THE SUNK COST FALLACY AND HOW IT APPLIES TO THE GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH

By dogcatcher on September 24th, 2015

 

There is a term economists and sociologists sometimes use that explains behavior that has become contrary to one’s belief. The term they use is “Sunk Cost Fallacy” (sometimes referred to as “Concorde Fallacy”). This arises generally when one invests more time or money while deep down inside they know that they are literally throwing good money or time after bad. It explains why one does not walk away from something that they know is fated for failure.

In the business of an options or commodity traders this is often also called a “Hope Trade”. It is a part of who we all are, as all of us have fallen into this trap. It is when you go against your better judgment and invest more in a losing proposition in order to double down and recoup your losses. If this were a sin, it would be one that all human beings have committed or will commit. So how does it apply to the Church, you might ask yourself. Clearly based on the emails and conversations our Editors have with our Clergy and Laity we see a pattern that points to how pervasive this thinking has become in our Church.

Here are some examples we have observed:

In the Parish. There are those people that just stay and work no matter which affected Priest gets assigned to their Parish. They have years of commitment to one Parish and work in spite of the fact that they do not believe in the Ministries or the character of the Clergyman who is the “spiritual leader” of their community. They see things falling apart, yet they continue to work on behalf of the Parish. To what end? The worst of the lot are those who paint themselves with the title of victim. They work towards the destruction of their Parish community all the while singing the same song of “woe is me”. The real strength of a human is knowing when to walk away from a losing proposition. The most difficult thing is to walk away from a bad situation. Granted, the harder you have worked over time, the more difficult it is.

So what is happening to our Church? As one of our Editors so apply stated about the current condition……“the current conditions of the Metropolis of Chicago have made it impossible to keep competent people engaged”.

In the Metropolis of Chicago. After new websites have come on line like Greek Orthodox Christian and Laity (here is the link: http://goccl.org/ ) and Orthodox Reformer (here is the link: https://www.orthodoxreformer.com/ ) we still see no changes. Will there ever be change? Are we all guilty of the “sunk cost fallacy”? Perhaps we are. Our Editors often wonder out loud why they continue to care about an institution that harbors and promotes courtiers, sycophants, charlatans and manipulators of others. If you go to the Greek Orthodox Christian and Laity website, and we strongly suggest that you do, you will see that 778 of our Laity have signed a petition in support of the removal of the Chicago Metropolis Hierarchs. Yet they are still there. On the site they have an opinion poll where they ask the following: “Do you think Archbishop Demetrios should remove Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos as Chancellor of the Metropolis of Chicago, given how this Bishop has handled the investigation of criminal theft by a priest under his authority?” Remarkably only 5% of those participating in the poll think that the Bishop should not be removed! That means that 95% of those responding believe that the Bishop should be relieved of his duties. Yet, he still reigns. Why?

As for the Metropolitan of Chicago the poll asks this question: “Do you think Metropolitan Iakovos should voluntarily retire as Metropolitan of the Metropolis of Chicago, and in the event he declines to do so, to request the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate to recall him?” To this question, the Hierarch does slightly better with what is an “approval rating” in the single digits of 9%. Of course, that means that 91% of those participating believe that he should voluntary retire or be recalled by the Patriarch. Religions and institutions only thrive when their members are inspired. Here we have the opposite situation. We have people so uninspired – – or negatively inspired- – that multiple websites exists devoted to exposing the conditions that our Laity suffers for their faith. Certainly, this is the environment that has promoted the progress of the Ephraimite movement in this Metropolis.

Below is a letter sent to us from the parent of a child lost to the Ephraimite movement. Everything that this parent expresses (including all the listed criterions) has been brought to our attention in multiple Letters to our website. This letter phrases the issues in concise terms, albeit contrary to the general beliefs of some of our readers. It is still worth reading. If our Church has truly reached the state expressed in this letter, what is our collective future? Here is the letter in its entirety:

“Have you read the book, Churches that Abuse? It gives you 9 criterion on how such a church abuses.

Have you read the book, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse? It gives you 7 ways that a church spiritually abuses.

Abuse is the character of the GOC (editors addition: Greek Orthodox Church) and it is a reason to leave. The following 10 criteria will be helpful in assisting Greek Orthodox to decide to stay or leave.

The 10 criteria:

1. Heresy is taught and tolerated.

2. Wanton disregard of the morality and ethics of Scripture.

3. Gross sin is allowed and tolerated.

4. Hypocrisy dominates the church.

5. Systemic leadership corruption controls.

6. Spiritual abuse is the norm.

7. Double standards dominate.

8. Denial of obvious corporate sin and bondage.

9. Authoritarian senior leadership that sees itself as God and/or above God.

10. Not transparent or accountable leadership by self-protection.

Those criteria are rational reasons to leave. They make Biblical sense. The GOC has lost Biblical sense and that is why it is the position it is in.

I have not seen any Orthodox criterion’s on reasons to leave. Yet, they have no problem explaining to those of others’ churches why they should leave their church and become Orthodox.

The Orthodox attempts to get others to leave their churches is not working as evangelism, but the Orthodox believe it is evangelism. It is not evangelism.

 

Yes, come to God’s only true church by leaving your church for an Orthodox church that is corrupt, failed, incompetent, irrelevant, abusive and imploding. The relevancy appeal of your church has no equal, right?

Seems to me that by the state of your church demographic implosion that people have found their criterion to leave.”

Is this parent correct? Should we consider whether the Greek Orthodox Church in America is a leaking vessel? Should we be looking for the exit doors? Are all of us guilty of the Sunk Cost Fallacy in examining our connections to our Church, given the current environment we all find ourselves in? How much more abuse and hypocrisy must we endure before we voluntarily stop the abuse?