Religions are generally defined by one of two things: belief or practice, or the concepts of orthodoxy and orthopraxy.
The Orthodoxy of Christianity:
Christianity is highly orthodox, particularly among Protestants. For Protestants, salvation is based on faith, not works. Spirituality is largely a personal issue, without the need for proscribed ritual. Protestants largely don't care how other Christians practice their faith so long as they accept certain central beliefs.
Catholicism holds a few more orthopraxic facets than Protestantism, emphasizing actions such as confession and penance as well as rituals such as baptism to be important in salvation. Still, Catholic arguments against "unbelievers" are primarily about belief, not practice, particularly in modern times when Protestants and Catholics are no longer calling each other heretics.
Not all religions, however, emphasize correct belief or measure a member by their beliefs. Instead, they focus primarily on orthopraxy, the idea of correct practice rather than correct belief.
While Christianity is strongly orthodox, its predecessor, Judaism
, is strongly orthopraxic. Religious Jews obviously do have some common beliefs, but their primary concern is correct behavior: eating kosher, avoiding various purity taboos, honoring the Sabbath and so on. A Jew is unlikely to be criticized for believing incorrectly, but he might be accused of behaving badly
is another orthopraxic religion. Priests of the religions are known as santeros (or santeras for women). Those who simply believe in Santeria, however, have no name at all. Anyone of any faith can approach a santero for assistance. Their religious outlook is unimportant to the santero, who will likely tailor his explanations in religious terms his client can understand.
In order to be a santero, once has to have gone through specific rituals. That is what defines a santero. Obviously the santeros will also have some beliefs in common, but what makes them a santero is ritual, not belief.
The lack of orthodoxy is also apparent in their patakis, or stories of the orishas. These are a wide and sometimes contradictory collection of stories about their gods. The power of these stories is in the lessons they teach, not in any literal truth. One doesn't need to believe in them to have them be spiritually significant
Scientologists often describe Scientology
as "something you do, not something you believe in." Obviously, you wouldn't go through actions you thought were pointless, but the focus of Scientology is actions, not beliefs. Just thinking that Scientology is correct accomplishes nothing. However, going through the various procedures of Scientology such as auditing
and silent birth
are expected to produce a variety of positive results.