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Dogma is an official system of principles or tenets of a church, such as Roman Catholicism,[1] or the positions of a philosopher or of a philosophical school such as Stoicism.

In the pejorative sense, dogma refers to enforced decisions, such as those of aggressive political interests or authorities.[2][3] More generally, it is applied to some strong belief whose adherents are not willing to rationally discuss it. This attitude is named as a dogmatic one, or as dogmatism; and is often used to refer to matters related to religion, but is not limited to theistic attitudes alone and is often used with respect to political or philosophical dogmas.


"Dogma" is transliterated in the 17th century from Latin (Latin: dogma) meaning "philosophical tenet", derived from the Greek dogma (Greek: δόγμα) meaning literally "that which one thinks is true" and dokein (Greek: dokeo) "to seem good".[4][5]


Formally, the term dogma has been used by some theistic religious groups to describe the body of positions forming the group's most central, foundational, or essential beliefs, though the term may also be used to refer to the entire set of formal beliefs identified by a theistic or non-theistic religious group. In some cases dogma is distinguished from religious opinion and those things in doctrine considered less significant or uncertain. Formal church dogma is often clarified and elaborated upon in its communication.


View or position (Pali diṭṭhi, Sanskrit dṛṣṭi) is a central idea in Buddhism.[6] In Buddhist thought, a view is not a simple, abstract collection of propositions, but a charged interpretation of experience which intensely shapes and affects thought, sensation, and action.[7] Having the proper mental attitude toward views is therefore considered an integral part of the Buddhist path, as sometimes correct views need to put into practice and incorrect views abandoned, and sometimes all views are seen as obstacles to enlightenment.[8]


Christianity is defined by a set of core beliefs shared by virtually all Christians, though how those core beliefs are implemented and secondary questions vary within Christianity. When formally communicated by the organization, these beliefs are sometimes referred to as 'dogmata.' The organization's formal religious positions may be taught to new members or simply communicated to those who choose to become members. It is rare for agreement with an organization's formal positions to be a requirement for attendance, though membership may be required for some church activities.[9] Protestants to differing degrees are less formal about doctrine, and often rely on denomination-specific beliefs, but seldom refer to these beliefs as dogmata. The first unofficial institution of dogma in the Christian church was by Saint Irenaeus in his writing, Demonstration of Apostolic Teaching, which provides a 'manual of essentials' constituting the 'body of truth'. So initially, dogma is concerned with truth.


For Catholicism and Eastern Christianity, the dogmata are contained in the Nicene Creed and the canon laws of two, three, seven, or twenty ecumenical councils (depending on whether one is "Nestorian", Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox, or Roman Catholic). These tenets are summarized by St. John of Damascus in his Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, which is the third book of his main work, titled The Fount of Knowledge. In this book he takes a dual approach in explaining each article of the faith: one, directed at Christians, where he uses quotes from the Bible and, occasionally, from works of other Fathers of the Church, and the second, directed both at members of non-Christian religions and at atheists, for whom he employs Aristotelian logic and dialectics.

The decisions of fourteen later councils that Catholics hold as dogmatic and a small number of decrees promulgated by popes exercising papal infallibility (for examples, see Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary) are considered as being a part of the Church's sacred body of doctrine.


In Islam the Latin terms dogma and dogmata are used to describe the Quran, Hadith, aqidah.[citation needed]



Pyrrhonism's objective is principally psychological, although it is best known for its epistemological arguments, particularly the problem of the criterion and the problem of induction. Through epoché (suspension of judgment) the mind is brought to ataraxia, a state of equanimity. As in Stoicism and Epicureanism, eudaimonia is the Pyrrhonist goal of life, and all three philosophies placed it in ataraxia or apatheia.[10] According to the Pyrrhonists, it is one's opinions about non-evident matters that prevent one from attaining eudaimonia.

The main principle of Pyrrho's thought is expressed by the word acatalepsia, which connotes the ability to withhold assent from doctrines regarding the truth of things in their own nature; against every statement its contradiction may be advanced with equal justification.

Pyrrhonists withhold assent with regard to non-evident propositions, that is, dogma. They disputed that the dogmatists had found truth regarding non-evident matters. For any non-evident matter, a Pyrrhonist tries to make the arguments for and against such that the matter cannot be concluded, thus suspending belief. According to Pyrrhonism, even the statement that nothing can be known is dogmatic. They thus attempted to make their skepticism universal, and to escape the reproach of basing it upon a fresh dogmatism.[10] Mental imperturbability (ataraxia) was the result to be attained by cultivating such a frame of mind.[10]

Pyrrhonians (or Pyrrhonism) can be subdivided into those who are ephectic (a "suspension of judgment"), zetetic ("engaged in seeking"), or aporetic ("engaged in refutation").[11]

Pyrrhonism is credited with being the first Western school of philosophy to identify the problem of induction, and the Münchhausen trilemma.

See also


  1. ^ "Dogma". New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  2. ^ [1], "dogma." | An Encyclopædia Britannica Company, Inc. 1831 | <>>.
  3. ^ "Dogma". Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  4. ^ "Dogma (n)". Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper. 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  5. ^ "Dogma". The Free Encyclopedia by Farlex. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  6. ^ Fuller 2005, p. 1.
  7. ^ Lusthaus, Dan (2002). Buddhist Phenomenology (PDF). Routledge. p. 242, n. 46.
  8. ^ Fuller 2005, pp. 1–2.
  9. ^ [1], "dogma" The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy. Simon Blackburn. Oxford University Press, 2011 <>.
  10. ^ a b c Public Domain One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Scepticism". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  11. ^ Pulleyn, William (1830). The Etymological Compendium, Or, Portfolio of Origins and Inventions. T. Tegg. p. 353.

External links

  • DogmaStrong's N.T. Greek Lexicon
  • Il Domani – terribile o radioso? – del Dogma, a book by Enrico Maria Radaelli with a Preface by Roger Scruton and comments by Brunero Gherardini, Alessandro Gnocchi-Mario Palmaro, and Mario Oliveri (Roma 2012)
  • [Ireaeus. Demonstrations of apostolic teaching. pp. 70–75. [online] available at: Christian Classics ethereal library [Accessed 20 June 2017]
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