Friday, September 12, 2014

Group Think and Peer Pressure

We lack the strength of our convictions.  In so many ways, in so many places, we substitute individual thinking(and risk taking) for the safety of "group think".  When instead of personally defended facts and figures we lean on the ambiguous concept of "consensus" we are abdicating our responsibility to be independent moral agents and thinkers.  And here is the great inherent risk in such cowardice; Agreeing with the group will not protect you when your individual choices come home to roost. 

If everyone says that drinking bleach is good for you, there is no healing to be found when you lie in a hospital bed and say, "But but but, the "experts" said it was ok". 

Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living".   How much of life today is not worth living!  Sitting in our comfortable bubbles we expect others to do our thinking for us.  If something a bunch of people say sounds good to us, it is good enough.  Whether scientifically, politically, personally, religiously, we are in a constant tension of trying to pretend that truth is created by trending hashtagged phrases on social media.

And it is killing us.

Internally and externally. 

Here is the thing about truth;  It has no problems with being questioned!  If you question someone, or, something, and the response is mockery, ridicule, and general offendedness, then it should be a red flag that truth may not be found in such claims.  Stop asking yourself, "What do others believe?" and start asking, "What is true?"

In John 7:48 the Pharisees are furious that people are listening to Jesus.  Does one of their leaders stand up and say, "Here is my 5 point argument, with Torah footnotes, that show in detail why Jesus is a crazy person, feel free to critique my points!" ?  No, they say, "Do any of us leaders believe him??  Of course not!!!" 

No one is willing to put their individual name on the line.  They just hide behind their group think.  They never seem to want to respond to anything Jesus specifically states, they just keep arguing that the "consensus" by those who "know better" is that Jesus is a crazy person. 

We are made as individuals.  We are responsible to respond to truth claims as individuals.  Either Jesus is the son of God who died on the cross for our sins and rose again, or, He is not.  There is no arguing about what other people might think.  Too often we defer our personal responsibilities by arguing about peripheral details.  Like, "What about aborigine Joe from 4000 BC?", or, "But 'those' people don't act very nice(in my opinion)". 

You, and you alone, have to address who Christ is.  Or, not.  Again, it is you and you alone who is responsible.

Don't drink bleach because someone else said it was ok.  And, don't avoid bleach because someone else said you should.  The double edge sword is if you make any decision because someone told you to, you will eventually question the reasoning.  If a friend tells you to not drink bleach and that is the only reason you don't, what if you find out that friend is a liar?  You might throw out his reasonably good point of not drinking bleach.

Make your own decisions.


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