Studies abound that reveal surprising results regarding the behavioral patterns of various groups. However, they seem to render deviant patterns a great percentage of the time, especially when individuals are clustered into groups or given authority. We will discuss two of the most relevant and revealing findings here.
First, in the 1960s, Yale University’s Stanley Milgram conducted a study of unconditional obedience to authority. The following from Unlocking Eden: Revolutionize Your Health, Maximize Your Immunity, Restore Your Vitality explains how it worked:
The experiment worked like this: Volunteers were assigned the role of “teachers,” and believed the “students” were participants in the study as well. The represented premise for this research (not the real one) was to test memory retention when it’s reinforced by punishment. This was (supposedly) assured by an electric shock applied when volunteers asked to recall information gave incorrect answers. However, these “students” were actors pretending to convulse in pain when they were “shocked” for giving a wrong answer. The unsuspecting “teachers” were instructed to relay two words to their counterparts, who supposedly would attempt to remember the words in order to avoid the punishment. When the time came for recall, if the “students” didn’t remember the elements of the memory test, the “teachers” were to administer the penalty, a consequence technique said to increase learning, thus (supposedly) making this step a vital part of the process.… This discipline was administered by requiring participants to press a series of buttons they were told delivered voltage. The severity of surges was labeled on the mechanism in these increments: “Slight Shock,” “Very Strong Shock,” “Danger: Severe Shock,” and even “XXX.” As the number of incorrect answers given by the “students” (recall that the volunteers were unaware that they were dealing with actors) increased, the volunteers were instructed to administer shocks in mounting levels of intensity. As the power of the shocks escalated, those receiving the punishment would complain that the pain was becoming more intense. Eventually, the actors would be screaming, even stating the desire for the experiment to end and saying that they no longer wanted to participate. At times, some would refuse to answer the questions, supposedly afraid they would give the wrong response and be shocked again. However, the conductors (individuals in charge) instructed volunteers to treat nonresponses as wrong answers; this caused volunteers to have to administer severe shocks to people who did not respond.… Usually, those asked to predict what they would do in such a situation would assert their refusal to initiate or continue administering shocks as the intensity escalated, yet surprisingly, two-thirds of Milgram’s participants remained obedient all the way through the experiment: Two out of three continued to send electrical surges past the time when the “student” asked for the procedure to stop, beyond the point of becoming completely unresponsive and even to the place that he or she was directed to administer the maximum voltage, which was said to equal 450 volts.… Milgram noted visual signs of inner conflict among participants, such as “sweating, trembling, stuttering, biting their lips, and so on,” but despite this, they still yielded authority to those they perceived to be the “experts” or “in charge.” The experimenter found similar results when conducting the same study but with one variation: At the beginning of the procedure, the individual receiving the voltage mentioned having a heart condition. Even with this, the percentage of people who followed the order to deal out shocks was 62.5 percent.[i]
Through this study, Milgram learned that people often obey authority without question, even when that obedience requires harming another person. Milgram’s goal via this experiment was to explain how people with free will remained obedient during such heinous circumstances as the My Lai Massacre or the Holocaust.[ii] His findings relayed that subjects often show the desire for approval from those in authority, and that when a seemingly professional or benevolent faction is at work, they perceive a safety net of permissibility over the instructions. In other words, they assume the person or organization in charge operates with ethical and moral integrity, thus, their instructions are vetted via such standards and, despite these, are still deemed necessary.[iii]
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In a second study, the Stanford Prison Experiment, which was conducted during the summer of 1971, results showed that, given a little power, some people become extremely sadistic and dominate others just for a sick type of entertainment. The evil seen in this study—originally slated to span two weeks—escalated so quickly, in fact, that it was called off after only six days.[iv]
Here’s what was involved: A wing of Stanford University was transformed into a makeshift prison, wherein twenty-four carefully chosen applicants were split into groups of prisoners and guards, decided by a coin flip.[v] Those selected to be prisoners underwent a mock arrest at their homes before they were taken to the “police station,” fingerprinted, and placed in a holding cell. They were then strip-searched, sprayed with lice treatment, assigned a uniform, and given a number that replaced their name.[vi] These received a nylon stocking to place over their hair to remove the individuality of their appearance, and a chain was placed around each young man’s ankle.[vii]
