Dogma

Dogma does not mean the absence of thought, but the end of thought.

If men can ever learn to accept their truths as not final, and if they an ever learn to build on something better than dogma, they may not be found saying, discouragedly, every once in so often, that every civilization carries in it the seeds of decay.

Neither acquiescence in skepticism nor acquiescence in dogma is what education should produce. What it should produce is a belief that knowledge is attainable in a measure, though with difficulty; that much of what passes for knowledge at any given time is likely to be more or less mistaken, but that the mistakes can be rectified by care and industry... Knowledge, like other good things, is difficult, but not impossible; the dogmatist forgets the difficulty, the skeptic denies the possibility. Both are mistaken, and their errors, when widespread, produce social disaster.

Truth turn into dogma the moment they are disputed.

To ask for overt renunciation of a cherished doctrine is to expect too much of human nature. Men do not repudiate the doctrines and dogma to which they have sworn their loyalty. Instead they rationalize, revise, and reinterpret them to meet new needs and new circumstances, all the while protesting that their heresy is the purest orthodoxy.

Organized religion obviously prevents the understanding of a problem because the mind is conditioned by dogma and belief.

You may make everything else out of the passions of men except a political system that will work, and that there is nothing so pitilessly and unconsciously cruel as sincerity formulated into dogma.

No theologian could ever be a historian. History is essentially disinterested. The historian has only one concern: art and truth, which are inseparable... whereas the theologian has something else at stake - his dogma.

Everybody is a bit right; nobody is completely right or completely wrong. The prevalence of this point of view among all decent people nearly always has the same dreadful result for, according to their doctrine, every time a contemporary is quite right, he must be crucified. They can never forgive him because he denies their dogma; worst still, he reveals that they hold another dogma which they conceal.

Every dogma has its day.

A little knowledge leads the mind from God. Unripe thinkers use their learning to authenticate their doubts. While unbelief has its own dogma, more peremptory than the inquisitor's, patient meditation brings the scholar back to humbleness. He learns that the grandest truths appear slowly.

It is the uncompromisingness with which dogma is held and not in the dogma or want of dogma that danger lies.

God is greater than religion… Faith is greater than dogma.

The dogma that “mental diseases are diseases of the brain” is a hangover from the materialism of the 1870s. It has become a prejudice which hinders all progress, with nothing to justify it.

Many a man will live and die upon a dogma; no man will be a martyr for a conclusion.

Today’s dogma holds that matter is eternal. The dogma comes from the intuitive belief of people who don’t want to accept the observational evidence that the universe was created – despite the fact that the creation of the universe is supported by all the observable data astronomy has produced so far. As a result, the people who reject the data can arguably be described as having a religious belief that matter must be eternal… Since scientists prefer to operate in the belief that the universe must be meaningless – that reality consists of nothing more than the sum of the world’s tangible constituents – they cannot confront the idea of creation easily, or take it lightly.

What is the dogma of original sin but a means of making the things of the flesh enter a spiritual system?

Meditation, because it is free of dogma, of historical commitments and narrow prejudices, because it is practiced for the most part silently and thereby secretly, and because it is practiced by some members of all religions - meditation is a channel for seekers of all faiths or no faith, a river into which many streams can freely flow.

We believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance, joy rather than guild or sin, tolerance in the place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of ugliness and reason rather than blind faith or irrationality.

Thinking for oneself is always arduous and is sometimes painful. The temptation to stop thinking and to take dogma on faith is strong. Yet, since the intellect does possess the capacity to think for itself, it also has the impulse and feels the obligation. We may therefore feel sure that the intellect will always refuse, sooner or later, to take traditional doctrines on trust.