We Are in The Age of Dogma

One person shares an opinion with others and perhaps it is a legitimate idea. If that opinion becomes held as a good and true belief by a group, and the group codifies it, it becomes doctrine.  If the group accepts that doctrine as the authority, it becomes dogma.

Republican dogma. Democrat dogma. NRA dogma. Islamic dogma. Christian right dogma. Christian left dogma. Jewish dogma. Palestinian dogma. Politically correct dogma. Capitalist dogma. Socialist dogma.  Gun control dogma. Abortion dogma.

We are in the age of dogma, and it seems that truth is merely a fossil.

__________

Whether you turn to a news channel or read your news online, you are likely to find many versions of the truth.

In the 24-hour news cycle coming out of all our many connected devices, we daily encounter someone else’s truth. Is what we read and hear factual, or is it opinion? The difference is immense. And it matters. Atrocities are built upon opinions that became dogma.

BETTER TO BE SLAPPED BY THE TRUTH THAN KISSED WITH A LIE

Russian Proverb

Sadly, so much of what passes as news today is far too often actually “What I believe,” “What I think, “What I feel.” In the first meeting of my school law classes, I told my students that as far as school  law was concerned, I did not care what they thought, felt, or believed! Harsh? Not really. About halfway through reworking the first exam for the third time, they understood why their opinions got them in trouble in law class, because personal opinions carry little weight where the law is concerned.

Mark Twain knew a bit about playing loose with the truth. In a speech in November 1900, he talked about school boards, but he could have been talking about almost anyone keeping, seeking, or trying to gain political power and who shade the truth to fit their schemes.

In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school school boards

Mark Twain

One of my favorite authors on leadership, Price Pritchett, in his small but powerful book, The Ethics of Excellence, gave the following advice to leaders tyring to follow the ethical path. He wrote, 

Be prepared to be punished for honesty

Price Pritchett

Honesty and truth – in my view the foundation of all other ethical values – are not necessarily popular. It is easier to slant information toward what people want to hear. 

On any given day, I read a questionable, slanted Facebook post from people I know and respect, and it seems the only criteria for sending it out into cyberspace is that if it sounds real, it must be real.  At some point, the creators of such fabrications knew the lie they were creating but went forward anyway. Why? To promote a power-agenda. Truth be damned. Another fossil in the tarpit of politics.

By the way, there is an easy way to check an internet claim for accuracy – www.snopes.com.  

Beware of dogma, whatever its source. Dogma asks no questions of itself. Dogma rails against those who doubt it.

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