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Apologetics: Resisting Mind Manipulation

Apologetics: Resisting Mind Manipulation

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Published by: drjcp on Oct 03, 2007
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A Calvin Research Group Academic Resource, Module 016A1
Resisting Mind Manipulation
Analyzing The Methods Which The World Uses To Fight Truth
Chapter 1
The Results Of Mind Manipulation
T
hough numerous philosophies and opinions surround us, ultimately all of them belong to just two groups: the Divine Viewpoint and the Human Viewpoint.All our lives we would have to face the struggle between these two viewpoints, with each oneof them trying to control us. As long as the present human life lasts on the earth, this fightwould go on. There is no way to escape this struggle. Whether we are headed for blessing orcursing in life would depend upon which of these viewpoints we choose continually.The way in which Peter was pressured in Galatia indirectly by the Jewish believers is anexample of this ongoing struggle between the two viewpoints. In this case Paul had torebuke Peter so as to show him the Divine viewpoint. The way in which Abraham lied abouthis wife, the way in which Samson rejected the biblical advice of his parents, and the way inwhich Solomon listened meekly to his gentile wives are examples of believers walkingaccording to Human Viewpoint.No believer is perfect, and everyone occasionally falls into the trap of Human Viewpoint.However, if a believer willingly chooses to walk continually according to the HumanViewpoint, he opens up himself to harmful changes at the mental level. Such changes areoften long-lasting, and they have deep impact upon a believer's overall outlook. The barriersare defeated, and he indulges in things in which ought not involve.The actual changes taking place in the minds of a careless believer are too numerous to listin a book because they manifest in many ways in the lives of individuals. However, all of them can be placed into a small number groups. Once these categories are understood, it iseasy to discern the numerous ways in which these changes manifest themselves. Thesecategories are:
1-Changing Of Values
 
2-Shifting Of Focus
 
3-Uncontrollable Thought Life
 
4-Sinful Choices
 We will study these in detail in the next chapters, followed by the methods to resist them.
 
Chapter 2
The Results Of Mind Manipulation -- 2
Attempts to manipulate human minds has been going on since creation. Some have beenable to resist them, while others have been not been sufficiently careful. When a personcarelessly yields himself to mind-manipulation (through obvious or nonobvious means), thefollowing changes take place in him:
1-Changing Of Values:
The norms and standards using which things are measured are
 
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called values. The high and low values assigned to different types of thoughts, actions, andchoices govern the way in which a believer chooses things in life.The value of things in life depend upon the value assigned to them by the Scriptures. Theperception and appreciation of these scriptural values depends in turn upon the boundaries,so that two people with different boundaries might attach different values to the same actionor choice. One would value it scripturally while the other would value it according to HumanViewpoint.Right choices are influenced heavily by values. When values shift, people are unable todistinguish between right and wrong. The example of Sons of God in Genesis 6 illustratesthis. People with shifted values are often unable to distinguish between good and evil, likeLot's incestuous daughters. Value-shifted people are often unable to distinguish betweenrighteous and unrighteous behaviour, as in the case of Joseph's brothers.Values help people in distinguishing between essentials and nonessentials. When values areconfused, this distinction is also confused, as in the case of Esau. He sold his birthright,without pausing to think that the God-given birthright should not be traded at any cost !Thus he carelessly decided that it was worth only just about a cup of lentils, or even less !The firmness with which a person handles things also depends upon the value he assigns todifferent issue. A person not having values based in the Scriptures would resort toexpediency instead of firmness. He would tend to behave like a jellyfish, having no firmstand on any significant or tough issue. Peter's expediency in Galatia, and his denial of theLord are examples where he lacked firmness. Fear had played havoc with his mind.The way in which believers these days imitate the world, in marriages, in spiritual meetings,during funeral services, and the way they like to exhibit felicitations are also some examplesof changing values. What ought to be of little value to believers are often given greatimportance, while things that are actually important are given only secondary importance.The way in which the Pharisees strained out the gnat but swallowed the camels, and the wayin which the speck in another believer's eyes bothers some people more than the beam intheir own eyes are some more examples of shifting of values.The way in which the young generation esteems clothing, appearance, peers, and the societyabove spiritual things is also an examples of changing values. These are the results on theongoing mind manipulation at the dawn of the twenty-first century.
2-Shifting Of Focus:
Christian life is a race and a warfare. It is also a wrestling, cultivation,and a lengthy process of building. In each of these activities, the eyes of believers shouldalways be at the goal. If they do not focus upon the goal, the building project would becomeeither imbalanced, or it would even fail totally.When the focus shifts, some sort of a reversal also takes place so that the minor things lookmajor while the major things are seen as minor. The majority of present-day Church fightscan be placed in this category. Often the original issues are trivial, while the mutual abusethat take place through these carnal fights are an abomination to the Lord. Yet people do notseem to notice this.People with shifted or distorted focus fail often to distinguish between what they deserve andwhat they do not. Solomon's half-brother who went to Bethseba and asked for the hand of Abishag in marriage had fallen into this trap. He was so much attracted by her beauty, thathe forgot that according to their social customs Abishag occupied the position of his mother !This was a serious crime according to Old Testament Law too, and this is why Solomon couldexecute him without offering pardon.
 
