DOGMA IS GREAT EXCEPT THAT IT TENDS TO ENCOURAGE DOGMATISM

The danger in believing anything is that you will have the tendency to believe that what you believe is what everyone should believe. This especially holds true when it comes to religious beliefs.

"First, I want to make this clear: I respect people who have an abiding religious philosophy that guides their lives---whether they're Baptists, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, Methodists, Hindus, Muslims, or Protestants. My gripe is with extremists in any religion who presume to tell me, and everyone else, what God wants. Here's just a sampling: Saudi Arabian fundamentalists 'know' that God doesn't want women to drive. Jewish fundamentalists in Israel 'know' that God disapproves of a Jewish state. Others, on the contrary, 'know' that God has so blessed Israel that Jews should expand the territory to include the West Bank. Traditional Catholics 'know' that God doesn't want women to be priests. Austin B. Vaughan, auxiliary bishop of New York City, said, 'A woman priest is as impossible as for me to have a baby...This is the way God made it.' Protestant fundamentalists, such as Reverend Ian Paisley in Northern Ireland, 'know' that God wants Protestants to maintain control over Catholics. Iran's Muslim fundamentalists 'know' that God was so angry at Salman Rushdie for writing THE SATANIC VERSES that they have issued a 'fatwa' against Rushdie, calling for his death.

"And no nation has ever gone into battle without claiming that it was only doing what God wanted. The motto of the Crusade of 1096 was 'Deus vult'---God wills it. God seems to have willed every war on behalf of every cause ever since. 'Who says I am not under the special protection of God?' said Adolf Hitler.

"From India to Eastern Europe to the Middle East, we are witnessing renewed barbarities in the name of religious righteousness. In the United States, 'stealth candidates' of the Christian rightwing---so called because they hide their religious agenda from voters during campaigns---'know' that God wants them to get evolutionary theory and sex education out of schools and prayer in.

"There's a difference between 'what God wants' and what fallible humans BELIEVE God wants to suit their own purposes. As for me, I'll tell you what I think God wants: for human beings to show a little more humility about the mysteries of life, and a lot more tolerance for other human beings' way of thinking" (Tavris, Carol. "Don't tell me what God thinks." REDBOOK. June 1993. Page 35.)