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By whose Authority?

  1. pennyofheaven profile image77
    pennyofheavenposted 5 years ago

    I watched Dr Phil one day and he did a little experiment with the audience prior to the show. One actor dressed as a policeman with a Taser was escorting another actor the badman outside the studio. The policeman approached a male audience member and pretended he had to go and get back up. He asked him to watch the bad man and instructed that if he tried to run away to taser him. After the policeman left, the bad man faked trying to run away, the male audience member tasered him once and then again for good measure.

    The taser was fake by the way.

    They tried the same experiment with a female audience member. She didn't care what the policeman had to do, she was having no part of it. She wasn't go to hurt the man if he tried to run way she advised. She refused to take the taser. She kept pleading to the policeman to take the bad man with him because she would let him run away. The policeman forced the taser in her hand and left. Once the policeman left she promptly told the bad man to run away. He didn't have to fake running away she told him to.

    The show begins and both audience members from each experiment are on the stage. It just so happened that he was a pastor of a church. What was even more surprising was that she was his wife and was a pastor of the youth from the same church.

    The points made by Dr Phil were these,

    How is that people do not question someone who looks like they are authority? (the policeman)

    How is that a pastor of a church can hurt another person without first questioning what he had done wrong?

    How is that the pastors wife from the same church could not entertain hurting another?

    This brings me to my questions

    How often do we question a person who might seem to be an authority in God matters?

    Whether you believe in God or not would you hurt another person just because you are told to by someone in authority?

    If God told you to hurt someone would you question it? (Assuming you believe in God)

    1. pisean282311 profile image60
      pisean282311posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      How often do we question a person who might seem to be an authority in God matters?

      ------------most of the time...

      Whether you believe in God or not would you hurt another person just because you are told to by someone in authority?

      ---------------- depends...i wont stand on hurting someone but that doesnot mean i wont express my opinion and if that hurts , i cant help...

      If God told you to hurt someone would you question it? (Assuming you believe in God)

      ----obviously....god if it exist is accountable too...

      1. pennyofheaven profile image77
        pennyofheavenposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Oh I never thought about emotional hurt....that's a good point. Speaking your mind is fine but what if someone told you what to say?

        1. pisean282311 profile image60
          pisean282311posted 5 years agoin reply to this

          @penny in my personal view , i wont abide by that...for me i need to figure it out first , be settled in that and then only i can express...i wont say something becoz buddha or jesus or muhammad or veda or quran or bible says so...

          1. pennyofheaven profile image77
            pennyofheavenposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            Nice

      2. kirstenblog profile image80
        kirstenblogposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        I question anyone who speaks as tho they have any authority on matters of God, more importantly I actively mis-trust them right away. No one can have more authority then the next person, so anyone pretending they do is suspect right away.



        I certainly hope not, I am not sure what could compel me to knowingly harm someone but it better be a damned good reason.

        I would be ashamed of myself if I didn't at the very least question it. Then again, this question was more for those who believe, where as I don't. smile

        1. pennyofheaven profile image77
          pennyofheavenposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          Exactly. How many people never question?

          Dr Phil was trying to make these following points. (in my own words)

          Are we like little sheep who follow whatever instruction because we are told to or because we believe we are divinely guided without question?

          Or are we independent thinkers such as yourself and the ones who cared to respond on this thread. Thinkers who question what goes against what is naturally arising.

          1. kirstenblog profile image80
            kirstenblogposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            There was a social experiment done that would probably fascinate you. It is along the same lines as the one you saw (I am sure some cleaver cog will come along with it's name eventually).

            Basically what they did was have volunteers help with a 'science' experiment.
            The volunteer would be paired with an actor (the volunteer would assume the actor was another volunteer). The volunteer would 'randomly' be chosen from the pair to help preform the experiment, on the actor. The volunteer was instructed to ask questions of the actor and if they did not answer correctly pain would be inflicted. Each time the pain was to be inflicted it would increase, until it became a 'lethal' dose. The volunteer's could hear the actors 'screams' when ever they applied the pain for a wrong answer.
            The result of this test showed that the vast majority of people would administer the pain and eventually the lethal does of pain, so long as the they were told they had to in order for the experiment to work. Some did question it but in the end were willing to go all the way, to the point of giving a lethal dose of 'pain'.
            I saw a re-creation of this experiment and of all the volunteers only 2 actually refused to 'kill' the actors for wrong answers. One of whom got totally pissed and walked out. I would like to think that I would be that sort but I bet most of the people who participated would have liked to think they would have protested too, but most of them didn't or didn't protest enough to NOT go all the way and do what they were being told by an 'authority' figure.
            This experiment goes a long way to explaining why some people during Nazi occupation did as they did and claimed to 'just be following orders'. It seems that most people will just follow orders. hmm

    2. profile image0
      Emile Rposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I wonder if that wasn't staged. A husband and wife? In the same audience? And it just happened to be a couple of preachers? Did she see her husband guarding the prisoner first?

