ADF Dedicant Path: Nine Virtues (Piety)
Our Own Druidry defines piety as,
correct observance of ritual and social traditions, the maintenance of the agreements (both personal and societal) we humans have with the Gods and Spirits. Keeping the Old Ways, through ceremony and duty.
Merriam-Webster defines piety as,
1. the quality or state of being pious as:
a. fidelity to natural obligations (as to parents)
b. dutifulness in religion
2. an act inspired by piety
3. a conventional belief or standard
Both of the sources above focus on piety as a duty. Although the dictionary includes belief as part of the definition, it is given as the least significant part. I agree that piety is primarily about fulfilling spiritual obligations in the form of actions, not beliefs.
People generally join a church or religion because they already have spiritual beliefs compatible with that religion. In this case, joining a church is an act of piety based on belief. It is possible to have belief in the Gods but do nothing to honor this belief. This is not piety.
There are also some people who join a church purely or primarily for the social aspect or familial obligation. They have to perform according to the church’s orthopraxy lest they disappoint their family or spoil the environment for others. These people will most likely engage in pious behavior only in public. Indeed, piety has historically been a public affair.
In summary, piety is a duty to the Gods and/or to one’s family. The extent to which one fulfills this duty is dependent on their belief, but the extent to which one believes has no bearing on whether or not they are pious.