Guards weren’t given specific parameters of behavior. Instead, they were told they could use their judgment to maintain order and secure prisoners’ respect.[viii] They were issued uniforms, night sticks, and mirrored sunglasses to create the impression of having a universal, omnipresent power over the prisoners. Prisoners performed “counts,” wherein they were lined up and told to rattle off their numbers while standing at attention. Those who failed to comply with this practice were punished by being made to do jumping jacks or push-ups.[ix] As guards became more comfortable with their authority, some began to step on prisoners’ backs or have others sit on their backs while they were performing the exercises.[x] By the second day, prisoners rebelled, barricading the cell doors with their cots and tearing at the numbers that had replaced their names. In response, the morning guard shift assumed that the night supervisors had been too passive with the prisoners, so they responded with overcorrection.[xi] Other guards were called in to help bring the prisoners under control; they used spray from a fire extinguisher to force the captives back from the doors of the cell. Those who were least antagonistic in the uprising were removed from the group and rewarded. Later, the inmates were replaced with others who were also given special treatment. This caused others to presume they had somehow betrayed an unspoken allegiance among convicts.[xii] Tensions between factions escalated, and prisoners were denied basic rights, such as using the restroom or brushing teeth. One prisoner became so distraught that he manifested signs of emotional trauma—“acute emotional disturbance, disorganized thinking, uncontrollable crying, and rage”—while another “began to act ‘crazy,’ to scream, to curse, to go into a rage that seemed out of control.” Both of these men were released.[xiii] Myriad subsequent events involved a potential prison break whereupon the convicts were relocated to another part of the prison; a visitation day wherein parents expressed concerns for their sons’ well-being; and an inmate sobbing uncontrollably, unable to believe that he was free to stand up and walk out of the experiment until an authority figure reminded him of his name, and not his number.
The short duration of this experiment is surprising, considering each person’s response. Instead of bonding together under duress, the prisoners’ interactions were suspicious and fragmented; each regarded the other as a potential enemy. This seemed to actually worsen when one was standing up for prisoners’ rights.[xiv]
As for the guards, they seemed to fall into three categories: those who were “tough but fair”; the “good guys,” who didn’t punish captives and even at times showed kindness; and those who became “hostile, arbitrary, and inventive in their forms of prisoner humiliation.”[xv] Surely, it was this third category from which the night-time torment sessions occurred. At these moments, prisoners were sexually abused, forced to mimic sexually humiliating acts with one another, and degraded in ways so psychologically damaging that authorities ended the study early.[xvi]
Interesting to note regarding this experiment is how those who were persecuted separated from others rather than joining forces. They didn’t support one another, but merely tried to survive. Some forgot their names, lost awareness that they had personal rights, and even attempted to decline offers to walk away from the whole process. On the other hand, men whose personality assessments gave no indication that they may have had a sadistic streak became vile and power-driven tormentors who had no qualms about intensifying their torturous activities—including sexual abuse. All of these changes took place within a six-day period.
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As a result of the findings obtained during the Stanford Prison Experiment, director Phillip Zimbardo coined the term the “Lucifer Effect,” which explains the transformation of ordinary people from good to evil. He has also offered expert opinion regarding the aftermath of such situations as Abu Ghraib (an Iraqi-war prison at which otherwise ordinary American soldiers and CIA personnel became capable of extreme abuse of their captives). In Zimbardo’s view, while people have varying dispositions, anyone has to the potential to become evil. In fact, recall that those who were delegated prisoners or guards in his Stanford experiment were divided by a mere coin flip. No personality profiling was used in determining who would play what roles, yet many guards—over the six days—became so sadistic that Zimbardo was forced to stop the procedure. In other settings, people have performed atrocities against one another, and Zimbardo claims that distinguishing “good people” from “bad people” simply isn’t a clean-cut line. In fact, the researcher describes that line as “permeable.”[xvii] When people are exposed to situations in which they’re subjected to a seemingly unified power and when the criteria or cause for compliance to that authority appears justified, victims are often depersonified and powerless. When officials hold extreme power over those who are de-individualized, the changeover from ordinary to evil can happen quickly—even in people who showed no prior tendency toward such actions.[xviii]
When we consider Phillip Zimbardo’s findings alongside those of Stanley Milgram’s experiment, we can see how a society ruled by evil people would quickly organize into a hierarchy operated by the most vicious and cruel personalities, while those who are subordinate obey without question and those who resist scramble to survive.
