Conformity is the act of matching attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors to group norms. Norms are implicit, specific rules, shared by a group of individuals, that guide their interactions with others. This tendency to conform occurs in small groups and/or society as a whole, and may result from subtle unconscious influences, or direct and overt social pressure. Conformity can occur in the presence of others, or when an individual is alone. For example, people tend to follow social norms when eating or watching television, even when alone.
People often conform from a desire for security within a group—typically a group of a similar age, culture, religion, or educational status. This is often referred to as groupthink: a pattern of thought characterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics, which ignores realistic appraisal of other courses of action. Unwillingness to conform carries the risk of social rejection. Conformity is often associated with adolescence and youth culture, but strongly affects humans of all ages.
Although peer pressure may manifest negatively, conformity can be regarded as either good or bad. Driving on the correct side of the road could be seen as beneficial conformity. With the right environmental influence, conforming, in early childhood years, allows one to learn and thus, adopt the appropriate behaviours necessary to interact and develop correctly within one’s society. Conformity influences formation and maintenance of social norms, and helps societies function smoothly and predictably via the self-elimination of behaviors seen as contrary to unwritten rules. In this sense it can be perceived as a positive force that prevents acts that are perceptually disruptive or dangerous.
As conformity is a group phenomenon, factors such as group size, unanimity, cohesion, status, prior commitment and public opinion help determine the level of conformity an individual displays.
In Christianity, Confirmation is seen as the sealing of Christianity created in Baptism. Those being confirmed are known as confirmands. In some denominations, such as the Anglican Communion and Methodist Churches, confirmation bestows full membership in a local congregation upon the recipient. In others, such as the Roman Catholic Church, Confirmation “renders the bond with the Church more perfect”, because, while a baptized person is already a member, “reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace”.
Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Latter-Day Saint Churches view Confirmation as a sacrament. In the East it is conferred immediately after baptism. In the West, this practice is usually followed when adults are baptized, but in the case of infants not in danger of death it is administered, ordinarily by a bishop, only when the child reaches the age of reason or early adolescence. Among those Catholics who practice teen-aged Confirmation, the practice may be perceived, secondarily, as a “coming of age” rite.
Latter-Day Saint Churches do not practice infant baptism, but baptize only after the “age of accountability” is reached. Confirmation occurs either immediately following Baptism, or on the following Sunday. The Baptism is not considered complete or fully efficacious until Confirmation is received.
In traditional Protestant denominations, such as the Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist and Reformed Churches, Confirmation is a rite that often includes a profession of faith by an already baptized person. It is also required by most Protestant denominations for full membership in the respective Church, in particular for traditional Protestant churches, in which it is also recognized secondarily as a coming of age ceremony.
Confirmation is not practiced in Baptist, Anabaptist and other groups that teach believer’s baptism. Thus, the sacrament or rite of Confirmation is administered to those being received from those aforementioned groups, in addition to those converts from non-Christian religions.
There is an analogous ceremony also called Confirmation in the Jewish religion, which is not to be confused with Bar or Bat Mitzvah. The early Jewish Reformers instituted a ceremony where young Jews who are older than Bar Mitzvah age study both traditional and contemporary sources of Jewish philosophy in order to learn what it means to be Jewish. The age instituted was older than that of Bar Mitzvah because some of these topics were considered too complicated for 13-year-old minds to grasp. Nowadays, Confirmation has gained widespread adherence among congregations affiliated with the Reform movement, but has not gained as much traction in Conservative and Orthodox Jewish groups. The way Confirmation differs from Bar Mitzvah is that Confirmation is considered a more communal confirmation of one’s being Jewish, and Bar Mitzvah is more of a personal confirmation of joining that covenant.
}} To act in accordance with expectations; to behave in the manner of others, especially as a result of social pressure.
To be in accordance with a set of specifications or regulations, or with a policy or guideline.
To make similar in form or nature; to make suitable for a purpose; to adapt.
To strengthen; to make firm or resolute.
To administer the sacrament of confirmation on (someone).
To assure the accuracy of previous statements.