Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Religious Conformity

I spotted this video over at Progression of Faith. I have stated before on this Blog that I am concerned about being able to raise my children with a knowledge of Faith, without indoctrinating them with it. One acquaintance of mine, when she heard me state my concern, said "What is wrong with indoctrinating your children when you know you are right?"

Whew! I could go on for two pages just on that statement. Watching this video should give us all pause about our spiritual practices. There is a lot of emphasis in faith circles about community, but even that can have its downside. The need to be affirmed and included is a powerful thing.


jim said...

Wow... that is a very telling study. I can personally attest to giving in to group pressure and affirming doctrines that I know inside are not right.

This is alarming... this is very true. Thanks for posting it.

Brook said...

that's so funny... I was just reading about that study earlier tonight in my "Woody Allen and Philosophy" book (his movie "Zelig" deals with this very issue of conformity to the comical extreme). The need to be liked and fit in with the group is so strong in a lot of (the majority of?) people, that they will go against their own "self" (and therefore negate their selfhood) to not go against the group. This is how things like the holocaust happen, quite literally - and quite easily. If people won't go against the group over something as innocuous as the length of a line (where there really is no significant negative consequence to doing so), how much more will it be true under fear of significant negative social consequences - fear of rejection, physical abuse, or even death? How often does this sort of thing come into play (especially these days) under the banner of "patriotism"?

for some reason, this reminds me of speaking in tongues and passing out in chapel during "spiritual emphasis week"... :-)

Brook said...

it also reminds me of that Star Trek episode where Picard was captured and tortured by the Romulans, and at the end has to fight against his very self (which finally wanted to see what he was being told to see) and shout how many lights he knew where really there (even though he was starting to see otherwise).

SocietyVs said...

Wow...that was a great thing to learn from - namely that if someone hears something from a lot of people who answer the same way - they eventually conform to it also (and I would say the opposite - if they don't conform they would leave - just to not be subject to the pressure).

I guess it could be very telling of the fact we see a lot of people leaving church just to be honest with themselves.

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