Why must we believe dogmas or be damned?


#1

Why must we believe dogmas or else be damned? For example, although I believe in the Assumption, why does God care if I believe it or not? I understand the Church was granted the power to bind and loose, but why would they then use this power to require us to believe something that is so… uncentral? Also, while I wouldn’t go this far, some might say it is used to require us to believe things about Mary that most people would reject, and how might one respond to this?


#2

You must submit your mind to a common authority because people are frightened of you if they don’t know how you think, because when they cannot read your mind, they cannot predict what you will do.


#3

Simple. The Apostles and their successors are divinely appointed by Christ with the warning that “he you heareth you heareth me” and those that reject them reject HIM. When the Church speaks authoritatively on the faith, it is Christ speaking through His Church and disbelieving it is a grave matter. As whether something is “central” is irrelevant if it is true.

Scott


#4

[quote=Lazerlike42]Why must we believe dogmas or else be damned? …
[/quote]

While we do have a serious obligation to believe that which has defined by the Church, I do not think the second half of your question is necessarily true. Damnation is the result of a person dying in a state of unrepented mortal sin, which requires serious matter, full knowledge and free consent.

It may be possible for one to obstinately disbelieve a Dogma of the Church under conditions which would qualify as mortal sin, then to die in this state. But it may also be possible that a person might not believe some defined teaching, but under conditions such that full knowledge or free consent are deficient. In this case mortal sin is not possible and such a person could not be damned for this particular lack of belief.


#5

you will be saved even you dont believe in dogma. but it is difficult to live in this world without a guide. and this guide is the dogma of the church. it is written with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It was revealed to the church through the apostles for us to live in eternal life. This dogma is based on the sacred scripture and we know that knowing the scripture is not enough for our salvation. Good deeds is a must and good deeds can only be done with correct guidance. and this is the dogma.


#6

Here’s my 2 cents, for what it’s worth. I have read the Diary of St. Faustina. She mentions several times that the Lord gave her instructions to do something. When she brought it to her confessor, he forbade her to follow the instructions, and she obeyed the confessor. Jesus commended her for her obedience to His priest. My point? That the Lord values our obedience. It may not be central to our faith that Mary was assumed into Heaven. But it is central to our faith that we believe what the Church teaches, even if we have questions or doubts. Faith is an act of the will. We will to believe, even through our doubts. In the end, am I obedient to what Jesus says through His Church?

Peace,
Linda


#7

I could give a seemingly simple answer to this – for example, “Oh, you are wrong! The doctrine of invincible ignorance excuses non-belief, if it is innocent!”

But that is too simple.

Most are aware that theology is an inter-related thing. One doctrine is connected to the other.

A crude example is the artificial birth control issue. ABC became a big issue about the same time that Magisterial infallibility came to be widely discussed.

As a consequence, the Catholics who left the Church because they felt that the Church’s position on sexuality and use of contraceptives was fundamentally unrealistic, * also* commonly declared that “the pope can’t be infallible” since if one believed that “the pope is infallible” also had to give the pope the benefit of the doubt on Humanae Vitae.

As a consequence, usually there is a subtle connection between the doctrine rejected and the larger doctrine of “Church” and its other teachings, so that the rejection of one thin teaching actually comprises the rejection of a great deal. The stakes are almost always very high.

This cuts both ways.

For example, in another thread we are talking about whether Mary was a “virgin in partu,” which means that Mary’s body retained the physical characteristics of virginity even in the act of giving birth.

In my opinion, this is a deeply bizarre doctrine, at war with the inspired Bible published by our inspired Magisterium, and implies that Jesus may never have actually been “born,” and may not be “human,” and might have “checked out” on humanity in a mystical, painless way when He died, so that the atonement concept is a myth in the negative sense.

In the opinion of those who rally to the in partu flag, I am denying Mary’s “perpetual divinity” in an important way, attacking Original Sin doctrine and the doctrine of Mary’s immaculate conception.

The point is that “invincible ignorance” is probably actually pretty rare. Many reject details of Catholic doctrine for larger reasons – for example, is it a coincidence that nowadays Protestant congregations now almost uniformly approve of artificial birth control? They disagree with the Catholic Church on this detail and that detail, but when push comes to shove, they are virtually all the same in that one important way, even though it is rarely actually discussed. Is that a coincidence?

