Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Consequences of Dogma

“Dogma still smells the same whether it comes from the podium or the pulpit”
~ Steve Mading

"It is not disbelief that is dangerous to our society, it is belief."
~ George Bernard Shaw

From Wikipedia:

"Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization: it is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted or diverged from. The term derives from Greek δόγμα "that which seems to one, opinion or belief" and that from δοκέω (dokeo), "to think, to suppose, to imagine". The plural is either dogmas or dogmata , from Greek δόγματα. At the core of the dogma concept is absolutism, infallibility, irrefutability, unquestioned acceptance (among adherents) and anti-skepticism. These concepts typically invoke criticism from moderate and modulated conceptual approaches, and thus "dogma" is often colloquially used to indicate a doctrine which has the problem of claiming absolute truth, when other concepts may be superior."

Daily we witness the implacable and stubborn insistence that thus and so is a ‘fact’ in the face of all evidences to the contrary, and with no proof whatsoever of the ‘fact’. For example, we are told imperatively, that we will go to Hell unless we ‘accept’ Christ. We are told this by seemingly normal people who are utterly convinced of their dogma - with absolutely no proof beyond their ‘faith’.

In this all religions are the same, differing only in the degrees of belligerency with which they defend their dogma. For many of them, nothing, absolutely nothing, can ever convince them otherwise. And beyond that, many of these people often become your implacable enemy if you dare to question their dogma, or offer evidence of anything to the contrary. Some will attack you and some even kill you for daring to have another opinion.

Political dogma is very similar. People of a particular political view often become convinced of the utter infallibility of their doctrine. This is particularly true of so-called ‘right wing’ doctrines, which also regularly conjoin with evangelical religious views. And when religious dogma combines with political dogma the result can be disastrously dangerous to others. We have seen a lot of this in recent years, and it is certainly nothing new. The religious crusades of the 11th thru the 13th centuries were echoed during the Bush II administrations as Bush described his war against ‘evildoers’. Incredibly, we even heard a president claim he was ‘chosen by God to lead the country’.

This same president appointed General William G. Boykin as Deputy Under Secretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld, the now greatly discredited former Secretary of Defense. As a director of special operations forces deployed against terrorists, Boykin once famously said of Somali warlord Osman Atta:

“"I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol." and, "Our spiritual enemy, will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus.”


I have often mused the only real differences between Christians and the Taliban are the specific beliefs and a matter of degree of passion. This notion is reinforced when you hear of someone entering a church to kill a preacher they disagree with, or the shooting of a doctor (in church!) who administered abortions to those who required them.

Incredibly, one evangelical who published a website devoted to bringing that doctor down now decries the killing as having ‘robbed’ him because he’s ‘afraid the shooting will rob us of the truth itself. Tiller will be transformed from pariah to "martyred saint."’ The website’s author, an Oklahoman named Stuart Bensch - has devoted YEARS of his life to his dogmatic efforts to bring Dr. George Tiller down, and now maintains he must continue because “Those pages are needed to counter the blind veneration of Tiller unfolding in the mainstream media. “

(I have emailed this odious man to tell him he now has blood on his hands - which will have no effect since his dogmatic convictions will always shield him from the realities. You may do the same if you wish, by emailing him at:

This same person, Bensch, defended James Kopp, another abortion doctor’s killer on the “Army of God” website. The Army of God even declares Kopp is an ‘American Hero’!

In such instances, there is not even a ‘matter of degree’. I always suspect, when I hear of a violent crime committed in a church, or by a religious person, that the act is somehow motivated by the criminal’s dogma and beliefs. Nine times out of ten that proves to be the case. And, there can be no more heinous acts than those committed in the thrall of religious passion.

Dogmatists aren’t interested in reality or truth. Their only interests are having their own views prevail over others. In fact, a main stock in trade is resorting to distortion, lies and manufactured ‘evidence; to do so. In the case of some Christians, they seem quite willing to violate their own oft-proclaimed Ten Commandments, i.e., “Thou shalt not bear false witness” and “Thou shalt not kill”.

There have been literally thousands of attacks, including multiple murders by dogmatic 'pro-lifers' - usually also religionists - against abortion clinics, doctors and other personnel over the past thirty years or so. Astoundingly, religious people and pro-lifers can always somehow find justifications for such transgressions if the violations fit their dogma.

Many Christians, rightfully so, decry the violent acts of dogmatic fanatics in their name. Political pundits like Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Anne Coulter and Rush Limbaugh do the same. However, these people should remember their fanatics feed off such fodder - and use it to justify their despicable acts. And, all dogmatists MUST take responsibility for acts motivated by their dogmatic propaganda. Simply saying they are not responsible does not make it so.

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