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Archive for August, 2013

I don’t remember ever losing sleep or being so disturbed over a “study” before. So let me share it with you. (I read about this in the book called Quiet.)

Apparently a man named, Solomon Asch, conducted experiments regarding group influence between 1951 and 1956. In his study he gave a test to a group of people asking questions about their perception of pictures of lines. Easily 95% of the folks answered all the questions correctly individually. Then he planted people in the group to throw out the same incorrect answers. When that was done, only 25% of the people answered all correctly. A whopping 75% of the group went along with the wrong answer to at least one question. Why??? Why would people who can think, who know their right from their left, who have all their senses choose obvious wrong answers?

Well, for years they didn’t know the Why. Then a neuroscientist, Gregory Berns, did another similar study. On their own, individuals answered only 13.8% wrong answers, but when answering as a group, they agreed with the wrong answers 41% of the time. But Berns also wanted to know why people so easily conformed. Using an fMRI scanner he found that people’s actual perception of the problem was changed by the group. They just didn’t say to themselves, “I’m just going to go with the flow even though I know it’s wrong.” Their belief in what they saw changed! That is just amazing and frightening to me.

So I’ve been thinking, this is how all the the atrocities in history happened and continue to happen. The crucifixion of Jesus, the witch trials, the Holocaust, and so on. What is so clearly wrong is thought right.

We probably think we are above believing it is okay to kill innocent people, but our minds are altered by our culture nonetheless and the innocent still die. People are swept away by what our culture says is right, what is cool, what is smart. We don’t seem to have a foundation anymore. Even Christians are putting aside what the Bible clearly states as wrong and deciding that there are exceptions. Homosexuality is condemned in the Bible and because a person’s daughter or son is homosexual, their perception of it changes. “It’s okay. Maybe it was wrong then but not now.” The Bible says God created the world and made man in his image. Yet, we dismiss this by entertaining ideas and theories contrary to God’s word because it seems smarter to us. Life is precious and to be protected, but if it is inconvenient then our law says it is okay to get rid of it.

sheep-with-shepherd-1

We think we are progressing in our thoughts, we are cool, we are more enlightened than our grand parents, but we are a group of lost sheep, following  what could cost us our soul and our lives. We must choose the right answers despite the group and despite the pain. But I wonder if we know what the right answers are. Has our perception so altered that we can’t see what is right? The Bible says men will call evil good, and good evil. And that’s is where we are. Seems hopeless.

But thankfully it is not because we have a God who loves us, who calls us to repentance, who covers our sin by his son’s sacrifice and makes us his children. My prayer is that God will open our eyes to our wrongs and give us courage to do and believe what is right and good.

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