Are unbelievers dogmatic? What is dogmatism? A dogmatic person holds to his chosen articles of belief with a tenacious will resistant to all objections. Whether summarily or after long deliberation, the result is known beforehand. Any doubts a dogmatist might have are irrelevant. His primary and only concern is orthodoxy, whether his own or that of his congregation. The pathos that finds doubt a danger to salvation and reputation drives dogmatic thinking.
Metaphorically speaking, a dogmatist locks up his house, closes the blinds and curtains, and locks all the doors and windows lest a stray thought break in. A dogmatist stays home and does not go wandering aimlessly about the countryside. That is how a dogmatist understands leaving his house: aimless wandering. Better to stay home than run the risk of losing the way home.
The unbeliever knows a freedom of which the dogmatist is ignorant. When the unbeliever moves house, the dogmatist accuses him of dogmatism for having left his old abode for a new one: you are the same as I! You refuse to remain in or even return to your old house with the same steadfastness with which I stay at home. The dogmatist is hopelessly perplexed by the unbeliever’s seemingly constant changes in abode. He can only understand such changes as the result of adherence to some other dogma.
The essential difference between the unbeliever and the dogmatist, a Christian for example, is not to be found in the fact of having beliefs or in the contents of beliefs, but rather the critical difference lies in a difference of attitude toward one’s beliefs.