Author Homer Carroll
Writer, game developer, unschooling mentor & founder/board member of Shine Your Light Event : A non-profit aimed at helping individuals in medical crisis | @homercarroll
Propagandists manipulate emotions to spread a simple idea. For instance, politicians bring up 9/11 when they want to sway an audience on foreign policy issues. The religious use this strategy at every national tragedy and disaster that presents itself. If that fails, they embellish or outright fabricate stories to stir emotion.
Stepping in to proselytize and otherwise propagandize after tragedy is an extremely effective technique, and it cannot be easily combated with reason and logic. It’s is a leading sales tactic, up there with SEX (Got your attention didn’t I?) The efficacy of this strategy is strong for one simple reason; when you enter into a strong emotional state, your brain loses the capacity to reason well.
One of the major struggles facing atheists is when they attempt to engage with people who don’t use reason. The person will actually tell you that they don’t use reason to come to their conclusion, but feelings. Don’t fret, there is still a way we can be effective, but we have to be timely with our retort. When the religious attempt to propagandize their faith in the face of tragedy, as they have with the recent school shootings, question the legitimacy of their emotional arguments as aggressively as possible to compel congregants into assessing their presuppositions.
“So you think we need more religion in school to prevent this kind of catastrophe? Let me ask you first, what kind of god let’s this happen in the first place, and how do you expect to prevent it if it is god’s will?”
I propose we start spreading simple sound bites that question this emotional propaganda, inculcating the masses. Feel free to start your own or suggest a better one. My suggestion is “What kind of god?” or #whatkindofgod if you’re on twitter.