Jun 302016
 

Click below for an audio version of this essay read by the author.

dogma

This quote is often misattributed to Saint Augustine. He did not write with similes.

Those who considered themselves progressive, enlightened, and tolerant often ridicule Christians for our dogmas. They tell us they are old-fashion and that we need to get with the times.

They’re lying to us!

Dogmas guide the Church to be who Jesus called us to be. In this essay, you will learn why dogmas are an important part of our lives. We will accomplish this by looking at:

  • why modern culture hates dogma
  • what are dogmas and why we need them
  • how dogmas are defined
  • why dogmas are necessary for us to be joyful and peaceful as we try to conform ourselves to the image of our King

What Is Truth, According To Modern Western Culture?

Let’s start by looking at why our culture doesn’t like dogma.

Jesus promises those that follow Him will not be accepted by the world (the culture). He wasn’t, and — as His followers (disciples) — neither will we.

If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. 1

If we are doing something that our cultures accepts, we need to ensure that it’s not opposed to what Jesus commanded us to do.

Western culture’s standard of truth is relativism.

To understand why our culture is so hostile toward dogma, read the last verse in the book of Judges:

In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes. 2

When Israel rejected God as King, they rejected His ways in favor of what they wanted. The book tells us how awful the results were. When the people repented, God sent judges to guide them back to Him.

Today’s western culture is doing the same thing.

dogma

April 8, 1966 cover of Time magazine

Since the social revolution of the late 1960’s, the culture has gone to extremes to reject God as king. They seek their own standard of truth to make them happy. By God’s standards, the results have been awful.

Western culture is now guided by relative truths 3 rather than the standard of God’s truth that has guided us for centuries.

Jesus’ disciples cannot accept relative truth as our standard because our King is THE way, THE truth, and THE life. 4 We don’t settle for a fake when we are given THE real thing.

In Church-speak, we call Jesus’ standard of truth dogmas. Those who based their life on dogmas are called dogmatic. Our culture uses being dogmatic as an insult because we are in opposition to their “a dictatorship of relativism.” 5

Notes:

  1. John 15:18-19
  2. Judges 21:25
  3. Relativism is the belief that — according to Webster’s — “truths depend on the individuals and groups holding them.” It means that all truths have the same relative importance as the rest, which means there is no one standard of truth.
  4. John 14:6
  5. Cardinal Ratzinger said this just before becoming Pope Benedict XVI