Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Peer-Driven Church

To watch this video, click on this link:

"Woe unto them that call evil good, 
and good evil; 
that put darkness for light,
and light for darkness;
that put bitter for sweet,
and sweet for bitter!

(Isaiah 5:20)

Peer Pressure is the easiest way to manipulate people. This piece of comedy satire in the video vividly explains what is happening to to people in our churches and across our society.

As you watch the above video, note the self-doubt. The confusion. The pressure to conform. How the pressure is ramped up by calling upon an "authority." The high stakes! The emotional appeals!

In 1972 when I was a student in an Educational Psychology class we were put through a similar group psychological experiment. We were positioned in a large circle. One person was designated as the first person and given a message to deliver. A group of approximately 8-10 people after them were given the same message.

But the rest of us didn't know that they had been given this message. We only knew that we were given the assignment to find group consensus.

These first people had been secretly told to assert strongly that "Black Is White." As the people began go around the circle, more and more pressure was brought to bear. Each secretly-informed person would more assertively and authoritatively state, "Black Is White."

There were only a handful of the rest of us at the end who were not privy to the secret. So by the time it got to our last section of the circle we were puzzled and confused. We were supposed to say "Black Is White" in order to accomplish group agreement.

What happened to us? We did the same thing you see happen on the video!

This comedy routine, even though a satire, is the most perfect example I've ever seen of how this peer-driven process works.

Peer-driven is a sophisticated psycho-social marketing technique. It is used in the evangelical church world to pressure people into conforming to new norms, beliefs, attitudes, values and behaviors. It is a very effective method employed by trained leaders to cause people in the pews to change, to follow new teachings and new teachers, to believe new doctrines, to read new books, to join new groups, to adopt new behaviors, etc.

Have you ever wondered why evangelical leaders shifted the focus to "relationships" and "community" over the past few decades? It was to institute a peer-driven culture. What is the final authority? It isn't the Bible anymore. It is whatever the group says. "Black is White."

For example, peer-driven can resemble a phenomena called "Groupthink":

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints, by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

Loyalty to the group requires individuals to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions, and there is loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking.
[Source, links removed]

There is a reason that the Bible compares people to sheep. We are prone to follow the leaders, and we like to follow our peers.  

Watch and weep!

"My sheep hear My voice,
and I know them,
and they follow Me."

(John 10:27)
By Sarah H. Leslie

[Note: This comedy group's routines are posted all over YouTube, but beware that it originated with BYU TV.]