It’s a short little essay in the short little collection of Sayers’ essays on the importance of creed and confession, of knowing what we worship. Because the word dogma has gained something of a negative connotation in our world, we should know that she uses it positively to mean the set of doctrinal beliefs concerning faith and morals. Using her notorious sharp wit, she makes a key point for the 21st century — we really do need to know what we believe.
“Any stigma,” said a witty tongue, “will do to beat a dogma”; and the flails of ridicule have been brandished with such energy of late on the threshing-floor of controversy that the seed of the Word has become well-nigh lost amid the whirling of the chaff. Christ, in His Divine innocence, said to the Woman of Samaria, “Ye worship what ye know not” — apparently being under the impression that it might be desirable, on the whole, to know what one was worshipping. He thus showed Himself sadly out of touch with the twentieth-century mind, for the cry today is: “Away with the tedious complexities of dogma — let us have the simple spirit of worship; just worship, no matter of what!” The only drawback to this demand for a generalized and undirected worship is the practical difficulty of arousing any sort of enthusiasm for the worship of nothing in particular.”
It would not perhaps be altogether surprising if, in this nominally Christian country, where the Creeds are daily recited, there were a number of people who knew all about Christian doctrine and disliked it. It is more startling to discover how many people there are who heartily dislike and despise Christianity without having the faintest notion what it is. If you tell them, they cannot believe you. I do not mean that they cannot believe the doctrine: that would be understandable enough, since it takes some believing. I mean that they simply cannot believe that anything so interesting, so exciting, and so dramatic can be the orthodox Creed of the Church.
Think about it. What do you believe? Do you know any creeds or catechisms that summarize those beliefs? Do they seem boring? Is it possible they could contain a story that would strike an unbeliever as odd, strange, exciting, or dramatic? If you say a creed or confession in your church today, look for the drama in the dogma!