Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Propaganda Revisited

In this column, I want to establish that the mature Christian mind is best protected against propaganda.

Last year, as I watched in disgust as so many Americans were mesmerized by Obama's frighteningly dark drivel, I read Jacques Ellul's 'Propaganda'.  Much rang true, but I didn't have much background to question his evidence.

As I've mulled over how people choose to believe what they believe, I was reminded of some passages in his book.  He describes modern man as such:

Above all he is a victim of emptiness-he is a man devoid of meaning.  He is very busy, but he is emotionally empty, open to all entreaties and in search of only one thing - something to fill his inner void.

The main point to my four part series on rationality was that people choose to believe the most emotionally satisfying answers.  Furthermore, I believe that our ability to ascertain the true nature of reality is when we have little emotional stake in the answer.  If we emotionally need an answer to be true we will rationalize and even lie to ourselves to satisfy those emotional needs.  In general, if we are emotionally needy people, our ability to adhere to reality is diminished.

What I propose, and it will be left unproved until later posts, is that Christianity provides the ultimate path to emotional satisfaction because it prescribes optimal human behavior.  This optimal human behavior is what I call morality.  Reality, as described by Christianity, I will call the Truth.

If one rejects the Truth, one must be accepting a disreality, a non-truth, or more simply, a set of lies.  By pursuing a path that is suboptimal, one will inevitably suffer.  The pain we suffer because we have chosen to believe a disreality while living in reality wounds us emotionally.  The inevitability of pursuing a disreality is emotional emptiness.  This emptiness, as Ellul points out, leads one to believe more lies and more propaganda.

Empty people will fall prey to propaganda.  Inevitably they will be ruled by the propagandizers.  The emptier they are, the more brutal the rule over them will be.  They will be imprisoned by the lies they have told themselves to assuage their emptiness.  It truly is a hell of their own making. 

Only the emotionally satisfied mind can see reality as it is.  And, as I propose, only the Christian mind can be fully emotionally satisfied.

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