OBAMA: Yeah, although I don’t, I retain from my childhood and my experiences growing up a suspicion of dogma. And I’m not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I’ve got a monopoly on the truth, or that my faith is automatically transferable to others.
The Dogmatic non Dogmatist
This is so fashionable. So easy. It’s John Lennon religion. Let’s imagine the world with no heaven or hell, you can have religion, but there will be no dogma. Well, there’s not really religion without dogma. There’s only a matter of opinion. Without dogma there’s only spirituality, and without dogma even spirituality is only sentimentality.
“Oh, dogma divides!” bleat the lost sheep. Of course it does. Did they forget the Master said, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. It will divide mother and daughter, brother and sister. Unless you hate your family and friends you cannot be my disciple.”
Dogma divides, but the ironic thing is that it is only dogma that truly unites. How can anyone unite together unless they believe the same thing, and how can they believe anything lest there be dogma? In fact, what the dogmatic non dogmatists can’t see is that they have dogma too: their own dogma. Unless you subscribe to their dogma, you’re an outcast.
Cardinal Newman said, (and I paraphrase) “if Christianity is to be both dogmatic and relevant to the current age, it must have an infallible expounder.” The only reason dogma divides is that there is no agreed authority system to define and defend the dogma. If everyone makes up their own religion from Muslims to Methodists to Mormons, from Episcopalians to Pentecostalists, from Seventh Day Adventists to Secularists and all the rest, then of course dogma divides.
But if there is an agreed authority that defends and defines dogma, why then every sincere searcher for truth should seek out that authority.
It was that search that took me to England, and then to Rome, where I found the successor of Peter the Rock.