Group Think – Part 3

groupOne example of the Group Think we have been discussing, and one which is a little broader than what might be derived from our everyday interactions, is that of how popular beliefs are encouraged. For example, the British personality, Stephen Fry, has recently been promoted through video footage of his strongly-worded anti-God sentiments that have gone viral on the internet. However, he has simply resorted to belligerence and emotionalism as if these in themselves form a sufficient argument.

In reality, Fry resembles Richard Dawkins (and previous posts about him are searchable on this site). Both are masters of tapping existing prejudices of the populace against Christianity and voicing these forcefully so as to supposedly provide intellectual fulfilment for atheism. Actually, the prejudice remains, but with the absence of any conscience to concern oneself with acquiring and interpreting necessary facts. Group Think poignantly captures and validates the emotion that is communally experienced in these situations and brings a shared ownership that comforts the concerned and supposedly dispels the detractors.

Ministers who were primarily theologians in the nineteenth century and leaders in the twentieth, feel an increasing pressure to be marketers in the twenty-first, since the battle for the hearts and minds of people has often, in reality, become a battle for the hearts. And whilst such emotional appeal cannot dismiss the importance of intellect, the shifting sands of morality and mindsets require increasing boldness, opportunism and wisdom in the task of engaging the masses who are increasingly sceptical of objective truth and opposed to those who embrace it.

Finally, it is perhaps against such a backdrop, that the power of narrative offers a compelling synthesis of old truths and new emotions. Crafting stories from the heart and regaling those of Scripture so that they resonate with contemporary contexts can collectively offer new levels of influence that underscore an authority which is ultimately beyond any of us.

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