I am going to sum up a podcast that I listened to about the psychology of religion. It can be found here. Fair warning, its long. Two studies popped out to me that have stayed banging around in my brain. I will butcher them now. (I could re-listen and find said studies and read the abstracts) But 'ain't nobody got time for that'
Graph at the front of the room with lines at varying heights. Line C is by far the tallest line. Without remarkable eye sight difficulties it would be difficult to not see that line C is the tallest. When alone in the room as near to 100% as you can get will say line C is the tallest. One subject in a room with 4 or 5 other people who they think are also other subjects (but they are actually moles - just researchers in street clothes). With the moles present the subject is last to be asked:
"Which line is the tallest"
Before them each of the other individuals will answer first and they will all say "Line A is tallest"
When this happens the rate at which the actual tallest line is identified drops to ... I don't remember now, in the 30ish%. Its just so hard after hearing four or five other people say Line A for you to say Line C. Even though you know line C is tallest.
Now when just ONE mole changes their answer:
The rates that the subject will say the correct line jump WAY back up.
Pretend you like it experiment:
"Say you like it till you do."
Subjects are brought in and asked to do a mind numbing pointless task, move these pegs from these holes to these holes, then back for THIRTY STRAIGHT MINUTES. Till you want to poke your eyes out with the pegs. That mind numbing.
Participants are asked to rate their satisfaction with the task, as expected rates of satisfaction were not high.
Now same task, same amount of time, same mind numb. Except this time before rating their satisfaction they are ask to do a solid for the researcher. He has to go to the bathroom, can the subject head out to the waiting room and explain the importance of participating in this study. Just tell the person that its of value to the academic community blah, blah and that it was a rather enjoyable experience. They do head out and to the next participant SAY that they actually rather kind of enjoyed doing an absolutely mundane task for thirty minutes of their life.
THEN they are asked about rate of satisfaction with the task that they did. The group that gave the pitch had significantly higher rates of satisfaction. Just because they said they liked it, they ended up kind of liking it.
Now apply the commentary of these two social experiments to lets say a testimony meeting:
You might have "doubts" in your mind or as I have come to realize, logic and reason nagging at you. But you hear one after the other, Line A, Line A, Line A, Line A, from the oldest to the tiniest members coached with whispered breath say Line A Line A Line A.... and you begin push down in your mind the voice saying nuh-uh. Its C.
Then you are told to say it till you mean it, sell the pitch.
A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it. Somewhere in your quest for spiritual knowledge, there is that 'leap of faith,' as the philosophers call it. - Richard Wirthlin