Or, do actions speak louder than words?


#8

[quote=viktor aleksndr]you will be saved even you dont believe in dogma. but it is difficult to live in this world without a guide. and this guide is the dogma of the church. it is written with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It was revealed to the church through the apostles for us to live in eternal life. This dogma is based on the sacred scripture and we know that knowing the scripture is not enough for our salvation. Good deeds is a must and good deeds can only be done with correct guidance. and this is the dogma.
[/quote]

Roman Catholic theologian John Hardon in his authoritative and popular catechism:

  1. What must a Catholic believe with divine faith?
    A Catholic must believe with divine faith the whole of revelation, which is contained in the written word of God and in Sacred Tradition.

  2. Can a person be a Catholic if he believes most, but not all, the teachings of revelation?
    A person cannot be a Catholic if he rejects even a single teaching that he knows has been revealed by God.


#9

[quote=LindaS]Here’s my 2 cents, for what it’s worth. I have read the Diary of St. Faustina. She mentions several times that the Lord gave her instructions to do something. When she brought it to her confessor, he forbade her to follow the instructions, and she obeyed the confessor. Jesus commended her for her obedience to His priest. My point? That the Lord values our obedience. It may not be central to our faith that Mary was assumed into Heaven. But it is central to our faith that we believe what the Church teaches, even if we have questions or doubts. Faith is an act of the will. We will to believe, even through our doubts. In the end, am I obedient to what Jesus says through His Church?

Peace,
Linda
[/quote]

Here’s the problem with that:

If I went to confession, and the priest told me to kill my sister, would I be required to out of obedience? Of course not! I would not because I know that this is contrary to the teachings of Christ, based on deep study of Scripture and the Magesterium.

If similarly I am told that I must believe in the Assumption, am I required to out of obedience even if, based on the same deep study of Scripture and the Magesterium I find that it is contrary to Christ’s teachings?

Obviously the study to realize killing is wrong is less deep than that concerning the Assumption (although if one were to really study Scriptures and the Magesterium to see if one could disobey the Priest in this regard, I think one would find it a deeper study than expected at first), but nevertheless. After all, St. Paul tells us to compare what we are taught with the Scriptures to see if they match. If I’m not mistaken this practice is not prohibited by the Church (if it were, it would be contradictory of St. Paul!).

I think this question is a lot more complicated than people realize.


#10

Lazerlike42,

I don’t have a lot of time this morning, but I did want to address something you wrote. You stated, " I understand the Church was granted the power to bind and loose, but why would they then use this power to require us to believe something that is so… uncentral?"

The Assumption is “uncentral”? A statement of where we are going and our bodily resurrection is uncentral? Notice, too, when it was defined as a dogma—in the middle of an increasingly atheistic culture that said that we were only animals, and after we did our duty to our idealogy (the state; the market; or whatever human construct we are to pledge our beings to), we died and went nowhere.

I’ve got to run, but I don’t understand your thinking that the Assumption is “uncentral”. Neither do I understand your problem with the authority of the Church— "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16). We don’t always understand God, so I don’t think that we’re likely to always understand his Church.


#11

[quote=Sherlock]Lazerlike42,

I don’t have a lot of time this morning, but I did want to address something you wrote. You stated, " I understand the Church was granted the power to bind and loose, but why would they then use this power to require us to believe something that is so… uncentral?"

The Assumption is “uncentral”? A statement of where we are going and our bodily resurrection is uncentral? Notice, too, when it was defined as a dogma—in the middle of an increasingly atheistic culture that said that we were only animals, and after we did our duty to our idealogy (the state; the market; or whatever human construct we are to pledge our beings to), we died and went nowhere.

I’ve got to run, but I don’t understand your thinking that the Assumption is “uncentral”. Neither do I understand your problem with the authority of the Church— "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16). We don’t always understand God, so I don’t think that we’re likely to always understand his Church.
[/quote]

I say uncentral because, other than the dogmatic requirement to believe it, it has no impact whatsoever on our salvation. Christ and the Apostles taught many things, that we must have faith, we must be charitable, we must do good works, we must help those in need, etc. etc., to be saved, but they never said we must believe in the Assumption, the authority of anybody (aside from Christ), or in anything else for that matter. This sounds very Sola Scriptura, but to clarify it is the farthest thing from what I mean.

