Essay on Cognitive Dissonance with School Prayer

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Cognitive Dissonance with School Prayer

On June 17th, 1963 school prayer was taken out of public schools because of a Supreme Court ruling that all students shouldn’t be subjected to prayer. As a result of this ruling, the teaching of the character and belief of the founding fathers, which played a large part in our country’s history, quickly decreased. Although never mentioned, the Supreme Court’s ruling suggested to the public that prayer in public schools was incongruent with the beliefs and attitudes upon which this country was founded? In the following report, I will attempt to present information concerning cognitive dissonance that will assist you in answering the aforementioned question.
Purpose and Significance Cognitive
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The theory of cognitive dissonance is that people seek to minimize dissonance because of the discomfort it causes. Leon Festinger stated that, “[Cognitive Dissonance] induces a ‘drive state’—need to avoid or reduce dissonance by changing our beliefs, attitudes or behaviors so they are perceived as consistent (http://spot.colorado.com/~craigr/Dissonance/sld002.htm).” This decision to reduce dissonance within one’s self is often done subconsciously; however, we all will be faced with the opportunity to make that decision consciously, if we haven’t been already.
Individual Examples The CEO of XYZ Corporation is a person of high morals and values. This CEO recognizes the critical role that each individual worker plays in the overall success of the company—believing that everyone is a crucial, inseparable part of the whole company. Recently, the board of directors instructed this CEO to lay off 10,000 workers—saying that the company needs to increase profits so stock prices will continue to go up and that they would give him a 15% bonus on his already hefty $750,000/year salary to do it. The board of directors also added that if he couldn’t lay the workers off, then they would find someone who could. This CEO is feeling the discomfort of cognitive dissonance—does he change or twist his beliefs to match the actions it would take to keep his job, or does he continue allowing his beliefs to direct his

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