Leon Festinger, Dorothy Martin, Dorothy discussed on The Lutheran Hour

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Blessed are those who have not seen yet still they trust. Jesus. Performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. These things are written. So that you may trust that Jesus is the messiah the Christ and that trusting you would have life in his name. This is the gospel of the Lord. Trusting? That you would have life in his name that is conversion and the conversion is not to be confused with a diversion. Let me give you an example of a diversion in one thousand nine hundred eighty four the Chicago Tribune ran a story about a prediction of the end of the world. The prediction came from a woman named Dorothy Martin. She was a fifty year old woman from the Chicago suburbs. Self proclaimed prophet Dorsey said that she'd received messages from outer space. And the messages told her that God was going to wipe out life on earth, as we know it. And whoever believes whoever trusts can come to her house on the night of December. Twentieth. Nineteen fifty four and God was going to send a spaceship to collect them. And save them. A sociology professor named Leon Festinger read the story about Dorothy, and the prediction, and so he and some of his colleagues, devised a social experiment. They called the leaders of the flying saucer cult which came to be called and told them that they were seekers of the truth. And they wanted to join the group and so in the months leading up to December twentieth. Nineteen fifty four these incognito. Researchers infiltrated the ranks of the group. And they studied the social dynamics. December twentieth. Arrived and many people came to Dorothy house and they sang songs, and they waited in anticipation as midnight approached. And midnight past and they waited all night. And the flying saucer never came. Very early in the morning while it was still dark Dorothy received. Another message from outer space. There had been a slight change of plans. God had seen the faith of these believers gathered there, and he had compassion and he decided not to send the flood after all that afternoon. They called the newspapers and sought out interviews. They wanted to spread the news about how the world had been saved through their faith two years later Leon Festinger and his colleagues the ones who had infiltrated the group. They wrote a book, titled when prophecy fails. In that book, they detail the theory of cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is the stress that someone feels when they believe something so strongly, and then they are confronted with the contradiction to that belief, and they struggle and very often they can create diversions to shield themselves from the contradictory experience or information and the flying saucer cult is the case in point that believers can overcome every failed prophecy with the diversion. A slight change, of course. But basically continue on in the same direction. The followers of the crucified Jesus have long been accused of doing the same thing. They created a diversion. They were so overcome with grief that they can cockpit. This story about Jesus rising from the dead and then to protect themselves from the reality. They they went out to convert the whole world to believe this with them. Because they couldn't deal with the fact that they're rabbi was dead. Is that what happened? Before we try to answer. This question we need to pause. And appreciate how important it is. If you or I or anyone is to be converted into the Christian faith. We ought to see it for what it is Christian faith is different than other systems of belief because it depends on factual historical truth other systems of belief other ideas, don't necessarily depend on historic person or an actual event. For example, if you could convince a Buddhist that the Buddha didn't really exist. She could go on being a Buddhist, and she could tell you that she doesn't follow the Buddha. She follows the teachings of the practices of the ideas of the Buddha. This cannot be said of the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. If.

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