I will use the Scriptures here as an example, not because it is the be-all and end-all of faith as it is not. Throughout Paul’s letters, he tells us many things we must do to be saved. He also tells us several things that he thinks we should do, but we don’t have to (like remaining single for instance). To me (even though I believe in it), the Assumption is one of these things. Whether we believe in the Assumption doesn’t have any effect on our reception of the Sacraments, for instance. Neither Baptism, nor Confirmation, nor Reconciliation, nor the Holy Eucharist, nor the Annointing of the Sick (the Sacraments which collectively ensure our salvation) require us to believe in the Assumption (the Eucharist does but only because of the requirement to believe dogma; it in and of itself does not require it).

In other words, if not for the Church’s own statement that we must believe the Assumption, it would have no bearing whatsoever on our salvation. Therefore, why do they require it so? I see nothing wrong with defending the truth of the Assumption, and of insisting it as a doctrinal certainty. However, when it comes to requiring belief in it for salvation, a wholly disconnected act (for US PERSONALLY, clearly it was connected to Mary’s salvation!), I do not make the connection.


#12

[quote=Lazerlike42]I say uncentral because, other than the dogmatic requirement to believe it, it has no impact whatsoever on our salvation. Christ and the Apostles taught many things, that we must have faith, we must be charitable, we must do good works, we must help those in need, etc. etc., to be saved, but they never said we must believe in the Assumption, the authority of anybody (aside from Christ), or in anything else for that matter. This sounds very Sola Scriptura, but to clarify it is the farthest thing from what I mean.

I will use the Scriptures here as an example, not because it is the be-all and end-all of faith as it is not. Throughout Paul’s letters, he tells us many things we must do to be saved. He also tells us several things that he thinks we should do, but we don’t have to (like remaining single for instance). To me (even though I believe in it), the Assumption is one of these things. Whether we believe in the Assumption doesn’t have any effect on our reception of the Sacraments, for instance. Neither Baptism, nor Confirmation, nor Reconciliation, nor the Holy Eucharist, nor the Annointing of the Sick (the Sacraments which collectively ensure our salvation) require us to believe in the Assumption (the Eucharist does but only because of the requirement to believe dogma; it in and of itself does not require it).

In other words, if not for the Church’s own statement that we must believe the Assumption, it would have no bearing whatsoever on our salvation. Therefore, why do they require it so? I see nothing wrong with defending the truth of the Assumption, and of insisting it as a doctrinal certainty. However, when it comes to requiring belief in it for salvation, a wholly disconnected act (for US PERSONALLY, clearly it was connected to Mary’s salvation!), I do not make the connection.
[/quote]

If you knew Jesus was God, and you didn’t like that he taught X or placed so much emphasis on X and told him that it doesn’t agree with your personal interpretation of written and oral Sacred Tradition and you’re not gonna take it… you’d be in rebellion with God. The same applies when discussing the Church he established and vested with infallible teaching authority.

If on the other hand, you, for whatever reason, honestly come to believe through no fault of your own that Jesus was a fraud, you’d not be in rebellion, just in honest error. Again, the analogy applies to the subject of Christ’s Church as well.


#13

Ask yourself:

“Why should I be doomed to get lost if I try to drive across the country without ever looking at a map?”

Well, you’re not. And you might even manage to do it.

However, God askes us all to stop being obstinant and to use the maps he’s given to us through the Church and it’s teachings.

These signposts to salvation are there for a reason, (your eternal salvation), stop being stubborn and use them.

God loves you.


#14

One is not saved by believing every single dogma the church teaches. One is saved by trusting in Jesus Christ and obeying what he said to do to receive forgiveness of sins. And that through faith, repentance and baptism. To teach that one is damned because they don’t accept the Assumption of Mary, priestly celibacy and the immaculate conception is non sense. None of these issues have to do with salvation in Jesus Christ.


#15

[quote=justcatholic]To teach that one is damned because they don’t accept the Assumption of Mary, priestly celibacy and the immaculate conception is non sense.
[/quote]

So what you are saying is that the Catholic Church teaches nonsense?


