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  • Writer's picturercputz

What is your Karma telling you about your Dogma?

We have all seen bumper stickers like the one above. But what does that mean to us and the world we operate in?

In Hinduism, karma is the relationship between a person’s mental or physical action and the consequences following that action. It also signifies the implications of a person’s actions in their current and previous lives. In Buddhism and some other religions, karma is the force produced by a person’s actions in one life that influences what happens to them in future lives. In short, I am more powerful than your beliefs (dogma).

Enter stage left: See-Judge- Act.

A typical pattern emerged throughout my career in technology and teaching comparative religions, using the SJA method, teaching the technique to my colleagues in technology and students in comparative religion class to help them better understand how to approach an understanding of the religion was all about and why, and for my colleagues’ experience with technology the process enabled them to understand the user of technology better.

See: Most get this down pat pretty well, or in our minds, we have it down pat. So we think.

Judge: Well, this is a different story. This is where most struggle, doubts arise, and much second-guessing exists. Twists and turns, doubts and more questions. This is where we find people unable to see the forest from the tree because we hug the tree so hard we have bark in our teeth.

Act: It all depends if it is just you or you and others. How much effort is involved, and how much-unverbalized fear occurs at the onset? Where two or three are gathered, the action seems easier. Having a plan helps. Setting policies to guide us and measurements to know if we are staying on the yellow brick road or veering off into the unknown.

Enter stage right: History deconstructs dogma.

This is where the “rubber meets the road.” The phrase History deconstructs dogma should be a door opener to better understanding the JUDGE/DISCERN process we must experience before we can take action, plan action, and know why we are taking action.

At the Center stage: Dogma

Dogma means the doctrine of belief in a religion or a political system or in your family. It is woven into the fabric of our culture. The literal meaning of dogma in ancient Greek was “something that seems true.” These days, in English, dogma is more absolute. If you believe in a particular religion or philosophy, you believe in its dogma or core assumptions.

What I love about history and philosophy (the history of philosophy) is that Dogmas often claim universal truths. Still, history shows them arising from specific contexts, cultures, and power dynamics. This exposes their limitations and potential biases. As historians discover, historical research can uncover contradictions within the dogma or between it and historical facts. This undermines its absolute authority. And that is what those in power fear and get upset over. The value of history is that we must remember that history demonstrates that ideas and beliefs are not static, contrary to what we hear in the media today, but change over time, sometimes radical change and other times through societal phase change. This shows that dogmas are not necessarily timeless truths but products of their era. And that is a significant point. The role of historians and the purpose of historical analysis is to present diverse viewpoints and challenge the dominant narrative used to support the dogma. But as historians, we all know history is open to interpretation, and biases or agendas can shape historical narratives. Deconstructing dogmas depends heavily on the interpretation of historical evidence. We see this in church history, especially when “Dogmatic Proponents” can cherry-pick historical evidence to support their claims. This makes considering the full context and diverse perspectives crucial.

Regarding the potential bullets of life we often experience, deconstructing dogmas can challenge power structures, and vested interests may resist this process. But we should not throw all babies out with the wash and understand not all dogmas are rigid or harmful. Some can offer valuable frameworks and guidance, and historical analysis should acknowledge their complexities.

This would apply to political dogma as well. Heck, in our families as well.

The beauty of history and the joy of being a historian are knowing that history can be a powerful tool for questioning and critically analyzing dogmas. However, it’s essential to be aware of the limitations and complexities involved in this process. So, the hierarchy and politicians make for poor historians. Just saying…

So, as we face situations, new challenges, and the unknown, we employ the See-Judge-Act method. Make sure we focus on the “sitz in leben,” the history, as we discern what we should do and why.

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