What is a dogma? Although this term is used mostly in reference to religion, dogmas are all around us. There are all too many in day to day life. “It is what it is”, they say. My question is: Are we robots? What I am referencing are the things that we shouldn’t ask about, question, or even bring up in the first place. Do we not have a brain with which to ask questions? Also, isn’t our learning enhanced by plenty of information to study, which enables us to make ‘educated’ decisions on our own? Are Americans on a guided path with no hope of changing course, all because of dogma?
Dogma is simply blind faith. Some things in life just have to be accepted for what they are. Why would anyone want to waste their time trying to understand things that people have already spent time trying to figure out? This is almost like saying you need to research why you need to cook raw meat thoroughly. How would one go about that? Should one risk their health by experimenting with eating raw meet? No, you just accept it that people have already determined that it is safest to cook your meat thoroughly before eating it. Dogma is helpful in everyday situations and to dismiss it is a step in the wrong direction.
FLIP SIDE is not the opinion of the author.
Dogma…the term is usually used in religious situations to signify any beliefs that are purely authoritative, which means the belief should not be doubted or questioned. The other day I was surprised by the answer I got from someone who I highly regard. I asked this person a question and they gave me an answer that was based on religious dogma. I try to take a lesson from everything, but after my initial shock of hearing the answer, I began to wonder if we really even know why we do the things we do.
Are we slowly becoming puppets and becoming followers instead of leaders? Why don’t we have more leaders who truly make sense? I believe that because of ‘dogmas’, most people refuse to be pioneers. They refuse to ask the ‘whys’ of laws, religious beliefs, etc. Granted, it’s much more comfortable for someone to be a robot than a pioneer, but are we truly becoming robots?
I question this, indirectly, all the time now. I have created a habit of researching anything that initially doesn’t make sense to me. Even in my own religion, there are a few things that don’t make sense to me. I have concluded that either I don’t truly understand them, or they just don’t make sense at all. So, after finding out what doesn’t make sense, I have to pass it through the filter of ‘reason’, otherwise I’m just having blind faith or being a robot.
My kids challenge me with questions when I tell them to do something they don’t want to do (cut their nails, clean their room, do homework). Instead of saying, “do it because I said so”, I choose to tell them the pros and cons of the particular situation and invite them to do their own research and apply reasoning and logic. America NEEDS to build a generation of thinkers, of innovators, and people that ask questions. I think we are on the path, but just in a certain way. We are definitely seeing progress and innovations in the areas of medicine, technology, and education, but we’re lacking it in the area of plain old ‘reasoning’ (and may I add moral conduct). We’re frowned upon for questioning religious dogmas and, instead, are becoming religious robots. We’re frowned upon for questioning the President’s decisions for going to war (this is slowly changing), and we’re also frowned upon for asking to see ‘receipts’ from our politicians. In general, we are discouraged from going against the status quo. By believing that ‘this is how things have always been done, so they must be correct’ we take away our freedom to think for ourselves.
There is only one thing that I have to answer to and that is my conscience (I believe that’s where God lives). I do not care if something is written in a book, has been sealed as ‘law’, or is something that ‘has always been done since…forever’, if it goes against my conscience, then it is unacceptable. On the contrary, I will also not accept or decline anything without putting what is at question through the lens of reason.
My fellow Americans, let’s start off the New Year with a different mindset. Think about, research, and apply REASON to all the questions that life throws at you. Don’t accept dogmas and certainly don’t settle. Be innovators, be pioneers, be THINKERS!
Be proud to be an American!