Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Dogmatic Pontification

I haven't read the above book. I just stumbled upon it while considering a graphic for this post. However I'm absolutely certain it accurately addresses this topic.  I know without a shadow of a doubt Judy J. Johnson is onto something.  I know that being dogmatic about anything is absolutely wrong and very dangerous. :)

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Unfortunately being dogmatic comes fairly natural for many of us.  (My previous paragraph included.)

according to Webster:
dogmatic: expressing personal opinions or beliefs as if they are certainly correct and cannot be doubted
I have been thinking lately about our tendency towards being dogmatic around things we believe.

I have realized something recently. I respect people that study a topic.  If you are going to voice your opinion on something it is good to study it first. My respect grows when I discover they have studied different viewpoints on the topic.  It is good to acknowledge that not everyone who has studied the topic is in agreement.

The challenging part comes next. I admire when someone is able to communicate that they see value in different perspectives on a topic, that the choice isn't necessarily crystal clear, even though they have come to rest favoring a particular position.  I am recognizing the value of approaching debatable topics with a good dose of humility.

In most situations after studying a topic, people will weigh the positions as they see them and pick a side.  This should be expected.  However when we become dogmatic about the answers we discovered, we do all we can to invalidate the fact that there were different positions to consider in the first place.  When we are dogmatic we do not allow others to study the topic freely and openly on their own.  When we acknowledge that we had to sort through some competing positions to arrive at where we currently rest, we give others permission to follow the same process we took to study the topic from different angles, in their own quest for meaningful answers.  When we avoid being dogmatic, we may even encourage them to consider our position as well.

So I have recently recognized this when listening to others. Will I be able to change and move forward applying this to how I communicate with others?  This is my challenge.  I don't know if I need to start by editing all my old blog posts, that would be a challenging activity.

Here is another angle. Since being dogmatic comes naturally for most of us, I wonder if we can consider being dogmatic about different things than we have in the past:

  • What if we were dogmatic about placing the interests of others above our own?
  • What if we were dogmatic about humbly counting others more significant than ourselves?
  • What if we were dogmatic about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?
  • What if we were dogmatic about praying for unity and recognizing it when it stands before us?
But that is just my humble thoughts for today. There may be value in being dogmatic about other things as well. :)  

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