Take Out the Dogma

Dogma has the potential to get real ugly. (Our lovable pug, Curly.)

I recently allowed myself to be caught up in what amounted to be a debate with someone on Facebook.  It started as a post by a friend of mine, concerning how the same people who laid down palms and their coats before Jesus, were also the same people who later yelled, “Crucify Him!  We want Barabbus!”  I made my comment, echoing the same basic idea. Then, another guy made his comment, which had little to do with the original post.

This character decided he was going to get up on his soapbox and tell us all how Jesus could not have risen in 3 days, arguing that Jesus said to “look for the sign of Jonah…in the belly for 3 days and 3 nights”.  He demanded that people show him scripture to prove otherwise and even went as far as to accuse some of us comment-makers of being, essentially, pagan sympathizers for celebrating Easter as the day to commemorate the Resurrection of Jesus.

Other than reprimanding him for being judgmental, I tried to approach his timeline issue for Jesus’ death and resurrection.  I got a hold of an article that explained the idiom of 3 days and 3 nights and how in that culture, even a portion of a day was considered an entire day.  I further explained that Jesus said He would rise on the third day…if He were to be in the tomb for a literal 3 days and nights, would He not have said He would rise on the 4th day?  I reasoned that the Creator of the Universe should know simple math.  In the end, I found a whole list of scriptures showing that Jesus died on one day, spent the next day in the tomb and rose on the third day.

However, I have since pondered how dogmatic people can be, especially in cases when they have so little information.  Have you ever dealt with a psych student?  They interject their knowledge based on what little they know, spouting their new-found knowledge to nearly everyone around them.  Some believers – even some who have walked with the Lord for a long time – can tend do the same thing.

Dogma is often built with very little information to begin with, then blossoms into anything from a sole belief to as much as an entire religion.  We must beware of what we read, what we hear and how we “feel” about certain things.  We should be careful to make sure things are in context, defined and interpreted correctly.  If we cannot “wrap our head around” something, we should wait, pray and investigate further.  It is important that we not jump on a bandwagon of insufficient information.

Perhaps I could have titled this, “Beware of Dogma”.  Maybe even, “Don’t Feed the Dogma”.  Either title fits my pun side.  But, let’s endeavor to avoid being dogmatic about things that may not have all the evidence they need to be truly factual.  We should not allow ourselves to be closed off to other points of view or to not “let us reason together”.  Instead, we should cautiously remain open to what others have to say, willing to learn and examine what someone else sees as fact.

This does not mean to agree, but to be reasonable and considerate.  You may just have all the evidence to produce a fact and an opposing view might not have the evidence to prove their case.  But, if you reason, listen and try to learn their point of view, you have a higher chance of not alienating someone, perhaps winning the opportunity to further prove your case.

Maybe, we all need Dogma Training School or spend time in a Dogma Grooming Spa.  Sometimes, it may be best to take our dogma for a walk, or even better; teach it to roll over and play dead.

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