Rhetoric in the Propaganda Wars

by Terry Wane Benton

It is interesting how the rhetoric used in truth vs. propaganda often turns to prejudicial phrases. Elijah was called a "troubler" in Israel, by the wicked king (I Kings 18:17). Who really was the troubler? Was it not those who grew to accept immorality and idolatry? But Ahab used the word "troubler" to close minds against God's messenger. I have noticed through the years that members of the church get drawn into such useful rhetoric. When false teaching is being spread or a brother is living in sin, if such is addressed, the "troubler" is whoever speaks up to oppose sin or false teaching. It becomes a convenient propaganda war to make the good guy look bad and to protect the bad guy and his "friends." The good guy gets marked as "divisive," or other convenient terms. Often we find that "truth" is not what people want to hear or stand for. Truth is often inconvenient.

In our society, it will be easy to swallow the rhetoric. "Racist, white supremacist, xenophobe, homophobe, hate, insurrectionist, divisive, etc." are terms that can be used against innocent people for prejudicial purposes. It is all part of the propaganda wars to actually label innocent people and isolate them, treating them as the "troublers in Israel". But who is actually guilty of the accusation? That takes more thought and investigation. It often comes down to a sense of fairness, not being quick to judge, and taking time to analyze what you can gather in evidence and relevant information.

Jesus knew no sin, but propaganda succeeded in crucifying an innocent man. They claimed he was an insurrectionist, that He was going to replace Caesar, and if you respected Caesar you will not let this insurrectionist live. The truth was that Jesus was no insurrectionist and was not here to destroy the Roman government (John 18:35-38). But propaganda seemed to prevail. The truth takes investigation. Propaganda is often emotion-driven, and people more easily get swept into emotion more quickly than they are given to rational search for evidence.

Truth is not always self-evident, but it wins in the end, if not now, it will when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ (II Corinthians 5:10). Be careful not to be swept up into the propaganda wars. Seek for the truth. The truth will win and make you a winner.

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