While getting some gas at the local station, I spotted a business card stuck to the top of the pump. This is what is said:
“Knowing the truth requires we become truth seekers”
I agree. To counter-act propaganda and disinformation, you must first desire to know the truth. And then, it’s going to require some effort on your part because propaganda is now so common place. Everybody does it.
But the card also went on to say:
“What Then Do True Christian Believe?”
This was the first warning sign (and the silly picture on the front). But I was willing to give the unknown alleged “truth-seeker” a chance.
In Propaganda – Part II, I pointed out that anyone who declares ‘we alone have the truth’, that this is an obvious sign of of propaganda. It’s a form of exceptionalism and can be worded in numerous ways around this theme. So right away, I already understood that this card was going to now declare itself as the purveyor of truth – and unsurprisingly, get it all wrong. Not because ‘my truth’ is the only truth, but because my truth is based upon the other essential methodologies for establishing truth that I shared in Propaganda – Part II.
Here they are again:
1) The method of reason (logic / mathematics).
2) The method of science.
3) The method of experience.
4) The method of history.
5) The method of expert testimony.
6) The method of plausible inference.
On the back of the business card, which was really nothing more then a form of advertisement for a church website, I found this:
“Our Creator provided each of us a Book with ink and pen in which our life to write. Then at the appointed time He will read what we recorded upon our life’s pages. Word by word, line by line, chapter by chapter, we chart our destiny. Our mortal life upon the earth etched within the DNA of our soul, mind and heart, then written within The Book Of Life; what we recorded upon Our Live’s Pages.”
There’s a bit more, but you get the idea. It’s another religious advertisement posing itself as truth, but in reality, it’s nothing more then propaganda. I’m going to break it down as a demonstration exercise:
a) the declaration of a Creator is a assumption. Most people recognize the concept of a Creator as a divine authority, ultimately responsible for everything, good, evil, creation, existence and so on. Yet a Creator has never been proven nor found. There is no evidence of any kind to support this claim. Using the methodologies, this claim is not supported by mathematics, science, experience, history, expert testimony or even plausible inference anymore. As knowledge has increased, so has our understanding of reality.
Despite the widespread belief in a Creator, that isn’t any kind of proof or evidence either. To actually know the truth about this specific topic, we can turn to any of the Methodologies above (or even better, all of them) to find the truth. And when we’ve done that important step, which is what I had to do back when I was in the ministry, I walked away empty handed, because nothing has been found despite thousands of years of intense investigation, research, claims and the examination of every bit of alleged ‘evidence’ that was ultimately rejected by science, experts and even history.
Belief does not equal proof. Beliefs arise from both facts (real facts and false facts) and assumptions. We need to eliminate the false facts (claims) which are untrue, and the assumptions if we are actually interested in knowing the truth. If we are really truth seekers as the card declared, then we cannot mix falsehoods and assumptions in with real facts and with elements and things we actually know and can prove to be true.
b) The Book of Life is referenced in the Bible, in Revelation 3:5; 20:12; and Philippians 4:3. Both of these ‘books’ themselves are known to contain enormous numbers of errors, redactions and interpolations into the form and wording that we have in today’s Bibles. Other then this source – there is no earthly evidence of any kind that anything like this actually exists. None of the methodologies can be applied to support the notion of a Book of Life, but they can all be applied to refute the claim and the existence of a Book Of Life. Neither science nor experts in archeology, history, theology, linguistics or cosmology accept the belief that the Book Of Life is actually real, or has any effect upon either the living or the dead.
Only the religious ‘believe’ in the Book Of Life and that’s only because they read about it in the Bible. If it wasn’t in there, they wouldn’t believe it since virtually no other evidence exists. But the Bible is known to contain thousands of erroneous claims, errors, redactions, interpolations and contradictions, and it is not considered either accurate, historically true or actual evidence of any of its numerous claims. By itself, it’s just a book of stories.
This might not sit well with some, but that is the conclusion of numerous world-class experts on the Bible and thousands of years of research and investigation. The Bible has been more exhaustively researched then almost any other topic, and that is because it has had such a profound impact upon a large portion of humanity. A lot of people have spent lifetimes trying to understand its truth, its history, and its impact upon humanity. Yet despite this intensive investigation and research, many of the claims, including the Book Of Life have never been found to offer any corroborating evidence of any kind.
c) the “appointed time” is a reference that speaks to the time when all are judged. Like the paragraphs before, this is simply an unfounded belief that has no corroborating evidence anywhere in the world despite intensive investigation and research spanning thousands of years. The “methodology of belief” doesn’t exist, and cannot be applied as “proof”, because belief isn’t subject to either proof or evidence and can therefore, be rejected as any kind “truth”, because it isn’t. Belief is just belief, nothing more.
