by Stan Mitchell
“All propaganda has to be popular and has to adapt its spiritual level to the perception of the least intelligent of those for whom it intends to direct itself” (Adolph Hitler, Mein Kamph).
The secret to propaganda, in other words, is to bring all of society down to the level of the lowest common denominator. It must appeal to the basest prejudices, the shallowest thinking. Hitler’s propaganda was a mix of fabrications and half-truths. It took Europe’s most organized and advanced civilization and dumbed it down till it was the dictator’s dupe.
What could be worse than a dictator who imposes thought control on his people?
Here is a possibility. What about a society that imposes limitations on itself, a sort of ignorance by peer pressure?
It is said that the early Christians out-thought their contemporaries. Christian leaders didn’t say: “Be shallow, unthinking, gullible dummies.” They said: “Test all things. Hold on to the good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
They didn’t say, unscrew your heads when you enter worship. God doesn’t want you to understand his will, he just wants you to love him with all of your heart. Instead, Jesus told them to “love the Lord with all your heart, soul, … and mind” (Mark 12:30). The Bible does not glory in ignorance.
They didn’t say: “That song’s words are too difficult. We want songs we can understand,” or “I loved your sermon, it was so simple.” They said: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord” (2 Peter 3:18).
Bertrand Russell, the skeptic, once sneered: “Most Christians would rather die than think … in fact, most do.”
There is no contradiction between knowing God’s will and loving him; those who love him will know his will! It’s not as if knowledge is cold and indifferent, while feelings are warm and loving! Ignorance of God’s word is the danger. Learning half-truths and reinforcing prejudged conclusions of scripture, that is the danger in the church!
The church is not in the business of leveling our understanding and service down to that of the average twelve-year-old. It’s in the business of raising all of us to God’s level!
by Stan Mitchell