Why Dogma is a Frightening Word
Dogma is a frightening word these days. People run from it.
Those of us who take our religion seriously, that is, who actually believe our beliefs, are usually told that we need to do away with dogma, which is divisive, and be “inclusive” and “tolerant” so that we can all get along.
But the problem is that “inclusiveness” and “tolerance” are dogmas.
It is not dogma that divides people. It is dogma that brings people together. The ultimate common bond is truth. That is why it is worth arguing about.
People talk nowadays of getting rid of dogmas and all agreeing like brethren. But upon what can they agree except upon a common dogma?
If you agree you must agree on some statement, if it is only that a cat has four legs. If the dogmas in front of you are false get rid of them; but do not say that you are getting rid of dogmas. Say you are getting rid of lies. If the dogmas are true, what can you do but try to get men to agree with them?
“The dislike of defined dogmas”, says Chesterton, “really means a preference for unexamined dogmas.”
The people who cling to the dogma of tolerance of course do not know that they are dogmatic. And as a matter of fact, their dogma is a bit mushy and vague. But their basic belief is that because there are exceptions, then there are no rules.
However, the presence of exceptions, even the allowance of exceptions, is not an argument for tolerance; it is an argument for the rule. And everywhere we look, we can see that the exception proves the rule.