Monday, July 13, 2009

Commitment: Dangerous Ground

Mistakes Were Made (But not by me!) Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions and Hurtful Acts

Looks like a great read that I'm going to have to get to. The book discusses cognitive dissonance theory. We cannot hold two opposing views at the same time. It also shows that the higher the commitment to something, the more willing a person is to ignore the facts. The first chapter, which is available on Amazon, gives some good examples to explain this.

In light of my previous post, this book sheds some light on why people will hold onto a lie once it has been proven wrong. After reading through more of the comments on the chalk story it was interesting that a number of Christians didn't care if the story had been proven false. It made them feel good and that is what they were holding onto. And even though they want everyone to know and love Jesus, the fact that they wouldn't admit to the lie, turned people off to that possibility.

The book talks about the more we buy into something, the greater the sacrifice, the less we are able to turn away from something that might not be true or the best for us. After my first year of Bible College I was at a crossroads as to whether I would quit my job at General Motors. I had been on a 1 year leave of absence. We had sold our house and bought another one in Peterborough. I could have easily gone back to my job. But we were committed to the plan. There simply was no way that I couldn't follow through. Was it God leading or simply ego at that point?

We have a very unfortunate ability to rationalize our decisions in spite of the facts. Looking at both sides of the equation is not a strong suit for most of us. And for Christians who do things because they felt God leading them, it is even worse because if something they did by the leading of the Holy Spirit proved to be wrong, maybe everything they believe about His leading is wrong.

When I reflect on the extreme contradictory beliefs that are held under the umbrella of Christianity, this theory helps me understand why people can form their little fortresses of groups that allow them to be happy even though those looking in can see the contradictions so easily.

Loving our group with our whole heart should not be equated with loving Jesus with our whole heart.

It would seem that the most dangerous place to be, when it comes to admitting we are wrong, is to those that are the most committed.

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