Has Christianity been compromised?
Cognitive Dissonance in Christianity
Mono-theistic and faith based; this is Christianity. As Christians we believe that we are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ, both metaphorically and actually. Of course at no point in time did anyone place Jesus’ blood upon us as we confessed salvation. However, we are taught to understand that we are protected from the arrows of Satan because Christ bled and died on the cross for us.
His physical death and physical blood shed (actually), transcended time and space, to continuously protect us from evil (metaphorically). Essentially, what he did on the cross as a martyr, for humanity; was equal to what occurred during the exodus, when the lamb’s blood was smeared on the posts of the Israelites’ for first born protection. Christ became the lamb, the sacrificial lamb.
Do I believe this? Yes I do. This is the foundation of my faith. This is the foundation that I have set my life around. It is a set of beliefs that I have internalized and adhere to because I believe it to be true.
So with that being said, as a Christian, what are Christians supposed to do? This is where implementation comes in, and man-made personas of righteousness intertwine among the gospels, to justify man’s need to create a comfort zone in wake of his shortcomings. This is Cognitive Dissonance.
So what is Cognitive Dissonance?
According to Kendra Cherry a Psychology expert, Cognitive Dissonance is
“People tending to seek consistency in their beliefs and perceptions. So what happens when one of our beliefs conflicts with another previously held belief? The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feelings of discomfort that result from holding two conflicting beliefs. When there is a discrepancy between beliefs and behaviors, something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance” (About.Com, 2012).
In layman’s terms Cognitive Dissonance (CD), is knowing what you know and justifying it when you behave contrary to it. As simple as that.
Yet there is so much depth in the way people react. It is like saying a cat is different from a dog but there are 100 species of dogs. Does that automatically mean that there are 100 species of cats, and if so, is there a specific dog to match each specific cat?
As irrelevant as this may seem it is actually uniquely close to how Christians justify their life styles and their integrity as a “believer”.
Allow me to help you out. “Individuals can adjust their attitudes or actions in various ways. Adjustments result in one of three relationships between two cognitions or between a cognition and a behavior,
Consonant relationship – Two cognitions/actions that are consistent with one another (e.g., not wanting to get intoxicated while out, then ordering water instead of alcohol)
Irrelevant relationship – Two cognitions/actions that are unrelated to one another (e.g., not wanting to get intoxicated while out, then tying your shoes)
Dissonant relationship – Two cognitions/actions that are inconsistent with one another (e.g., not wanting to get intoxicated while out, then consuming a large quantity of alcohol)” (Wikipedia, Cognitive Dissonance definition, 2014).
Layman’s terms, there are three types of behavior and thought processes that accompany each type of (CD) epiphany. How one responds to situations that deviate from what is held as a belief is the key to understanding the devotion of the individual.
The ability to adhere to fundamentals is derived strictly from the understanding of the punishment of the deviation. Awareness of consequence severity is determIned by the deviation.
This is closely related to someone who commits a crime. Most criminals are repeat offenders. Not so much in the fact that they commit the same crime but to the extent that they understand that a separate or equal offense will more than likely put them back in the same situation.
Criminals are victims of (CD) as well. Knowing full well that another crime will possibly result in them having another charge, they often believe that there is a possibility that they will escape apprehension if they commit it in a way that is unique, or if they do it well. Silliness right? Well if so, then, how many repeat offenders are behind bars who thought that they could get away with it? See the point?
Now back to Christians. Let us use the three types of Cognitive Dissonance categories to see we understand the severity of our crime of compromise.
Consonant Relationship (Example)
A Christian man is flirted with by a woman. She touches him in a seductive way, and he leaves the area that they are in.
Irrelevant Relationship (Example)
A Christian man is flirted with by a woman. She touches him in a seductive way, and he turns his back to her and begin talking to his friends.
Dissonant Relationship (Example)
A Christian man is flirted with by a woman. She touches him in a seductive way, and he begins to touch her back because he knows that Jesus will forgive him.
The Consonant Relationship removes the individual from the situation (righteousness). It preserves integrity and resembles the Biblical description of what a “Christian” should do. The Irrelevant Relationship shuns the behavior while remaining in the situation (temptation). Dissonant Relationship goes completely against the doctrine, and does so because the person has justified the sin action with the old ‘God Got Me’ phrase.
