The Phenomenon of Groups, Religion & Cultures

Moshe Ben-Chaim

Why is it that most people are not converts? Why do most people defend family members, dress like their peers, and form groups? Could it be that all members of a group came to the identical systems after rigorous analysis? Or is it that people simply accept what their elders, peers and parents teach, without question?

It is clearly the latter. But as Jews, we are truth seekers. Our Rabbis teach that we should not listen to them, without subsequent analysis of their words to determine if they are truths.

The group phenomenon reveals that man is insecure. He seeks acceptance, so he does not go against the tide. In contrast, Judaism was founded on Abraham’s independence: a lifestyle God endorsed by creating a nation from Abraham.

Do not fear man. Do not fear opposition. If you have arrived at your views based on thought when others have not, it is you who lives based on truth, not them. Human applause does not outweigh the satisfaction and joy you will experience when you act in accord with ideals that appeal to your mind. When we seek, find, and follow truth, we are at ease, we experience no conflict. We are perfectly in line with God’s world, and happiness is bountiful.

When we abandon the wasteful life of copying others so to be accepted, only then do we finally start living.