Published on May 17th, 2016 | by Josiah Batten0
The Marginalization of Christianity Pt 3: Propaganda
The real strategy in the marginalization of Christianity comes down to the effective use of propaganda. Edward Bernays, the nephew of Sigmund Freud, stated this:
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.” (Berneys, Propaganda, 37).
This manipulation of thought is propaganda. And Christianity continues to be marginalized in the United States because propaganda is effectively leveraged against it. The powers that be in the school system, the university, media, publishing, social media, and entertainment routinely marginalize Christianity and propagate against it. This undoubtedly started with a few people doing it intentionally, and today it is considered the normal mode of operation. Newcomers simply accept it as par for the course, they need not even be consciously malicious in doing it.
Our country’s moral and religious revolution did not occur because Christianity lost the intellectual debates. It did not occur because Christianity was disproved. It occurred because, despite the fact Christianity is true, anti-Christians effectively used propaganda to eliminate Christianity as a viable option among worldviews.
How does this propaganda work? It begins with ridicule, every time. To effectively propagandize against a given position, you must ridicule it. You need to make it seem utterly absurd. You do not treat the position as a viable intellectual option, but as a ridiculous and laughable suggestion among thinking people. Think Bill Maher here. Bill Maher doesn’t know anything about religion, theology, or science. But he does know how to use ridicule such that you might feel like an idiot if you disagree with him, even if he is wrong and you are right.
From ridicule, you quickly move to shame. It is not enough to make fun of Christianity, the propagandists actively portray it as evil and shame those who remain committed to it. For merely cultural Christians (those who claim to be Christian because that is the perceived majority population), ridicule and shame will be enough for them to shut up and keep quiet. It will be enough for many of them to disassociate from the Church altogether. If you don’t have substantial moral fortitude, you will not stand when someone says “Shame on you for being such an intolerant bigot!”
Once a critical mass accepts the ridicule and shame, most people will move on and simply portray themselves as the victor. “No one believes that anymore” will be the constant refrain. It will be insisted that this issue has already been settled, and that to bring it up for serious discussion once again would be to revert to the intellectual state of cave men. But notice, the issue was never settled intellectually at all, it was settled by the use of propaganda. People’s minds were changed not by truth, but by manipulation.
We as Christians must recognize this fact. In our secular, anti-Christian society it is not the case that Christianity will be treated like one option among others. Rather, Christianity is treated like the enemy, like an absurd superstition that cannot be held among thinking people. Propaganda has been effectively used to silence the issue.
What we must do, if we are to win, is to not be silenced. Anti-Christians have used propaganda effectively. But this means they do not know how to respond to a serious truth claim. They have advanced their position in the public sphere by ignorance. Exposing such ignorance requires nothing more than knowing the truth and being willing to advocate it. They know how to ridicule and shame, but they do not know how to respond to a genuine argument or a legitimate truth claim. Here, we have the distinctive upper hand. Being a minority has forced us to know and understand the other positions. They have merely ridiculed, and do not know our position nor how to respond to it.
Take heart. I do not write about the marginalization of Christianity from a point of despair. I write about it to embolden us. God still uses the means of the preaching of the Gospel to transform hearts and minds and save souls. In a society drowned in propaganda and lies, the great need of the hour is serious and biblically faithful preaching of the Gospel. God still shames the “wise” with the foolishness of the Gospel (see 1 Corinthians 1:27). In a society filled with darkness, we bring the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria,