From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
A dogma is a belief that is held by a group or organisation to be indisputable, without reference to evidence, analysis or established fact. Dogmas are wide-spread in many religions, such as Christianity or Islam, where they are considered core principles that must be upheld by all followers of that religion.
Religious dogma eminently distinguishes itself from theological opinions about which the faithful are free to disagree: as a fundamental part of the religion, dogma cannot be disputed, revised or otherwise doubted, but has to be accepted on faith. Dogmas may be discussed and even expanded upon, provided that doing so does not contradict the essence of the original teaching. Non-acceptance of dogma is considered heresy and may lead to expulsion from the religious group.
For most of Eastern Christianity, the dogmas are contained in the Nicene Creed and the first two, three, or seven ecumenical councils (depending on whether one is a Nestorian, a Monophysite, or an Eastern Orthodox Christian). Protestants may also affirm these, but often rely on a "Statement of Faith" which summarizes their dogmas, drawn up by their individual denomination.
Many non-religious beliefs are often described as dogmas, for example in the fields of politics or philosophy, as well as within society itself. Generally the term is perjorative in this context, and carries the implication that people are upholding the dogma in an unthinking and conformist fashion. Dogmas are anathema to science and scientific analysis, and are strongly rejected by philosophies such as rationalism and skepticism.
There are some conceptual similarities between dogma and the axioms used as the starting point for logical analysis. However, they differ in that axioms are those things which are considered so basic and fundamental that the consequences of disputing them would be unimaginable (for example "the number zero exists"), whereas dogmas are usually far more complex and subject to disagreement (such as "God created the universe").
Dogma is also the name of a movie comedy, directed and with screenplay by Kevin Smith, starring amongst others George Carlin as a Cardinal, Alanis Morissette as God, and Ben Affleck and Matt Damon as a duo of fallen angels. It caused much controversy in many countries, as well as resulting in a death threat for Smith.
Dogma 95 is the name for the manifesto about filmmaking aesthetics, made initially in Copenhagen in 1995 by four directors: Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg, Kristian Levring, and Soren Kragh-Jacobsen.