Conforming to the World

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

On Easter Sunday, 1929, 10 women walked down Fifth Avenue in New York City in a “Torches of Freedom March.” They tried to focus on personal freedom but, secretly, they had other motives.

Said to be advocates of feminism, they attracted attention because they were smoking cigarettes. Their message was that women should be allowed to smoke as freely as men. Their march attracted many photographers, and was covered in newspapers worldwide.

Many believe that this single event helped make cigarettes more accepted in society. But few knew the inspiration for this event. It had been conceived not by these women but Edward Bernays, a public relations professional working for a tobacco company. He proved to be a master of manipulating behavior, using these skills with many clients and products. He argued that public relations professionals could “continuously and systematically” change the way people thought through deception and manipulation. Both domestically and internationally, his techniques changed the way business and politics were conducted.

Today, many people still apply these kinds of strategies. We’re constantly bombarded with advertisements, political claims, and product promises that seek to shape our attitudes. In the process, we too can be manipulated and even deceived.

In your life, remember the Bible’s warning: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world.” Be on guard, for you too can be the victim of manipulation. Remember, you have a choice. Will you be conformed to this world, or to God’s Word? Be careful what you allow to shape your life.