However, beliefs govern (and dictate) a large percentage of humanity and their behavior (choices). The biggest problem with belief is it can also lead to a lot of harm and conflict when beliefs do not align with reality, and then people often get hurt – emotionally, spiritually and physically. Millions and millions of people have suffered and died because of beliefs.
Imposing belief upon someone else is a form of brainwashing. Sharing beliefs is less harmful (provided they have the choice to reject it without harm), but its still far better to share facts so that better decision and life-choices can be made in accordance to what is factual and what isn’t.
Because religion is such a powerful force even within modern countries, and how religion can be very easily manipulated and used to gain power and control over people, the topic of religion must be understood correctly; that is to seek the truth about the matter, and to understand whether there is propaganda and deception within or inherent to religion, or whether there is real demonstrable truth using the methodologies that can be applied to any subject or body of knowledge.
However, failing to rigorously apply the methodologies to religion leaves enormous room for errors and gross misunderstandings, leading to what we have today, which is what we call ‘belief’. No standards or proof or evidence is to be applied. Belief that is not evidence based, that is not founded upon established facts and proof, is just belief. It’s also become known as confirmation bias.
Confirmation bias can be identified whenever ‘belief’ triumphs over facts. Evidence is discounted or discarded in favor of personal preference and bias. Only that which appears to support the bias is ‘accepted’ and counter-evidence is not even if it is fact based (evidence). Religion is particularly prone to this type of bias, and actually relies of the absence of evidence (facts) as “proof”. No other body of knowledge that I know of if does this, and therefore, deliberately exempts itself from rigorous examination.
The evidence of harm this causes is evident throughout the world today as religion continues to find itself at odds with the real world as knowledge continues to increase. Conveniently, believers are told to expect this type of conflict, because this too is claimed as evidence that ‘they must be right’. The circular reasoning this engenders doesn’t occur to them and they don’t appear to understand the concept either. Self-fulfilling claims like this are difficult to unravel when evidence itself is broadly rejected, and the identity of believers become so disconnected from reality and connected to the imaginary that what is imagined is more real then what is actually being experienced in life.
At a time when knowledge has dramatically increased, religion continues to play an out-sized role within the world. It probably shouldn’t because it leads to millions of bad decisions and dishonest dealings and easily manipulated people. Politicians pretend to be religious (when it suits them) to appeal to their voters. Because religion isn’t fact or reality based, they are in effect proselytizing propaganda (knowingly), seeking to manipulate their listeners. We see this type of activity quite often and it’s also being used to cover up bad behavior. The danger here is evident.
President Trump pretends to be religious but is totally unable to quote a single passage from the Bible or point to a favorite. He’s stood before thousands and wielded his pretend Christianity as a weapon of propaganda to gain support for his agenda. I cannot think of a worse example of a “Christian” then Donald J. Trump who exemplifies in word and in deed everything that the Bible commands against. But propaganda about Trump and his alleged Christianity is very strong right now and widely disseminated and many Christians have discarded their Bibles and its commands because it suits them to do this at this time.
This is how both the power of ‘belief’ and the downfall of belief can be wielded or propped up at a whim – how it can be molded, modified, changed or even discarded at a moments notice or whenever it may be suitable for the times. Because belief is not fact-based, and it does not require any kind of proof or evidence, belief can easily be anything at all (and often is). It can even choose to ignore the source of Christian religious teachings when it wants to – the Bible, in favor of whatever is deemed presently desirable.
This is how the Christian church has long operated in case you did not know. Religion is very much a part of the political enterprise throughout the world and always has been. The power of the Church, and its teachings, is often used to either align itself with politics or realign politics until both are effectively inseparable. One without the other is without real power, because it will fail to influence the other half. In America, the so-called “separation of church and state” has never actually happened, because both politics and religion have come to rely upon the same things – the power of belief, which if you have followed along thus far, is nothing more then propaganda.
I’ve already discussed in more detail the Bible and how religion is being used to manipulate people in End Time Fantasies, and Religion and Human Responsibilities, and even some Hate Mail I received way back. I’ve even used the Bible to teach what civilization was biblically supposed to be, God, Civilization and The Hope of Mankind. And finally, how politics has tried to force the Rapture onto the world in Trying To Force The Rapture.
Oh, and if you want to know about the so-called “Trump Prophecy”, you can read Skeptical Science’s review of this claim. Taylor has attempted to use religion as a propaganda tool and in their own words:
In other words, Mark Taylor is a gold plated grade 1 paranoid religious conspiracy nut who has a track record of being consistently and persistently wrong about anything and everything he says. He has never managed to successfully predict anything … ever.
The dangerous power of propaganda and how it is being used needs to be completely understood and recognized as driving force in the world today. Religion continues to play an out-sized role in the application of dangerous propaganda and the manipulation of millions of people.
In this post, I’m only trying to convey two things here: the methodology that should always be followed to establish truth, and the principles of how propaganda is being used. Religion is just one example (albeit a major one), but so is politics (next post – Propaganda – Part IV).