Let me explain this, the world has come up with many ways to just justify living contrary to the bible. The use of phrases like,
“YOLO” You only live once, encourages people to do what feels good because you have one life. What they don’t tell you is that yes, you have one physical life; after a physical death there is a judgement. Because you only live once, it is pertinent that you do it right.
“God Got Me” This is a phrase used when people do wrong and they expect good to come of it. They use this phrase to justify the whys of what they do. It is really an open line of disrespect. This is also a revengeful phrase; it is boastful and not always justified. Because god has you, it is important that the heart you claim to host him with be pure.
“Turn Down/Turn Up” this term is used for the partiers and the people that surround themselves with others who are intent on feeling good. I have even heard some ministers using this phrase. It is not a godly concept and yet it is spoken in God’s house. Turning up and down denotes alteration of the spirit. Your spirit is not to be confused with your soul. Your spirit is your personality, it animates you. Altering the spirit involves altering the mind and the physical body. It is witchcraft.
“Do what you Want/Do as Thou Wilt” These phrases are just as them seem. It gives authority to do whatever you want because it is assumed that life has no consequences. This mindset was popularized by Aleister Crowley, who begat a cultural of sexual worship. He actually coined the phrase “Do as thou Wilt”, it is his philosophy and religion that began the Satanist movement of the West Coast.
“Perhaps no one single person has had such widespread influence on the countercultural turns of the 20th century as Cambridge-educated occultist and inventor of the religion of Thelema, Aleister Crowley. And according to Crowley, he isn’t finished yet. “1000 years from now,” Crowley once wrote, “the world will be sitting in the sunset of Crowlianity.” The self-aggrandizing Crowley called himself “the Great Beast 666” and many other tongue-in-cheek apocalyptic titles. The British press dubbed him “The Wickedest Man in the World,”… Crowley is perhaps most famous for his dictum “Do what thou wilt,” which, taken out of its context, seems to be a philosophy of absolute, unfettered libertinism” (Josh Jones, OpenCulture.com, 2015).
- Using this phrase is equivalent to partaking in his religion. To quote him is to follow him. Do what you want leads to damnation.
- Understand that we war not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities of darkness. Our words have an effect on the environment in which we live.
The Christian lifestyle is not an easy feat. To live as Christ lived is a walk that will leave you alone. Righteous is not manufactured through a chain of repetitious behaviors and repeated- rummages of Bible quotes. Knowledge of the Bible is not sanctification; just as passionate stances on some Bible issues is not as well.
Christians, you cannot chose to fight some battles, you must put on the entire armor and stand on the Word in its entirety. Compromise is not devotion. This is where we fall short.
We proclaim righteousness, yet partake in things that are far from it. We bring vanity and idols into our places of worship and wonder why we are limited in our spiritual progressions.
The answer is not the lips of man. You must go to the source for yourself. You have to receive him for yourself so go to him for yourself.
Joel 2:13 reads,
Grace, In Of Longsuffering Of God, Receptiveness Not Tearing Clothes God, Compassion Of Repentance, Nature Of God, Patience Of Restraint God, Repentance Of God Is Gracious And rend your heart and not your garments "Now return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in loving-kindness and relenting of evil
The only way to pursue a path of righteousness is to not only turn away from evil, but to distance yourself from it.
We have become as lost as the children of Israel. We devote our lives to our appearances and to exceeding our brothers or sister that sand next to us. We have idolized things in our lives and have been set up to do it in a covert way.
Satan is cunning and in every manner he is constantly thinking of ways to enslave the men and women of God, because he desires your souls.
“Astrology is defined as, consisting of several pseudoscientific systems of divination based on the premise that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world. Many cultures have attached importance to astronomical events, and the Indians, Chinese, and Mayans developed elaborate systems for predicting terrestrial events from celestial observations. In the West, astrology most often consists of a system of horoscopes purporting to explain aspects of a person's personality and predict future events in their life based on the positions of the sun, moon, and other celestial objects at the time of their birth. The majority of professional astrologers rely on such systems”.
(Wikipedia, 2015, Astrology Definition)
Astrology is based on Astronomy. Astronomy is, “is a natural science which is the study of celestial objects (such as stars, galaxies, planets, moons, asteroids, comets and nebulae), the physics, chemistry, and evolution of such objects, and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth,
including supernovae explosions, gamma ray bursts, and cosmic microwave background radiation. A related but distinct subject, physical cosmology, is concerned with studying the universe as a whole”
(Wikipedia, 2015, Astronomy Definition)
It is not by accident that entertainers are called stars. Entertainers are idolized and worshipped. We have far surpassed merely being entertained. Christians imitate celebrities in the way they dress, and style their hair.
