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Should not intelligent, reasonable men of good will be able to agree on all things that matter?

"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to
  one who is striking at the root."
- Henry David Thoreau
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What battle commander, when wanting to survey the enemy with his own
eyes, would do so from a cave, or behind a hill instead of on the crest?

amat victoria curam
(Victory loves preparation)

Orthodoxy versus Heterodoxy
Updated: 11/18/2020

Viewpoint Issues

When surveying battle terrain, real estate or a landscape, we are always doing so from a position, the actual position of our eyes. This is our viewpoint, our perspective, and  is a given. What is therefore advantageous is to get our eyes INTO a position where we can see most of the field and note the most important aspects of what we are looking at, so that we can draw the best or most valid conclusions. Looking from multiple vantage points is always desirable, and other people, when they are trustworthy, can serve for this.

When gathering information about an enemy, its activities and territory, there are at least two important aspects: observation from a distance and spying. Observation of enemy entrenchment can be done from one's own or from neutral territory. That is the safest of the two methods, and can be done from different vantage points or with multiple observers.

But mere observation from a distance is limited to what can be implied by what is seen. Spying is the way to get into the heart of the enemy's domain and learn much more about what is hidden from sight, the important intangibles such as plans, intentions, goals, timing, strategy, tactics, vulnerabilities, popular support, etc.

However, what battle commander would trust and listen to a spy that, when sent out to surveil the enemy, spent all of his time just hiding in his own side's territory or even behind enemy lines without engaging the enemy to learn as much as is feasible? He then comes back and has to fabricate a lie, a false story about what he has learned. Thus, a good spy has to engage the enemy on an intimate basis WITHIN enemy territory.

What worthy battle commander would pay attention to just one aspect of the enemy's force, position or potential threat while ignoring equal or greater important aspects?

What worthy battle commander would assume that in his survey he has learned EVERYTHING that might have a bearing or come into play, and not be prepared for the unexpected, some surprises?

Comparison to spiritual terrain

So it is when we consider intangible terrain like the political, social or religious landscape.

As a pejorative, an ideologue is a person that is dogmatic and arrogant, who has committed himself to a position and primarily wants to defend their position AND belief rather than challenge, learn, adjust, move to improve or change it.

No one needs to defend their position per se. It is what it is. They may be legitimate in defending why it is efficacious or advantageous in a partial or limited way, but it is NOT legitimate to defend it as the only or even best position to see the truth. Cannot we say with confidence that, at least with few or rare exceptions, only a person that has learned from different positions or perspectives is worth listening to? This is an important principle, and wise men know it.

Orthodoxy meaning

Social scientists, natural scientists, humanists, politicians and other advocates who want to improve our social conditions, our politics, our academic disciplines and universities seem to reflect a general failure to understand that a vantage point or viewpoint is NOT the same as belief. "Orthodox” means right belief and heterodox would therefore be tantamount to falsity, confusion and/or disunity.

Heterodoxy is actually not a good state, NEVER something to celebrate, and should be an embarrassment to our critical thinking faculties. Intelligent, reasonable men of good will SHOULD be able to agree on things that matter.

What we call "orthodoxy" is simply
"the church that won."
- Richard Carrier

Currently, we seem to be stuck on celebrating our "diversity", which is all right as long as that is JUST diversity of viewpoint or perspective. We all SHOULD naturally have a different viewpoint or current position–that part is not only inevitable, not just desirable but also can be of great advantage. YET there is one truth, and generally only one best course of action. Shouldn't we strive to arrive at these? Shouldn't we understand that lacking of unity in belief, purpose and values ALWAYS engenders trauma and trouble, and is NOT something to celebrate?

On a different foot, orthodox Christianity is so called MERELY because it is traditional and in a majority, and orthodoxy has sometimes gotten a bum rap because of this; yet orthodoxy should never be conflated with consensus or tradition. The ideas fostered on this site are a case in point. The author has agonized over the issues for many years and taken great pains to be extraordinarily learned and to be rational, logical, reasonable and intellectually responsible, yet the concepts and conclusions presented on the site are anything but compatible with so-called "orthodox" Christianity or Science. 

Belief versus tradition and consensus

Right belief is determined by the facts, information, logic, and last but not least, reason; whereas tradition is determined by the past and consensus is determined by a numerical majority. Let me remind you of a dramatic illustration. Should we forget that the Sanhedrin, that august body of 71 ostensibly sensible, seasoned husbands and fathers with measured judgment that constituted the Great High Court of Israel at the time of Jesus, were not in the habit of convicting and executing innocent men. Yet, that is exactly what they did when they unanimously sentenced Jesus to death because it was expedient to save their religion from further erosion caused by this itinerant maverick.

After they had been arguing interminably about the issue for a couple of years, their leader stood up and said something along the lines of, "You know nothing at all. You do not understand it is better for one man to die... rather than for the whole nation to perish." These men were otherwise so scrupulous that they wouldn't put the thirty pieces of silver returned by Judas into the treasury because it was blood money. However, when it came to protecting their religion and position they were willing to do almost anything, which even included crucifying an innocent man..

Passion, sincerity not enough

Furthermore on a somewhat related note, to have a worthy cause or goal and then bank on passion, good intentions and sincerity without good philosophy, critical thinking and CLEAR ideological vision or discernment, is so common, yet so banal and stupid as to be right next to being obscene. Case in point: Politically, the United States is so awash in zealous narrow minded factions that neither can nor even desire to see the big picture. The premise is that the same can legitimately be said about Christianity in our world of today.

Where are the men that can see that something is monstrously wrong with current belief, that can also never be unmindful of the deplorable human condition? Where are those that ardently desire to come to better conclusions and the best beliefs, rather than just protect and defend a false "orthodoxy" based on tradition and momentum? Where are the few good men that find the narrow path and come into effective unity?

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