In terms of Christianity, can we fairly say it employs the same propaganda tactics seen throughout various aspects of society? Should the approach to sharing the Gospel deviate from this phenomenon?
Let’s face it – “spin doctors” are everywhere, from TV news broadcasts and radio shows to newspapers and the internet. We’ve witnessed the government seemingly respecting public opinion before masterfully spinning it to gain support for their initiatives. Likewise, modern advertising and marketing are infamous for seductive manipulation in attracting consumers. So, when we examine contemporary Christianity, it’s no revelation that similar methods are used to grow their following. But is this normal or justifiable? What guidance can we find in the Bible about sharing Christ’s teachings and the Church’s use of propaganda?
In a previous discussion, I highlighted how the Catholic Church – particularly the Jesuits – became the first to employ the term “propagation” in relation to conquering and unifying the thoughts and emotions of its followers into a cohesive community of believers. Propaganda has since become commonplace and widely accepted as an inherent aspect of human nature. In fact, many individuals gravitate toward and embrace falsehoods so long as they’re widely acknowledged by familiar groups. The deceitful and manipulative nature of propaganda necessitates substituting the term with more positive phrases like “information,” “advertising,” “marketing,” or “sales” in settings beyond closed-door meetings. Although propaganda can produce favorable outcomes, does this justify its use? Our current dilemma revolves around whether scripture condones propaganda usage for spreading the Gospel or fostering Church growth. If a distinction exists between propagandistic activities and Gospel presentation, what sets them apart?
Propaganda primarily targets our emotions, both positive and negative. Advertisers and propagandists exploit our fears, courage, hate, and love alike. The fact that emotions are the core focus of propaganda doesn’t imply that feelings are inherently bad. Instead, it reveals that in a “fallen” world, our emotions are susceptible to manipulation by malicious individuals with selfish and detrimental intentions. Evil forces aim to undermine the Creator by exploiting mankind’s emotional vulnerabilities. In such a world, emotions often overpower rational thought, providing the “evil” with keys to control and manipulation; thus, feelings become more crucial than facts for both propagandists and preachers.
The Christian response against propaganda and marketing lies in seeking factual truth. To counteract deception, one must focus on understanding the truth rather than attempting to comprehend every form of propaganda employed against them. It’s like recognizing a genuine dollar bill rather than studying every possible counterfeit version. Jesus entered the world to save sinners by proclaiming the TRUTH in vivid and absolute terms, distinguishing it from all falsehoods and lies. Satan’s goal was not to eradicate truth but to subtly interweave lies with it, creating propaganda. Despite his devious methods, Satan has managed to gain followers who revel in the allure of worldly marketing and propaganda that appeals to humanity’s fallen nature.
Christianity recently experienced the Asbury Revival, a phenomenon that skillfully utilized masterful marketing and persuasive tactics to captivate its most impressionable audience: the youth. By tapping into powerful propaganda techniques, endorsements from renowned influencers, and appealing to one’s desires for thrilling experiences, the movement achieved widespread fame and increased enrollment. Similar to successful corporations or governments, it cleverly created a demand and then filled it with an irresistible offer.
However, it’s vital to recognize that authentic Christianity doesn’t rely on such worldly strategies to adhere to the Great Commission. Jesus Christ never acted as a salesman pushing worldly goods; instead, He encouraged a deeper commitment that few are willing to undertake. So, if you’re in search of a sales campaign for earthly purposes, steer clear of the Bible—it won’t provide what you’re looking for because true Christianity transcends such worldly objectives.