The Phenomenon of
Cognitive Dissonance

THE INTENSE BUZZING continued as the
     nine foot Monolith stood like a silent
     sentry among the baffled apes.   Mark and
Eric watched as the apes slowly approached
the black rectangular structure, seemingly out
of place with its environment.
   Just as one of the apes touched the
Monolith's granite-like surface, Mark grabbed the
remote and paused the tape.
   "HEY!" Eric said, leaning forward in
his Lazyboy.   "The movie just started."
   "I don't buy it," Mark said.   "Is that
Monolith supposed to represent a
higher intelligence?"

   "Of course."   Eric tried to snatch the
remote from Mark's hand.
   Mark resisted.   "Hold it, I'm not
done, yet."

   "Yes you are.   C'mon, start the tape."
   "It's a slab of granite," Mark continued.   "How
can that be a sign of intelligence?"

   "It's symmetrical.   Start the tape-- "
   "But it doesn't look complicated.   No lights, no

   "It's making a weird noise.   The thing obviously
is out of place on a prehistoric earth.   Now, start
the tape!

   . . . After the apes "telepathically" gained
the concept of weapons from the Monolith, the
movie fast-forwarded to the year 2001, where
modern man, dressed in his 21st century moon
suit, now stood before the same Monolith, awed
by the "obvious proof" of intelligence elsewhere
in the universe.
   Mark paused the tape again.   "Bogus," he
said, shaking his head in disbelief.   "It's the same

plain-looking Monolith, now surrounded by 21st
century technology, and it's still supposed to
stand out as a sign of a higher intelligence?   Get

   "They found it buried on the moon," Eric said.
"It's obviously not a natural by-product--it's out
of place with its environment."

   "Okay!"   Mark reached down and grabbed
Hercules, Eric's hairless Chihuahua.   "You see
    this dog.   He's a lot more
    complicated than the usual rocks
    and dirt you find on this planet.
    Surely he proves there's a higher
    intelligence out there--"

       "No, biological life does not
    necessitate a higher intelligence.
    Chihuahuas evolved naturally!
    Now, stop interrupting the movie."

    Mark pointed at the screen.   "I say that
Monolith 'evolved' too!"

   Eric shook his head.   "Don't be silly.   We're
talking two different things."

   "But, suppose that monolith turned out to be
a weather-hollowed granite slab with a bunch of
bees inside."

   "NO, back there with the apes."
   "We're past the apes."
   "I know, but, what if it were bees making
that sound, and not a machine?"

   "Then it would be a natural, and not a sign of

   "But bees are complicated machines in
themselves.   You're changing the rules."

   "No, I'm not.   START THE TAPE!"

Now, stop
the movie."

ERIC, WHOSE BELIEFS deny the existence
     of God, is willing to accept [as] fact that
     the monolith in the movie 2001, A Space
points to the existence of some higher
intelligence.   His conclusion is based upon a
"design criteria" we all instinctively exercise as
human beings.

Let's examine this criteria . . .
If you were walking in the desert and found a
watch lying next to a rock, you would, no
doubt, conclude that someone made the watch,
while mere wind erosion produced the rock.
   We can tell almost immediately when
something is "man-made" even if we are seeing
it for the first time.   Intuitively, we recognize
something man-made because it displays a
certain level of purposeful complexity.

Mark tried to convince Eric that God exists on
the basis that biological life is more complex
than some plain looking monolith.   After all, if
Eric assumed that a simple looking monolith was
a sign of higher intelligence, then surely the
complex human body would also imply a higher
intelligence behind its conception.

However, to Eric, what passed as a sign of
intelligence in one case did not in the other.   He
felt that a complex human being DID NOT imply
the existence of a Creator.   Was he in denial of
the obvious?   Was Eric's criteria inconsistent?
If so, the WHY the inconsistency?   Why the
apparent double standard?   If complexity points
to intelligence in one case, why not in the other?

Complexity is not enough . . .
Complexity is important, but purposefulness is
perhaps a greater telltale sign of intelligence.
Complexity alone, without specific purpose, can
still be explained away as a natural
phenomenon, or just a happy coincidence.   The
opposite is also true: an object's lack of

complexity does not negate the sign of
intelligence if the object shows a clear sign of
purpose.   The monolith in 2001 is not the most
complex looking object Eric had never seen.
However, once he saw that it served the
specific purpose of planting a "beneficial"
thought within the apes, the conclusion became
obvious: some higher intelligence was behind it.

It was this realization of purpose that convinced
Eric, and the millions who have seen 2001, that
the simple looking monolith was indeed a sign of
higher intelligence in the universe.

