Conformity and Belief

  • Peter Herriot


The Brethren culture—its beliefs, values, and rules of behaviour—is instilled from childhood. The most important element is belief. The root belief is that the Bible is the Word of God transmitted directly to the believer, and that it tells you all you need to know about doctrine and practice. Since the Bible expresses the world view and culture of premodern societies, modern believers are being asked to conform to a radically different counter-culture. The teaching and approval (or disapproval) of family and assembly generally exercise sufficient social influence to ensure conformity. The young are left in little doubt as to what is expected of them, since there is hardly any variation in the prototype of a model brother or sister. However, the Bible, although it is very detailed in its prescriptions in some aspects of behaviour, cannot possibly spell out all the behavioural rules for a complex modern society. Potential for the stimulation of change in assembly culture by individuals or minorities lies in this ambiguity about action.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Herriot
    • 1
  1. 1.Birkbeck, University of LondonLondonUK

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