#16

[quote=Lazerlike42]why would they then use this power to require us to believe something that is so… uncentral?
[/quote]

The dogma of the Assumption has many deep theological implications…

Anyway, Jesus was once asked about the most important commandment. This does not mean that the others are noncrucial ones. By definition, dogma is a truth you can not reach with your own reason. Dogma implies a direct revelation from God, taught by the Church. No ”uncentral” dogmas. All are necessary, all are linked, all relate to one another…


#17

[quote=Lazerlike42]Here’s the problem with that:
If I went to confession, and the priest told me to kill my sister, would I be required to out of obedience? Of course not! I would not because I know that this is contrary to the teachings of Christ, based on deep study of Scripture and the Magesterium.

If similarly I am told that I must believe in the Assumption, am I required to out of obedience even if, based on the same deep study of Scripture and the Magesterium I find that it is contrary to Christ’s teachings?
[/quote]

First, your comparison is a poor one because of the basis for each of these sources of authority are not equal. A priest in a confessional has no power or right to compel you to break the natural moral law, i.e., murder. Thus this example has bearing on the issue at all.

On the other hand, the Magisterium (the teaching office of the Church which includes the Pope and the bishops as a whole teaching in union with the Pope) has the right and responsibility to define doctrine that is binding on the conscience of the believer. You (or I) as Catholics can study the Scripture until our eyes fall out and reach many valuable insights that may be helpful in clarifying the already revealed truths of the Faith or in practical Christian living. We don’t, however, have the right to hold our private interpretation of Scripture over that of the Church if the two are in conflict. To do that, of course, is the very epitome of being a Protestant, where private interpretation is king–a king with 30,000 different crowns.


#18

[quote=Lazerlike42]Why must we believe dogmas or else be damned? For example, although I believe in the Assumption, why does God care if I believe it or not? I understand the Church was granted the power to bind and loose, but why would they then use this power to require us to believe something that is so… uncentral? Also, while I wouldn’t go this far, some might say it is used to require us to believe things about Mary that most people would reject, and how might one respond to this?
[/quote]

If you reject a dogma after it has been explained to you, of course it can jeopardize your slavation. The Church is the mystical body of Christ in rejecting a certain dogma or doctrine it teaches, you reject Jesus Christ himself, you show yourself to be disloyal and a traitor. When Jesus instituted the Eucharist, his apostles himself expressed how hard it would be to teach such a thing to others, but they did teach it successfully. Though still many people reject the Eucharist as being the actual body and blood of Christ. Other things that were taught by Christ and the Apostles were difficult to teach, faith itself is not easy, faith is the strong belief in something that can not be fully comprehended by human reason alone. That is why we have mysteries. You may ask: what does rejecting a dogma of Mary have anything to do with faith in Christ? The fact is Mary is the Holy mother of Jesus Christ! When you were a kid and the other kids made fun of your mother, did you not get offended? Suppressing great facts about Mary would be an offense to Jesus Christ himself, who desires his mother as well as his servants to be respected, followed, and loved.


#19

[quote=Lazerlike42]Why must we believe dogmas or else be damned? For example, although I believe in the Assumption, why does God care if I believe it or not? I understand the Church was granted the power to bind and loose, but why would they then use this power to require us to believe something that is so… uncentral? Also, while I wouldn’t go this far, some might say it is used to require us to believe things about Mary that most people would reject, and how might one respond to this?
[/quote]

Many non Catholics call this out…why all the dogma, doctrine, etc…the beliefs of the Church are Biblically justified. You either choose to follow Gods laws or you dont.


#20

Life is full of “grave” matters…death, illness, loss.

And, oh, yes, Marian dogmas. I keep forgetting to
think of those as “grave matters.” How silly of me.
I must remember, when speaking to a person who
lives on the streets and is hungry, to prompt that person
to keep in mind how “grave” a matter it is to accept
Marian dogmas.

I suppose asking Mary to keep a motherly eye on
that individual, whether or no the Immaculate Conception
is true, is a no-no, too?

Well, when that poor soul and I end up in hell for the
grave matter of doctrinal disregard, maybe he’ll share
the sub sandwitch with me, for old times sake.

Of course, for that guy, hell won’t be much different
than what he’s living thru now, but as we all know,
Jesus is doctrinal Justice and…what’s the other
quality?..oh, yes, merciful.

reen12


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