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Herd rule
Index 2
Cow and fish jumping
 Standing on truth can be painful in a world in rebellion against its

In my first
university year, the lecturer told us of a fascinating
piece of psychological research. Twelve people were shown,
simultaneously, two fleeting images (A and B), each a straight line.
Then the group was asked, one at a time, which was the longer line.

In reality, only one of the 12 was a genuine research subject (guine
pig might be a better word!). The other 11 were carefully
briefed`plants'. The arrangement was that the subject, observed by
hidden cameras, would be asked last. Now, despite the brevity of the
exposure, no-one reasonably trusting their senses should have been
in any doubt that `A' was the longer of the two. As questioning
commenced,the subject looked accordingly relaxed and confident in
his impending choice.

The first plant, however, answered `B' as the longer line, as
all 11 had been instructed to do. Our subject registered only mild
surprise, but as the second, then the third, also said `B', one could
see his composure crumble. As the `B' answers continued to roll in
confidently and relentlessly, the stress visibly mounted, then
seemed to relax as his turn drew closer. Finally, he confidently
proclaimed the answer to be `B'.

Reruns showed this to be a near-universal phenomenon, with
only the rare individual able, with great difficulty and struggle,
to stand against such `peer pressure'. (`After all, can they all? be
wrong? Must be me.')

This tendency, to abandon commonsense, experience,           
ultimately reality itself in the face of the overwhelming social
pressure of the `herd' has a lot to do with the sad state of the
Christian church in the West today. I can think of a number of
formerly sound Bible colleges here in Australia/NZ which have
succumbed to it in various forms.

It usually starts with the desire to gain `academic respectability', in
order to grant accredited degrees. Whether looking
to Caesar for funds or `accreditation', there is always a price to
pay, namely capitulation to Caesar's `standards'. And these
are invariably determined by the current `herd' mentality.
Degrees in theology (theoretically about `knowing God'_Gk
theos = God, logos = word or knowledge) become degrees in
how not to know or understand the true, living God, who has revealed
Himself in the Bible. God tells us that the herd is mostly in active
rebellion against His truth, so, no surprisingly, the herd dictates that
the Bible is not to be seen as a book of true history (cf Matthew 7:14).
The Bible college dutifully bends in that direction.

The herd says Genesis is to be taken as myth or allegory. So,
regardless of the reality of Hebrew grammar, the rules of sound exe-
gesis, even the very words of Jesus Christ Himself,' the herd rules.
Standing against the herd offers pain, stress and controversy, a price
the `guinea pig' in our story was not prepared to pay. The herd
offers the safety and security of peer approval.

Secular academia itself is riddled with the phenomenon. Uni-
versities are supposed to be bastions of academic freedom. But the
subtle commercial pressure of funding demands is so intense that,
according to a recent Australian National University report, aca-
demics are increasingly reluctant to take on research which is in any
way controversial. A Visiting Fellow said, `Universities are supposed
to stand ...for the truth  researching and publishing without fear or
favor.' Yet, he claimed, many researchers `believe that new research
that challenges or threatens established ideas is unlikely to be
funded so they do not even bother to put in an application.'2  And he
wasn't talking about anything nearly as controversial or
threatening as Biblical creation-based challenges to the modern        
materialist orthodoxy!

Of course, the herd is not always wrong. Some people get
their `kicks' from opposing the herd, regardless, which is not a
good motive as far as Answers in Genesis is concerned. But
when truth and reality, as defined by the One who said, `I am
the Truth', are threatened by herd rule, that's a great reason to
stand up and be counted. Creation magazine helps you do that
with confidence.
     1. Matthew 19:3_6, Mark 10:6, Luke 17:26_27.
     2. Rising fears for academic freedom, ANU Reporter 32(7), 11 May 2001.                  Creation 24(2) March_May 2002
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