“Cognitive Dissonance is defined as: the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, performs an action that is contradictory to one or more beliefs, ideas, or values, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.”
I have often wrote and talked about how holding conflicting beliefs in the same mind is the cause of mental disorders. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it explains ALL of mental issues, but I belief it explains most.
The article cited below is talking about the problem in the Army where the rank and file are asked to believe things that directly contradict reality.
“5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” Jas 1:5-8
“7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Jas 4:7-8.
For Christians, it’s called being “two-souled” or “double-minded” and James mentions it twice in chapter 1:8 when a man prays to God while also doubting, and in chapter 4:8 when a Christian tries to be friends with God and with the world. James says, “friendship with the world is enmity with God.” James says that such a person is “unstable” in all his ways, meaning inconstant and restless. There is always going to be a restlessness in a person who acts like he’s two people in one body. The two are restless for fighting each other.
Cognitive Dissonance or being “two-souled” for a Christian is when the life being lived isn’t matching the faith being professed. This represents a contradiction which is often times witnessed by others, but it is also obvious in the mind and soul of the individual. If I’m not living what I claim to believe, it means there is a war inside of my head. And that war will cause emotional breakdown until the good or the evil finally wins.
From the article, “Leon Festinger‘s theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. An individual who experiences inconsistency (dissonance) tends to become psychologically uncomfortable, and is motivated to try to reduce this dissonance—as well as actively avoid situations and information likely to increase it.”
Leon may have coined the term, but Christians have always known that the inner belief must match reality. My thinking must be unified without conflict. My belief and lifestyle, if not matching up with the Scriptures, will lead to that “psychological” discomfort Leon speaks of. When we know the right thing to do, we must do it or else we sin, Jas. 4:17. When we say we believe in God, then trust God. If we claim to be a child of God, then don’t be best buds with the carnal world. The inner dissonance will tear you up, Christian, until either you leave God or you leave the world.
“Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.” 2 Cor. 6:16.
The world being led by the Deceiver, the liar, who is Satan, will ask for you and me to believe things we know are not true. Planting and harvest will remain until the Lord returns, Gen 8:22. So don’t believe the world’s lie that we are going to destroy the earth. Men and women are created as perfect counterparts to one another, Gen 2:18. Don’t believe the lie that women can do whatever men can do. She is the weaker vessel and is to be honored as such. “7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” 1 Pt 3:7. Both man and woman are beautifully designed for their role. God created them male and female and made marriage to be between a man and woman, Gen 2:24. Don’t believe the lie that marriage can be between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. The Bible says it is a perversion of nature. When we believe the lies of the world, cognitive dissonance happens. And when it does, you will find yourself in conflict with the God of the Bible. As there is no agreement between God and idols, so we must resolve the conflicts in our very being that cannot agree with God. That’s not a good place to be.
So bring peace to your soul by living what you believe. The Army has become a dysfunctional mess, according to the article. Don’t let that describe you, O Christian.
Remember, if you love Jesus, don’t just call Him, ‘Lord, Lord’, but do what He says to do, Lk 6:46; Jn 14:15.