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How Do We Sift Through Propaganda? | No Reason To Hide #9

Our world is filled with conflict and biased voices. We’re inundated with information through the 24-hour news cycle and our podcasts. Pastor Lutzer conveys the effect today’s speech codes are having on public discourse, particularly in universities. With all the ways words are used and misused, how do we peel back the labels?  

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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” Thanks for joining us again. If you’ve been with us, you know that we’re going through my book entitled “No Reason To Hide: Standing for Christ in a Collapsing Culture.” Today, we come to a chapter where I discuss the issue of propaganda. Propaganda has always been an interest that I have had, especially when I study the life and times of Adolf Hitler. Basically, what propaganda does is it promises people and tells them what they want to hear but then it gives them what you want them to have.

And, of course, speaking of Hitler for example, when he starved children, he called it putting them on a low-calorie diet. The killing of the Jews was the cleansing of the land. What you do is you use language to camouflage what it is that you’re really doing. I’m encouraged by the fact that the Bible says in the Book of Malachi that even God gets weary of words. The Lord says you have “wearied me by your words.”

Well, listen to the news today and you’ll soon discover it is easy for us to become weary with the words. Perhaps I’ve mentioned this before but when I was a boy growing up and I would read the Gospels I was puzzled by the words of Jesus who said, “Whoever has an ear to hear, let him hear.” It’s one of the best statements I’ve ever heard about communication. What Jesus is saying is this: if you don’t have a desire to hear, you will not hear. Why? Because the desire to hear something is much more powerful and compelling than something we don’t want to hear. Bottom line, we all listen to what we want to hear and we reject what we don’t want to hear.

But in this chapter I list six ways that language is used today in propaganda. Now of course, I don’t have time to list all of them such as slogans and so forth and various lies that are told but there’s one that I want to refer to. I refer to a university that has a speech code. You’re not supposed to use the word “freshman.” You’re not supposed to use the word “victim” and, by the way, if there’s a barber shop in your area don’t say that he takes in “walk-ins” because you might offend those who cannot walk. What’s going on there? And, by the way, there are many universities that have speech codes the intention is not to elevate the discussion. The intention is to silence the discussion. The whole point is to narrow the realm of thought so that you are afraid of making a straightforward sentence because you don’t know—you might say something wrong. And something that was okay to say a month ago might be wrong today. Propaganda meets us on every corner, especially in today’s technology and the various opportunities that we have to watch the news, to listen to podcasts, and the list goes on and on.

What is the answer? Always peel back the labels. Always try to find out what is really being said. And we have to teach our young people today that knowledge and wisdom are very different. The internet can give you knowledge. What it can’t do is give you wisdom; only God can do that. There’s a story that I tell, that perhaps I’ve used before but I want you to hear it again today. A young Pastor here at the Moody Church—he and his wife were having their first child. He was in the delivery room and suddenly he noticed that there was panic. The baby had turned incorrectly and now the doctors were wondering how to help the little girl as she was coming out of the birth canal. Of course, the young man was panicked but a doctor came over to him and looked him in the eye and she said this, “In a moment this room is going to be filled with 20 people with a lot of buzz but be calm. We know what we are doing and we’ve been here before.” And, of course, as you might guess, everything turned out okay.

In a world with so much conflict and so many angry voices, you and I have to step back. We have to hear the voice of God and remember that the Lord God assures us He knows what He is doing and in the end, for believers, everything is going to be okay. And I’m convinced that in the end, and this is based on the Book of Revelation, we will with one voice give praise to God. No propaganda in heaven! Meanwhile we have to navigate it here on earth. Be careful! There’s a lot of things out there that simply are not true. Thanks so much for joining us and we’re going to continue a study of my book and until next time, well, you already know it: “just go with God.”

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