Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 4, 1966
NUMBER 13, PAGE 6-7a

Propaganda Methods (II.)

Name Calling

Arthur W. Atkinson, Jr.

The Institute for Propaganda Analysis, Inc. published a periodical from which we want to take some quotes to help us in our understanding of propaganda methods!

"Name Calling is a device to make us form a judgment without examining the evidence on which it should be based. Here the propagandist appeals to our hate and fear. He does this by giving "bad names" to those individuals, groups, nations, races, policies, practices, beliefs, and ideals which he would have us condemn and reject. For centuries, the name "heretic" was bad. Thousands were oppressed, tortured or put to death as "heretics," whatever that might mean. Anybody who dissented from popular or group belief or practice was in danger of being called a heretic. In the light of today's knowledge, some heresies were bad and some were good. Many of the pioneers of modern science were called heretics; witness the cases of Copernicus, Galileo and Bruno In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, many a worthy man was wrecked through his enemies calling him "a democrat" or "a republican," Fascist, demagogue, dictator, Red, etc

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Use of "bad names" without presentation of their essential meaning, without all their pertinent implications, comprises perhaps the most common of all propaganda services. Those who want to maintain the status quo apply bad names to those who would change it. Those who want to change the status quo apply bad names to those who would maintain it. (Propaganda Analysis, Vol. 1)

But what has all of this to do with Christianity. We learned last week in our article that propaganda is used in religion as well as in other affairs of the world. "Name Calling" is used just as much in religious matters as it is in matters pertaining to the world. Nor is it used just in our time.

We can again return to Bible times and see "Name Calling" being used. The apostle Paul had a great deal of difficulty with Judaizing teachers in his day. These teachers used propaganda against Paul. They resorted to "Name Calling." These teachers said that Paul was "weak" and "contemptible". They were talking of Paul's bodily appearance and his speech. The Epicureans and Stoics called him a "babbler" or "base Fellow." To the Jews and Tertullus he was a "pestilent fellow" and a "mover of sedition" as well as a "ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes." These are just a few of the many names given to Paul. All of them were given for the purpose of causing people to make a judgment without examining the evidence. The names were "bad names". No one wants to listen to a "babbler" or be associated with a "pestilent fellow" who is a "mover of Sedition." These names doubtlessly had their effect upon unthinking people. But was Paul all of these things? Of course he was not.

The practice that is mentioned above has not ceased. It is still at large in the church in our day. It is really an unfortunate thing that people still resort to propaganda methods in such an enlightened day. But it seems that the more enlightened we become the more subtle we become in our ability to use such methods. "Name Calling" has reached a new peak in the church of the Lord. Practically every bulletin or paper that comes to us contains such in some form. And the sad thing is that many of us participate in it unknowingly. I do not suggest that I have not been guilty. Sometimes we almost unconsciously resort to such.

I have before me the latest issue of BOLES HOME NEWS. Gayle Oler writes in this issue of "demon branders" who are "gossip mongers" in the guise of gospel messengers. The use of such terms is what we are speaking of. This is "Name Calling" for the sake of making people form judgments without examining the evidence. However, it is no worse than the type of "Name Calling" that some resort to when Gayle Oler and Boles Home are referred to as "leeches," "modernists , " "infidels," "spiritual derelicts," "reprobates," etc.

Another term that is bandied around is the word "anti." In a recent issue of the FIRM FOUNDATION brother Reuel Lemmons wrote an editorial in which he attempted to show that the term "anti" should be used to refer to those who opposed the institutions and sponsoring church type of programs among us. However, brother Lemmons also wrote at least ten articles opposing the doctrines of W. Carl Ketcherside. I wonder if this would not make him "anti" Carl Ketcherside and if it does would that then class him as just an "anti". He also wrote some articles opposing Batsell Barrett Baxter's thesis of putting the college in the budget of the church. This then would make him "anti" that. Would he wish that we call him just "anti" as a result of his opposition?

It seems that all of us have too long used terms to make a point we wanted to make with no actual proof of the use of the term with regard to its application to a particular person or group. I am not against calling a "spade a spade" as the saying goes. However, I must prove that it is a "spade" if I call it that. Nor should I call it a "spade" to cast reflection upon it if it happens to be a hoe. I do not like to be categorized and I certainly should refrain from categorizing others if they do not desire it. If I can prove that a man is a modernist then I should call him that and prove my point. If I cannot then I should refrain from it. If a man is "anti" something then I should state what he is opposed to and not just brand him with the term "anti". Brethren should learn to discuss matters without the use of propaganda methods and especially the device of "Name Calling."

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