In the study of religion, orthopraxy is correct conduct, both ethical
and liturgical, as opposed to faith or grace etc. This
contrasts with orthodoxy, which emphasizes correct belief, and
ritualism, the practice of rituals. The word is a neoclassical
compound—ὀρθοπραξία (orthopraxia) meaning 'correct
While orthodoxies make use of codified beliefs, in the form of creeds,
and ritualism more narrowly centers on the strict adherence to
prescribed rites or rituals, orthopraxy is focused on issues of
family, cultural integrity, the transmission of tradition, sacrificial
offerings, concerns of purity, ethical systems, and the enforcement
thereof. Typically, traditional or folk religions (paganism,
animism) are more concerned with orthopraxy than orthodoxy, and
some[who?] argue that equating the term "faith" with "religion"
presents a Christian-biased notion of what the primary characteristic
of religion is. This contrasts with the case of (for example)
Hinduism, in which orthopraxy and ritualism are not easily
2.1 Eastern Christianity
9 Polytheistic Reconstructionism
10 See also
From the Greek orthos "straight" + praxis "action", first used in
There are two versions of the term: "orthopraxis" and "orthopraxy".
"Orthopraxy" is the older and more common term, and is parallel to
Ten Commandments monument at the Texas State Capitol.
Christian ethics and Good works
See also: New Perspective on Paul
Christianity is seen as primarily orthodoxical
(as in the Nicene Creed's "I believe in ..."), some Christian
denominations and leaders today, from
Roman Catholic to Evangelical
Christians, have started to describe their religions as both
orthodoxical and orthopraxic. The premise is "correct belief" compels
"correct action," and incorrect action is caused by incorrect
Taking this combination of "correct belief" and "correct action" a
step further, Prosperity theology, found in charismatic and
Pentecostal traditions, teaches correct religious belief and behavior
receives material reward and physical healing, in addition to being a
necessary component for accepting God's Grace.
Prosperity theology is
a concept known as reciprocity when discussing traditional or ethnic
religions such as that in Ancient Greece, but is limited to correct
behavior over any one theological idea.
The purpose of Divine law is disputed among
Christian denominations. A
minority are Torah-observant, sometimes called Jewish Christians, and
at the other extreme are antinomistic and anarchistic views. In
between, most Christians believe that some or all of the Ten
Commandments are still binding or have been reinstituted in the Law of
Christ. For the teachings of Jesus on the subject, see Ministry of
Jesus – Teachings, Sermon on the Mount, and Counsels of perfection.
Main article: Praxis (Eastern Orthodoxy)
See also: Orthodox Church
Orthopraxis would include attendance of church services which are
designed to benefit the practitioner of the Eastern Orthodox
faith.[dubious – discuss] It refers to accepted religious practices
and may include both ritual practices as well as interpersonal acts.
Orthopraxy ties into the concept of
Phronema and is meant to work
together toward the goal of theosis.
The logo of a circle with a 'U' inside it (called: "O U") indicates
this product is certified as kosher by the Orthodox Union.
Shema Yisrael (שמע ישראל) Recitation
The Jewish religion attaches primary importance to the practice of the
mitzvot, and that each act of daily life comply with the ethical and
ritual teachings of the Torah. However, these gestures are intended to
be motivated by the system of values and ethics of which they are a
part, so that orthodoxy is not seen as simply a way of thinking
according to established dogmas.
Maimonides codifies his "13 principles of belief" as a
binding theological dogma, and according to
Maimonides some laws of
Torah require the acceptance of certain basic beliefs, such as the
first and second Positive commandments in Maimonides' Sefer Hamitzvot,
which mandate the belief in
God and His indivisible unity, or the
recitation of the Shema. Maimonides' codification of Jewish law even
contains a section entitled Yesodei Ha
Torah which delineates the
required beliefs of Judaism. Thus, in light of Maimonides'
position it is not accurate to describe
Judaism solely in orthopraxic
And yet, there is a small group of Jews in the orthodox world who
argue that the nature of
Judaism is orthoprax, such as Jeffrey Radon,
a teacher of Jewish studies who has an internet site Orthoprax Judaism
devoted to Jewish studies in a democratic spirt, and Rabbi Israel
Drazin, a former army chaplain and rabbi who recently came out in
support of the idea that the nature of
Judaism is orthoprax.
Jeffrey Radon argues that
Maimonides codification of principles of
belief as a binding theological dogma was not only an innovation but a
distortion of the ancient Jewish tradition based upon the Bible and
the Talmud (and that
Maimonides was aware that his codification of a
binding dogma was a distortion, and he codified such a dogma only for
the unlearned Jewish masses to strengthen them as Christians and
Moslems had codified such dogma) - as there is no binding theological
dogma in the Bible or in the Talmudic literature (and fundamental
beliefs of the Bible or Talmudic literature do not have the status of
binding dogma), and the commandments of the
Torah as the basis of
Jewish law are according to Jewish tradition commandments of doing and
not doing (and not of believing or not believing).
