Athanasius, early bishop of Alexandria, stoutly opposed the teachings of
declared that Christ was not the eternal Son of God, but a subordinate being. Hounded
through five exiles, he was finally summoned before emperor Theodosius, who demanded he
cease his opposition to Arius. The emperor reproved him and asked, "Do you not
realize that all the world is against you?" Athanasius quickly answered, "Then I
am against all the world."
On a wall near the main entrance to the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, is a portrait with
the following inscription: "James Butler Bonham--no picture of him exists. This
portrait is of his nephew, Major James Bonham, deceased, who greatly resembled his uncle.
It is placed here by the family that people may know the appearance of the man who died
for freedom." No literal portrait of Jesus exists either. But the likeness of the Son
who makes us free can be seen in the lives of His true followers.
A few years ago psychologist Ruth W. Berenda and her associates carried out an
interesting experiment with teenagers designed to show how a person handled group
pressure. The plan was simple. They brought groups of ten adolescents into a room for a
test. Subsequently, each group of ten was instructed to raise their hands when the teacher
pointed to the longest line on three separate charts. What one person in the group did not
know was that nine of the others in the room had been instructed ahead of time to vote for
the second-longest line. Regardless of the instructions they heard, once they were all
together in the group, the nine were not to vote for the longest line, but rather vote for
the next to the longest line. The experiment began with nine teen-agers voting for the
wrong line. The stooge would typically glance around, frown in confusion, and slip his
hand up with the group. The insturctions were repeated and the next card was raised. Time
after time, the self-conscious stooge would sit there saying a short line is longer than a
long line, simply because he lacked the courage to challenge the group. This remarkable
conformity occurred in about 75% of the cases, and was true of small children and
high-school students as well. Berenda concluded that, "Some people had rather be
president than right," which is certainly an accurate assessment.
Living Above the Level of Mediocrity, p. 225.
Here is a similar story:
Em Griffin in his book The Mindchangers describes an experiment done by Solomon Asch
with groups of 12 people. They were brought into a room where four lines of unequal length
were displayed. They had to decide which two were the same length and publicly vote for
their choice. Person after person after person (11 in all) voted for the wrong
line--because they had all been told to ahead of time. The one individual who was in the
dark couldn't imagine how in the world all these seemingly normal people could all choose
the wrong line. When it was his turn to vote, he had to decide, "Do I go with what I
know my senses are telling me, or do I go with the crowd?" 1/3 of those tested caved
in to group pressure and changed their vote to agree with their peers.
Em Griffin, The Mindchangers, Tyndale House, 1976, p.