Defining Propaganda


Last June I wrote about propaganda as opposed to propagation in my post, A Modern Challenge. In it I concluded that modern materialistic assumptions erased any useful distinctions between the two, however I struggled with finding the right way to express the defining line outside of metaphorical parallels, equating propagation with marital intimacy as opposed to the prostitute’s services, which were more along the lines of propaganda.

My work concerned the parameter of education and teaching methods, but moving higher into the realm of art, Jordan Peterson presents a key to this Modern Challenge, one harmonizing with Socrates’ concept that wisdom is in knowing what one does and does not know. Dr. Peterson suggests the difference between art and propaganda lies in the starting motive: artists don’t know how their work will end, they are discovering, but the propagandist twists their art in service to a conclusion, one they already know.

In A Modern Challenge, I was attempting to defend religion from the attack that all its teachings were propaganda. Accepting Dr. Peterson’s definition, this invective is clearly false. Religion, at least in the realm of Christianity, is founded in story, is the substance of art. Propagandized religion exists, but at the heart it is the quest for truth and meaning.


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