Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cognitive Dissonance and City Harvest Church

In the midst of the scandal involving the Pastor Kong Hee, City Harvest Church has come out strongly in support of their disgraced leader.

It may seem prudent to wait until a verdict is delivered, but the evidence is heavily weighted against Kong Hee and Co. And I do mean company; they ran the church like a business, selling packaged experiences, religious "happy meals" as someone close to me is wont to call them. There's an old saw: "The best way to rob a bank is to own one." I might add owning a church makes more financial sense than owning a bank. It's far more tax-efficient.

As for whether I think Kong Hee is guilty as charged, oh I do not doubt that at all. Remember,  a former church member had been vilified for asking just too many questions about the church's finances. The lack of transparency almost always points to some form of shenanigans behind the scenes (This, I might add, would probably apply to more than one large local financial institution).

Although it may seem counter-intuitive why City Harvest is so strident in their support, frankly, I'm not surprised. Even Charles Ponzi had his "supporters" after his fraudulent scheme was unmasked.

The Psychological Blog offers one perspective. I'm not going to quote it here, except to mention that the section on cognitive dissonance is germane.

The noted economist John Kenneth Galbraith once said: 

"Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."

There is no one that City Harvest Church wants to convince more on the integrity of its leaders than itself.

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