Monday, February 27, 2006


This is a quick comparison of how orthodoxy is compared to both fundamentalism and liberalism. It is rather interesting that the latter often share similarities. More often, they are on opposite sides of the 'golden mean' of virtue. The term 'orthodoxy' in this sense comes from Plato, being Greek for 'right reason'.

A brief comparison of fundamentalism, orthodoxy, and liberalism.

Grace and NatureGrace exalted over nature; dualistic view of grace and nature. Tends towards supernaturalism.Grace marries nature; unified view of grace and nature.Grace imitates nature; dualistic view of grace and nature; tends to naturalism.
ScriptureInspired by God; read in a literalistic, subjective manner; may even be seen as a source of hidden or encoded meaning (such as the 'Bible Code'). A view that the Bible 'fell from Heaven'. Much argument over the precise meaning of scripture.A work of man inspired by God; read in a literal, objective manner, taking into account the historical context of the readings. The Bible has cohesive, parallel meanings and is always Christological.A work of man; read in a metaphorical, subjective manner; alternative 'readings' may be generated to create new meanings; may be abandoned or supplemented with scripture of other religions. A view that the Bible was the work of men with political agendas.
EmphasisDocetism; emphasis of spirit over matter.Unity of matter and Divinity in Christ.Arianism, pantheism; emphasis of matter over spirit.
View of GodTranscendent; God is in Heaven; the Earth is wicked.Transcendent and Immanent; Trinitarian view of GodImmanent; God is in us, not in a remote place; we are God.
MoralityAbsolutist; rules must be followed.Objective; concrete rules of morality influenced by circumstance and mental state.Relativistic; circumstances and mental states determine morality.
ChurchesNew, separate congregations are started when conflicts occur.All congregations are visibly united; great effort is exerted to heal schism.Existing congregations have to be subverted. Schism and union done as politically expedient.
Religious ArtArt strongly deemphasized; music used primarily for spiritual uplift.Art is to elevate both the heart and intellect to Heaven.Abstract art emphasized. Art is for the individual expression of feelings.
ArchitectureIconoclastic; idols prohibited in the CommandmentsArchitecture must be beautiful and iconographic.Iconoclastic; an artist should not impose his views of religion on others.
The willDeemphasized; believers are already saved.The will is needed to conform oneself to GodDeemphasized; a person just needs to have self-esteem.
ReasonFaith is greater than reason; science is deceiving.Faith and Reason cannot conflict; all Truth comes from God.Science is greater than faith; religious practice must follow the latest findings of Science.
TraditionAmbivalent feeling towards tradition, if not outright rejected. Often used unconsciouslyTradition explicitly part of the Faith. Often used and debated.Ambivalent feeling towards tradition, if not outright rejected. Often consciously modified.
PhilosophyNot synthesized into the Faith. Difficulty in abstracting beyond what is explicitly in scripture.Philosophy integrated into the Faith to provide a universal view of reality, both Heaven and Earth.Faith subsumed into a philosophical framework, so as to make the faith a handmaid of a philosophy.
PoliticsNo clear political philosophy consistent with Faith. Tendency towards theocracy.Secular, but informed by Faith. Social Justice and governmental morality is seen as inseparable from personal morality.Secular. Explicit adherence to political philosophies incompatible with the Faith. Faith often seen as unneeded after political revolution makes a just society.

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