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“We Believe”


How would we feel if we had to declare the Nicene Creed in front of friends or colleagues who do not share our faith? To recite the Creed is courageous. We are exposing ourselves to accusations of being naive, bigoted, arrogant and credulous.


Rarely in the West has there been such fierce public rejection of religion. Religion is widely held to be irrational. So even to confess that “we believe” is to risk being exposed to ridicule and contempt. 


Even worse, the Creed is a declaration of belief in the form of dogmas. It might be tolerable to have a vague sort of spirituality, but our society assumes that dogmas mean our minds are closed. The assumption is that if we accept dogmas we refuse to think for ourselves. 


The purpose of the dogmas of the Church is not to shut down further discussion.  Quite the opposite. Our dogmas evolved in opposition to heresies which were trying to do exactly that: to shut down discussion. Properly understood, our dogmas invite us to carry on our pilgrimage towards the mystery, pushing us beyond too-easy answers.


When we say “we believe,” we take a step to accepting God’s love. We should be filled with gratitude, opening our minds to see what God offers.


Based on an excerpt from Timothy Radcliffe, Why Go to Church? : The Drama of the Eucharist