Conforming to the World

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

On Easter Sunday in 1929, ten women walked down Fifth Avenue in New York City in a “Torches of Freedom” march. How did they express their “freedom”? By smoking cigarettes. Their message? That women should be allowed to smoke as freely as men. Their march attracted many photographers and was covered in newspapers worldwide. In fact, this single event was decisive in making cigarettes more accepted in society.

But few knew that this march had been conceived and orchestrated by Edward Bernays, a legendary public relations professional, who was working for the American Tobacco Company. In his career, he helped revolutionize the ways in which behavior could be manipulated. His clients included Dixie cups, the brewing industry, and Mack trucks. His strategies became popular with politicians and even influenced the Nazis in Germany.

He argued that public relations professionals could “continuously and systematically” change the way people thought, through deception and manipulation. His techniques and strategies changed the way in which business and politics were conducted.

Today, we are constantly bombarded with messages that seek to manipulate us and shape our attitudes and actions. We feel the subtle impact of advertisements, the underlying themes of TV programs and films, the morals encouraged by books, the opinions of text messages, the hollow promises of politicians, the taunts of atheists and skeptics.

How tempting it can be to conform to this manipulation! But the Bible warns us about the danger of copying the behavior and customs of this world.

Today, be aware of your choices: Will you be conformed to this world or to the Word of God? Make it your goal to obey God. Don’t allow the world to shape your life.