We have recently spent the days of Holy Week reflecting on the last days of Jesus who chose fidelity to his mission over the safety of membership in the group. He chose to speak the truth as he saw it rather than to deny it and acquiesce in order to save his life and reputation. For us who consider ourselves his followers, that is worth thinking about. Many of us accept collective thinking without any critical analysis. We may accept contempt toward certain races, religions, or groups without checking any factual evidence. We tolerate the invective and propaganda that fosters anger and division and fall into the herd mentality instead of standing for our own values. The pressures for conformity are enormous and the fear of disapproval from family and friends is strong. Yet, to embrace racism and militarism, to scorn refuges, to neglect the poor, and to show little concern for the devastation of the earth is a contradiction of the values of the gospel by which we claim to live.
Strengthen me according to your word.
How does the apparent collective attitude around certain current issues influence your judgment? What credence do you give to political invective that demonizes certain groups? Are your judgments based in your values and actual factual evidence? Do you need to make adjustments in your attitudes?
My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of God.
Jesus was short on sermons, long on conversations; short on answers, long on questions; short on abstraction and propositions, long on stories and parables; short on telling you what to think, long on challenging you to think for yourself.
Brian D. McLaren
The tribe often thinks the visionary has turned his back on them. When, in fact, the visionary has simply turned his face to the future.
Ray A. Davis
Societal peer pressure to conform runs strong, but as more of us continue to think and act for ourselves, rather than be under the influence of group-think, we begin to make more effective choices.
Think for yourself, be yourself and return to what is real.
Bryant H. McGill
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.
Freedom of speech is unnecessary if the people to whom it is granted do not think for themselves.
The individual has always to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.