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Posts Tagged ‘religion is dogmatic’

Dogma: an official system of principles or tenets concerning faith, morals, behaviour; a settled or established opinion, belief or principle.

–Dictionary.com

This word has taken on a negative context in our culture, suggesting narrow-minded inflexibility that many people insist is simply wrong.

Now, read this meme (posted in an atheist Internet community) again. Doesn’t it sound a little…dogmatic? Consider the points it makes:

“Dogmatic” people lack freedom. Well, freedom to do what? I’m a Christian, which means I believe Jesus Christ is the Divine Son of God and I do my best to live my life according to His principles.

What freedom does Lindsey believe I lack? Can I not think the world is a beautiful place? Of course I can. And I do.

Does this mean I’m going to walk around with rose-coloured glasses and ignore the many, many human-caused problems that plague this planet? Absolutely not. That would be delusional. So should I wonder if Lindsey is deluding herself?

“Dogmatic” people’s vision is clouded and close-minded. Really? Yet another dogmatic assertion. My vision is clear enough to see the world is beautiful AND horribly messed up. One of the reasons I’m a Christian is I believe faith in Jesus Christ is the starting point to fixing that mess.

As for the apparent horror of being “close-minded”, should my brain simply drift like an aimless amoeba for all time? Is that what Lindsey’s mind is doing?

I like what famed British writer and thinker G. K. Chesterton wrote about being open-minded: “Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”

I shut my mind on something solid when I decided to trust the evidence and believe that the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ paid the price for all the wrong things I’ve done and all the right things I’ve failed to do (a price I could NEVER pay on my own). By doing this, the Bible — which serious Christians believe is inspired by God from start to finish — says I’ll “not be lost but have eternal life” (that’s in a section simply called ‘John’).

What Christ did is a gift that’s offered to everyone, including Lindsey. Including YOU. If you accept that gift, a section of the Bible called ‘Galations’ says you’ll have “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness [and] faithfulness”.

This won’t happen overnight. But if you say ‘yes’ to faith in Jesus, a life-long construction project will begin. And it won’t end until this life ends and you spend eternity with your creator.

Interested? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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Religion badWhy did I save this graphic after first seeing it in an atheist community? Because I can do better.

Yes, “religion” offers false hope for the poor. Yes, “religion” offers pretend wisdom for the stupid.

But it also offers opportunities to be judgemental. Hard-hearted. Unforgiving. Obsessed with keeping irrelevant rules. Unloving of anyone outside the “religious” group.

Had enough? I certainly have. That’s why I’ll always stand up, with any member of the atheist world, and declare that “religion” is downright horrible.

Before I go any further, let me clarify: the “religion” I’m referring to is what most of our culture generally thinks of when they hear the word. NOT the dictionary definition.

Let me move you on to something far more life-affirming, soul-enhancing and character-building: faith. In this case, faith in Jesus Christ, whom serious Christians believe is the divine Son of God.

Jesus had as much interest in “religion” as you, me and the creator of the meme that inspired this blog. In other words, ZERO.

During His physical time on earth, Jesus spent much of his time opposing the dominant religious authorities in ancient Israel. In ‘Matthew’, one of the four Bible accounts of Jesus’ physical life, he notes “They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden”.

Yep. Nailed it.

So what about faith – in this case, faith in Jesus? Now we’re talking about something entirely different. We’re talking about:

  • Understanding who God is – the perfect and mysterious creator of time, space and the universe.
  • Understanding who we are – horribly imperfect people who can never live up to God’s standard of perfection.
  • Understanding who Jesus is – God’s absolutely perfect love GIFT to everyone who is willing to believe in Him and follow Him above everyone and everything else.

When you understand this and accept the gift of Jesus, you also understand that you no longer have to live up to God’s standard of perfection because Jesus paid the penalty for everything wrong you’ve ever done and everything right you’ve ever failed to do.

Finally, when you understand all this, you’ll want to become more like Jesus. You’ll want to be more generous and less selfish, more compassionate and less judgemental, more concerned about others and less preoccupied with yourself.

This is all part of the miracle that happens when you cast aside the priorities of our culture and make Jesus your priority. It’s a life-long process of change and growth that doesn’t end until you’re finished with this life and start your next life – eternity in the transforming, glorious presence of your Creator.

Interested? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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Dance of dogma 1.16When I saw this graphic on an Internet atheism community, I wasn’t sure why I saved it for Frank’s Cottage. Then I looked up the definition of “dogma”.

According to Wikipedia, dogma is “a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. It serves as part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it cannot be changed or discarded without affecting the very system’s paradigm, or the ideology itself.”

Hmm. Where does this apply? The more I thought about it, the more I realized: where DOESN’T it apply?

Every person on this planet follows some kind of “principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true.”

Evidence?

  • Business tycoons like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are died-in-the-wool capitalists. They believe in and follow capitalist dogma and won’t have anything to do with any other economic system.
  • Remember communism? Some of its most famous practitioners — China’s Mao Tse Tung and Russia’s Vladimir Lenin — believed in and followed communist dogma their entire lives. They refused to have anything to do with democracy.

What about atheists? Based on my many, many interactions with them, most appear to follow dogma laid down by atheist authors Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) and Richard Dawkins.

These three routinely advance the position that there is absolutely nothing good about “religion” (I agree, and here’s why: http://wp.me/p2wzRb-i9) and that believing in a supreme creator is primitive superstition and harmful to humanity.

In the atheist Internet communities I often visit, these viewpoints are treated as dogma. In these communities, I never see posts that contradict these positions.

So, dogma applies to all of us. That leaves the question: which dogma do YOU follow? In your heart of hearts, do you believe that it’s all about having a comfortable, happy life now and never mind what comes after? Do you believe that when you die, all that you are will become nothing more than rancid worm food?

Do the dogmas I just mentioned leave you feeling cold and, perhaps, even a bit hopeless? Are you ready to re-examine them, despite the pressures of your friends, loved ones and our culture as a whole?

Then consider the claims of Christianity. The hope it presents for all of us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (who serious Christians believe is God’s divine Son).

Talk to knowledgeable people about it. If you don’t know any, then email me at fdking@hotmail.com and I’ll do my best to help. No matter what our culture insists, figuring out what dogma YOU follow is important stuff.

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