Although in many contexts “dogma” and “doctrine” are used interchangeably, in technical theological contexts “dogma” has a narrower meaning: a doctrine which has been given official status by a religious body. Especially in the Catholic Church dogmas are required beliefs whereas many other less firmly established beliefs are only doctrines.

Nonspecialists writing about religion often ignore the distinction, and call a doctrine which has not received such official status a “dogma.” Since only some doctrines are dogmas but all dogmas are doctrines and since “dogma” often has negative connotations, it’s safer in non-technical religious contexts to stick with “doctrine.”