mein Kampf, that an oft repeated lie ultimately becomes true in the minds of most through the power of indoctrination. This concept was the background to the Nazi propaganda efforts. Nazi Germany's maintenance of their brand of orthodox thinking was a combination of indoctrination and ruthless coercion.


If one deeply considers what orthodox thinking should represent, namely that which is undeniably and verifiably demonstrable and workable, then the maintenance of orthodox thought should require no more than rational presentation and due demonstration. In other words, orthodoxy should logically be self maintaining when challenged by new ideas. With that in mind, long standing ideas which require a vociferous support group are the very ones most in need of reevaluation. That is doubly so if orthodoxy's supporters insist on coercive measures in its defense. By coercion, I don't mean just physical violence but also name calling, ridicule, misrepresentation, innuendo, and ostracism.  


No society is immune to orthodox thought in need of re-evaluation. That being said, no society relishes unraveling its most sacred thoughts, ideas, and assumptions about itself. It is a lot easier to go on mouthing the same platitudes and acquiescing to the same assumptions than to do the required mental work and endure the pressures exerted by the enforcers of the status quo. 


My concluding point is this- when orthodoxy represents that which is actually true it will be workable in the sense of positive results. When orthodoxy comes to be just another example of trying the same thing over and over and hoping for positive results next time (to paraphrase Albert Einstein), it identifies itself as insanity. Truth is rightly projected and taught because of its evident and positive influence on society. If, at any moment, that truth must be propped up and defended by the exercise of power instead of persuasion, you can be fairly certain that this orthodoxy is based on indoctrination and not demonstration.


Truth is rarely identified by the loudest and most strident voices or necessarily by its longevity. The thoughtful contrarian is much more likely to be the real truth bringer. History is full of examples, Jesus being a prime example.