The Spirit Of Dogmatism

From Paul Tournier "The Person Reborn" (SCM:1967)

"Life is short," wrote Hippocrates. "and the art long; the occasion fleeting; experience fallacious, and judgement difficult." p.93

... each of us deduces from his personal experience a system of thought, which he sets up as the truth against all other systems of thought. ... I have the liveliest sense of the immeasurable greatness of God, in comparison with which all our mumblings are of no significance. ... The orthodox violate the law of love which their orthodoxy enjoins upon them, in persecuting any who do not share their dogmas. p.98

The spirit of dogmatism ossifies thought and sterilizes life. The person who is satisfied with one experienmce loses the dissatisfaction which could be the source of fresh experiences. p.101

He who claims never to have doubted does not know what faith is, for faith s forged through doubt. ... To set up one system or doctrine against another impoverises the mind by frezing it in a partisan attitude which obstructs the evolution of its life. How many upholders of orthodoxy seem to have fossilized minds, through having lost that unquenchable disquiet and curiosity which are the precondition of every advance in the spiritual life! As soon as one believes on possesses the truth, and encases it in a system, one shuts out other horizons. p.106

The spirit of dogmatism simplifies, opposes and systemizes. The philosophical spirit has a sense of the endless complexity of things. p.107