Five Pillars of Islam
Five Pillars of Islam fundamental to Sunnis, ahmaddis, shias
prescribe Islamic practice, while
Shahadah (profession of faith)
defines Islamic belief. Generally stresses
Orthopraxy over Orthodoxy,
but since the practice is held to come from doctrine, this is
essentially orthodoxy applied to practice.
See also: Dharma
In the case of
Hinduism orthopraxy and ritualism are conflated.
Emphasis on ritual vs. personal salvation (moksha) was a major
division in classical Hindu philosophy, epitomized by Purva Mimamsa
Uttara Mimamsa (Vedanta).
Ritual (puja) continues to play a central role in contemporary
Hinduism, but the enormous complexity of ancient ritual (yajna) only
survives in a tiny minority of
Shrauta practitioners. Even Hindus who
diligently practice a subset of prescribed rituals are called
orthoprax, to contrast them with other Hindus who insist on the
importance of correct belief or understanding. The correctness of
one's interpretation of the scripture is then considered less
important than following traditions. For example, Srinivasa Ramanujan
was a well-known example of an orthoprax Hindu.
In terms of "proper conduct" and other ethical precepts within the
Hindu framework, the core belief involves the divinity of each
individual soul (jivatma). Each person harbors this "indwelling God
(divinity)"; thus, conduct which unifies society and facilitates
progress is emphasized. Self-centered existence is discouraged as a
result of this jivatma concept. Interestingly, it's the Uttara Mimamsa
philosophical school which seems to explicate this concept so
eloquently. Moreover, within the context of
Uttara Mimamsa the role of
puja (ritual) also involves bringing the individual jivatma closer to
the Paramatma (the Transcendent Divinity or God). Individuals who have
attained this merging then become the spiritual guides to the
community. Later developments within the Hindu religious and
philosophic tradition thus try to unify these concepts of ritual,
proper conduct, and personal salvation instead of leaving them in
mutually conflicting terms. The movement inspired by Pandurang Shastri
Athavale termed Swadhyaya seems to be one manifestation of this
syncretism. However, other movements within the contemporary Hindu
scene are also moving towards this union of external activity and
Karma as action and reaction: if we sow goodness, we will reap
Jain orthopraxy is based on two factors:
Jain siddhanta (teachings of
the Tirthankara) and kriya (practices prevalent at the time of the
Tirthankaras). According to Jains, the
Tirthankaras based their
teachings and philosophy after knowing the realities on this universe
(like dravya and tattva). Based on these realities, they propounded
true and eternal principles like ahimsa, truth, karma etc. that govern
Jain rituals were codified on the basis of these
principles to give effect to the teachings of the Tirthankaras.
Qigong practitioners in Brazil
Main article: Taoism
This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. (February 2011)
Taoism places an importance on inner harmony of the person.
British Traditional Wicca is highly orthopraxic, with "traditions" (as
Wicca are called) being precisely that—defined by
what is traditionally done, rather than shared beliefs. Other
Neopagans may or may not share this quality, as noted by James R.
Lewis, who draws a distinction between "Religious Neo-Pagans" and
"God/dess Celebrants." Lewis states the majority of the Neopagan
movement is strongly opposed to Religionist traditions that
incorporate any form of orthopraxy or orthodoxy. In fact, many
Neopagan organizations, when discussing orthopraxy, limit themselves
solely to ritualism.
See also: Polytheistic Reconstructionism
Polytheistic Reconstructionism, such as Hellenismos, provides a stark
contrast to popular Neopaganism, being more conservative in nature.
These movements seek to revive traditional pre-
adapted to the modern world, but with an adherence to the values and
ethical systems of the ancient cultures, loyalty and reverence toward
specific pantheons, and by promoting traditional interpersonal
obligations associated with the family, community, and society.
Reconstructionist religions make full use of orthopraxy, defining
their practices as a lifestyle, and identifying "correct action" as
living life in accord with specific ideals and
principles, rather than focusing solely on ritual
or promoting a single cosmology, metaphysical idea, or theological
theory as absolute truth.
Orthopraxy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
^ Jackson, Elizabeth (2007). The Illustrated Dictionary of Culture.
Lotus Press. p. 147. ISBN 978-81-89093-26-6.
^ Westley, Miles (2005). The Bibliophile's Dictionary. Writer's Digest
Books. p. 91. ISBN 978-1-58297-356-2.
^ McKim, Donald K. (1996). Westminster Dictionary of Theological
Terms. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 197.
^ McKim, Donald K. (1996). Westminster Dictionary of Theological
Terms. Westminster John Knox Press. pp. 197, 242.