      Either way, no. I wouldn't harm another person solely because someone suggested I do it. I wouldn't care what position of authority they claimed.

      1. pennyofheaven profile image77
        pennyofheavenposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        I never thought about that? I don't really watch much TV but this segment caught my attention. They didn't show how they got the guy away from the main audience.  It did strike me as an odd coincidence.

        Although I might have guessed, so glad to hear you wouldn't hurt someone just because authority told you to.

    3. Rhonda D Johnson profile image72
      Rhonda D Johnsonposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      If a person hears God talking to them and telling them to do stuff, they are probably due for a visit from the men in the long white coats.

      If a human claiming to speak for God tells people to hurt others, it would not be unbiblical.  In fact, the God of the Bible became quite angry when the Israelites had mercy on people God had told them to kill.   Some of the stuff in that book is really frightening.

      1. pennyofheaven profile image77
        pennyofheavenposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Yes and it makes one wonder what is of God and what is of man when people hurt each other. I agree it is biblical. Did those who wrote the bible though have discernment.

        1. Cagsil profile image60
          Cagsilposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          Supposedly? Their level of awareness at that time? Would suggest no. Most of the gospels were written many years later at higher level of awareness. The only reason the gospels were written down to begin with is because many of the disciples were dying off and nothing had been recorded because Jesus didn't want them to write it down. He wanted them to practice what they preach.

          1. pennyofheaven profile image77
            pennyofheavenposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            I understand why he would not want them to write it down. Practising what you preach is far more effective then writing what you preach or what you perceive as being preached. Actions speak louder than words. It is hard to misinterpret action. Easy to misinterpret words.

    4. kess profile image60
      kessposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      People accepts or rejects an authority based on what they perceive to be beneficial to them in an overall manner.
      But again in specific moments they again would decide the relevancy of the same authority based on what they perceive to be beneficial for themselves under the circumstance.

      This is why the responses to authority can be so varied....it is determined by the circumstance, change it and the reaction will also change.

      All men understand the benefit of the law acting through the police....and all subscribe to its authority in varying degrees.

      If a person accepts any authority as God ,then it stand to reason that they will be obedient to what ever they are convinced they are told... For if they are not obedient it means that they were not convinced it was their God speaking. To be disobedient is to reject their own God.

      It matter little if the command comes first hand or second hand, for ultimately the conviction belongs to the person. So in response to a secondary  authority as the law, the first statement applies.

      The only way to negate the dilemma of God as first authority and Law and secondary authority, is to see both as one.

      But This is particularly difficult because to most the First Authority is already a dilemma.

      1. pennyofheaven profile image77
        pennyofheavenposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        So, are you saying, if the dilemma of God is still unsolved, the response or reaction would depend on whether it will be beneficial for them based on their convictions?

        1. kess profile image60
          kessposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          That is right

          1. pennyofheaven profile image77
            pennyofheavenposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            Works for me.

  2. pennyofheaven profile image77
    pennyofheavenposted 5 years ago

    Only 2 is very sad. Yes it does explain how easy it is for people to follow orders even in extreme cases like the Nazi occupation. I guess that is why it is rare to find those who will think and make decisions for themselves rather than let others think and make decisions for them. Whether it is God's law or man's law, if more people have the ability to question what we are asked to do I think the world would be better for it.

    1. kirstenblog profile image80
      kirstenblogposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with this whole heartedly! It makes me sad to see so many who just go along with whatever an authority figure says. I wonder if it's out of fear? Will the authority figure do something to 'punish' for not following orders? I bet in extreme situations (like Nazi Germany) many people were just to afraid to speak out and followed orders thinking if they didn't they might be next.

      1. pennyofheaven profile image77
        pennyofheavenposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Fear has a lot to do with it as I see it. Fear of not fitting in, fear of punishment, fear of betrayal, fear of rejection etc etc. With fear might come conditioning also. Like in our culture we are taught to respect elders from day dot. In the days of old the elders commanded a certain respect because they were wise and humble. Nowadays however there are a few that demand that respect based on our traditions alone. They often do not act according to the humility and wisdom they are supposed to possess because they have not acquired that state of mind yet. Not many question the tradition even though the humility and wisdom is clearly absent.  So the elders (not all) continue to take advantage of a tradition that dictates they must be respected. It is only those who question the tradition that do not adhere to it if the elder reflects a non humble and non wise state of mind.

        1. kirstenblog profile image80
          kirstenblogposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          Great point! I personally like to respect those who are respectful. I might be able to see the point in respecting the experiences a lifetime a person will get when older, but respecting their collective experiences isn't the same as respecting them, I don't think.

          1. pennyofheaven profile image77
            pennyofheavenposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            No not at all the same.

  3. Nouveau Skeptic profile image75
    Nouveau Skepticposted 5 years ago

    I am surprised they conducted this kind of experiment as most university ethics committees would not allow it as being to deceptive and possibly distressing.  It is basically a version fo the Milgram experiment.

