For years I've been using the word dogma to describe other people's thinking. This is an example of how I used it:

Don't get caught up in other people's dogma...live your own truth...

Basically to not get hung up on expectations of others for you to be thin, smart, sexy, successful under their definition, rich, etc. To find existence outside of the bounds of socially-defined morality (which I call dogma). I am wondering if dogma was the correct word or if there is something better to describe this type of peer pressure or expectation.

Dogma seems to be defined as related to religion, but I am referring more to humanity in general. Thoughts?

  • I made up a word for exactly this during a magic mushroom trip :D Apr 28, 2016 at 13:43
  • "dogma" is a set of beliefs, not someone's thinking. That would be opinion. Is what a person's beliefs are and what he believes in is what you're interested in?
    – vickyace
    Apr 28, 2016 at 13:54
  • I think dogma perfectly apt here, albeit somewhat metaphorical. Literally, yes, it refers to the whole of what some church has laid down as stuff that its members are required to believe. But metaphorically it can refer to stuff that people collectively believe without critically questioning it. I suspect @vickyace's "set of beliefs" vs. "someone's thinking" is a distinction without a difference, like First Gravedigger's "to act, to do, and to perform." Apr 28, 2016 at 14:13
  • If you even remember what the word was, @ArmenԾիրունյան, could you favor us with it? Apr 28, 2016 at 14:15
  • @BrianDonovan I think "beliefs" should be used instead and avoid this quest all together. :)
    – vickyace
    Apr 28, 2016 at 14:24

2 Answers 2


Creed - an idea or set of beliefs that guides the actions of a person or group


Ideology -  1.a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture

  1. a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture


Also try tenet


While dogma is apt enough as a metaphor (from religion) for the whole mass of opinion that the mass of people accept all too uncritically, another possible term is bullshit. As philosopher Harry Frankfurt famously declared in his essay on the subject, bullshit is definable by just this lack of critical concern about whether a belief or assertion corresponds to reality or not.

It is just this lack of connection to a concern with truth—this indifference to how things really are—that I regard as of the essence of bullshit.

Of course, this is one of

the words that you can't say, that you're not supposed to say all the time

as George Carlin memorably put it, which may be a consideration underlying your preference for dogma.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.