- an official system of principles or tenets concerning faith, morals, behavior, etc., as of a church. (Synonyms: doctrine, teachings, set of beliefs, philosophy.)
- a specific tenet or doctrine authoritatively laid down, as by a church: the dogma of the Assumption; the recently defined dogma of papal infallibility. (Synonyms: tenet, canon, law.)
- prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group: the difficulty of resisting political dogma.
- a settled or established opinion, belief, or principle: the classic dogma of objectivity in scientific observation. (Synonyms: conviction, certainty.)
- a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. (Synonyms: teaching, belief, tenet, principle, precept, maxim, article of faith, canon; creed, credo, set of beliefs, doctrine, ideology.)
Origin of "Dogma"
(Latin) 1590-1600; < Latin < Greek, equivalent to dok (eîn) to seem, think, seem good + -ma noun suffix
At the turn of the 17th century, dogma entered English from the Latin term meaning “philosophical tenet.” The Greek word from which it is borrowed means “that which one thinks is true,” and comes ultimately from the Greek dokeîn, which means “to seem good” or “think.”
The origin of the word dogma acts as a reminder to English speakers that now established principles and doctrines were once simply thoughts and opinions of ordinary people that gained popularity and eventually found their way into the universal consciousness of society.
Twentieth-century American academic and aphorist Mason Cooley concisely observed that “Under attack, sentiments harden into dogma,” suggesting that dogma is spawned as a defensive act.
This idea implies that for every dogma that exists, there is a counter dogma. With so many “truths” out there, there is sure to be a dogma to conveniently fit every set of beliefs.
Dogma is a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. It serves as part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it cannot be changed or discarded without affecting the very system's paradigm, or the ideology itself. The term can refer to acceptable opinions of philosophers or philosophical schools, public decrees, religion, or issued decisions of political authorities.
The term derives from Greek δόγμα "that which seems to one; opinion or belief" and that from δοκέω (dokeo), "to think, to suppose, to imagine". In the first century CE, dogma came to signify laws or ordinances adjudged and imposed upon others. The plural is either dogmas or dogmata, from Greek δόγματα.
The term "dogmatics" is used as a synonym for systematic theology, as in Karl Barth's defining textbook of neo-orthodoxy, the 14-volume Church Dogmatics.