The root of dogma carries a bit of a gentler feel than it does in English. The Greek root is simply opinion. Do you find that interesting? I do. Mostly because today dogma is a principle or belief that someone tells you that you have to believe or something bad will happen. It’s not opinion anymore. It’s an order (as if you can order someone to hold an intellectual position). And there’s usually a threat attached to the order. “Hold this opinion, or God will kill you” and such. Seems harsh.
I have opinions. I have dogma. But I feel like I want to strive for a gentler sort of dogma. A dogma that, to borrow from a dear friend, says three main things.
- Jesus is the best. Worship him. Believe in him.
- Jesus’ death freed us from sin (though I don’t really know how) but we must still fight remnants through the Spirit’s power.
- Let’s do tons of good things.
Kind of reminds me of a fellow who made a lot of waves in his day. He had the wild idea that all of the prophetic stuff and legal stuff of God could be boiled down to “Love God, love your neighbour.” They didn’t respond well to that.