Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. ≈ Acts 5:29
Few will deny the benefits of belonging to a group. While, groups may differ in the types of benefits they provide. A major benefit of membership in a group is the validation of a person’s sense of belonging to a “larger social whole” (Baumeister & Leary 1995). For most people, belonging to a group is good and often necessary.
In addition to membership in the Body of Christ many Christians also belong to other groups. But, sometimes belonging to a group becomes undesirable or problematic, for Christians. Especially, when a group display symptoms of groupthink.
Janis (1972) asserted eight symptoms of groupthink:
- Illusion of Invulnerability… Members hold extreme self-assurance that encourages recklessness.
- Collective Rationalization… Members ignore warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.
- Belief in Inherent Morality… Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions.
- Stereotyped Views of Out-Groups… Members hold negative views of outsiders, who are seen as the “enemy”.
- Direct Pressure on Dissenters – Members are under pressure not to express opinions against any of the group’s ideas or actions.
- Self-Censorship – Members do not express doubts and departures from the observed group consensus.
- Illusion of Unanimity – Members accept the majority views and judgements as unanimous.
- Self-Appointed ‘Mindguards’ – Members protect the group and the leader from evidence that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, opinions, and/or judgements.
Christians have free will to choose right or wrong. However, it is an expectation that Christians will do what is right. Right in the sight of God, regardless of their group’s point of view. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36, KJV).
Even though Christians participate in a variety of groups, they still must glorify God. They must stand against that which is wrong, defend those who are weak, and love their neighbors as themselves. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7, KJV). Therefore, Christians… obey God above man and avoid groupthink.
God Bless… I am Wiley’s Granddaughter.