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People with shifted focus often show a tendency towards Criminal/Victim Exchange. This is asituation where the criminal poses as the victim, and accuses that the victim is the personwho actually perpetrated the crime ! This can be seen in the cases of Zipporah, Elijah, andJonah. Each one of them was guilty against God, but each one posed as the victim, andblamed someone else for their self-created miseries. We see this many times amongstudents who fail in exams. Instead of saying that "I failed" they prefer to say that theteacher flunked them, or that they are yet to "get" a subject. The reasoning is that if theteacher flunked the student, then it is the teacher who is responsible for it ! Further, if theyhave to "get" something, then the "giver" is at fault if it is not "given" to the student. Thusthe entire blame is shifted away from the careless student to somebody other than himself.The trap is so subtle that even mature believers sometimes think and behave in thismanner.Two kinds of phenomena can be seen in life: things that give an immediate result but whichdo not last much, and things that give lasting result but which cannot be obtainedimmediately. Wise people invest in lasting things while immature people chase things thatare only immediate. One of the modern Christian martyrs (in south America) is said to havewritten in his diary:
He is no fool who forsakes things that he cannot keep, so that he might gain things that hecannot lose.
 It takes a lot of wisdom to discern the difference between things that are immediate andthings that are lasting. With shifted focus, however, the real distinction is forgotten andpeople prefer to chase the immediate over the lasting ones. This is seen in the way in whichmany people make all sorts of compromises so as to gain man's approval. All the while theyoverlook that it is God's approval that lasts. The example of Ananias and Saphira alsoillustrates the same point. They preferred man's praise over divine approval and indulged ina quick solution !Lasting human relationships need some motivating factors. According to the Bible, ourpersonal commitment should provide this motivation. However, the world teaches that thebenefit that one can get from the person, thing, or organization (with which one enters into arelationship) is the motivating factor in the ongoing relationship. Thus instead of the biblicalmodel of Commitment Based Relationship, people with shifted focus move to TransactionBased Relationships. Thus such persons view all relationships in the light of "what can I get"instead of "what is expected of me" attitude. This shifting focus from commitment to demandis one reason for the increasing breakups in marital and family relationships. It all beginswhen people carelessly allow the world to tamper with the Bible-based boundaries in theirminds.With shifting of focus comes shifting of personal responsibility. Thus what is to be done atpersonal level is often relegated to the evangelist, the teachers, the public, the church, oreven to the society. The way in which people view the responsibility of bringing up children isan example. What parents ought to do (instructing children in spiritual matters, leading themto God) within the confines of the family, now many of them expected the Sunday school todo. This responsibility-shifting can be seen in all spheres of life, and the sequence of shiftinggoes something like the following:
Personal --> Family --> Church --> Public/Society --> Nation
 This responsibility shifting comes with shifting focus. But in our society things can go back tonormal only if individuals take their responsibilities seriously and do not shift it to others.When individuals would consider their responsibilities seriously, the family, the church, thesociety, and the nation would improve in the same order.

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