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Transcript of Conformity
"'It is always best on these occasions to do what the mob do.' 'But suppose there are two mobs?' suggested Mr. Snodgrass. 'Shout with the largest,' replied Mr. Pickwick. What is Conformity? Coming to a definition Conformity is real or imagined pressure exerted upon a group or individual that involves yielding to social pressures or the desire to be like or please the group or individual that results in a change of behavior or opinion that may or may not be deeply-held belief. "...yielding to social pressures." - Crutchfield What is Conformity? Some influential studies Jenness 1932 Asch 1951 Milgrim 1963 Zimbardo 1973 What is Conformity? A Biblical perspective Summorphos Romans 8:29 and Philippians 3:21 Having the same form as another denoting the idea of being conformed to an image More of a physical transformation than a sociological one. Does paint conformity in a positive light What is Conformity? A Biblical perspective Suschematizo Romans 12:2 and 1 Peter 1:14 Having the same outward form of a pattern or model Used in a figurative sense to describe a particular way of thinking or behavior Categories of Conformity These "categories" are introduced by Mann (1969) and Kelman (1958) Normative Conformity Yielding to group pressure because the individual wants to fit into the group Best demonstrated through the Asch study The individual is afraid of being rejected by the group. May not hold beliefs deeply Categories of Conformity Informational Conformity When a person lacks sufficient knowledge and looks to the group for guidance Seeking guidance in a socially unique situation Distinguished from normative in that the "wisdom of the group" becomes internalized Categories of Conformity Ingratiational Conformity When a person wants to impress or gain favor from others in a group. Distinctive from normative in that the motivation is one of reward rather than fear. Like normative, this is more than likely not internalized Categories of Conformity Compliance This bleeds over into normative and ingratiational conformity in terms of reward/punishment Primarily conformity due to reward/punishment Power is the key influence Categories of Conformity Identification Classic role-model theory. Motivation is one of identification with a group or individual The content conformed to is not as important as having the desired relationship with the one being identified Attractiveness is key Categories of Conformity Internalization Conformity happens because of the content of the behavior The change is largely informationally driven Credibility is key Biblical Evaluation Normative Conformity Pharisees Pressure from the group to fit in and punishment for stepping outside of the norm Hypocrisy leading to an overemphasis on appearance Not Biblically appropriate Biblical Evaluation Informational Conformity Apollos - Acts 18 Internalized conformity Changed by the renewing of the mind Biblically appropriate Biblical Evaluation Ingratiational Conformity Ananias and Sapphira - Acts 5 Sold the land not out of compulsion but to be admired by the group in the same way Barnabas was Not a punishment motivation but a reward motivation Not Biblically appropriate Biblical Evaluation Compliance Sowing and Reaping and the Prophets Doing things for heavenly rewards is appropriate Turning from sin for fear of punishment is appropriate Biblically appropriate with wisdom. If reward and punishment are the only conformity practices, abuse will occur Biblical Evaluation Identification Christlikeness Philippians 2; Leviticus 11:44; 1 Corinthians 11:1 The attractiveness of Jesus and his way of life are key Biblically appropriate with wisdom. Who or what is being imitated? It the change outward or inward? Biblical Evaluation Internalization Accepting biblical teaching Peter's sermons or Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch The men and the message were deemed credible Biblically appropriate. This is the heart of discipleship Conformity Application Church Fundraising Guilt Tithing Stewardship/generosity Conformity Application Guilt Ron Sider in Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger Guilt tries to heighten a sense of injustice or personal wrong in the heart of an individual in the hopes of stirring action Works on the inward feelings of an individual Conformity Application Guilt as Informational Conformity Nathan and David in 1 Samuel Most appropriate to take place in the presence of sin. Works on the inward feelings of an individual Inner feelings of others are difficult to discern, especially compared to outward sin Conformity Application Guilt as Internalization Conformity Credibility is key Ron Sider is Yale educated, uses statistical data and has impressive pastoral endorsements For a pastor or discipler to use guilt, he/she must have credibility in financial matters David saw Nathan as a credible with credible information Conformity Application Tithing Giving 10% of one's income to the church or other kingdom means Proponents don't see this as a legalistic minimum Biblical foundations - Malachi 3 is often quoted The driving force of tithing is a conformation to a biblical standard that carries an internal motivation. Conformity Application Tithing as Compliance Reward and punishment is involved and power is key Tithing being biblical holds the power Malachi 3 - Punishment of robbing God and reward of poured out blessings Powerful tool but should not be used for compliance conformity exclusively Conformity Application Stewardship/Generosity Stewardship is ingrained with the idea of generosity We give because God has given to us Christ gave to us sacrificially so we should give to others sacrificially Conformity Application Stewardship/Generosity as Identification Conformity (also could be internalization) Giving is done to identify with Christ and his generosity to us Attractiveness is key There are different possible referents:
- Jesus (God)
- A church
- A pastor or other Godly believer Summary Two key observations on conformity practices A holistic approach is preferred. There are many that while Biblically appropriate could lead only to external change rather than internal change The church should primarily be concerned with internal results as opposed to external results. This is difficult to measure. A church should focus primary on techniques that reach internally and couple them with ones that affect the external Conformity Application Stewardship/Generosity as
Identification Conformity Identification conformity in this area largely depends on the referent A poor referent or could lead to only an external change instead of an internal change