21 November 2008

Thinking about orthodoxy

Orthodoxy
  1. Soundness of faith; a belief in the doctrines taught in the Scriptures, or in some established standard of faith; — opposed to heterodoxy or to heresy.
  2. Consonance to genuine Scriptural doctrines; — said of moral doctrines and beliefs; as, the orthodoxy of a creed.
  3. By extension, said of any correct doctrine or belief.
I'm thinking about how two things I'm reading today are related in an interesting way, though I can't quite express what that is. The things I'm reading are a Slate article, "How To Read the Quran: A new translation captures the confusion." (by Reza Aslan, posted Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008) and Michael Pollan's latest book, In Defense Of Food. Here are a couple quotes:

From the Slate article:
"... For much of the last 14 centuries, some 90 percent of the world's Muslims for whom Arabic is not a primary language had to depend on Islam's clergy—all of them men, as women are not allowed to enter the clergy—to define the meaning and message of the Quran for them, much as pre-Reformation Christians had to rely on priests to read them the Bible, which at the time was available only in Latin. ..."

From the book:
"Since nutrients, as compared to foods, are invisible and therefore slightly mysterious, it falls to scientists ... to explain the hidden reality of foods to us. In form this is a quasireligious idea, suggesting the visible world is not the one that really matters, which implies the need for a priesthood. For to enter a world where your dietary salvation depends on unseen nutrients, you need plenty of expert help."

If I wasn't so overtired I'd probably be able to discuss the underlying relationship better. However, Dorothy's teething.

(And how is it that when I was younger I used to be better at explaining things when I was tired?)

1 comment:

michigoose said...

Great observation about being younger and somehow sleep deprivation making you smarter. :)

And both of those quotes lead me to think that orthodoxy, in whatever form, removes the judgment and instinct of the individual from the equation. Now a rejection of orthodoxy can certainly go too far, often into an orthodoxy of its own (some fundamental forms of religion and similarly militant foodies). I think of a triangulation between the tenants of the system (religion or food), logic and judgment of the individual, and that same individual's instinct works best. 'All things in moderation' and the like.

And good luck with the teething! So not looking forward to two at once.