Listening to the republican debates, there’s non-stop talk of the dangers of living in this country. They talk about how the country is getting away from its “founding principals”, or how it’s getting so much more evil, or how our children will be without benefits such as social security.
Whenever anyone argues that taxes shouldn’t be cut, the argument also falls inevitably on the “dangers” of less funding for whatever is getting cut. This is also the argument made in defense of the environment or our country – it always falls back on fear mongering, an attempt to scare people towards action.
In my opinion, you should not be guided to a belief or opinion based on emotional blackmail, terrorism, double binds, bullying, shaming, and other forms of psychological or physical coercion. Your beliefs and opinions should be based on balancing available tested evidence and going with the more heavily weighted (lacking bias, peer-reviewed, within scientific scope, etc.).
I think that we all agree that our opinions shouldn’t be formed through these methods – so why are we imposing them on others? Would you like to believe that your knowledge on a subject came by propaganda? Would you like to think that your opinions were formed through brainwashing? So why are we trying to push ideas on others through these methods? If an idea can’t be demonstrated with fact then why believe it? And if it is backed with fact, then it doesn’t require anything more than explanation and citing – there’s no need for any manipulation.
To sell an honest product, a person needs only to show how their product will fill its obvious need (cleaning products often run television advertisements that show the product being used on a mess). To sell a dishonest product, a person needs to create a need and then show how they fill it (cosmetic companies must first convince you that having normal-colored lips or short lashes are a deficiency). To sell a truly dishonest product, a person needs to manipulate you with psychology – such as the notorious video that explains how the US economy is going to collapse and the only solution is to invest in silver.
I pick on fear mongering because I hear that one more than any other. I was sitting at my parents’ table a week ago listening to my father talk to my sister-in-law about homeschooling, but he was selling it on fear of her kid being taught evolution, biology, moral relativism, and acceptance of gays. I threw in the evidence for homeschooling, mainly how it gives children a personal tutor that can give them the most possible attention. It was clear that my input wasn’t important, and she agreed with my father.
My father and sister-in-law are Christian, as I was at one time. And I know they’re Christian for the same reason I was – fear mongering. They’re scared by Hell. I know, because I was there. And I’m not alone. Does any Christian ever find God through evidence? If so, I’d love to hear it. Feel free to comment below about how you found Christianity even though you weren’t told about the danger of Hell.