cog·ni·tive (kog'ni-tiv)
Of, characterized by, involving, or relating to cognition: “Thinking in terms of dualisms is common in our cognitive culture” (Key Reporter).
Having a basis in or reducible to empirical factual knowledge.


dis·so·nance (dis'?-n?ns)
A harsh, disagreeable combination of sounds; discord.
Lack of agreement, consistency, or harmony; conflict: “In Vietnam, reality fell away and dissonance between claim and fact filled the void” (Michael Janeway).
Music. A combination of tones contextually considered to suggest unrelieved tension and require resolution.


The question now becomes:  How would you apply cognitive dissonance to religious beliefs?


"To him therefore that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin."  James (Jacob) 4:17


Cognitive Dissonance Description:

This is the feeling of uncomfortable tension which comes from holding two conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time.

Dissonance increases with:

1. The importance of the subject to us.
2. How strongly the dissonant thoughts conflict.
3. Our inability to rationalize and explain away the conflict.

Dissonance is often strong when we believe something about ourselves and then do something against that belief. If I believe I am good but do something bad, then the discomfort I feel as a result is cognitive dissonance.


The passage in James (Jacob) could place an individual in a serious mental conflict.  If you know you should be doing something that is considered right, but; you fail to do the good (or right) conflict occurs.  This places you in dissonance or disagreement.   The conscience is in a constant struggle between good and evil.  You are compelled to do good, but strongly resist this creator designed influence, and you will yield, giving into temptation, and finally you commit sin!  This disagreement places your mind in confusion and jeopardy. 


 "The lamp of the body is the eye: if therefore your eye be single, your whole body shall be full of light.
 But if your eye be evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you be darkness, how great is the darkness!
 No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other."
   Matthew 6:22-24


The conflict between good and evil is a constant battle.  The Apostle Paul expressed it this way:


 "For I delight in the law of Yahweh after the inward man:
 but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members."
 Romans 7:22-23


If you know that commandment keeping is required by Yahweh's law, and; you resist or fail to follow this knowledge, you have conflict of mind.  This brings you to an unsettled state of mind, placing you in dissonance.


 "A double-minded man, unstable in all his ways."  James (Jacob) 1:8


A double-minded individual never functions correctly.  Their mind is in a constant state of agitation.  It has no peace!  


 "For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace;
 because the mind of the flesh is enmity towards Yahweh; for it is not being subjected to the Law of Yahweh, for neither can it be
 And those being in the flesh are not able to please Yahweh.
 But you are not in flesh, but in Spirit, since the Spirit of Yahweh dwells in you. But if anyone has not the Spirit of Messiah, this one is not His.
 But if Messiah is in you, the body indeed is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
"  Romans 8:6-10


The flesh wars against the Spirit.  The carnal thoughts against the spiritual thoughts.  There is one solution commonly followed by criminal minded individuals, and that is to sear their consciences against doing the right thing.  


 Sociopathy is chiefly characterized by something wrong with the person's conscience.  They either don't have one, it's full of holes like Swiss cheese, or they are somehow able to completely neutralize or negate any sense of conscience or future time perspective.  Sociopaths only care about fulfilling their own needs and desires - selfishness and egocentricity to the extreme.  Everything and everybody else is mentally twisted around in their minds as objects to be used in fulfilling their own needs and desires.  They often believe they are doing something good for society, or at least nothing that bad.  The term "sociopath" is frequently used by psychologists and sociologists alike in referring to persons whose un-socialized character is due primarily to parental failures (usually fatherless) rather than an inherent feature of temperament.  Lykken (1995), for example, clearly distinguishes between the sociopath (who is socialized into becoming a psychopath) and a "true" psychopath.  A psychopath is an individual with no superego or conscience; because of this deficit, the person often engages in extensive antisocial behavior.

 "The wicked are estranged from the womb: They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies."  Psalm 58:3

  However, this may only describe the "common sociopath", as there are at least four (4) different subtypes -- common, alienated, aggressive, and dissocial.  Commons are characterized mostly by their lack of conscience; the alienated by their inability to love or be loved; show aggressiveness by a consistent sadistic streak; and dissocial by an ability to abide by gang rules, as long as those rules are the wrong rules.  As Stout (2005) indicates, it only takes three of the following to be defined as a sociopath, and some common sociopathic traits include:

List of Common Sociopathic Traits

Egocentricity; Callousness; Impulsivity; Conscience defect; Exaggerated sexuality; Excessive boasting; Risk taking; Inability to resist temptation; Antagonistic, deprecating attitude toward the opposite sex; Lack of interest in bonding with a mate.


Profile of the Sociopath

Other Related Qualities:

  1. Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
  2. Does not perceive that anything is wrong with them
  3. Authoritarian
  4. Secretive
  5. Paranoid
  6. Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seeks out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired
  7. Conventional appearance
  8. Goal of enslavement of their victim(s)
  9. Exercises despotic control over every aspect of the victim's life
  10. Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim's affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)
  11. Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim
  12. Incapable of real human attachment to another
  13. Unable to feel remorse or guilt
  14. Extreme narcissism and grandiose
  15. May state readily that their goal is to rule the world (Extreme Case)



 "But the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, cleaving to deceiving spirits and teachings of demons,
 in lying speakers in hypocrisy, being seared in their own conscience."
   1 Timothy 4:1-2



Conscience is a moral faculty that leads to feelings of remorse when we do things that go against our inbuilt moral precepts. Such feelings are not intellectually arrived at, though they may cause us to 'examine our conscience' and review those moral precepts, or perhaps resolve to avoid repeating the behavior.

Commonly used metaphors refer to the "voice of conscience" or "voice within".

Modern day scientists in the fields of Ethology, Neuroscience and Evolutionary psychology seek to explain conscience as a function of the human brain that evolved to facilitate reciprocal altruism within societies. As such it could be instinctive (genetically determined) or learnt.

The psychologist Sigmund Freud regarded conscience as originating in the superego, which takes its cue from our parents during childhood. According to Freud, the consequence of not obeying our conscience is "guilt," which can be a factor in the development of neurosis.

Conscience can prompt different people in quite different directions, depending on their beliefs, suggesting that while the capacity for conscience is probably genetically determined, its subject matter is probably learnt, or imprinted, like language, as part of a culture. One person can feel a moral duty to go to war, another can feel a moral duty to avoid war under any circumstances.


Criminals silence that "voice of conscience" or "voice within".  Perhaps you would like to read a book that deals with the vanishing conscience?



Book Description:
The bestselling author John MacArthur claims in The Vanishing Conscience, that we have become a people who shift blame, deny guilt, love self and excuse moral failure in this compelling book. The result is diminished integrity and the loss of our ability to experience {Yahweh's} grace and forgiveness. This explosive book presents biblical solutions to the problem of sin, and leads readers from a life of blame and denial to the true peace and freedom.


But?  Does this book have to tell us what we should already know?  The world in which we now find ourselves, has seriously changed over the last 40 years or so.  Things that were once unconscionable, are now everyday occurrences.  The vulgar and unacceptable is now l'ordre du jour!  (Order of the day!)  We are living in a no holds barred, anything goes era.  Man can no longer see their purpose here on earth, it has become obscured.  The disinformation generated by religion and government has effectively neutralized the human race.  People are losing faith in governments and in religion particularly.  The Kingdom of Yahweh is far from view.  The aggression of anti-religious groups have been effective.  Removing religion from schools, from government buildings, from the general public, has successfully sterilized the conscience of the earth's inhabitants.  {Emphasis Mine}


 "Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint; But he that keeps the law, happy is he."  Proverbs 29:18



Yours in Yahshua, Hawke






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