Based on Dorothy L. Sayers' article "Creed or Chaos?," can it be argued that contemporary Christians today understand the importance of the creeds?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the 1940 article "Creed or Chaos?," author Dorothy L. Sayers certainly does argue that Christians of her time period failed to see the importance of and adhere to the Christian creed. It can also be said her arguments apply to Christians today.

One argument she makes is that there are three kinds of people in the world: (1) the heathen, meaning the unbeliever; (2) the "ignorant Christians," which she identifies as Christians who only have a limited understanding of Jesus as being "gentle" but only vaguely understand Christian ethics; and (3) what she calls the "more or less instructed church-goers," who know all about biblical commandments, confession, and communion but do not know enough about their beliefs to be able to defend them before a "Marxian atheist or a Wellsian agnostic" (p. 3).  All of the above can be said to still be true today. There are those who have no faith at all, those who have a limited understanding of their professed faith, and those who still don't understand enough to be able to defend their own faith. What's more, she says the existence of these categories of individuals is the direct result of the fact that the United States is trying to practice "religious toleration," which is still true today (p. 3). Today, we teach the value of accepting all religions, all cultures, and even all values, such as non-traditional family values.

There are even those who argue, just as Sayers asserts, that a belief in God isn't necessary so long as we're brotherly to our neighbors, but they fail to see that this argument can be taken even farther--if there is no need to believe in God, then why should individuals believe that we should even be brotherly at all? In essence, her argument is that lack of knowledge in Christian creed is leading to moral decay. She further argues that if the Christian doesn't believe in the Christian creed, which she also calls dogma, then there is no reason to believe in God at all because it's the dogma that gives meaning to the religion and the belief system. For example, she points out that there are those who might view Jesus Christ as only man, which would make Jesus "irrelevant" to any understanding of God; and there are those who might view Jesus as only God, which would make Jesus "irrelevant" to any "experience of human life (p. 4). She argues that it is only through seeing Jesus as both God and man that we see Jesus as being spiritually relevant to human life through salvation and redemption, and if a believer fails to see this, then there is no point in believing at all. Hence, she argues that there is no point in belief if one won't believe the full creed of the professed belief.