It is only since the eighteenth-century Enlightenment that the Christian West made “belief”—the acceptance of certain creedal propositions—“the first postulate” of religious life. In the West, we have developed a culture that is rational, scientific, and pragmatic; we feel obliged to satisfy ourselves that a proposition is true before we base our lives upon it, and to establish a principle to our satisfaction before we apply it. In the premodern period, however, in all the major world faiths, the main emphasis was not on belief but on behavior. First, you changed your lifestyle and only then could you experience God, Nirvana, Brahman, or the Dao as a living reality.
From: Karen Armstrong’s Introduction to Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time To Keep Silence.