Religious Beliefs

Are doctrine and dogma important to Hindus?

Over the centuries many important Hindu philosophers and theologians have devised elaborate and sophisticated systems of thought. Those systems are an attempt to structure essential elements of ancient tradition so as to show their internal logic and consistency. Their teachings have had the force of doctrine for those who subscribe to the various schools of thought, but they do not constitute a body of authoritative dogma as such. The vast majority of Hindus grow up hearing about the basic themes described above. Their parents and teachers pass along the traditional stories about the forces of good and evil. But few devout Hindus think of religious belief in terms of formal assent to a body of officially defined truths. Most Hindus have a sense of great flexibility with respect to the content of the faith.


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