When True Christianity Becomes the Enemy
When the populace is without the restraining force and a crisis or event presents citizens with the choice of whether or not to accept the Mark, we Christians will be the first group to be fingered as a public enemy. When we refuse the mandate, we will be prioritized as a type of resistance force: a public enemy. Then, Christians—who, for a period of time will have been increasingly framed for propagating “hate speech”—will be targeted as ones to eliminate. At this point, if it hasn’t already happened, the Church will split. One side will say anything necessary to appease the powers that be—denouncing scriptural integrity, Jesus as Lord, and anything else that ruffles the feathers of its cozy existence. The others will refuse to do this and will likely be forced to go underground (more on this in an upcoming entry).
When the visible, legal, topside “Church” goes apostate, there will be far fewer voices warning of the dangers that Antichrist’s agenda poses for society. Then, the Mark mandate will further polarize factions, dividing the “good citizens” of the newly united world (who will be allowed to live) from those who will be designated terrorists and/or public enemies. At this point, Antichrist will have those with a stronger propensity toward homicide right where he wants them.
The One-World Order will probably introduce the Mark gently, with singsong lip service about how people will “never be coerced into accepting it.” Then, after a short time, it’s likely that the situation will shift suddenly—possible via some contrived, “unforeseen” event—with seemingly justifiable reasons for why the Mark is politically and socially necessary. The Mark doctrine will be accompanied by verbiage that makes every “defiant nonconformist” look like a dangerous threat to the population, and the subsequent deadly persecution will begin involving the murder of anyone who doesn’t step in line with the Mark mandate. (As mentioned previously, for any who may exhibit lingering doubt regarding the executions, this will likely be portrayed as a necessary evil for the betterment of all mankind.) Free will, at that moment, will be a faded memory of principles held by a society long gone, and folks who show resistance will be eliminated. Everyone on earth in that day will see people they know (and possibly loved) put to death, and the pressure upon them to submit to Antichrist’s laws will introduce unparalleled feelings of defenselessness. Meanwhile, since the True Church will be underground and the restraining force will be gone, there won’t be many voices in the public arena to speak truth, to comfort the bereaved who may watch loved ones perish, or encourage these frightened people to fight the good fight.
Further, when Antichrist deceives many, causing them to believe him to be god, allegiance to him and worship of him, as we’ve made abundantly clear, will be legally required. The topside church will embrace him, believing in his divinity. At this, the apostate church will rejoice. After all, the church has always wanted to make converts of all of society. Once their leader has been granted the worship of every citizen by threat of fatal legal recourse, it will be a paramount victory; the conquerors will dance in the streets at the blood-spilling of true Christians, while the idolaters wear the same label in profane blasphemy.
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[i] Horn, Joe, & Belt, Daniel. Unlocking Eden: Revolutionize Your Health, Maximize Your Immunity, Restore Your Vitality. (Crane, MO: Defender Publishing; 2020) 34–35.
[ii] Griggs, Richard A., Psychology: A Concise Introduction: Fifth Edition (New York: Worth Publishers; 2017), 388.
[iii] Ibid., 388–389.
[xvi] Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. “Mock Prison Experiment / Consciousness.” May 21, 2020. Archived retrieval, accessed November 18, 2020. https://www.coasttocoastam.com/guest/zimbardo-philip-64272/.
[xvii] Wargo, Eric. “Bad Apples or Bad Barrels? Zimbardo on ‘The Lucifer Effect.’” Association for Psychological Science. August 1, 2006. Accessed November 19, 2020. https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/bad-apples-or-bad-barrels-zimbardo-on-the-lucifer-effect.