In Eric's mind, however, while the monolith's
existence serves a specific purpose, human
beings do not.   Eric's PERCEIVED lack of
purpose behind man's existence convinced him
that human beings do not imply a higher

To Eric, we may be complex, but without a
specific purpose for having been created, there
is no reason to conclude we were created by a
higher intelligence.   Therefore, concludes Eric,
there is no God.

A question of purpose . . .
Many people, like Eric, assume our existence
ultimately has no real meaning.   Thus, their denial
of God's existence is ultimately based on their
denial of purpose.
   So, the real issue is one of recognizing a
specific purpose for our creation.   Without a
reason for being made, it is very easy for anyone
to conclude that we merely "evolved," no matter
how complex we may seem.

It may surprise you to learn that the Bible tells
us we were created for a specific purpose.   The
Bible even states what that purpose was, AND
: "Thou are worthy, O Lord, to receive
glory and honour and power: for thou hast
created all things, and for thy pleasure they are

and were created" (Rev. 4:11).   Now, please note
the expressed purpose for our existence; it
explains the reason why so many like Eric readily
deny God's existence.   Read it again: "FOR THY
PLEASURE they are and were created."

God derives pleasure from our willful interaction
with Him.   Foremost in that interaction, is
expressing our love toward Him.   The Lord Jesus
Christ taught: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with
all thy mind.   This is THE FIRST AND GREAT
  Mat. 22:37-38

Loving God means obeying His commandments.
Jesus said: "If ye love me, KEEP MY
(John 14:15).   In fact, Jesus
Christ was not the first to teach that obedience
to God is a key reason for our existence.   King
Solomon said: "Let us hear the conclusion of the
whole matter: Fear God, and KEEP HIS
  Eccl. 12:13

To most, being created for God's pleasure is not
a very appealing purpose of one's existence.
Most don't like the idea of having been created
to bring God pleasure through constant
submission to His will.   After all, what about us?
What about OUR pleasure?   What about pleasing
ourselves; controlling our own destiny; calling
our own shots?

A denial of purpose . . .
This is why Eric's design criteria appeared
inconsistent.   He resisted the implications of
having been created for a purpose he didn't find
appealing.   There is a psychological term for
what Eric experienced: Cognitive dissonance.   A
textbook entitled Psychology Its Principles and
, (by Engle/Snellgrove, ninth edition,
pg. 421- 422), has this to say: "In cognitive
dissonance, individuals are faced with a lack of
agreement between two ideas, attitudes, or

beliefs.   They feel tense, uncomfortable, or
frustrated.   So they try to alter their thoughts or
actions to reduce this dissonance."

   In other words, Eric, and millions like him,
deny the fact their existence has a specific
purpose because to admit a reason for one's
existence is to admit that there is a higher
intelligence, a Creator, responsible for them
being here; purpose implies we were created.

A Creator means that we don't own ourselves,
making us ultimately accountable to God for our
actions.   The Psychology textbook goes on to
say: ". . . . We feel uncomfortable when our
thinking or behavior doesn't agree with
information we have about ourselves and our
environment.   In cognitive dissonance, individuals
realize that their thinking is inconsistent."

Often, the cognitive dissonance many begin to
experience at the thought of having been
created, causes them "to alter their thoughts or
actions to reduce this dissonance."
  This means,
for one thing, denying that there is a purpose for
their existence.   By the way, sin can easily be
justified when there is no real meaning to life.
One can make up their own rules as they go
along, including the blatant practice of sin.   No
purpose, no accountability.

The grand Irony . . .
To many, no accountability to a higher autho-
rity means the retention of human dignity.   But,
my friend, ask yourself: how much dignity is
there in the assumption that one's life is
meaningless?   Wouldn't you rather know that
there's real purpose to your existence?
you rather know your Creator?   He wants to
know you; that's why He died in your place.

Please read the back [below] of this pamphlet.
For more information, write us.
Send for a free Bible correspondence course.

IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven?
  The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).

BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you
from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God,"
Isaiah 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God;"
Romans 3:23.

SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is
the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast."
  (Eph. 2:8-9)   Baptism, good
deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are
all examples of good works that cannot save you,
because, "Not by works of
which we have done, but
according to his mercy he
[Christ] saved
Titus 3:5.

THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through
Jesus Christ.   He said: "I am the way, the
truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me."
  (John 14:6)   THAT'S
: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us
  Romans 5:8-9

THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your
); admit that you are a Hell deserving sinner
and can't save yourself.   And call upon Christ, and
Him alone, to save you.   "if thou shalt confess
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus
[REPENT], and
shalt believe in thine heart
[TRUST] that God
hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
  Romans 10:9

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[Christian Helps Ministry (USA)]