Dogma Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

Dogma can be found in virtually every culture and society in the world. This is dogma’s meaning and how to understand it in context.

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Virtually every person has a set of beliefs. Whether these are philosophical tenets, religious doctrine, or any other code, nearly everyone believes in something. Because of this, the word dogma has consistent and powerful relevance in almost every person’s life. 

This is what dogma is, how people can understand it, and how to use it in their day-to-day lives. It’s not a word that people are talking about all the time, but when you know what it is, it can impact how you view the world. 

What Does Dogma Mean?

The term dogma (pronounced /ˈdôɡmə/) and its plural dogmata (pronounced /ˈdɔg mə tə/), as defined in dictionaries, refer to a set of essential beliefs, principles, or doctrines that are identified by an authority as indisputably genuine. Dogmas are generally developed through an experience of divine revelation, the announcement of a public decree, or as an ordinance from a religious organization. Dogma has informed the opinions and belief systems of countless theologians, philosophical schools, and religious organizations for thousands of years. 

We can find dogma in a wide variety of different contexts. For example, Christian dogma has been a prevalent example of religious beliefs for thousands of years. The Protestant and Catholic churches serve to inform and enforce their core beliefs in all of the churches that claim to agree with them. 

When it comes to secular belief systems, capitalist and Marxist dogma have consistently been at odds over the past centuries. 

The fundamental definition of all dogma is a statement of ideas that authoritatively expresses itself over people who believe in it. While there may be diversity through people who differ on minor points within the same belief system, they will still often find unity over the core tenets of their dogma. 

Where Did the Word Dogma Originate?

The word dogma itself has a fascinating history in Greek, Latin, and English. Although the word was slowly altered over many years, its broad definition was continuously used with the same meaning. 

The word typically denoted accuracy, proper thinking, and correctness. The origin of the word is the ancient Greek δόγμα or δοκέω, which translates to dokein. The term was translated into the Latin dogma, from which the English word was lifted in the 17th or 18th century. 

Since then, the modern meaning of dogma has continued to be established and further defined in new areas. 

How Is Dogma Used Today?

One of the most popular and well-known dogmas today is Christian dogma. It is a system of doctrines based on the beliefs found in the Christian Bible. 

Some generally agreed-upon aspects of the philosophy include the existence of the Holy Trinity, the ecclesiastical authority of the Bible, and the interpretations of many significant theological and historical figures over the past several millennia. 

One way that Christian dogma is interesting is that many denominations and groups embrace different sets of principles from the same text. For example, Catholics believe in the authority of popes, transubstantiation, and many other beliefs in their official system of principles. 

However, many of the core tenets of Catholicism are still the same as generalized Christianity at large. Though each denomination may have a unique set of principles and statements of opinion, they mostly believe in the same kind of dogma. 

New dogmas are constantly being developed and interpreted in all areas of religious and political beliefs. This often happens when some group members create opinions that differ on an authoritative principle or specific tenet. They will likely start a new belief system or dogma within which they can develop their own group of principles and corpus of doctrines. 

In many senses, the American heritage is based on developing new dogma that differs from the indo-European roots of many other historical regulations. 

Synonyms and Antonyms for Dogma

Here are some of the most common words directly related to dogma in the definition. It’s always good to have alternative words to vary how you describe or talk about something! 

Most synonyms for dogma have to do with the religious or philosophical aspects of a dogma. Here are some of the most useful and common synonyms in the English language for dogma, according to Power Thesaurus:

  • Doctrine
  • Tenet
  • Belief
  • Creed
  • Principle
  • Teaching
  • Canon
  • Ideology
  • Article of Faith
  • Philosophy
  • Precept
  • Conviction
  • Gospel
  • Maxim
  • Faith
  • Idea
  • Opinion
  • Persuasion
  • Theory
  • Axiom
  • Principle
  • Set of Convictions

Here are some of the most common antonyms for dogma, according to Power Thesaurus:

  • Unbelief
  • Uncertainty
  • Distrust
  • Ignorance
  • Misconception
  • Skepticism
  • Indecision

Examples of How to Use Dogma in Everyday Sentences

When using the word dogma, it’s critical to ensure that you use it properly. Due to the high importance that people place on their own dogmas, it’s essential to make sure that you communicate what you mean accurately.

Here are some excellent example sentences to help you understand the ways you can use dogma:

  • I went to a Christian seminary for a couple of years when I was in college, and I learned about how Christian dogma is vastly different when compared to pretty much any other religion! 
  • At the political debates, I got to see how people with different dogmas and ideologies rarely see eye to eye about even the most minor things. 
  • Even though there are many smaller denominations and subsections within their religion, most will likely agree about the same fundamental dogma. 
  • It was good to talk to the people who went to the other school and hear how their dogmas differ from my own. 
  • One of the most confusing things is how the trinity fits into the Christian dogma and how it all works together.

It’s critical to properly understand and use the word dogma when speaking about a person’s religious beliefs, political ideologies, or personal convictions. 


  1. Dogma Definition & Meaning | Merriam-Webster
  2. Dogma synonyms – 483 Words and Phrases for Dogma | Power Thesaurus
  3. Dogma antonyms – 24 Opposites of Dogma | Power Thesaurus
  4. Christianity – Dogma: the most authoritative teaching | Britannica