Faith Lies (with Darrell Smith): Lie #5, There is One Right Way to Believe and One Right Way to Behave

Continuing our Thursday series with Darrell Smith, sharing from his book Faith Lies: Seven Incomplete Ideas That Hijack Faith and How to See Beyond Them.

Faith Lies with Darrell Smith
Lie #5: There is One Right Way to Believe and One Right Way to Behave

Are Orthodox Jews more right than Reform Jews?

Is Christianity more right than Judaism?

Is Catholicism more right than Protestantism?

Is one Protestant denomination more right than the rest?

Is baptism by immersion more correct than baptism by sprinkling?

Does a Greek Orthodox worship service provide access to the divine that a Baptist worship service does not?

Is there one correct way to observe communion?

Are certain methods of prayer more right and true than others?

We can probably all think of people who could answer those questions with resounding certainty. We may even be those people. I certainly have Orthodox Jewish friends who believe that their embrace of the Jewish faith is truer than that of their Reform brothers and sisters. Likewise, I have Catholic friends who are convinced that all Protestants must return to the Mother Church and Protestant friends who sit in judgment of the Catholic Church. In my hometown, it is easy to find someone who “knows” a certain mode of baptism is the only true baptism—or that a specific style of worship is God’s preferred style.

All of these questions and thoughts can be summed up with two words: orthodoxy—correct belief and orthopraxy—correct behavior and practice.

Whether we admit it or not, we answer or avoid the kinds of questions drummed up by orthodoxy and orthopraxy everyday. What do we believe? How do we behave? The nightly news always contains stories of some group of people somewhere fighting or defending a religious or spiritual principle. Those people—just like most of us—have arrived at an interpretive decision. They have decided that the orthodox version of their faith requires them to believe something, do something, defend something, refuse something, and in the most tragic but all-too-common expression, to attack something.

Is it possible that we have completely misunderstood orthodoxy and orthopraxy?

Is it possible we are all part of a diverse creation that flows from a God that cannot be contained by any one belief or behavior?

Next week, Faith Lie #6 – Faith is a Private Matter

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