1/15 - I would like to share some observations about susceptibility to propaganda in the religious context, based on several Christian authors and academics around whom I was raised and are still in my circle of acquaintances.

Over the past ten years, a shift has taken place...
2/15 - ...which at first alarmed me greatly, because it was as though the world had turned upside-down due to propaganda.

But having pondered these observations for nearly a year now while also examining the ways I am susceptible to propaganda myself, and the reasons for it...
3/15 ...I now feel confident our response to propaganda is largely due to our level of emotional awareness.

Using these spiritual leaders as inspiration, I will attempt to explain how emotional motivations may have played into the dramatic shifts in their teaching.
4/15 - I will fictionalize the individuals I know into three general examples:

Pastor Trudy - A conservative evangelical
Professor Peacemaker - An anti-war socialist mennonite
Author Biblebelt - A saved-by-grace ex-fundamentalist
5/15 - Ten years ago, Pastor Trudy led a politically-mixed congregation, from an “accepting conservative” perspective (e.g. if you were “gay” or “agnostic” you were welcomed with open arms into the church community, but it was expected that God had some work to do in your heart).
6/15 - Now, Pastor Trudy leads an “LGBTQ-affirming“ church. He swears, mocks Donald Trump, and tells edgy jokes from the pulpit.

The congregation discusses hosting a “drag night.”

Most of the conservatives—who ran the church soup kitchen—are now attending services elsewhere.
7/15 - This sounds like a step forward for Pastor Trudy in some ways—he is less uptight and judgmental.

However, on social media his congregation has “gone woke”—bullying conservatives, dismissing questions innocent young people ask as “offensive.”

Pastor Trudy notices, but...
8/15 - ...instead of encouraging his congregation to recognize the fallibility of human nature applies to all of us and to consider the perspective of others with empathy, he tells them:

”Even though you are right, it is important to speak the truth with kindness.”
9/15 - This statement reveals that the “dramatic shift” Pastor Trudy has made, isn’t dramatic at all.

Only after many prominent and influential evangelicals publicly supported gay marriage, did Pastor Trudy decide it was the “correct” stance.

Pastor Trudy follows the crowd.
10/15 - Pastor Trudy is afraid of being “wrong,” of sticking his neck out and suffering rejection, of being “offensive.”

Pastor Trudy never resisted propaganda, so why would he start now? The culture has shifted, not Pastor Trudy.

His is a common response to propaganda: OBEY.
11/15 - Ten years ago, Professor Peacemaker worked in some of the most ”establishment” conservative evangelical institutions, urging against the promotion of zionism and militarism.

Now, he is brutally mocking his former colleagues in the MAGA movement, and unsatisfied with...
12/15 - ...their opposition to the military industrial complex, because the actual root of every problem in the world is “systemic racism.”

Professor Peacemaker could have embraced this opportunity to unite his community around the anti-war effort. Unfortunately, his need to...
13/15 - ...feel morally superior to his peers has left him ineffective.

Ten years ago, Author Biblebelt published books and articles about how propaganda and fundamentalism use fear and guilt to control us.

Now, he is a strong proponent of intersectional ideology.
14/15 - Sadly, Author Biblebelt feels the need to atone for his inner guilt and shame so deeply, that he has latched onto a new form of “original sin,” that of being a “white male.”

To conclude my observations, I suggest that propaganda is far less powerful than it appears.
15/15 - None of these three characters truly changed, but rather they were kept emotionally stagnant due to their fame and authority.

We all have similar blindspots caused by emotional traumas, which are exploited by propagandists.

Therefore, the power lies within each of us.
DISCLAIMER: I am neither homophobic nor religious. 😝

It is just fascinating to me how quickly the Christian communities in which I grew up shifted with the culture, becoming somehow even more wholeheartedly politically mainstream than they were during the Bush and Obama years.

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