September 16th, 2017| Topic: RaMbLeS | 0


Well, everybody deceives. Students taking an exam: a few years ago, about half those in a government class at Harvard were charged with cheating, and about seventy expelled. Runners in a race, breaking rules to enter into the 2015 Boston marathon. Having an affair: the hacking of the website of Ashley Madison revealed 37 million users subscribing to the “Life is short. Have an affair” mantra. Software piracy costs $63 billion each year. Nearly 75% of employees have stolen from their employers—a whopping $600 billion worth of stuff each year (twice the market cap of GE!). And so on. Not to forget Ben Jonson. Lance Armstrong. John Edwards. Bernie Madoff. Or “wardrobing”—buying, using, and returning clothing—costing $16 billion a year. Oh, and insurance claims are fraudulent 10% of the time = $24 billion annually.

Everybody does it, it seems.

Christians? Not exempt at all. There’s a long list of deceivers in the church. Not to forget that person we see in the mirror every morning.

“The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick.
Jeremiah 17:9

Said Hemingway:

About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.”

But there appears to be a solution!

Or so think University of Toronto, Duke, and University of California San Diego researchers, authors of “The Dishonesty of Honest People: A Theory of Self-Concept Maintenance,” published in the Journal of Marketing Research.

Applied to the context of (dis)honesty, we propose that one major way the internal reward system exerts control over behavior is by influencing people’s self-concept—that is, the way people view and perceive themselves.”

209 students were involved in this experiment. One group of them had to write down the names of ten books they had read in high school; another group had to write down the Ten Commandments. Each group was subsequently graded by experimenters on a simple math test, or they had to grade their answers themselves and get rid of the answer sheet (an opportunity to cheat!).

Well, guess what? Those who were reminded of the Ten Commandments did not cheat at all!

On the face of it, the idea that any reminder can decrease dishonesty seems strange; after all, people should know that it is wrong to be dishonest, even without such reminders. However, from the self-concept maintenance perspective, the question is not whether people know that it is wrong to behave dishonestly but whether they think of these standards and compare their behavior with them in the moment of temptation. In other words, if a mere reminder of honesty standards has an effect, we can assert that people do not naturally attend to these standards.”

Hmm …. Reminders, huh?

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them
when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Deuteronomy 6:4–9

Reminders, huh?

Preaching. Your wedding ring. Accountability. Reading of Scripture. Community. Discipline.


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