Apocalypse NOW! Or is it?

Back in 1954, a renowned sociologist in the States by the name of Leon Festinger managed to infiltrate a cult headed by a woman called Marian Keech. Marian believed that the world would end before dawn on 21st December 1954, yet those who followed her would be saved by a spaceship that would swoop down and pick them up from her suburban home.

Yes, I know – completely potty but she managed to garner quite a following.

Needless to say, the due date came and went, there was no apocalyptic end to the world, and incidentally no spaceship either.

So what of the believers who had left their families and jobs to follow Mrs Keech? Did they skulk back to their homes with their tails between their legs in shame and embarrassment.

Interestingly, it just seemed to strengthen their faith in her. And they reframed the whole experience by claiming that their faith had actually impressed God so much that he decided to save the world from the impending apocalypse and cancel his plans for the destruction of the planet.

What we can learn from this, is that when our deeply held beliefs are challenged, we would rather reframe the world around us, than change our beliefs despite overwhelming evidence. It makes us feel better, more at ease and comfortable with the decisions and choices we make.

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