Friday, March 6, 2015

Dogma: Obscuring Your Essence

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness

Offerings about
God that

When I see the word dogma, the phrase that comes to mind is, “Don’t think for yourself.”

Why? It goes like this:

Dogma: Doctrine given by authority that is not open for debate and to be believed without evidence.

I repeat:

Dogma: Doctrine given by authority that is not open for debate and to be believed without evidence.


What is doctrine?

In the case of religious dogma, it is a set of beliefs that create the central tenets of a religion. While some claim dogma comes from divine inspiration, if we look at the definition of the word dogma
…we can see that two words commonly used to describe it are opinions and beliefs.

Let’s have a clarification, shall we?

To have an opinion about something is to have a thought which defines that thing according to personal preference, agenda, etc. To have a belief is to maintain the opinion that we’ve used to define a given thing (according to personal preference, agenda, etc.). Either way, both are opinion but neither of which will necessarily be any more or less factual than the other.

Furthermore, the act of believing is valueless if we are to actually know. For if we truly know something, there is no need to believe it.

That said, if we believe or if we mistake our belief for knowing, then we’re automatically forfeiting our ability to perceive whatever may lie outside of our belief. Because by the very design of freewill, belief dictates limitation.

If we sincerely believe we hold the truth, our perception will prove that all else is wrong/false in relation to it. Of course, this doesn’t make us any more right; it merely keeps us from knowing what the truth really is should it be otherwise.

“…given by authority…”

Tell me, please: Who is this “authority,” and who was it that gave this “authority” their “authority”?

Are you sure? Would you stake your life on it? (Is that a wobble is see in your knees?)

As far as I know, every true spiritual teacher has always told us that the answers we need lie within each of us. It has only ever been the fallibility of religious pride and zealotry and false prophets who have suggested otherwise. So unless all of those teachers had been lying to us, how is it that an external entity, who is self- or dogmatically-appointed to promulgate the teacher's word, can legitimately claim to know exactly how every individual should live their life and connect with God?

When I’d read the Bible there was a certain passage that stuck out from most others. It's that of John 10:33-38 (KJV):
“The Jews answered him, saying, ‘For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your law, “I said, ‘Ye are gods’”? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, “Thou blasphemest;” because I said, “I am the Son of God”? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.’ ”
Did you catch that?

“Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your law, “I said, ‘Ye are gods’ ” ’?”

Hmmm…It’s interesting that in my 24 years of Mass-going and my 12 years of Roman Catholic education, never once was such a concept even hinted at. No, instead we’d learned how desperately we are in need of a savior and how any disbelievers would perish in the fires of eternal damnation in hell, even those who’d never come across Catholicism in their life on this planet.

Yet oddly enough, Jesus, the very man who this religion is supposedly based on, is telling us we are all gods—that God said so Himself, no less! And wasn’t this the same Jesus who told us not to look here or there because the Kingdom of God is within us (Luke 17:21)? I believe he told us, too, in speaking of his miracles, that we would do even greater works than his (John 14:12).

“…that is not open for debate…”

By definition it would seem that dogma is opinion. Contrarily, religion typically touts it as truth.

Which is it? If it really is fact, what’s the need for a “non-debatability” clause?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but this sounds to me like someone(s) doesn’t want their “authority” and information questioned. It sounds more like a sneaky excuse to uphold a certain ideology while minimizing opposition; to puff up the authoritarian one(s) with an imaginary sense of power and self-importance.

For if the “authority” and information is true, what’s the value in labeling it undebatable? Don’t those who argue with the truth typically quiet down once the truth is clear to them? After all, they would have nothing left to argue about.

So why not bring out the proof? Why doesn’t the Church have a grand ol’ city-, state-, country-, or worldwide live and uncensored Q&A session? The people can ask the questions and the “authority” can provide the substantiation for their claims.

“…and to be believed without evidence.”

Oh, silly me! I’m getting too far ahead of myself. A Q&A session wouldn't make sense because we are supposed to believe without evidence. How forgetful I am!

Please don’t use your intellectual, left brain hemisphere to think about religion. I mean, you can—just be sure you're only thinking about what we tell you, in the way we tell you. This is all true, you know. We know because we’ve talked to God. We promise. And by the way, since everything you need to know about religion is conceptual, don't bother activating your right brain hemisphere, either.

How about that! Looks like you don’t have to use your brain at all! Simply obey!

Sometimes I Wonder…

A church will often consider itself to be the shepherd with the people being the flock, the sheep… Sometimes I’m not so sure this is as comforting of a thought as many of us have been led to believe—especially after seeing what Jesus had to say about the heavenly power contained within each one of us.

Sometimes I wonder if the suggestion that we should be proud to be “sheep” is no more than a comment of condescension by those who claim authority over us; a tongue-in-cheek statement of the “shepherd’s” ability to manipulate and control the mindless and unwitting masses through the power of fear, wielded against them in the name of love.

On a Musical Note…

Now that I’m done my spiel, a spiel which some might find as particularly upsetting, I guess I'll leave you with something more upbeat...

Note: This text is a modified version of a post originally published on 7/19/12 to former personal blog “Without a Story.”

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