You must think about it, the media and entertainment industry set the standards for style and create modern trends. The fashion fads are passed along to us by way of music video, reality television, news outlets, and movies.
Christians unknowingly engage in worship of these entities when we change our appearances to fit the current trends. Getting a new hairstyle is changing your appearance. Not only is it changing your appearance; but it is paying homage to someone you saw wearing it. This is worship. In partaking of this worship you develop satisfaction of knowing that you “look good”.
Women, how do you feel after you get your hair done? Your nails done? Keeping your appearance neat and clean is not the same as vanity. It is Vanity that drives us to go to the salon every week; Vanity motivates us to compete with our peers.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised Proverbs 31:30
This represents the Dissonant Relationship. Christians are fully aware of God’s stance on Vanity yet justify their behavior by saying that God wants them to be presentable.
Again, vanity goes against the Law of God the Bible teaches against it. We have been so conditioned by the world that we no longer seek after what God holds dear. Our discernment cannot gauge the true content of the heart because, we are stopped at the outward appearance.
Even as we chose to fellowship with certain people in our churches we make these choices based on how other church members present themselves in a physical fashion.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship
As stated earlier, Satan is cunning in his methods of indoctrination. Think about fragrances that bear the names of celebrities. Essentially whether or not you listen to Nicki Menage, or Usher, you are still reverencing them as an idol. How many of you have a fragrance in your homes that bears the name of a celebrity? Of course the same thought processes must apply for clothing and shoes.
All false gods had names that people identified them with. The modern day versions of false gods are what we know as celebrities.
Children idolize athletes and rap stars. We as Christian parents aid them. We are sitting cheering for our favorite sports teams and star players. Our praises go up higher when a touchdown is scored than they do when the man or woman brings the word. We justify this by calling it fun. Still, we are distraught over the losses and celebrative during the wins.
We are confused by what is holy verses what is not. We assume that if something has God in it then it must be right. Placing God‘s name in something does not make it holy.
The Holy Spirit is a discerner of all things, if he dwell in us, then how is it that we are able to participate in all of this? How is he within us?
This is the Irrelevant Relationship, the justification resides in the fact that we believe that because it is all in fun, it is okay to do it. Instead of repositioning ourselves and habits, we remain and do it in good fun.
It is like listening to Music that is ungodly. We assume that it is okay to listen as long as they are not cursing or talking about sex. It is important to know that ANY music that is not worshipping Christ has to be worshipping another god.
No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Matthew 7 15-20
Christians is it important to note that anything that does not glorify God is in fact glorification of something else. Any compromise is not true faithfulness and any determent from the path is an unholy commune.
We idolize reality show participants, we call their names and use them in everyday language. We refer to them as if we know them and set our schedules around their airtimes. How is this Godly?
How is it Godly that prosperity ministers have church members come and lay money at their feet and on the stage?
How is it Godly that we put our faith in anointing oils and handkerchiefs that ministers pray over and wipe their faces on? This is idolization. When you give the attributes of God to a person, practice, place, or object you are removing your need for Him.
The Irrelevant Relationship that Christians develop with things that are not of God produces temptation and lust. You have to remove yourself completely from the practices and actions of the unholy.
Your Christian belief system which is built on faith, will not survive your need to fit in. To reach the sinner you cannot compromise; you must offer them the word of God in its completion.
No church should ever imitate that of Satan, to reach people. No church should use holy hip-hop or dance to capture youth. Each new translation of the Bible dumbs down the dose of salvation and our youths think its okay to sin as long as they are in church on Sunday.
Ministers I encourage you to take back your communities and churches. I challenge you to stop the choir battles, suppers and interpretive dance; leave more time for the Word of God to be delivered. Save their souls, stop entertaining them.
Vanessa T Williams (author) from Baton Rouge, Louisiana on December 07, 2015:
Ms. Dora, I so much admire your work. To hear this from you is the truest honor. Thank you so much.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 06, 2015:
Passionate. Practical. Powerful and well presented. Thanks for this very clear message on the dangers of compromise in Christianity. Much to think about and act upon.