^ Antes, Peter; Armin W. Geertz; Randi R. Warne (2004). New Approaches
to the Study of Religion: Regional, Critical, and Historical
Approaches. 2. Walter de Gruyter. p. 86.
^ "Ritualism". Princeton University. Retrieved September 10, 2008. (1)
the study of religious or magical rites and ceremonies; (2)
exaggerated emphasis on the importance of rites or ritualistic forms
in worship [dead link]
Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary 3rd ed
^ Oxford English Dictionary
^ Murphy, Francesca Aran (1995). Christ the Form of Beauty: A Study in
Theology and Literature. Continuum International Publishing Group.
pp. 150–151. ISBN 978-0-567-09708-8.
^ See also: John 5:1–18; 8:13–19; 10:24–33; 11:45–54;
18–19:16 (Demonstrates how correct/incorrect belief causes
correct/incorrect action from a biblical perspective.)
^ Gill, Christopher; Norman Postlethwaite; Richard Seaford (1998).
Reciprocity in Ancient Greece. Oxford University Press.
^ Dubov, Nissan Dovid. "Doing or Understanding - Which Comes First?".
chabad.org. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
^ Maimonides, Moses. "Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah". Chabad.org. Retrieved
8 July 2014.
^ "Home Page - Orthoprax Judaism". Orthoprax Judaism. Retrieved 4
Torah requires orthopraxy not orthodoxy". booksnthoughts.com.
Retrieved 4 April 2018.
^ SilverWitch, Sylvana (1995). "A Witch in the Halls of Wisdom:
Northwest Legend Fritz Muntean Discusses School, Theology, and the
Craft", in Widdershins Vol. 1, Issue 3 (Lammas 1995).
^ Lewis, James R. (1996). Magical
Religion and Modern Witchcraft. SUNY
Press. pp. 84–85. ISBN 978-0-7914-2889-4.
^ Corrigan, Ian. "Discussing Pagan Theology".
Ár nDraíocht Féin
Ár nDraíocht Féin (A
Druid Fellowship). Retrieved September 10, 2008. The pagan religion
was about orthopraxy, doing the customs correctly. Your "believerhood"
at a temple had more to do with entering the temple and walking three
times about the idol and making your image and reciting the
inscription on the wall, which was how they did it in the Roman
^ "Answers about Asatru". Asatru Alliance. Retrieved September 11,
2008. Proper behavior in Asatru consists of maximizing one's virtues
and minimizing one's vices.
^ "An Introduction to Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism". Paganachd.
Retrieved September 11, 2008. (Celtic Recostructionism is) grounded in
traditional Celtic virtues which should be embraced, adopted, and
integrated into one’s daily life.
^ "About the Religio Romana". Temple of Religio Romana. Archived from
the original on December 4, 2003. Retrieved September 11, 2008. We
have included the ancient Roman Virtues as an accompaniment to
spiritual practice as we feel that they are conducive to the
fulfillment of one's higher self.
^ "Frequently asked questions about the Hellenic religion and
tradition". Supreme Council of Ethnikoi Hellenes. Retrieved September
11, 2008. We do not just strive for a superficial return to the
'ancient ways', but on the contrary, for the return of a different
kind of person, Hellenic Man, who will be governed by humanistic
values, as were first expressed and exhibited by our ancestors. A type
of man who will journey on the path of Virtue.
^ "What is Kemetic Orthodoxy?". The House of Netjer. Archived from the
original on September 11, 2008. Retrieved September 11, 2008.
Orthodoxy requires a commitment to preserving the
cultural heritage established in the past which Kemetic Orthodoxy
continues to represent, even in places and times well removed from its
^ Alexander, Timothy Jay. "On Orthopraxy". Hellenismos.us. Retrieved
September 12, 2008. Our concern is with humanity and the natural
world, and we leave open questions relating to the absolute nature of
the Gods, Absolute Reality, and Divine Truth to individual personal
Abu-Zahra, JNadia (200). The Pure and Powerful: Studies in
Contemporary Muslim Society. Garnet & Ithaca Press.
pp. 37–50, 75. ISBN 978-0-7914-2889-4.
Benedict XVI (2004). Truth and Tolerance:
Christian Belief and World
Religions. Ignatius Press. pp. 95, 122–126, 183, 274–276.
Chilton, Bruce; Jacob Neusner (1995).
Judaism in the New Testament:
Practices and Beliefs. Routledge. pp. 19–41.
Reimer, Sam (2003). Evangelicals and the Continental Divide:The
Conservative Protestant Subculture in Canada and the United States.
McGill-Queen's Press. pp. 100–144, 206–211, 228–232.
Major religious groups
Major religious groups and religious denominations
Eastern Catholic Churches
Church of the East
Assyrian Church of the East
Nation of Islam
Fon and Ewe
Apostasy / Disaffiliation
National religiosity levels
Irreligion by country
Separation of church and state
New religious movements
Religions and spiritual traditions