    1. kirstenblog profile image80
      kirstenblogposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I don't recognise the Milgram experiment? Perhaps I have heard it under a different name? The experiment I saw was done for camera's and was not conducted by a university. I think the show was basically re-producing a very old experiment (that may have once been allowed in universities but not anymore?).
      I also know of an experiment that was along the same lines as the one I described before, and I think it was tested just the once as it went horribly wrong. It was a prison experiment. A group of volunteers were separated into 2 groups, prisoners and guards. It ended early and got way out of hand. I just found a link to the study http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_p … t#Results. Messed up stuff! I hope I would have walked as a guard instead of staying hmm.

      Here in the UK there was even a similar type of experiment done by Darren Brown (Hypnotist, Magician, NLP practitioner). He set up this 'show' where the audience was told they were a part of a totally new reality TV show. They were going to vote on a nice option or a nasty option for their unsuspecting contestant. The contestant is supposed to be unaware of the hidden camera's etc. They have his girl friend in on it and everything, giving an air of authority to this 'show'.
      It starts out somewhat harmless, will the pretty girl at the bar (an actor) go up to the guy and flirt with him or slap him and accuse him of pinching her bum. The audience votes by raising their hands and at first the split is close, just over half going for the nasty option. With each chance to give a nice or nasty surprise to the contestant the portion of people voting for the nasty option grows. With the last option the contestant being 'fake' mugged, he runs at the threat and runs right into a car. The audience, who choose he be mugged, sit in absolute silence, realising how their choices could have killed this young man.
      Daren then tells them all that the show isn't the reality game show they thought it was, that the contestant was just an actor. The last scene, of the contestant being hit by a car had been filmed hours before using a stunt man, that everyone was in fact fine and not injured. That the subject of the show had not in fact been the contestant at all, but the audience instead. I tell you what, it was pretty emotional. Daren Brown does stuff like that tho, that whole series was weird (like can you make someone confess to a murder they didn't commit?).

      I don't know exactly why this stuff fascinates me but I guess it's because the human mind mystifies me sometimes. I find it so hard to believe the horrible things people have done to other people over history and am totally shocked to see how easily it can happen if the circumstances are right.

      1. pennyofheaven profile image77
        pennyofheavenposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Fascinates me too! Can you imagine being part of the audience that chose the mugged option. Shame on them.

        1. kirstenblog profile image80
          kirstenblogposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          I would feel awful! I think tho it shows how the authority of the group can effect people, that it can make things seem OK that with a little perspective would NOT be ok. What I remember noticing was at first it was a close split, around half the audience (just a little less) would pick the nice surprise. By the end, it was almost 100% for the nasty surprise. No one got up and left, disgusted by it all. That's what I would like to think I would do but without being in a situation like that it's hard to know if fear/peer pressure whatever would cow me into ignoring my conscience? I don't think anyone can know for sure until they are faced with a situation in which to find out and lets hope THAT never happens! big_smile

          On the other hand, you do hear amazing stories of human kindness during the worst periods of history, like during the holocaust. The dangers people took, people who lost their lives protecting others, it humbles the mind just as much as knowing that group mentality or revering authority unquestioningly can do stuff they would find horrid. We are one strange species! I guess it takes all sorts smile

          1. pennyofheaven profile image77
            pennyofheavenposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            Indeed we are strange. Very diverse in nature but these experiments prove conditioning is not useful at times. Authority has never been my greatest ally so I wouldn't have a problem not doing as I am told if it goes against my conscience.

            1. kirstenblog profile image80
              kirstenblogposted 5 years agoin reply to this

              Thankfully I was taught to question authority. When I am in a position of authority I get very uncomfortable. I don't really like being responsible for the actions of others since I don't know how to control others (and frankly don't want to, any more then I want to be controlled by another). Funny thing is, questioning authority has gotten me in trouble with religion back when I was seeking the 'right' religion. I got turned off of it all because of the authority issue, just couldn't see WHY they had authority or why it was so wrong of me to question it. Frankly, I don't trust any one who claims authority on something and absolutely refuses to prove why/how they come to have this authority. That goes back to the whole 'question authority' lesson I got growing up. smile

              1. pennyofheaven profile image77
                pennyofheavenposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                More should be taught to question authority. I understand how you could get turned off by authority in religion because I doubt that is how it was intended to be. Man in his struggle for power and control though have introduced authority in an attempt to achieve this control. It is a rare kind that will question authority. My parents encouraged it and gladly yours did too.

                1. pennyofheaven profile image77
                  pennyofheavenposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                  Emile just gave me a description for the audiences who went against their consciences. Pack mentality!

    2. pennyofheaven profile image77
      pennyofheavenposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I googled that experiment and wow it was run 10 times and quite extensive in it's findings. This part of their findings is very revealing of our conditioning.

      "Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority."

 
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