Why Was Orthopraxy More Important Than Orthodoxy in Ancient Times?

In ancient times, orthopraxy (correct conduct) was more important than orthodoxy (correct belief). This may seem strange to us in modern times, where beliefs are often seen as the cornerstone of religion. However, in ancient times, the focus was on living a good life rather than simply believing in the right things.

One reason for this is that many ancient religions did not have a set of dogmatic beliefs that one had to adhere to. Instead, they focused on rituals and practices that were meant to bring individuals closer to the divine.

For example, in ancient Egypt, the emphasis was on performing the proper funerary rites so that the deceased could enter the afterlife. In ancient Greece, individuals were expected to honor the gods through sacrifice and prayer.

Another reason why orthopraxy was more important than orthodoxy was that many ancient religions were communal in nature. In other words, it wasn’t just about an individual’s personal relationship with the divine; it was about their relationship with their community as well. By participating in communal rituals and practices, individuals could strengthen their ties with their community and reinforce social norms.

Furthermore, many ancient religions believed that actions spoke louder than words. It wasn’t enough to simply believe in certain things; one had to demonstrate those beliefs through their actions.

For example, in Hinduism, one of the core beliefs is karma – that one’s actions have consequences. Therefore, living a good life and performing good deeds was seen as a way to accumulate positive karma.

In conclusion, while orthodoxy may be emphasized more in modern times, it’s important to remember that for much of human history, orthopraxy was more important. By focusing on correct conduct and communal practices rather than simply believing in certain things, ancient religions were able to foster strong communities and encourage individuals to live virtuous lives.